Wednesday, August 31, 2005


You know you've having a strange day when you get skewered in the lip by a satay stick in the morning and get electrocuted in the afternoon. I'm still feeling zingy and tingly and not in a good way.

Ondine tossed this thought in at 12:50

1 thoughts...

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


Anyone who knows me would know my perennial obsession with weight. According to Packrat, I can never be thin enough. I don't really know where it comes from. There are many theories.

Theory 1
Being mercilessly heckled when I bought a big bag of potato chips and chocolate chip cookies as a teenager. That was coupled with the fact that I was running seriously and had t-shirts and vests that boldly declared Singapore Schools' Athlete or Flash Athletic Club. So I was mocked for posing as an athlete but eating enough junk to support Hostess all by myself.

Theory 2
Being constantly reminded that girls put on weight at 15 years old in terms of fat on the back of their thighs to prepare one's body for child bearing but that it was bad for runners because it affected their speed. At the same time, heavily indoctrinated by diets that revolved around fruit and breads and told that meat, especially red meat was a big No No. So for a time, I ate no red meat (pork and beef, the legacy of that still remains. People who know me from back then still don't believe I eat pork. I sometimes tell them I'm Muslim just to get a rise out of them). For a time, I ate nothing but vegetables, fruit and the occasional fish, much to the great displeasure of my mother.

Theory 3
Having a close friend fixate all the time on body parts, do close to a few hundred crunches a day and obsess about supermodels and their bodies.

Theory 4
Doing ballet with girl from Theory 3, spend days on end staring at ourselves in mirrors, outfitted in skin tight leotards and pink tights (note: Pink tights make even the slimmest legs look like they belong to elephants). Couple that with being told by ballet teachers both in Singapore and Melbourne that I didn't have a dancer's build and my body wasn't lithe enough. And being surrounded by pre-pubescent long limbed dancers really didn't help matters at all.

Whatever theory you might subscribe to, the bottomline is that I'm neurotic about my weight. The strange thing is, as much as I'm obsessed about it, I'm tired of obsessing about it as well. Problem is that it's been part of me for so long that it'll be hard for me to actually ignore it. I mean, what would I do with all that time, if I stopped obsessing? But seriously, I've been weight conscious for so long, I'm not sure I know how not to be.

I think even if you held a gun to my head, I wouldn't be able to eat fried chicken without dabbing off the oil or stripping the skin. I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to eat flash-fried duck either. But I do know, I'm tired of being so concerned.

To me, the solution, short-termed anyway, is to get pregnant. That way, I'll put on weight whether or not I like it and it wouldn't be due to some chocolate cake I OD-ed on, but actually something that I would be doing right. So, it would be a relief to be pregnant, in that sense.

Strangely though, I know of people who have never ventured an opinion about weight, theirs or anyone else's, who are throwing hissy fits because they've become pregnant. These are the skinny, not much into fitness and what my brother would call the typical Singapore girl (not to be confused with the Singapore Girl)- skinny, fair-skinned (your typical SK-II mask type girl), tone-less, rebonded hair, speaks with neighbourhood school (albeit good) accent. It strikes me as strange, this turnabout.

Me,on one hand, the one who has spent my life bemoaning the gaining of 0.3 kg or having the body fat percentage upped 0.5% is looking forward to the day where I can no longer obsess about it.

And then,

The girls, who would previously not have blinked at the amount of oil that was forming in the Popeye's fries packet last night, eat fried dough fritters (yew-cha-kway) for breakfast, are freaking out because their little babies in their tummies are in need of nutrients and are growing into sentient beings of their own. So, they develop the dire need to hide behind baggier clothes (making them feel even worse about themselves), resenting their pregnancies because it's abusing their bodies, hating their reflections in the mirror and being all upset because the baby's caused them to gain another inch round their middle.

Of course, people who have known me for a long time claim that it is a statistical impossibility that I could actually stop worrying about it. It is, after all, a great weight to behold and a whole lot of fat to chew on. Heh.

Ondine tossed this thought in at 14:29

4 thoughts...

Monday, August 29, 2005

Ephesians 5:22-24

Just when you think you can't be shocked by what you read anymore.

The most important role in a woman's life is that of a wife and a mother. It is unnecessary for her to work unless she is a widow. In a marriage, a woman is officially attached to a man for life. They are one, and the woman must listen to the husband. As a wife, she must submit to her husband and assist him in everything he does. If the husband objects to a certain decision, she must not go against him as this will lead to quarrels and divorce. Therefore, to create the perfect conditions for a rise in birth rate, women must fulfil their roles as a wife and be obedient and understanding.

This was not written by some chauvinistic, full of himself guy who thinks the whole world should bow before him and wash his feet. This was written by a girl. A young girl at that.

Obviously, she got it from the Bible. But taken so out of context and so flawed. A colleague then remarked, it would be interesting to see what her parents were like, for the girl to grow up thinking and not questioning the logic and rationale behind this.

Colleague: I should be interested in seeing what her parents are like.
Me: But the mother won't come because she's chained up at home.
Colleague: Then I should like to see what the father is like.
Me: But he won't see you, because you're a woman!

When we went through marriage preparation, you could see the guys visibly inflate when the faciliator brought up this commandment. But in the next second, the facilitator would take out his invisible pin and pop their egos by emphasising that the command comes with a second and more important part that demands that husbands are to love their wives like Christ loved the church. Take that! Ha!

So the girl will grow up to be a subservient, birthing machine. Either that or she'll be one of those girls that go beserk in uni. No, no, we don't want her to do an Annabel Chong either.


Do parents and churches really teach this out of context?

Scratch Head.

Ondine tossed this thought in at 12:43

8 thoughts...

Back to regular programming

Done! All done. No more grading papers, no more getting up at 4 or 5 in the morning to get it all back in time.

The only casualty, my throat. Tradition has it that I get through high stress periods fine. All the work will be done on time. But the minute the deed is done, the body breaks down into various pieces. The most spectacular one was after the wedding, the first 4 days of our honeymoon in Sydney was me, sleeping, with a fever and hardly much of a voice to speak of. And I think tradition isn't going to fail me this time.

I have a long list of things that I need to do this week.

1. All the admin stuff that is bursting out of my in tray.
2. Run- I was very good at the beginning of last week. I ran 14 km in 2 days. Then I had to stop to just mark. Hate that.
3. Write a speech- I'm saying something at K's wedding 2 weeks from now.
4. Clear up my desk. I no longer have an excuse to have so much rubbish on the table.
5. Dry clean the cheong sam I bought last week for a staff dinner. My first cheong sam!
6. Pay bills.
7. Watch all the OC that I've missed.
8. Start finding purpose in my life.
9. Not get sick.
10. Wash the car.

Not the most fun of lists, but at least there's no marking! Joy!

Ondine tossed this thought in at 11:14

3 thoughts...

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Words, all words...

At about 2023 hrs, I stopped reading sentences. I'm reading words. Key words, words that hopefully point me toward an idea that I can give a mark to. Sentences take too long to read. Too long to process for the over exhausted, running on empty brain of mine.

6 more.

I can do this. Sometime tonight.

Dinner was good though. Steamed egg ala chawanmushi and minced meat. It was supposed to be the same dish, chawanmushi heaped with minced meat but I had no idea how to do it without the meat sinking to the bottom so to simplify matters, 2 separate steamed foods put together into a yummy combination.

6 more. I can do this.

Ondine tossed this thought in at 22:33

0 thoughts...

Desperately Seeking Susan

I want to blog. I've tried so many times this week but always ending up saving them as a drafts that will never see light of day. Why? Grading papers. Tomorrow is my absolute deadline and all week, actually for the last few weeks, I've done nothing but grade papers.

And cleverly, I've lost my answer scheme to the papers I'm grading so I'm doing it blind now. KW quipped that it wouldn't alter the marks of the kids that much and it's true. But I'm headed directly and headlong into a burnout.

I need time. Time to hang out and baby my poor sick husband. Time to blog and regain some sanity- too many thoughts (sorry YM! It just seemed apt right now!) crowding my head. I need 2 things. A time-turner and a Pensieve. Otherwise how???

It feels like the A's all over again for me. A lot of work, very little of anything else, early morning work hours, thereafter wanting to collapse into heap in the shower before driving to school. At least when I took my A's, Dad drove to school and I had time to stone before the day started.

In the words of Packrat, buggrit all.

Ondine tossed this thought in at 16:59

0 thoughts...

Friday, August 26, 2005

Teachers' Day 2005

Teachers' Day 2005
Originally uploaded by thelanguishingcat.
Last year, I got real mangoes. This year, I get this t-shirt and I need to wear it later during the concert. I really need to vary my clothes more.

I guess it could be worse if I were a Banana Republic girl.

Ondine tossed this thought in at 09:19

2 thoughts...

Friday, August 19, 2005

Breaking the Habit

I've been grading these essays that talk about vices and how some of them lead to addiction.

Addiction, often not a pretty word.

And it's a hard thing to do, give up that addiction.

We all know it by heart. It's bad for you so you should give it up. It's bad for your health, it's a waste of money. But why do we?

Well, I do it because it brings me much joy. On a hot day, it's the first thing my mind turns to. I go out of my way to get it sometimes. Sometimes, when I'm really tired and I know I need to go on, I will hunt it down, double park sometimes, just to get myself some of it. When I need desperately to stay awake, that's what I head for. I have it all times of day. I've had it at 7 in the morning, I've had it late at night. Always the largest I can find. I don't believe in moderation. That's for losers.

And when I don't have it for a while, I start to feel funny and twitchy, wondering what it is that I'm missing and then it hits me. I haven't had it in a while. I got extremely upset when Plentyfish forgot to get me some the other day even though he was under specific orders via SMS to get some for me. I should just be able to consume it intravenously or at least have a camel pack.

But no, I've been told I should give it up. It's such a great sacrifice for me. But I've been told it is really really bad for me so I should really stop. But how?

I tried to, on Tuesday when I found out. I vowed to stop. No more. That's it. Cold Turkey. I thought, easy-peasy. It'll be fine. By Wednesday afternoon, I'd caved and had gone specifically in search of it. Just holding it in my hands made the world seem a slightly more manageable place. And when I finally broke the seal and took some, Ah... sweet sweet relief from this cruel cruel world.

Then I gulped back into reality and went Ooops. I'll stop tomorrow. I promise. That was yesterday.

Today's Friday, my second straight day, dry of iced lemon tea.

Ondine tossed this thought in at 11:07

2 thoughts...

Monday, August 15, 2005

Back to School

I know I work in a school, but it's weird when you go back to one, masquerading as a student. I was at NUS today, auditing a lecture incognito. And it was weird. I knew where everything was, including the washrooms. Physically, somethings look different, but the people, always look the same. I half expected finding my friends in the crowds. Are we all so interchangeable and replaceable? No wonder our tutors could never remember the same. We were really mindless automatons going through the conveyor belt of education and all they had to do was brand us with NUS on our foreheads as if it were a symbol to the world beyond Kent Ridge that we had passed quality control. And we all know how stringent its QC is.

We had dinner at 5 pm in the canteen and most of the food stalls were still the same. It's strange when you've grown up and everything around you seems smaller but for some reason much more welcoming. Perhaps it's like going home. I still have the most amazing sleep when I go home to my mom's place. It isn't so much that I don't like my bed or I'm uncomfortable, it's just more familiar. And NUS felt the same way.

My experience in NUS wasn't all that memorable. I sailed right through it, more as a part time student and a full time dancer. I mentioned to Packrat, while waiting for the lecture to start that had it been me picking courses, the class we were about to sit in for, I wouldn't have even EVER considered because it was too late in the day and I didn't like staying late, possibly because I lived on the other side of the island at that time. And I overheard some girl mention to her friend that she had a free day on Friday. Yup, that was me. Much of the time, I picked courses so that I could get Thursday and Friday off. In my six semesters, I think I successfully scheduled myself into a three day week four times.

I tried hard to remember my time in NUS. What made me laugh? What made me cry? But they seem so faraway. I seem to remember being thrown out of a professor's office for insisting my tutorial day be changed to a day I was actually going to be in school. I had never seen anyone turn red so quickly! I also remember being told off by some prude of a liason officer guy for wearing a tank top around. I think he no longer works for the uni because there were tank tops all around me. I remember being hit on by a minister's son and could not live it down when in a subsequent lecture, we watched a parliamentary clip with the guy's dad on TV. I don't really remember studying and I don't really remember being all too stressed. To me, they were pre-university. I count true uni in Melbourne.

So what did I learn at NUS? I don't really know. But then again, the most vital lessons in life aren't those that can be put simply into words. They are the ones that become so much part of someone that one only realises it when it is cut out of existence. So one shouldn't really try. That would cheapen it far too much.

Hmmm, then again, perhaps I did learn something there- the iced lemon tea was quite good.

Ondine tossed this thought in at 21:27

1 thoughts...

Friday, August 12, 2005

Mother of All Dreams

My mom rings me a few nights ago just to tell me of a totally bizarre dream she had. Apparently, she was walking through the rain and bumped into both Packrat and I and she couldn't figure out why we were there. What was weird about the dream was the fact that I was in a green shirt (I have 2 green tops in my entire wardrobe because I don't particularly like how green makes me look.) with fish(!) on it (once again, no fish. Butterflies are my chosen motif if necessary). And Packrat was in the same motif-ed shirt, just more brown than green.

It doesn't sound as bizarre as some of the dreams I've had, but it's weird enough and I now know where I can trace my eccentric dreams to. My Mother.

The very same mother that passed down a dent on the head and forever preventing me from being able to do a Sinead O'Connor and bow legs, stopping me from having perfect arabesque lines.

The very same mother who is forgetful and loses everything, wallets, phones, handbags, sunglasses. I lost my staff pass card yesterday, sometime between the washroom and the car on the way out. This meant I was at the mercy of people who were entering and exiting the office. I felt like an errant child who was made to stand outside as punishment.

I must however make it clear that all this is all said with great affection, although it does get annoying when you have to cancel her credit card the nth time or have her wake you up at some ungodly hour to tell you someone rang and she is unable to remember who.

All my mother. :)

But it is my mother also that gave me my Peranakan-ness and I wouldn't trade that for straight legs.

And I should be so lucky to get half her wisdom and my kids half her creative ways. That one skipped a generation with me.

Oh well, we can't all be like our mothers. What will our fathers do then?

Ondine tossed this thought in at 11:40

3 thoughts...

Monday, August 08, 2005

Haunted by Christmas Past

I had a miserable time when I was in secondary school. No doubt I was a school jockette, but I was much disliked. Not for any other reason but my Peranakan, mixed-bloodedness had given to me, as my neutral-not thinking about anything in particular-look, the most dao (tao) of looks. So, girls my age shunned me, because not only did I, in their very cheena-pong-piang- opinion, speak English with an accent (in my defence, I did not. I just spoke what was proper English) . On top of that, the teachers loved the fact that I spoke English, was more self-aware and I ran like the wind and could break track records by just twitching my nose. All that was true blue recipe for me to not be liked. I got over that and still have some best friends from that time. People realised that I wasn't actually dao, and in fact, I was painfully shy. Possibly because they shunned me.

College wasn't so bad because the dao-ness became something that the boys couldn't figure out. So, I was part of a group called the Ice Princesses. Can see, cannot touch. That suited us fine, because it meant the ones that actually dared to come up to us, were either very thick-skinned or worth our time of day. Our own sieving process.

It hasn't bugged me much since. I get the occasional comment. Mostly these days, I'm told the dao-ness makes me tai tai like. No harm there. Unfortunately, it's come back to bite me in the ass. I was told today that I'm cold and unapproachable and unfriendly. Translation: Wa... Damn dao man!!! And this by people, who in the minute but most important scheme of things are very important.

I suspect that I will spend this holiday, instead of lying on a beach pondering over what really matters, baking muffins to bring round in a basket ala Bree Van de Camp to show that I'm not the cold heartless bitch they all seem to think that I am.

I hate keeping up appearances.

So sayeth the one who's got a glacial mudpack on her face right now.

Ondine tossed this thought in at 18:16

4 thoughts...

Delayed Reaction

The nation's birthday is upon us again and what I'm thankful of, every year is the holiday that it comes with. The third term in school, for any teacher, is a horrid one. Worse if you're teaching graduating students. That I am. So, it goes without saying, that coupled with my usual exhaustion, there is more stress, more grading of papers and much less time for the more important things in life. And the National Day break is like a much needed oasis for people like us, who at times, feel that such holidays are nothing more than a mirage, especially with the great amounts of work we have to do through the break, just so that we break even on the other side of the holiday.

And so, even though today is technically a half day and a non-teaching day in school, I had severe Sunday night blues last night. This was made worse by the delayed realisation that we had been so close to NOT being around this holiday.

We were meant to go to Bali. That's where Tym and Terz are at the moment. Glorious Bali from Friday to Wednesday. But the budget airline fad doesn't seem to extend south as much as it extends north to Bangkok and Phuket. So, only 3 airlines fly to Bali and every other person had the same idea we did and booked themselves out to Bali. So, they were no flights for us even though we had planned this in June. The only possibility was to fly to Darwin on Qantas and transit in Denpasar on the way back. Can you say ridiculous?

And not only that, B and girlfriend are in ClubMed. Another holiday that we were supposed to try to go on. But, to be in ClubMed at this point, even if it were just the Bintan one would have cost us the steep side of a grand. Money we'd rather save for the year end soujourn Down Under. So there, we're spending the long weekend in Singapore, inundated by the unimportant but pesky things in our lives that nip constantly at your heels and you'd like nothing better than to give it a swift kick in the nuts. Unfortunately, it's these little nagging things that count and make and break one's future.

So much frustration and angst about life in general, no holiday, lots of exhaustion and grown up decisions to wade through and make or not make. All I want is to be lying on a beach somewhere, with my sunglasses shiedling my eyes from the cruel world, relaxing and being able to tend to what actually IS important in life.

But that's a fat hope. All because I now am an adult.

Ondine tossed this thought in at 11:21

1 thoughts...

Friday, August 05, 2005


I never thought much about vibes. Packrat was only the "vibe" man. He believed in having a good feeling and sensing whether things were good or not. I had adopted a more science geek type of approach to sussing things out. Looking at fact, talking to people and the inevitable pro-con list that would never reflect the flux and turmoil within me. So I decided on a new tact. I was going to feel out the situation and see where it led me.

I'm sure if I thought hard enough, I have relied on how I feel about things to make my decisions. For sure, I did not draw up a pro-con list when the Packrat asked me to marry him. When he asked me out and I tried to weigh it out in my head, it gave me a headache of epic proportions. So, I'm not alien to the concept of following my heart and what my heart tells me.

So, yesterday, I went with how I felt. On the surface, it was a promising offer. They were promising me the world. And a much larger world than the one I currently reside in. I met people, I talked to people, everyone was nice, everyone tried to make it sound appealing. If I'd drawn up the pro-con list, if I looked at the reality of the situation, if I talked to people, I would take up the offer. It wins in everyway. But at the end of the day, no matter how much it promised and how much found it sounded, it just didn't feel right. Something about it wasn't right. It wasn't the overt friendliness, it was the selling me of the idea, it was something more gnawing, more beneath the surface, something I couldn't quite put my finger on.

I can't explain it, but something in my gut just tells me it ain't the right decision. Either that or it's gas. Who knows.

Ondine tossed this thought in at 08:37

1 thoughts...

Monday, August 01, 2005


One of the hazards of my profession is that I am surrounded by adolescents who are tech savvy and have too much time on their hands. Actually, they don't, really, but they still find time to do a whole lot of academic un-related stuff. One of these things, and I'm sure I would have been guilty of it if Google existed in my day, is to find out all they can about the teachers that mould their lives.

So, like Tym, I've been outed. Not in the same way, but I now know for a fact that I have students who know of the play pen and are aware of where the languishing cat hangs out. Like Tym, I've made sure that what goes online goes through rigourous vetting in my head. Too many horror stories of teachers who get into trouble for what they blog about. But even then, I love the anonymity of this world and because our jobs require us to be so out there and in everyone's faces, I like, for once being cloaked behind a pseudo-identity.

But oh well, it was only a matter of time. And it was good while it lasted.


Ondine tossed this thought in at 21:11

1 thoughts...


Every year, the students have to do an NKF charity thing and they're given donation cards to raise money. I remembered this morning that the cards were due for collection this week so I dutifully sms-ed my class rep before it fell right out of my head as things perchance do these days.

Me: Please remind the class to bring their NKF cards this week for submission. (All teacher-ly and all)
Class Rep: Oh.....!!!! After Durai incident...I tear it Oh no....!!! (punctuation and grammar all his)
Me: LOL! Brilliant act of protest! Ok, I'll find out what needs to be done. Maybe must make police report (Totally un-teacher!)
Class Rep:- silence-

I suspect he's reeling at the fact that he will have to return the card in shreds.

I'm very amused though. I went through with that class last week an article about how Singaporeans use the web, forums, blogs as a form of protest because we have so little in our protest arsenal. And here he was, to show that he could actively and physically protest, tore up his donation card as if it was 1960's America and he just got drafted to Nam.

I will have to make him understand though that his act of protest must not affect those in need and those innocent. But for now, I shall sit back and revel that not all my kids are apathetic. Young, idealistic, brash and impulsive yes, but his heart seems in the right place and that's so much better than these other idiots I caught chasing a cat in school last week who an Evil eye and snarky comment later were sent whimpering off with their tails between the legs.

Ondine tossed this thought in at 12:23

0 thoughts...

Weekend clothes

Last year for Teachers' Day, one of my classes bought me 2 mangoes and gave it to me in a Mango bag. Their rationale, my clothes were all from Mango but they couldn't afford to buy me anything from there. Hence, the substitute.

Since then, I've tried to vary my clothes a little bit more. A little bit of Bysi, a little bit of Iora, a little bit of Gap, a little bit of Zara but still, a whole lot of Mango. And the students notice when I'm not in Mango. Apparently, they have a fashion look out who tells them where she thinks my clothes are from. What use of their 18 year old minds!

So, that's work wear. Strange thing is on the weekend, Mango is hardly ever in sight. On the weekend, I turn into a total Gap girl. I guess, it reveals what sort of clothes I buy from the both stores. Yup. 2 weekends in a row, I've caught myself decked in Gap from head to toe. Including the bag. Talk about split personality.

I should mix things up more but I'm ashamed to say, I'm a brand shopper. It's hard for me to go to Far East Plaza and buy stuff from the little stores there. Perhaps, also because I hardly have the patience to peruse the stores of wares that look about the same. I'm a mall kinda girl.

But lest there are some out there who think me a total flighty ditz who has no other skills then signing on a charge slip- even though that skill might be quite suspect on its own, or in the words of one of my more astute students, a yet to be enlightened tai tai, I must announce that I baked muffins, from scratch! Not from a Betty Crocker pre-mix but actually from the back of a cereal box. It had cereal, soy milk, wholemeal floor, applesauce, honey, egg whites, cranberries and blueberries all thrown in. And it turned out to be quite tasty! I shall now attempt a banana one and perhaps a Nutella one although that will negate the healthy factor.

Now, on to more scholarly pursuits. Work beckons. Bah.

Ondine tossed this thought in at 10:13

1 thoughts...

" Far in the stillness, a cat languishes loudly"