Sunday, April 30, 2006

Biting the Hand that Feeds You

---Warning: Self-righteous post ahead. If you have no qualms letting your retired parents pay your bills while you are gainfully employed, stop reading now----

Usually I leave Packrat to comment on news as recorded in our local paper. He's usually a whole lot more snarky than I am. But he's a tad busy at the moment, what with the elections coming up and all the sueing that has ensued, pre-election.

So, I'm the only snarky one free at the moment, since I've declared a moratorium on political blogging on my blog and therefore have more blog space and time than he does.

Anyhow, this morning, my blood boiled as it usually does as a self-righteous, holier than thou young-ish adult, who is in contact with younger adults all day long. The headline read "All grown up... and still getting handouts from mum and dad..."

The child in me would go, "hmmmm, how nice". The adult in me goes "how dare they....?"
Who wins? This round, the adult in me.

I talk a lot about being a tai tai and in class yesterday we discussed the idea of wives not working. The half joking, but unanimous conclusion of that discussion was that sure we didn't mind not working, as long as our husbands could afford the lifestyles we have carved out for ourselves. Of course, after all the laughing and jibing of the husbands had died down, there was also the sentiment that we still needed to be our own person and it feels good being able to go shopping with the money that we have earned.

And I look at today's article, where 24-25 year old who have jobs, rather respectable well paying ones still live on their parents' dole. They claim that if they didn't, they can't support their current lifestyle. Excuse me, but doesn't that just show that you're living well beyond your means? How wonderful it is, to have suits from DKNY, shoes from Prada and Ferragamo, season parking at the Fullerton Hotel, all paid for by Mummy and Daddy. "I can't support my current lifestyle on my pay. If they're willing to give, I'm willing to take". Seriously, have these people no conscience?

And parents, need a little slapping around as well. "Not wanting her to suffer", "help her with her self-esteem". Parents, are you raising a plant in a hothouse? Not wanting her to suffer? If she's working, she's already living in the real world and sheltering her isn't going to do her much good. She's got to pay taxes, suck it up and take those loans and try to make that wage last for the month. And seriously speaking, a starting salary of $2500 is no where near suffering. And if everyone else can survive on that, it will do nothing to the child's self-esteem if you cut the purse strings.

Some people would say that I'm jealous, that my parents have never doled out cash to me like that so I'm jealous that there are parents that do. Now, that would be a juvenile argument if I ever saw one. My parents never over indulged on me, even when I was in school. I had an allowance, that was enough to cover transport, food and basic stationery- I say basic because buying colourful lumi pens were not budgeted. And if I wanted anything else, that Esprit wallet or that pair of Guess? shorts, I had to save up for it or something. I did the or something. I gave tuition from the time I was in Junior College. It wasn't very much, but it gave me a little bit more to buy that CD that I wanted. And my parents always worked on that system, as did many of my friends' parents. Of course, we were filled with admiration and sometimes envy with the friend whose wallet always had a $50 note.

If anything, that made me want to start work as soon as I could. When I first got a job and had an income that I could call my own, I went beserk and bought stuff that even today, I would consider exorbitant. I would not, in my right mind now, spend $100 on a pair of tiny denim shorts. So much money for so little material is just not right.

And I think, if my parents continued to give me an allowance when I started getting regular wages, I would never have realised that spending that much on a pair of shorts was way ridiculous. In the mis-quoted words of Tym, buying something that cost so much money, it better come with a plane ticket and some spare change.

By supporting and by extension of that, condoning the extravagant lifestyles of these young adults, the parents are not doing anything for them except putting a glass bowl over their pretty heads. What happens when they start getting older and need the money to pay for that dialysis treatment or that diabetic treatment? Or worse still, that heart bypass? Are they still going to opt out of it because their child needs to buy that to die for pair of $700 jeans from Citizens for Humanity?

And children, how dare you? If you're 24-25 years old, your parents are at least in their mid 50s. What that means is they are going to stop working soon and their income is going to stagnate and dribble out from under them as they pay for your spa packages. Are you going to use your platinum card to pay for a nurse maid to clean up their dribble when the time comes?

Perhaps it's the Confucian upbringing that we have all been indirectly indoctrinated with. Perhaps, I'm really just being holier than thou. Perhaps, I am just green with envy and secretly hate my dad for never buying me that little Merc that I've always dreamed about. Or perhaps, I'm right and you're wrong.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 10:34

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Saturday, April 29, 2006


We spend most of our Saturdays in church. It's better than Sunday when we have to wrestle with the parking crowd and the crowds at lunch. That always works as an easy excuse not to go to church. Earlier this year, Packrat and I decided it was high time we did more than appear at service once in a while. So we decided to help with the pre-marriage counselling which has thankfully been changed to marriage preparation class. Pre-marriage whatever always conjures in my head visions of pre-marital sex which the Church will wag a disapproving finger at. Our only reservation was that we were too "young". I mean, we couldn't answer questions about having kids and whatever else. In our hearts, we wondered if they'd consider us really married since we were still playing about and had no serious committments (read: kids).

Apparently, the consensus was the younger couples were a bigger hit because they weren't about to prescribe what made a good marriage, since half the time, we're still trying to figure it out ourselves. And validated that way, we signed up to be facilitators.

Each session starts off with a lecture, on the Biblical perspectives of marriage. Some of our friends have great issues with it, especially when it comes to Head (the man being the head of the household, dial back all the women's lib!), Helper (the woman, created to help the man), not so much the Love bit (that the Man is supposed to do as Christ loved the church) and a whole lot with the Submit (woman, submit to man, mwahahahaha).

During the lecture, the both of us are often trying to figure out how to facilitate the session, so we listen more intently than we do when we are on our own professional courses. But sometimes, we slip into being kids once again and laugh and snigger helplessly at the lecturer. Today was one such instance.

Lesson of the Day, Helper. Basically, the lecture went through how a wife could help her husband, to be a better person, to support him, that sort of thing. Quite common sense. But when it came to the practical bits, the lecturer, whose first language wasn't English, asked

" Husbands, think of one thing that your wife can do for you, that no one else can?"

Snigger snigger snigger.

"Wives, how can you use your tongue to help your husbands?"

Snigger, almost fall off the chair, snigger, choke, snigger snigger.

We got what she meant, but for that one moment, we became 15 again. It was reminiscent of the time where my colleague, announced after sealing 50 envelopes that she had the fastest tongue on this side of the staff room.

Right. Something we all don't want to know. And what only wives can do for their husbands, erm... that's Too Much Information.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 18:55

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Friday, April 28, 2006

The Village People

You know the long weekend is upon you early when while you're still half asleep and crossing the road, you realise that there is a workman in orange pants and yellow hard hat waiting at the cab stand. You rub your eyes hard because he seems to have blonde hair and boobs.


Much to my amazement, more materialise, totally oblivious of the attention they are attracting. And the Bintang Beer T shirt just completes the look. It is a beer with a certain sweaty albeit ice cold flavour to it. Just perfect after a hard day's work out in the sun.


Chances are they were waiting for a pick up because they were letting all the cabs go to other people. And in all likelihood, their pick up was probably not one of those blue Datsun pickups . Perhaps it was a school production or an ad gimmick since Halloween wasn't for another 6 months.

Construct 2

Attracting foreign talent doesn't seem to be as difficult a problem as some sectors imagine it to be. It just takes a little bit of looking and you just need to know where to look. All that really needs to be done is to troll Holland Village for the Village people.


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Ondine tossed this thought in at 20:15

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006


I couldn't resist the draw today. Afterall, over the weekend, we had rekindled the love affair from years ago. So, when I found myself with a little bit of time on my hands today, the thought of another illicit rendezvous came to mind.

It had been such an exciting time. I'd been all swept up in it, savouring the warm glow of attention and adoration. The attraction had been mutual. I could feel the beckoning and the magnetic draw was far too strong for me to resist. I knew I shouldn't. I couldn't afford to go down this road. It would be too costly and there was too much at stake. But at the same time, the very thought of it made my heart swell and my head light. It made me want to giggle and sing.

Oh, it was such guilty pleasure. Surely it was wrong to feel this way. What if I get found out? What if he found traces and clues of my little secret? Would he be upset with me? Would there be roaring wrath and hurtful words? Would I not be allowed to even look in that direction ever again?

But the moment I closed my eyes, I could feel the forbidden closeness and my nostrils flared slightly when it picked up the thick woody musky scent. I could live with this surrounding me forever. I knew I would have to pay dearly for it, but at that moment, it all felt worth it.

Since that moment when I felt myself pulled in, I'd been walking around in a daze. I'd been asking myself how much more I could get away with. Whether I could try and go a little bit further without digging myself further into the grave. Most times, I tell myself no, that I really cannot afford to go on like this. It would hurt too much if I did. But sometimes, just in the moments of weakness, I can't help myself. I want it, I want to cross the line. I don't care if I wind up messing up the life I have now, just for another moment...

So, today, I decided to screw it and throw all caution to the wind. I was tired of holding back. I knew what I wanted. I took a deep breath before I stepped over the threshold, uncertain of what I was getting myself into and not wanting to care about what I'd left behind. From a distance, I could feel the beckoning, drawing me closer. The next thing I knew, I was right there, where I had been before, all swept up, all weak at the knees, ready to forsake everything. Reaching out, I felt the smooth warmth against my cheek. So soft, yet so strong.

I waited to be swept off my feet, I waited to feel the thrill that would follow the sensual touch. I waited to be asked the question I was willing to say "yes" to. But it never came. And when I opened my eyes, I realised I didn't want it to. I didn't want this anymore.

It wasn't worth it. Not for a few fleeting moments of snatched happiness here and there. All the sneaking around and hiding, no it couldn't be worth it. No matter how powerful the magnetism was, I couldn't turn my back on all I had worked for. It was too much. I loved what I had now and it was enough. Going after this would have been too much and it would have been too wrong. I didn't want to lose all that I had.. And it wasn't as if I wasn't going to fall in love again. I would and when I did, all this would seem small and inconsequential and I would kick myself for splurging and indulging on the flavour of the month.

So, I stepped back, ignored my aching heart and fearing that one day I would regret ever doing this, said a silent goodbye, turned around and walked out, never daring to look back, for fear that I might change my mind...

...turn around and take into my arms the one that got away.

Ondine tossed this thought in at 17:26

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Sunday, April 23, 2006

Where in the World....

A few nights ago, Packrat and I had dinner at Hard Rock Cafe. We go there sometimes because we get to drink copious amounts of iced tea. The non-alcoholic type. We learn a new thing everyday and that night, we learnt that it was salsa night at the HRC in Singapore. Unfortunately, the more coordinated between the two of us, refuses to step onto the dance floor where they're giving a free salsa lesson. So, I sit there and sulk with my famous pout and point to all the HRCs that we haven't been to. Including the one in Bogata.

Packrat is one of the smartest people I know but sometimes, his ignorance shows through, like when you ask him who the President of Singapore is or when you try to confirm that Bogota is the capital of Colombia. He thinks it's the capital of the District of Columbia. That's when I wonder at what he actually learnt in school. But then again, I learnt a lot about countries and capital cities by playing Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?

I remember playing it on a DOS-system where the screen was green and the sound was a really bad MIDI file. I also remember having a notebook, where I had written down clues- the Crown Jewels were in London, Constantinople is now Turkey- so that I had a reference book as I played it. It was good. I learnt Buenos Aires had nothing to do with Buono Vista and Lima had nothing to do with beans. All good.

It's like learning world politics from watching Miss Universe and Miss World pageants. Why is there a Miss Belarus and Miss Serbia-Herzigovina now when there wasn't 20 years ago, apart from the fact that the immediate images one has of a such a Baltic beauty would be a walrus like girl with long incisors and flippers for hands. And the other? Just too much of a mouthful to say very quickly ten times over.

Whatever it is, it stuck and I am cleverer than Packrat when it comes to historical/geographical fact. Unfortunately, he beats me hands down with it comes to logic. I can never get my Ps and Qs right. I use that as justfication when I'm rude, snarky or snappish with him. Of course, that excuse doesn't roll with him and I just end up looking like a little fool.

At that point, I start up my DOS version of Carmen Sandiego and try and shame him into not being able to tell me where the Andes are. Of course, he wisely chooses not to be drawn in and I'm left playing the game on my own with all the tinny, MIDI music a girl could ever ask for.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 13:47

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Hungry Vultures

Packrat informed me on Thursday night that I'd gotten an invitation to a Kate Spade sale. I replied rather forlornly that I didn't think I had enough money to go shopping at Kate Spade. Kate Spade on sale is still expensive. In Singapore anyway. I remember another time, another place, Nordstrom in Oregon to be precise, where Kate Spade on sale meant they really were affordable. But being the wonderfully supportive husband that he is, although I think the real reason was so that I'd leave him alone to play WoW , he told me to go.

So I did. Yesterday, with Plentyfish who was looking for a present for his girlfriend. And I was stunned, Kate Spade at quite affordable prices. Not the usual $600-$800 price tags. All modestly priced under $200. Of course, they are past season stuff but Kate Spade's Kate Spade. The only problem is Plentyfish has the sense of fashion of a fish and refused to let me buy the bag I really wanted and I forlornly declared to Packrat that I didn't have time this week to go down again. Sympathetically, he dropped me off at the mall before he headed off for tuition this morning and I waited for the store shutters to be raised. Unfortunately, I was too late. No more. Plentyfish got a nice earful over SMS about it.

Of course, there's always a rainbow behind the rain clouds and there were others to pick from. Problem is that most of them were singles. And half the time, the bag you wanted was in the hands of someone else. So you circle with half an eye on her. I wasn't the only one. I couldn't decide between two bags. The minute I put one of them down, someone swooped in and picked it up. Only at a moment like this, you realise how much you want the bag and you become the vulture that circles.

Round and round the mulberry bush until someone gives. This time, I win, I swoop in and pick it up. I'm not as bad as the other vulture near by who squawks everytime she picks up a good buy. That, is just bizarre.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 08:41

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Saturday, April 22, 2006

Enemy territory

It seems like I've developed the habit of ending the week in a crazy kind of way. 2 Fridays ago, I came home round about this time in a great amount of pain from rehearsals. There're no more rehearsals now, thank goodness, but if it's not one thing, it's another.

And today, there were many other things. When our students write about cloning, they talk with great horror that cloning could lead to the creation of many many little Hitlers all over the place, I try to convince them that we are far from being able to do that although it's not an entirely new idea since I did do Boys from Brazil when I was in college. Anyway, even though I vehemently deny the existence of such technology, it doesn't stop me from wishing that it exists, especially on days like today where I'm expected to be at 2 to 3 different places at the same time.

Days like today make one realise that in organisations, sometimes, the left hand has no idea what the right hand is doing and together, it has absolutely no clue what the feet are doing. The outcome of that is that the left hand, right hand and feet all want to go in different directions and bring the body along. And I am the body, being dragged off to say thank you for the 5 cents more that is tossed in my direction by my right hand while my feet desperately try to keep me in school so that I can repeat the bed rest I had two years ago on such a fateful day. Meanwhile, the left hand is dragging me to the heartlands of Singapore to see our school team convince the world that democracy is the best form of government any one could have.

When there is so much dissonance in one body, there is also bound to be great interference when it comes to translating thought into action.


There was the need to get a drink, but an inability to get there since it's been 15 years since I've actually ventured into the heart of Hougang. And for once, that big yellow M was all elusive. I did however managed to chance upon, a grass patch with at least 20 PAP flags billowing in the wind, and I thought I was in an opposition ward. Perhaps, that's why. I whipped out my phone and tried to take a picture of it as I drove past it the second time and not for the first time in the last few months, I came to the conclusion that I needed a mega pixel camera. I'm also guessing the picture would have turned out better had I actually stopped the car, got out and took a still picture instead of from a moving car, that I was moving!

I did eventually find my oasis lit in red and yellow. But unlike my other experience of buying a drink in the opposition ward that was recorded by the cousin-in-law, the iced lemon tea in Hougang was regularly priced. Perhaps, that's what will spell political doom for the democratic experiment that is Hougang.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 00:51

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Where do I come from?

Statcounter is an interesting site to visit when you only have one hand free since the other is feeding you a sandwich. It's also managed to bring back memories of this international penpal club that I was a member of as a kid. For the life of me, I can't remember what it was called but it was cool to be able to say that I had a pen friend from Albania.

Although not as exotic, I can now say that people from Costa Rica, Italy and Ukraine (even though it doesn't show up on the chart, I suspect that's the "Unknown" category) read My Playpen.


So what could I teach using this chart? Let's see.
1. The effects of globalisation
2. The pervasive influence of the Internet
3. One world, one culture
4. Affluence and global connectiveness
5. Where Costa Rica and Ukraine are.

5 lessons. 4 GP, one geography lesson coming up.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 14:55

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Monday, April 17, 2006


So extremely sleepy. Everytime I set the class work to do, I get depressed. One, I have to entertain myself to stay awake while they finish up their work. Two, that means my weekend is going to be filled with countless rendezvous at coffee joints with my trusty red pen and a pile of papers.

The kids always think they get it worse. I used to have students who would beg, give an arm and a leg just so that they didn't have to do any work that day. The whining and the whinging that ensued always made me want to go "OK, fine!" just so that it would stop, their eyes would light up and then I could go "Haha! You wish!".

40 minutes to go. And most of them don't look like they're going to be done on time. I wonder if standing over them and breathing heavily down their necks would help.

Ondine tossed this thought in at 15:27

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She walked into class balancing a whole bunch of stuff, rather precariously. You know she's trying hard to make sure nothing disturbs the fine balance of her laptop, pencil case, jacket and stack of papers.

Yes! The laptop. More presentation stuff. More time to space out. Eat my cookies. SMS under the desk. Doodle on my handouts. So much to do.

She looks around and then tells us to start separating our desks. This does not bode well. Separating desks mean she doesn't want us to talk. If she doesn't want us to talk, that means, we're doing work! Argh!No!

She tries to console us and reminds us of the past weeks when we didn't have to do any work. No. No. No. We live in the here and now. It doesn't matter if we've been free the last weeks. What matters is today. And today, we want to be free!

No chance. No mercy. Slave driver.

Reluctantly, we do as we are told. Down the rows come the work we are expected to do. Words words words! That's all I see. How am I supposed to make sense of them?

And what does she do? She sits there, she seems to be reading. Or doing something on her laptop. Sometimes she types furiously and then looks up and stares at us. Is she doing one of those report things about us again? Crap. Maybe I shouldn't look up so much. She might say that I day dream a lot in class. As it is, I think she has issues with my handwriting.

She's got a frown now. What is she doing? Oh crap, I've got half an hour more and I've only done like 2 questions. Crap crap crap crap crap.

"The Titanic- forgive me!- was just the tip of the iceberg". Right. And I'm supposed to explain why there's "forgive me" in the sentence. How the f!@* am I supposed to know? The iceberg needs to apologise to the Titanic for sinking it? Hmmm, that sounds about right. "Forgive me- apology" The iceberg was why the Titanic sank. So perhaps. Ahhhh, who cares, let's see if she buys it as an answer.

She's typing very furiously now. But she looks like she's laughing to herself. What could she be doing? Is she IMing or something? Can't be. She's typing too much. You can only type 500 letters in one message so it can't be that continuous right?

I really need to stop trying to figure out what she's doing. Everytime she looks up, I'm looking up. She's probably going to say something snarky to me soon about how I should spend more time checking my work instead of rushing through it and staring into space. Wait till she comes by my table and realises I've only done like 2 questions. Then sure majorly snarky one!

Hmmm, I just thought of this. Maybe she's blogging about us. About how we look like we'd rather be anywhere but here. Maybe she's blogging about how nice it is to set work for students so that she has all this unencumbered time to blog. Some more no need to teach, no need to do anything, can slack while we work. Torture us, she does. Yah. Maybe that's what she's doing. Blogging about all the fun she's goinig to have because after school, she can go home and watch tv while I have to do some more tutorials. Teachers have it damn easy man.

Oh no! The students from the next class have been released. That means the bell is going to go. That means my time's going to be up soon and I've only at Question 3! Crap! She's closing her lap top and disconnecting. Oh shit! The bell's gone! I'm screwed.

Ondine tossed this thought in at 14:18

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Saturday, April 15, 2006


It threatened to pour all of yesterday. It didn't really. Just drizzled quite a bit and got the stage all soggy. All the better to dance on, my sadistic dance partner says. Right. He's not the one that has to be all snuggly with the ground one minute and act all anguished the next on the soggy carpeted stage.

Despite the heavily strapped shoulder, it went pretty well. I've done better at rehearsals, but that's always the case. New environment, ugly green spots that make us look like we're about to get beamed back onto the mothership, no clear markings as to where the stage ends and the ground begins, hence sending me flying into the crowd, costumes that get caught and hinder movement. Murphy's Law was out in full force last night. But still, it was a pretty good show. Also considering that I spent half the day in comatosed, pain induced stupor, only momentarily waking up for my students to present me a costume they made for me. It's so great, it warrants another post, the moment I take a photo of it.

Packrat said I didn't manage to look as come hither as I should have. He said I just looked classical, aloof, the picture perfect ice princess ballerina in red. I didn't know "classical" was a look, but apparently it was and it was written all over my face. Darn! I was going for the more "Indian divaesque, I've got a secret and you don't know it "look. But according to Packrat, that's the classical look. So I have to find a way to better describe what look I was going for.

It's also got me thinking about whether I should start dancing again. It was fun. Exhaustingly, excruciatingly painful, but fun, to be one with music again. To work on steps, to fine tune steps. To fine tune the turn of the fingers and the tilt of the head. Things I've forgotten. Plus that forgotten love affair with the mirror that can so quickly turn into ugly with the wrong leotard or angle.

I don't know. I'll think about it. I stopped dancing years ago because I thought there was no more I could learn. And this, I don't mean it in a "I know everything, no one can teach me anything new" sort of way. More the, "you can't teach old dogs new tricks and I should be pretty darn grateful that I managed to learn how to sit, stay, beg and roll over". I also didn't want to fall out of love with it. But if I've realised anything in the last six weeks, it's that it's in my blood now, no matter how much I want to tell myself it's me from another life. On the surface, it truly is something from another life. I had great difficulty trying to find my ballet tights to put on under the costume. Then, I figured out why, I've thrown them all away. Those ratty tights that I spent half my life in. All tossed out. But it wasn't a jilted love affair. It was something I felt had to be done, that it was better for the two of us go our separate ways. These things have a strange way of coming back together under the strangest of circumstances.

So some pictures here to record the moment for posterity. And those are the spins that busted my shoulder in so many places and made Counterpain Cool my new best friend.

The Sacrificial lamb Lowering of the lamb turn spin1 spin2 spin3

But it wasn't just about me trying to be an Indian Diva, there was much fun to be had. And some remarkably creative costumes and acts.
Smile on the front, frown on the back. How every JC kid feels. Or rather, the other way around. Or... ai, who knows kids these days? Whatever it is, cool costume. Cheap, creative and all you need is to break into the store cupboard or break into the janitor's closet.

My personal favourite is the fire show. This kid is amazing. During a rehearsal, he singed his jeans but also caused the hearts of an entire bunch of girls to flutter and go a thumping. I think I even heard a collective sigh when he finished, bowed, smiled and waved. It must have been the smell of solid fuel in the air that intoxicated everyone.
Fire 2

And someone needs to tell KW that Carmen wants her hat back and she is not happy.
Carmen Miranda

I'm uncertain that I'll be around for the next one and I was so jetlagged for the last one, I left early. But at least I've got a hundred photos from this one to show that I was there this time. You rehearse for 6 weeks and in 4 minutes it's all gone and it's all quiet now, almost as if it never happened. That's what they call show biz, I guess.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 00:18

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Thursday, April 13, 2006


In the spirit of making up words, my shoulder is paining!

I've been dancing a lot lately and there's some pas de deux work involved, where I run half way across the stage and leap into the arms of my partner who spins me around a couple of times. The audience cheers everytime and it does look spectacular. Problem is they don't see me wince. To keep myself high enough to be spun, I cling on for dear life.

This has resulted in my shoulder feeling like it needs to be in a sling. But we're doing it a couple more times today, before I can keep my dancing feet away for another few years and I'm not really sure how I'm going to get to that point.

Thankfully, my character is supposed to look anguished. Perhaps, I can contort the wincing into passable anguish.

Update- The sports therapist that I went to see when I could bear the pain no longer looked at me puzzled. What I had described, sounded like an injury acquired when I was tackled while playing rubgy. Cool. I have a rugby injury without even having to run for dear life and pass the ball backward.

Speaking of which, Saints beat ACS (I) at rugby yesterday. Saints rock on!

Ondine tossed this thought in at 08:29

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Monday, April 10, 2006

A Name a Day Toilet paper

In the spirit of my last post, questions and answers I heard today.

Q: How do you know if Melissa Peters is a girl?
A: Erm, you look down her pants?

Q: But Peters is a boy's name?
A: No, Peter is a boy's name. Peters is a brand of ice cream!

Q: What happens when you leave real Easter (chicken) eggs in the sun during an Easter egg hunt?
A: They hatch into bunnies!

Some days people say/think the darndest things.

Ondine tossed this thought in at 14:58

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Word a Day Toilet Paper

I learnt a new word today.

I was looking at a circular that was sent out and there was this word, "commsing". There was a red squiggle under it so I naturally thought it was a typo. Even then, I wasn't sure what the real word was because the sentence was " On (a particular date), we will be commsing it to the students"

I asked KW what the heck that was about and she said it was a new buzz word the higher ups are using.

Commsing means Communicating. (verb in continuous tense)
Used in a sentence: Commsing is an important tool in a marriage. It will lead to fewer misunderstandings.

But not if you use the word commsing and your partner has no clue what it means.

to Comms means to communicate (verb)
Used in a sentence: Young toddlers use non verbal cues to comms with their parents.

So, we've been trying to use it the whole morning but it sounds to NS speak and how is it easier than to say "to tell" our students...

That's the bureaucracy for you and I will revert it to them that it's a silly phrase. Hahaha

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 10:01

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Sunday, April 09, 2006

A mother's touch

Sometime back, my mom rang me and I had the most infuriating conversation with her about fondue flatware. Apparently, she found some and wanted to know if I wanted them. Today she showed them to me. And I hesitated because one, our house is too small to have such a posh party, two, I don't have a fondue set and three, even improvising and using it for steamboat, repeat one and two.

She said, she was thinking ahead, in the far far future where I might want to entertain with a fondue set. I laughed at her. She must remember that I wanted to be an ambassador in the previous life.

As we walk out the door, she shoves a big plastic bag into my hands. She says, "this one, for the near future", giggles, laughs and shuts the door in my very puzzled face. They're boxes, tightly packed boxes of various shapes. Getting home, I open the mysterious package and marvel at my mother's sense of humour and wishful thinking.

This is what was in the bag.


My mother knows that she can't outwardly bug me about having kids. So, her new ploy, dump a whole lot of baby stuff into my hands and hope I get the hint. Of course I do. I SMS her to thank her for being so thoughtful.

"Wah! So funny! Breast Pump! Pump what? Pump air, ah? "

I guess that's better than sending the maid over and asking me to "Hurry up!". It's a cruel cruel world out there when parents have too much time on their hands to think up elaborate ploys to get grandchildren. I was duly informed today that one set of our parents is expecting 4 grandchildren in the near future.

I now officially feel like a Pez dispenser. Excuse me while I shoot 'em all out.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 20:56

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Friday, April 07, 2006

No Pain No Gain

Whoever came up with that phrase, ought to be dragged in the street, shot, have horses trample all over him and then strung out to dry.

I am in pain.

In more ways than one.

It's Friday, it's supposed to be an easy wind down into the weekend. Unfortunately, it was crazy. I forgot appointments that I had with students. I also didn't count on being restless at my desk. So restless that I had to head out to do something at half two in the afternoon. My choice of activity, a run at the beach. In the blistering hot sun.

The result?

A very tanned me, but I suspect severely dehydrated as well, judging by the headache the size of Greenland that's residing in the area that was formerly occupied by my cerebral cortex. Then again, the beach was nice. It was peaceful. It gave me time to think. Although the thinking kept getting disrupted by strange goings on. A cop car on the running track, a lady of generous proportions skinny dipping from what I could tell. Many many couples making out. Hello! Broad daylight here. Go buy tickets to a movie or something.

But even with all that, it was nice. It's always nice to just get out, especially when it's been raining the whole week long.

I had also thought that the run would be a nice warm up to my rehearsal. I didn't count on my muscles being so extremely fatigued after the 6km run and the 10 runs of the dance to cry out in unignorable pain. Anyway, why I am doing these rehearsals on time that I don't really have? For 2 days next week, I will leave my dignity at home, don an Arabian Belly Dance costume and prance and stamp my way into the Bollywood archives of the College. Because it involves a whole lot of rolling around and I bruise like a peach, I have learnt to live with the bruises.


Unfortunately, Packrat still gets nervous being seen in public with me with those bruises. He fears being hauled in for interrogation having committed domestic abuse. For me, I can live with the bruises, just not the soreness and numerousness of it. 2 knees, 2 elbows (2 to 3 per elbow), underarm finger marks, ribs, the works.

Ok. Heap onto that sitting through a debate in a non airconditioned classroom with adolescent tension bouncing off walls and ceilings and eventually culminating in shrill cries of laughter and despair and that's how I've got to this extremely whiny point in the evening where I think nothing is going to soothe me apart from the spa therapist from the Bangkok Banyan tree.


Ondine tossed this thought in at 22:02

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Thursday, April 06, 2006

What if?

The English language is full of chiding for those who are nostalgic and for those who dwell on situations that were not to be. No use, we are told, since they'll never come about anyway. So why dwell on it? I mean, why cry over spilt milk? Why ask what if?

But this morning, I've decided to ponder what if.

I've been thinking about it a lot. The decisions that we make, take us on the journeys that we are on. And when you actually stop and think about it and look back, you know exactly, at which point it was that you made that life altering decision. Often those decisions weren't big ones at that point but like that little butterfly in China that fluttered its wings, its effects were far reaching.

How different would our lives be if we made a different decision back then? It needn't have been the wrong decision, just a different one. And the paths are different.

What would have happened if I had not gone to Australia? I talked to my students yesterday about how it had changed my life. It did. Indeed. I found a passion for academia there. I also found the love of my life.

And had I not gone? Would I have discovered the same passion? And would I have fallen in love with someone else? I'm not one that believes in there only being one person for me out there. But at this point I'll never know.

Just like many other things. Each of our lives are filled with bifurcation points. At that point, we choose to go left instead of right and we'll never really know what would have happened if we had walked the other way. I guess it is what Gywnnie was going on about in The Sliding Doors. A different person, a different life.

Sometimes you get a little glimpse of it. If just for a second. And you're floored, by what could have been if you had picked another path in life. Your life doesn't really have to suck for you to sit back and build this doppel life. And you sit back and wonder what if?

To dwell in it, obviously not, since we do live in the real world and live by the decisions we have made. But once in a while, it's nice. To build that castle in the clouds.

Ondine tossed this thought in at 10:39

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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

All Sides

It's one of those days when I should have just left school after my classes. Instead I chose to stay to try and get work done. Unfortunately, everything is against me. There is the mother of thunderstorms outside, with lightning so close, you can hear it crack. There is banging from above because they're installing some more stuff into our already cramped quarters. There is banging from below because they are converting classrooms into science labs. And apparently, to do that, it requires shaking the foundations of the place and drilling the ceiling.

I'm tempted to stomp on the floor everytime they bang on the ceiling. Unfortunately, they've got tools and are louder than my little slippered feet would be. So I lose.

And just as the next bolt of lightning streaks across the sky and I have nothing else to do but to check my work email, the first email on top with a red flag is one with the subject Lightning! Apparently, some daft kids have never heard of the danger of being struck by lightning especially in equatorial Singapore, and have been gamely continuing their activities in the open. All you need to do is give them a kite, and they're set.

Argh! More banging. Time to pack up and go home.
Consolation, at least, the car gets a bath.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 15:04

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Monday, April 03, 2006

It was not to be

The weekend was a rather eventful one. Saturday was filled with obligations and things we had to do. It was one of those days when you left the house at like 10 in the morning and did not get home till 11 at night. Days when you're grateful, you have no pet to go home and feed- although my friend, L, has found an automatic pet feeder that releases food at a pre-specified time.

Yesterday, my work conscience kicked in. I had admin work to get through. Comments. Comments on how the students have been performing in the last quarter. And this had to be done online. Since Packrat was at tuition in the morning, I thought I'd sit at McDonald's with a Berrynice yogurt and a large iced tea and use their free wireless connection to get my work done. I had a clue that the day wasn't going to go as planned when I was informed that all McD's in Singapore have sold out of the yogurt. Then, as CB luck would have it, my wireless laptop refused to connect to the skynetglobal network which was McD's. Even after 10 minutes and 1 second with an IT whizz from college, no connection. So, no yogurt, no connection, wasted $1 of parking coupons and a waste of a morning. Disgruntled, I traipsed home to discover my laptop wouldn't pick up the signal at home either. At this point, it was "It's not you, it's the damn laptop".

Thankfully, the day picked up from that point. Instead of running, we decided exercise du jour would be cycling. And since Plentyfish (who does not blog anymore) and girlfriend were keen, we headed off to Pasir Ris park to cycle. The heavens decided to go ahead of us and clear the way of people with a large downpour. The treks were wet, but at least it was empty and extremely fun. It felt somewhat like secondary school days where class outings revolved around renting bikes and riding them at the beach.

The only problem, mud splatter on our bikes from the puddle.

The revelation, there is a reasoon why bike pants are padded round the butt seat area.

The difference between doing this as a secondary school child and an adult is where you head off to after for dinner. Instead of McD's (a restaurant whose quality is already been ascertained as doubtful), we go back to Plentyfish's for the remnants of the previous night's Peranakan spread that was in honour of his returning girlfriend. Buah Keluak, Salted Vegetable Duck soup (with bootleg duck from don't know where. Ask no questions), the works. As I told Plentyfish, I've eaten more white rice in the last 2 days than I have in the last month.

All in all, a good weekend. Makes today suck even more though.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 08:30

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" Far in the stillness, a cat languishes loudly"