Work status report: I still have no e-mail account. I continue to read a lot of old cases of e-mails and other correspondence received from the press and the public, and continue to be amazed by the spectrum of inanity and insight that various people have shown. The first draft of the speech I wrote yesterday came back to me with few changes, which is a relief. I tweaked it accordingly, tried not to use the word "desultory" even though I really wanted to, but left "malaise" in, and will review it on Monday morning before I submit it to my boss again. I went home promptly at one pm.

After work, I had to meet some people to settle the proofreading job I'd done --- basically, to sit down with the journal's editor and designer and go through everything page by page so that they're both clear on what changes I've recommended. I didn't mind that, but I didn't expect it to last four hours! I was expecting to go visit a friend in the afternoon --- Terz's friend, actually, whose wife just had twins --- but by five pm, I knew that wasn't going to happen, so Terz went on his own. I don't really mind either way, except that twins are so rare and I just wanted to see them, even though I hardly know his friend. I'm thinking that twins aren't a bad deal, if one is ready to start a family --- you know, like two for the price of one. And if I had twins that were as intelligent and neat as the two sisters I saw on the train just now (not twins, but under five years and close in age), I'd have kids in a flash. Any kid that age who can tell her mom she needs to go to the little girls' room when they're already on the train, but then amiably agree to "hold it" for another six or seven stations till they get home is all right in my book. (For the record, the mom didn't make her "hold it" but offered to get off at a station so she could use the bathroom; the kid was the one who decided she could last all the way home.)

So anyway --- editing meeting. Milk Creative strikes me as a very promising design house, for any of you in Singapore that might be looking for such services. Mark, whom I think runs the place, is very cool also. I mean, I've been at a new job for four days now and I'm still not completely at ease with anyone; I met Mark today and within an hour felt completely at ease with him. I'm thinking I'll send some design or publishing jobs his way if I can.

I suppose the only thing I might fault Milk Creative for is their location: smack in the middle of our rapidly gentrifying Chinatown. On the other hand, it's not as if their relocation alone will restore the area to its original, pre-exoticised glory. I hate going down to Chinatown. It's too depressing: all these touristy-y shops selling identical ching-chong outfits and souvenirs that have taken over the storefronts from the original, no-frills shops. Bah.

Oh, and on Food Street (i.e. a street that was actually renamed thus, stripping it of whatever historical and sentimental value its original name conveyed), they have these hawker stalls set up, and wooden tables and stools where customers can sit.

Problem Number One: The whole area is too clean. I know it's important for health reasons, but honestly, any Asian hawker area has to be grubby and oily in order to be genuine.

Problem Number Two: The wooden stools are attached to the tables by silverish iron-link chains! I kid you not. It's bad enough in all the hawker centers now the stools are fixed (as in, cemented to the ground so that you can't seat more than six people at a round table), but to have these ostensibly movable stools chained to their respective tables --- words cannot begin to express the wrongness of it all.

Problem Number Three: The choice of food sucks, frankly, and it's not very good either. We were too lazy to walk all the way to Maxwell Hawker Center for real food, so we copped out and ate at Food Street, but on hindsight I think the walk would've been worth it.

If I had friends visiting from overseas, I wouldn't take them down to Chinatown unless they wanted to see kitschiness par excellence.

I think I'm done ranting now and I'm ready to post this.


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