I got older

But I'm still here.

Just haven't been in the mood to blog lately, but I'm still puttering about.



3-day weekend, mmm mmm mmm.


At work

Between the Great Tekong Manhunt, finding old people for T to shoot for his Shooting Home project, taking up a Pilates class and Googling "Tekong armed robbers", it's a wonder I got any work done today.

But I did.

Multitasking really should've been my middle name.

Police catch thief

A manhunt. In Singapore. Involving more than 400 soldiers and policemen.

Who are they after?

3 guys, with a pistol and a pump action gun (according to Channel NewsAsia) or one shotgun and two handguns (according to The Straits Times). They stole 10,600 ringgit or S$5,300 --- or less than most unarmed conmen in Singapore make off with these days, in exchange for a simple promise of magic rocks or cures for arthritis.

Stay tuned for more details. Or just be like me and keep hitting 'refresh' on the news webpages.

Armed men, loose in Singapore (okay, on Pulau Tekong, which is technically off the mainland --- but still). This hasn't happened since the '80s, I'll bet.

Two's company

Amazon.com says Wil Wheaton's debut, Dancing Barefoot, is "better together" with Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere.



6 pm

I left work early enough today that the sun was still shining with fierce clarity, trying to scorch me into plaintive submission, and I --- I looked up wincing into its full glare, but wavered not and walked out of the building, I tell you, before six of the clock had passed, and I looked on the rush hour traffic clogging the road before me and I saw that it was good.


La la la

Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday to my brother,
Happy birthday to you.

That religion thang

The only time I sing hymns these days is when I'm at attending a church wedding. I must say, for someone brought up in church, there's nothing like a rousing chorus of "To God be the Glory" to get the tinglies going. Whether they're the right kind of tinglies that the hymns are supposed to inspire --- well, that's another the matter.

So there I was, parked in a pew, savouring the afterglow of a well-bellowed hymn, thinking about how maybe I should pop into church every Xmas or something, so I can rock the season in with some heartbeat-thumping carols --- when I was hastily brought smack down to earth with a reminder why I wouldn't make it past the singing part of any service.

The scripture reading in question: 1 Peter 3:1-7.
The problem: The usual, that whole wives-submit-to-your-husbands bit.
The aggravator: The pastor trying to spin it as a non-patriarchal, non-oppressive injunction --- which got even worse when he got to the bit about wives being the "weaker partner".

Sadly, the church ceiling was too low for the height to which I desperately needed to roll my eyes.

At any rate, a lovely wedding, which will have lovely photos because Wes was there, and since I didn't know anyone else at the wedding, I spent time catching up with Wes and that's always fun.


"Self-indulgence is, like, when you're talking about stuff you like to talk about without being entertaining at the same time. I don't mind being self-indulgent as long as we're making them laugh and think at the same time." --- Kevin Smith, in his Premiere interview with Ben Affleck.

Of course, when you're Kevin Smith, you've earned the carte blanche to say that. I think I've got to work on the "entertaining"/"making them laugh and think at the same time" bit.

Jersey Girl, anyone?

He is an English gentleman

Taekwon-Dodo has joined the blogosphere. Hurrah!

What with reading the Harry Potter books, Babyville and now Taekwon-Dodo's blog, I'm possibly surrounded by English-ness these days. I'll be baking scones and crumpets next.

Babies on the brain --- not.

In most developed countries, when the personal is political, it means a person feels the responsibility to make more socially conscious choices about how they vote, who they give their money to, and what kind of society they want to build and leave behind for the future.

In Singapore, when the personal is allowed to be political, the government spends precious Parliament debate time wringing its hands over why people like me aren't having the requisite 2.1 babies to ensure that Singapore's demographics remain economically viable.

The answers don't matter if you're not asking the right questions.


First things first

I made breakfast on a workday for the first time in --- well, let's just say that if we don't count coffee-making, we might have to hearken back to adolescent days to find the previous occasion. It was a simple breakfast --- bread with strawberry jam --- and it was definitely very strange to be eating it at home, before leaving for work.

I don't think this is the start of a trend or anything. Besides, we've only got two or three slices of bread left.

Also, after a two-month hiatus (though admittedly most of one month was spent on vacation --- was it just two months ago?), I've turned some of my mailing list groups back on. Not all of them, mind, just the few that I was starting to miss: sg_daily and singaporemedia, for instance. Gotta get the non-Straits Times version of the news somewhere.


It can't rain all the time

So I had this post written all about the lovely unseasonal rainstorm we've had today and how my new black high heels stood up to the ultimate tropical weather test, but it all sounded so hopelessly fifteen-year-old of me that I can't bear to publish it.

Instead, I leave you with today's happy thoughts:

(*) Leaving work at 5.30 pm like I'm supposed to.
(*) Drawing up my resume and marvelling at how fun it'll be to pretty it all up with the right words.
(*) A local politican finally saying what I've been waiting for the rest of Singapore to figure out about the whole six-month-maternity-leave hypothesis: It's not about protecting women's jobs from discrimination, it's about changing the entire social mindset so that everyone who's a parent or a child is entitled to parental/child leave and it's not just a women's issue. It never was just a women's issue.



It is a far, far better thing to instead go shopping with a dear friend who will offer me impeccable sartorial advice --- such as not to buy a handbag that's chic but too small to fit even my wallet, but on the other hadn to try a longish black skirt that swishes agreeably and isn't dowdy or funereal at all --- than to be a good girl and do the work I brought home for the weekend.

Even though I'll probably pay for it by putting in even longer hours during the week.

My $10 haircut, at one of those $10-for-a-10-minute-snip places, is a little rough around the edges, but it also gives me a slightly frazzled look that I think is appropriate for work. I can't really complain when it's the cheapest haircut I've had since the 1980s, I think.

(I didn't post this at the time it says I did, but I would've if T had let me use the computer. But he muttered something about splitting the treasure among the party and I left him to it.)

In lieu of a real post...

I give you an email I wrote to a friend this morning. I've only recycled email as a blog post once before, so you can't accuse me of being too lazy.
" ... How's everything? Hope work wasn't too crazed [...] though I find it hard to believe it wouldn't be. My work is crazed everyday now, even without my having to go on vacation. The pace has become so frantic, it's damn sian already. I mean, there's good stress, which keeps you on your toes and keeps things exciting, and then there's bad stress, when you spend your day running around like a headless chicken because of too many demands from too many different bosses. My days have, of late, unfortunately resembled the latter more than the former. It's really sad, but I think it wasn't this bad even during the SARS period.

"Okay, enough grumbling, cannot be so Singaporean about things.

"On to good news: T got into the Shooting Home course at Objectifs (a local photographers' organisation) which puts him under the mentorship of a professional photographer, plus he gets a one-week exhibition out of it too. I'm so happy for him! We were really nervous the week after he sent off his portfolio with the application, because they only take in ten people a year. Now he's puzzling over what theme his exhibition will be focused on. He has to take the photos during the period of the course, so for better or for worse, it'll have to be something Singapore-oriented. I'll let you know when the exhibition's up --- maybe they'll have an online version, but if not, he'll probably post the images on his website anyway.

"Other than doing the photography thing, he's also relief teaching [...] (which he was doing when you guys were back) and that's probably going to last until June. He's been duly warned by myself and all other teacher friends about the dangers of becoming a permanent relief teacher. :) But it's nice for him to have steady money with little obligations, so I can totally see the value of it. Maybe it's something I can do eventually, so that I can work on writing, etc. in my free time.

"Er ... what else is going on. Not much. The government's trying to get people to have babies again. *snort* Good luck with that. Nothing like watching insipid news items about diaper-changing competitions for fathers to turn you completely off the idea of having a baby. (Seriously, that was on the news last night. Even for Singapore, that's a painfully slow news day.)

"Blogging has caught on in a relatively big way with some of my friends. Did you know I had a blog? http://toomanythoughts.org/blog/

"It's not very exciting, but if you ever want to hear my random mutterings, that's the place to go. I think it's actually very bad for my writing because it's all short and unfocused stuff. Makes it harder when I try to sit down and compose a longer piece. Of course, the first problem whenever I want to write is actually finding dedicated time when my brain isn't already flatlined by work to focus and actually get out the good stuff.

"Uh, I'm drifting into whining again. Clearly, a sign that I should shoot off this e-mail before it becomes any more painful to read. Hope you're settling well into married life (not that different from living-together life, right?) and that New York is having a pleasant winter. The other thing I saw on the news last night was about some weird South Korean highway that got blocked by a snowstorm (except the snow didn't look that deep in the footage) and they were actually making airdrops of food and supplies to the cars stranded on the highway. Very bizarre."

Wow, that email was really angsty. I sound like those teenagers I used to teach.

Poor man's vacation

The first thing I read on the first page I loaded up when I logged on this morning was from Montykins' LiveJournal:

"To quote Evan Dorkin:

Halby: Now I'm O-K! Now I'm all right! I got ten hours' sleep and a long shower!
Blue: What we call - "the poor man's vacation"!"

I haven't had the long shower yet, but I just woke up from the ten hours' sleep, and the prospect of a haircut today and good coffee later this afternoon should seal the deal for a poor girl's vacation. I'll take what I can get.

Mid-career crisis

Most days, I potter through my job without thinking too hard about the implications of what I do and whether I should be able to sleep peacefully at night. I don't think about the Establishment, or how it's propped up, or whether I do a wee bit of propping without thinking about it. I don't think about why my job exists at all.

And then other days, days like today, I find myself part of a conversation about the government and the people, one institution's version of reality versus the many-voiced rabble whose stories that never make it onto the nightly news.

And then I wonder at this strange creature we call Society and whether there's any way that it could be a little less distressing, and suddenly all jobs of the past and present seem chillingly bleak. The current situation seems especially dire; I think I might've lost my soul somewhere along the way.

I suppose Neil prompted this train of thought because he asked me last night if I honestly like what I do. I've been at it for over two years now. I still don't know.


What women want?

Dan was ranting recently about why Sex and the City is anti-feminist, most of which I agree with while having to admit that I more or less enjoyed the first two seasons (which are all I've watched) of the show.

Which leaves us with the $64,000 question: Why do intelligent modern women, fully aware of the anti-feminist subtext, watch the show avidly despite themselves?

Lisa Schmeiser offers the following meditation: that the show's "number one fantasy element" was that "you and your friends would always have the time for each other, and treat weekly brunch like an inviolable religious observance." (See teevee's 'Sex and the City': The Token Chick Weighs In for the full article, which discusses other things about the show as well.)

Which sounds about right. Not many TV series dare to show grown women enjoying the kind of real best-friendships that don't involve petty catfights à la Ally McBeal or evil corporate backstabbing à la --- er, I'm having trouble coming with an appropriate example here, so maybe evil female corporate backstabbing isn't so much of a plot point in the TV I watch.

The point is: realistic female friendships? Not so common on TV. I'll let you know when the next one shows up.


Why people have kids

So that when they're of age, you can teach them to play D&D, like Wil Wheaton.

See, that's the kind of reason we need. Not so much the "children make your life complete" refrain.

The other reason would be to have a good reason to interrupt the husband while he's installing his latest computer game.

Oh, one more reason: to bring up your very own Perfect Goth Girl. If I couldn't have a Rory Gilmore, I'd take a Goth Girl. (Actually, the two don't necessarily contradict.)

Okay, time for Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Brownie.

I miss teaching...

... because when you're the teacher, you can unleash scathing honesty on people who don't do their work properly and call them sly crafty old rats.

Now, I just think these things in my head and backspace over them if they should mysteriously appear in the email I'm typing.