Not done growing yet

Let's see how I measure up against 25 Signs That, Sadly, You've Grown Up (via By The Way).

1. Your house plants are alive, and you can't smoke any of them.

The only house plant we've ever had is dead. In fact, any house plants ever given to me by some well-meaning friend has died. So perhaps this criterion doesn't really apply to me anyway.

2. Having sex in a twin bed is out of the question.

I'd say sleeping in one for more than one night is out of the question.

3. You keep more food than beer in the fridge.

True --- but only because beer isn't exactly dirt cheap in Singapore (I don't like the canned varieties).

4. 6:00 AM is when you get up, not when you go to bed.

Not any more! I usually wake up at about 8 am these days. Never been to bed at 6 am more than a dozen times in my life, though.

5. You hear your favorite song on an elevator.

Okay, I've never heard my favourite song on an elevator (or any number that count as favourites at any given time), but I have heard the muzak version of music that I liked ten, twenty years ago in an elevator, and I remember cringing at the fact --- both at the dishonour done to the song and the fact that I was old enough to remember when it first came out.

Actually, at my age, popping by Zouk's Mambo Night is a surefire way to induce the latter reaction.

6. You watch the Weather Channel.

Don't have it in Singapore! On occasion, we find ourselves watching some Shakespearean or period drama on the Hallmark Channel, though. Does that count?

7. Your friends marry and divorce instead of hook up and break up.

Fortunately, most of my friends either seem to be comfortably ensconced in the marriage boat or are still at the hook-up/break-up stage, skipping the messy business of divorce (though not always the messy business of how-do-we-stay-friends-and-hang-out-with-that-cool-person-now-that-they're-broken-up-with-our-friend?).

8. You go from 130 days of vacation time to 14.

Technically, I get zero vacation time this year. If I don't work, I don't make any money. Ah, the glory of freelancing ...

9. Jeans and a sweater no longer qualify as "dressed up."

Definitely not a sweater, in Singapore, but I'm going to assume a T-shirt passes for the tropical equivalent. Yeah, a T-shirt with jeans (or anything, really) doesn't quite qualify as "dressed up" in my book anymore, but I can still get away with it on days when I don't have to meet Anyone Important.

On the other hand, "dressed up" for my line of work can still mean nice jeans (i.e. without embarrassing holes or an unflattering silhouette), just paired instead with a dressy-ish top and non-sneaker shoes.

Note to self: learn more from Tofu Nation.

10. You're the one calling the police because those damn kids next door won't turn down the stereo.

Fortunately, there are no damn kids next door old enough to blast the stereo (though one of our neighbour's is about to have a baby, which I suppose could trigger a whole different kind of stereo noise). However, I did almost call the police once when a Seventh Moon/Hungry Ghost Festival auction at a neighbouring block went on for far too long, far too late on a Sunday night.

11. Older relatives feel comfortable telling sex jokes around you.

Damn, with my mother's side, this has been happening since I was a teenager. It's just that half of the jokes are in Cantonese, which I don't altogether follow.

My father's former colleagues still don't want to swear around me, though.

12. You don't know what time Taco Bell closes anymore.

I never liked Taco Bell. I do, however, know where to get food after midnight in Singapore, and thanks to an IM conversation with Sarah, I now know that the pseudo-pretentiously-named TCC (The Coffee Connoisseur) outlet at Clarke Quay is open till 2 am on weekends for those late-night coffee-and-dessert cravings.

13. Your car insurance goes down and your payments go up.

No car = no car insurance! Hooray! Though we still miss our Buttercup on occasion.

14. You feed your dog Science Diet instead of McDonalds leftovers.

We have a cat and feed it Felidae. Fortunately for us, he seems completely uninterested in human food, so we don't have to fend him off every time one of us sits down with a snack (McDonald's leftovers or otherwise).

15. Sleeping on the couch makes your back hurt.

Obviously, you haven't met my couch. It's the perfect couch for sleeping in! The only time either of us get a backache is if the aforementioned cat insists on having space of his own, which then squishes us into a funny sleeping position.

16. You no longer take naps from noon to 6 PM.

Does the occasional weekend 3-7 pm nap count?

17. Dinner and a movie is the whole date instead of the beginning of one.

Actually, dinner is the whole date. Terz doesn't like going to the movies here --- too much asshattery going on.

18. Eating a basket of chicken wings at 3 AM would severely upset, rather than settle your stomach.

Probably, yes. Especially if they're Popeye's.

19. You go to the drug store for ibuprofen and antacid, not condoms and pregnancy tests.

I think I have fewer headaches and stomach upsets now than I used to when I was in college.

20. A $4.00 bottle of wine is no longer "pretty good stuff".

I live in Singapore. No such thing as a $4 bottle of wine.

I admit that I try not to buy any bottle that retails for less than $20 here though.

21. You actually eat breakfast food at breakfast time.

I suppose this means not having refrigerator-cold leftover pizza for breakfast, which I've never liked. I've always liked breakfast food, though for quite a few years in university and the years thereafter, I didn't eat breakfast at all. Now I down coffee at such a rate that I feel like I'm back in my early twenties again.

22. "I just can't drink the way I used to," replaces, "I'm never going to drink that much again."

Tell me about it!

23. 90% of the time you spend in front of a computer is for real work.

Aw man.

24. You drink at home to save money before going to a bar.

No, but that's also because I usually go straight to the bar from work.

25. You read this entire list looking desperately for one sign that doesn't apply to you and can't find one to save your sorry old ass.

Hey, I found plenty!

This was not designed to be a meme, but there's nothing stopping you from turning it into one if you're in need of blog fodder.


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Family connections

It's a funny sort of thing to be introduced as _____'s daughter to a group of retired military men slash my dad's former colleagues slash our former neighbours, when half of them remember me as the awkward ten-year-old riding an old red BMX bicycle around the neighbourhood, and now we're sitting around in a karaoke-esque lounge having a beer. Plus I'm the only woman in a roomful of ten men and I can't help wondering if they would be telling us these same stories with more colourful language if I wasn't there.

Fortunately, no one besides me seemed to care and the closest we got to memory lane was a quick highlights tour with one elderly gent (it's weird to think of people in my parents' generation as bona fide senior citizens) who used to live in the same block of apartments as we did. Then there was the spry-looking former number one commando, who also happened to be the father of one of my closest friends during my early 'teens --- except that I didn't know about his commando pedigree back then, he was just one of the many "uncle"s in the neighbourhood. I doubt he realised that I was the same quiet bespectacled kid who occasionally slept over in his daughter's room.

So that was the Dad side of things. Then there was the book launch party where I was unexpectedly introduced as _____'s niece to some people who work slash used to work with slash know of my aunt. Which is not a bad thing in itself, but not a terribly useful point of reference when it comes to who I am. My aunt's great and we get along alright and she's always doling out helpful advice --- but she's not been the pivotal influence in my life or anything.

I think I just like being me. It doesn't matter who I'm related to or who I happen to know. I'm just me, y'know?

In name only




Help wanted

You know it's a bad sign when you meet friends for lunch and the first thing they say is, "Wow, you look tired, man."

In no particular order, I need:
  • A WorkSpace.
  • A less hyperactive cat.
  • An electrician --- or rather, someone who can figure out how to detach our ceiling light covers so that we can replace the lightbulbs. We have been living with only one working light (instead of the two needed to illuminate the whole space) in our bedroom for more than three years, and now the lightbulb in our attached (ensuite) bathroom has given up the ghost too. Anyone know a good handyman who can fix anything?
  • A vacation.
  • A drink.

This blog post has been brought to you by the vices of workoholism and coffee addiction, and the sublime delight of a champagne truffle mooncake.


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Where not to eat in Singapore: überburger

Sarah says it all:
first off if you can make it through the menu that's a feat in itself - it's typed in this funny font and is trying to be all hip and happening by combining numbers and letters and adding their signature ü all over the place.
Read her full review of überburger.


Related posts: Where not to eat in Singapore: Happy Pay Steamboat, Where not to eat in Singapore: Cafe Cartel

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Note to all copywriters

The word "spend" is a verb, not a noun. You cannot say a discount is valid "with minimum spend of $100". You can say valid with "an order of at least $100" or "a purchase of at least $100".

And guess what? The latter phrases are not only grammatically correct, they fit more or less within the same amount of space you'd have to lay out the grammatically incorrect text.

The OCBC Rewards Programme, I'm looking at you.

See also My Very Own Glob's "Copywriter from hell (or just a really bad school)?".


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An embarrassment of mooncakes

An embarrassment of mooncakes

I'm not terribly traditional when it comes to observing Chinese customs, but a good one, besides handing out money for good luck, is handing out seasonal foods for goodwill.

My paternal grandmother used to give us tins of homemade love letters and pineapple tarts for Chinese New Year, when she was still spry enough to make them. Terz's parents give us bak kwa (pork jerky) all year round.

So for the Mid-Autumn Festival, I've decided to try and return the karma (not to mention assuage the occasional guilt that we don't see or feed our parents more often) by doling out the mooncakes. Specifically, all the parentals get the inimitable champagne truffle mooncakes from Raffles Hotel, and I picked up a couple of traditional ones while I was at it 'cause I remembered that my mom prefers those. Because Fifth Aunt is coming along to dinner tonight as well, whereat the mooncakes will be presented to said parentals, she gets a smaller but no less tempting box of champagne truffle and mocha truffle mooncakes too.

All the mooncakes are sitting in our fridge now, so it smells enticingly of champagne.

We're attending at least one, if not two, mooncake parties next week, so I'm going to be buying (and eating) mooncakes for a while yet ...


Related post: Happy mooncake season!

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No memory

How sad is it that even after looking up both Terz's and my blogs, and reviewing my credit card records from last December, both of us have absolutely no recollection of how we celebrated his birthday last year.


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There's no better to start a Friday evening than to have a delightful colleague come in at 6 pm bearing well-powdered doughnut holes from Four Leaves Bakery for everyone.


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Who knew?

So it seems that when people who only know my first name find out about my double-barrelled five-syllable last name, their instinctive reaction is to think it's either a lie or a pen name of some kind.



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Poo (literally)

Nothing like stepping in dog shit to wreck one's day.




Tearing himself a new one

In the ten or so minutes that elapsed between when I got home and snuggled Ink, and hearing Terz holler from the kitchen, the little critter managed to tear a wee patch of fur off his back.

Off! His! Back!

Ink's bare patch

My poor Inky pooh. He seems completely unperturbed about the wound, but it looks like we're going to have to visit the friendly neighbourhood vet tomorrow ...


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In case you didn't know

This is the best blog to follow what's going on in Thailand right now.

Well, until Cowboy Caleb goes home, anyway.


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It's hard to make coffee when you need coffee

I woke up. I needed coffee. I put the coffeemaker on.

Several minutes later, I wondered why the coffeemaker was making all the right coffee-making sounds, but the coffee pot remained forlornly empty.

Then I realised I'd forgotten to put the water into the coffeemaker.


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I'm just a prop

Ink is asleep on my right ankle.

Unfortunately, while I have a laptop right in front of me, unlike wahj I don't have a camera within reach, so I cannot impress the interwebs with the fabulous cuteness that is Ink with his middle all stretched out over my right ankle.

Trust me, it looks better than it sounds.


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Y'know, it's not every Monday that by 12.30pm, I really want a stiff drink.

But today is one of those Mondays.




Flotsam and jetsam from the week

Otherwise known as the week that the IMF/World Bank bigshots rolled into town, while accredited civil society activists were turned away at the airport and sent home, non-violent activists both foreign and domestic were arrested, and Lee pere and fils have filed a defamation suit against the Far Eastern Economic Review.

On Monday, I almost signed up with M1 (my cell phone service provider) for a mobile blogging service --- until I realised that the terms of service required me to swear that anything I posted using the service would not be "obscene, defamatory, seditious or contrary to public policy." Since they failed to define what might constitute at obscene, defamatory, seditious or contrary-to-public-policy post, the decision not to proceed further was a no-brainer, really. (Plus I would have to pay extra for this blogging service, whereas now I blog for free.)

On Monday night, while out with the girls, I found out that there is some fancypants barbed wire ringing the War Memorial Park downtown (adjacent to the IMF/World Bank meeting zone). Because nothing says freedom and sacrifice like fancypants barbed wire.

On Tuesday, I got a closer look at the sunflowers that's at the vanguard of the excessive landscaping that's taken over our downtown. Poo.

National Museum of Singapore
Taken by lisamontgomery

On Wednesday, wahj pointed me to a GOOD Magazine column on how it is that people know how to read without having actually learned to read. It goes a long way to explaining why Singapore has close to 100% literacy but so little actual appreciation for words and ideas.

On Wednesday night, the expanding Ah POH club gathered over much sashimi to initiate bee and Eva into our fold. Hurrah!

On Thursday, the Singapore Heritage Yahoogroup pointed me to Maodee's blog post on "Singapore history extended to 14th century or stay with 1819?" He thinks it should start at 1819. For the record, I completely disagree and I've been trying to find the time to write a response to it --- but linking it and merely stating the fact of my disagreement is all I've got the time for right now.

On Friday, I took many cabs, spent very little time at my laptop and had 2 coffees within 2 hours. I'm not a huge fan of the coffee connoisseur chain, but their German blend of coffee is quite yummy. When plans for a third girls' night out this week got nixed, I went over to Muddy Murphy's for the evening instead. Aside from the Long Bar, this is probably the best bar to be in if you want to surround yourself with non-Asian faces and pretend you're not really in Singapore. (Not that that was my motivation; it was just another UnXpected night for me.) Halfway through the band's rockin' second set, a group of about ten Caucasian and Asian men (but not locals) entered in their weekend casuals, each one wincing noticeably as they stepped into the bar and were greeted by the pounding music. Lost IMF/World Bank delegates, maybe?


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A tale of three cabs

The first cab of the day I accidentally potonged (stole) from someone who was waiting for a cab but not actually standing in the cab line, so I didn't realise she was waiting for a cab. Yet she declined to take it from me when I offered it to her.

Obviously, she knew something I didn't.

A little Garden City in the cab

I like plant life all right, but having this much share the back seat with me made things a little claustrophobic.

The cab driver didn't comment on her plants, which I found strange, but she did see fit to tell me that she'd had only three hours' sleep in the last twenty-four hours or so --- extremely reassuring, of course, since she was driving in a storm and, for the first half of the ride, didn't seem to really know the way even though my destination was hardly an obscure one.

The second cab I got into today smelled very strongly of wet dog. Given that it'd been raining all morning, this scenario wasn't entirely impossible, but I thought the better of asking the cab driver --- in case he said there hadn't been any dogs in the cab, which would mean that something else was smelling nasty in there.

The third cab I got into, after work, had no plants and no funny smell. It had, however, a cab driver who had plenty to tell me about the inconveniences caused to his ilk by the various arrangements for the IMF/World Bank summit meetings that are in town.

I don't think he was thinking about the overbundance of flowers.

Our tax dollars at work

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Money talks

Money talks

So apparently, in Singapore, an acceptable metaphor to entice people to God is to invite them to "bank with" and "invest in" heaven. I wonder what's the going rate of return on that 10% tithe thing they've got going ...


Related post: Whose God is it anyway?

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The Monday blues (or something)

It's a little disturbing when my guilt over a tiny bit of work that I've been procrastinating for about a week, spills over into a dream that I'm getting the work done, punching numbers and dates into an Excel spreadsheet.

And that when the alarm rings in the morning, the reason I turn it off and go back to sleep is so that I can finish the Excel spreadsheet in my dream. No, really. There is no logic to my subconscious.


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What's for brekkie?

The bestest pancakes in Singapore, just about

The problem with having an indulgent breakfast on a weekday, is that you really want another when the weekend rolls around proper.

Unfortunately, I think I'm going to have to settle for just black coffee and maybe later, some roti prata or 马马乎乎 (mediocre) nasi lemak from the neighbourhood coffeeshop ...


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The pedant in me

It's the weekend, but the boss and I have traded several emails today about whether to go with Raffles's or Raffles' to mark the singular possessive case. As with other perennial dilemmas such as whether one sits side-by-side or facing one's dining partner, or whether one squeeezes toothpaste from the bottom of the tube or from the middle, there is no right answer (even though some people believe that there is and will argue it to their bitter eaten-shot-and-left end). The important thing --- for credible writers or editors, anyway --- is simply to be consistent.

At any rate, here's the evidence.

In favour of the apostrophe-and-s: New Hart's Rules (2005 edition)(aka the bible of Oxford University Press).
An apostrophe and s are generally used with personal names ending in an s, x or z sound: Charles's, Dickens's, Marx's, Bridget Jones's Diary

But an apostrophe alone may be used in cases where an additional s would cause difficulty in punctuation, particularly after longer names that are not accented on the last or penultimate syllable: Nicholas' or Nicholas's, Lord Williams's School

Jesus's is the usual non-liturgical use; Jesus' is an accepted archaism.

It is traditional to use an apostrophe alone after classical names ending in s or es: Euripides', Herodotus', Mars', Erasmus'

The style should be followed for longer names; with short names the alternative Zeus's is permissible.
In favour of the apostrophe only, without an s: the AP Stylebook (aka the bible of American journalists).
SINGULAR PROPER NAMES ENDING IN S: Use only an apostrophe: Achilles’ heel, Agnes’ book, Ceres’ rites, Descartes’ theories, Dickens’ novels, Euripides’ dramas, Hercules’ labors, Jesus’ life, Jules’ seat, Kansas’ schools, Moses’ law, Socrates’ life, Tennessee Williams’ plays, Xerxes’ armies.
And just for fun, because this was my rule-of-thumb because I became a professional writer/editor, here's Sars's (notice the apostrophe-and-s there) take on it, from "Sincerely Your's" at Tomato Nation:
And when you use an apostrophe to denote a possessive with a name or place that ends in "S," you need to add another "S," unless it's a plural ("the Joneses' house"). "The princess's car." "Cletus's truck." The only names that don't take another "S" at the end: Jesus and Moses. Don't question it. Just learn it.
For the record, the boss is making an executive decision to go with Raffles', while I will continue to rally for the cause of Raffles's on my own time.

Thus endeth the lesson.


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Still tapping away here

It is entirely apt that as the clock chimes 1:28 am and I start on a final piece of work (deadline: tomorrow), my iTunes on shuffle mode selects New Order's "Working Overtime", followed by the Postal Service's "The District Sleeps Tonight."


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Sexism Watch #2: What the news forgot to say

AFP's headline, as blurbed in Today:
Japan's Princess Kiko gave birth Wednesday to the royal family's first boy in more than 40 years, the palace said, easing a long-running succession crisis.
Failing to add:
... which only arose because Japanese society is bloody sexist and gave itself a laughable aneurysm over the possibility that a woman might inherit the throne someday.
Welcome to the twenty-first century, where centuries-old sexism passes unremarked but heaven forbid that the media or the politicians go for half a day without fingerpointing at "Islamic fundamentalists" or their political opponents in outraged tones.

I'm not saying there aren't other sexist societies or practices in the world. I'm just pointing out that amidst all the hoopla surrounding this little boy's birthday, let's not forget what some people are really celebrating, huh?

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Note to self

Consume coffee immediately after lunch in order to kickstart work for the afternoon, rather than zombie virtuously through the afternoon and capitulate to the coffee craving only at 5 pm, by which time several productive hours have been wasted.


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Sugar-overdose Sunday

While I was getting ready to head out today, I realised that I have way too much pink stuff.

What's in my bag, redux

Plus today I was wearing a pink dress.

Anyway, me and my pink stuff started the day at the railway station, then we were off to celebrate beeker's 30th birthday in style: at McDonald's, of course. There were hats and crayons and children's activity books. There were mountains of McNuggets and french fries, and because we are not young'uns anymore, we dranks mostly Coke Light, Evian and iced lemon tea. There were children's songs playing on the CD player, which was well and good until we noticed that certain Sunday School ditties like "The wise man built his house upon the rock" and "Jesus loves me, this I know" were oddly interspersed between other secular favourites like "If you're happy and you know it clap your hands".

But most importantly, there was a fabulous cake that would have made our birthday boy the envy of every other boy in the restaurant, if they had all seen it.

The bestest birthday cake ever

Motorcycles and Maltesers --- clearly, a winning combination.


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You were my Yoda!

So I finally sat down and watched Revenge of the Sith in its entirety tonight.

And man, it really is that bad. Good thing I had beer, a wicked sense of humour and Terz's interjections to keep things lively.


Related posts: You know what really bugs me?, A long, long time ago

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