14.6.12

After-dinner thoughts

1. Objecting to the mandatory death penalty or drug trafficking in Singapore, or to the death penalty for any offence at all, isn't a matter of being idealism. It's a matter of human decency, of what we allow ourselves as a society to do to each other, of the compact by which we agree to live together and (a) not shit all over each other, as well as (b) make a better society to live in.

2. Urban planners in Singapore should not be allowed to get away with thinking at a 99-year leasehold on land is acceptable because "no building lasts for that long anyway", and eventually the government should have the right to decide what else to do with that land. If nothing else, it speaks of a person who lacks imagination and vision, a soulless, slavish dedication to what works right now, never mind that life is not always only about the right now.

3. Really interesting and lively people always make things happen.

4. Shophouses really trap the echoes and reverberations of conversation.

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6.6.12

Baby steps

Couch queen

Tonight I finished my first proper short story, by which I mean something that I'm submitting to be considered for publication, not just leaving to languish on my hard drive. I feel like I ought to have a glass of wine to celebrate, but it's well past midnight and I still have heaps of work to catch up on tomorrow.

Just as I was about to send the story off to the commissioning editor just now, the wind began to whip from the back room through this L-shaped flat and out the front windows, spooking the cats out of their sleep. Minutes later, it's started pouring like a good monsoon storm --- although as the National Environment Agency's WeatherWise Singapore handbook* [PDF] on our local weather informs me, it's most likely a Sumatra squall. Good thing I don't believe in omens.

Funnily enough, the only other time I've used the phrase "baby steps" on this blog was six years ago in reference to lining up some goals, one of which was: "Write a novel. Any novel." Here's how I'm doing on the other goals from that blog entry:
  1. Complete one of those damn short stories by the end of the year [2006] – fail.
  2. Learn to speak another language – kind of, if you count my rudimentary Korean from the lessons I took in London last year.
  3. Keep a cat or dog – done! Do I get extra credit for having two cats?
  4. Attempt another musical instrument (maybe the cello?) – not at all.
  5. Bake a cake or brownies from scratch (i.e. not out of a Betty Crocker box) – no, but I can make pasta sauce and stews from scratch, does that count?
  6. Live in a place that I can afford to furnish with enough bookshelves – yes, now that I've pared down my collection of books.
Not great, but not too woeful. I'll work on the musical instrument when I get better at writing fiction regularly.

(Above photo is of one of Stellou's twins in London last year. She is no longer that small and I am no longer geographically close enough to that couch to visit and cuddle her. Boo!)

* I downloaded the handbook to fact-check some things about Singapore weather for this story. Not that you can tell from the story.

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