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Showing posts from February, 2007

Nicer Human Beings

Another hard-to-decide-where-to-dine lunch time.

I came to a café, and was looking for a table. Here comes the problem: almost all tables are 4-seaters. I have this impression that Singapore in a way is trying to promote "unity", "community", "togetherness" or whatever they call it; that is why, every food place I go, most tables are meant for at least 4 diners (except on Valentine's Day, some restaurants would rearrange the tables for couples). But the ironic truth is, most people -- as I observed -- come out for lunch alone! So what you would normally see in a restaurant or café is, most of these 4-seater tables are occupied by just 1 person. What a clever scheme to campaign for so-called "togetherness". Huh!

However, I still have to eat. So I have no choice but to sit at a 4-seater table. I look and feel really inconsiderate, but what choice do I have, being in a country like this, on a planet like this?

While I was eating, a girl came to sp…

Smokers can quit being so generous

Here is the most miraculous moment I have ever encountered this morning. I was looking out from a local coffee place, and saw smoke coming out from the top of the hedges.

Oh no, it’s on fire!

However, pedestrians kept walking pass it but no one noticed it or paid any attention to it. I walked to the hedge and took a look. It was a cigarette lying on the top of the hedge, burning and releasing smoke. And it is not quite done yet.

I had to take a snapshot – priceless! But I did not put it off because some very fierce gangsters may have left it there for later, or may be, some very generous smokers have decided to share his joy!

And funnily enough, as I turned away from the cigarette, these 3 Chinese men sitting next to the hedge were staring and glaring at me as if I was some kind of an alien. And they were right.

Note the pictures below: The first being the mysteriously unattended, burning cigarette; the second shows that the cigarette was on the top of a hedge (red arrow) right next to a &…

Sorry, No Outside Books Allowed In The Library

When I was in England, whenever I wanted to have a quiet afternoon to have a little reading, or do some writing; I’d go to the library. Be it the City Council Library or the library at the university I was both teaching and studying at, I never had a problem getting in and have something done. No one checks my bag, or the books or notes I was bringing in with me. If you steal, the door will scream at you.

The Singapore National Library presents a great-looking exterior and comfortable-looking interior, and does offer some books (well I do have problem sourcing for some titles). It is tempting to spend a luxurious afternoon in there.

My first time visiting the library, I had Sandra Steingraber’s Living Downstream with me. I was stopped by the security guard on duty, and had to go in without it – there is a locker system where you can place all your bags and belongings in – securely – hmm…


Today, I had with me a few written essays, which my human students did from plenty of research t…

A Wasteful Friday Night in Singapore

I don’t do many late nights lately, but even when I only managed to leave my human workplace at about 9.30pm tonight, it was fine. Singapore isn’t big. It doesn’t take me a long time to get home. In no time, I will be sipping camomile and reading my book.

How wrong.

Only when I got off the bus, I realised that there is a parade on orchard road. I’ve been so busy today it totally skipped my mind.


Now I’m standing 500m from my doorstep but I just can’t get there. They’ve blocked up the whole road for the much talked-about Chingay Parade (don’t ask me what the hell that means, I have no freaking idea!), and I am on the wrong side of the road!


Plan B. I had to squeeze through the sweaty, smelly, cheering crowd, and walked a big circle around the event, finally away from the blocked area, and managed to get onto the right side of the road; only then I can start walking home – from almost the starting point. It is a humid evening.

I need water.
I need food.
I need a shower.
I need the…

Smokers can quit being so generous

Scenario 1
Some countries have totally banned smoking indoors, and some countries have done it partially. So you might be free from smoke in some restaurants, malls, pubs and offices, in some countries. So did the smokers go? Try all the entrances, exits, and corridors. Getting in and out of these places almost feels like you’re in a horror movie trying to get through a bunch of monsters or zombies – stretching their claws at you – before you can get in to the safe territory. And don’t forget to hold your breath too.

Scenario 2
When you think you could have a stroll to the office in the morning, and get some fresh air, chances are, you might have to walk behind some smoker(s) enjoying their air-polluting morning ritual. What’s worse, they usually share at least half the journey with you, walk just fast enough so that you can’t overtake them and just slow enough to stay close to you.

Scenario 3
It’s never a nice thing queuing at the bus stop, whatever weather. But someone will have to come …

Chinese New Year in Singapore (3rd Day)

It’s the third day of Chinese New Year. People are coming out from their homes like ants from their hill. I have gone in to a couple of bistros and decided to leave, because they failed to serve me after 10 minutes. Can’t really blame them – it’s the crowd that has really put me off.

Although this efficiently built concrete country in the city has one of the most affordable and reliable public transport system, limited land in Singapore has also restricted the residents here in terms of places to visit especially on holidays and weekends. In fact what it has to offer, are all sorts of shopping mall. Almost every shopping mall provides the need for international labels (DKNY, Gucci, etc), international food (Starbucks, McDonald’s, etc), and international entertainment (Cineplex with large number of theatres). Culturally, in human society, it is a good thing to be able to get access to international products.

So where can the residents go on a day off like this? The shopping mall, of cour…

Chinese New Year in Singapore

This Chinese New Year, I must have been crowned the most ungrateful child in the family. Reason being, I am 397 km, 10-hour train ride, 5-hour coach ride, 45-minute air travel, away from home. It seems absolutely no reason why I’m not going home for the Lunar New Year celebration.

BUT. There are:

1. I’m in a teaching job that requires me to make up for any lecture I missed due to holidays. So taking extra days off work just isn’t worth it. I will have to go back to work facing an unnecessary load of work.

2. The Singapore-Malaysia causeway is a hell on earth during weekends, especially festive and holiday seasons.

3. The train station is highly inaccessible, and the KTM online ticketing service is forever down. After all, the train tickets are sold out eons ago.

4. Flight tickets and the Singapore airport tax are frighteningly expensive.

SO. I decided to stay and have a quiet New Year, on my own. Boohoo…

It’s not exactly my first time of spending Chinese New Year away from home. I spent the …

Valentine’s Daze

Oh no, it’s Valentine’s Day! I’m going to be so sad this Valentine’s Day because my boyfriend is not in the same country as I am, so how am I going to be seen sitting prettily in a pomsy restaurant, at the rows of tables (scattered with rose petals, mind you!) in a uniform manner, together with other [human] couples, waiting to be served the “Specially Designed, Valentine’s Romantic Meal”? *

Does this mean I won’t be able to strut my Valentine’s gifts to other girls on the street?
Does this mean I would be deemed as some pathetic, sad git no one loves?

Oh no, this is going to be a disaster!

Oh no no no, I CANNOT spend Valentine’s Day without these highly in-demand, love-symbolising things:
Red roses – that cannot be grown in hot weather, but have to be flown in from thousands of miles away, creating tonnes of carbon emission – that are the symbol of luuuurve. And don’t forget the use of pesticides.Chocolates – those individually packed in silver or gold foils, placed in a plastic tray, the…

My horoscope says… buy this ring

I was sitting at a café one day, flipping through some women’s magazine, and came across a horoscope section that gives an overview on love, life, and career, and what’s more – advice on THE jewellery each zodiac needs. To quote them:

“Earthy and grounded, yet sensual and pleasure-seeking, the Taurus woman will love the concentrated bling of diamonds and the luxury of white gold of this XYZ diamond ring, $628.”
[In a corner: picture of the ring and credits, “Brought to you by So-And-So Jeweller”]

Awww… how right they are about me! And I’ve definitely got to rush down to that particular jeweller and grab that ring, haven’t I? That’s gotta be specially made for us Taureans!

But… there is one problem. I don’t even like diamonds, and I don’t have a habit of wearing rings.

I want to laugh. And I want to cry – for those who may have really gone down to the jeweller and bought that “special jewellery that is meant for them”.

I have no problem with horoscope prediction. I do that from time to time,…