Thursday, March 30, 2006

Me, Now.


Me, Before Son, and with Beloved Ex-Dog

Never too old to be truly vain

It's true.

My task yesterday evening was to take a new mugshot for my firm's website. My boss initially suggested that perhaps I could get my secretary to take a photograph of me using her electronic camera and upload it. Actually he didn't really get to the end of that sentence because my eyes had popped out of their sockets and my mouth had fallen open, but I'm guessing that's what he meant to say. Anyway, after some ... clarification, he agreed for me to have the mugshots professionally done ("by a REAL photographer") and photoshopped, for the bargain basement price of just under S$200.

So that's how I ended up at [photo studio that won't be named] last evening, in front of a mirror and slathering on the makeup with a trowel. To his credit, the photographer waited about 15 minutes before popping his head in and asking if I was ready.

Do you want above the neck? Mid-body? Head and shoulders?

I want to look nice.

Ok, so mid-body? How about waist up?

As long as I look pretty.

What about head and shoulders?

Look. I don't care what you are going to do. I just want to look pretty. I want to look like I don't have a baby who wakes me up twice every night. I just. want. to. look. pretty. Do you have a glow feature? Can you use soft focus?

Some people just don't get it.

Anyway, for a selection of 8 shots, the guy ended up taking almost 40 photos. I changed the lighting, changed the camera angle, directed the camera height and changed the background twice. When I saw the first few shots, I wanted to change the photographer. And by "change the photographer", I really mean that I wanted to disembowel the photographer and stuff his guts down his throat with a fork.

Depending on the results, I may put up the shot in the next post. If I don't, then you might get a call from me asking to help move the body.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Tew! Tew! Tew!

I feel extremely powerful. Actually managed to remember last night that I signed up for a photography class about 2 months ago and the first class is today. Like, this evening! I'm about to have a real hobby! Yay!

Over and above that, I also managed to remember to bring my camera(!) Me in the old days (like, maybe, before The Kid and Parental Responsibility came along) would have completely forgotten about the class until half an hour after it started, when the organisers call me to say where the f.stop are you. Then I'll arrive an hour late, clutching my phone camera and asking, is this okay? can I use this instead? sorry I'm late, I had work... And then the phone battery will run out when I take the first shot.

Have just realised that maybe I haven't changed that much after all. The SLR battery is low and I've forgotten to bring a new memory card. hergh.

Friday, March 24, 2006

The Fish Might Be Smarter Than We Think

For some months now, I have been passing the new(ish) fish tanks at Suntec City Tower Five (opposite Cedel) and marvelling at the 3 TV sets that Some Bright Spark put into the fish tanks. The TVs have already been switched on by the time I saunter past at 9 a.m. and the tropical fish residing therein are obviously having a great time watching Channel 16.

I have wondered long and hard about what the fish think about all this TV. Never mind the high mortality rate amongst the fish that seems to occur (population and variety of fish change on a weekly basis), and never mind all the scientific information readily available which would suggest that these fish become blind after long exposure to such bright light. They're getting an education from all these quality programmes, for Chrissake.

Fish these days are so ungrateful. Here we are trying to improve their minds and they repay us by becoming blind and dying prematurely. Never mind - there is an infinite number of new tropical fish who are dying (no pun) to fill their place.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Coldplay Again!

Against my better judgement (another bitter joke- when have I ever had a better judgement) I went and agreed to give another seminar about 2 months ago and it is tomorrow.

Here I am again, it's almost midnight and I'm struggling to finish all my work so that I can be out of the office tomorrow afternoon giving a seminar whilst nothing blows up in my in-box/ in-tray/ office dustbin whilst I am otherwise occupied. The sheer irony of it! It's not like I'm going on leave tomorrow or anything. It's ... like working extra today so that I can work extra tomorrow afternoon. And then come back to the office and work extra late to finish all the other work I could have done whilst I was giving the seminar. Grrr... this is almost indescribably stupid. In fact, it is. Indescribably stupid.

The whole seminar circuit is a vicious cycle. Damned if you do and damned if you don't. Lots of good publicity for the firm and myself if I do (although the possibility of getting new clients is dubious if I don't have enough time to prepare, or simply if the seminar attendees are not interested in appointing external counsel for that particular topic/ issue anyway) and no publicity for the firm or myself if I don't. No shortage of other speakers to fill up the slots anyway! Every time I see anyone else speaking on a seminar topic that I think I could have done (better?) I chip another molar with the clenching and grinding of teeth, and chip another ankle with the kicking of myself.

Tomorrow will, however, be a "watershed seminar" for me since the next speaker (right after me! eeek!) will be none other than my very first boss/ mentor. The man who got me interested in this area of practice in the first place. My original inspiration, my Shi Fu. I was extremely traumatized when I handed him my letter of resignation in 2001. In the Kung Fu movies, no one ever hands their Shi Fu a letter of resignation, it's just not good TV. When he last worked with me, I was a junior tiger cub wannabe lawyer. He gave the seminars - I changed the slides and constantly forgot to switch off the screensaver. Now I'm meeting him (kinda) on equal ground. As cliched and ridiculous as it sounds (particularly at my advanced age), I still find it extremely nervewracking.

I can imagine it now and will probably have nightmares tonight about it. I'll be speaking, and he'll be sitting in front of the audience, listening and trying not to laugh. Or he'll just look horrified, and think, Thank goodness she quit. God forbid she should be dishing out this crap advice to my clients.

To add stress to stress, his current junior tiger cub associate will be in the audience too. Grinning.

... uh... yeah.

This morning has been SURREAL. Half an hour late for a meeting that took 2 months to schedule because of the number of regulatory authorities involved. Clients flew in from various parts of Asia, just to listen to the authorities tell them what we had offered to tell them (and already told them) by email and telephone, which was "no".

No, you can't get what you are asking for. Because. Just no. No. In case you didn't hear us the first 3 times, N.O. spells nuh-uh.

I looked at the government representative who was telling us all this. Directly above his head, pinned on the wall of the meeting room, was an inspirational poster that read "Don't Listen to Naysayers".

Monday, March 20, 2006

The Answer is Yes

This is to all who have read the Straits Times this Monday, 20 March 2006, and who have asked, or wish to ask, The Question.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Gah! My Blog Disappeared!

Trying to find it....


I read with interest this morning yet another article in the Straits Times moaning about how young Singaporeans these days are so neutral and apathetic when it comes to political issues.

Hello? Do "young Singaporeans" look stupid to you? We are apathetic because there is only so little anyone can say about political issues in Singapore before receiving a letter of demand for S$1,000,000 in punitive damages. Same paper this morning also highlighted the plight of all the people who got sued by the PAP, weeping in court, etc. And what about the politicians who have fled the country and now have to live in exile?

We read, you know. The same lesson is reinforced time and time again. It's practically encoded in our DNA. Obey the law. Respect your government. A nail that sticks out will be hammered down. How many politicians do we need to see become bankrupt in order to learn this lesson? If you want to live peacefully in this country and have not been invited to join the PAP, then YOU STAY AWAY FROM POLITICS.

And we do that. We keep our heads down, play by the rules, and then get criticised for being apathetic. Like we're a bunch of yahoos who are just ignorant. Or so completely self-centred we can't be bothered about the greater good.

We're not ignorant. We just want to live our lives peacefully, earn a good living, have a house, car, kids, good savings, etc. And if it means keeping out of political issues, hey, I think I can just about manage that. Pen that into my diary. "Don't criticise the Government. Don't challenge the establishment. Buy baby food. Pay credit card bill." I don't see how the greater good would be served if we're all champing at the bit to go join a political party instead of doing our 9 to 5 jobs and paying income tax, property tax, road tax, ERP, GST, MRT, SBS ...

I don't think this is the best attitude, but really it shouldn't draw the kind of criticism that is raining down, if the last few weeks of ST articles is anything to go by. Just because I don't challenge the establishment doesn't mean I need to kiss up, baby. The message that seems to be filtering through the other mixed messages is that we need to give the Government a ringing endorsement. Rally around to vote FOR. Great job! Thank you! I owe you my everything!

Fine. If that's what the Government wants, then just tell me where to sign. Don't whine and moan around the issue and say oh we're just a bunch of ingrates yadda yadda yadda. It's like my mother moaning and whining at me when she wants me to do something but just won't come out and ask directly.

If it would help, I'll even show up and vote (assuming no walkover which would really spare me the inconvenience). I'll draw them little hearts around the correct political party symbol and write thanks for everything! [Heart] Smootie, and the 'e' will have little curlicues and kisses.

I'll even send a note of apology to my MP. Sorry, I know you came around to my house the other day and probably rang and rang on the doorbell and no one answered. That's because there's nothing attached to the doorbell button as I have not actually installed a doorbell. To make it up to you, I'll flagellate my husband one thousand times until he can recite the PAP mission statement in his sleep.

[The title of this piece derives from the fact that I've been grinding my teeth in frustration since reading the stupid paper this morning. What's all that crap about blogs anyway!? It's such a blatant discredit piece. Why don't they just say, don't read public toilet posters. They always claim that the toilet is clean anyway.]

Thursday, March 16, 2006

More than just a Japanese Rice Cracker

Had lunch today with an old friend who is looking to settle down with his 26-year old girlfriend. He was very excited about a great deal he just negotiated on a 1.1 carat Lazare diamond engagement ring. He's also moving to Hong Kong as an expatriate with a great new job, and flying to New York for a 2-month training stint.

I was very happy for him. But also troubled. I've met the girlfriend. I cannot wholeheartedly congratulate him on his upcoming engagement (coz if he asks her, she will definitely say yes) without giving him some heartfelt advice.

It's like, sometimes you see someone heading towards the edge of a cliff, and they don't really see the danger. Or maybe they do, but they think it's a little cliff.

Do you say something? Do you keep your mouth shut? It's not my business or my problem.

The last time I did this, I got blasted by the person in question. Why didn't you say something, he asked me. Why did you let me work at [ ___ ] and not tell me what I was in for? Well, you were so happy, I said. Didn't want to ruin it. After all, you would have found out for yourself soon enough anyway. Like within the first 48 hours.

Anyway, I gave him my view. Hold on, man. Don't ask her to marry you yet. Wait a few months. Please.

Why? What do you think is wrong with the relationship?

It's the ... dynamic. You have a very unusual dynamic between the both of you.

What dynamic? You can just tell me frankly, you know.

Well. It's quite simple. You give. She takes. What's hers is hers. What's yours is hers. And you're not even engaged yet. What do you think life's going to be like when you're married?

He looked sad and said that he already knew that. I felt really bad and just shut up and ate my food. His other friend arrived to join us for lunch and my friend asked him what he thought of the engagement.

Well man, I think she's a sweet girl. Smart. Kind of young. Very ambitious.

Do you think she asks a lot from me?

Well you know there are some women who are so wonderful and so fantastic that you would do anything for them, just to be with them. Like Helen of Troy. So if you meet someone like that, then it really doesn't matter what she asks from you. You should give in to her if you really love her.

So you think I should go ahead and ask her to marry me?

I don't know man. I mean, if it were me and she was so demanding, I'd have a hard time with it. I'd probably say to her, that considering all the things she is demanding from me, she'd have to be at least 3 or 4 times prettier for me to give in.

[I almost fell out of my chair laughing. Also snorted some aerated mineral water by accident.]

But this woman is really scary. Not only is he paying for her trip to NY to visit him, she wants a business class ticket. And for him to pay for her shopping when she's there. The best part is, right now she actually earns more than he does. Last night she had a huge fight with him because she wanted him to bear more of the household expenses (they live together). He currently pays about 80% and the proposed revision moves it up to ... 90%. All this when he's actually not going to be part of the household for the next 2 months since he'll be away bearing 100% of his personal expenses in NY. Who in the world gets to enjoy 100% of an apartment in Singapore at only 10% of the expense? Poor man was in the shower after working till midnight when she sprung this on him. Shit like this he really doesn't need.

Her name really should be WANTWANT. In upper case. Too bad the trademark is taken up by some random Japanese cracker, because there's a ready market of women who are just like this.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Why does he do that, I ask

My son has gotten into the nasty habit of messing up my hair in the mornings. Right about 6.30 am, he will literally put both hands on my pillowed head and frizz up my hair good and proper before trying to pull out some of the hair at the side, just above my ear.

By which time, I'm completely awake and alert and trying to get his pudgy fingers to let. go. of. mommy's. hair.

Why does he do that, I ask the husband. Dunno.

Last night when he was sleeping, out of sheer force of habit, I leaned over, kissed his forehead and rumpled his hair affectionately.

This morning, right on the dot at 6.30 a.m. he leans over, plants a big wet kiss on my eye and messes up my hair.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Let them eat cake

So of late (and by late, I mean, like, 3 months ago) I've had an incredibly huge craving for chocolate cake. And by chocolate cake, I mean specifically and only the Rum and Cherry Chocolate Cake from Awfully Chocolate. As introduced to me by Macaloony the undisputed Queen of the Dessert.

So about once a week now, I either traipse down to their shop in Republic Plaza or I beg someone to do it for me. Same thing happens each time.


Yes. 1 Rum and Cherry Chocolate Cake please.

You want candles with that?

No. It's just for me.

Then the counter girl will give me this contemptuous little glance just as she's punching the numbers into the cash register. It speaks volumes. Yesss, it says. And you were here last week. And the week before that. And the cakes were all for you too...

Just 2 days ago, I managed to get the number of this random woman who makes the best fresh cream and mango cakes I've ever tasted. To escape the chocolate humiliation, I called her (she works from her home) and placed an order.

So what message you want on the cake?


Is it for a birthday?


You want how many candles?

No candles. It's just for me....

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

They may have underestimated occupancy

Squee is going to be horrified one of these days when I start pounding on the bathroom door demanding to be let in.

It may just be me but I think there's a serious planning problem here. I work in one of the Suntec Towers. They market themselves, to put it mildly, as a proper office building. Then why are there so few bathrooms? There's 1 (locked) executive ladies' bathroom with one miserable cubicle. Before Squee came along, it was all mine. Next to the executive bathroom is a (locked) regular ladies' bathroom with 2 cubicles, one of which is ... ... .... squatting (cringe). So for those of us who don't have special skills, there's effectively only 1 cubicle in each bathroom. You need a separate key to get to each one. If you don't have both keys (and who does?!), then there's lots of scurrying back and forth and borrowing of keys and opening and shutting of bathroom doors. It's like being on bloody Fear Factor for goodness' sake. Except the contestants are all really really edgy because they have. to. go.

Well at least it's not like Asia Chambers Building where everyone has to bring their own toilet roll because they don't refill often enough. As a friend of mine discovered on his first day of work when he had to borrow toilet paper from a new colleague. And when paying clients come calling, the receptionist will lend them a toilet roll if they need one. Now that's class.

Wow Camera!

Started to appreciate my complicated new phone a little more when I managed to locate the camera function. It even takes photos in dim light! Now have a nice photo of my son sleeping to carry with me everywhere. Of course, the photo quality would have been much nicer if I had peeled off the plastic film covering the camera lens but it would kill me to do that within the first day after purchase.

Also my viewing pleasure would have been enhanced if I had peeled off the plastic film covering the phone display screen. And taken the phone out of the plastic bag that came with the box. But I just can't. It's all too new.

It's a miracle that you managed to remove the plastic wrap around the new sofa, says the husband, rolling his eyes. I didn't bother to point out that it was the delivery men who did that and I wasn't home to stop them. Sometimes silence really does keep the peace between us.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Anti-Fun

Yay - went and got myself a new handphone this afternoon and amazingly enough, managed to get something pretty decent for S$38, only to my horror it comes with a little joystick and is so incredibly glitchy that even the simple stuff, like deleting a message, requires me to put both hands on the phone.

It's such a little thing and here I am blinking and peering at the screen like a dinosaur trying to type out "Have a new phone" to my husband and I need to press the left menu button whilst simultaneously twiddling the little joystick left right up down. Drives me batshit. Surely there's a simpler model without a camera, internet access, 6 games and a joystick? I just want a telephone for goodness sake.

Anyway, I'm marking the assignment papers now from that course I'm tutoring and it's put me in an incredibly bad mood. Reading some of the answers makes me want to put a screwdriver through my hand - it's ... a little depressing because the people who prepared these answers are actually going to be pupils in law firms in about 4 months' time. It's like looking into the brain of someone who is going to be an executive secretary in a coupla months and she doesn't know which side of the paper faces up when photocopying. hhhhhhhheergggh

Monday, March 06, 2006

I'm Experiencing Market Re-Entry

A roar. A whoosh. Then cymbals crash to announce my re-entry into the mobile phone market.

Take my advice. I know it's a stretch, given that I don't take anyone else's. If your bored 11-month old baby turns to you in a cab and asks to borrow your mobile phone for a bit, don't lend it to him. Because really, you can't exactly scream at him when, one hour later, you realised that he's left it in the cab when he got out. And he's not sorry, not in the least.

Plus, after I got a replacement phone, he gnawed on it coupla times and now the keypad doesn't work. I can't call anyone with "7" in their phone number. That's ok (relatively) but I've just discovered that they can't call me either because the phone just rejects their calls and SMSs. How on earth he managed to get the phone to do that I really don't know. I've cleaned the dang thing out and wiped all the spit and snot off but I think it's probably the end of the replacement phone too.

The only conclusion I can draw from all this is that The Son's bite is poisonous to all electrical appliances. Now that we know that, I've just got to make sure he doesn't bite anything really expensive, you know, like the TV or my mom's car or the machine that counts our votes at this election. I mean, how are we going to explain this to the authorities when the PAP don't win by a landslide.