Wednesday, May 31, 2006

World Cup Infamy

So it's almost time for bleary eyes and impossibly late hours as we try to stay up for the 2 a.m. telecast of the World Cup matches. It's impossibly cliched, but I notice the best matches are screened right about then.

I'm nursing a hangover this morning - the result of 0.6 litres of beer swishing around in a 33 year old brain. We were welcoming some new colleagues into our office last evening. Some chirpy friend (now ex-friend) just called to say hello, and to remind me about the time I got my picture in the paper whilst watching the finals between England and Brazil. Just figures. I can write an entire article for the ST that takes up half a page, and no one reads it, not even my mother. But one leetle photo of me with my mouth hanging open, and I'm still getting calls about it 4 years down the road. Just kills me.

"Yah! No wonder you look familiar!" says my new colleague. "Can you make your eyes bulge out just like in the photo?"

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Omigod this so sad.

I don't dare to ask my maid what her village is like.

Monday, May 29, 2006


Someone very kindly gave me a cookbook as a gift. The Silver Spoon. It weighs more than my Son and it's got a recipe for cooking every possible thing imaginable, including brain (which I love). I also read in it yesterday the directions for killing snails to make escargot. "Requires a level of ruthlessness which not many people are capable of", said the book. Suitably challenged, I read the directions and realised that I'm probably lack the mental fortitude for killing a snail the Silver Spoon way. Apparantly you don't just step on it. The whole procedure takes about 48 hours, and involves salt, vinegar, a box, a darkened cellar and your bare hands. Substitute "Silver Spoon" for "50 ways to dispose of your foe" and the directions may not change very much.

But I digress. I tried making vegetable stock yesterday and blew away about S$6 worth of vegetables for about 5 cups of stock. Plus all the scolding I got for misusing a bangkwang. Apparantly I have not managed to surmount the language barrier at the wet market as well as I thought. By "surmount the language barrier" I mean still speaking in English at the Chinese-helicopter-vegetable-seller, but increasing the volume. So instead of saying "Can you get me a turnip", I'll say "TURNIP! TURNIP! TURNIP! TURNIP!" Have been doing this for the pork and the fish and the chicken, and so far it works. Maybe because shouting "PORK! PORK! PORK!" at the pork-seller could only possibly produce one resulting product. But anyway.

So the vegie-seller hands me a root vegetable in response to "TURNIP! TURNIP! TURNIP! TURNIP!" and takes my S$1. Then I get home and it's actually a bangkwang. "Why didn't you ask me?" says my mother's maid. "Why didn't you ask me?" says my mother. Why should I, when I can ask the man who is actually selling the vegetables? Is he not a higher authority on this issue? But my point is not accepted. The whole time the vegetables are boiling, all I hear is "Why didn't you ask me?" "Why didn't you ask me?" "Why didn't you ask me?" Almost felt like testing out the snail recipe.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Flat out, dude.

I've just spent the better part of today giving a mini-seminar to a prospective client. Big company, so we catered lunch for them and had a really detailed discussion of contracts drafting, even talked about how each clause is drafted, why certain words are used or not used, what is the big deal about each different type of clause, etc. Took me a long time to get our foot in the door, so hopefully we now have a new client. Hopefully. I'm very hopeful here, especially since I'm exhausted from all the preparation and stress and work just to get everything organised and running.

Mentally I just can't get past wondering if we will be getting any work from them. Scratch that. I just want to know if we WILL be getting any work from them. The boss is quite calm. He thinks, well, we gave it our best shot. It's up to them now. That just drives me insane, leaving things to chance like that.

The only way to deal with it is to send out emails to 2 more MNCs offering to do something similar. This should increase our chances by 2/3. Maybe I should send out more.

Incidentally when I applied for my first job as a pupil in a law firm, I applied to every law firm in the law directory. That's discerning for you. My pager was buzzing like crazy for a month. Eventually got a job at the (then) biggest firm in the country. Also got so many rejections that they didn't matter anymore.

God. I'm exhausted.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Yeh. We might be famous.

An article I wrote some months ago for a rather obscure publication has just been reprinted in a rather obscure part of the Straits Times today. And although completely exhausted from a night of constantly getting up to attend to The Son of Whiny-ness, I felt elated this morning to see my words and my name in print.

Granted that most people may not actually see or read the article, and yes, somebody has to write the stuff that gets printed in the Straits Times since it's a daily publication, but I did kind of feel like the 1 in 4 million sperm that gets to meet and fertilise the egg. So yay, me.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Tiramisu anyone?

I can just barely recall a time when I went to the gym regularly, had a fitness instructor on my payroll and counted calories at every meal. Even gave up soft drinks because there were just too many empty calories to deal with. Also participated in every 10km marathon I could possibly sign up for.

That was Before Pregnancy.

So now I'm balancing:

1. a batch of Tiramisu to be whipped up over this weekend;
2. the prospect of a Goodwood Park durian cake on Wednesday morning (it's the boss' birthday and I've managed to persuade all that the preferred cake of Australian expatriates is Durian from Goodwood); and
3. the possibility that I might purchase a Rum and Cherry Chocolate Cake tomorrow when I have lunch at Raffles Place.

3 cakes. 3 really heaty cakes. What are the odds that I will make it to June 2006 without a nosebleed?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

So upset I can hardly eat lunch

Just went to pick up my shoes from the nice shoe repair people at Suntec Tower 1 (next to B1 escalator) and caused a minor commotion.

"You are the one! You left your shoe here for 4 months!"

So I forgot! What's the big deal!?

The owner of the shop served me himself. You can tell he's the owner. He's obsessed about shoes. Told me that they had taken the liberty of polishing my shoes (a neat little pair of Charles Jordans that I picked up at a 50% sale, mind you) and they did look suspiciously new when I peeked into the box. Then he offered to clean up my Ferragamo Varnas for free, and I took up his offer for one shoe.

15 minutes later, he had removed about 10 years of dust, dirt, shoe glue, cheap polish and general goop off my shoe. Just one shoe. It now looks like it did, the day I picked it off the shelf, except of course a little stretched. It was like seeing a long lost friend again. I started to tear a little... it was really quite emotional.

"So now you have a problem." he said.

"Yes... I guess I do."

"One shoe so shiny, the other one.. not. Want me to polish for you?"

"No lah. Paiseh. I'll try to do myself." Jesus Christ, the difference is obvious. Looks like I'm wearing one shoe from 2 different pairs. Kind of like at the shoe shop. I can't stop looking down from foot to foot. I'm looking at each foot as I walk. Left, right, left, right. Not sure how I'm going to get back to the office without falling on my head.

"Ok. Happy walking. Here got a lot of stairs ah. Don't fall down."

Monday, May 22, 2006

Secret Squirrels

I just spoke at another seminar this morning for an organiser who made about... S$200,000 in pure profit from giving that seminar. S$2,100 per attendee. Not a cent to any of the speakers. I asked for a list of the attendees so that I could pitch my talk correctly and they told me it was a secret.

"Can you at least tell me whether they are legally trained?"

".... yes. About 40% of them are legally trained."

"So what do the rest do? Are they ... financially trained? Contract management-trained? WHAT ABOUT TOILET-TRAINED? CAN YOU AT LEAST TELL ME THAT?"

"... I'm so sorry. That information is confidential."

I'm so glad I've learned to manage my expectations properly. So when I didn't even receive a honorarium (a little parting gift) after all the effort, I wasn't exactly surprised or disappointed.

Still plotting my revenge. I'll write a blog entry and bitch about it! Wait... I've already done that.

Friday, May 19, 2006

For the Son

Now that you love me I love myself
I never thought I would say this
I never thought there'd be you

(You, Evanescence)

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Angus is patient.

The Son has taken it upon himself to administer finger enemas to the dog whenever he can. It's very unfortunate (at least in my view) that the Son's present height at 14 months coincides nicely with Angus' tight little butt.

This always happens when Angus is trying to eat from his dogbowl. I'm no vet, but I'm almost completely certain that he must find this extremely irritating, if not downright painful. To his credit, he continues eating but albeit a little slower. That dog must really be hungry. Maybe we should start feeding him every day.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Your call will be recorded for quality assurance purposes

I hear this everytime I call a government agency.

After Gomez-gate, perhaps it is not just the quality of the response from the government agency that is being monitored - I will need to ensure that my questions and responses are also good quality too.

Maybe this would be a good time to start using "Hello" instead of "Eh Lanchiao" as a quality greeting, the next time I'm kept on hold for 10 minutes.

Monday, May 15, 2006


Said the Son, his fat hands holding my handphone a little tighter. I'd just asked him to deliver it up.

I can't believe it. What's this Mo nonsense. Is he trying, at just under 14 months, to tell me no? Aren't the Terrible Twos more than 10 months away? What's the deal here?

I need to read my Dr Spock again. How long more can I pretend not to understand what the Son is saying? And how come he can say No (sorry, MO) and not YES?

Friday, May 12, 2006

Happy Vesak Day My Ass

I wasn't wrong to feel tense all through today, even though it's a holiday. Quite by accident, I found out our HK office closed LAST Friday for Vesak Day but are open today. All our Aust and other offices are open today, except the Malaysian and Thai offices. The Indo office will close TOMORROW for Vesak Day. But not today.

It's terribly confusing. Shouldn't Bhudda's birthday be on the same day (ok, give and take about 12 hours) everywhere in the world? I'm sure there's a logical explanation somewhere, but I'm just clueless.

While walking along Keong Saik Street today with The Husband (we were heading to the Austrian coffee place - do I hear a scream from NTUC Building?) I got a call on my mobile from A Potential BloodSucker. It's this random guy who called me from [Somewhere in Asia other than Singapore] wanting to instruct us on an urgent, important, major transaction. Before I could say "I don't know you and we will need funds into account", he had flown into Singapore and was perched on a chair in our meeting room, asking for all sorts of legal advice.

We gave him some advice (verbal and written) to show good faith, and then asked for funds into account. He called to 'clarify' (i.e. ask for more advice) and we gave him more information and advice and then asked him for funds into account. He called again to 'clarify' and I thought it would be appropriate to also 'clarify' if he had remitted funds. He didn't answer the question, but will again be flying into Singapore to meet for more 'discussion'.

I always get hit on like this. Some random person will call, say he got my name off someplace, suck me dry for all the information he needs, and then wander off and I never hear from him again. Through the years, I've gotten a little harder, a little more cynical, but somehow when they sound like they're really in need of some help and information, I'll inevitably be the sucker. EVEN when they call me on the mobile on a public holiday.

There better be some big time karmic benefit for this, is all I can say. Together with a bunch of people being reborn as cockroaches in their next lives.

Happy Vesak Day.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


When I worked 35 hours straight for the very first time in my life, I felt horrible but hey, everyone has to put in the hours when they're a rookie. Now I'm not a rookie, but I've just done another 37 straight hours, with 1 hour's sleep, and it's not even for the second time in my life. Frankly, I've lost count of the number of times I've done this. And it's getting a little old (as am I).

I've got tunnel vision, everything seems awfully difficult (I've left a chocolate sitting on the coffee table, and just can't get my mind around what I need to do about it) and my mood is not fantastic.

It's probably grief. My wonderful adopted country just had its general elections. Now the guns are coming out, just as they do every 5 years, and we all have to watch a public execution. It's so sad. I feel like it's the day after 9/11. They should just merge the entire country into one constituency (Tanjong Pagar) and spare us the hurt and frustration of another election.

Do the powers that be know that this builds up? It doesn't go away. People remember. You can stifle discussion, but not memory. You can reframe the issues but it comes across like McDonalds trying to convince us that its food is really healthy.

There's also the strange irony of reading about how some old guy is trying to beat the murder rap by saying he was confused about what his China mistress actually meant when she said she loved him. The newspapers have written and re-written the versions a few times, but really it boils down to this - she told him she loved him, he thought she was making a suicide pact for both of them to die together, then he killed her and then changed his mind about the suicide pact and there was a towel and some money.

So he was confused? Distracted? Is he now sorry that he has caused so much distress?

The interplay of confused murderer media coverage with confused formfiller media coverage is probably funny but I'm still in mourning so I'll save the laugh for later.

If I could say something to the ruling party, it would be this. Your results and what you have done for our country speak for themselves. They speak with dignity and their words are measured. But you drown it out by picking on opposition parties and using words that you have to retract and apologise for. You are already respected by the world for your deeds and accomplishments. Please. Behave like the class act that you are. Just. stop.

It's kind of like when it's the time of the month. I get angry with everyone. I'd like to get even with everyone. This person farted in the lift. This person stole my taxi. This person splashed me when she wash hands at the public toilet. THEY ALL MUST PAY. And then I'm so busy with all these vengeful thoughts that I forget to zip up my skirt.

Monday, May 08, 2006

I'm So Happy That George is Safe!

My earlier blog entry voicing my annoyance about voting for a photograph was actually intended to mask my great personal concern that one of our MPs may not actually exist, or may have passed away unbeknownst to the rest of us, his constituency members, seeing as how we haven't seen him since dunno when.

Imagine my relief and delight when, on the same day that said annoyance was voiced through blog, the now mythical George was seen riding on a lorry with a loudspeaker which was driving through my little neck of the woods. Mythical George ("MG") was smiling and waving and looking very much alive and well. I know this only because my maid told me she had seen a man looking very much like the one on our PAP fridge magnet, but I'll take her word for it. That woman must be sharp. According to her, the lorry breezed through our little estate like greased lightning at about 6 pm on the eve of Election Day. I'm thinking that people engaged in a drive-by shooting probably go a little slower than that, but that's just my inner critic trying to spoil my happy moment.

MG, I'd like to thank you for making that last minute appearance which certainly puts to rest any concerns I may have that I could be voting for a dead guy on 6 May. I'm sorry I missed you (I was at work, like, probably 90% of the people in Aljunied) but if you could give me a little more notice in year 2011 when I'll next get a chance to see you again, I'd gladly put in an application for half-day leave. It'll be worth my time, since I have a lot of questions for you, like:

1. Is Aljunied very close to the beach? How come the block right next to Block 217 Serangoon Avenue 4 has a big sign that says "Welcome to Marine Parade (Serangoon Division)"? I was so excited at the prospect that the beach was close by that we actually got into a cab and spent S$10.20 on cab fare getting to the East Coast Food Centre. Maybe the stupid cab driver just took us the long way, eh?

2. Also, is it a crime to fill up a form unnecessarily, or to forget to submit the form after filling it up? I believe that Dante did allude to the 10th circle of hell, which must be a special place reserved for people who don't submit their forms and that was such a terrible thing that Dante couldn't bring himself to mention it. And how many ways and how many times can you ask someone about such an incident? Does it take 5 hours to frame all those questions properly?

3. How does a 6.1% win margin comprising 16,225 votes equate to a resounding victory? Maybe it's just me, but when I get a 6.1% annual increase in my salary, I don't equate as a resounding vindication of anything except that my boss is not happy with my performance. As regards the 2,000 or so spoilt votes, could it be because people who were smart enough, and able enough, to put on their underpants, shoes and clothes and make their way to some obscure void deck on Saturday couldn't manage to follow simple instructions to cross only 1 box?

I know these are tough questions and will take up unnecessary time that could well be spent travelling overseas. Thanks for your brief appearance last Friday and I hope to see you in 2011!

Friday, May 05, 2006

Oh Cruel World!

This is what happens when you accidentally leave a scrunchy behind in a bachelor pad

Thursday, May 04, 2006

A glimpse of a different world

That's what I get at every photography class. It's amazing. After running like a mad rabbit from wherever the taxi dropped me off into the class, I sit down panting, 10 minutes late, only to realise that the speaker (a professional photographer) is just getting warmed up.

And by "getting warmed up", I mean he is rolling up his shirtsleeves and shifting the laptop with the slides into a comfortable position. Then there's the mandatory 10 minute discussion of how, in the good old days of film photography, there wasn't any nonsense photoshop to make life easier for all the amateurs, and young photographers have it so easy these days blah blah blah. Not to sound disrespectful or anything, but he did agree to teach the "DIGITAL SLR Basic" class after all. Not the "Old Fart Film Photography 1940s Nostalgia" class.

The good thing is, I did get the opportunity for the first time this election to see my MP up close and personal. The same one that's expecting to get voted in for another term. In the middle of a series of slides to illustrate portrait lighting, a studio photograph of George Yeo appeared on the projector, larger than life. That's really the closest I've been to him during this election period. I don't think the rest of the class understood my snorting and laughing, but anyway, they're probably not in the same constituency.

My point is, am I expected to vote for a photograph? There's not even the courtesy of a pre-printed mass mail flyer in my mailbox from the man. The only time I've seen him is when I look at the lamp-post next to the main road. For all his form-submitting shortcomings, at least I've seen poor James Gomez in the flesh, riding the WP lorry through Serangoon Gardens. Maybe George has never failed to submit a form in his entire life but at least the courtesy of a pre-printed flyer should not be too much for his constituency members to expect.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

A Refreshing Change...

from my usual Nigerian correspondence arrived just this afternoon by email. Nothing like some unexpected entertainment after a heavy lunch.

Dear Sir

RE: Financial Assistance for Studies in University of Oxford or University of Cambridge

I have just graduated from [some University] with a First Class Honours degree in Bachelor of Laws. I was the Best Oralist in Malaysia and the First Runner-up in the prestigious [some prize or other] which was held in Washington D.C.

I have been offered by University of Oxford and University of Cambridge to read my Master of Laws this September. The total fees and expenses are about £25,000.00. I am unable to come up with this huge amount of money. I wonder whether your esteemed firm could sponsor my studies in either of the aforesaid universities. I am prepared to work with your firm upon completion of my studies.

In the event that your firm is unable to accomodate my request, I would appreciate if you could kindly assist to source for other means of funding from any other corporations/institutions/individuals.


Hell yeah. I'm taking out my chequebook as I type this. Emails like this really inspire me to step up my game. After all, my total expenses for all the clothes jewellery and furniture I need to buy, not to mention my mortgage, are about US$1,500,000. I too am unable to come up with this money. Maybe if I go whining to my boss and say that I am prepared to work with his firm upon completion of my shopping trip in Paris, he'll open up his heart and his wallet to me too. And if he can't accommodate my request, he'll just have to assist me in getting the money from some other sap.

He may be creepy, but he still makes great movies!

Watched the latest instalment by the Placenta-Eater yesterday and surprised myself by really enjoying it. Whatever his shortcomings may be (and I for one regard eating his daughter's placenta as a definite shortcoming) the man really knows how to make a great movie.

Future notes on the new Cathay cinema (for my own recollection):

1. Parking is a bitch - unless your idea of parking includes embedding the paint from your car into the freshly painted car park walls.
2. Nothing is open for business yet except the cinema, toilets, lift and escalator.
3. But when they do open for business, they'll have the biggest kickass Starbucks I've ever seen, and Browhaus on the 2nd floor (oh happy day! - and Fore! it should be a happy day for you too!)

What really amazed me about last night's movie was the excellent memory of our Mr Ethan Hunt. He's lying there, and someone mumbles some address to him and he not only remembers it, he manages to make his way to said address without having to chew out some cab driver. I'm sure I've now ruined the movie for some people who might read this but trust me when I say that's not a big part of the plot.

If it was me in that position, I would have asked the person to send me a confirmatory email with the address clearly spelt out, but that's just me.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Yeh. I might be glamorous.

The day after Labour Day is... Even More Labour Day.

Received 3 packages this morning by courier. Once upon a time, I used to think receiving overseas packages by UPS, DHL, Fedex, etc. was super cool. This thought died abruptly about 5 minutes after I received my very first package. Now there seems to be a never-ending stream of people coming in through the door shoving their packages in my face.

Wait. That didn't come out right!

Never mind. There's a bright speck of light in the horizon of my dark little tunnel, and it's... my ticket to the Premier Screening Of Mission Impossible III At Cathay Tonight!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Catching up on my Nigerian correspondence

Received this little gem of an email sent to my office account, entitled: [Smootie], urgent email for your boss.

Since it was from the "INFOMATION CENTRE, PRESIDENCY", I almost deleted it but opened it out of curiousity...

Dear Sir,

Good morning sir, authority have been given to us by his presidency to pay all our contractors, I here by advise you to send us your bank's information immediately for us to check with the one we are having here to avoid mistake.

You should also send me a copy of your international passport and your driving license for verification of the beneficiary.

John Garuba

Hmm... my office email account must have found its way into somebody's "Excessively Stupid People's Contacts" list.

And a little drop of irony at the end of that email - Yahoo's automated message:

"To help you stay safe and secure online, we've developed the all new Yahoo! Security Centre."