Thursday, September 28, 2006

Machine Boy Strikes Again

In the movie "Terminator 3", there is a scene where the Terminatrix (the hot hot Kristina Loken) pokes a metal spike into a bunch of sleeping robots and then after that they are slaves to carry out her bidding.

Well that's what seems to be happening in my house, before my very eyes.

I had a previous post where I complained about The Son having changed the aircon remote to read in Fahrenheit which resulted in us (since I can't read temperatures in Fahrenheit) blasting the aircon for the next few days at either very high or very low temperatures. Till I called the aircon man to come fix it and he came, fixed it and left in 5 minutes having passed a snide remark to the maid about how the aircon remote "is not actually spoilt".

Anyway, now my super duper 5 speaker entertainment system (can play VCD, CD, DVD) has somehow been recalibrated so that it will no longer play anything at all except High Five. Not just any High Five, mind you. It'll only play "Animal Adventures". I tried to fix it with a head cleaner, but it won't play the head cleaner VCD either. Every time we start fiddling with the player, The Son walk over and say "Fie! Fie!" and we'll have to watch yet another 10 episodes of Animal Adventures. It doesn't help that everytime I hear the opening lines of the first song "So many animals inside of me! So many animals - SET THEM FREE!" I think of Annabel Chong and it's just neither here nor there.

The Husband came up with an ingenious plan. Seems that the player will work for other VCDs/ DVDs/ CDs IF we play High Five's Animal Adventures first. But we HAVE to play Animal Adventures first. So any plans to rent and watch movies at home will need to factor in at least 1 episode of High Five. I'm not technically a genious but I already know almost all the songs by heart. And that Kathleen (one of the 3 girls) got pregnant and has to drop out of their live shows. And that Charlene is the only one that's married. Herrggh.

Oh yeah. The Son has (finally) spoken The First Sentence. It was "Ryan what are you doing" as he tried to climb out the window.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

World's Worst Haircut

Still cannot upload pics to a blog post, but in case anyone is interested in how my hair-cutting skills are coming along, the pic has been uploaded into Flickr.

If you can't see what's wrong with the haircut, well then you shouldn't be cutting hair.

Someone commented that it does look like a Vidal Sassoon kinda haircut. I guess if Vidal was drunk and blindfolded in his kitchen and had a busy pair of kitchen shears he could've produced something similar. Anyway.

After I was done, he had a pageboy - all the hair was the same length at the back and on the sides. He was mistaken for a girl by several people later that day (They must be blind!). Anyhow, the father decided to add the manly man touch to the whole thing and snipped the sides into a respectable sideburn 2 days later.

Monday, September 25, 2006

And They Say IJ Girls Are Easy

Sonya brought this to my attention yesterday. As usual I had skimmed last Sunday's article in the ST where this old chestnut came up and never read it. Imagine that! It could've ruined my entire week! I missed out on complaining about this for an entire week!

Maybe if this was me 10 years ago I might've been rather annoyed. I'm an IJ girl by the way. My partisanship has to be declared at the outset. To make it even clearer, I'm from the TOWN CONVENT. Then CHIJ TOA PAYOH. So you could say I'm a true blue IJ girl.

So much has been said about the knees of an IJ girl but I still find it hysterical. Like funny-hysterical. After I went to RJ, I overheard an RGS girl making a clear inference to the loose-ness of IJ girls, thereby implying our undesirability as good company. At the time I was embarrassed (since I was physically located right behind her at that moment) and irritated (whatthehell?) but really it's funny now, after everything has been said and done.

Because there's always Annabel Chong.

How ironic is it, that after countless generations of IJ girls have been ridiculed and insulted for their overfriendly attitudes towards the opposite sex (and sometimes, the same sex) that it is an RGS girl that has put Singapore on the map for having displayed an overfriendly attitude towards 251 men in 10 hours? What is that expression - some dead people spend less time on their backs compared to her?

I've heard it rationalised by another RGS girl as "temporary insanity". Yes, it's true. Some people can be temporarily insane for up to 10 hours. Or maybe she's schizo and there are 2 people residing inside her, kind of like shift workers and blame should be put squarely on the one who was on the job during that shift.

Anyway, as I have said to other IJ girls, all of us nodding our heads and smirking. These RGS girls. They can't just do something simple, like lose their virginity or have a one night stand. No sirree... if they are going to have sex, then by George let's do it with as much fanfare as humanly possible. And not just fanfare - it must be part of public record! There must be something to mark this grand occasion! So that 100 years from now, people will still be able to have a reference point!

So rest assured. Even if RGS no longer exists 100 years from now, at least there's a reference point.

PS. And when I said there were 2 people inside her, I wasn't referring to the sex marathon.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Tis the Season

This is the third week in a row that I'll be involved in an employment termination. Some other Sad Sack is going to get canned very shortly and I'll be adding further credits in my karmic account. If this continues, people will start avoiding my calls. I'm like, the Angel of Death with regard to their livelihood.

How do I internally justify this to myself? Well it's quite straightforward. I look at the monthly salary of this person and their job description. It's really easy to prepare the termination docs when they earn the equivalent of S$70,000 per month and have a chauffeured 7-series car, for doing a job that doesn't sound particularly like "ROCKET SCIENCE". I thought you had to, like, sell a planet to make that kind of moolah. But no, the person driving in the next car could be making that kind of money. It's pretty common.

Or the guy who had to work only 2 weeks out of 2 months, and was making the equivalent of S$50,000 per month. EVEN THE MONTHS WHERE HE DIDN'T NEED TO WORK. And the fucker had to spend all the money on heroin (No, the Singapore authorities shouldn't bother with this one, he's not Singaporean and he didn't work in Singapore) - the termination documents just shot out of my printer like greased lightning.

Clients always ask about the likelihood of retaliation. I go through the options with them and offer solutions, but I never mention that most likely option of all and that is, the employee may go berzerk and come back to the office with a knife or a gun. I don't mention that one because I don't have any solution to it, other than "Run for your lives!"

And no, none of these terminations deal with Singapore law. I didn't know when I was an undergrad but I certainly know now - Singapore grads who join foreign firms cannot practise Singapore law because it's illegal. Therefore you must work for a local law firm if you want to practise Singapore law. And what law are you qualified to practice when you graduate from NUS and get called to the Singapore bar? First person to answer that gets a prize!

Maybe if more undergrads were aware of this, then the demand for a second Singapore law school might ... never mind. OF COURSE there would still be a great demand for a second Singapore law school. Of course Singaporeans only want to work in local law firms. Of course foreign law firms can never match local law firms for pay and benefits. If we can't hold out for less in the name of national pride, then how else can we serve our nation?

I can't remember the day I finally figured out that I wouldn't be in this conundrum if I had only gone overseas to study law instead of staying here but that's probably because I went and ate puffer fish and then got blind drunk.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Moriawase who?

The roof of my office is leaking again, for the third time. I am baffled and frustrated. It's a really sunny day today so no reason why it should be raining in my office.

Maybe this is the karmic payback for my having poked fun at Survivor Treehouse. There is a karmic "L" on my forehead now.

I found out just yesterday from a reliable source that the Japanese word for "off the menu chef's special items" in a Japanese restaurant is "MORIAWASE". So Sushi Moriawase doesn't just mean "salmon, tuna, hamachi sushi", it actually means the chef's selection of whatever is fresh on that day. It's good to know these things.

I had "moriawase" twice last week and it was wonderful. There's this little Japanese restaurant at Uberburger at Millenia Walk that comes up with some really wonderful items. Just the other day, A Friend and I had a sashimi selection (including fat juicy toro slices), foie gras with yam, eggplant grilled with 2 kinds of creamy miso sauce and served with a spoon, some other dishes and sake, all for the grand total of S$100 per person. Without the sake, it would've been S$80, or slightly less. This is all in, with service charge, GST and everything. It's like a wonderful dream.

Went to Inagiku with a client today. Asked a waitress if she could serve us the chef's selection. Pardon? she said. Moriawase? I said. I'll get the head waitress, she said.

Head waitress came by and I repeated myself patiently. She looks at me like I asked her to do a slow striptease. Why don't you try this set lunch? she suggests, pointing at the S$60 per person set lunch. Ok. I am resigned to my non-moriawase fate.

It was, at best, a very average and rather boring selection of food. Chawanmushi, tamago, salmon, hamachi, tuna, miso soup, prawn tempura, some stewed chicken, some grilled fish, white rice on the side. The client was happy but I was disappointed.

Half the world is starving, and the other half is complaining about boring food? My dad would've said.

Yeah, I know. But hell if you are going to take the trouble to go to what is supposed to be the best Japanese restaurant in Singapore, you'd expect not just good quality food but items that would surprise and astonished any palate, right? I'm not expecting to eat the sushi off a naked woman's breast but hey, would it kill you to serve me something slightly unusual? Yes, I did bite into a stewed orange which was placed beside the grilled fish, but that's not the kind of "unusual" I was thinking about.

Just about 1 year ago, I had lunch with a colleague in Sydney, at Yoshii Restaurant. I have to warn you, said my colleague. This place has ruined Japanese food for me. I can't enjoy Japanese food anywhere else. Oh no, I said blithely. I love Japanese food. That won't happen to me.

In other news:

1. Gwen: I met Chin at the wet market last Sunday! He looks the same. I saw him in advance so had time to put on a little bit of makeup before we 'accidentally' ran into each other in the market.

2. Have updated the Flickr pics. But can't for the life of me get the pics uploaded into a blog entry.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Fok Moi

A client of ours seems to have cornered the market in bad leases. Or rather, difficult landlords. They've got a top executive living in Survivor Treehouse, a $30,000 per month bungalow where the roof leaks in 3 places when it rains, 5 doors cannot close at all, water drips out of their lights, the walls sweat water in rivulets and bats fly in and out of the house like its their private reserve. Not to mention one room in the house has an airconditioner so noisy that it's impossible to use the room at all.

To which the landlord responds:

1. Avoid using the noisy room. There are so many rooms in the house after all.
2. Bats enhance the 'country-living' atmosphere and should not be regarded as pests.
3. Singapore is a humid place, so it's inevitable that walls and lights drip water.
4. Door cannot close is not my problem.
5. My contractor says the roof shouldn't be leaking.

Also the CCTV for the front gate leads up to a computer with no hard drive. Landlord response? The hard drive isn't mentioned in the inventory list of the lease, so they are under no obligation to supply it.

Hello? If I was the Landlord getting a cool $30,000 per month by GIRO like fucking clockwork from a MNC tenant, I won't even bother getting out of bed in the morning. I'll just lie in bed, or in my pool the whole damn day with the handphone next to me in case my precious tenant needs anything. If they want me to serve tea, hell yeah, what time should I drop by? If I have to shoot the bats down one by one, yeah, I'll be the sniper living on the roof for the next 10 days. Me and my husband. And my mother.

This morning another problem comes up - a different landlord for a $12,000 apartment refuses to refund their deposit. No reason. Just refuses to take their calls. In an effort to track down the Landlord, I've just gone through an endless list of individuals in Singapore named "Fok". No success, but I did come across an individual named "Fok Moi". Yeah, well Fok Moi too.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Flipping Out - Need Respite

Observe the miracle of the little man with no nose hair.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Four Million Irritations

I was very happy to see on the TV news yesterday that life for office workers in Suntec seems completely unchanged and as marvellous as ever, although an optical illusion (something to do with our aging projection TV) seemed to make the news presenter's nose appear to grow slightly longer as she joyously gave us this great news.

Of course I must be the only one who is terribly inconvenienced by all the razor-topped metal skirting and plastic cones everywhere. Either that, or the 2 happy people working in Suntec who got interviewed in the news yesterday actually started their journeys at 7 am. The sky did look rather blanchy in the news feature. Probably the aging TV again.

This morning I contributed to the 4 million smiles as I was asked by a policeman to take a special trip through Marina shopping centre from Raffles Link and then down through Millenia Walk and Times Square just to get to the office. My office suit radiated heat as I stepped around the still obtrusive Communique sign to get into the lift. God help us if there is a fire and there's a bunch of bodies piled up behind that Goddamn COMMUNIQUE sign for the firemen to bag.

At lunch I walked through the virtually empty shops in Suntec and saw plenty of virtually empty smiles. In one particular shop, 3 salespeople stood around in their beautiful white uniforms smiling at nobody in particular since the shop was completely devoid of customers. A hairdressing salon that is usually full at lunch hour had 3 hairdressers sitting inside, catching up on the news. I got the full attention of the girl at the photo shop. She was extremely grateful for my patronage. I asked for a discount. She smiled and said "You already paid 2 weeks ago."

I looked around for someone IMF-looking to smile at. Unfortunately, I couldn't see anyone remotely governor. Or delegate. Just a lot of policemen. For once, the policemen outnumber the shoppers. And the po po are not shopping.

Isn't it ironic. With the barricades and the road blocks and the blocking off of pedestrian walkways, the only regular people who will get to smile at the IMF delegates in person are the police. And the Ghurkas. And these people can't be smiling on duty, it's just not proper. The rest of us mere citizens are just like ants skirting a picnic table whilst being shooed off. Even if I was smiling in the direction of the Convention Centre, I'm too far away for the people inside to see me. Which is probably why the "4 MILLION SMILES" banner has got all them smiley photos on it. That's probably the closest that any of us smiley people are going to get.

It feels like we're working on the moon, to paraphrase Sting. No one outside of Suntec can have lunch with me - our friendship would not survive the long walk and the irritating multiple detours. And that stupid feeder bus that the news reader happily proclaimed "ARRIVES EVERY FIVE MINUTES!" - that must be during the non-peak hours only. I waited almost 20 minutes for that damn bus just yesterday and I'm almost completely certain I'll have the pleasure of doing so later today.

This is a long post but it really does get extra irritating to go through this nonsense and then have the news tell us that everything is really really great, despite our own personal experience. It's like me telling The Son that his saltless, MSG-less, sugar-less, spice-less porridge is YUMMY as I shove another spoonful into his mouth.

From Moments to Memories

Had lunch with a (non-blood) relative today and he explained some of the background to his on-again-off-again divorce to my (blood) relative. It's incredibly sad to do a post-mortem of a 35-year marriage and to realise after all the time they spent together their relationship has ground down to this. They've licked the bottom out of the plate. They're in their 60s now and still fighting - if they do get divorced, so what? They have a son - they'll still fight about and over him. If they don't get divorced, then they'll just carry on like this indefinitely and unhappily.

It's very tempting to find fault with their individual personalities in a "it'll never happen to the likes of me" rationalisation exercise but I just can't. At the root of this horrible relationship are 2 strong-willed but incredibly normal people with logical minds and normal if fraying temperaments. How did they come to this? When they first met they were insanely crazy about each other. One went overseas to study and the other begged and borrowed enough money to follow. Now they can't even agree on halogen lights for the living room.

I've always felt that my cousin was a remote little kid that grew up into a remote sullen young man whose emotions (other than displeasure and apathy) are completely unreadable. Frankly I can't blame him. Without any siblings, he's had to face all of this alone since as long as he can remember. Now that they can hardly bring themselves to speak to each other, he has to pass along messages ranging from snippy comebacks to ultimatums. At least during the few years that my parents were fighting, I had 2 other siblings to witness the mess. Although we have never discussed it, at least I got to see their reaction to the trauma and it was a comfort in itself.

I believe he is changed forever from their constant fighting through the years. I'll always wonder what kind of person he could've been if he grew up in a normal household, although is any household really ever normal? Maybe this is normal.

Monday, September 11, 2006

The Return of Smoot

So the Smoots are back from a week in delightful post-summer-sale Hong Kong where the products of LUSH and I had a tearful reunion. I am now the proud owner of:

1. 1 tub of Angels on Bare Skin;
2. 1 tub of Dream Cream;
3. a bar of Sea Soap and a bar of Karma Soap; and
4. 1 tub of The Strokes conditioning cream for hair (bloody Hsuen Wen Hua was as usual out of stock with a long waiting list).

Again, I lament ... why did Lush have to close down in Singapore?????

Also managed to score a Chloe silk blouse from a parallel importer for a mere S$70 (the label was not sufficiently mutilated beyond recognition) as well as a number of remarkably beautiful silk and cotton tops and a pure wool wrap for the same price, clearly top range designer stuff but the labels were completely removed, dammit. My only regret was not getting the names of the designers from the salesgirl. How else am I going to know now. I love you, Pedder Building!

As usual, The Son was cooed over by salesgirls and waitresses everywhere we went because of his big big eyes and funny haircut (hey, it's not my fault - kitchen shears can only do so much). He's perfected the art of blowing kisses so his evil plans for world domination are almost complete.

In other news, 5 bottles of alcohol have materialised in The Boss' office with significant depletion in the bottle of Jack Daniels. I thought he must really have missed me but no, actually our business development manager/ senior secretary just announced that she's expecting and will be taking 12 weeks' leave starting April. I think I also need a stiff drink.