Friday, July 27, 2007

Oh You Naughty Donuts!

Fresh from my wonderful dental experience of yesterday, I spent most of yesterday evening's family dinner sitting at the end of the table in gloomy silence because it felt like someone had given me the business end of a good left hook. It was seriously painful. Overnight, many many pre-New Year resolutions came into existence, which included fluoride rinses over and above brushing my teeth twice a day (which ! I! already! do!), calcium tablets taken regularly as prescribed, daily flossing (instead of every 2 - 3 days), less sugar in my diet and, of course, that old chestnut, more regular dental visits.

This morning, in compliance with Resolution 5, I ate 1 wife cake and drank a short black with 2 heaped spoonfuls of sugar.

Thereafter, en-route to the purchase of a fluoride rinse, I accidentally took the scenic route past the Donut Factory and LO AND BEHOLD THERE IS NO QUEUE IN THE EXPRESS LINE!!!!!!

To make matters worse, the donut display wasn't sadly depleted as usual but was resplendent with:

1. Dark chocolate raspberry;
2. Chocolate mint;
3. Orange chocolate;
4. Apple Cinnamon;
5. Glazed;
6. Scary orange donut;
7. Chocolate Peanut;
8. Double chocolate;
9. Regular chocolate raspberry; and
10. Chocolate Nut.

It was just awful. My vision suddenly narrowed down to the space behind the 2 people in the queue, and I started to try to outwalk everyone else in the immediate vicinity, just in case they were all headed for the same spot. Even those walking in the opposite direction (coz they might turn around!). I think I walked into 2 people by accident before claiming my rightful place just in front of the cashier. I don't think I even saw them.

Apple Cinnamon and mint chocolate prease.
Ok. S$2.40 prease.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Fear and Loathing in Suntec City

So it has come to pass that I have a dental appointment today and it is not going to be pretty. I was hoping for a more sophisticated sounding term than "Dental Fear" to describe the situation, but unfortunately Google is not going to let me have my way today.

I have been living in fear for the past 2 weeks since I was informed by the dentist that I have 3 new cavities (damned pregnancy-related calcium deficiency!) and would need to get the fillings done. I was all up for doing that at the last appointment but it was this little thing that the dentist mentioned at the end of his sentence that got me, and it got me good.

We can fill up the cavities very quickly since you need to get back to the office by 2 - just need some anaesthetic.

Then he put both hands and a cleaning instrument with a draining hose in my mouth for the next 5 minutes while I pondered on that last bit of his sentence while looking wildly around the room (for what? I dunno) and trying not to twitch.

When he finished the cleaning and polishing, and I finished spitting into the sink, I ask - what anaesthetic? what anaesthetic?

Oh. Just an anaesthetic injection for each cavity. You're afraid of pain, aren't you?

Oh Fucketty Fuck. What kind of God damned loaded question is that. If I'm afraid of pain, then I'm also afraid of the injection too, right. But if I'm afraid of pain, I have to get the injection, right? But I'm afraid of injections. And I'm afraid of pain. And I'm afraid of drilling. And I'm afraid of being afraid when I'm supposed to be someone's mother and a full grown adult. Aaaargh.

Not possible to focus this morning. I am too scared. I just know that at the height of the whole dental experience this afternoon, when I am half-crazy from pain and terror, the dentist is going to ask me whether the volume of the plasma TV fixed to his ceiling is too loud, and would I like to watch something else instead.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Don't Hate ! Consultate !

It's official. I'm now enjoying my 11th year of working life and I still do not know why people hire management consultants. But why am I complaining anyway - if we did not have the management consultants in the picture to obfuscate all the instructions and documentation, the work could have been completed much much sooner and billed for much much less.

The one working on our current matter is driving me batshit. Every time he attends a meeting, half of the billable time is spent staring at him while he takes calls or attends to the Blackberry or talks nonsense. To make matters worse, he is kaki nang - we come from the same tiny little backwater in Sarawak. In another life, I could be sporting the same combover. Lets call him Gems.

Gems is living proof that when you get old enough, people will listen to everything you say even if it's complete bull. He also has mastered the innate ability to listen to what I say, ignore it for about half an hour or 2 meetings, then regurgitate it as if it was an original idea of his.

2 meetings ago. My suggestion - a quiet resolution to a shareholder dispute, by way of a voluntary winding-up, or letting the company become dormant. Gems ignores the suggestion completely, speaks over me and insists that we go ! to ! court ! now ! because parties need resolution ! now !

Client listens to Gems. Instructs us to commence winding-up proceedings immediately. He's not even in town but he is sure we achieve it somehow. Keep Gems copied on your emails, he says.

We spend a fair bit of that evening and the next morning sorting out documents, trying to get the thing moving, instructing litigation lawyers to assist, etc.

Gems in the next email: Maybe we should have a quiet resolution. Why don't all parties meet up and talk. Maybe arbitrate or something. [Look you doofus do you know what the word "arbitrate" even means. There is no arbitration clause in the shareholder agreement you dumb nut]

Nasty letter from the other side comes through. Client gets all worked up.

Gems: Arbitrate! Liquidate! Let's litigate!

Separately we discuss with the client. He wants to wind-up the company now. Petition if we have to.

Gems: I believe we should place our key emphasis in catching up and re-building the business which has been adversely effected by such disputes over the last few months !

Friday, July 20, 2007

Woman's Period Celebrates 10th Year of Being The Excuse for Everything

A friend of mine once told me about how she managed to skip Physical Education classes for 2 years. Not because she's into non-fitness or anything, but she was going out with some guy who did not want anyone perving at his girlfriend in her shorts and tee-shirt. During the tenure of their relationship, she managed to accumulate an impressive wardrobe of thick baggy jeans and khakis, thick sweaters and button-up long-sleeve collared shirts. No, he's not from the Middle East, just an old fashioned Chinese guy.

So how did you skip PE for 2 years? I asked.

Oh. Just told the teacher every single time that I was having my period.

An ex-colleague of mine used to submit her employment resignation letter every other month, and her boss let her take it back each time on account of how she only did it because of her period-related mood swings. In Indonesia, it's the law - every female employee is entitled to 2 days' period leave per month. But it must be taken consecutively... I guess it reduces the incidence of period-related resignations.

What next? Man walks into a room, there's blood on the ceiling, blood on the walls, more blood on the floor and a woman is washing her blood stained hands in the sink.

What happened here?! He screams.

Oh nothing. I'm just having my period.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Blains

So the mother calls me today with a small complaint about the neighbour's leaking gutter, then starts a very long story about her rather interesting lunch appointment yesterday with a doctor in another clinic who administers enemas. And no, they did not talk about enemas.

You spend a fair amount of your formative years trying not to be like yer parents, then you realise that you are exactly like your mother. That's hot.

She goes into a long spiel about the lunch, what this guy does, the lunch, the guy, what he says, and then finally when I've gone into auto-uh-huh mode and 9 mins into the conversation, she gets to the pointy end of the point of the call.

Anyway, it's some job offer, she's thinking about it and she informed the doctor she would revert within a week after she had the opportunity to consult with her children. Weird, isn't it. I never thought I would see the day when my bossy mother decides to take our views before making a decision that involves principally herself. After all, there was no such consultation period before she ordered my curtains for my house, or threw out all my old Pokemon pajamas and my comfortable underpants and replaced them with scratchy nylon lingerie. Or, as we will never get tired of reminding her, before she innoculated all my wedding guests with the flu jab just after my Chinese wedding dinner. Now you want my view? For what?

Oh, maybe I should just ask you. Your sister is travelling and your brother is in another timezone. After all, you are the brain.

If I am the brains in the family, then we are all in deep shit.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Fun With Escalation

The biggest problem with sneaking up on The Husband to give him a good fright is that men have this ability to freaking escalate. 2 days ago, at just about midnight, I asked The Husband to help me close the windows in the living room because I can't reach them. Living room lights are off, study lights are on. He shuts the windows, and as he shuts them, I hunker down in the dark so I'm in plain sight still, but only if he looks down. Which he doesn't. Then he proceeds to turn off the computer and the study lights, walks out into the living room and BAM I'm leaping out at him in the dark with the scary ghost hands.

It's been quite a while since I've seen a man so angry. I think the last time was when I managed to crawl right into the middle of the study and under the computer table whilst he was totally engrossed into a computer game and gave him my best "Ju-On" face.

So last evening, I'm tap tap tapping away at the computer keyboard in the study and everyone else has been asleep for an hour when I hear the sound of creeping feet behind me. I turn around, and it's the (formerly) sleeping husband who woke up and tried to sneak into the room to scare the crap out of me right back. And the thing is, I'm scared but I don't want him to have the satisfaction of knowing I'm scared and yet I know that if I do that then it won't be counted and he'll just try to scare me again. And then he won't believe me when I tell him that I was already previously frightened and my next attempt to scare him thereafter will be counted as an offensive strike, not payback (which it should be).

I think we have about a year before The Son cottons on to how childish and immature his parents can be. Actually I suspect he knows already - he broke up the last "poke me? I'll poke you back! Poke! Poke! Poke! Poke!" with a loud, shrill "Don't! Fight!"

Monday, July 16, 2007

Local Boy Found To Be 50% Naughtier on Mondays

Studies reveal The Son to be consistently less obedient and dramatically more likely to Talk Back on Mondays compared to any other day of the week. Leading experts interviewed have confirmed that this phenomenon is directly linked to the fact that on Sundays, in the care of his doting Grandmother, the toddler's chances of getting away with just about anything increase by more than 10,000 per cent.

"The situation is getting ridiculous" the Toddler's mother was quoted as saying. "When I was his age, I used to get caned if I didn't recite my multiplication tables fast enough. Yet he can spill Milo all over her new cream fabric couch and there's barely a scratch on him"

When approached by our reporters, the doting Grandmother refused to comment, saying that there is no such thing as a cane.

Friday, July 13, 2007

What we didn't put on our CV

I always feel deeply deeply sorry for my boss when he decides to trust me with things like directions, how to get from point A to point B, what floor is the meeting on, which building is it in, should we take the train in this direction or the other direction, ...

Today, en-route back from our office lunch to the office, we climbed up and down 5 storeys for no particular reason except that I had a 50% chance of turning right and 50% chance of turning wrong at a crucial junction.

I would've liked to have said to him (but I could not so I thought it VERY LOUDLY in my head) that, hey dude. You didn't hire me for the right directions. Granted that you didn't hire me for the wrong directions either, but if you had just asked I would've given you a longer CV with a new section called

"What I Cannot Do"

1. Drive
2. Plug & Play devices
3. Keep my desk/room/shelves neat
4. Not play Neil Diamond excessively in the office
5. Keep my paws off your food in the office fridge - it's not that half your loaf of wholegrain bread is missing - it's that a storage tax was levied on your bread and deducted at source.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Happy Donut

After only 2 attempts I am now sinking my little muppet teeth into aDonut Factory Donut,while trying to type with the left hand. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Now, in post-chocolate euphoria, it hardly seems to matter that my blog title bar is not working properly or that there's chocolate sauce all over my face and hands. Or that the ripe old age of 22, I would still queue 15 minutes for 2 donuts without even knowing if the donuts will even taste nice.

So did the donut taste nice? Well yes. Yesssss. It was gooooooooooooooooood. And it wasn't even my first choice, or my second, or my third, or my fourth. After being told each time that they were out of stock, I just asked her for 2 of whatever is sitting there, except for the Spicy Cheese Donut which is a terrifying orange and green lump.

Why is it nice? For starters, the donut is very very very soft. It's just like the soft cheese bun from the neighbourhood bakery except it's 50% softer. It sags slightly when you place it on your palm. The dough is also slightly chewy, not too sweet and even a little bit salty. The chocolate sauce on top is super-runny and tends to get all over your hair as well if you eat like me, but the runniness is compensated by its smoothness. It doesn't have the graininess that thicker chocolate sauces will have, which can make you cough when you eat too fast. I'm not crazy about the raspberry filling. It's too sweet and thick. Packing a big glob of it into the middle of the donut is not a great idea either. Made me cough.

You can tell the Landlord is happy about Donut Factory opening their first branch here. We've leased 2 office units for 4 years now and have yet to receive any big ass welcome flower bouquet all decked out in our corporate colours.

Monday, July 09, 2007

The Feet of God

The Husband is always going on about the weird stuff that I eat and how if ET had landed in China instead of The America, he would not have had the opportunity to phone home unless there was a phone in the wok or just next to it.

Well last night, during a misguided attempt to reach Quentin's (a yummy Eurasian restaurant), which is not at the junction of Joo Chiat and Marine Parade as previously believed but in fact opposite Margarita's at East Coast Road, we ended up at the Smelly Tofu Place next to Obolo's Cheesecake, where my mother, all nostalgic about her formative years spent in Kowloon, orders the "Deep Fried Tofu Of A Slightly Strong Odour".

Can we have the small size please, I ask the waitress.

Sorry oly 1 sie, she replies. Ok then.

Looking back, I'm just glad I had about 5 minutes alone with my Oyster-Flavour Vermicelli before the Tofu arrived. After one whiff, my stomach slammed into reverse gear and started pushing the stuff back up. It smelt like the time I left Campbell's Vegetable Soup in a vacuum flask in my school locker over the weekend and then attempted to consume it. It was all I could do to remain seated at the table. I was amazed that The Son could continue sleeping through the meal - I thought the smell was enough to make him wake up crying.

The smell is simply atrocious. Unspeakably atrocious. I have never smelt anything so vile in my life, and this mind you has been a life spent eating durian, fermented baby squid, sea cucumber guts, pig brain, snails (not escargo), chut chut, fish sperm and a whole lotta pig guts. Truly this is the first time in my life that I have faced off against a gross foodstuff and not eaten it. I have met my Waterloo and it is Smelly Tofu.

Oh you should try deep fried locust, said my mother as we watched her liberate the very last chunk of Smelly Tofu from its earthly existence. It's nice you know. Crunchy.

Meanwhile, in an alternate universe, I cannot sit in my office eating toast with Tetsuya's truffle butter salsa without people streaming in to complain that "Wooh! That smells really strong!"

Friday, July 06, 2007

Ok let's not be rash here. Let's fix a meeting instead!

One of the first things a young female lawyer (or a young female anything) will find out after embarking on what one hopes to be a long and fruitful career is to watch out for the older female lawyers (or older female anythings). The dynamics are just crap. Somehow YFL will piss off OFL, be it the advice, the font of the advice, the formatting of the advice or just showing up in person. The common understanding (misconception?) is that OFL is jealous of YFL's looks, beauty, youth, nice suit, whatever and just cannot see past that to appreciate YFL's good deeds and excellent advice. Legend has it that OFL will then do her best to eliminate YFL, whether it's from the transaction or file itself, or from the face of the earth.


Yesterday I got a fax that moved me into an asthma attack. Story is this. We instructed local litigation counsel to act for a client in a trademark infringement matter. Someone has registered a business using the client's trademark. Infringer says, well ok. I'll change mah name. But you pay me some money. Nothing is free, you know. Clients said okay, but you sign a settlement deed. Standard stuff.

Then infringer comes back, says they don't like the look of the settlement deed. Turns out it's the admission of infringement they don't like the look of. But you did what, we said. You infringe what. We are waiving our rights what. But the infringer says no way. You take out the naughty bits, or I won't sign.

So client gets pissed, says if you don't sign, then well I'll just use the money I was going to pay you, to sue you. Infringer refuses to budge. Client sues. Infringer says, ok ok let's settle up.

Next thing I know, we get an email from some young chick, who just joined the local litigation firm that clients are instructing. I spoke with Infringer's lawyers. Here's the best settlement I could get for ya. Suggest ya take it.

We pay Infringer the same amount of money we offered to pay.
We pay Infringer half of Infringer's legal costs.
We amend the settlement agreement in the way Infringer asked us to do in the first place.

I saw it, called the chick. Hey. What's the deal here. Why are we paying even more to the Infringer? And here's the answer of the century - "It is because the Registrar at the PTC says they are shifting the matter from the Sub Court to the High Court"


So there's a long awkward silence, during which I wonder which one of us is stupid or crazy. "Can you pass the phone to the partner in charge please?"

Shortly thereafter, clients instruct the settlement should be more even-handed. We pay the Infringer NOTHING. But we can amend the settlement terms and take out the naughty bits. Infringer pays half of OUR legal costs. Young chick needs to run with that.

Yesterday I get a fax, signed off by the chick. It's addressed to the Infringer. After I read it, I haul ass to the doctor for a Ventolin inhaler and some anti-histamines. It says:

We agree to amend the settlement terms as you've asked.
We agree to use the money we were going to pay you, to pay half of our legal costs.
Since this doesn't cover everything, we will still pay you S$500.

Spoke with a colleague about what we need to do about this, and he says, well in the very very least you need to take her off the case. How can she be cutting deals which are not in line with client's instructions. You also need to reserve rights. This is a bleddy bad situation man. Couldn't she have at least called to check?

Next day I told him - hey someone told me last night that she once appeared in FHM. Some firecracker thing.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Yeh. Hate Mondays. Tuesdays not so great either.

Stupid Mondays. Nothing comes easy on Monday. Deals will go south of the border, aircon will (still) not be working in my office and the contractor will arrive and leave in a puff of debris-laden smoke, leaving only a few bits of white ceiling tile in my coffee with no corresponding improvement to the sauna-like conditions. And here's a new wrinkle to the Carrier Man saga - after only 3 visits with the ladder and the puzzled looking Carrier Man, they have finally decided to lay the blame on our own contractorrrrr....

According to legend, sez the Carrier Man, your contractor came and negligently and/or wilfully sawed the aircon duct in half, leaving no aircon duct to channel cold air through the vents of your air conditioning system. Lucky for the Carrier Man, they managed to push open enough ceiling tiles to find a duct that, inexplicably, had been sawn open.

But didn't you say, the last time you were here, that it was the lack of aircon vents in our office that was making it so warm? And that we had to bring in our own contractors to create more aircon vents?

And didn't you say, the time before that, that it was the fact that the aircon vents were positioned too close to the windows and therefore the sunlight was warming up the cool air before it reached us?

And didn't you say, 3 visits ago, that it was because we had too many lights in our office which caused the light bulbs to heat up the cool air before it reached us?

I think the Carrier Man might be running out of excuses. Next thing he'll say is we shouldn't employ mammals because a live mammalian body will take in cool air from the aircon and convert it to warm carbon dioxide, thereby leaving the office less cool.