Thursday, August 23, 2007

Dun dun DUN!

Just when I thought I had left all the crazy neighbours behind, I find out (the hard way) that one of my neighbours has a tail. A little piggy tail. And he's not ashamed of it at all, no sirree.

So The Son and I were enjoying a nice afternoon swim in the diving pool when I saw out of the corner of my eye this big fat hairy Caucasian guy with a crazy smirk on his face advancing towards us. He clambors on top of the highest diving board, jumps up and down a few times and positions himself mid-air to do the biggest belly-flop I've ever seen. It was like a scene from a movie (The Perfect Storm?). All the water at the sides left the pool, all the water in the middle of the pool moved to the sides and The Son scrambles out of the pool, complaining that he is "scairt" of the "big water".

I glared at the big fat cannonball who is climbing out of the pool, hairy fat inch by inch, and then suddenly, to the horror of everyone watching, his pants slip down to expose his ass crack just a tiny little bit and a little pink tail pokes out to say hello.

Welcome to the neighbourhood.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Ya Go Before Ya Go

So I took some time off yesterday for various personal errands and was unexpectedly called into service by The Mother. Can you please come over to my clinic for a meeting with the prospective new employer, and we can negotiate and finalise the terms of my employment contract and then sign it.

You know, it's a nice feeling to be able to give back a little to the parental unit, to assist the parental unit in some way that is actually useful to her and not vaguely useful in the sense that she just wants me to think I am useful when I am not actually helping her in any way, and just wasting her time. It shows that she finally sees me as an adult individual, with some useful skills.

So I show up only 5 minutes late at her soon to be ex-employer's clinic, wait another 15 minutes until she's finished seeing a patient and then she's ready to leave. By then, I've managed to touch everything in the dispensary displays at least once, flip through the magazines and mess up the newspapers. Just like old times. The soon to be ex-employer's nurse cannot wait for me to leave before I break something.

Ok, says The Mother. I've got all the documents here. We'll head down to meet Dr W. But before that, can you please go pee before we leave. Otherwise if you need to pee later, I may not be able to find you a toilet. Also, we need to get you a cardigan from the car. It may be cold. I don't want you to catch a chill.

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Game (by a Local Player) - Part 1

I picked up The Game (by Neil Strauss) in a bookshop on this guy's recommendation, and in a moment of great self-misguidedness, decided to purchase it in the hopes that it would teach me how to get more clients.

Unfortunately, I now know how to pick up women. Not clients. Just women. It's hard to think of another skill I've picked up which would be less useful to me.

In an even more misguided attempt to not waste the good money I spent on this book, I asked this guy to read it.

Hey dude. It could help you pick up more chicks.

I don't need to know how to pick up more chicks. Nobody knows how to pick up chicks like me. Neil is an amateur!

I've asked him through the years about his techniques and have on occasion received some more useless information about how to pick up women. Until now. The guy has recently informed me that he is retiring from The Game, as he is about to get married, and all the information would be lost forever since he is not permitted by Certain Individuals to divulge it. And by Certain Individuals, I mean his wife-to-be, who has access to sleeping pills and a sharp paring knife.

I have therefore become the unwitting recipient of his memoirs, now to be published anonymously, and which will permit me to enjoy fame and hopefully some fortune through someone else's efforts.

This is the first half of Chapter 1, entitled "How to Pick Up a Singapore Girl during your Flight"

The stewardesses on Singapore Airlines (“SIA” or “SQ”), affectionately known as “Singapore Girls”, are widely acknowledged as the epitome of beauty, grace and Asian hospitality in the airline industry through a combination of clever branding and careful selection and training by SIA. Many male passengers want to get to know the pretty stewardesses serving them on the plane but don’t know how.

I’ve been encouraged by friends to write this advice for the benefit of all mankind because over the years, I’ve had quite some success with SQ stewardesses I’ve met on the plane. And my friends fiercely believe in the sharing of all knowledge for free for the betterment of the human race. Or so they tell me.

But before you get too excited, let me put 2 qualifications to this post:

1. By “pick-up” I mean get her phone number. If she gives you her phone number, you’re likely to get at least a first date. What happens from there, if anything at all, is beyond the scope of this post.

2. I don’t guarantee you’ll succeed everytime but if you follow my advice, you should at least become more successful in getting their phone numbers. Other qualities like your physical appearance, age and conversational abilities will of course play a big part too.

Ok, enough introductions and qualifications, let’s get on with it. To get an SQ stewardesses’ phone number, you need to know 3 basic things:

1. When to approach her for a conversation.

2. What to say during the conversation (before asking for her number).

3. Signals which mean you’re headed for a crash & burn. That is, you personally are headed for a crash, not the plane. If she tries to crash the plane just to avoid talking to you or giving you her phone number then your particular problems are WAY beyond the scope of this post.

1. When to Approach Her

First, it is vitally important that you don’t approach her when she’s busy. She can’t talk and you’ll get nowhere. You might even irritate her and ruin your chances before you’ve even started.

Flights generally consist of 4 parts – Emplaning & Take-off, Meal Service, Lull and Landing & Deplaning. The only time you should get out of your seat and try to chat up a stewardess at the galley is during the Lull period. This happens after meals have been served and cleared away, the duty free shopping trolley has trundled past and the cabin lights are dimmed so passengers can relax and sleep or watch a movie. The cabin crew are extremely busy during the other 3 parts of the flight and have no time for chit chat.

In that regard, it is important to note that some flights are so short, there is no Lull period. Singapore – Hong Kong is a good example of such a flight. Flight time is normally 3 hours and 15 minutes but can sometimes be as short as 2 hours and 50 minutes. If you observe the cabin crew on that flight, they are literally rushing to finish meal service and stow everything away in time for landing. Don’t bother approaching a stewardess in-flight in such cases. Your best bet is after landing, during baggage collection but Singapore – Hong Kong flights are turn-arounds for the crew. This means the crew which flew you to Hong Kong will not deplane. They will stay onboard, tidy the aircraft, receive the new passengers and fly them back to Singapore so you most likely won’t see them after you deplane. Too bad.

The second thing to bear in mind under this heading is don’t piss off the stewardess before you’ve had a chance to talk to her during the Lull period. Pissing a stewardess off is easier than you think because whilst you’re in your comfy chair and perving at her, she’s working and has lots of things to do during Emplaning and Meal Service. Pissing an SQ stewardess off is also harder to detect than you think because she is trained to smile and be gracious in front of passengers. Most of the time, you won’t know you’ve pissed her off unless you know what their pet peeves are and you avoid those.

The golden rule in not pissing an SQ stewardess off is to not make her work more than necessary. Here are some examples:
· When you emplane, on Business Class you will be offered a glass of champagne, apple juice or orange juice. All 3 types of drinks come on one tray and you just pick one. If you ask for something that is not on the tray, the stewardess will get it for you. But because you made her do extra work, she’ll be pissed off with you.
· During meal service, if your friend sitting next to you asks for a Singapore Sling and you express curiosity about the drink, the stewardess will ask if you want one too. If you say no but then change your mind and ask for one after your friend has been served his, the stewardess will get it for you. But because you made her do extra work, she’ll be pissed off with you.
· During the lull period, if you can’t decide between the wines, the stewardess will offer to bring the 2 or 3 varietals for you to try. If you decline that offer and pick one but after a sip decide to ask for the other wine instead, the stewardess will get it for you. But because you made her do extra work, she’ll be pissed off with you.
The above examples may sound petty but they are all real life examples which my stewardess girlfriend complained to me about at various times during our brief but passionate relationship. In the years since, I have verified with other stewardesses that she wasn’t alone in her feelings. All of the above types of actions do indeed piss off SQ stewardesses. They sometimes bitch about it to each other after the flight.

One other thing in this regard, if you are Indian and the stewardess is Chinese and you do any of the above, she will be even more pissed off than usual! This is because over time, all SQ stewardesses come to notice that Indian passengers commit the above actions more often than passengers of any other race. Some stewardesses actually hate flights to Indian cities because of this and also the Singapore – Seoul – San Francisco flights because there are often lots of Indian passengers on that route.

Besides avoiding the above types of actions, you can actually build some goodwill with a stewardess if you say something to show her you recognise the fact that she’s busy and you don’t want to make her do extra work. For example, upon Emplaning, the stewardess will come up to each and every Business Class passenger and ask if you would like a newspaper or a magazine. Being a golf nut, I always want a golf magazine. SIA carries only Golf Digest and Golf Asia on board and even then, they only have a few copies of each. If you ask for one, the stewardess might have to hunt around the aircraft looking for it.

In that situation, what I always say to the stewardess is something like the following: “I’d like a copy of Golf Digest but I know you must be really busy right now, so please only look for a copy for me after take-off when you have a little more time before the meal service, ok?” This invariably results in a genuine smile from the stewardess and most of the time, she will insist on finding you a copy of the magazine immediately anyway because you were nice enough to offer to get it later.

2. What to Say During the Conversation

Ok, meal service is over and the cabin lights have been dimmed. Most of the passengers are in their seats watching movies or sleeping and the cabin crew are in the galley. This is the right time to approach a stewardess to get to know her. The easiest thing to do is to walk into the galley and ask the stewardess for a drink – something simple like a beer or a glass of wine. When you get your drink, strike up a conversation with her so that she can’t walk away to do something else or attend to another passenger.

The strategy in such an ice-breaker conversation is to say something which interests the person you’re talking to so that they’ll want to keep talking to you. Since you don’t know what interests her when you first talk to her, you should always start by asking her questions. This gets her to do the talking and gives you clues about her interests and likes and dislikes. When approaching an SQ stewardess on a plane, the 2 easiest topics you can ask her about are her job and the flight destination. Asking about her job also helps you to quickly determine if she’s married or in a relationship since you’re not likely to get her phone number in either case and you might want to consider turning your attention to another stewardess. Having said that though, I did once get the phone number of a stewardess who was in a relationship and she subsequently broke up with her boyfriend to have a brief but passionate (hereinafter “BBP”) relationship with me but that is clearly always going to be the exception rather than the norm.

To get from asking about her job to determining her marital status, some variation or transposition of the following questions can be used:
Q: Thanks for the drink. How long have you been flying?
Q: How many flights a week do you normally do?
Q: It must be tough seeing your loved ones at home only a few days a month? Unless your boyfriend or husband also flies in the same crew with you?

Asking about the flight destination can easily lead to finding out which hotel the crew stay in, how many days they have there before their return flight and what the stewardesses’ like to do when at that particular destination. It makes planning for a date (if you have the time on a business trip!) easier with that information.

When talking to an SQ stewardess, it might be useful to bear the following information in mind:
· Most FSS nowadays are not Singaporean. A high proportion are Malaysians, some are Indonesians. Most of the LSS and a very high percentage of the CSS are Singaporeans.
· SQ stewardesses are mostly pleasant and charming girls but they are not the sharpest tools in the shed. They are worldly-wise only because they are familiar with the cities they have flown to and therefore

.... to be continued. Dun dun DUN!!!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Tis the Season to be a-Changing

Met my first ever tenants yesterday - a family is leasing my little house on the non-prairie and we are repainting the house, sanding down the floor, polishing the marble, cutting the grass, waterproofing the walls again and taking back all the lawn furniture (they do not like it).

The only thing I can't do is control the rather predatory neighbours who keep coming around to bug the estate agent, contractor, subcontractor, painter, curtain person et al with their little questions, like:

1. How much are you renting for, ah? Two houses down, they are only paying S$[less]. The house opposite, they are only paying S$[less].

2. My daughter like your house, but I think your house is not so nice. Mine is nicer. Tell you what, you get the owner to sell me lah. I buy for [ way below market price ].

3. You still selling or not? How much ah. Stock market crash you know. Can sell or not.

4. Your tenant is from where ah. How you get tenant like that, can you get for me?

5. I want to sell my house for S$[1 million above market]. You sell for me.

My tenants are walking into a landmine. I betcha after they move in, everyone will pak bodo. Nobody will talk to them, everybody will act blur. Except for No. 17, who will be re-energized by the fresh blood next door, and will restart her strenuous complaints about how the bamboo leaves fall into her garden from mine, and how sometimes, when we breathe out, some of our carbon dioxide gets into her house.

My little house. I miss it. It's my first property and how bittersweet it is to be handing it over to someone else. We had little markings on the wall showing The Son's height every other month from the time we moved in to the time we moved out, and that's all been painted over and gone now.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Z-Monster Bit Me

Have managed to increase the amount of Son-time given the recent holidays, and am happy to report that he has been attending Little Gym with increased regularity since I subcontracted that job to The Maid and has also recently attended his first swimming class. One to one - the only way to have a safe and proper swimming class when the student is 2.5 years old and still not very clear about where the pavement ends and the swimming pool begins.

So can you tell me how my son is progressing, I asked the swimming coach. Also, is he your youngest student to date?

The poor guy looks at me, mentally rolls his eyes and says, look it's too early to tell how he is doing since we only just had our first class. He is not the youngest student I have - the first one is 1.5 years old (SHIT!!!) but he is the youngest student I have in this estate. [Subtext: So are you happy now please let me go home you pushy pushy woman]

Have also been spending a fair amount of time reading to him in the evenings, although sometimes it is tough going. There is a Dora's World Adventures book that I bought for him more than 3 weeks ago, which I still haven't read to the end yet, and not because he keeps falling asleep. It's because I keep falling asleep while I'm reading it to him. One moment I'm jabbering some nonsense about Dora being in France and looking for the Eiffel Tower, and then the next moment .... I wake with a start, realising that I've fallen asleep, and then I see the little fat face of The Son, still staring at the book, still patiently waiting for me to continue reading.

Two nights ago, Dora made it to Africa before I fell asleep again, then woke up and subcontracted the remainder of the book to The Husband.

Friday, August 10, 2007

A brief hiatus

I think about 2 weeks have passed since the last entry. Have been busy and distracted.

My mother has decided to avail herself of the free legal resources available (from me) as the clinic 3 doors down from her current one has offered her a better position.

She has informed her prospective employer that "my daughter will draft the termsheet and the contract". I have never had a more reasonable, patient "client".

For instance, she waited a whole 10 minutes after faxing the signed termsheet across before asking whether the contract was ready. Then called me 1 minute after I had faxed it across to ask what I had put in it. Tell her to read the contract herself? That would not be filial.

As each point is negotiated, I get a call. Please amend and send to me now, urgent. Did you say this. Did you say that. I grit my teeth and remember all the times I woke her up at 3 in the morning for a glass of water.

Last (10th) call of the day - "Oh, it's not about the contract. How do you spell 'reiterate'?"