Sunday, January 30, 2005

Flirting With the Line

ya, if that was what safin did really well with the serves on the Ts, the baselines and the out-lines, he would have been a bona fide 'line-slut'. ha, line-slut. but it was nonetheless a thrilling Australian Open final match between him and the higher-ranked hewitt, very much deserving of the tennis history books. and safin only managed to execute his famous exploding serves with intricate aplomb only in the second set, but then again he might just be testing terra hoste (literally, playing against an Australian on Australian soil) or just, well, toying with his prey. but safin was clearly the more strategic and the more 'know-your-enemy-to-crash-your-enemy' kind of player.

yesterday was ah-hsien's birthday.ha. it was at a rather nicely done up place with food that surpassed expectations a little, which doesn't speak much of it since Ms.D was clearly not in the advocatory mood for it in the first place when we asked for her take on it. It was at Flutes at the Fort, serving what was supposed to be contemporary Australian food (if only someone could tell me what exactly Australian cuisine is..). The entrees were pleasantly delightful, more like flavourful actually, since one should know how typical French entrees are mere whetting of the palattes and to excite, rather than to indulge. Indulgence at the onset, is a bestial concept in haute cuisine left best for American diners: the word according to Europe. my Duck confit was, malnourished, and i was left exactly at that as well, at the end of the dinner. entire new definition to 'you are what you eat'. it was good, but just, unsatisfyingly meagre in portion. well clearly, they have the French cuisine sequence wrong. but then again, we were supposed to have 'Australian'. wine went well with the food though, not so much mine since i was having duck but should have gone well with the rest of the company who had mainly fish and sorts. it was a 2003 Mt. Clair Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. a little too young and sweet but did appeal to the general sensories.

we then retreated to the top of the world, nearly, at New Asia Bar by Equinox. lovely place and one of us had the guts to get us a table at the Members' Corner which made things much cosier. free coupon was highly restrictive so bulk of us ended up with terribly unexciting poisons. and thereby, consequently, turned out to be terribly unexcitingly non-toxifying. but was a nice place to chill, and that we did just so well.

and my charitable hair cut today? according to certain 'critics', i look AGED. well they say older, but it my world of age-mathematics, it's the equivalent. and tomorrow, i will be an overaged student strutting the compounds of NUS because his hair was the ultimate impediment to his academic progress and ego development. swines.

(now quick, someone say something nice about my hair, i need it documented here.)

Thursday, January 27, 2005

'I'm apathetic too, but i just like to bitch'

it's the worst state a citizen of a sovereign state can be, said a vociferous academic in the field: to be apathetic about apathy. but it's a well and tested theory, and a very much entrenched social phenomenon: that when economic success is so widespread and societal stability begins to be taken for granted, people automatically get politically lazy, i.e. no motivation to be apathetic. i think this point being accentuated by the intrinsic chinese desire to make more money, being probably the most cash-acute ethnicity amongst others. 'why fix it if it ain't broken?'

amidst all the hooplas of constitutionalism that i've been in contact with these days, it's sad to realise at the end of the day, it's not what the entrenching provisions that protect our fundamental liberties that is the concern of the day, or even of the life of an average singaporean. it then reduces down to that our constitution may just well be a fanfare of words, the 'tyranny of language' where even some of the most fundamental liberties are ignored but no one makes a collective voice audible enough to force things to change (like the right to vote and the right to property are all blatantly missing from our constitution). are things really that bad, the situation that bleak? or is it a chinese thing per se? well Hong Kongers often take to the streets their gripes about the dwindling bastion of democracy but critics say they do that because this apparent lack of democracy brought about by the hinterland that is China, is precisely the thing impinging on financial progress and the hick in the prosperity wheel. the foreshadowing of poverty is the only pushing force in those rallies. so it's probably true then, that economic success equate to political stability which in turn equates to a populace being increasingly apathetic, because to shake things up may very well mean the shattering of some major piggy banks or standards of living that had been too comfortable.

but this can't be right, can it? you see singaporeans complain the whole while, pre-Hong Lim Park times, about the lack of forums to speak out to masses, and post-Hong Lim Park era, about some other things that somehow they claim to be political. and often the voices you hear are not featured in our familiar columns of the forums of the major newspapers, but out from the mouths of these people, that disappear into thin air once the topic dissipates. it seems that perhaps Singapore as a nation is of a 'I am apathetic but i just like to bitch' nature?

for a start and for fear of flaming bushes one too many, yours truly is guilty as charged (the charge that i am author of, no less). but this is because i do recognise singapore to be in a vastly unique position, with sensitive demographical concerns and regional socio-political landmines to be taken into account. extraneous and insular issues that come together to present a most quagmire of circumstance.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Proclivities Towards a Columnist

Instead of rightly ploughing through the overstressed-compulsory readings of trust and of public, i'm here writing on things academics and parents all round deem much more secondary to the former. but nonetheless here i am, carving in the weekly happenings, much to the fancy of a columnist, which i'm gradually developing proclivities towards. but instead of dishing out saucy sex advice, i shall mangle you people with the ongoings of my life, of which i'm sure it's divinely much saucier. go, me.

since my life apparently needs to be scurrying around my varsity life, i guess i shall rattle off with that. i think i'm beginning to find thio lee ann's wryness and her quirky hicks rather tiresome if you really asked me. well conversing with her without the relevant academic opportunity cost would be fine but plus that in as a major factor, it's not too much of a joyride. but she is still undeniably a constitutional force to be reckoned with and that much i hold up to her. speaking of which, some lady at another of my module is starting to really piss me off. why i know it doesn't take much but she sure takes a whole chunk of cake in that department. masquerading her 'lessons' into inane games meant for mental retards is just insulting. plus her nag of lectures really isn't the way to go. 4 credits, i can survive this, plus my endurance is way tougher with legal writing under my belt/leash.

and yes, there was the Golden Globes. i have no idea why i waste time watching these things, feeling happy for people i don't know, thanking more people i don't know. anyhow maybe it's true, this moth to a flame theory, that it applies to more people than we know. we're just naturally attracted to things that glitter- fame, power, diamonds...and combined with that ever so subtle streak of voyeurism and voila, we have a tabloid nation.

and how can i go by without a mention of those ubiquitous rude remainders i had of singaporean driving. i swear the benchmark of courtesy and consideration are eroding ever so rapidly down the abyss of caveman-behaviour. it truly gives a whole new meaning to the phrase 'driving is an emotional experience', worded ever so enlighteningly by, me. if automobilic orgasm comes in the form of a mischa burton-clone driving a Maserati Quattroporte, then the erectile dysfunction of automobilism must be the punishing behaviour of singaporean driving. saddening state of affairs, for such a civilised nation, of first world economics and infrastructure, stressing on the wonders of a world-class transport system to still bearing witness to this horrid, churlish and garish state of behaviour.

i've noticed some blogs marvellously ablazed with mutants of self glorification, either pictorally or otherwise, and it just amazes me how much one can mention of oneself. and speaking of which, all the ego-bearing statements and snides must be taken with a pinch of salt, naturally- i would expect my fans to know me better than that (haha). but back to my observation, it's completely like a mirror on the internet, only worse. because u take effort it actually constructing this mirror from scratch and adorning it not with glass but with, well, no prizes for guessing what. this must be a dismal reflection (pun intended) of self-portrayal, in probably one of the worser forms it could take. but who am i to say? i'm merely someone, who recognises that the only person who could truly love oneself is yourself, exclusively mortal references of course.

happy was truly an apt name for that place. we sat at a cosy corner which was simply electrifying with good company. a booth for a company of less than 3 probably and a delightful party could be formed. there were only 2 of us that day but it was equally enjoyable. it's these little things that make clubbing that little bit more special nowadays. people are just so hard to please these days.

in entirety a good weekend, wish things wouldn't need to be so contrived sometimes, this relating of events, but i only take things/events as they come. this week, they came a little too routinal and mundane. but the little nuances did add a bit more spark. so i'm glad and it's time for me to retreat into my appalling realities of cases and vitriolicisms of professor thio.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Of Springing Events

theoretically there is of course no four seasons in Singapore but it's always nice to add a dash of 'spring' in our state of meteorological drone. thus the spring semester has thrashed open with academic loom already amassing itself ever so gradually with pre-readings and pre-readings to the pre-readings, BUT there were some good news to boot.


(City of Edinburgh's Coat of Arms: 'Except the Lord in Vain')

i really wanted to write on the day that i received this elating news but like i've said before (or mentioned in my subconscious or something like that) that happiness doesn't inspire- it is a true linguistical-inspiration murderer. since obviously one wouldn't have wanted to word down what exactly the state of joy one is in, the simplest and smartest thing to enjoy that moment is to outrightly celebrate it! so i did that, somewhat. and proceeding that, you get into a daze, a sense of foggy surrealism that you are actually going away for a prolonged period of time, all the more for someone who has stayed in this country for all of his life, save for the occasional travelling, which couldn't be prolonged for obvious wallet-thinning reasons. and u think about edinburgh, scotland, bagpipes, gorgeous castle, horrid food with good beer to down, and this sense of surrealism is perpetuated with threads of day-dreaming and yearning that the day would come sooner. but i'm more settled now, it is reality, and the logistics of moving is hitting me right in the head. although magical in everyway and i've gotten what i wanted, the preparatory work of going is quite that thorn in the arse. but i should probably quit that train of thinking and submerge myself, for just that little while longer, in my tub of roses and misty reality.

and it's Edinburgh! i shall learn to cook, fatten my bank account for fashion havens in the heartland of Europe, tugged ever so conveniently at Edinburgh's doorstep, learn to listen to murmured, jumbled-up accents of English, and... miss so many people back home.

so anyone, do come visit me in Edinburgh if circumstances permit, and if they don't: make them happen. by the time you come, i'll be supremely versed in local history and sight-seeing so you shall definitely be in good hands.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

The Reoccurence of the Original (Alcoholic) Sin

a massive oversight on my part- i've almost let time zip past me without any documented records of my hit-of-a-cocktail that i've concocted over the NYE celebrations @ the Ritz. heinous indeed. so before my memory turns enemy against me, here's a rough guide to my liquid version of the Original Sin (oh, that sounds so wrong), of which i shall very preliminarily name 'Serenpolitan':

(a) 3 parts Absolut Citron/Kurant (somehow Kurant seems to be more in-sync with the drink as a whole)

(b) 1 1/2 part Cointreau/Triple Sec

(c) 2 parts Cranberry Juice

(d) 2 parts Pink Grapefruit Juice

* obviously the usual requirements of putting sufficient ice into the shaker and shaking it amply all apply. Then strain into a preferably chilled martini glass. I think we can do without any garnishings.

before any smart-ass bartending student comes along and disses me about how 'original' it is (well technically it is a Cosmopolitan replacing the lime with the pink grapefruit instead), try changing any long-established cocktail recipes and make it taste this nice. ok, no hard feelings of course, i'm just a proud createur, defensive of his newborn. and besides i think i've given due credit by subsuming the orignal suffix into my new drink. and if u were wondering, the prefix comes from 'serendipity' since on that faithful day this baby of mine was born, i was planning to get lime juice and make the generic, oh-so-boring Cosmo but instead i chanced upon some pink grapefruit juice and decided to give that a shot.

all about risk management baby.

and i forgot to take a photo of it, together with some really satisfied customers relishing it. Dope. i could have been so much more famous. Dope.

Friday, January 07, 2005

The Back of the Bus

and serendipity has served me well once again. when we were not planning to catch a film and was just harmlessly browsing what was on at the box office at PS, we decided to randomly catch 'Being Julia' since it was at a spot-on time and it was the least of all the evils that were being offered (Kungfu Hustle, etc, not much to argue there). honestly a w. somerset maugham-plot seemed the least inspring of writers to base a film on, but like i said, least of all evils.

spellbound and fascinatingly surprised cynics-turned-converts, were we as we left the theatre.

and i think we might have very well stumbled upon a shimmering piece of cinematic gem. annette bening was in fact very much responsible for the glitter and shine of this piece of work. there's so much to talk about this film but i think this is a good startpoint. her accent, her gravity of acting, her immense power to convey the frailties and dynamic existence of a flamboyant personality and detail to characterization leaves much room for the audience's respect and awe. julia lambert is really quite a personality in her own right and league. but i was as though annette bening recedes into utter obscurity, giving the entire stage and being to julia lambert. the pun on 'stage' is entirely (oops, i did it again) unintended but it does seem appropriate for the story which revolves around a well-known theatre actress (a real one, because real actresses don't act in films- see even this is humour in itself) and her escapades and her play of life. the intricate essence of 'being julia' is brought out ever so refinedly and aptly. well-titled indeed.

then there is definitely the plot. who would have thought that somerset maugham, of 'human bondage' and yawn-inspiring meganovels fame is actually capable of a touche, awe-inspiring novella of such delectable storyline and intelligible humour/wit, running into such rarity in our Hollywood times. and delivered so well at that by the respective actors. it creates a rhapsody of charm, an atmosphere of delight and definitely being entertained at every speck of a moment. because isn't that what any art form is about? profanities delivered with such teasing aplomb, drama with such fine sensitivity and even the stage within the film is treated with such wild and fresh wit. the stage within a stage concept although old is ingenious and refreshing if treated well. in this case, it's hands down so. especially memorable is the climax, at the end of the movie where she gets her full and sweet revenge and the claiming back of her pride on stage, as an actress, where she probably first develops it anyways. this, i can't help but launch into hyperbolic praise but say once again, it's sheer ingenuity.

i figured the combination of the Shakespearean concept of the muse/fool to deal with the conscience of our protaganist, the Wildeian-irreverent wit meshed with contemporary humour, and the wildly original play with familiar human concepts of revenge, love, companionship, and jealousy makes it so attachable to anyone watching.

at the end, ain't 'being' fascination enough? since i can't outwrite nor outwit maugham here, i'll just stand and applause with all surrender and awe.

(the title of this post 'the Back of the Bus' was used in the movie to describe someone butt-ugly, i just thought this film was the antithesis of it and...i could use it as a buzzline, probably in nearer a future as i forsee it.)

Thursday, January 06, 2005


i'm think i'm starting to fully subscribe to the notion of serendipity. but if i do really fully subscribe to that i think my marital status will be a worrying 'single' for light years to come. (i mean how not to 'not look' at all) anyways i was meaning to say that i seem to stumble upon good movies when i'm really (a) no time to watch it; (b) switching on StarMovies at the most inappropriate of times and then voila something demands my attention or (c) combination of (a) and (b).

so i stumbled upon 'horaire' this time or Jet Lag in english. french, yes. juliette binoche and jay reno. and the most delightful of characterization i've seen in years really. the uncontrived, the most basic of human interaction that gives rise to the most fundamental of humours and human drama. this is a movie you don't watch for the twisting, mind-blogging plot. i concur that those, are not necessarily failings of this movie, but not a striking part of it. this charming little piece of romantic comedy is brought about by the 2 leads, entirely. binoche is ever so delightful. reno exudes an easy sort of charm, almost too vulnerable for our taking for-grantedness. and the equation of the two of them sparkles with the slightest of efforts. and it's actually really funny. laugh out loud funny. and what makes that work, i think, is the clever play of relation. relating what we would do in their circumstance and delivered to us ungarnished.

ironically, how this movie works is also based on the notion of serendipity. maybe things work in that way, the things beyond our control, that must be due to destinal shiftings. otherwise, money can't possibly fall from the sky, with one just sitting around, roasting his arse. it's not quite the defeatist excuse to say that one shouldn't bother trying to look for the better things in life, at least i don't believe in that. it's just the beauty of not looking, and the innate sense of wanting to be surprised still. but different from a child, we're greedier. we're no longer looking for that extra toy or even cash- we want that perfect love, quixotic tirades of them and consuming us, just because we weren't looking for it in the first place.

well, if the above fails, there is always the power of hope. isn't that's what's sustaining the disenfranchised and erm, their likes?

i'm not seeking to be politically correct here boy but take comfort that serendipity works for all. yep it does.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

New Year Paparazzi

for the convenience of all and the avoidance of cramming the style of my blog, the photos to the New Year's Eve party at the Ritz is out. so check out : (and then go under the 'New Year Glam @ Ritz 2004' album, most obviously)

on a frivolous note, my favourite photo I have annotated, affectionately known as the 'Tweese-We're so adorable' photo. Go check it out, it's timeless and downright incriminating. I'm wondering how much it could fetch, since three people are involved...

Monday, January 03, 2005

The Front is that Prick of a Needle Only Sharper

i meant for the title of this post to be fraiser-esque but there is definitely no humour intended in this post. the front of the year, the start of a brand new time, as some would put it, is the culmination of champagne-popping, alcohol-drenched laughter and incessant happiness because of this blurry, or otherwise, belief that the beginning is the cleansing of the bad of the year that has past, a fresh beginning, a no ordinary morning.

and as though i could get any more dramatic with my words, the beginning of this year has been draped with a veil of black, tainted with white blood. and only this dramatism, no one would dare mock.

as i stumbled the festive mood away, i sat by the pane of the iconic octagonal window (of the Ritz) -staring out of it, looking at the washed-skies and the nicoll highway glimmered by the morning drizzle. the question of unnecessary pain came to me with the episode of this most unexpected of natural disasters, ever so untimely, in sachets of shame and disgust. shame and disgust because i had not given my respect amidst my times of drunked jubilance, vodka and grapefruit-martini awashed without the slighest feel and remembrance of the literal floods that trouble many, closer to me than i thought. the front (of 2005) is that prick of a needle, only sharper.

i shall not endear all in a retrospective journey of reminescence of 2004 because memories rearrange themselves automatically when the need arises. but i thought it necessary to start the new year right, even if it partly means re-inaugurating my blog, lied dormant for the dust of months and the perpetuator of sloth must be squashed in this rude awakening of humanity. 2005 had been also rudely ushered in on a more personal front, that again i shall not affront all with because the details of which is indeed supremely personal. i guess people do surpass your own expectations even if it means you refuse to admit to it, or more like in denial to. take this extreme-tragedy for example. who would have thought, that in this day and age of advanced technology- light years from where we started, something of such catastrophic grandeur and supreme sadness could happen in what i call a 'meteorological catharsis'. if nature, of such supposedly constance and in Godly hands, could be of such unexplainable release, much less the inconstant human nature, that constantly seeks to surprise and surpass, with its agents of will and greed. is it really tough then to expect or even minutely hoping that a person one knows so closely, could change beyond one's wildest imagination?

when asked what was my new year's resolutions, i said besides resolving to be a better person as an entirety, i shouldn't really be asking for more since i'm grateful for all the things i have in my life up to this point. and solely judging from the party at Ritz, many people would affirm that for me. i've always treasured my friends because people form a large, and almost-consuming part of my life. The room was fantastic, made only more fantastic with the view and the people that were present. for memory sake, there were my closest 2, mavis, ZH+bets, the wacko-duo of my study pals, sabz+maureen, the bung, jon kam, leon, jason yeo (who arrived in the most fashionable lateness of 3am) and meryl+nic. the party went great, and perhaps some got on much better with others than some did. as a whole, it went more than just alright.

i shan't get too despondent in view of the beginning of a new year where the slate is still optimistically clean. but don delillo said something in 'white noise' that i think he should stand corrected, purely from my personal experience: 'our helplessness is incompatible with the idea of a man-made event'. i think it is. one can really that helpless when exposed to a man-made event where the heart is the only thing at stake.

finally, a moment's mourn for those engulfed by the wrath of the tsunamis.