Friday, December 31, 2010

Squeaks sleeping (2)

Here's how you know the TwinSqueaks are best friends.

Forgiveness

Forgiveness is like peeling an onion, with all its layers of pungency that sting and prick. You can't help shedding tears with every layer of hurt that comes off, leaving behind tightly closed leaves, each more raw and vulnerable than the previous, until you finally reach the heart. Then there is no more to peel, nothing left to make you cry again.

Then you know the forgiveness is complete.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Fair Deal

Would you be willing to work 12-hour long night shifts, 7 days a week, for $2000 a month?

In the coffee shop near my former home, there was an exceptionally friendly waiter who confided in us the terms of his employment. Leaving his wife and daughter behind in China, he toiled here for 2 years, under these conditions. For every $0.80 worth of coffee, he made the trip between the counter and the customer. God knows how many miles he must have walked in that coffee shop every night. One year we invited him to church for a Christmas event, he was so touched that he treated us to coffee the next day, and considered us friends ever since.

Why are we surprised that there is acute shortage of workers for such jobs as these? Singaporeans, fortunate enough to have experienced better living standards, naturally baulk at these harsh jobs. And so bosses turn to foreign workers hungry enough to put up with Dickensian employment. But I can't help thinking that even if there are willing takers, there is something distinctly exploitative in jobs with these conditions. Is it morally acceptable to suppress wages to maximise business profit margins?

Recently I saw a report on the living conditions of some foreigners here, who rent only bed space, not rooms, and share a room with up to 6 people. They remind me of the coolies, aka '猪仔' of my history textbooks.

Offer fairer terms, terms under which a worker can actually have an acceptable quality of life. Perhaps then we could find ourselves less dependent on foreign labour.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Squeaks sleeping

Here's how you know that TwinSqueaks are best friends.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

In my hands

It never ceases me to see how trusting these critters are. They simply throw their entire being into your hands and waited to petted and fed. Then they nibble you, and expect you to put up with the nips and not drop them. It's a good thing they are cute, because I don't see how else they can survive.

Here is Ninja, refusing to go back to her cage:


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Reflections

 One morning I woke up, looked out of the window and thought, 'what happened to the river!' Why are there white patterns on the water surface?

Then I realised that the water is actually reflecting the clouds in the sky. Wow...what a lovely sight.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

TwinSqueaks Feeding

I'm sorry to say that I can't still exactly tell which Squeak is which. How can two hamsters look so alike? They are best friends, in this picture, both are squeezed into the cube I've fixed onto their cage. One of them is feeding greedily, so she is probably Friendly. The other one, Ninja, is sleeping beneath her.

The Squeaks are fat and lazy in the day, but at night, our home turns into a circus, with hamster wheels turning at full speed, and Squeaks doing flips :P

It is so hard to carry out post-operative treatment for PipSqueak. The antibiotics probably tastes foul, because she refuses to drink it. Our hands were bitten (not nipped) repeatedly :P Now she is firmly convinced that we are her enemies, and won't play with us anymore :(

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Herbalife Day 02: A Hungry Woman

A hungry woman is an angry woman.

It doesn't matter if I weigh myself a thousand times a day. The scale refuses to lie. But I'm so hungry that I'm sure I have lost some weight already! Then V reminded me that it is only Day 02 of the meal replacement program. NOOOOoooooo!!! I can't imagine going on and on like this.

The powders come in different flavours, like dutch chocolate, french vanilla and tropical fruit. What does it matter to me? Even if they have Martian elixir flavour, there is no getting away from the fact that we are imbibing powdered shakes. How shall I put it? There isn't the aroma of hot food, its salivating anticipation, and the chew and the crunch of REAL substance. The shakes fill you up, but it's hard to bear the sensory disappointment. Then I get hungry and dream of braised pork belly on steaming buns.

This is Herbalife Day 02. The consolation is, I lost 0.4kg already.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Educational disorders

If I were a child in this age of psychological analysis, I might very well have been diagnosed as autistic. I hardly played with other children, but it wasn’t because I didn’t like them. They just never registered on my consciousness. Then again, I could also have been identified as dyslexic, because I couldn’t remember which way ‘C’ faces, and had similar problems with ‘5’, 'S' and a few other words. 

Luckily for me, my parents were too preoccupied with their large brood of 5 kids to bother with phantom ailments, and I was allowed to outgrow the developmental pains on my own. Of course, I’m somewhat misanthropic and am still reclusive, but that didn’t stop me from having a reasonably healthy and happy life. As for normality, is there anyone who doesn’t struggle with weaknesses or insecurities of some sort?

So people consult me about their children’s lack of concentration, I am perturbed. Firstly, I had no 'technique', no magic trick to help a child concentrate. Secondly, isn’t inattentiveness natural if the subject isn’t interesting? Which healthy active child prefers to sit still and pore over homework, when he could be gamboling around and making noise? Do you think inattentiveness is a disorder?

Of course, parents’ anxiety over their children’s results is understandable. But don’t problematize the natural inclinations of youth, and worse, seek treatment for them. As if tuition concentration camps (pun fully intended) are not bad enough, we are now resorting to fringe practices. Instead of hypnotherapy or other New Age psycho analysis, how about trying a little old fashioned discipline, aka self control, failing which, the stick?

Incidentally, the reason for the inattentiveness could simply be the lack of rest. Bomb the mind with stimulation without a break, and still expect it to function constantly in tip-top condition?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Kids

I'm sure, having pets is rather like having kids. I mean, they are cute and cuddly but have a will of their own. When you want to play, they would rather sleep, but when it is your turn to rest, they want to play. Plus, the inevitable heartache when they fall ill.

Alas, poor little PipSqueak. She had to go to the vet because there was a tiny lump on her foot. We were horrified! It was diagnosed as an abscess, and the vet squeezed it out. And the naughty hamster gave the vet a good nip *ouch* :P At least, it isn't a tumour. Sigh, we have to clean the wound on our own until she is well. It is dreadfully difficult to forcefeed her antibiotics.

TwinSqueaks gave me a fright when I noticed some wet erm...animal litter in their cage. Hauled them from their beds to check their tails, just in case.

It isn't always a bed of roses, this pet-owning affair.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Hush

Friendly is having a good snooze. Isn't it cute, the way she exposes her stomach without a care in the world?

We let the TwinSqueaks play with PipSqueak, and disappointingly, it wasn't such a success after all. The Squeaks were inquisitive about one another at first, but when it came to sharing food and favourite spots, it's every Squeak for herself. This is actually the first time I've seen PipSqueak take an aggressive stance. Poor little PipSqueak, placed side by side with the babies, we suddenly realised that they have outgrown her. She is, once again, the tiniest of them all.

In the meanwhile, the TwinSqueaks are now on a weight-management programme. We must have overfed them, because they have become so chubby! Too many sunflower seeds :P Now it's time for them to eat more alfafa and carrots instead, haha.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The good side


Oh well, I must be fair. Sebana Cove is lovely, with luxuriant greenery stretching along calm blue waters.



And here, you can almost believe that this is the Carribean. 

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

A smashing time

 You have been warned, so why wonder that there are swarms of mosquitoes everywhere? On our way into the resort, we encountered road signs that said 'Elephant crossing', 'Beware of Wild Boars', but our troubles were mainly with animals of far smaller proportions...like...mosquitoes. I'm still scratching dreadfully from all the bites I got, and mind you, it is despite using a number of repellent stickers :(

Then, inspired by the Chen Zhen dvd we brought, I exercised my gongfu chops. Vengeance is sweet...and painful. (Warning: gross sight below)

I felt slightly guilty for dirtying their wall, but as V pointed out, that this wasn't the first insect smashed on the wall anyway. 

Monday, December 06, 2010

Always 2009 and never 2010

Going to Sebana Cove is like stepping into a time warp, where all developments stopped a year ago. Even the newsletter displayed on the bulletin board is dated 2009. It promised that under the new management, there would be major refurbishment and renewal. Something must have happened since, or rather, nothing happened since, and there are signs of half finished work everywhere. It was a little like being the main characters of a Hollywood ghost story - wandering around lovely architecture, now crusted with mold, and shuddering a little at the fine layer of dust that cover the elegant fittings. Restaurants are shuttered. The gym and other facilities lay unused. There are mysterious rooms that are boarded up, though they once must have been intended to be function rooms. What had happened in the time between V's first visit and our present one?

It is as if the resort is fighting a losing battle with the Nature it is hewn from. Monkeys stroll insolently in the golf course and along the marina. Squirrels dart around our balcony, not that I mind them. Mosquitoes attacked in swarms, which is why the lizards are so fat that I wonder how they even managed to stay on the walls.

We asked to rent bicycles, which were advertised. After a phone call, we were informed that all bicycles are broken. All at the same time? Is there no one in charge who cares anymore?

And these, besides the fabulous food, are my main impressions of Sebana Cove.

TwinSqueaks - Friendly and Ninja

We still can't tell who is who. They are so perfectly alike! But they exhibit different personalities, and this is how we named them. One shall be named Friendly, because she is such an extrovert. Offer her food, and she would hug your finger instead. She runs everywhere, and when she met PipSqueak, she happily groomed her.

The other is called Ninja, for her ability to slink around and her preference for dark corners. She is also a docile little thing, but tends to be shy. TwinSqueaks get along well with each other, betraying no hint of bullying behaviour. We are going to let PipSqueak play with them soon.

Greedy Squeaks they are. It seems that they are much bigger already, though we barely had them for two weeks.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Farewell to a bit of history

Was shocked to hear that the Royal Copenhagen tea lounge would be closed down soon. Apparently the parent company in Denmark intends to halt its operations in Singapore. For the uninitiated, it used to be a place where tai tais sip tea out of fine china and enjoy elegant open face sandwiches. Over the years, I did notice a gradual fading of the lustre from its cushioned chairs, and signs of slipping standards. They didn't even serve us with matching crockery that day. Guess, it is all over now. We have to find another place for high tea.

Monday, November 22, 2010

TwinSqueaks

Meet TwinSqueaks. Tentatively, this is what they would be known as, until we have figured out who is who. They look so perfectly alike that if you have seen one, you have met the other. Here is one of them. Doesn't she look sweet and innocent?

 Here is another of them. Or...maybe it is the same one. Hm...I can't tell.

The menagerie is growing. We put the cages side by side, and PipSqueak is very curious about them. She keeps coming out to look, with her ears pricked up and nose quivering.

Yes, they were an impulse buy. I have been looking for a Syrian actually, and we met some. There was a pretty grey one, but I just don't feel anything for it. Then there was another wild-haired spitting male Syrian hamster, but it looked more like the Tasmanian devil. We can't imagine having it at home and we wouldn't dare to groom it!

Then suddenly, a dear little face looked out at us from the tank. They are such pretty little things that I wonder how I could have missed them at first! So, the inevitable happened. They are settling down very well and playing actively.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Expert teaching

For all the learned theories of language acquisition we have read in the university, I still find it a mystery. Parents (and early childhood teachers), don't imagine for a moment that we are the ones who get them to understand language. Most of the time when we teach a child words, we focus on nouns - 'cat', 'dog', 'apple'. Sometimes, but rarely, we move on to adjectives - 'happy', 'hungry'. Then, in the gap between our teaching and full speech, the child somehow puts in 'is', 'on', 'to', and other functional words that have no real content. Most mysteriously of all, he develops a sense of personhood and differentiates between 'baby' (in the third person), and 'I', between 'mummy' and 'you'.

How does it happen?

The biggest social hazard of being a language teacher is that parents are always anxious to get tips and tricks from me, as if I have some secret manual that we teachers possess and guard jealously. I declare that there isn't, and everything I know, I am not afraid to reveal in class. Sadly, they are invariably disappointed by my response.

What is the parent to do? I feel that language learning is far more holistic than we dare to admit. We would like to think that if we could force a child to read more and write more, he would improve. But we forget that for every hour he spends reading and writing in Standard English, many more are spent listening and interacting. If a family's lingua franca is Singlish, which is likely to have more influence on him? Basically, if parents want their child to speak well, they have to model good language practices for him. I remember that when I was young, mummy explained to me the logical relationships implied by 'but' and 'because'. And my father taught us 三字经 and 唐诗. Nowadays he still corrects the wrong characters in my Chinese smses. In retrospect, they have probably helped me tremendously in my academic pursuits.

I understand that parents are anxious to give their children a headstart in English, our language of instruction. But I think parents who are less proficient in English are better off speaking to the child in Mandarin instead. Besides, then they can save on Chinese tuition. To my horror, someone once told me that he isn't good in either language. Then...what language does he think in? But that is a cosmic question I can't deal with today.

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Grief Ago

I have been thinking of getting another hamster, but the Fat One reminded me that they erm..don't have very long lives, and the traumatic experience would happen again not too far in the future. So, get a dog, she suggested. They last longer, at least ten years.

I say, if one really wants to escape the sadness of losing a pet, get a tortoise. Or an elephant. They are more likely to outlive you.

The regrettable truth is, nothing is permanent on this side of heaven, and we are all cursed to suffer big or small bereavements one day. There isn't any point trying to avoid the inevitable, we just have to learn when it is time to let go. There is a season for everything. A time to be born and a time to die...a time to weep and a time to laugh (Ecclesiastes 3).

Sometimes I think that our pet ownership gives us a glimpse into Eden, to a time before the Fall, when Man was given dominion over the earth. I suppose it is a little like having all the animals, lions and all, as our pets.

Thank God that we can look forward to a time in our redeemed future when the wolf will live with the lamb...and the young child put his hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all (God's) holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11).

Only then would we be free to love without the pain of parting anymore.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Prayer and Worrying

One very useful tip Pastor gave during sermon is this: to replace worry with prayer. To worry is to constantly talk to yourself about what troubles you. So instead of talking to yourself, talk to God instead. The same faculty that frets can be trained to pray. What a good idea!

I tried doing it, and when I paid more attention to my thoughts, I noticed that I am nearly always worrying! It doesn't matter what I am thinking, or what conscious thoughts I have, somewhere at the back of my mind, looming like a dark shadow, are the things that worry me. They never quite go away, though they don't intrude into my activities or words.

Which means that if I were to follow Pastor's advice, I am going to be praying day and night! Well...it beats constant worry, so never mind, I shall just do it anyway.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

of Mice and Men

Those two Squeaks.

Of course I never had any illusions that my love for them is reciprocated, but even then, their pragmatism is too blatant. Now that they live in the playpen with all the toys and food and bedding they like, they have gone wild completely. Even BigSqueak, who used to climb happily into my hand, has taken to hiding, ninja-like, in dark corners. They are having the time of their lives of course. Which other hamsters in Singapore live in such luxury?

And hence they now completely ignore us, not realising that all these good things come from us. They don't want to play with us anymore. 'Don't bother me when I'm gnawing my sunflower seeds', 'I'm digging a hole in my favourite box, I shall dig all the way to Australia. I'm too busy to play with you!' To think that in the past, when they were confined to their cage, they used to wait eagerly at its door whenever we walk pass the cage, for food and to be allowed to come out for a few minutes of freedom.

Oh the perverse nature of fallen creation! I half wonder if in God's eyes, the Israelites of the Old Testament had not behaved in exactly the same way. They prayed and cried when the enemies were at the city gates, and then forgot all about God's law when they had victory. In fact, we aren't much better either. While enjoying the liberality of God's hand, we quite take for granted or even forget the giver's love. We get too busy to serve God, too busy to care about the Great Commission, well...too busy to worship God. 

V is sure that if we remove everything from them, they would be sweet and cuddly again. But I would rather not. Since they are only hamsters, they shall be allowed to indulge in their wayward little free wills.

God, of course, has rather different expectations of us.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Standard Singlish

The mistake is probably excusable, since it is made by goodenglish.org. One can hardly expect it to get its Singlish right.

On one of its posters, in imitation of typical Singapore English, there is an expression 'You got eat already or not?' I have to protest that this expression is an unflattering and inaccurate caricature of Singlish.

The problem with this sentence is the expression of its perfective aspect. In standard English, it is expressed as 'Have you eaten...?', with the compound verb 'have eaten' carrying present perfective meaning.

In Singlish, the perfective aspect is carrried in 'already', as in, for example, 'the bus come already' (the bus has come). On the other hand, 'got' is sometimes used to indicate past tense, as in 'the bus got come' (the bus came).

I think that the sentence in the goodenglish.org poster is simply carrying too much, and redundant information. The expression should simply be 'you got eat or not', or 'you eat already or not', but not 'you got eat already or not?' Excuse my purist streak, but not every mangled expression is Singlish. Singaporeans who do speak Singlish intuitively follow systematic rules too. We may speak wrongly, but we don't speak like idiots.

Maybe it is the first sign of creolisation - when the users of the pidgin forms begin to recognize new language structures, and can identify whether an expression is correctly incorrect, or incorrectly incorrect. Hm...maybe we don't want to get there, of course. This brickbat aside, I support the Speak Good English movement.

Friday, October 15, 2010

His/Hers

His
 Hers

I admit, I'm a beauty product junkie. Hey, which woman isn't? Ruefully, I took stock the other day, and conclude...I just have to throw some away. They are taking too much space, and deep in my heart, I know that I'm never going to use them again. Why did I buy them? Because...because...they seem like such good ideas! Like the FaceShop paste that promises to pull out all your blackheads (didn't work), or the mask that envelops my face in oxygen foam...(I see no difference after that).

Sigh...if all these products only do half of what they claim, (like the 'miracle broth' space age cream), I should look about 12 years old, because they are supposed to 'reverse ageing at the DNA level'. (HAH!) But there are still fine lines around my eyes, so I'm obviously a s*cker prone to wishful thinking and vulnerable to hyperbolic marketing :(

This is merely half of the damage. You guys haven't seen my vanity table yet. 

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Who's there?

BigSqueak looking out inquiringly when we knock on her door. If there is food, she'll come out. If not, she goes back to sleep, ay, and closes the door with tissue paper too.


Friday, October 01, 2010

Waiting is the Hardest Work of Faith

The hardest part about waiting is not knowing when it would end.

Sometimes God answers prayers almost instantaneously, but occasionally, He allows the trial of waiting - of waiting for circumstances to move, of waiting for emotions to change, and of waiting for explanation to emerge. And dear Lord, times like that, it feels like the prayer hasn't been heard. Is there someone else at the other end of the telephone line?

As Christians, we are impressed by stories of how God parted the Red Sea, or even made the sun stand still, but honestly, I suspect that these miracles aren't as difficult as molding the human heart. Whatever involves only strength and power is probably easy for God. He can even call the world into existence in 6 days. But to guide the course of our thoughts and feelings, that is a delicate operation because God gave us free will. After molding us to be the best that we can be, He wants us to be recognizably and uniquely us. And that is why waiting is inevitably part of the Christian experience.

We wait because others take time to respond to God, we wait because our minds take time to renew, and we wait because God somehow has in mind a greater plan which we are not aware of. And in the meantime? How do we lessen the weariness of waiting?

I rather like the reflections in this article: Dogged Devotion
While faced with the unknown, we should focus on what is known i.e. God's unfailing love. Even if God's ways are inexplicable, some things He makes unquestionably clear - His love on the Cross, and the power of resurrection.

We can bear with the wait, because we have hope.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Reflections on Commonwealth Games athletes' village

Why is the English language so confusing?

According to an Indian minister, the athletes' village is 'habitable'. As I have always used the word 'inhabitable' to mean 'liveable', I thought he made a mistake. So I checked the dictionary. As it turns out, both words - 'habitable' and 'inhabitable' mean the same thing! But I thought that usually the suffix 'in-' is used to transform a word to its opposite meaning. No, in this peculiar case, the antonym is 'uninhabitable'.

I can't help thinking, the minister made a strategic decision in his choice of word by avoiding the least hint of the negative suffix. Whether the athletes' village is actually 'uninhabitable' or 'inhabitable', he declares without ambiguity, it is 'habitable'.

Monday, September 27, 2010

PipSqueak

I finally managed to take some fairly clear pictures of PipSqueak. This is before she scuttles off into darkness and seclusion again. Poor little PipSqueak. Why does she live as if she's constantly in mortal danger? And her face is so thin and sharp that sometimes we wonder if she's actually a mouse and not a hamster. Compare her with the chubby BigSqueak. She's the one who has been nipping me though. Naughty naughty.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

More of BigSqueak

It is not like we practise favouritism, but it is hard to get pictures of PipSqueak. She is just too reclusive and any sudden movement makes her scurry back into her house immediately. Sigh...but here are more pictures of BigSqueak. She's so different from PipSqueak, when she sees a camera pointing at her, she somehow wants to poke her nose into it, and this makes it easier for us to take close up shots.

Below: so funny, she looks like she's begging for treats

Above: an inquisitive nose quivering. Is it time to come out and play?

Sadly, BigSqueak is turning out to be a bully after all. In the animal world, no matter how cute they are to us, for them, life is all about the survival of the fittest. I realised that BigSqueak is always squashing PipSqueak deliberately, literally, throwing her weight around. As poor PipSqueak is much weaker, she can only squeak shrilly. Goodness me...the squeaking that goes on at night sometimes wakes us up. Oh no...are we going to have to separate them? But most of the time, they are the best of friends, and even when we bought them two houses, they like to squeeze into one, even if then they start quarrelling over it. Animals! Don't try to make sense of what they are doing.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Running

In the dark ages of my school years, we serfs had no human rights, and our PE teachers were the stuff legends were made of. I still remember clearly a cruel but effective tactic used to make us run faster: The whole group had to run a lap within a given time, and if one person failed, the entire group ran an extra round. If two were slow, we ran two more rounds...so on and so forth. You see, eventually, we did all we could to make the timing, even if we killed ourselves doing so. My heart pounded so furiously that if I were any older than 18, I think I would have dropped dead. but no, miraculously, I always survived. I guess, I was tougher than I thought, haha. In fact, these PE teachers pushed me from a Nil to a Gold in two years, so...*shrug*

Now that I've started jogging again, I'm slowly finding that it can actually be rather enjoyable, if there isn't a whip cracking after you. There is no one to make me run until I am collapsing, and I can listen to exciting music that pushes me on. Well...of course, there would be less obvious results, but never mind. I'm thinking about the long run. A sport has to be reasonably tolerable if I'm going to keep at it.

*** ***
I saw this new product launched by OTO, that promises that 5 mins a day is all you need to lose weight, as you do crunches, pushups and stretches on it. For just a moment, I was all ready to take out my credit card. Then a sudden thought occurred to me. Why don't I just do the crunches, pushups and stretches everyday...sans the machine? Why would I need to use a device to do something that I can do on my pilates mat? And I can do more variations on the mat too! Hm...

Monday, September 06, 2010

BigSqueak

BigSqueak had an unexpectedly docile moment, staying totally still as we took snapshots of her. These are the best photos we have of the Squeaks so far.

Suen asks, 'how can hamsters be cuter than (my) golden retriever?' They can, if you get to know them personally. Of course if one only looks at how cuddly the pet is, then it's hard for a hamster to be cuter than a golden retriever. But the more we get to know them, the more they grow on us. We know all their likes and dislikes, we understand when they are afraid or happy. Then you see, they look more lovable to us:P, because they belong to us, but (your) golden retriever doesn't.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Locked in or Keep Out?

This is to reassure all animal rights activists that our Squeaks are perfectly happy in captivity and have not the least desire for freedom. They don't see the cage as a prison, it is their home. And the proof of this observation is this:

V and I, ever the loving pet owners, wanted to give them more, well, exposure to the outside world, since they are always squeaking and squabbling. Maybe they need more space, we surmised. So we put them in our nice spacious toilet (it's very clean, no worries), and left the cage door wide, wide open. It is time for them to come out and play without adult supervision.

One hour later, we returned, and this is what we saw. Two Squeaks, squeezed side by side in their little house, happily snoozing. No inquisitive nose poking around, no investigation of their brave new world. No no no, they prefer to be snug and safe, near their beloved bedding, food and toys. The cage door is open, predators might come in. Better hide at home until the adults come back.

Very pragmatic little creatures. What is freedom without security? Now now, don't read too much allegorical meaning into what I'm writing here.

***
I must admit. I totally spoil these two Squeaks. Yesterday I fed them some organic brown rice. I am sure that they need the extra vitamins and protein :P Besides, they like it very much.

Friday, August 27, 2010

BigSqueak close up

Nothing comes between BigSqueak and her sunflower seeds. See how intent she is. How she'd survive in the wild, I have no idea. Even if the predator comes, she'll refuse to stop gnawing. Luckily for Squeaks, they escape extinction by being cute.

This is their favourite cubby hole. Both Squeaks like nothing better than squeeze together inside. Unfortunately, they have greatly increased in size under our loving care, and Big Squeak alone fills up almost the whole tube now, as she curls up into a fur-covered ball of muscles. You can imagine the squeaking and squabbling when poor little PipSqueak tries to push her way in as well.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Only Black?

This isn't a new toy.

It is merely my new utilitarian travelling companion. I shall be honest here. If not for Audible audiobooks, which run on Creative devices, I wouldn't have bought another Creative mp3 player. As a serial customer of the company, I can't help noticing that there are some fatal weaknesses in the way the products are presented. It is very well to have technically sound models, but a company can fumble so easily on simple, superficial matters, and suffer unnecessarily for them

This is a Zen. It is very cheap, thank goodness. Notice that it is black, and there wasn't really a choice, only between different black patterns. So I closed my eyes and picked one. I asked for a case, and got the above. In this era of cool, jazzy iPhone skins, my poor country mouse of a Zen is wearing an ill-fitting black (again) case that slips off every now and then. It doesn't even close properly >:I

I understand of course that mp3 players are a waning industry, so less effort is invested in this department. But this nevertheless is a Creative product and I am a customer, even if I paid only $89 for this item. What sort of message is conveyed when design of such indifferent quality is allow to flaunt the Creative brand name?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Leverage

We invent new words all the time, and when we don't, we are busy using words in new ways. I have no idea why, but people love using nouns as verbs:

Let's journey together
Can you loan me a pen? and grrr...
This impacts our country.

Frankly, I think this betrays intellectual sloth (stone me if you will!) We just can't be bothered to think of the correct words, and why must 'lend' take on so many forms? Lend, lent, loan...who cares?

But today I am ranting about the abuse of a different word. Somewhere, the word 'lever' finds its way from the science textbook into financial jargon, in its noun form 'leverage', where it is used as a verb.

I leverage my capital to increase my income.

In this new disguise, it then slips into everyday use, thereby usurping the function of its mother verb 'lever'. But the worst offence is, people then develop the habit of tacking on an extra preposition to this (no!) verb

I leverage on my skills in cooking...NOoooooo, why have 'leverage on' if you only need 'leverage', and why use 'leverage' if you mean to say 'lever'?

If you insist on using the word wrongly, at least, use it wrongly in the right way! Arh, now even I am confused.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Squeaks

Meet PipSqueak. Little Fish took an unexpectedly good shot of her, though sadly, the resolution is too low. Isn't she adorable? She looks so timid! The other picture below is her feeding.

This is BigSqueak. She's trying to come out and play, but we are teasing her by pushing her back into the cage. See how far she's stretching her neck! Eventually, we did let her come out in her ball, and it was as usual, difficult to persuade her to leave it after that.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Duty

Read an interesting article about younger men marrying foreign brides. One was quoted saying that he wanted to get married so that his children can support him in his old age. Why does it sound so...wrong?

I guess, it just seems such a feudalistic way to see one's own wife and children. He paid a price for his foreign bride, and he bore his children. Then he assigns them important tasks in completing his life plan. It is almost as if, they belong to him. But you see, they don't.

I vaguely remember that at the altar, we vowed to love each other in woe and in weal, in sickness and in good health. A marriage is meant to be held together by unconditional love. Who knows if one of the couple would one day become the weaker link? What if, despite forking out good money for a healthy looking bride, she turns out to be barren, and thus fails in her destiny to provide children for him? Is this an occasion for a refund?

Besides, one never owns the children he has, even if he bore and clothed them. They belong to themselves, and have every right to live as they wish. They don't exist to support their parents. They usually do, because people usually love their parents. It is one thing to enjoy the fruits of love's labour, another to plan with cool calculation one's security in old age. The more we expect from others, the higher the chances of disappointment.

And if this is the deal offered by the would-be husband, I am not surprised that my lady compatriots are not interested.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Threadfin

I've expanded my repertoire of dishes, though I no longer like cooking. It is not fun anymore, and I'm so tired of healthy dishes - porkball porridge, steamed fish, lightly stir-fried tenderloin. Sometimes I am tempted to put in a few drops of sesame oil and rice wine...but no, these things are forbidden for now. Too 'heaty'.

Apparently, the convalescent has to feed on this special fish 'gnor he', to make sure that the wounds heal better. Unfortunately, since I know only the dialect name for this fish, I have no idea how to buy it at NTUC. I see 'snapper', 'cod', 'salmon', 'batang'...which is 'gnor he'? Being a anti-social and misanthropic, I don't speak to strangers and hence cannot ask the 'aunties' shopping in NTUC. And being a modern woman, I don't dare to go into the wet market...not that there is one where I live. Sigh...

Luckily, NTUC must have realised the predicament we young wives are in. It helpfully labelled the fish '五鱼' at the fish counter, and I understand enough dialect to know that 'gnor' means '五' in Mandarin. Ladies who are like me, for your information, the mystery fish is 'threadfin'. Now you know.

But I haven't found the sugarcane yet. Never mind, at least I have also learnt to double boil.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Mostly empty

Were the tins half full or half empty? Mine was mostly empty.

It has been years since I last sold flags.

Maybe I have become older and less charming, or maybe I wasn't wearing a school uniform, and hence somehow invoke less sympathy. Whatever the reason is, people HAVE definitely become less generous and more hostile. I remembered gathering much more donations from the passers-by then. In fact, it was those who refused to donate who looked embarassed, as if they felt obliged to donate. What has happened to our society since?

I didn't mind the heat and discomfort of standing beside a bus stop with a tin, even if it meant getting covered with dust from vehicles' exhaust fumes. But what hurt most was the rudeness I experienced. My goodness, being a misanthrope, I wouldn't say that I am usually friendly. But it was shocking to see the kaleidoscope of rejection methods. Some people...simply put, behaved as if they had the right to treat others anyway they want. I wanted to say, hey, I'm a volunteer, not a beggar ok... Just trying to help out here. Trying to be useful to society, even if it annoys you. You have the right to be a stingy bug*er but not the right to be a rude one.
Ok, I admit, eventually, some aggressiveness in me manifested. I approached a group of NUS students and (politely) asked if anyone would like to donate. The semi-circle of undergraduate eyeballs stared at me uncomprehendingly, and so I said coldly, "Not one among (all of) you can spare one coin?" Then I rolled my eyes at them and walked away. Self-righteousness rarely felt so justified. So there!

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Some pictures

Smiling through the brain freeze. Actually we came out into the open just for this shot. Then it's right back into shelter and heating.
Forgot which lake this was. Too many lakes around


A pensive moment on the train.

The snowy mountains! Always winter and never Christmas!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Graffiti

It is everywhere.

It doesn't matter where you go. If there is a blank and reasonably smooth surface - an old shed, under the bridge, on garden seats - it is possible canvas for self-appointed graffiti artists. No real skill is required, as V pointed out, they all seem to follow a similar style. The graffiti usually consists of words in fat bubble letters, just as what we saw on the Mrt train graffiti. The repertoire of the graffiti artist might even extent to simple cartoon characters. Some sadly resorted to random squiggles of paint.

And thus, in the otherwise pristine environment of pastoral countryside, in the gleaming towns, a subculture of free-spirited self-expression insists on making its presence felt, or rather, seen.

Graffiti is so prevalent in Switzerland that I am beginning to wonder if the recent case of Mrt vandalism is reflection more of cultural differences than criminal intention. Maybe it is perfectly acceptable over there, and even blotches of spray paint are preferred to unadorned surfaces.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Toilets

I am traumatised by the toilets in our rooms. Our dear host country have no qualms it seems, about doing its private business in highly open ways. The toilets in our rooms dont ever seem to be fully partitioned off! And the shower area is, gasp, a glass cylinder! And in one room, the cistern aka throne is simply part of the room. No doors, no walls. Only token glass panels. And I thought that only prisoners arent allowed privacy when they go to the toilet! I must say, the interior design really take the open concept toilet to new heights. What a dreadful avant garde idea.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Fairytales

I am typing on a qwertz kezboard, not a qwerty one, so do pardon my typos if I make any. Besides, it is so freaking expensive to use the computer here that I am reallz in a dreadful hurrz, and have no time to proofread.

I can quite understand why people think that Switzerland tours are boring. We have been driving through long stretches of rolling fields, verdant mountains tipped with snow caps, delighted by accidental glimpses of old castles, and awakened by cow bells on grazing cattle. Then there are flower-covered cottages, overlooking vast pristine lakes, on which white swans float serenely. Every European fairytale I know comes alive in my mind. Sigh...endless loveliness can get monotonous, but never mind, I will try to get used to it.

Mount Titilis
We wheeled out our heavy armour to combat the snow. Goodness me! Can you imagine what it is like to live here? "Always winter and never Christmas!" (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe). The snow is so thick that it is soft and almost springy. We lasted a total of...1 minute in the outside - in 2 intervals of 30 seconds each. Actually, the down jackets worked quite well to block out the cold, but I was worried about losing my nose. It cost 100 francs to take 3 cable cars that brought us to this mountain top, the advertisment for the rides tout stunning "paranomic" views, but when I wasn`t covering my eyes in fear, all I could see was the blinding whiteness of snow, so hm...seems rather a pity huh.

It has been raining, and raining, and raining, except when the rain turns into snow. Tell me that I am not crazy, but the cold inspired/drove me to go on an wild jacket buying spree - a leather jacket, a fleece jacket, a pullover, and a down jacket. Arh!!! I am going to have to stop this insanity. But, I am still cold. All my lovely. summer outfits, which I lovingly prepared in Singapore are never going to see the light of day.

Ok, in a while, we are going for a cheese fondue dinner. The milk here is so rich that you can taste the butter in it. Looking forward.

Signing off, Interlaken.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Zermatt

It is summer but we have to bring along our down jackets just in case. The sun is up alright, but when the wind blows...

This morning we were unceremoniously awakened by a terrible alarm announcement: evacuate! there is an incident in the hotel. And it was repeated again in an assortment of European languages. Blearily, V and I gathered our passports and wallets, threw on something warm, and walked down the stairs of the hotel. As soon as we arrived, panting and slightly worried, a sheepish man in a suit came out to tell us that it was a computer mistake. Whatever that means.

That aside, we are really enjoying ourselves here. Everywhere in Switzerland seems to be covered with blooming flowers, our coach rolls through valleys where crystal clear water runs down in silver streams. It is like a fairytale landscape come to live.

We have just tasted the best sausage we have ever had - taut, crispy skin covering juicy meat. Then there was the soft home made ice-cream. And croissants! I have hoarded two more in my room, to be eaten with mild, chewy cheese. Nope, I don`t think we will grow fat, because there is so much walking to be done. We always seem to be heading uphill or downhill. Phew.

The only catch is, everything is dreadfully expensive. I am paying good francs for every precious minute to quickly blog here. Signing off now folks.

Zermatt, Switzerland.

Monday, June 07, 2010

V's entry: The women don't get it

The women don't get it!

Sunday Times came with a beautiful schedule of all the matches in World Cup this year. The World Cup is of course the stuff that dreams are made of, and upon which hopes are raised and realised or dashed - oh, the glory and excitement of football! How thoughtful of the newspapers to come up with such a handy way to keep track of who's winning and what new battles to expect each day!

Masterofboots however, had a very different idea of what the schedule is good for:


Lining for her hamsters' cage. She innocently said, "The paper is of such good quality I thought it would be perfect for holding animal litter."

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Of tithes and donations

Until the investigations are completed, I will not say anything about the allegations of money mismanagement in City Harvest. We will know the conclusions soon. Neither am I a member of the church.

I’m writing about the criticism of the church’s extravagances, such as the purchase of expensive audio/visual systems.

When an organization is classified as a charity, and is reported to receive donations, it is natural that people have certain expectations of the way it spends its money, even if all transactions are legitimate and above board. They examine the accounts of the church, and then ask, ‘why is this charity organization splurging?’ There are those who criticize pastors’ lifestyles because they collect ‘donations’ from their members, who might be even poorer than them. This is based on wrong understanding of what it means to give to the church.

I don’t see the tithe as donation, and hence to me, the Church isn’t an organization receiving my charity. It receives money from believers because we obey the injunction in the Bible to do so. Except for community services, I have never seen a church solicit donations from the public. While classified as a public organization, it is really also private group, with its own member list. We are free to worship where we choose, and give our tithes where we please. I dare say that those who stay in the church accept the way the church conducts its financial affairs, and if they do not, there are avenues within the church to raise their concerns.

Hence, the state-of-the-art sound system of City Harvest cannot be spoken of in the same way as the fabled gold tap in Durai’s office. It is a decision made by people who have agreed to move together as a group. They give money out of their free will, to maintain the functions of this group. If reflection is required on whether this is the best use of money, it could be done at the church’s AGM, which all members have the responsibility to attend. Basically, as long as there isn’t criminal breach of trust, no one else needs interfere.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Big Squeak and Pip Squeak

The male species is now very much outnumbered at home. The hamsters happened after all - two females called Big Squeak and Pip Squeak. You can guess why they are thus called. I would have liked to put their pictures here, but they move too fast and won't stay still for a moment.

Pets these days have really a privileged life.. Once upon a time, hamsters were just kept in simple cages with a treadmill - humble housing. Now they are housed in a duplex - a double-storeyed bungalow that comes with an exercise area, sleeping hut, bathroom, individual water bottles, teeth stone and soft bedding. There is anti-stress supplement in their food to help them cope with the transition of going to a new home. We had to buy baby pet wipes, shampoo, and a whole lot of other welfare stuff. 

Big Squeak is extraordinarily lively. She spent the whole day playing upstairs, until we seriously thought that she was stuck and couldn't get down. So these two giants stuck our clumsy fingers at her trying to push her down, and she squeaked in protest. We worried the whole day and night about how we could get her back to the living area, when suddenly, she decided that she wanted to get down, and easily slid down the tube. Hmm...we don't understand our babies very well yet. Pip Squeak hid in her little hut the whole day. I hope that she had eaten some food when we weren't looking.

Well...responsibilties of having pets. Dear me, if this is what it takes to keep them healthy and happy, I wonder what having children would be like.

Friday, April 30, 2010

To do and to be

Disclaimer: the following is merely my own musing, based on my experience. Read it if you please.

It is no wonder that people sometimes perceive Christians as hypocritical.

Haven’t you met people in church who are just, well, ‘too good to be true’. How shall I put it? People who flinch at vices of every sort, and who are eager to please, to the extent that they appear contrived. Maybe they are genuinely nice, and that’s great. But if you catch a misanthrope like me behaving like that, it is most likely because I’m acting in a manner I see other Christians behave. The world calls it ‘peer pressure’, we call it ‘church tradition’.

In defense of this behavior, I would say that this isn’t done with the intention to deceive or impress. Rather, we are obeying our idea of what a Christian should do. The bible tells us to turn the other cheek, to go the extra mile, and so we try to do what we know to be right. Yet it isn’t us. It isn’t human nature to be nice. We are sinful, our fallen nature chafes against the angelic behavior we put on. If there is such inconsistency between the heart and the behavior, naturally, we would look like we are trying too hard. We are trying too hard.

How does a Christian behave like a Christian? We go to church and sing hymns, and turn our noses at vices. These are the easiest and most obvious duties of a Christian. There is nothing easier than being a goody-two-shoes if one sets his mind to it, but these are merely superficial actions, if one is not filled with the life-changing power of the Holy Spirit. An unregenerated professing Christian doesn’t lie but doesn’t forgive lies too; he has no debt, and no love for his neighbour either. One can thus become a narrow minded zealot on the straight and narrow path.

This happens because transformation actually isn’t a matter of doing, but being. Righteous behavior comes across as insincere if there is no renewing work of the Holy Spirit, which makes us more like Christ. It is a transformation that takes place first on the inside, in our spirit, before it is seen in our behavior. It isn’t wrong to try to do the right thing, but how much easier it would be if our heart is in the right place. Then it isn’t a matter of effort anymore. It is behavior that comes about because of our new nature.
This transformation only happens when one is willing to die to himself. This is the hardest part of godly living – to recognize one’s inability to do anything good, and to allow God to have His way. This means giving up what we protect with all of our might, the deepest desires of our heart, and what we fear to confess even to God. How much easier it is to simply fob God off by carrying out a manageable set of Christian duties! But then, such a person will not know what it is like to find joy in pleasing God.

I am not there yet, but I am beginning to understand how it works. I think I’m beginning to know what Jesus means when he says that his ‘yoke is light and easy’. Imitating Christ isn’t about imitating what other Christians do, but being free to do what is right because we are no longer hobbled by our feet of clay.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Change

Lord,

Change the conditions and people I don't like.
Change the circumstances I don't find comfortable.

But most of all,

Change me, because when I am different, everything changes for me.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Mice

I blame Ratatouille, Mrs Frisby and the Rats of Nimh, and most of all, Stuart Little.

For days and days, I've been dreaming of my adorable wiffy little pets, and the weekend was finally time for me to get them. But when I saw the real hamsters...

How shall I put it? I hadn't reckoned on the snuffling nose, the quivering whiskers, and horrors of horrors, they even squeak. They...are...mice! Rodents! And suddenly, I remembered with stunning clarity, I don't dare to touch mice.

Nothing can be more of a reality check than...reality.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The great grill

My dear Wedding Jie-Meis, of course all of you had such perfectly valid reasons, I cannot be angry with you. But I wanted you to know how much loving effort I took to prepare the feast that you would have attended, if you had been able to make it. No, no, this isn't a guilt trip. Well...not really anyway.

There was other food catered from other sources, but I cooked all of the below:

Coleslaw - I chopped everything by hand, even the cranberries, so that the taste would be more even.


Shepherd's pie - see how beautifully crisp the top is.


Grilled wings. They came in two flavours - Italian and Chinese. I woke up at 7am just to marinate them.
Now you see it, now you don't. The boys lapped up everything :) I hadn't known that I'm such a good cook. Haha, but there is little likelihood of me repeating this feat. After slaving away in front of the oven the whole day, I came down with a fever. So I'm sorry to say that the next time, it would be good old potluck.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Fire and Water

This is the view of the volcano we had from the restaurant.  Splendid isn't it?

I'm embarassed to admit that the turtles were the only animals we dared to touch. And they are the biggest I've ever seen. Oh dear, what are we doing to do with our terrapin when it reaches that size?

But Turtle Island isn't a place for animal-lovers to go to, unless they are animal-rights activists. Our island guide tried to persuade us to pet a snake 'No problem, the mouth is all taped up'. Or take pictures with a eagle, which was ignominously made to flap around like a chicken, or grab the turtles from the water and turn them over. The place reminds me of a very primitive zoo, in the bad old days when men were made to fight beasts for others' pleasure.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Bali

Ahhh...what luxury it is to wake up to breakfast served in your own private pavilion  beside the swimming pool, and not to meet a neighbour throughout the stay. I can get used to villa living.

All memorable moments seem centred around meal times. We had lunch at a restaurant overlooking the volcano, and I innocently asked our driver 'so can we walk to the volcano after lunch'. er, the answer is no, of course. Volcanos are only to be enjoyed at a respectful distance.

Then, there was a seafood dinner on the beach, where fireworks were going off before our eyes. We had steamed crab, calamari, grilled prawns and mussels, then the man said he liked the everyday corn on cob best. What a waste of decadent food!

Bali is beautiful of course, and there were plenty of attractions to entertain the tourists, though I would have enjoyed the trip even more if we hadn't felt like we were constantly being shaken down for every penny. A 40min cruise costs U$40 each! And at the airport, we were sold a tiny bag of potato chips for more than $2.50, and finally, at the airport, some random booths were set up between us and the plane, and we each had to pay U$19 in departure taxes. We tourists of course should expect to spend money, but we should have been made to feel that the money is well spent. At least, give us value for money, don't take us for fools.

Lastly, a curious observation about the world/US economy. The American currency seems to have less mileage nowadays. The hotel insisted that we paid them in new notes, printed after 2006! huh? People are more hesitant to accept payment in US dollars. Oh dear...if ever there was an ominous sign

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

and now, let the credits roll

Dear friends, what have we done to deserve such big-hearted, focussed and capable help? You are going to convert me from my misanthropic ways if you don't watch it! We want to thank

Wedding coordinators - Saul the one-man army and CindyOng for making sure that the bride behaves herself

Bridesmaid and Best man - for running in circles around us and taking care of all details

'Jie Mei' - The gatekeepers. Suen the chaperone of the bridesmaid, CY and Jen for zipping my dresses up again and again :P

Brothers - Jeremy, Paul, Mike, etc for shaking their bums shamelessly for the sake of their brother's quest. But someone secretly hid the chilli padi instead of eating it!

Anthony - fearless navigator of traffic jams and snarls

Weng and Gary - one of the relatives commented, 'they are the best photographers I have ever seen!' Thanks for making those aunties and uncles smile widely

Paul - a multi-functional entertainment unit - sings, translates, and jokes.

Huimin and Samson - the Band, for singing my favourite songs

Henry - for taking care of the million details at touch centre

Sminy - music selection and personal freight of the music

HP and Bloh - general shepherding of the good folks of the northpole

YC - the almost 'sister'. we felt so safe knowing that you were looking after the AV

My own sisters - Boon One, Fat one and Little Fish - you girls look so pretty at the dinner reception!

All right, now the dust is settling in the aftermath of the event, and we are getting used to being the 'Marrieds'. When we finally, finally get our act together, will have house warming...eventually. Am not cooking. I've declared that all along, so there.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Inside and Outside

This is what I look like on the outside...at least, after 2 layers of makeup, false lashes and styled hair.


This is how I really feel inside


Overwhelmed by the intensity of what is happening and the cataclysmic changes about to sweep through my life. Even my name is going to be changed, and don't they all say that the name represents your identity? (The feminist in me whispers subversively, 'how come the man doesn't have to change his name?')

Monday, February 01, 2010

End of the daisy path

To be printed out, signed and presented for entry

I, __________, hereby promise that I will:
  1. Always enable Masterofboots to skate all she likes
  2. Be responsible for keeping the toilets clean
  3. Make sure that our family goes to church and cell group regularly
  4. Iron my own shirts
  5. Not expect Masterofboots to cook
  6. Keep track of my own and the family's expenses
  7. Listen patiently to Masterofboots whenever she wants to talk
  8. Exercise regularly
  9. Eat my greens
  10. Make sure that my waistline does not expand beyond 34 inches
Where man's strength fail, may God help me to keep these promises.



________________
Name:


To be filled in apppropriately, printed out, signed and presented for inspection on 6 Feb 2010

Stag night

Scream! Sminy spilt the beans on the stag night. I want to do my hen night again! This time with male pole dancers, skimpy wear and plenty of beer!

Hen and Stag

How come I'm not called a doe instead? A stag is dashing and exciting. A hen just pecks, clucks and fusses around busily.

Hen
At Coca my favourite steamboat restaurant, and after that, a sedate cup of camomile tea and cake - all very Victorian and ladylike. If we giggled over lingerie and such, I'm not telling you. What do you expect? I'm a bookworm. A good night out means doing things I best like to do, not activities that I never do, because the reason I never do them is that I don't like them. Then as scheduled, we went home before 11pm. Thank you girls. I had a great time :) This is just the way I like it.

Stag
Traditionally, the secrets of the stag night are never to be revealed in the light of day, so I'm not sure what happened. But there are some clues. V went home at 3am, puked several times, and woke up at 12pm the next day, ashen and weak. Sounds like they had a really wild night. Hmmmmmm...

Monday, January 25, 2010

Helpers' Meeting

What we would do without out huge army of capable helpers, I do not know.

After much reminding by various anxious volunteers, Bridezella finally decreed a time and place and said, everyone please turn up. It was supposed to be at the Hans in Marine Parade. Before V and I arrived, we received calls from our friends. That branch of Hans no longer exists. Oh ok...we need to get our databases updated :P

Never mind, we adjourned to Mac instead, where a larger than expected crowd turned up. We distributed the list of tasks and helpers involved, then friends pointed out all the details we got wrong. I quite think that our helpers are more eager than we are to make sure that everything is fine on the day itself. *sniff sniff* We are very grateful, but as we have only 6 sets of cutlery at home, it looks like we are going to have to do our Helpers' Thanksgiving dinner in several batches :P

I can tell that the Sisters gang will nanny me into having a manicure, pedicure and all other beauty rituals before the event. And they wouldn't even let me eat ice-cream :( I suppose, it is the Bride's fault for being generally lazy and uncooperative about her own wedding :P But I had the last laugh yesterday. On our way home, I made V send me to the provision shop where I had a popsicle. Strictly speaking, it was ice, but not cream :P

While we were at it, we also chose more photos for our slide show. I hadn't realised that we took a staggering 500 pictures at the second photoshoot! wow...I must say that these informal pictures reflect our personalities and relationship much more accurately than the stilted, formal studio ones.

After all the excitement of the meeting, we went to Aussino to buy a marvellous 100% silk quilt for our new home, and immediately forgot to take it with us when we left the shop :P oops...

Friday, January 15, 2010

Logical Fallacy: False Dilemma

At fast food restaurants,

1. Diners clear their tables themselves, and if not
2. Those who want to use the tables after that have to do it for them.

Hence, if you don't want to make others suffer, clean up your table after you have finished your meal.
In a false dilemma, other alternatives are eliminated or hidden, so that one is manipulated to choose the only viable or acceptable choice. The obvious third choice here is the role of cleaners, who will...now have nothing to do, since we are doing their job for them. You can guess whether the restaurants would keep them on charitable grounds. Then, who are the real beneficieries of our kindness?

Call me cynical, but I'm not convinced at all by this latest campaign to get us to help Fast Food Restaurants to clean up their tables for them. If a restaurant is a place of public ownership, then we all have the civic duty to maintain it. But it isn't.

Is it not the duty of any respectable eating place to provide a clean environment for their patrons? And for us patrons, our duty and obligation in this business transaction is to pay and take the goods given. Where does kindness come in? We might as well ask businesses to show us kindness too and...slash their prices, now that we are dealing on humanitarian, and not mercenary terms anymore.

No, I refuse to be indoctrinated. Don't think that I can be misled by the use of civil society jargon. I'm not a good little girl eating in the school canteen now.