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


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


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 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.