Friday, June 29, 2012

Rabbit breakout

Looks like a security breach is imminent.

When V was repairing the pet gate, Blackie got so upset that he thumped his hind leg loudly several times. Not even treats can appease him. I suppose he felt that we had undone his whole year's hard work, nibbling steadily at the netting. We had never seen him thump his leg before. In rabbits, it apparently shows strong fear or anger. Whitty looked uneasy at his show of temper.

His great escape plan dashed, the rabbit cuts a desolate black figure behind the white barrier.

So what is the doting mother owner to do?

Woah...that's fast...

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Advice needed from rabbit parents

Just how do you tame a naughty rabbit?

Blackie has been frightfully defiant lately. He insists on nibbling the pet barrier even after I pushed his head away. He dashes out despite me trying to stop him, and gives me hard head bumps to make me get out of his way. When I try to get him back into his cage he hides in a hole.

At first I thought it was cute...but it isn't cute when I have to keep sweeping up the bits of plastic, and am always in danger of being tripped by a black fur cannonball.

I need to get him to stop nibbling the pet barrier. We have already replaced it twice!

Blackie having a blast dashing around the living room.

From Berastagi to Medan

Going home proved to be a traumatic experience. To get to the airport, we had to take a two hour ride down the mountain, from Berastagi to Medan.

The cab we booked was one and a half hours late. More precisely, we finally managed to secure a different cab after waiting for so long. The original cab driver was uncontactable and gave no reason for not appearing.

By the time we started on the narrow and winding road downhill, it was dark, and raining. I had never been so car sick in my life. As the car lurched from one sharp bend to another, I was painfully aware of the flashing headlights from a stream of cars coming in the opposite direction. The only way to cope was to close one's eyes and not think about plunging down the sides of the mountain.

*** ***

The worst thing about travelling in that region is the sense of being exploited at every turn, literally.
Apart from the Gundaling 'road-toll' incident, more happened at the airport. As our cab drove into the airport, an inexplicable barrier appeared, and just to make a turn in, we coughed up another 'road toll'. As soon as we alighted, friendly men pressed up offering assistance...for a fee, of course. After shaking off all these disturbances, we finally reached the customs. There, once again, we were turned away and referred to another counter to pay departure tax.

Though the sums were small, one doesn't like to feel like a target to be fleeced, legally or otherwise. So there was such a sense of relief when we finally reached home!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Berastagi 2012

Our host cooked a fabulous spread for us. This was dinner on the first night.

On the way up Gundaling. Seems like architecture here retained some colonial influences. These houses are certainly very lovely, and the highland weather was excellent.

 A pale view of the volcano

Yet our trip up Gundaling was marred by something unpleasant. As we were strolling along, we were suddenly stopped by a roadblock, made up of tattooed men (no uniforms), one private car, and a makeshift sign. Each of us had to pay a 'road toll' before we were allowed to proceed. Not wanting to challenge the legitimacy of this demand, we simply paid up. Noted that locals didn't seem to have to pay.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Presenting...Whitty the Performing Rabbit

Whitty is training to join the circus.


Home sweet home. Exhausted after our early morning flight. Will update more when I get my act together.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


After such a continuous stretch of prosperity, it is not surprising that people no longer remember, or never knew, that life can be one of struggling for subsistence and frustrated aspirations.

Somehow Daddy, despite his learning in Classical Chinese, Tang poetry and history, ended up driving a cab for 20 years. How galling it must have been for him, at the beck and call of customers perhaps less learned than him, and very often less rational too. Yet he stuck to it because he couldn't find a better paying job, though I am sure it was never his ambition to be a taxi driver. Ideas like 'self-actualization' are alien to him, just as his sacrificial labour is inconceivable to us these days.

We certainly hope never to return to the harsh circumstances of our founding fathers, but they are reminders that the good things we now reap were sown painstakingly.

Sometimes I wonder what expectations and hopes young people have when they are looking for a job. Do jobs always have to fit our training, aptitudes and interest? They expect to find professional jobs as befitting their degrees. Everyone they know works in air-conditioned offices, and aspire to own a car after a few years of work.

Then because modern life gets stressful, people now call for a slower pace of life, wanting to trade some of our nation's excellence for leisure. But friends, do you really think that you can have your cake and eat it too? It seems that cocooned in present comforts, we have become complacent enough to think that the good life will always be there, even if we slacken our efforts. More disturbingly, these calls for relaxation come together with ever increasing demands for public and welfare provisions.

I put two and two together, and decided to increase the investment in my retirement fund.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Carrots over love

In all other ways, Blackie is a perfect gentleman rabbit. But when it comes to food, it is every bunny for himself. In this photo, Blackie is caught in the act of trying to snatch Whitty's carrot from her. Blackie! The bowl is full of carrots! Why do you insist on eating Whitty's? 
I pushed him away from Whitty towards the full bowl, so now he decided to find his own carrot.

Ok this is good, very good. No snatching and chasing one another for the carrot in the mouth ok. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

One woman's art is another's vandalism

It amazes me that there should be any controversy about the lady vandal's charges, and now there is even an online petition on her behalf!

Which part of illegal is difficult to understand? It doesn't matter how creative her work is (to me it looks jolly like vandalism), it is only right that she confines any pretension to art to her OWN property, not public property. What did she think she was painting on? Her grandfather's road?

Lest you think me harsh, friends, consider if you really want the law to be a matter of negotiation, and worse, to bow to populist pressure. Is it not the reason why Lady Justice is often depicted with a blindfold over her eyes? We need the law to be objective, precisely because it exists to protect the rights and property of every one in the society. Erm, basically it means you obey the law, I obey the law and there would be peace. I obey the law, you decide the law can be bent for you, there won't be peace.

Anyway, I am not impressed by online petitions, because of the anonymity. If everyone petitioning has to give their IC number and personal address, I wonder how many signatures there would be.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Rabbits on the wrong side of the gate

Freshly home from their nanny's place, the rabbits were slightly shy at first. Then they resumed their usual insolent selves and made a dash through the pet gate when I was going to feed them. 

Now they have invaded my whole home. We are going to have to find more ways of rabbit proofing. 

Whitty gave me a terrible scare when she squirmed behind the fridge just now. The barriers put in place proved insufficient against a determined rabbit. She emerged from the other side of the fridge and I pounced on her immediately. Bad girl, Whitty! Bad girl!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Bad news is good news

Say what you want about her being a bimbo. To be able to parley all the cyber bullying into a full page cover story says more about the lady's savvy. Some celebrities don't even get that. 
Now there are mutterings of a lawsuit against her, apparently on the grounds of copyrights, since she used photos taken by others without their permission. 

But guys, you really don't want to take the matter further. For a blogger thriving on notoriety, a juicy lawsuit would give fantastic boost to her career. But normal guys holding normal jobs don't want further attention of this unsavory nature. Imagine those priceless photos reproduced in mainstream media as part of the coverage for the court case. 

Besides, don't forget what triggered the whole saga. I am quite certain that falsely calling someone else a prostitute amounts to defamation. And no matter what the outcome of any legal proceedings would be, the winner is obvious. 

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Rabbits want treat

Knowing full well that their treats are in the yellow box, the rabbits are always making coordinated attacks on it. They are looking for a way to get in. Greedy furballs.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Confused metaphors

This advertisement caught my eye for its confused imagery.

Now since the sentence starts out comparing time (tenor) with money (vehicle), one would expect the following punchline to be about money. Instead, it moves on to describe time as 'short and sweet', which takes reference from a different vehicle altogether. In simple terms, I mean, if you want to compare time with money, stick to attibutes of money in the following description. For example, 'If time (tenor) is money (vehicle), we are thrifty (reference to money).' 

I managed to figure out at last that the advert is saying that time is precious, and we do not want to waste it. Therefore, investments are kept short and sweet. But this message takes too long to emerge.

Besides, I have always thought that copywriting should avoid complex sentences as the immediate impact is reduced. I mean, in the train, you don't want to ask the target audience to keep information in their mind while they make sense of the rest of the sentence, especially if the phrasing is confusing to begin with! How about recasting it as 'Time is precious. We/Let's keep things short and sweet.' 

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Rabbits run wild

V thought I put the rabbits back, and I thought he put the rabbits back so we happily went out. Uh oh...

Many many hours later, I came home to an empty cage. They weren't even in their usual play area! Where are the rabbits?!

The fugitives had a jolly day running about the whole home, and I eventually found them hiding under the TV console. Over the next few days we gradually discovered traces of their adventures - rabbit teeth marks - on our magazines, wires etc. Luckily they remembered their toilet manners and did not soil the place.

The worst thing is, the rabbits are now no longer contented with their play area. They constantly paw and nibble at the pet gate, pushing past me insolently when I try to stop them from running out. Looks like the call of the wild is irresistible!

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Housekeeping time

Nope, the rabbits just don't like housekeeping. Whenever we start sweeping up the hay, they get all anxious and compete with us by eating it up as fast as they can. It doesn't matter how used they are to housekeeping. They always, always get lovely fresh hay after that. But no, they still feel insecure.

So here they are again, trying to save a few strands of hay.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Ninja - update

See how cute my little Ninja is. This poor Squeak has no bite, literally. Her front teeth somehow keep overgrowing so we have to get them trimmed every three weeks. Luckily we've found some ways to feed her so she's still chubby!

Diet for the dentally-challenged hamster:
  • Raw wheatgerm
  • Sesame seeds
Ground in food processor:
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Buckwheat
  • Peanuts mixed with rolled oats
  • Flaxseeds
Pounded (using pill cutter):
  • Pine nuts
  • hamster food pellets
  • Carrot
  • Snow pea pods