Monday, July 30, 2012

Let them eat cake

Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

The French hen, the stuff of nursery rhymes and Christmas carols, appeared recently as food in the real world, I mean, my heartlander's world.

Chicken used to be just, well, chicken. Now we get to choose from Sakura chicken, cordyceps chicken, kampong chicken, pasar chicken, and French hen! Are we moving up in the world or what? I didn't even know that there is such a species of poultry for our consumption!

Much hand wringing and finger pointing has been going on in our society because of rising costs of living. But it seems to me that at least some of the increased expenditure is due to consumers buying products of higher quality, or more exotic origins. You don't even have to visit an exclusive delicatessen for these items. They are offered in the every(wo)man's supermarket - NTUC.

Luxury goods are easily accessible and are perhaps no longer considered special. We are spoilt by a plethora of choices on the shelves. Isn’t this an indication of general improvement in the quality of our life? I don’t want to trivialise the burden brought about by inflation, but don’t complain if your grocery bills increased because you have put a French hen in your basket.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Rabbit Breakout

They did get out after all. Now they are playing among our furniture, like the piano.

Checking out the pedals on the piano.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Tuition: Being head and shoulders above the rest.

In a concert hall, if everyone is sitting and one person is standing, he would get the best view. If everyone stands up, then this advantage is lost, and we would all go home with aching feet. Yet, how nice it would be to be the only one standing above the rest.

I can't help thinking that this is the dilemma reflected in the current debate and angst over tuition. At the heart of this anxiety is the fear that someone else, or everyone else, is having an advantage that your own child does not, and you wish to give your child the same advantage. Some even try to prevent other children from benefitting from their advantage. Because everyone wants to stand and not be overshadowed, we end up equally tired and upset with everyone else.

And the solution? Is that all of us should sit down and enjoy a more comfortable performance together. But this won't happen, because everyone secretly wants to be the only one standing above the rest.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Blackie wants to come out

Blackie wants to come out.

But Blackie! You are already 'out'! You are out of your cage, you are out of your yard. You already have the whole kitchen and yard to play in. Isn't this enough for a rabbit?

No...I want to come out...

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Growing nest eggs

The government is offering bonds at 2.875% per annum for a two year tenor. With an eye on inflation, V and I thought it would be good to lock up some of our savings in this way. We don't want to risk the capital investing elsewhere so why not enjoy this higher interest rates? But alas, looks like the old adage "no risk no gain" is so sadly true. We calculated the returns, and realized that for all the effort going through this process, even after holding the bonds to full term, the interests would hardly even pay for one LV bag. Money can be spent so quickly, but it takes so long to be earned :P

Friday, July 20, 2012

Rabbits out and about

Investigating our dining area, no doubt vacuuming up stray crumbs.
Checking out the storage box for their hay.
Letting them play in the whole apartment is terribly exhausting...for the humans. There is no such thing as complete rabbit proofing. Just when you thought you had everything covered, the rabbits would find a new, formerly unseen hole to scurry into.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Growing Old

Had a sudden bout of panic recently about becoming old and poor.

A friend confided that she is on the inevitable brink of retirement but still needs an income. The organization has already informed her that there is no vacancy for her to be re-employed, so she has to look for other work.

What is she to do! We are all exhorted and reminded regularly to prepare for retirement, but with inflation and current financial commitments, nobody ever quite saves up enough for the 'golden years'. I've always been resigned to working beyond retirement, and it sent a chill down my back to realise that even this may not be an option. People do become old, retired and unemployed. No wonder there are so many geriatric cleaners around!

I had better take my retirement planning more seriously :( No point waiting until it is too late.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Lady Rabbit

Isn't it strange, but Whitty really has very 'girl-like' behaviour. She is territorial about her home, and shy towards strangers. When Blackie is around, she is always asking for attention. Now she is cleaning her face after feasting. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Mischief Managed

Naughty Act 1
Nibble off the tastiest parts of the (romaine) lettuce and scatter the remains everywhere on the floor. Kick around or sit on the remains.

Naughty Act 2
Pull the lining out from under the litter box, rip it all up to make a fearsome mess.

Jump on top of the treats box which is on top of the cage.

But...see...they are so fluffy and cute that it is impossible to get angry with them. Scold them and they will just look at you with an innocent "what's wrong?" face. Or run off, kicking their heels joyfully at you.

Bunny owners are slaves :P

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

'Outside' is always more fun

The rabbits have such a big space to play in and so very much to do! They can scrabble at the crevices in the kitchen, or dash recklessly about the yard behind. There are always toys and furniture that they can gnaw at, and tunnels to hide in. What more can a rabbit ask for?

What more can you rabbit ask for?!

To go outside >:I
Looking wistfully past the pet barrier...

Mind you, when they were confined to the yard, they would beg to be allowed to 'go out' into the kitchen. Now that they have free run of the kitchen, they want to 'go out' into the living room.

I am sure this is how territorial wars start.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Against political correctness

They went and politically corrected the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible! By bending backwards to erase perceived gender-biasness, the new ‘improved’ version sacrificed literary merit for political correctness.

This passage is taken from Psalm 103:15-16 in NIV 1984:

As for man, his days are like grass,
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.

And this is what happens when they tried making this passage gender-neutral in NIV 2011:

The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.

This example uses the plural ‘they’ instead of ‘his’ to avoid reference to gender. Because subject-verb agreement still has to be maintained, don’t you think there is awkwardness in the grammar of subsequent imagery? I find myself lurching uncomfortably from singular to plural to singular, and this makes memorization more difficult.

In fact, I protest that the 2011 version strays from sound translation practices by adding an additional layer of interpretation to the original text. “Dynamic equivalence” is a poor excuse if this intervention is unnecessarily imposed to satisfy modern sensibilities.

I can’t help feeling too that some emotive effects are lost when the word ‘man’, part of our core vocabulary, is replaced with ‘mortals’, a more peripheral word. Being made of monosyllabic words, the rhythm of the 1984 version is more emphatic, while the complex noun ‘the life of mortals’ reduces the impact of the line when read as a poem.

After all, CS Lewis in his letter to young writers, says that we should always choose the simpler word over a difficult word, and there is good sense in such advice.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Down the rabbit hole

Is there any space for such a fat rabbit?

Apparently yes. They are really experts at going into the smallest holes to elude their predators. Blackie refused to budge from his hiding place because he knew I'm trying to get him back into the play area.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Rabbits out and about

Blackie charges around the living room, but Whitty prefers to investigate all the dark and hidden spaces.

Just try getting the rabbit out from her rabbit hole.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Whitty wants cookies

I sense treats nearby...
I see it! My favourite barley cookies!


PS: these are cookies specially made for small animals. Rabbits can't eat those you eat.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Back from dentist

My poor Ninja. We brought her to get her teeth trimmed again. This is done every three weeks. Luckily she is such a good girl and never struggles.

It is not nice to see my adorable little hamster grow old and lose weight :(