Monday, December 27, 2004

4 Days: Letter from Drik

As we watch in horror at the scale of the event, several things come to
mind. How events a thousand miles away can affect our lives in so many
ways. How connected we are in our joys and our sorrow. I realise that
Bangladesh was not as badly affected as our neighbours, and that we
should take pride in our achievements, but Bangladeshi newspapers today
gloated over the victory of the Bangladeshi cricket team over India in
their headlines! While I fret over the fact that the media plays on the
negative, to downplay a disaster of such proportions in favour of a
cricket match said a lot about our sense of proportions. In 1991, when
nearly a million people had gathered to demand the trial of a war
criminal, the government had chosen to ignore the news and mentioned
instead the man of the match in a cricket game in Shunamganj. I had
hoped a free media would play a more responsible role.

As I watch BBC and CNN interview British and German tourists, and the
director of Oxfam from her office in Oxford, I remember my experiences
in the 1991 cyclone where one hundred and twenty thousand people died in
Bangladesh. As I stumbled through the debris, trying to get a sense of
what had happened on the night of the 29th April 2001, I kept asking
"What happened that night?" The aid workers told me of the number of
bags of wheat they had distributed. The government officials quoted the
figure in dollars that would be needed for reconstruction, the engineers
spoke of the force of the wind.

A young woman in Sandweep looked at me and said "The land became a sea,
and the sea became a wave".

I try to imagine the tsunamis hitting the coasts of India, and Sri Lanka
and Indonesia, and remember her words. The thousands whose lives have
been wrecked by the earthquake do not constitute the 'experts' that the
media consider worth asking.

Shahidul Alam
27th December 2004
Dhaka





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On a very very very very unethical change of subject, I have traded my defunct HP for this:





Hope Tekwani is ok though. He's been MIA for a damn long time.




Saturday, December 25, 2004

5 days: Technorati

I could spend hours at technorati.com

Blogs are no longer safe lah. Not as if they ever were. Very interesting things you find on the more obscure blogs.


Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Oh. My. God.

Ok fine, so I officially flipped out and went and had myself a panic attack last night, an event which I'm certain was fueled by a certain hormonal imbalance referred to as PMS or PISSING-ME-OFF ( I know it doesn't fit, but does it matter? DOES IT?)
I've realised that I may be over-using the whole PMS bit, but is it not telling when you wake up the next morning feeling fine (and balanced) and wonder to yourself "What the fuck was that all about?"
Nevertheless, I had a panic attack. Which totally overrules the previous entry. Which makes me feel like a complete loser. But hey. It's just this one time.
And after the brouhaha last night (well it was a private type of bhh) I just feel kinda embarrassed because six months is nothing like a year nothing like 4 years.
But after reading EMJEM's back entries about his apprehension etc etc... I think this will be a very strange occurance indeed. Don't ask me to elaborate because I can't. Anyway, his blog is better now that he stopped trying so hard to show off.
But after a bit of scouring around the net at various websites like Friendster and random blogs, I can't help but feel as if my move to Dhaka is in a opposite direction. Everyone's escaping upwards, I'm moving down.
So I can't relate to the blogs which whine about isolation in cities and white frat boys getting pissed drunk. And I cannot relate to the discomfort of having to travel for thousand of hours just to get from London to Amsterdam.
It's like everyone's striding towards these shining gleaming twin glass doors and passing through, while I'm sneaking to the back of the room like Alice and looking for my little wooden door.
Of course I'm just fulfilling stereotypes here that West = big nice glass doors and Others = little wooden doors, but that's called imagination running away with me.
And that's kind of the problem of having gone to RJC, where people you know fall into a few categories:
1. Stinking Rich with Big Car and House in Holland Road/Bukit Timah/ one of the Districts
2. On Scholarship in Brown/Oxford/Cambridge/UCLA/Harvard/Cornell whatever
3. In NUS Medicine
4. Others
I'm not joking. But then again I didn't know EVERYONE in RJ, so let's change the title to "People that Jess knows".
Anyway, the point is I feel much better today though I haven't cried myself to sleep for a long time. Explanation? Hormonal imbalance lah.
----------------------------------------
Anyway this is the real reason why I wanted to blog.
Ladies and Gentleman, the first movie to make me drool has arrived.
See, I was actually getting excited about watching Meet the Fockers (Ben Stiller won my vote after Zoolander), and Kung Fu Hustle looked like a good way to waste an otherwise empty afternoon. And I already saw Ocean's Twelve.
And then, someone alerted me to the first movie that I will buy premier tickets for.
Why am I making such a big deal about this?
I have two names for you.
TIM BURTON
and
JOHNNY DEPP
proudly presents:
Wah lau i'm FUCKING drooling CAN?
The poster is gorgeous. The lead star is gorgeous. The director (minus planet of apes) is gorgeous. The lady (Helena B. Carter no less!!!!!!!) is gorgeous. The book which I read like a fucking million times is gorgeous. I'm drooling and i can't stop raving about it OH MY GOD.
I'm sorry but surreal movies have always made me very happy. Think Big Fish, think Beetlejuice, think Edward Scissorshands, think Nightmare before Christmas.
It's all very delicious to me. *slurp*
Go Yahoo and watch the trailers. Go Go GO!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Anyway, it occured to me that my strange feeling of resentment towards Ah Hsien and his Daddy 'O' is just the level of "coddlement" at which they operate at.
Don't you feel coddled? As a Singaporean of course this is nothing new but everytime I see his stupid face on the front of the newspaper I feel like it's some distant relative like an uncle I hardly see but everytime I see him he tries to give me advice as if he's so damn smart and can lead my life for me.
Ya I get that feeling.
And it's not helping that ST is plastering their faces everywhere.
It's terrible how LKY and Ah Chok can take up full pages in ST's Commentary and Analysis pages with their speeches, when what I REALLY want to read is, er, a Commentary and Analysis on their speech?
Never the mind.
But I have heard fabulous things about the free press in Dhaka, so I will be trying to wriggle my way into that as well.
-----------------------------------------
I have to buy a new laptop. The HP guy called me to give me my evaluation and price quotation. He gave me advice after telling me it'll cost over $1k to get it fixed. He is hilarious.
"Oh my friends at IBM just called me. They're having very good offers now. Acer also have, in the newspaper."
Employee of the Year, anyone?
I genuinely like the people who have helped me in HP so far. The counter guy was a leftie, and plus he was funny too. That kind of "private joke to myself" smile when I was ranting and raving about the potential mishap that will happen to my dad's wallet. And this engineer. Wow. Engineers are the best. Dilbert is right.

Monday, December 20, 2004

11 days: Dead Beat

Don't know what you meant by that remark Pong, but just to clear up any more silly questions, this is what Dhaka looks like:



So it's not a slum-covered, kampong-like, electricity-less backward country of a nation.

Nope. We have Malaysia for that.

OOOoooooooh ok uncalled for. Sorry sorry.

Really! Sorry.

-----------------------------------------

So this is the part where I should do the obligatory "how-i-spent-my-21st-birthday", but I find that as with cameras and any other sort of memory-capturing equipment - the value of the event diminishes with the amount of recorded memory available on it.

Prosthetic memories and such hor Pong? Sorry was reminded of ur blog.

This is shooting myself in the foot, since I like taking photos. But I figured there are two types of memories you want to keep - those you want to share, and those you want to keep private. The private ones... they don't need pictures. Besides, the human tendancy to remember things the way they ought to be (not should be) remembered always makes the experience far sweeter in retrospect.

Which is like that Kundera quote (Pong! Thinking of your blog again!) "illuminated by nostalgia" and such.

But I had a satisfying birthday, which hasn't seemed to really have ended yet. But just to be technical about this, yes, I did have a satisfying birthDAY.

And I was just trying to compare this birthday and the last, and I realised that I don't remember anything about my 20th birthday. Memory has never been my forte, (which is perhaps the source of some sort of subconscious motivation to take photos) but it is kinda sad... Ah well I suppose it'll come to me after a while.

I don't recall getting drunk though...which actually makes a lot of sense, if you think about it. I did get drunk this year though. Although the word "drunk" kind of dulls the true nature of the actual event. You'll have to ask me for details. A Waterfall is really not an advisable birthday treat. Unless you guys are into the whole lets-see-how-near-death-we-can-become (but if you are, you wouldn't be waiting for a birthday to do it would you? No sirree I think not).

But I do know the past year has been immensely satisfying ( I don't know what is it with me and that word tonight) because I actually feel as if I've progressed a bit or somewhat along the age-line. Not in terms of maturing... just... ageing I suppose. I do feel as if things have happened, which is more than I can say for the past 20 years of my life.

And I guess if that's the case, my 22nd will be marked as a milestone of sorts as having being the year when a HECK of a Whole Damn Lot happened.

I'm going to pour myself a gin and coke and slowly savour the first hour of my official adulthood.

Going to Dhaka could never have happened at a better time.


Saturday, December 18, 2004

14 Days: The Nights are getting shorter

Partying is a strange concept because it's a planned event and it somehow resembles a ritual of sorts. The inclusion of dancing, derangement, and the occassional trance-like state (plus exotic drinks only consumed within premises) does give partying (also known as clubbing, for those still in JC) a sort of ancient, ritualistic, cave-manish feel.

I'm still very amazed at people who can party every day, because well rituals are not called rituals if they're commonplace. Ah whatever.

And talking to a 17-year-old acquaintance who recently got kicked out of JC for scoring Triple Fs because "i knew i had other avenues to go to mah" really makes me very determined to have my children not know the sweet smell of money till they've proven to contain a certain quantity of sensibility.

Rich Kids. Yucks.



So with only 14 days left to go (two weekends, including this one), I'm feeling the strain. Namely because my laptop isn't fixed yet, but now I've gotten over the "scared" feeling, and I'm really looking forward to it.

I just had to ramble a bit before going out.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Erm.

Well I'm kinda speechless now, but I just recommend anybody with a minute to spare to click on this LINK here to hear what has to be the most ********** song I've ever heard before.

I shall pass no comments, because to do so will insult the person whose blog I found the erm.. "music" on. I don't know her but still. Just go listen. PLEASE.

Oh. And it is on repeat mode. So be careful.

18 Days: Media Overload

Been having a media overload.

First of all, the SPH party yesterday which I shamelessly showed up at. I was not very keen at first, because i'm really sick and tired of Thumper, and didn't feel too much in the mood. But let's just say that by the end of the night, the free flow made me quite happy. But i'm glad I went back, because I've been wanting to ask someone about freelancing from Bangladesh... and I got an offer of sorts! So hopefully I won't be as broke when I get back. YAY!

And then.. the Star Awards whichI watched (for the clothes man) but this year was disappointing cos there wasn't much to laugh at. Other that christopher lee's bright orange shoes. I don't know why I still get such a big kick out of watching the show.. considering I hardly have time to watch chinese serials now... but still... it's almost as if they're family.

And let me just say the Tays of Caldecott Hill are my favourite. Well, Zoe has always been tops for as long as I can remember, but Mr Tay below (looking rather constipated unfortunately) is not too bad either. *wink*

And lastly, and overload of Friends, with an especially poignant quote, when Phoebe's love-of-her-life has to go to Minsk for 3 years.

"And then you put your arms around me, and tell me it's almost midnight and you have to go because you don't want to start New Year with me if you can't finish it." - Phoebe, Season 1.

Hmm. It's going to be tough.



Monday, December 13, 2004

19 Days: Williard and the Nutcracker

Just bought some stuff from Little India... feel like I could really get used to wearing Punjabi suits. The colours are really gorgeous, and it's the norm - so i'm forced to discard my usual brown/white/black get up.

Orchard is ok on Monday afternoons. I didn't feel suffocated at all today, only for a little while - at the underpass linking Wisma and Taka. But being forced to visit Zara (brother is growing up) and walking past Guess kinda made me want to just run. Don't ask me why.

Having no money is very exhausting. Of course I'm exaggerating when I say I've no money, but I've no money in the sense that I can't shop unless mom's around. I've been scrimping for a long time now, and it just feels very tiring being such a wet blanket all the time having to have people pay for me first etc.

And hiyah. It's just getting very tiring scrimping to the extent that I completely changed the way I usually do things. But I think it's a good lesson for me. Been taking money for granted for too long.


Thursday, December 09, 2004

21 days: Bereavement of Alcohol

Went out last night... sorta an impromptu thing.. and the whole night would've ended splendidly if only somebody had been able to yield a bit of self control when it came to alcohol consumption.

Seriously. There's no such thing as either you drink till you've had enough, or you don't drink. All things in moderation eh?

And Alvin, your brand of buddhism would be lost on most people LAH. And your poem doesn't rhyme! You've totally disappointed your favourite poets.

And Joce, haha buncha pple = a buncha you only bother to meet when you're leaving the country aka friends existing at the perimeter of the friendascope.

I don't have a perimeter. I have one core and that's it. And of course you're in the damn core.

And Ghim, I meant if I try for CNA, i'll be burning bridges with ST twice... heh I don't really have very high hopes for getting into a wire right now...

Guess I'm still looking to expand my choices.. I feel quite suffocated at how little choices there seem to be... plus the merger, and the yr 2s working already... I just have this feeling there are niches out there yet unexplored.


Feeling slightly more empowered than usual, for reasons still unknown. Don't fuck with me unless you want to get it worse back.


Maybe sparked off by being so tired of seeing my friend being treated like a useful kitchen appliance. When you need it, you take it out, when you don't, you hide it out of sight.

Ok that goes into the Hall of Fame of Terrible Analogy(s).

Anyway, my point, which has been lost in my terrible meandering prose, is that she's being taken for granted. Always needing to rush to someplace to meet someone, rather than someone rushing to our place to meet her.

Nevermind.

Shall settle air tickets today.




Oh. Alvin. I'm so disappointed that I've to explain to you about the Dhaka thing. I thought you were my man-bitch? *sulks*







Tuesday, December 07, 2004

23 days: 42.125km, 5 hours 33 minutes.

Well done Mom. You're crazy.



23 days: Let the Countdown Begin (again)

Will be leaving probably December 30th. So at least after that no one will be rushing to some New Year's Day Countdown while I'm on the plane.

And plus, hopefully the people there will feel too obliged to let me spend New Year's Eve by myself, and invite me to some place somewhere.

Re-reading my previous entry made me cringe. My grammar is terrible.

In this 23 days I've to:

1. Figure out how to get $$ over there
2. Buy a mike/headphone/videophone thingy for laptop
3. Get laptop fucking fixed
4. Make a visit to Little India for some shopping (clothes)
5. Buy a good pair of shoes (maybe only lah)
6. Figure out how to get my hands on a 50/30mm lens
7. Visit the NSC
8. Find some huge luggage
9. Stuff myself with Singaporean food
10. Take lotsa pictures so I can make myself cry and feel homesick

Was gonna type 11. Meet up with a whole buncha pple then realised that... I don't have a whole buncha people to meet. I am like, so, totally uncool.

Fuck. I've a lot to do. I can't believe some people even asked me to work during the hols... ARE YOU NUTS?

Oh yeah.

11. Make a last visit to RJC before they do something to it like put barbed wire so I can't climb over.

What photos to take?
1. Lots of cats
2. Little India
3. Chinatown
4. Tissue uncles at Newton
5. Beer uncles at Newton
6. Friends
7. My room
8. Darren (sorry sweetie haha)
9. My family
10. My extended family
11. All my bitches
12. Darren's place (aka Freedom Central haha)

That's it.


Monday, December 06, 2004

Anonymous is getting on my nerves. If you are who I think you are, stop it. The angst/cynicism-ridden poem gave it away.

Been doing a bit of thinking about ST... and I seriously do miss the people there. It's hard not to, especially after they've all proven to be so damn nice (w exceptions, of course).

But was also contemplating giving CNA a try... it's apparently quite a nice place to work at as well... but I don't know if i'll get a second chance after burning bridges with the Dhaka thing.

Ah well. I'm pretty sure I'll try CNA. Must try everything mah... who knows? Might turn out to be better at it than print.



Weather's beautiful today, shall not waste it by sitting at the computer.

Who There?!?

Who asked the question in the previous post? I doubt I know you.

----------------------------------------------------

Anyway. Was going to title this post "This is Bliss" because I've finally reinserted myself into the Grid/Internet/Web with family's new computer PLUS MaxOnline and i finally have some good music to listen to.

It's about time I suppose, considering we were operating on a 56k modem computer purchased in 1997.


Opened the Straits Times today and felt a bit discomfited. Well ok, actually I was pissed off. It was Carolyn's article... I'm not pissed at HER of course, just the replies from the Ministry that was printed.

I have a very very very soft spot for people who sell tissue packets. Possibly because I haven't had any unpleasant experiences with them, although the report cites someone who did. A mean spirited side of me would like to believe that that complainer did something to deserve it, like cast the old woman a disgusted glance or something. But we'll never know will we?

I'm bothered by the argument offered by the Ministry, that what the tissue packet pple are doing is basically "illegal" because its the equivalent of "disguised begging" and "hawking" and they actually called it a "problem".

While it is rather unfair to take the media relations' reply to represent the gospel truth (because the answer they gave is simply correct, and nothing more), the problem is that now we'll have Singaporeans holding the authorities true to what they've said, that they promised they would look into it and do something about it.

You know how many people wrote in to complain?

Six.

Assuming that i'm a average hard working tissue packet seller, I would approach no less than 1 person every 10 seconds or so, making that 6 a minute, 360 an hour etc. But the report stated it as if the fact that half a dozen people wrote in, the problem is severe.

What about the other 1,000 or so who did NOT write in? The most common reason why people write into the ST Forum is to complain anyway.

I'm not arguing my case properly, because I don't think I have a case. I suppose I just don't like to see people/ministries/press taking an issue with these tissue packet sellers. I don't want them to enter the media spotlight.

Somethings are best left alone and ignored. The most cost effective and efficient way (this is to appeal to gahment pple) is to just leave them alone.

For every illegal tissue seller that you hear about, you probably get more complaints about LEGAL doctors, sales staff, librarians.. whatever.

I like these tissue people. I like the fact that when I give them a big fat smile and $1.00 and say "thank you" in a happy albiet fake voice I can make them smile for a few seconds there they look alright.

I don't buy from them all the time. They're not asking you to. You buy if you want to or if you need it or if you happen to have loose change. Those people who dislike them because they think they're being "pestered"... go complain about the sales staff of Taka jewellery and insurance agents ok? They're making more $$$ and can afford to cut down.

How can anybody have the heart to take up a pen and write a complain letter about people who sell tissue packets? Are you the one sitting next to them trying to sell your own packets at $2? Is that why you're bitter? No? You're not? You were the one who walked past with the NTUC bag filled with groceries as you walked to your car? Oh you've no car... But you had enough to take a bus?

I don't get it. I always sit at the same place in Newton. I know whose face was oh-so-kindly mosiaced in the papers. He sleeps on the bench outside the toilet at night.

If one day, I go Newton, and I don't see any of these tissue people anymore, I'll be genuinely distraught.

Please leave them alone Mr Government. Pleasepleaseplease.

*big big sigh*

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Anyway. Happy Birthday Choosin/Chooxin! May you never run out of places to eat at.


-------------------------------------------------

Had the rather unpleasant opportunity to meet somebody I shall refer to as G. at a club.

*Side note: Will no longer to entering Zouk unless declared medically insane*
(Don't understand why I'm like that. Everytime I go there, I tell myself that I'll be an idiot to go back again, but somehow or other, people just like congregating there)

Anyway, G. is the embodiment of almost every flaw a overseas-educated person has.


1. Nobody who has not worked at ST is allowed to talk as if they know everything about it.

Because people dissing ST ALL have a tendancy to cite the words 'govt-controlled' as if they have the inside information and they know ALL about how terrible that place is. It is irritating.


2. You should NOT insult another person's race if you've met her for the first time.

Consdiering that the only words we exchanged were INSIDE a club, it doesn't really count as a conversation. Thus, it's almost the same as a complete stranger insulting my race. While I do agree that Chinese people are perhaps more bothered by money than other races, your assumption that this "botheredness" is motivated by greed is rather uncalled for.

--"Are you bothered by money?"
--"Wha... as much as the next person, yes."
--"I mean, are you bothered by it?"
--"What the hell are you talking about?"
--"No offence to you, but when I come back to Singapore, I feel so suffocated. Maybe its because there are more Chinese here than Australia, and chinese are.. you know.. more bothered.."
--[cuts him off] "Yes, I know what you mean."
--"I mean, no offence to you! But when i'm back here I just feel..." [puts on this uncomfortable look]
--[cuts him off] "Yes, I know what you mean."

The conversation went on, can't remember exactly what, but I found that to be a very frightening experience. If every idiot who goes overseas to study is going to come back like him, I would rather they all just stayed away. I'm fucking tired of hearing people who just spent 4 years overseas come back and complain about

"Oh man, Singapore is so boring"
"Oh man, the ST is such a joke"
"Oh man, Singaporeans are so weird"
"Oh you know, back at insert country the people would never do this/we would be doing this"

[words abovew were mentioned by G. don't ask me to explain, it was so irritating i didn't want to encourage him to explain it to me].

Seriously, you have no fucking right to complain about ANYTHING because you were NOT HERE. You're telling ME that this place is boring? I've been here all this while! Go back to wherever you came back from if you hate it so much! The people here really are not interested in listening. We will hear how cool Australia/London/NewYork is, because we all agree that this isn't exactly Funland Paradise of the World, but we will not tolerate you dissing it because it's all we've got whereas you had a choice.

Don't diss the Straits Times because they're doing whatever they can, and don't talk as if you KNOW for a fact that all ST people are pro-government and mere puppets because you HAVE NOT EVEN BEEN THERE. You're half right, but more than half wrong.

I was so suprised at the level of familiarity at which G. was conversing to me about ST that I was actually wondering if he did indeed work there. In fact, he was talking AS IF he was STILL working there. I couldn't quite catch his entire argument, but something along the lines of:

--"Do you know the Straits Times?"
--"Er... of course"
--"Do you know how terrible is it to work there? Do you know what you are there? A puppet!"

Something like that. Plus a very smug face.
So I had the immense satisfaction of seeing his face turn red when he realised that I wasn't some stupid little girl he could brag and tell big fat lies and impress. Sure the BBC thing is waaaaaaay impressive, but if everybody who works with you talks about singapore like you do, I don't know if i'd survive in there.

--"I'm assuming you've worked there?"
[pause]
--"No I haven't, but I know people who have."
--"Really?"
--"Yeah they tell me all about it."
--"I've been there and I don't think you know what you're talking about."
[longer pause]
--"Wow really???" [thoughtful embarassed look]


I don't understand why people who've not been there like to diss it so much. Joolin and I don't even talk about it much because there really isn't anything to say. Unless we meet an idiot like G. who assumes they know ALL ABOUT IT. It's not the bragging rights, not that I know more than you, but if even I don't wanna about it when I've been there even if its was just for a short while... why are you, a person who has never been there, talking so much as if you have?

Its the same as dissing India, which you've never visited, to a person who's been there for a holiday. Don't be an idiot. Shut up.


I make a very solemn promise not to become a prick when I return from Bangladesh. I will try my very best not to. Give me one solid week to finish ranting and raving ok? And after that, I promise NO MORE!