Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Different perspectives


Everything's a little bit blurry these days. Like Clementine said, "I feel like I'm always pissy now. I don't like myself when I'm with him. I don't like myself anymore."

Of course, I'm "him". I'm Joel. I'm making myself pissy, and I don't like myself very much anymore like this.

The big question then, is - Why? I don't quite know the answer myself, suffice to say that I am spending a lot of time thinking about my short fuse. Unhappiness is always a lot easier to deal with when there's a reason for it, no matter how stupid it may be. In fact, the stupider it is, the easier to deal with it.


Another random crossing of paths. Meet Antoine, 24-year-old photographer from France. Sleeping in a hammock in Goa, cycling through northern India on a bicycle and heading to study taiqi in Beijing.

While the hippie lifestyle always has its attractions for obvious escapist reasons, I felt somewhat relieved that his travelling tales didn't quite evoke in me that same jealous sense of wanting to leave as it may have before. I figure I'm the sort who would want to travel with a purpose in mind.

"I was so amazed to find all these good bicycles in Singapore! All these brands.. very good, very solid bicycles."
"What's so strange about that? You have them in France as well."
"Yes... but there are mountains in France."

I thought it was funny.

He urged me to leave. When I'm "still young" and can "sleep anywhere".


On a pissy note, it never ceases to amaze me how grown-up adults still engage in gossip. I don't deny that I gossip, but I find it difficult to fathom how a stranger's life makes for good conversation fodder.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


I ache. All. Over.

Sufia and her family has been constantly asking Zaid and Rajiv for money. From me. For a car. A car which I said I could not buy, and made clear that I would not.

I gave them S$200 because that was what she needed for a driver's license. And I felt that it was only right I did something within my abilities. Heck, my cheque from ST was instantly cashed and sent over by my father since my bank account was empty.

Somehow, intent and meaning got mixed up in the translation. Because now my friends in Dhaka are bearing the consequences of my actions. (She wanted to be a driver to earn money, which is what she apparently did in the past.)

A few months ago, I received phone call from Sufia. She started crying on the phone, and obviously I had no idea what she was talking about, only the word "koshto" which means pain.

I'd heard this word quite a lot during my time spent with them.

Zaid says they're being exploitative. I'm not too sure they are. I don't know what I did by giving them that money and my attention and my friendship. I don't know if it made them greedy, or if I had simply created a misunderstanding of expectation which I couldn't correct since I can't speak the language.

I don't think Zaid's very pleased with having to see this side of a family that he's known for 8 years. "I think they only remember me post-Jessica," he said.

What have I done? This is all very confusing to me.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Phase 0.1

I feel a bit like Bridget Jones, or at least what I can vaguely remember of the character from the book and movie.

I remember she had these sudden spurts of motivation to engage in Self Improvement (diet, exercise, happy thoughts etc) which would inevitably end in Failure after the original motivation for the action (A Man) somehow came in to destroy what he started.

So Bridget and I have very different motivations. Hers = A Man (Even if she doesn't admit it). Me = My Sanity?

Just today I attended a fitness class and lapped up the final chapter of one of 17 books purchased at the Library Book Sale.

Exercise and Reading! Say it ain't so!

Before you know it, I'd have entered Phase Two and taken up all sorts of sports, start running at East Coast every other day, signed up to be a volunteer helping Unfortunate Souls, find a renewed love for brocolli and removed all complex carbohydrates from my diet. Phase Three would include a Divorce from my longtime partner Procrastination (we just ain't right together baby) and the discovery of Goodness Within Myself And All Others Even Those Who Are Really Pricks.

(previous sentence a grammatical nightmare, i know)

The fitness class was named "Modern Dance Fitness". But something that torturous must be at least slightly medieval. I never knew how much energy walking required until I had none left and, well, couldn't walk quite right.

I was quite glad for the rundown-ness of the place. Its very very tacky, but I like it. For some reason I can't quite fathom, thinking of myself in the middle of Shenton Way at one of those Branded Yoga Centres amidst swirling clouds of lavender chiffon curtains and scented candles make me feel a tad bit sick.

Two of the women in the class really stood out. They were the oldest amongst the 12 or so of us, wearing the least clothes and undeniably the fittest.

Truth be told, I felt like a bit of a psychomotorfuckwit and consoled myself by convincing my tired and gullible mind that these women probably have been doing it for years.

Clad in sports bras and track pants (all very bright and cheery coloured) they moved to the beat even when the rest of us already started kneeling on the floor in pain.

Later on, they left together. One had changed out of her track pants into working pants and a pair of stilettos. I couldn't help but cock my head in wonder as I watched her sashay out in her sports bra and killer heels.

Yesterday, after calling me 'weak', the teacher had poked my stomach and said firmly "And this. This has got to go!"

I've already cut down on beer, more out of No Chance To Drink rather than Choice. I can't cut down on food, because, well.. its just not an option. I already removed KFC as a essential food group and I am not compromising anymore.

Ok wait, I've to clarify. I am not trying to lose weight. I am (as mentioned earlier) trying to maintain sanity. I feel lembeh and sluggish and I hate not being able to button pants properly.

So THERE. That's my motivation.

I give it a month.


Just something from Chinatown.

Marching Ahead Together

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Double faced

Cat couldn't understand why everything she does is cute.

"Surely, I have to have some level of unpleasantness!" (She had just come out from a bout of sulking.)

"Give me a dirty look then," I challenged.

She stuck out her tongue, which made me giggle so badly I had to turn my back around to avoid hurting her feelings.

"You're all fools," she muttered, and turned and left.


It made me think though, about what kind of thoughts cats might be hiding under a veneer of chronic cuteness.

For instance, this one could be thinking "FEED ME. BITCH.", and not "Oh you darling please drop me another bite I am sooo hungry and I luv you I luv you please feed me please I will meow for food!".

Will Meow For Food

Went back to the kopitiam near my primary school for lunch today. The bak chor mee was not as great as I remembered it to be.

I used to buy iced water from the drinks stall because I was too stingy to spent 80 cents on a can drink.

Yes, I said 'buy'. The lady charged me 30 cents for ice and tap water.


For the Record:

Mr Masagos Zulkifli uttered these words of wisdom regarding pre-marital sex in front of teenagers at a youth forum today:

"Just like how you don't want your girl to be a second-hand girl, you shouldn't make a girl a second-hand girl to someone else".

[The second half of the sentence is not verbatim, because there were a couple of uhmms and ahhh - but I remain true to the meaning and context]

I felt like such a slut for a spilt second when he said that. He went on to mention something about not wanting a "second-hand wife" as well.

There's a discussion to be had regarding political correctness and the absurdities of life - but not when I have The Office Special waiting to be watched.

Priorities, people. Priorities.

Friday, August 11, 2006


Last Hurrah

More text to follow.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

The Scars of Hygiene

So yes, I did complete two out of three on the previous To-Do List (hooray!), substituting the last point for a TripleHomeSpecialCombo (One Time Offer Only!) consisting of the ever delightful Vacumn That Damn Floor together with the Change The Damn Sheets and Clear Your Damn Room package.

Sure is nice to see tiles again.

It was time for a clean up. Yes Cat, that includes you as well. This house's Hygiene Chart ranks Soap+Water above Saliva. Surely, even you can see the logic in that.

Cleanliness is overrated

Erm, ok. Clearly not.

Huimei says that cats are rendered too unhappy by the prescene of water to do anything else other than express that unhappiness.

This would explain why all my battlescars are from AFTER the bath and not during.

It is really quite heartbreaking to hear her yowl her lungs out in the toilet. I feel sorry for my neighbours. I would not want to live next to a house that sounds like a temporary torture chamber for harmless domesticated animals.

So she alternates between seeking refuge in the corner and scrabbling at the door. I've learnt an early, and painful, lesson about how Cat will seek the highest ground - my head - to get away from water so I keep watch for telltale pouncing signs. My skin does not a good ladder make.

After the painful first lesson I've resorted to wearing JEANS during her bathtime so that I can hold her still in my lap while I scrub and rinse. Denim's the thickest material around the house to protect my knees from the claws hanging on to it for dear life. When they invent steel pants, I'm running out and buying a pair.

However, her passiveness in the toilet quickly mutates into sheer, unbridled anger when she's placed in the drying-room (cage).

Now that the water's gone, she has the prescene of mind to see that the person who put her throught 15 minutes of agony is still in front of her and rationally concludes that I am waiting for my just punishment.

Battle Scars

I know she's not a dog, but she sure is a bitch.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Void Deck

I. Need. A. Massage.

Not "want", but "NEED".

This is what I've discovered I can fit into three off days :

- Two seasons of The Office
- Two seasons of Seinfeld
- One entire day lying on the fake sand by the fake beach on the real island called Sentosa
- Hours of lying on my stomach and staring at Cat
- One night of drunken debauchery
- Half of a very funny book

You must understand, that I started out with a much more dignified and respectable To-Do list. But after the first day I just surrendered to the Nothingness and let it consume my life.

So tomorrow, on my fourth off day in six days (kill me already) I will :

- Drop off film
- Bath Cat
- Recce farfarfaraway place for shoot

I think I once mentioned that my notebook is filled with unchecked lists - and this image of empty boxes keep coming back to me. It's tragic but there's something hilarious funny about it.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Note to Self

Do not alert Mothership about planned trip to cemetery when the Gates of Hell are opened.