Monday, October 30


The Girl Next Door is looking for baby photos for a public service announcement.

Also, she's looking for volunteers to write some stuff for the website and newsletter, so lemme know if you can help out.

Saturday, October 28

first love, last rites

In death, I learnt more about my grandfather than when he was alive.

But first, a "What It Should Have Been" [known also as a WISHB to journos].

His "companion" -- as my very proper school teacher aunt discreetly informed me, when I asked her about the identity of that skinny auntie waiting with us for the body to arrive at the casket -- did not have a family with my grandfather, as I'd thought [that would be my grandfather's philandering younger brother, but more on him another day].

Instead, she left her presumably grown children to be with him after her husband died. While my grandfather left his wife and children for her.

They had, perhaps, less than 10 years together. Or perhaps they'd always been lovers, meeting in secret, regretting their choices but trying their best to keep their respective families intact.

There's no polite way of saying it: They'd shacked up together, but as two old folks well past their retirement age, it could hardly be for the red hot sex. So, in the immortal words of Roxette, it must have been love.

I expected her to look like a femme fatale, some floozy with a poodle perm and red lipstick smeared on her lips. But she looked like one of those tiny wrinkled aunties who regularly elbow me in their bid to be the first to board the bus whenever I try to get out from Chinatown.

As we shuffled round the coffin while the Buddhist priest chanted the last rites, I saw her hand reach out, as if in slow motion, and tenderly touch his face.

No one heard her silent sobs. And there was no one to comfort her. Because he was gone.

Thursday, October 26

till death do us part

My grandfather is lying in a hospital bed, dying of lung cancer.

His wife -- my late grandmother -- threw him out when she found out that he not only had a mistress, he also fathered an entire brood of children and grandchildren.

So all these years, he's been living with his "other family". We only see him once a year during Chinese New Year, and when my grandmother was still alive, she wouldn't even glance at him when he sheepishly turned up on the first day of Chinese New Year.

But when she died, my uncles and aunties prepared a tablet with two slots for photos -- one for her, the other for him.

So even though the dirty mistress -- as known on my current fave show, Grey's Anatomy -- had him for a few years, the legitimate wife will have him for eternity.

There is a lesson in there somewhere.

the curious incident of the ninja in the night-time

Somehow, I always dream of being back at my old house, in my old room with its peeling wallpaper, in my old bed with its snagged satin blue sheets.

It was late at night, and I was dozing off, when a ninja -- yes, true blue ninja who can scale high-rise buildings -- came in through my ninth-storey window.

Like lithe lightning, he was standing over me before I could even blink. In his hand was a sliver of a blade, sort of like a barbecue skewer, only sleeker and deadlier.

He then stabbed me in the stomach. Once. Twice. And then back out the window.

As I lay there, my hands pressed against the two puncture wounds, bleeding out, my Mum came in and I managed to gasp, ""

But while she was calling for an ambulance or the police or the seven samurais, the masked ninja returned.

With short staccato moves, he proceeded to stab me over and over while I tried and tried to scream, even as my throat closed over and no sound came out.

I woke up with my mouth wide open in a silent screech -- and stabbing period cramps.

Wednesday, October 25

are you ok?

I'm sure that, like me, you have walked past this Singapore's OK Sculpture Park before. It features these pint-sized bronze figures of indeterminate sex with titles such as:

Keep Public Toilets Clean

See Doctor, Avoid Crowded Places If Unwell. Spit, Cough And Sneeze Into Tissue

Do Not Litter. Bag Your Rubbish And Place In Bin

Wash Hands With Soap Frequently

Eat Healthily, Exercise Regularly

I was grinning like an idiot while trying to get the best snaps of these Sculptures With Very Serious Messages. Bet the residents of Holland Village who were on their way home that night were wondering, "Is that girl ok?"

Monday, October 23

reality bites

He texted to say he was within spitting distance of my place.

I told him I was still closing up at the shop.

Later, he told me he was at Michaelangelo's.

I told him I just got home and was dying for good pasta.

He felt it was just wrong to tarpow Michaelangelo's.

I couldn't resist asking who he was with.

He said they were ex-colleagues.

Later, he asked me to join him at Wala.

I told him I was going to Cold Storage to get food.

He said me he'd help me with my groceries.

I thought he was kidding, until I crossed the road.

He was waiting by the entrance.

I wandered down the aisles under the harsh fluorescent supermaket lights.

He carried the shopping basket.

I decided to send him back to his friends, while I had Burger King alone.

He drove past my place after having some drinks and decided to come in.

We fooled around -- no, no, not that sort of fooling around -- with Photo Booth for five minutes.

He suddenly got up and said he should go.

I saw him out.

He described Friday night as "so surreal".

I can only agree.

Sunday, October 22

heavenly creatures

My fave White Dog Bobby painting, currently proudly displayed in my shop. It's supposedly for sale, like all the other paintings, but I refuse. Cos this is "our painting", my sissy and I. We were travelling in Italy and, somehow, ended up posing as Raphaelite angels. I'm always on the left, she's on the right.

I'm still waiting for the artist to get back to me on the price.

lazy hazy daze

I have been getting dirty looks when I tell people I like the haze.

Yes, I agree that there's a acrid smell in the air, but it is not altogether unpleasant. Sorta like a barbeque, no? And don't hate me, but I don't get difficulties breathing or eye irritation.

And I love the way it imparts ordinary roads and buildings with a soft-focus, Christopher-Doyle feel. Even having lunch in the office canteen seems extra special, like we're in some highlands resort instead.

Friday, October 20

trick or treat

As Halloween approaches, the denizens of Chip Bee Gardens start taking on otherworldly personalities...

There is the little girl from Japanese horror movies...

The girl-turned-vampire from next door...

And presenting the one-eyed cat.

located located located

I'll be the first to admit that I am not very good at keeping in touch with friends.

I don't know where all my primary school friends are, except for a psycho who once had a crush on my neighbour and calls me now and then to ask if I know where he is now. Another long-lost primary school friend emailed me after seeing something I wrote, and I emailed back with the obligatory "let's meet up". But we never did.

I only keep in touch with two secondary school friends. A third one, I know what she's up to only through her blog.

My JC friends have all drifted off to god knows where. The last time we had a reunion was three years ago. But last week, two old friends whom I hadn't seen in more than 10 years turned up at the shop. They had seen the article in Today and came to look for me. Amazingly, I could recognise them instantly.

My clique in uni still maintain a email list but they're all so busy with kids and career that we never manage to meet up.

Then there are the miscellaneous friends from different faculties and weird activities from my misspent youth, such as MUD. A mudder friend came by the shop to look for me yesterday, but I wasn't there. He came again, specially, today. I hadn't seen him for five years at least, and I was quite wary, espcially when he told me he had tried to call me to wish me happy birthday in January, but I'd changed my number. This is the same guy who once folded a whole box of paper cranes -- How nostalgic! Same era as those paper stars! -- for me.

But I needn't have thought too much of it, even when he politely and none too subtly asked about my "boyfriend". For he then proceeded to tell me that he was planning to get married in December. Phew. I think.

Sunday, October 15

cupcake is the new black

Check out these cute cupcakes! And more adorable stuff made from recycled sweaters here.

Makes the curly wurly scarf I'm knitting at the moment seem so dull.

Saturday, October 14

saturday swirl shenanigans

HIM: What's the address of your shop?
ME: Stamford House. Why?
HIM: I'm telling my friends. May drop by later.
ME: Who you coming with?
HIM: Some friends... and my girlfriend. Would it be weird?
ME: Why would it be weird?
HIM: Well... you know... you sure it won't be weird?
ME: I'll be fine.

I'm fine. Because he didn't turn up. It would have been weird.

But quite a few friends did turn up, so it was a fun Saturday in the shop. We had tea, we ate piglets, we played with the giant Swirl chop, we caught up.

So, come visit if you're in the area.

Friday, October 13

10 times 10 things

I turned on the telly this morning to find cable repeating 10 Things I Hate About You. I had to watch it. I even taped it, even though I'd seen it 10 times at least, for future rewatching.

How can anyone resist Alison Janney as Ms Perky the guidance counsellor? Or any movie that has an opening scene with the words "pulsating bratwurst"? And Heath Ledger, butofcos!

The Weakness In Me

I'm not the sort of person who falls in and quickly out of love
But to you, I give my affection, right from the start.
I have a lover who loves me - how could I break such a heart?
Yet still you get my attention.

Why do you come here, when you know I've got troubles enough?
Why do you call me, when you know I can't answer the phone?
And make me lie when I don't want to,
And make someone else some kind of an unknowing fool?
Make me stay when I should not?
If you're so strong then resolve the weakness in me.
Why do you come here, and pretend to be just passing by?
I need to see you - I need to hold you - tightly.

Feeling guilty,
And I'm worried, and I'm waking from a tormented sleep
'Cause this old love, you know it has me bound,
But this new love cuts so deep.
If I choose now, I'm bound to lose out;
One of you is gonna have to fall...
I need you, baby.

Why do you come here, when you know I've got troubles enough?
Why do you call me, when you know I can't answer the phone?
And make me lie when I don't want to,
And make someone else some kind of an unknowing fool?
Make me stay when I should not?
If you're so strong then resolve the weakness in me.
Why do you come here, and pretend to be just passing by?
I need to see you - I need to hold you - tightly.

Thursday, October 12


Fooling around with the nifty Photo Booth application on my new baby. Coneheads look normal compared with what we subsequently came up with...

We think we look like those baboons with red asses.

But these two really crack us up. We look like figments of Tim Burton's imagination. We considered uploading them onto the Swirl site, but then got worried that it would scare off customers.

Sunday, October 8

dot dot dot

One day after the Swirl launch, Dot launches her Dotted Line. I love her Anna's Blouse, but somehow, I look horribly washed out in the peachy-pink colour. Or perhaps it was just my tired complexion.

You can see her lovely clothes in person at the Maad market, Red Dot Museum, Maxwell Road, this coming Sunday, 15 Oct, from 11am to 6pm.

She is also offering 15% off that day, so hurry!

Swirling good time

The Swirl boutique is finally open.

s w i r l
stamford house 02-05
39 stamford road
tel: 6338 5020
monday ~ saturday
12pm ~ 830pm

We had a little tea party yesterday, a soft launch of sorts. No, no, no ribbon cutting or lion dance. Thank you, all who came and for all the marvellous shop-warming gifts.

See more photos here.

Please help spread the word. Tell your girl friends about our pretty frocks, and your guy friends about them too. Who knows, they may want to buy something for their girlfriends. Or they may be closet cross-dressers. I need all the customers I can get.

"What keeps you awake at night?" Ms Midori likes to ask her interviewees. For me, for now, it's the thought of not making the shop rental.

Wednesday, October 4

akan datang

White Dog Bobby joins Swirl, together with good fwen Wabbit.

This Wabbit's briefs can be removed. Hmmm...

You can get an explosive hair style under this UFO.

The swing and the plant were both shop-warming gifts we shamelessly requested for.

More chandeliers.

Sunday, October 1

ready, get set...

The clothes have been taken down for the move to the shop.

The Swirl Girls are excited over their new mirrors.

The mirror uncle is amused by the enthusiasm over shiny reflective surfaces.

Sneak preview of the shop decor.

Gee Wee Goes To New York's new display.

The glass cabinet we got for $30.

You do know pink is our favourite colour? And this is just one of the four chandeliers we have.

We're so poor, we're making our own paperbags. All 500 of them.

bali hai hai

Welcome to my villa at the Bvlgari Resort. I was the first one to ever stay in it -- and the very first guest to arrive at the resort.

I spent more time in the bathroom than in the bedroom.

The biggest bathroom I've ever been in. And I adore the tub and the outdoor shower (straight ahead, just beyond the glass doors).

View from the deck by day...

...and by night.

The, erm, pool. Duh.

At the private beach. Which we were brought to by helicopter. How decadent is that.

This is the best my lousy camera can do. I've always preferred sunsets -- a time to reflect on the day past.

bali hai

Feeling right at ommm at the Como Shambhala Estate.

Water ballet performance.

seoul searching

Missy and me.

Korean pancake and me.

shady business

This is so genius I have to share it asap. I can't believe it's made of Post-Its! Reminds me of Lady Liberty's torch.

I'm now looking around my place for any lampshade and leftover Post-Its I can use to experiment.