Monday, April 21

about photos* (but without photos**)

Determined to take some photos in proper daylight of a pair of abandoned armchairs and a rattan chair I spotted last night while walking my doggie, I made the supreme effort to wake up half an hour earlier than usual to go out with my camera.

Naturally, doggie trotted along with me on my morning jaunt.

Barely two minutes after setting off, I came across a tripod standing on its three legs next to a garbage bin. Score! I'd been thinking of getting one for the little vanity project known as the Fashion Diary.

It looked a little dusty but seemed sturdy enough, so I toted it along -- leash in right hand, tripod in left hand, camera slung around neck.

First stop: Newly vacated unit one street away. Two moldy armchairs were locked in what can only be described as a Kama Sutra position on the pavement. Click click click.

Next stop: A perfectly good rattan chair sitting next to two garbage bins. Light seemed to bright and white, but I was still fiddling with aperture and what not, so just practised. Click click click.

As I was just snapping the lens cap back on, my doggie tugged me violently around. I turned and there was his brother Slanty -- yes, real-life brother, who lives a couple of streets away and is named Slanty for the diagonal scar on his forehead -- and the family maid.

My doggie lunged a few times futilely at his brother, not in a friendly way, more like a "I must attack this doggie that looks exactly like me except for the cool scar" way. Undeterred, I mimicked a camera snapping action to the maid, as I didn't have a pix of Slanty.

Just as I was in an unstable half squat, my doggie decided to do his mad lunge again. This time, I fell forward, head first onto the road. Luckily, I broke my fall with my hands. Even more fortunately -- now you see where my priorities lie -- my neck prevented the camera from plummeting to the ground.

Even though both my palms were now scraped raw and bleeding, and I was still sitting in an undignified heap on the roadside, I just had to smack doggie's rump. He was still straining against his leash at Slanty, who was a good 2m away, watching the whole spectacle like an innocent bystander.

After an eternity, I finally managed to get up -- not easy when you are trying to control a mad dog, prevent a camera from strangling you, and cannot use your palms to push on the ground. I waved weakly to the maid, who probably would have a good tale to tell her ma'am later.

But all was not lost. As I hobbled home, all the while muttering "bad doggie, bad doggie", I noticed that my next door neighbour's flowers were in bloom. There was even a little bee buzzing around. Click click click.

My morning photography field trip wasn't a complete waste after all. In fact, it was rather fruitful: the tripod is now wiped clean and in perfect condition, ready for self-timer photo shoots.

Maybe tomorrow, I should try again to shoot a pix of Slanty. Who knows what else I may pick up along the way?

* Almost forgot to include this very exciting news. My twin and I are going on a photography course together, starting next week. Got field trips and mini exhibition at the end of the eight-week course. Squeal!

** Lazy to put up photos. Blogger will only allow me to upload one at a time and it's too trying.

Sunday, April 20

a long day's night

9am: Wake up to face being washed by dog's tongue
11am: Set off for the shop
12pm: Quick lunch of chee cheong fun and beancurd drink
12.30pm: Pack the back area of shop and rearrange furniture for Swirl Swap Swop
2pm: Swirl Swap Swop starts, manage to bag two dresses and a pair of heels
4pm: Pack up four huge bags of leftover clothes and clean up cupcake crumbs
6.30pm: Lug bags of clothes home to be donated to church in JB
7pm: Walk and play with dog
7.30pm: Shower and repair make-up for Girls' Night Out
8.30pm: Dinner at Persimmon with CC, CO, HC, LG and TPL
11pm: Attempt to adjourn to Link Hotel bar for a drink
11.01pm: Escape from bar full of lecherous men, strange Mandarin yodelling and putrid smell of dried puke
12am: Lychee bellini at Mimolette
1.30am: Play Rockstar on Playstation. Fail miserably at being the drummer of The Swirls
2am: Spur of the moment decision to go to Mustafa to buy some baby bangles and bath brush with natural bristles
4am: Unable to find brush in the behemoth 24-hour store, but end up with cheap vitamins, tongue scrapers and magic sponges
4.30am: Loud overjoyed greeting from dog at front door
5am: Shower and collapse in bed after tottering around in killer heels the whole day

Thursday, April 17


A good rummage through my fridge turned up these Japanese goodies...

...Which I then cobbled together [except for the mayo, too rich] into a super yummy, low carb and healthy dinner.

Century egg with tofu and pickles, drenched with sesame-wasabi dressing, and cold shirataki noodles with soba sauce. All topped with freshly-chopped spring onions.

All that was missing was ice-cold Choya.

Tuesday, April 15

you've got mail

I've always expressed a wish to marry a rich old man, and I think the universe has finally heard my plea and given me half of it, sort of. On top of penning me an e-mail, this old man has also found me on Facebook and poked me. Ewww. And now there is a pending Friend Request. Double ewww.

Oh, and how do I know he's an old man and not, say, someone tall dark and handsome? His Facebook profile states he was born in 1953. That's three years younger than my Dad. Triple ewww.

Edited-to-protect-this-blog-from-being-traced-back-to-him version of his e-mail below [I've left his translated-from-Chinese English intact though]:

Dear Suzanne

Hi, I read your article on George Clooney, it strikes me that you are perceptive to the predicament of being the girl friend of George, an element which I seldom see from the Strait Times group of writers.

I searched the internet and followed your footstep to Facebook and being induced to the crime of face-stalking ha ha :)

Your trip to St Paul de Vence's, and other places indicated that you are a person who enjoy spontaneous urge in life for quality enjoyments. May be we can talk about Australia, Paris, London, and 40+ cities of USA, which to me are more a series of bitter-sweet encounters.

Your takes on Friend-in-law are very readable, let's say I really get to enjoy your brain juice.

I spent too much time in consulting and IT business writing in Business English... therefore my literally releases are mostly bilingual :)

[Website address removed.]

This is a small part of my works testing how popular I can be in pop-culture of blogging.

I kind of assume most of the high IQ creative-people are bilingual nowadays.

Let see whether we have the 缘分 to be friend.

Sunday, April 13

a very pink house

Project Smitten mag did a shoot of my very pink house last year and the spread has finally appeared in its latest issue. Mousey's place was also shot recently, so watch out for it in, oh, six months' time. [The text is legible if you click on the pix to enlarge it. And you can also see how adorable my doggie is.]

It looks so much better in pictures than in real life -- no balls of dog hair rolling around, no armies of ants marching up and down the window sill, no unwashed dishes or unmade beds. But actually I love it, dog hair, ants and all.

But due to my landlord being an opportunistic money-grabbing bastard [my rent will go up by a frigging unbelievable 70% in June] and both my housemates moving out [one to London to work, another to cheaper digs], I have been forced to consider the following options:

a) Look for two new housemates and pass on the rental hike to them
b) Sell off all my worldly possessions, which I have a lot, and move home with 500 boxes until HDB allows me to buy my own place when I turn 35
c) Get my parents to rent out their place [can fetch a good price, apparently] and move in. The best option in my opinion, except that my mum is against it.

All are not without their pros and cons. And I'm running out of time, as I need to renew my lease by the end of the month.


Saturday, April 12

may the shampoo last for a long long time

Out of the blue, I received an email from my former housemate C -- she's the Brit gal who used to teach at a special needs school here but then moved on to teach in Dubai sometime last year. [There was some drama and heartbreak over a callous expat guy here who turned out to be married and a soccer yob she met in the UK when she went back for a break.]

In the breathless email with no punctuation marks, she announced that she had met a "very handsome dark young Lebanese guy" and they got married last month. She had also left her job and gone back to the UK with him.

To put the timeline in perspective: I am still washing my hair with the giant bottle of shampoo she abandoned only half used when she left.

Friday, April 11

lower temperature

The fever has abated. I've finally loaded a handful of non-Jay songs onto my phone's mp3 player.

Because of that, I have nothing much to say. So let's warm up some leftovers to rehash the highs from his previous gigs.

This was what I wrote after his first concert in 2002, when I grudgingly covered the show at the expense of a precious Saturday night off:

MUMBLING is a talent.

Sure, anyone can mumble, but no one can do it as pleasurably as the multi-talented Jay Chou.

Half of his lyrics were barely intelligible at his first concert here on Sunday, but of course none in the appreciative audience minded.

Because that is precisely the appeal of this wunderkind of Mandarin R&B, who composes and produces almost all his songs - in addition to mumbling through them.

Nursing a slight flu and a dry cough, the 24-year-old Taiwanese singing sensation displayed his musical talents on the piano and the cello, with songs such as Quiet and Pa, I'm Back from his recent second album, Fantasy.

The theatrically-produced concert - which started with a haunted-house sequence complete with eight masked and hooded dancers - also showcased talents of the non-musical variety.

While performing the Japanese-inspired numbers Nanchaku and Ninja, he displayed his boyish hero worship of Bruce Lee and wielded a mean nunchaku, a weapon made up of two sticks joined with a chain.

Probably not that different from boys his age in his love for shooting hoops, he wove a nifty basketball sequence into Bull Fight, which climaxed with him lobbing autographed balls into the eager audience.

Packed to the roof and up on their feet by the third song, the 9,000-strong audience - which included his divorcee mother - was almost entirely made up of teenagers and 20somethings, with some of the male fans even dressing like their idol, with red baseball caps and B-boy street style.

While the guys dug his rapid raps and chants, the girls swooned over ballads such as Tornado, Adorable Woman, Simple Love and Can't Say It, all delivered with strained sincerity in the R&B style which shot him to fame two years ago.

Mid-way through the short two-hour concert, his mentor, Jacky Wu, made an unscheduled guest appearance.

A household name in Taiwan for being host of a number of top-rated variety shows, Wu is also the managing director of Alfa Music, which discovered Chou.

The glib host more than made up for the bashful Chou's lack of words, prattling on and on about how much he loved Singapore, that the applause was always the loudest here and he hoped to hold a concert here, too.

The main act of the night might not be a smooth talker like his mentor, but he showed his appreciation to the audience in his own earnest way, such as when he muddled and mumbled his way through an impromptu Song For Singapore during his encore.

Who needs to hear the words when sincerity can speak volumes?

This was what I blogged after my second encounter with him in concert in 2004:

Just got back from what must be the best concert of my life -- Jay Chou! Shuai dai le!

I would gladly have paid three times the $128 I spent on tickets -- and this is a lot coming from someone who is so spoilt and used to getting free tickets.

But that is part of the joy of the concert, that it has absolutely nothing to do with work. No need to take note of crowd behaviour, celebrities in the audience, number of empty seats, run-down of songs, encore or not, etc etc...

Instead, it was pure unadulterated idol worship. Heck, even Sly was in the audience! But he was but a mere blip on the radar compared to the meteor that hit when Jay took over the stage.

[Full-blown teenage groupie mode ON]

Swoon. Scream. Melt. Swoon again. Especially when he played the piano. And the flute. And the drums. [Not all at the same time of course!] But he looked so good no matter what he was singing or doing. Or as TPL put it: "Even the way he walks!"

At intermittent intervals, we'd be turning to each other and sighing: "Shuai dai le", "He's soooo coooool!", "He's so talented!" and "I lurve this song!"

Trying to think which is my favourite part is very tough... I would have to say the whole three hours! We wailed when it was over... I think we melted and left a puddle on the floor too.

Am now listening to the Jay Chou for Dummies compilation I made for the girls as a primer for the concert... still swooning away...

And finally, I started a Facebook support group after this year's long-awaited concert:

- Are you unable to eat and sleep?
- When you close your eyes, do you see Jay playing the piano, possibly a transparent one?
- Are you no longer functioning as a responsible part of the work force and instead just look at concert photos and make squealing sounds at your desk?
- Are you thrilled to find out that he ate steamed fish and veggie for his birthday supper at 3am?
- Do you have curious urges to rewatch Initial D (the driving with elbow propped on the window scene) and Secret (the piano battle scene)?
- Have you swooned over the music video of 我不配 and imagined you are his secret lover?
- Do you have all his songs on repeat mode and think they are fantastic, even 阳光宅男?
- Are you frantically trawling YouTube for snippets of interviews with him?
- Have you attended a Jay Chou concert recently?

If you have answered "yes" to all of the above, you have a bad case of Post Jay Concert Disorder. It is not unlike Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, except much more pleasurable.

Fortunately, there is no cure. I speak from personal experience of attending three such concerts. You can only alleviate the symptoms by indulging in more music, more photos, more videos, more movies.

Footnote: The support group for Post Jay Concert Disorder sufferers has stagnated at 79 members.

Thursday, April 3

the belated birthday cake

So happy with the cake that my lurve baked. In fact, I kinda liked that it was two months belated because it felt like I was celebrating my birthday again in some small way. And check out those buttons!

P.S. I predict that someone has a promising career ahead as a baker. The cake was super yummy and chocolatey and moist. Mmm...