Thursday, July 31

only if you have time

Vicky got a tattoo.

There are over 800 comments (and 65,000 views) to this photo on Flickr, most of them so completely clueless it's almost painful. Yet I couldn't stop reading them.

I think I want to marry the photographer, she's brilliant.

Wednesday, July 30

too perfect theory

When I start reading something -- a book, a magazine, an article, a cereal box -- I am compelled to read every word until the end. Which explains why I seldom read The New Yorker, even though I have it on my Bloglines, which, to sidetrack a bit, is the best thing to happen to my blog-reading habit (I read 62 blogs on a near-daily basis). The articles are simply too long and headache-inducing to wade through on screen.

But today, I got sucked in to an 11-page piece (yes, 11 whole pages with little paragraphing), The Real Work (by Adam Gopnik), about modern magicians and the meaning of life.

Towards the end, he wrote about what mindful magicians called the Too Perfect theory, which I understand to be the belief that when a trick is too perfect, it ceases to be believable.

"But the Too Perfect theory has larger meanings, too. It reminds us that, whatever the context, the empathetic interchange between minds is satisfying only when it is “dynamic,” unfinished, unresolved. Friendships, flirtations, even love affairs depend, like magic tricks, on a constant exchange of incomplete but tantalizing information. We are always reducing the claim or raising the proof. The magician teaches us that romance lies in an unstable contest of minds that leaves us knowing it’s a trick but not which one it is, and being impressed by the other person’s ability to let the trickery go on. Frauds master our minds; magicians, like poets and lovers, engage them in a permanent maze of possibilities. The trick is to renew the possibilities, to keep them from becoming schematized, to let them be imperfect, and the question between us is always “Who’s the magician?” When we say that love is magic, we are telling a truth deeper, and more ambiguous, than we know."

This appeals to the imperfectionist in me.

no lah

So there I was, striding purposefully along Central on my (n+1)th trip to Hong Kong, when an angmoh stopped me.

"Excuse me, do you know if there is a sporting goods store nearby?" he asked in an American drawl.

"Sorry, I'm not from around here," I replied. I gave a weak smile to make up for not even bothering to think if there were any around, and started to move away. H&M was waiting for me.

"You're from Singapore, aren't you?" he said, stopping me in tracks.

Is my Singlish so jialat that he could make out my nationality in fewer than 10 words? And should I be proud to be so easily identifiable as Singaporean or should I be appalled that my accent is not as neutral as I perceived?


A few days later, I was at a celebrity-spotting type of gala event -- they were sequestered away from us common folks on special mezzanine floors -- and wandering around the cavernous tent looking for photo ops.

After a few half-hearted snaps -- due to suckage at night photography -- I found a spot by the bar where I could take my fashion diary photo. A guy in all black with a heavy duty camera and zoom lens ambled by, presumably a photographer. He didn't look too busy so I asked him if he could help me take a photo.

The first thing he said to me after he returned me my toy camera?

"Are you from Singapore?"

Turned out he was Singaporean too and had been working in Hong Kong for seven years. He joined our little group, and was even reunited with a long-lost friend.

A few days after I left, he very kindly sent an email with more photos of the party and tips on where to shop on future trips -- a case where Singlish comes in handy.


When I related this anecdote to a friend, her face immediately lit up.

Before she could even sputter out the words in her excitement, I quickly burst her bubble: "He's gay. He moved to Hong Kong to be with his boyfriend."

In a sort of related story, a longer while ago, when my dog ran away from home -- somehow managing to open the gate, get out AND shut it behind him -- he invaded the house of my angmoh neighbour one street away.

He called me -- thank god for phone numbers on dog tags -- and assured me he would take care of the runaway canine as I was still at work.

When I finally stopped panicking, I told a colleague I had to go home and collect my dog from the kind neighbour.

She was strangely deflated when I told her that his wife was afraid of dogs: "Oh, there is a wife. I thought this would be one of those stories where you meet someone because your dog ran away."

Tuesday, July 29

bear hugs out, lion hugs in

I dare you to watch this and not at least tear up a little.

Going to hug my doggie now, even though he doesn't know how to reciprocate (the closest he knows to hugging is humping).

Monday, July 28

cupcakes take the cake

Had an inexplicable craving for Magnolia Bakery's diabetes-inducing cupcakes last week and made a batch on Sunday to satisfy my sweet tooth. I also had some heavenly vanilla pods -- a gift from Bali -- which I was dying to use.

I found the recipes for the vanilla cupcake and vanilla buttercream frosting easily online, but reduced the scary amounts of sugar by half for both the cupcakes and the frosting. No harm done to the final product, I feel.

What did hurt the cupcakes was refrigeration, which I discovered the next morning. The cupcakes became rather dense and damp, and the buttercream no longer light and fluffy.

Then I went to the Magnolia Bakery website and saw this fine print: Never refrigerate or freeze your Magnolia Cupcakes. Darn.

Wednesday, July 23

last-minute appeal

Voting closes in less than 24 hours, peeps! (See previous post on how to vote for my pitiful photo which, according to the PR girl from the company who called me, hasn't even had enough votes to make it to the Top 3.)

So I've been begging friends and colleagues to vote for me, my sis to put an appeal on her blog to garner more votes and nagging on my Facebook status updates, all in a bid to beat the "one-armed boy paddling down the raging river in a bath tub and did I mention he has only one arm" photo, which I regard as my closest competitor.

One traitorous colleague wanted to vote for it -- despite my protests -- because "he needs a helping hand".

Please remember, I am the one who needs help here, ok?

Thanks thanks!

Thursday, July 17

family outing

This is a shameless appeal. I'm taking part in this photo competition and need all the votes I can get.

Please go to, click on photos, then vote for this one.

This is my first ever attempt at a photo competition (although it seems more like a popularity contest with the online voting), so fingers crossed!

Thursday, July 3

romper room

I'd always wanted a romper, but all the more so after I saw how fun and versatile -- and slimming! -- it was on Sally-Jane Vintage, where she has four looks for it. How I kicked myself for not getting it when I saw it in Urban Outfitters when I was in New York the last time.

So I decided to trawl eBay for some vintage ones. Keyword search "romper" turned up too many baby clothes, so I tried "adult romper".

This was what turned up:

Photo courtesy of Pipineni's Adult-Baby-Shop.

eBay is a strange and wonderful place where you can learn many things.