A bargain was made today, over some two-page preludes spanning two centuries. A teuton was bartered for an island marque. There was plenty of blood too, in the process. Also, the sight of a tremendously big cock triggered a spontaneous outburst of obscenities.
I have found the candidate for my next World of WCs entry, right by the feeder bus stop. Designer basins that don't work properly flanked by a mud-stained floor and guarded by bowls brimming with liquid chocolate. Alas, I hadn't my camera, but there's always next time. This filth is here to stay.
At the cinema, I hurled popcorn at the girl sitting behind, who clearly thought it was perfectly natural to talk on the phone and tell her friends that she is halfway through Miyazaki.
I am giving the aquatic setup in my study to wynx. May it bring him a lifetime of water changes and nights of kamikaze fish that splatter his floor with scales and scutes.
Last night, we found a box where someone had placed two very young kittens (with barely opened eyes) together with a bowl of milk. Hotlines to cat welfare organisations were unfortunately not reachable, and we only hope the mother could retrieve her brood and hide them away from kind-hearted souls who have no idea that cats routinely leave their litter alone while they hunt and feed.
Some monkeys were sighted close to the pavement as we headed home along Thomson Road. Clearly, primate overpopulation demands drastic measures before herbivorous simians overrun this island. Related to this, I found it curious that the administration office of an Institute of Technical Education had plenty of pamphlets on "How to know if you are pregnant" but nothing on "How to prevent pregnancy." Maybe someone is afraid that telling teenagers about condoms could be construed as promoting underaged sex. And that is just unthinkable in this vanguard of traditional values, isn't it?
Good night and bloody dreams.
People like Ms Tan (see ST Forum letter below) are why the gahmen here doesn't even have to get off its butt to whack critics. Even the sheer audacity of daring to criticise and point out shortcomings without being able to suggest conclusive solutions is a cardinal public sin in this nation. A credible critic MUST be able to identify a problem AND propose an ironclad answer at the same time. Since people like Dr. Lim can't proffer a cure (hell, she's just a literature professor, not a 'real' doctor) and refuses to step into the political arena, what gives her the right to even try to analyse and predict the gahmen's ways, which are now and forever deliberated in the interests of greater good of the non-voting electorate. Like what some are wont to say, "If you have nothing good to say, just shut the bloody fuck up and get out!"
Feb 26, 2005
Don't like what you see? Suggest a solution, Dr Lim
I WAS amused by the way writer Catherine Lim tried to analyse the Government ('A maverick and an 'irritant' - with a place in society'; ST, Feb 18). It seemed like she was trying to give a psychological assessment of the Government, like one trying to predict the behaviour of a person.
It is disquieting to see that she is so assured of the fact that she thinks she understands how the Government works. There is nothing wrong with criticising the Government. If criticism is constructive, I believe the Government would take it seriously.
However, there is another type of criticism - destructive criticism. It is just so easy for mavericks to point fingers while ensconced in their cosy armchairs.
The Government has the entire Singapore as its responsibility. The ministers are the ones who get the job done at the end of the day, and they do it the best they can.
I do not see how someone who doesn't want the responsibility (she likes her 'free-wheeling life') can criticise so freely.
If Dr Lim does not like what she sees, she should step out of the 'fringe' and suggest a plausible alternative solution. One doesn't have to be a politician to do that.
But if she is all talk and no action, she cannot expect the Government to take her seriously. And, yes, they would probably say, 'Ah, she's a harmless woman'.
Michelle Tan Minxuan (Miss)
There is hope for humanity after all. It appears whoever came across my handphone which I lost on the day before Chinese New Year's Eve kindly refrained from making trunk calls to loved ones in Lagos or Los Angeles. Or maybe the Nokia simply fell into some shit-hole while I was fiddling with my duck.
Hope is currently in short supply for budak. What future lies on this island where economic security in one's golden years means accepting any task and hourly rate deemed humane by untouchable profit maximisers? Where the weight of experience and dedication of passion count for nought between the glamour of rootless frequent flyers and blissful voicelessness of globalised villagers. Where civic duty equals generating future CPF contributors while expending every available waking hour in productive activity. Leaving of course the nasty, brutish business of politics to a few unfortunates who are justly compensated for their supreme self-sacrifice.
Some serfs have found self-emancipation by uprooting their minds and hearts from the not-undeniable comforts of paradise island-living, digging up their roots with economic plows and promised air of social liberties. One track bloody minded budaks, however, can't seem to handle the idea of long term relocation from this archipelago, even for the freedoms and opportunities of lucky lands and canuck countries. For the moment, the incongruities of differing nationalities and illiberal residency regimes do not permit retreats to lands beneath the wind.
What is one to do then? In theory, the budaks are not basket-cases with non-transferable skills and geographic adaptability. Besides pecking at stupid aquatic weeds, this duck could potentially make a living swallowing other foods and quacking to new tunes. But mrs budak's confidence in my ability to preach the teach is misplaced. The school room is not a place for this old bird.
Schooling, though, is a notion long harboured and severely delayed. Too long ago, the narrow lens of provincial cares showed me only one path for those who pursue the study of life. The prospect of gross anatomy and shapely staff nurses, however, was not my cup of tea and this resulted in an extended detour to the mental caress of Laffer curves and iambic pentameters. This route was not entirely unrewarding, but I look back with some petty regret at the afterhours lost between heartless hymns and passionless pews that in a way bound my time and chained my thoughts against readings in natural selection (don't laugh, I read The Origin... only less than 2 years ago) and biological diversity. Only much later did such old flames resurface, following this duck's attempts to refill a pond of ideas and interests that had dried up for over a decade.
A smart pre-hominid has suggested that holistic blends of physical and social sciences are in vogue. Thus, new-fangled fields like environmental economics and natural resource management seem possible pools that this duck could delve into, although it's moot what a Masters in Environmental Tourism and Conservation Biology could proffer in career prospects compared to a top-notch MBA from some university that outranks Cornell and Princeton. Well, various doors call for consideration, from post-graduate institutes in Pathum Thani to sunny campuses by the Great Barrier Reef. Of particular interest though is one course that combines an aptitude for communication and the sciences. But this duck wonders if his background in the softer sciences qualifies him for a dive into the world of quarks and other quantum particles, and whether his present one foot, currently placed gingerly on a semi-professional pad of applied science, can generate sufficient thrust to propel a belated mid-life switch.
It seems we will never qualify for Australian permanent residency under existing conditions, although Canada remains an open door, especially if I start taking French lessons. Kiwiland could also be a possibility, despite a bad experience with a bull once in Hawera. How could misanthropic ducks possibly object to a botanical haven where bovids outnumber buffoons and bryophytes?
Unfortunately, the idea of leaving this region, and without the prospect of returning, leaves me cold, to put it mildly. This galls mrs budak to no end, who says I haven't done my math and neglected to think and for whom the prospect of living and dying by the whims of an overpaid cohort of Homo economicus is anathema. And I get no emotional respite either from being torn between a deeply held biogeographical attachment and the long term domestic harmony of the last of the budaks.
The sense that we would have to grasp at any overseas opportunity that comes our way, so long as it offers an exit route, puts me in an emotional bind, conjuring fears of a future where the budaks would have to eke a life from the bottom of a foreign food chain with uncertain odds of reentering spheres true to our hearts. True, we are not so inflexible and immobile as to lack transferable qualifications, experience and skills, and the budaks would like to think of themselves as somewhat easily assimilable migrants, unlike the stereotypical ghetto-minded quitter who can't survive a week without a serving of white rice and Cantonese pop.
But even if a kind of material idyll of the sort dreamt by space- and land-starved Singaporeans is attained, I dare not conclude that this would be what satisfies me at the core. Thus, part of me resists the material risks, the sense of loss, the emotional burdens, the likely regret and the thought that whichever path we take, one or both could end up bitter. Should (or could) I cast off the only recently revived genies of attachment that draw me towards a life engaged in the study and advocacy of this region's land and lore for the uncertain hope of returning in a guise that need not bow to the alter of illiberal communitarianism? Or would inertia stir the woe of lost chances and ghoul of self-hate? Is there any real choice anyway between a voyage via fitful currents and the misery of stillborn dreams?
I had two free sticks of satay for tea – beef and chicken. Either my jaws are weak or the satay too sticky or cold; it was tough removing the meat from the skewer without scattering peanut sauce all over the place (I recall an old fart revealing that today's satays use inferior mass-produced skewers). So instead I nibbled at the barbequed animal flesh from the side of the stick, leaving bits and pieces that clung to the oily skewer, which I left on the styrofoam plate and covered with a serviette. This elegant scene took place at the Fullerton Hotel.
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I don't know why, but I sort of just followed mrs budak's momentum when the idea of applying for Australian permanent residency cropped up again, probably thanks to the urging by singaporeserf on mrs budak's blog. Part of me would like to go back to school and study (something interesting for a change, like History of the Sexual Revolution, the Sociology of Orgies or a mail order course for home porn publishing), and the notion of being a PR or citizen of a nation that gives both rights AND responsibilities to its people without regarding them as economic units to be maximised is certainly appealing (wait! Am I not already one?). More so, if one could attain such a status AND pursue a career as an expatriate in this under-rated region. But part of me still screams out in meek silence at the idea of uprooting longheld attachments and activities that have only recently been rekindled, after years in an intellectual wilderness (this needs qualified elaboration, but not now). Can I deal with dumping all material and mental connections to these parts (perhaps forever if it's a one-way ticket) and spend two or more years rebuilding a life in another sort of wilderness??
A peat swamp stream in southern Pahang dominated by Barclaya motleyi, a rare member of the water lily family. In these cool, shallow waters, we found an incredible diversity of fishes: Boraras maculatus, Parosphromenus nagyi, Rasbora pauciperforata, Belontia hasselti, Betta waseri, Trichogaster trichopterus, Anabas testudineus, Kryptopterus macrocephalus, Rasbora einthovenii, Sphaerichthys osphromenoides, Wallago leeri....