Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Kitchen love

Last week, I had this meal that was a revelation.

I bought fresh wholemeal walnut bread, mini roma tomatoes and a can of tuna and ate it all together and almost swooned.

I'd completely forgotten what really good bread tasted like. The smell, the taste and texture threw me for a moment; I remember staring down at it in surprise. I mean, at he back of your mind, you sort of know that commercially sold sliced bread isn't fantastic, but having eaten nothing but that for the past 4 months, I'd clean forgotten what good, no sugar or weird preservatives added bread tasted like.

It has texture. It springs. The smell...of freshness and happiness. I could have eaten the bread alone with the tomatoes and been the happiest person in the world.

In the last four months, it's just been easier, to let my parents do the shopping for me. I come home and the bread, milk, groceries and produce are all there. My mum buys sliced multigrain bread from the convenience store on the way home and buys fruit from the market once a week.

It's all very well, except that I've read the ingredient list on the sliced bread and its terrifying. One of the ingredients listed is pure cane sugar and its added to every brand of sliced bread in the market. Every single one. The bread...just tastes kind of artificial, flat despite the added sugar.

The bread is a symbol of the much larger problem I now face. I miss having control. Control over what I eat, control over the way food is prepared and consumed. Control over the kitchen.

I miss cooking. I miss coming home to an empty house and knowing that I'm going to walk into the kitchen and create something. I miss feeding people the food I've prepared, knowing that I took every possible care with it. Knowing that I'm serving them something wholesome and good.

It's also all part of the vast problem of people in Singapore not having enough time to cook or pay attention to what they eat. The kitchen is my maid's territory. My mum isn't home enough to know what's in it or even where the pans are stored. When I step into the kitchen, the maid follows me around anxiously, wondering if I'm going to mess something up. After awhile, I give up and leave.

I don't want to stay in Singapore. No one has time here. I don't have time here. I work crazy hours and while I enjoy my work and I want to do my best with it, I know that this isn't the life I want to lead. This isn't the time to leave, but I know now. One day, I'll leave and this time, I may not come back.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Lux: Sola Scriptura, Sola Gratia, Sola Fide,Solus Christus and Soli Deo Gloria

Reformation Day which falls on the 31st of October every year is a largely forgotten day.

On the 31st of October 1617, Martin Luther walked up to the castle doors in Wittenburg and nailed to the door his 95 points of discussion written in Latin. These were to be translated into German and then spread all over Europe, igniting the Protestant Reformation.

Everyone knows the rough history of the Reformation, of how the Protestant church broke away from the Roman Catholic one. But few appreciate the enormity of what the Reformation was really about.

The people of the 1500s were largely illiterate and/or lacked an understanding of the language of the elite, Latin which made them essentially illiterate as far as the church was concerned. This firstly cut them off from understanding the services and Masses conducted in churches all across Europe. Their lack of spiritual understanding was made worse by the fact that the Church at the time decreed that the people could only understand the Bible through the Roman Catholic church and the Pope. It was a time when church tradition reigned and the papacy had degenerated into bitter infighting and corruption was rife. The Church had also begun the odious practice of selling indulgences to people for their salvation and that of their loved ones based on the idea that the saints had built up extra "merit" that could be sold to people for their own salvation or to shorten the Purgatory of their loved ones. This was, of course the method of financing the Crusades in the Middle East which were ongoing at the time.

That scripture and not the Church was the full and final authority for all matters of faith and life, that people could read and understand the Bible for themselves, could determine for themselves what was needed to achieve salvation...these were the real radical ideas behind the Reformation.

The 5 pivotal doctrines which emerged out of that time brought light into a Europe plunged into darkness.

Sola Scriptura, Sola Gratia, Sola Fide,Solus Christus and Soli Deo Gloria.

Through scripture alone, we know that we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, because of Christ alone, to the glory of God alone.

May we remember, in this day of mega churches with congregations that seem to show little or no understanding of the scripture, that the Bible and not the church is the final authority on life.

That the onus is on us, to read and find out the truth for ourselves and not rely on the interpretation of the clergy.

Let there be light.

Monday, October 20, 2008

No Tears

Before I go into the post proper, I just thought I'd add a little disclaimer. This blog is where I go when I'm sad or miserable or just need to vent. I am mostly happy and at peace with myself. This blog is for the nights when the day has been long and I have not been able to see the sun.

Today wasn't such a day. It's just that today was the day I finally realized what that thread of emotion inside was all about. That funny thread that has dogged me since I got back to Singapore.

It's panic.

I've been in a constant state of panic and stress for four months. Part of it is starting a new job and having to cope with not knowing how to do alot of stuff, but most of it has to do the fact that I haven't cried since the break up with Boy.

I just have alot of pent up SAD, with capitals, all buttoned down inside of me. Put that together with the strain of a new job and the fact that I've always been the nervy jittery type anyway and you have a pressure cooker situation building.

Whenever I panicked at work, I put it down to the fact that I was new and didn't know the ropes yet. But I admit, that I am the tense panicky type anyway. But the real panic was in that when I came home from a tense day, Boy wasn't there.

Boy took alot of that away. The tenseness, the inferiority complex, the stress. Just by being there, he took it away and I miss him the most for that.

I really need that cry. It's getting to be really awful inside me andI just keep feeling like I need to let it out. I've been stress eating and gaining weight, I've been making mistakes and I've just been exhausted with keeping all that tightly in.

The worst bit of a breakup is the forever bit. The bit where you look into the future and you can hardly believe that you won't be together again....ever. It seems impossibly difficult to see the future then, because the panic and grief clouds everything, and blinded, you fumble forward.

One step, then two. Another step, then another.

One day, then two. Another day, then another.

Ten minutes at a time, then an hour. You can block your vision so that you only focus on one thing at a time. The next step, the next hour, the next day. You stop planning for the future, stop thinking about next year. You think about only the next day and its attendant joys or sorrows and let it be enough.

It has to be enough.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Dancing on the Air

In the last three months, I moved from one country to another, started a new job, started dance classes and found myself suffering from coffee and Boy withdrawal symptoms.

But amazingly enough, I think the best thing to come out of the whole period is that I learned to embrace dance.

This isn't to say that I'm good at it. I have major coordination problems and I'm still awkward as hell. But... I love it.

I love the music, the movement, the sheer excitement of it all. In the partner dances I've been doing, I love being led into turns and spins and with a good lead, I love feeling like I'm in safe hands. Who knows, maybe one day I'll actually be decent at it, but right now, I'm happy to just tag along in all my gawkiness.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Dimbulah, at Change Alley

The real Dimbulah is a town in Queensland, Australia. The word 'dimbulah' is thought to mean a long waterhole in the Indigenous Australian language which makes it a terribly apt name for a cafe, if you ask me.

The Dimbulah Coffee at Change Alley is my new coffee place. It's tucked away at a corner of Change Alley and always seems relatively peaceful, despite the lunch crowd. I go there once or twice a week, just to have coffee, write and think.

It's a quietly modern cafe, cookies and muffins under glass domes, the constant hiss of the coffee machine in the background and a selection of sandwiches and cakes at the counter. But the coffee really is the main draw; it's lovely smelling, with this distinct aroma to it, unlike the bland pap Starbucks serves. Plus, at $4.5 for a latte, it's cheaper than most coffee places by almost a dollar and the Singaporean in me loves that it's both cheaper and better. Plus, it provides the daily papers and lots of magazines which is something I wish more Singaporean cafes would do. I almost never bought magazines in Australia, because I could always go to any cafe and read anything I liked.

The crowd there is split, it's not exactly an expatriate haunt but it does tend to have a steady flow of expats coming through, mainly for the coffee and the peace.

Sorry for the long radio silence, not that I'm under any illusions about my non-existent blog readership. But in between work and my sister flying off next week and other assorted activities, I haven't had time to even breathe lately. The only reason I'm able to write this is because I've come down with a bad case of flu and have been given 2 days medical leave.

I get this feeling I'll re-read this when I'm well and cringe at all the typos; I'm so drugged out on cough and flu meds right now, its not funny.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Addictive pleasures

They say the first step to recovering from addiction is recognizing that you have a problem.

Well, I have a problem.

Hello world, my name is D and I am a coffee addict.

The thing is, before law school, I never ever drank coffee. I belonged firmly in the group of chai and green tea drinkers. Coffee always seemed too strong, set off weird chemical reactions and generally tasted too bitter.

Oh, how times have changed. Now, without my first cup of the day, I can't even function. I'm this sleepy eyed denizen of the zombie world.

It wasn't just law school. It was also the effect of moving to Melbourne. That town has a coffee joint on every corner, all run by enterprising Italian immigrants with monstrously beautiful coffee machines that hummed and churned out gorgeous little cups of espressos or lattes. Fair trade, organic, kenyan, Gaggia....there is this language of coffee. I had to ask what fair trade was when I first got there. It was so different from the plastic and syrupy Starbucks coffee I'd always seen in Singapore and boy, it was good.

It helped that law school had an Italian cafe on the ground floor, filled with sunlight, cakes and the unbelievable smell of coffee. I'd stumble into class on Monday mornings, late and wild eyed and pray for the lecture break so that I could have my first cup.

Coffee got me through Contracts, adminstrative law and the pain that was civil procedure class. My third year, coffee got me through my break up exhaustion and I'm seriously thinking I wouldn't have survived my post break up third year classes without it. I mean really, when you've been up late arguing with an ex boyfriend and crying, the law of equitable remedies is not going to be the first thing you think about in the morning.

But anyway, so I read this article this morning (over my morning cuppa of course!), on how Starbucks is going to close lots of stores down in Melbourne and Australia and I was delighted. I actually believe in cultural diversity and I think it really really applies to coffee and food. And I think its so wrong, when you have streets full of individual, charming cafes, for you to choose Starbucks' syrupy crap instead.

Look, if there's a Starbucks right downstairs from where you work, I totally understand. It's there and you need a fix bad, I get it. But when you get to choose, when you want a place to sit in the sun and read, Starbucks shouldn't be your first choice. I'm not even sure it should be on your list of choices.

The problem with all this is that I'm now back in Singapore. Where good coffee isn't so easy to find. I like coffeeship style 'kopi', don't get me wrong. But there are days I long for a creamy soothing well made latte and it's actually kind of hard to find one. I'm ruling out TCC because the seriously, their coffee is such a disappointment (FYI, their cake kind of sucks too), Starbucks is all pretty syrups and frappucinos, but the actual coffee is sort of blah. Spinelli's is good, one of the best I've tried so far. Anything else? I'm an addict and desperate SO PLEASE EMAIL ME YOUR COFFEE SUGGESTIONS.

Oh and I'll get around to trying Pacific Coffee, but I have to say, based on what friends tell me, I'm not getting any hopes up.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


It's late and I can't believe I'm typing this out instead of sleeping.

But.... I needed to say this, to get it out of my system today.

In recent years, some of my close friends have fallen upon hard times. I see the direction their lives take and just ache for them.

I cannot believe these people, these essentially good people, would do these things, would indulge in these patently self destructive acts.

But they do. And I have to stand by and watch them with tears in my heart.

I've known them since our schooldays together, kids in uniform bonding over Macdonald's fries, comics, games and first crushes. And I want to hold on to those memories and their fresh happy faces because what I see today breaks my heart.

You can't save people from themselves.

I don't like to interfere but I need to say something soon because if I don't, then I'm just not a friend.

Good night all.

Friday, July 11, 2008


I know I've been particularly whiny recently and I also realise I seem to complain about being back in Singapore alot. But I think it mainly does come down to the process of moving to a new place, finding people to hang out with again and just generally feeling disoriented.

My first six months in Australia were terrible. I was lonely and cold had never experienced winter before. All my close friends seemed so far away and I longed for friendly faces and loving hugs and for the sun. I didn't know where to buy stuff, where to find the things I wanted to eat; the city seemed so foreign, so cold.

It's the same experience all over again. Really, it is.

Except that now I think about the ski trip I could have taken, cake and hot chocolate with friends in warm cafes and lazy weekend morning brunches. I see on facebook the dinner parties and gatherings I missed out on and ache.

Singapore changes so much and so quickly that it seems like a foreign city despite having grown up here. My home is the same, but the city morphs into a different creature every six months. I miss my friends, my friday night group, Boy and my girl groups from school, work and church. I kept asking myself, all through the last two weeks, if it was worth it to give all that up to move back.

There isn't a good answer to the question. There is only a story, rather a patchwork assortment of stories.

The story of how my mum, my sister and I met for lunch at a cafe to celebrate her birthday last week. The story of old friends meeting after 2, 5 or 10 years over coffee or drinks. The story of new shoes and the finding of a lovely new restaurant come back to.

Finally, the story of family and the cousin who drove me to the air freight centre to pick up my boxes and patiently and uncomplainingly helped me through the frustrating process of extracting them out of the warehouse and into my home.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Wandering minds

There is a greater reliance on my ipod now. Everyday, I drown out the crowd, the rumble of the train, the dull roar as we fly through dark tunnels toward work and offices and ever greater crowds.

So I sink beneath a pool of music, willing my mind elsewhere, anywhere but the carriage of silent, weary and sometimes outright grouchy people.

It's something you forget. You move to a different country, one with more space and fewer people and you forget how to cope with crowds, how to raise barriers, how to slip with ease through a throng. It's hard to imagine that I've been away long enough to forget.

I'm not so sure I really changed that much. There's always been that hankering after wide open spaces and moving away just answered that need. I greeted Melbourne's parks,cafes and the Victorian countryside like they were old friends and always reacted badly to the suggestion that Australian cities were 'quiet' and that there was 'nothing to do' in them.

I wish I could wrap it round me like a blanket and take it back to Singapore with me but I can't. You can't bring a whole country with you and so I'm determined to try and bring the attitude I brought with me to Melbourne back to Singapore instead.

Don't look back. Every country has something different to offer and Singapore is itself full of urban curiosities waiting to be explored. Don't try for a pale replica of things you cannot fully experience in another country, instead, look for what is unique about the place and embrace it. I'm going to eat nyonya food, wander the heartlands, smile at random aunties and uncles and go swimming outdoors.

But I'll plan my next vacation around countrysides and star gazing, just so I can let that part of me fly.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The reverse is also true

Friends used to complain to me about the racist attitudes of Australians, Americans and the British towards them, the Asian Other.

I used to shrug and tell them that all countries will have a certain proportion of people with racist attitudes and they would smugly tell me that "no, Singapore is not like that". I used to try and explain that they, as well educated Chinese Singaporeans, were unlikely to suffer from racism as they were usually the ones being racist to others but I never felt that the message got through to them.

Recently, I went to one of the many Crystal Jade branches with an Indian friend, M, who has an especial fondness for century egg porridge. Throughout our entire meal, the waitress serving us spoke to me in Mandarin and seemed reluctant to even speak to him or look him in the eye. I was offended on M's behalf but M didn't say much about it, possibly because he's used to the treatment.

Another sadder tale, is that of an Aussie friend of mine, whose Singaporean girlfriend's family disapproved of their relationship to the point where it tore them both apart. They could not, would not accept that she was dating a non Chinese boy and the relationship didn't survive the disapproval.

Where there are narrow minded, xenophobic people, racism will exist. This post by a well known local blogger highlights the situation in Singapore rather aptly beneath the angry words and tone.

Singapore is not exempt from racism just because we have public holidays for several races and religious faiths.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Food and love

I came to the food blogging scene late, just as I learned to cook and bake late. In my childhood and throughout my teens, the kitchen was always a foreign land to me. I didn't even know where the salt and pepper was kept, much less the pots and pans.

I learned to cook when I moved away from home and I learned to bake when a flatmate moved out and left me all her baking equipment. Having picked up these skills, I turned to the Internet for recipes to try out and stumbled into the world of food blogs.

My favourite food blogs all have several things in common; they are well written, their recipes work and they have an understanding of the deep connection between food, life and love.

This post from a blog that I've mentioned before, moved me deeply. And reminded me of the Boy and 'our' restaurant, a little place tucked behind the park that served gorgeous steaks and live jazz. I hesitate to even blog the name here, it's such a little place that I don't really want to see it overrun.

The first time he took me there, I fell in love with the place. Small, cosy and best of all, a live jazz band every week. The steaks were good and the desserts, gooey and delicious.

The last time we were there, the week before I left for Adelaide, we were seated next to an elderly couple. While waiting for the wait staff to take our orders, we somehow fell into conversation with them. The man, ruddy cheeked and cheerful, told us they'd come from a tiny town along the border of New South Wales and Victoria.

He and Boy traded jokes, laughed about women and his wife nodded and smiled indulgently at them, two boys having a bit of fun. Somehow, we all became two happy couples, chatting, sharing jokes.

Along the way, it came out that they'd been married for fifty years. Fifty! They'd raised 5 children and had 11 grandchildren and yet, they were out here, on a date, having fun and laughing. Boy and I looked at each other and knew we were both thinking the same thing.

It was near the end for us and we knew it. I'd be returning to Singapore soon, so painfully soon. He had to stay in Australia and neither of us saw a long distance relationship as an option. The difference was stark, the longevity of their marriage beside our happy but short lived relationship. I looked around at the little restaurant where we'd spent many happy evenings and knew that I'd never be able to come back. Not alone and definitely not with someone else.

I ate slowly that night. Relishing the steak, the place, the music and the moment. Knowing it was probably our last time there. Enjoying the banter between Boy and the old man. I tried to hold on as tightly as I could, to the memory of that evening and the memories we'd created in that place and hoped that the memories would last me a lifetime without Boy.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


I miss Boy.

Everywhere I turn, everything I see....just reminds me of him. I realise that the day will come when I'll be able to move forward but right now....my heart is just so full of missing him that I can't see straight sometimes.

I can't help it. He lit my life up with a kind of technicolour sparkle and I miss living life that way.

Monday, June 16, 2008


I'm so glad that I deliberately planned to start work next month just so I could fit in a road trip to Adelaide with a bunch of friends. It turned out to be an incredible amount of fun. We talked, listened to music, bickered and snoozed in the car through the long drives and just generally cozied up to each other.

We drove overnight from Melbourne to Adelaide in an 8 seater Tarago so we all drove a couple of hours each then went straight to the German village of Hahndorf for a seriously meaty German lunch. That lunch.....lets just say that I literally gag at the thought of a bratwurst right now. I think that I ate enough smoked pork and sauerkraut to last me years. But we had fun wandering around the village and managed to fit in one wine tasting at the Bridgewater Mill before heading back to Adelaide city.

The second day was ALL ABOUT THE WINE. Sunny, beautiful and deliciously boozy Barossa Valley just begs to be explored and tried. Seriously, if you harbour any pretensions of being an oenophile, you must go there to try their wines. The cheese poem posted earlier was taken on that day, at a small village in the Barossa where we stopped to buy cheese for lunch. Funny how a simple lunch of fresh tomatoes, rye bread, ham and cheese can taste so good when eaten with friends sitting around a groundsheet in some out of the way park. It was just so gorgeously fresh and delicious.

The third day, we went camping in a national park. One of my friends, B, a camping virgin was totally wide eyed and shocked the entire drive into the national park. One of the guys had spent the entire trip telling her that she'd have to pee in the Margaret river and she was really afraid that there wouldn't be any proper toilets(there were). Her exclamations of joy and excitement when she saw the bathrooms were a riot. I've never seen anyone else get so worked up about seeing the toilet sign and I don't think I ever will again.

This was a sort of 'Goodbye beautiful Australia, I'll come back someday' trip for me. We passed the 12 Apostles on the way back and I waved to that long lovely stretch of coastline that I never tire of seeing. I don't think I'll forget it, the wildness of the bush and country, the cool stretches of blue sky, beach and sea and most of all, that sharp tang of eucalyptus.

I don't know if I'll get so immured in the dirt, sounds and smells of the city that I'll forget to come back. But I'll try to remember how good it was, how my heart lifts at the sight of open spaces...and how even city girls like me could wind up loving the country.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


Yesterday, I said goodbye to the city I fell in love with, fell in love in and had my heart broken in.

Yesterday I sat in my favourite cafe with Boy, wearing my cuddly cashmere coat, eating focaccia surrounded by happy gourmands and people out to do their Saturday morning grocery shopping at the Victoria Market.

Yesterday, I cleaned out my apartment, the apartment where I'd thrown countless parties, cried in, learned to bake and cook and love in.

Yesterday I left Melbourne.....boarded a Qantas flight and flew over the desert and bush, back to Singapore.

Yesterday....is over.

I'm back...but I'm not sure if I'm home.

Taken in a South Australian cheese shop

Monday, May 26, 2008


I rarely blog anymore and there's a reason behind it and that reason would be my ex boyfriend (who is not to be confused with the Boy and will be referred to as X in future) and I was just thinking about that whole debacle last night.

To put it baldly, I closed my old blog in the months after the break up with X because I realised he was still reading it, still commenting on it and still used it to feel involved in my life. In short, I realised he wasn't letting go and the blog facilitated that. I also closed it because I realised I had no right to stop him from doing any of it. This is the world of the internet and I was fully aware that a blog is part of the public domain. I could have locked the blog with a password the way some of my friends did but it would take away some of the things that made blogging fun.

But the nature of my break up necessitated the closure of the blog and I did it because I owed it to myself to break free of the guy who was and is the worst thing that ever happened to me. I wasted 6.5 years of my life with him and enough was enough. I was glad I was a thousand miles away in Australia and I wanted to be a thousand miles away from him in any and every possible way. I also owed it to Boy (with whom I was starting a new relationship) to cut my ties with X once and for all.

I still miss my old blog. I had a few regular readers who'd leave me comments and emails every so often and I miss that. I feel like I never really made this blog my own the way I made the other. But I have no regrets closing it because getting away from that guy was worth it.

Last night, as I was falling asleep after a long phone conversation with my best friend, it suddenly struck me that I never really blogged the way I did previously, because somewhere, in some corner of my mind, I was still afraid of X. I was still afraid he'd read it and follow it and use it to get to me somehow. I was still afraid.

X met me when I was a stupid, emotional and vulnerable kid and I stayed with him because I literally knew no other life, no other guy. In the years I was with him, I grew anti social, was isolated from my friends and grew to hate myself for that emotional dependence on him. All those parties and outings I missed or skipped out early on? All due to X.

How to describe him? X was screwed up, selfish, liked to argue and needed to be right over every issue no matter how small. When he was late for our dates and I got mad, he'd tell me that I was too anal about time and that time was merely a human construct. And seriously, when I look back I can't believe I was gullible enough to swallow that crock of bullsh**. He believed himself to be an iconoclast, someone who was different and who didn't need to follow the usual rules of society.

I'm not there anymore. I'm not afraid anymore and I don't want or need or love him anymore.

I can write freely again.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Stranger tragedies

I got woken up by a call at 4 am this morning and it led to a strange and surreal day. A day in which I wound up at the hospital, staring down at the unconscious figure of a girl I knew only from the briefest of email correspondences.

When you move overseas and live far away from friends and family, particularly when you're new to the country, there exists a network of acquaintances and friends whose telephone numbers and email addresses just get passed along to you. Because, sometimes, when you're alone in foreign country, it may be that your contact person in case of an emergency might be a mother's friend's brother or friend's cousin or some similiarly distant person.

Today I wound up being that person, because today, the offer of "call me if you need any help" was finally taken up in a way I never imagined.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Moving around

I'm back in Singapore and am pleased to say, have been offered a job at XYZ law firm. At this stage, I think I'm just happy to have found a job.

I start work at the end of June and and I'll be coming back from Melbourne on June 14th. It's so odd, but when I realised I would be coming back to Singapore for good, I actually felt my heart sink.

What's wrong with me? When I left Singapore in February, I almost cried because I felt like I didn't want to leave. Now I feel like crying at the thought of leaving Melbourne.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Stupidity has no cure

Check this out and tell me you've never seen anything this stupid in your life.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Gone Fishing

I went to Lakes Entrance,Victoria over the Easter break to fish and have fun with a cool bunch of friends from church.

Its a gorgeous district of lovely lakes and rivers that spill out into the Bass Strait. We drove into the town at about half past three on Good Friday and it looked like it could've been used as the set of Dawson's Creek, all pretty riverside views with charming boats tethered to the jetty and the sun sparkling off the waters.

It was a fantastic trip, what with everyone managing to catch some fish, having a chef travel with us and whipping up a yummy BBQ with our catch and much much late night mahjong and card sessions.

I love road trips out of the city. One city is really so much like any other and I sometimes only feel like I'm in Australia when I've gone beyond the suburbs and into the countryside. It's so silly but I feel so happy just looking at the open spaces and water.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Some Like Poetry

Some -
thus not all. Not even the majority of all but the minority.
Not counting schools, where one has to,
and the poets themselves,
there might be two people per thousand.

Like -
but one also likes chicken soup with noodles,
one likes compliments and the color blue,
one likes an old scarf,
one likes having the upper hand,
one likes stroking a dog.

Poetry -
but what is poetry.
Many shaky answers
have been given to this question.
But I don't know and don't know and hold on to it
like to a sustaining railing.

Wislawa Szymborska
translated by
Regina Grol

Friday, March 7, 2008

Here and there

In politics:

Team Clinton to stop at nothing by Gerard Baker
By this stage, I've stopped believing the predictions of most pundits, the polls and various political commentators. This is the closest race for the Democratic presidential nomination I've ever seen and right now, I honestly think it could still go either way, Clinton's Ohio victory notwithstanding. As this article suggests, it could all come down to the candidate who wants it more. It's a pity that the showdown between the two is getting so ugly though. I personally would like to see either an African American president (despite his iffy protectionist economic policies) and a female president (even if most of her much vaunted foreign policy experience is little more than mere puffery) and I find it sad that it has to be either one or the other.


The Truth about Autism: Scientists reconsider what they think they know by David Wolman
Came across this via Mr Brown and it's an interesting paradigm shift from the way autism is usually viewed. Autism has always been regarded in the same light as other mental disabilities and this author makes a case for autism as a form of misunderstood neuro-diversity. It almost seems to suggest that autistics can be thought of as an alien race with different perspectives and abilities rather than as disabled. But the author is also carefull to outline the pitfalls of thinking of autistics as merely people with different abilities ("critics of the difference model reject the whole idea that autism is merely another example of neuro-diversity. After all, being able to plan your meals for the week or ask for directions bespeak important forms of intelligence")

Numbers Guy by Jim Holt
My favourite article of the week is about math and I'm as shocked as you are. This study confirms the area of the brain that deals with math and names the condition of mathematical disability ( 'dyscalculia'). It also confirms what most Chinese have been saying all along, that the nature of the Chinese language words for numbers aids the brain in holding and using them. So apparently, the Chinese are better at Math because they speak Chinese and quite possibly, if this guy is to be believed, the French really shouldn't be able to count at all because of its " vestigial base-twenty monstrosities, like quatre-vingt-dix-neuf (“four twenty ten nine”) for 99."


How to Shop by Jessa Crispin
Disclaimer: This isn't actually an article on how to buy clothes or dress. Rather it's an amusing indictment of the books that purport to aid women in personal shopping. While she admits the need for these books, ("These books exist, and are in some ways needed, because there is a huge disconnect between the fantasy world of Vogue — where women spend their days romping in fields wearing $1,500 sequined leggings — and reality.") she also dismisses their methodology of dressing with the aim of hiding one's flaws (" It’s hard to walk out the door feeling hot and feisty when your entire dressing process has been focused on your main source of anxiety").

Crispin does recommend one particular book (The Meaning of Sunglasses: A Guide to almost all things Fashionable by Hadley Freeman) which she says "will not make you feel worse about the state of your thighs, nor your brain" and if the rest of the book is anything like the sharp little quotes she's pulled out from it, I wouldn't mind buying it just for fun.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Back and eating chocolate

I have realised the futility of trying to blog while in Singapore. In between going out with family, dealing with family stuff, travelling to Medan and Hongkong, catching up with friends and generally trying spend time with as many of my friends as possible...blogging time and Internet time does not really exist.

Came back to Melbourne in the mood for going home to Singapore and wallowing in the embrace of my family forever. Yes I know, I'm in my twenties and I still want my mother. I'm pathetic that way.

The grey drizzle that greeted me at Tullamarine airport didn't help but what did help was the continuous flow of chat by the garrulous old Italian cab driver who took me back to my apartment. Along the way he filled me in on the weather of the past month, his life story, gave me an excellent sounding pasta sauce recipe and wove through peak hour traffic with skill and verve.

I still have a hankering for going home and wallowing some more in the embrace of family and late night mall opening hours but I guess I'm here for now.

Oh, and also for those I haven't yet informed. Boy and I have split up. Yes, I'm okay, or as okay as I can be. Yes, we're still friends and no, we didn't fight or anything ugly like that. Life stuff just got in the way.

The split pretty much explains the great great hankering for wallowing at the moment. So I'm going off to re read Harry Potter,eat chocolate and wallow with a veangeance.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Summer Days

View of Westernport Bay from Red Hill Estate vineyard at Mornington Peninsula.

Part of our loot

Chelsea Beach on a windy day.

The weather's been kind to us the last week or so. Absolutely lovely sunny T shirt and shorts days.

So Boy and I ran off to Chelsea Beach on Monday where we gorged ourselves on some really excellent fish, chips and other crispy beautifully battered seafood at Omega Three (love that name; it's a name AND an advertisement, how good is that!). Then upon finding out that the sea was really too cold to swim in, spent the remaining time alternately running around the surf and lying on the sand chasing fat cunning gulls away from our fish and chip packet.

Tuesday found us driving around the Mornington Peninsula wine and farming region in search of a lovely Riesling that I bought 2 years ago from a vineyard whose name I was too tipsy to remember after 4 successive wine tastings. Found it at Montalto Vineyard and Olive Grove and we stayed to have lunch at the cafe.

Thursday, January 3, 2008


No one sings it better than Michael Buble.

I'll be back in Singapore on Thursday 10 Jan 08 but flying off to Medan via Malaysia on the 17th.

See y'all in a bit.