Sunday, December 31, 2006

Another meme

I don't think I'm quick enough to be the second one to respond to but I'll do it all the same. These are rather interesting questions.

1. Do you think the world will be a better or a worse place 100 years from now?

Some things would be worse but some things may be better. So I guess that means things stay the same. I don't think human nature changes very much. We will still have natural disasters, disease and terrorism. There will be people who will still hate each other, but there will be people who will find love. The standard of living should get better with a higher per capita income new medication and better medical care. The only problem is how to get the resources to those who need it most.

2. Would you accept $1 million to leave the country and never set foot in it again?

Yes, please! I would leave it anyway and I could sure use the $1 million.

3. If you could wake up tomorrow having one ability or quality, what would it be?

Patience. I'm very short on that.

4.  Would you be willing to murder an innocent person if it would end hunger in the world?

I don't think I could bring myself to do that.

5. If you could choose the manner of your death, what would it be?

Going gently in my sleep. Without knowing in advance I was going. I'd rather know when I get there. And I hope to live a life of no unfinished business. So that the people I love know they are loved, the people who matter know that they matter, and the people I don't like, heck, they probably already know.

6. How do you feel if people sing "Happy Birthday" to you in a restaurant?

I'd cringe with embarrassment. And that had better be a very good chocolate cake.

7.  If you found a good friend has AIDS, would avoid him?

Absolutely not. Things like that make me very, very angry. The reason why I got involved with Action for Aids years ago was when their executive director, who was fast becoming a good friend, got a call from the CDC asking if he would sign out the body of a patient who had died from Aids. Even in death, this man's family did not want to have anything to do with him and a stranger had to do the last things for him. No one should walk a difficult path alone.

8. If you walked out of the house and found a bird with a broken wing lying in the bushes, what would you do?

I'd take it to my vet.

9.  Would you be willing to spend a month of solitude in a beautiful natural setting?  Food and shelter would be provided, but you would not see another person.

Yes. I would miss L and the furkids but I think I could also use a month of solitude. I might even look forward to it. I'm an only child, I'm used to being alone. Sometimes now, there are days I can't have even have a minute to myself, not even in the bathroom.

10. How do you picture your funeral?  Is it important that people mourn your death?

It would be very small and I would want everyone to bring their dogs and there will probably be more dogs than people. I wouldn't want them to mourn. I'm not as flamboyant as Paddy who left instructions that people should dress glam but I wouldn't want them in sober black. I would be upset to think that they would be upset. My motto is: let the dead bury the dead, and let the living get on with living. It has gotten me into falling-outs before, when a friend and ex-colleague killed himself many years ago. Everyone was lamenting the waste -- RL actually wrote about it in his column and I couldn't let it sit, I had to write him and tell him to let the dead be. But I thought if this person felt so deeply that he needed to go, he might as well go and I hoped he found peace in going. As long as anyone thinks of me, I'm not really gone.

Your turn now.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Christmas spoils

Not ours, the furkids'. The corn on the cob and spare ribs are actually Nylabone chews. Rupert has claimed both and Queeni has given up. They're both already well-chewed. Queeni never was much of a chewer, she's only taken to chewing lately if only because she must do what Rupert is doing.

The treat jar is from C, one of those rare finds that only a consummate shopper like him will know it even exists. He said there're only a few pieces of this item here. I guess that makes it a designer thing, although I don't know what designer it is. After all, this is the guy who bought a Gucci chew-bone for Toby. There's a pseudo dog collar that goes round the middle of the jar and a little bone-shaped dog tag on it that says "Two please!" Took the words right out of Queeni's mouth.

Only thing is, the jar isn't at all air tight and the cover is very loose, so dog biscuits will go soft in the humidity if they are stored in it. So it's now filled with Japanese rice crackers, the individually sealed type that will stay crispy till it's opened. The humans need a treat jar too.

Thursday, December 28, 2006


I went back to work on Boxing Day to find that I'd be laying out the op-ed pages. Now. Today. You start this very moment.

Eeek! A few weeks ago, when the January roster was out, I was given advance warning that come January, I would be doing page layout. As opposed to text subbing -- which I'm doing now. And which I would like to continue with. So starting right after Christmas was the last thing I expected. Or maybe catching me unaware could be a good thing, it saved me from the sword of Damocles hanging over my head over New Year.

Because as sure as heck, it was hanging over me when I went back to work yesterday. In fact, I had an anxiety attack so bad, I was nauseous. I didn't think I could manage a proper lunch so L fed me cookies, cake, ice cream and hot cocoa. The dear. Nutrition be damned, the wife needed the sugar to get through the day.

It has to be age. I'm less flexible than I used to be. And I don't mean just physically. So I tried to be philosophical about switching to layout. It would be a useful -- probably even necessary -- skill to have and it's about time I learn something new for myself. Only thing is, I hate the dinosaur MTX system that I have to use to learn the skill. And the fact that you know it is so outdated that we're switching to a brand new system in the next quarter doesn't help. Only, apparently, the new system is so full of bugs, ironing them out is taking longer than expected, and the switch has been delayed, oh, six months already.

I guess sometimes, you don't want surprises.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Bones would rain from the sky*

Well, it got pretty close to that from HRH's point of view. We were lounging around C's house in the evening of Christmas Day. He had cooked a turkey and various other yummy stuff and all the food was laid out on the table for people to help themselves whenever they fancied. By the evening, most of the turkey had gone, leaving just the carcass and G took it into the kitchen to cut off the remaining remnants of meat. All the dogs, two resident and two visiting, lined up at the kitchen door, tails wagging. C, the well-trained dog dad, took the hint. He rinsed off the morsels of meat and all of them got a piece.

HRH couldn't be bothered to join the riff-raff at the kitchen door. She was lying down on her back, enjoying a tummy rub from L. So C took a piece of turkey to her, special delivery so she wouldn't miss out. Her eyes widened but she wasn't going to question this bounty. She ate the turkey while she was still lying belly up and L, being another well-trained dog dad, didn't stop the belly rubs. Up until now, I didn't know a dog could eat while lying belly up. It must have been the canine version of reclining to someone peeling grapes for you.

Think about it from her point of view. Why jostle with the plebeians when you're enjoying a belly rub? When you're royalty, turkey slices will naturally rain from the sky for you.

*a great book by Suzanne Clothier

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Housewife vision

That's the term the optician used when fitting me for the progressive lenses -- I meant to write about this in the post on the new spectacles ( but forgot.

Housewife vision was the term he used for wide-ranged peripheral vision, adding the analogy of a housewife who can instantly scan all of a room when she walks into it.

Oh boy. Talk about a male-centric definition. I would call this woman vision -- the natural ability to walk from point A to B and see that the puppy has left a puddle at point C, which is nowhere in relation to A and B.

As opposed to man vision that kicks in only when L walks into what the puppy has left at point D, and only when pointed out to him that he has tracked it to point E.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Six weird things

OK, so (hello! Safari is still missing the hyperlink option) did not actually tag me but she said any three people who'd care to do it and I might as well -- I need content anyway. Besides, this meme is actually quite fun. You need to actually think for a bit, unlike the types of a what's-your-favourite-beverage/food/smell/colour nature.

First, the rules and explanations:
So if you get tagged, here are the rules: Each player of this game starts with the 6 Weird Things About You. People who get tagged need to write a blog entry of their own 6 Weird Things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don't forget to leave a comment that says you are tagged in their comments and tell them to read your blog.

1. I'm a what L calls a compulsive reader. When I see a paragraph of text in front of me, I need to read it. This means that I read the cereal box on a daily basis and when I'm done, I start on the jam jar labels and so on, until I leave the breakfast table. Oh yes, I read instruction manuals too. And catalogues. And Tshirts (not many people do here).

2. I like Bon Jovi. They have memorable riffs, thumping bass and sing-along lyrics at the chorus. I'll even forgive them for the 80s moussed big hair.

3. I talk to my dogs. And I don't mean just saying things in English. Queeni and I have this thing, particularly at bedtime, when she croons to me. And I croon back. I imitate her in tone, pitch and rhythm and we have a conversation back and forth until she falls asleep.

4. I buy melamine children's dishware because I like the bright colours, and use the dishes as bread plates and the little bowls as dessert bowls and the little cups as tea cups. But the designs have to be really nifty and no Disney characters. And when I use the plate, the little fairy or teddy bear has to be upright facing me.

5. My bottles of shampoo and conditioner have to be at the same level and the same "flavour". If I run out of one and there's still an inch left of the other, I need to start two new full bottles, I simply can't start a full bottle and use the dregs of the other bottle. L inherits the bottle-ends. Besides, I reason it's his fault because if he borrows one or the other, he made the levels go wonky. It's not me, I carefully pour out as much shampoo as conditioner so the levels remain the same.

6. Same with the bottles of facial cleanser and toner.

That's not really six things, is it? #6 goes with #5. So I don't feel qualified to tag six people. Actually, I daren't. I don't want to impose on six people who may not want to do this. So as long as I've already broken one rule, I'll break another. I'm not tagging six people but if you are reading this, feel free to feel tagged and join in.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Mr Bean

If you haven't seen much of Mr Bean on TV lately, it's because he works for Transit Security here . Really. I've been going to work by train instead of bus recently despite a longer route because it's more monsoon-proof and also because the train goes through the shopping district and I can stop off for a few quick purchases when I have time to do so (how do you think I managed to get the Christmas shopping done?).

And that's when I noticed that Mr Bean three times in a week on the North-South line platform at Dhoby Ghaut interchange. He has the same haircut, the same walk, with one arm stuck out akimbo and shirt-tail falling out of his trousers. Seriously, this guy out-Mr-Beans Rowan Atkinson. Mr Bean is looking after the safety of transit passengers. That'll scare any would-be transit terrorists.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


While politically correct people elsewhere have banned religion from Christmas and generalised it to a secular Solstice festival or whatever the term of the day is now (Winterval appears to be catching on in the UK), a group of Christian charities here have put the Christ back in Christmas. And in the heart of Mammon -- the shopping shopping artery of Orchard Road -- no less.

Maybe that's permissible in Singapore if only because it's only fair to let the Christians have their turn after Hari Raya and Deepavali. Hari Raya and Deepavali may not be your "thing" but everyone joins in the celebrations anyway by festive food osmosis. And having a day off, of course. Besides, Winterval in Singapore would only be ridiculous. Maybe Monsoonval would work. Unless it got rained out. Hur hur. Cabin fever shows in fox terriers after three days of continuous rain.

Anyway, back to the Christmas Nativity Village along the Orchard Road pedestrian mall. It has tableaux of the inn with no room with a life-sized paper-mache Joseph and Mary (who looks outsized rather than preggers and looks like she's having fun swinging her legs on a fairground donkey ride); Herod's palace; three life-sized fibreglass gift-bearing magi and their camels; and the traditional nativity creche scene with a really ugly pink, bald, plastic swaddled Baby Jesus and placards on the side in Singapore's four official languages explaining the scenes if you aren't familiar with the Bethlehem story. And you're welcome to pose for photos in front of them. People actually did. At regular intervals throughout the day, a group of actors moves down the tableaux, enacting the Christmas story. In different languages as well.

Makes you feel really churlish for getting short-tempered while caught in the crowds at the mall just metres away (yes! I finished the Christmas shopping!).

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Closer look

Here's a close-up of the stockings for those who couldn't read the cross-stitching from the photo in the previous post. The one on the far right is Spock's. I turned it the other way round so you can see the fabric on the back.

Actually, I hang it that way round too, I started doing this the first Christmas without Spock, each time I saw his name on the stocking and the ornaments turned me into a weepy wreck. The stockings are made by A in Ohio in my dog e-list who cross-stitches as a hobby. Her sister D in California helped her out by rushing out Rupert's this year. I met them both in Las Vegas when we went to T's wedding, they're wonderful folks.

I'm not sure if Rupert deserves a lump of coal in his stocking. The weather outside is frightful, it's been pouring almost non-stop for almost two days because of the monsoon and that has destroyed regular walks and along with it, housetraining. HRH is very good, she baulks at going outside in the wet but comes home to do it on the pee pad. She prefers to go outside but will use the peed pad for urgent emergencies. With Rupert, the pee pad is a hit and miss. Last night, he held his pee only to let go on the common corridor outside -- the walkway that is shared by all the flats on this floor, of which three are Muslim households. We're only on nod-and-smile basis with the neighbours, they don't seem to want to mix much and I don't know if it's because of the haram dogs so I'm very careful not to cause any offence, particularly as I'm actually one dog over the HDB limit. So we doused the corridor with enzymatic cleaner or Harvey the papillion upstairs would feel the need to contribute when he runs down the stairs and past the corridor to the field.

I know what to use as a stocking filler for Rupert. A rolled-up pee pad. I will even decorate it with a festive bow.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Bah, humbug


Christmas is a week away and I am Not Ready.

So I had the tree up in November because I was excited about the first Christmas in the new house ( I even got my Christmas cards written and mailed -- the post office didn't have Christmas edition stamps this year, rats.

And then I did Nothing. Now, Christmas is a week away and I haven't done my Christmas shopping. L has been home a lot and it's hard to get away from him to go shopping, especially when he's been giving me a ride to work most days. I guess this means he will get socks for Christmas from heartland pasar malams. Ha. And friends may end up getting bottles of wine. From the usual bin ends picked up during the weekly supermarket run. I also picked up a duck yesterday, thinking that I'd cook it this weekend and then I realised we won't be home for dinner tonight as it's E's wedding banquet. So L popped the duck in the freezer and we'll have it for Christmas. Looks like this year's Christmas vittles and presents are all by default, it's almost Grinch-like. Who was I fooling when I bought cookie cutters in readiness for making Christmas cookies?

The only shopping I've completed is for the dogs. Our two and all their canine cousins. You think this speaks volumes for priorities, huh? The dogs' gifts fit nicely into their stockings. A and D (thank you!) rushed Rupert's because a puppy must have his own stocking with his name on it, especially as it's his first Christmas. Said puppy will not hold still and pose with his stocking so HRH stands in from her palace.

Saturday, December 16, 2006


I have bookmarked on my computer at work. It's a blogged maintained by some smart guys (academics and economists, you know, *that* type) and I must've bookmarked it for work-related edification. I read it now and then, ie during occasional down periods at work.

There was an entry on reading ( where the boffin says to read more, one must read fast. And that he has a high discard rate, just so he can read more -- he starts 10 or so books for every one he finishes.

That must be why I never get anywhere. I tend to stick to a book to finish it, even if it means hard-going ploughing through it. I'm not sure if it's a leave-no-stone-unturned mentality or a disposition to finish things once started since I'm not known to always apply these principles to other things.

It's like why I still feel cheap and dirty buying songs one track at a time. Somebody took the trouble to make a whole CD, chose the order of songs (not so long ago, you even had to decide A-sides and B-sides) and even the cover artwork. I feel you need to acknowledge the whole process and listen to the whole CD in order of song appearance.

And read the whole book. In fact, I can count on the fingers of one hand the books I've had to abandoned ashamedly because the going was too tough -- and I still have them, with bookmarks sticking where I left off: Ulysses (and that was double guilt because James Joyce was part of my English Literature curriculum), The Tao of Physics (you cannot blame an Eng Lit student for this one) and Goethe's Italian Journey (chosen to accompany me on a trip to Italy; I thought it was apt at the time but then I was young and distracted -- I thought at first that being stuck on long train and coach trips means that you're forced to read what you've on hand but I forgot that this only works on airplanes. On trains and coaches, scenery is more inviting than dead Germans).

And now, the way it's gathering dust on the bedside table, maybe I can add Harold Bloom to that unfinished list.

And I'm not sure about speed reading techniques. I think that when you read, you need to absorb the language, style and plot. So why speed read? You might as well not read.

Incidentally, L abandoned the Margaret Lawrence period novel mentioned in the previous post. He was thinking of Margaret Laurence (The Diviners) when he stumbled on the novel in the library's sale of discarded books and got the wrong one.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


If eavesdropping is what you do when you listen in on somebody's conversation, what is it called when you read over their shoulders? Actually, on the train today, it wasn't reading over anyone's shoulder, it was reading the front and back pages of the newspaper the guy directly across from me was holding up.

And next to him, a tall gangly youth's reading material of choice was a thin book of Emily Dickinson's poetry. Wow. I can only read Dickinson when I sit properly and concentrate, there's no way I can read her in a train commute.

And that's why Harold Bloom is still on the bedside table since November's post (, he's been abandoned for a Margaret Lawrence period novel which L picked up from the National Library sale of used books.

Monday, December 11, 2006


You know how it is when you're on a train and someone is talking loudly on his mobile phone and you can't help but overhear? Only today, it was in stereo. Mismatched stereo -- Hokkien to the left and Tamil to the right. What's worse, being forced to listen in or being forced to sit between two conversations you can't understand? Only in Singapore.

Saturday, December 09, 2006


The first error in Beta Blogger has arrived. This picture was uploaded here, and meant to go into the profile as snugpug's little icon picture. However, it just won't load. I just get a error message saying: We're sorry but we're unable to complete your request. Help.

On a good hair day, you can watch forever

I am wicked, wicked. I was having lunch at the food court when a young lady sat at the next table and you could tell that she was fresh from the hairdresser's -- her hair was immaculately styled and she was carrying a plastic bag of high-end hair products, the type that they sell only at salons.

She was about to tuck into a bowl of noodle soup and I watched with interest how she would eat it. When you have immaculately styled hair that hangs straight down the side of your face, it also hangs straight down into a bowl of noodles.

She first tucked her hair behind her ears -- which is also what I have to do when I eat. But that interfered with the immaculately straight hair style. So she pushed her bowl away from her and ate in a contorted fashion, her arms having to negotiate her spoon and chopsticks away from her hair but still reaching her mouth. You know how you play choo-choo-trains-into-the-tunnel-now-open-up when you're feeding a kid? It was like she was playing that with herself combined with a slapstick gag of someone in arm casts trying to feed herself.

It is as I thought. Models with immaculate hair and tight fitting little black dresses can only stand and pose, and not sit and eat.

Give me a choice between immaculate hair and noodle soup, I'll take the noodles any day.

All the better to see you with

A big youngish wave to y'all who said that 50 is the new 40 and that middle age doesn't start till 50. One even said that middle age doesn't start till 60.

Only thing is, how come everyone who said that is younger than me? Like a mass denial: if Adi isn't middle aged, then we're a long way off too.

The ones who are older than me and are (or maybe not) middle aged are the wise silent ones.

As if you prove y'all wrong, a couple of things propelled towards the middle aged camp today. The mini-bus driver called me aunty. He wasn't the regular one but was standing in for his uncle and was moaning about how young men shouldn't be driving all night but should be at ZoukOut instead.

The other is my new pair of specs -- with progressive lenses (which cost another several thousand pretty pennies). I hadn't been able to read with my normal glasses for quite a while now. The last time I saw the optician, she very kindly said she would give me a year and then reassess me for progressive lenses. For the past few months, my eyes have been telling me that I don't need her reassessment, it's reading glasses that I need.

But heck, as long as I'm getting granny glasses, I might as well have them in hot pink frames with a touch of lime green. And the case for the specs looks kinda fun too, it looks more like a gift package than a spectacle case.

I guess today's progressive lenses are a far cry from my Dad's bifocals. And there's no obvious line like in bifocals that tell you old fogey eyes are behind the lenses. But the principle is the same. And if I need what my Dad needs, I must be old.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Tight squeeze

I've got a silly thing that I do with the dogs. It's something that I started since the Spock days and now L has picked up the habit too -- I hug the dogs tight and squeal in that silly playing-with-dogs-and/or-kids voice: "'Gotta squeeeeze ya!"

Only now, squeeze has taken a new meaning. Gotta get a bigger couch, ya think?

Thursday, December 07, 2006


... and not the ones on the bottles of bath essence.

It's bad enough having to think of a punchy headline for stuff you sub at work, it's worse when you have to think of one for every blog entry because you're writing for fun but having to think of a nice hed makes it lose a bit of the fun and it becomes work-like. Now, there're labels at the bottom of the post to think of.

Yup, it's there now that I've upgraded to Blogger Beta. And with the labels, Blogger has pretty much what WordPress has. So there.

I took the longest time to upgrade because it involves switching your log-in. I was deeply suspicious that something would go wrong and then I would be locked out of my blog. And the warning that once you've switched, you can't turn back didn't reassure me. Maybe it had to do with how I handle change.

The impulsive Aries in me used to embrace change. Change took you out of the norm, brought you new experiences. Now, change makes you want to reach back for the comfort of the familiar. Aries on the cusp of Middle Age.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Good enough to eat

"This is not a food. Do not swallow." I was quite amused to find those instructions on a bottle of bath essence. The new range from Marks and Sparks comes in fruity flavours like tangy citrus and even comfort-food flavours like vanilla and exotic flavours like lemongrass and pomegranate, in bottles that looked like they belonged in the kitchen. I'm pretty sure that if I had left them there, the unhousetrained husband would probably think they are cordials, try to make a drink from them and put them in the fridge.

It's simple yet eye-catching packaging. A few years ago, there was a brand of toiletries from the UK called Lush which sadly now is no longer available here. They were like the Body Shop, only they marketed their toiletries like food items and their shops looked like greengrocers. Blocks of soap were displayed on carts, looking like cheese wheels and were sold by weight. The assistant cut out how much you want and wrapped the wedge of soap in greaseproof paper like a slice of cheese. They also had bath bombs (which I'd very much like to get now that I finally have a tub but of course can't find any) piled like fruit displays. Lovely to look at, but I think they didn't get much sales. And however good the displays looked, they were hopelessly impractical in this humid climate which could melt or sweat the yummy looking blocks of soap. Which is probably why they pulled out of Singapore very rapidly.

Gone along with them were the days when toiletries just smelled like flowers. You could maybe pick lavender for relaxation and maybe at the most jasmine for a pick-me-up. Now there's vanilla for comfort, lemongrass for rejuvenation (guess what works in your tom yom soup will work in your bath water) and pomegranate to soothe.

As long as you wash in them, not eat them.

Asian Games

I'm forced to watch sports on TV now that regular late-night programming has given way to live coverage of the Asian Games in Doha. It's almost refreshing to see Chinese athletes represent China. As opposed to the recent Commonwealth Games where China -- not a Commonwealth country -- showed up, representing Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, the UK and even Fiji. It was really weird then, you'd see Chinese badminton players competing against each other like a China vs China final only they weren't China flag-bearers.

Textiles, consumer goods and cheap factory knock-offs be danged, I think China's biggest exports are badminton and table tennis players.

Monday, December 04, 2006

World Aids Day

I didn't write an entry on World Aids Day on Dec 1. I cannot name friends* who have died of Aids or are living with HIV because here, I cannot out them and have them oustracised by a disease that will claim them. But not before I do whatever I can to stop it, so help me goD.

*Except for Paddy, that is. I was quite amused to see that he has an entry in Wikipedia:
The English is a little stilted and in some places, it's a little hard to understand. But Paddy would have loved it. But I don't think he's resting in peace, though. He's probably bitching away at how utterly useless we are, having been left to carry the Aids advocacy torch but achieving little. Actually, with the exception of the 24-hour cremation after an Aids death rule lifted, I can't think of anything that has changed since he died. Oh yes, maybe a hundred or so dollars more a year you can use from Medisave to pay for antiretrovirals that can cost up to $1,000 a month.

Every May and December, every Candlelight Memorial and World Aids Day, I hold in my heart those that have gone, those that remain, those whose names I cannot say.

And every May and December, something ticks me off and I remember Anita Roddick's words about how it's actually good to get angry because it fans the fire in your belly to go do something about it. And then feel like I'm beating my head against a brick wall after listening or reading to some minister say something really mind-boggling. All this time, it has been a junior health minister doing the talking, and now, he's not even holding the health portfolio. I still haven't heard the health minister address the issue.

On World Aids Day, the broadsheet ran a full page interview with the no-longer junior health minister who said the mistake made was not treating HIV like any other disease and apply public health principles. It took him three years after SARS to say what Action for Aids had been saying then.

And his answer to the suggestion that the reporter put to him that HIV should get more resources because of its potential of becoming an epidemic owing to its exponential spread (hugely loaded question because I am so aware that every cent Action for Aids raises is wrestled from the Cancer Society, the National Kidney Foundation, etc): "So because the cancer patient cannot go and spread it to somebody but the HIV patient can, we should give it to him so he can go and spread it to somebody? I don't see the logic. The question is this: Antiretroviral medication doesn't stop the numbers from growing... In fact, if you look at it the other way round, it's the opposite. If we give you antiretroviral medication, you are well, you have more sex, you spread more..."

What is he saying? That if you have HIV, you might as well crawl into a corner and die? Hello? Aids education? Condoms? Safe sex? And what about paediatric Aids? So the growing segment of new infections are from hetero men who get the virus through unsafe sex but that's not to say that virgins and nuns have a biological immunity to the virus too. The virus does not discriminate. People, unfortunately, do. Antiretrovirals stop the virus from reproducing, it allows an HIV+ person to live a normal life, hold down a job, support his family, raise his children and pay his taxes. Which part of that is draining state coffers?

Brick wall. And it's not just the ministers. Even the retailers are against us. What really sparked this entry was that today, I tried to buy a Red Edition iPod. I had been dithering about buying an iPod since getting this iBook and getting hooked on iTunes. I didn't need an iPod. But since I found out about Red Edition products (, I thought I might as well buy one of those. I can afford it and someone can benefit from it.

And was told that I couldn't. It's a USA-only thing, the salesman (sorry, Mac evangelists, they are called) at the Apple shop said. Actually, that's not true. The UK newspaper, The Independent, has a Red Edition. If a newspaper can do it, I don't see why it's so hard to get Apple/Motorola/Armani to import Red Edition products, it can't cost more than their normal products, I mean everything's imported anyway. I'm not a shopper. I don't care about labels and brands. But if I'm going to buy something, I might as well make my consumer dollar work extra and buy a Red Edition product. I was quite set to buy Red Edition gifts this Christmas. I thought it was quite the Christmas spirit. Your friends get your gift and someone who needs Aids medication also benefits from what you've bought.

But noooo, not in Singapore.

Brick wall.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

All my children

Aren't they gorgeous?

There's plenty of room on the couch but of course they had to scrunch up in the corner with Mummy.

Friday, December 01, 2006

New cushions

We put the old floor cushions out with the recycling yesterday as we have got two new ones. The old ones never recovered from Rupert. There's only so much odour remover can do. And anyway, the fabric of the inner lining has given way and attempts to mend it only ripped it further so every time I changed the cover (which has been quite frequent because you-know-who did you-know-what), a flurry of sponge filling came spilling out.

This is one of the two new cushions. It's firm and more like a mini mattress than the previous bean-bag-style ones. We got it specially made and there's a PVC inner cover between the sponge and the outer cover that's liquid-proof -- you know why because of you-know-who. Two cushions, two inner covers and four outer covers (one set to wear and one spare to change when you-know-what happens) cost us a pretty penny. Several pretty pennies by the thousand. I think we got fleeced. A said we should have bargained.

The cushions are designed to do double duty. They are three feet by three feet and can be put together, with a single-bed sized fitted sheet over them to hold them together, and they turn into a mattress for anyone foolish enough to stay overnight with a fox terrier trampling on his/her face. And that's why we probably won't ever get the sofa bed we first intended to get. No more $$$ left.