Saturday, May 30, 2009

Mundane existence

I haven't blogged lately and this entry has got nothing terribly interesting to say -- it's really just about how a new underground line opened on Thursday; so now, my daily commute to work has gone from a train and bus combination to a weather-proof all-train combination involving a switch on three lines, shaving about 15-20 minutes of travel time.

Like that is really rivetting and like that really matters to you.

I need to get a life.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

In a pickle

But in a good way. I once posted about a hard to find British delight that I'm quite partial to. I could only get it at an upscale supermarket downtown, which catered mostly to expatriates.

Then the supermarket down the road that I go to remodelled, and has expanded its range of offerings to include a lot more British and Australian foods. That must say quite a bit about the changing tastes of Singaporeans.

At first, it was a bit frustrating to shop there as they were remodelling while still open for business, and shelves were being shifted about so the whole layout of the place has changed. It's disconcerting because you thought you know where to find everything in your regular supermarket but now nothing's where it used to be.

But today, something made up for the confusion -- Branston pickle, in three sizes.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Dying profession

A couple of years ago, we were shocked that B, a friend of ours, in his mid-40s then, was hospitalised for a heart attack and had to have a quadruple bypass. He worked in public relations.

Last year, E, another friend, never regained consciousness after a massive heart attack. He was barely 40. He worked in public relations.

Last night, we met up with M, who said that he'd quit his job and was taking a break. He then told us that he had a minor stroke last year, and he's only in his mid-30s. He realised that there was more to life than work. His job? Public relations.

Not that hard to see the thread running through these three individuals. And that's why L isn't going back into PR. Not that he hasn't tried. I just won't let him. He used to clock in 14, 15-hour days and his blood pressure would soar like a kite.

L mildly tried to remonstrate with me for putting my foot down. "Who are you to tell me what to do?"

"Your wife. The one who has to bury your corpse."

End of argument. Wife wins. As always.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Pink party

There was no issue finding the place at all. We just followed the river of pink out of the tube station as soon as we got off the train.

Even the dogs came in pink.

L said I should get patented the slogan I had crayoned on our T-shirts. And then mass-produce them for sale. We had so many people coming up and asking if they could take photos of us. Must be what being a celebrity feels like.

Better, ie pro, pix here.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

In the pink

We're ready for Pink Dot.

I'm actually a little disappointed by the reactions of some people, friends even, to the event which would actually be to their benefit. Some are so caught up in the bitching in the community that they can't pull together for a common good. Others are so embittered and angst-ridden from years of injustice and unfairness that they're just plain cynical. Nobody ever helped them, so why help the cause?

It's the same Singaporean self-focused blinkered psyche that doesn't see the person behind, that lets them slam the door in the face of the person behind them instead of holding it open.

We've had years of courtesy campaigns, but it's less to do with good manners and more to do with the inability to look beyond our own noses.

Sometimes I wonder why I bothered to the extent of getting a pink Tshirt for the pink dress code and even personalising it. I mean, this shouldn't even be my battle.

But if nobody cared beyond their own noses, people would still be slaves, women still wouldn't be able to vote, and a black man wouldn't be the leader of the free world.

If not me, who? And if not now, when?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


There was some pop concert thing on the TV and a guy I didn't recognise was doing his stuff onstage.

"Who's he?" I asked L, who was watching.

"Chris Brown."

"Who's he?" Obviously, I don't follow latter-day pop.

"The guy who beat up Rihanna."

So he can sing, he can dance, he can do it all but that's what he's going to be remembered for. Serves him right. And it's not even like I like Rihanna's music. I still think she cribbed from New Order.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day

I had to work today but was sent off fortified by cinnamon french toast with a heart-shaped centre.

Yup, it was a happy day.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Curtain protection

Over the weekend, the swine flu alert went up one notch. And practically the whole country switched into the SARS mode of a few years ago and put up the ring fences.

At work, we prepared to split our operations into two separate locations. Visitors had their temperatures taken and their contact numbers noted. That also applied to visitors at the hospital where my dad is. It is a facility for step-down care. It doesn't have an accident and emergency unit, so it does not take in unreferred outpatients, least of all sick Mexican tourists. But it stuck to the policies that the other fully fledged hospitals were implementing. Which also included a strict policy of one named visitor per patient was enforced.

Today, dad had to leave the facility to return to the hospital where his cardiologist is, for a follow-up appointment. When he returned to the step-down facility, he was considered as a readmitted patient. Simply because he had busted the ringfence. He had to be quarantined.

He was put back in the same bed, in the same room, with the same people.

So how was he isolated?

By having the curtains drawn round his bed.

And all because he breathed the air outside the ringfence.

And swine flu isn't even in the country.

The health minister called a press conference today and said that if nothing deteriorates, he will lower the flu alert one level, and this means no temperature taking and lifting the one-visitor rule at hospitals.

However, quarantine still applies to visitors entering the country from affected areas.

He didn't say if it applied to an old man who left one hospital for a few hours to see his doctor at another hospital.

And if a curtain round a bed can stave off germs like a N95 mask.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Gourmet dinner

L got inspired after watching Emeril Lagasse do a spot of guest cooking on the Martha Stewart Show. I don't know what the recipe is actually called, but it's best described as chicken layered with stuffing. As opposed to chicken stuffed with stuffing.

You basically cook up the "holy trinity", as the celebrity chef called it, of onions, carrots and celery in white wine and stock. Then you line a baking tray with pieces of bread, layer the veg over it, then layer some chicken fillet over that, then bung the whole thing in the oven.

And BAM, as Lagasse would say, chicken and stuffing. Without having to stuff anything. Easy as pie.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Sad story

The cement floor in front of the rubbish collection centre at the ground floor of our block of flats is always stained. That's where the central rubbish chute that runs down the whole block empties into a dumpster, and in the morning, the garbage truck pulls up, backs in, the louvre door is slid up and the dumpster emptied into the truck. There are always brown stains on the floor after the truck pulls away.

Sometimes, the stray cats hang about there, and we feed them there when we see them. Usually, they would have torn into plastic bags of garbage left there by the ground floor residents, who don't have access to the chute like those on the higher floors. So there'd be garbage scattered about after the cats are done.

Last night, somebody ended his life at the spot.

We heard a thump as we were entering our flat after walking the dogs. I thought a car hit something. L said he'd pop out again and check, as he wanted a smoke (he smokes outside the flat when I'm home). It wasn't a car, it was a person. Someone had jumped

We called the police. Everything else that happened after that was like CSI. The police tape. The flashes as the police photographer did his job. I wouldn't have been surprised if Gil Grissom stepped out from one of the police vehicles that pulled up.

Except that things don't end neatly like a TV series, after the credits roll.

Today, there's a wake at the pavilion across the block.

And instead of the little stains, there's a noticeably big, dark one.

And the garbage truck pulled up, backed over the spot, took its load and left.