Thursday, March 31, 2011

The king of musicals

The Lion King was the reason why I spent one summer in London angsting at the return ticket booth at Leicester Square almost daily when no returns were to be had. So you can imagine how happy I was that the production finally came to Singapore.

Breathtaking staging, wonderful costumes, amazing puppetry.

Loved it.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Watergate by any other name

The placard that all cabbies have on their dashboard with their names printed on them said that this Chinese youngish 30-something driver's first name was Nixon.

By the end of the trip, I couldn't withhold my curiosity any longer, and had to ask him if that was the name he was given at birth, or a Western first name that he picked for himself. His parents named him Nixon.

You'd think that if you wanted to name your son after an American president, someone more salubrious than Nixon would come to mind. Eisenhower, maybe. Or Roosevelt. Maybe that would be a bit hard for Junior to spell... But Nixon! Hmm, or maybe it was that Nixon in China business.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Out of sync

The problem with working a six-day Sunday-to-Friday week (other than six days! Working on a Sunday!) is you're facing a mid-week slump on Tuesday -- just when other people are recovering from Black Monday. By the time it gets to Wednesday, you're starting to coast downhill for the second half of the week while everyone else is struggling up the mid-week hump.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


If I said that I wanted to red pencil this, then I would be equally guilty of verbing a noun, right?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Don't get outraged

The poster on the advertising billboard at the bus stop was a collaborative effort between an arts school and the police force to come up with visuals for a campaign advising the public on how to prevent "outrage of modesty" (such a lovely Victorian turn of phrase, if you ask me). That the bus stop is on a road with little traffic and is dark at night, well, that's the sort of thing that would make you look over your shoulder.

The copy includes useful tips on how to avoid being outraged -- avoid dark areas, have someone meet you when you're going home late.

It just doesn't tell you what to do if you've been outraged. I think maybe a good swift kick in the goolies should do it. Pity they didn't illustrate that.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Saturday night out

Working Sundays for the weeks ahead -- and am facing a six-day week ahead on top of that -- so nipped out to the Mosaic Music Festival at the Esplanade to catch Erik Mongrain and to chill a little, while I can. He played mostly acoustic guitar, which he also turned it into a percussion instrument to accompany himself. And then he set the guitar on his lap and played it like I've never seen before, by tapping it -- air tap, it's called. Blew my mind. I think sometimes, it's OK not to pay attention when your music teacher is going on about Proper Fingering. Or learn it all and then turn it all upside down. Or in this case, sideways on your lap.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Singapore government announced a couple of days ago that it was donating $500,000 to Japan, towards aid efforts.

Today, a Singapore woman bested them by giving double, $1 million. No press release, no announcement. The Japanese embassy had to hastily arrange a ceremonial handing over of the cheque for her, and only because the Japanese Association told them of the fat cheque.

Phooey to the government. I hope they at least give the woman a tax break.

My office is organising a charity drive for the Red Cross. Hope it shows the government what-for too.

No friend left behind

I'm used to seeing gory pictures taken at disaster scenes, Katrina, the Burma hurricane, the Indian Ocean tsunami. My first reaction of the pictures coming out of Japan was, oh, another Banda Aceh.

The first time any disaster picture made me teary was this video clip posted on a colleague's Facebook wall.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Ganbatte kudasai

I remember a snippet off the newswires that a colleague showed me, weeks ago, post-Christchurch quake, and the authorities were abandoning hope of finding survivors. The leader of the Japanese rescue team was asked for his comment, and his reply was: You must understand that I rescue people. My business is hope. Ganbatte kudasai

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Rock on

As much as I like Santana's music, the two best bits of his concert here actually had nothing to do with him.

The second best bit was when Mrs Santana took over from the resident drummer for a set.

The best bit when Santana introduced his band, and when it came to the guitarist, the guy used the spotlight to launch into the opening stanza of U2's New Year's Day.

That's as close as anybody is going to get to two rock concerts for the price of one.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Spotted something new

They look like and are the size of greengages. But they're exactly like kiwi fruit inside -- tiny kiwi, minus the furry brown skin. Genetically modified kiwi? Kiwi crossed with greengages? They're sweet, juicy, yummy and very expensive (almost $4 for a punnet that held just nine pieces).

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Biting my tongue

More on the evilness of Facebook corrupting my soul. It lets you read posts of people whom you do not know at all -- because a friend whom you do know has commented on the post of a stranger whom you don't know. Which was why I was horrified that a bunch of strangers were oohing and aahing over the culinary discovery of another stranger.

Which was: a slice of processed cheese floated over a bowl of instant noodles and stirred up.

I can't be rude to a stranger. But it's terrifying that processed food garnished with processed yuck is getting Facebook "likes". This wiki wisdom of the crowd thing is wrong.

I'm not snobbish. I eat instant noodles too. But I think it's not so hard to throw in a handful of fresh vegetables on top of noodles. Or to stir in a spoonful of miso or Marmite to flavour the soup instead of using the sachet of e-numbers. You don't really need to know how to cook to do that.

Or perhaps people really don't think about what they're putting into their mouths. Only last week, I had the hardest time trying to explain to a friend who had to be off dairy that there is no dairy in salad dressing. He insisted there was milk in it because it was creamy. He couldn't wrap his head round that mayo is emulsified egg, oil and vinegar. That you don't need cream to make things creamy.

I'm beginning to understand the need for Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. Come on over, Jamie. Please.