Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pinky Sprain

So our team has been working super overtime for ages. UV and AF tell me that it was hectic while I was gone to China, but it's was pretty intense from mid-September onwards.

Returning from my holiday, I was plunged back into the whirling, swirling adrenalin that comes with being in the PR industry. As any PR person, they'll tell you the same thing. Expect late nights, ridiculously tight deadlines, quirky clients (to say the least), stressed-out media... That's our way of life, but we'll always be glad not to be them poor advertising sods. Heh.

So I'm stuck here having eaten lunch and dinner at my desk while juggling a million and one different things.

Had a nose bleed today.

Had dry eyes again today.

Had dropping hair again today.

And now I've got a sprained pinky. :(

Sunday, October 03, 2010

New Post

So it's been a pretty long while since I've actually posted anything in here. Two wallpaper changes, yes, but actual content? Nada. Then fresh from our trip to Guilin, China, out of the blue I get the inspiration to blog, and right on cue, P1 decides to act up and I haven't managed to log into iGoogle, Gmail, Blogger and Facebook in weeks.

But today's a day for surprises.

First I nearly whacked into some stupid bugger who decided, right at the last moment, to swing into my lane. Thankfully I managed to hit the brakes in time, though my heart was up in my mouth for the good part of an hour. Why Malaysian drivers lik dat wun?

Then when I reached Mei Ling's house, no one was in though there was supposed to be class today. Unexpected good luck (although I was looking forward to class), as that freed up an extra hour for me to finish this humungous pile of back-logged Chinese newspapers from September.

Much later, after dinner, the Cooking Bug bit for the first time in months. Haven't had much time at all to stir-fry/stew /bake/steam since joining Pat-Lin in February, but the itch came back and I whipped up a double-portion to ta-pau for lunch and dinner tomorrow hehe.

Anyway it's getting late but I'm still waiting for the photos to upload to FB. Another update later, hopefully tomorrow but doesn't seem likely with the amount of work and newspapers to get through.

But tomorrow can wait for a few more hours...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Rain is coming

It's past midnight and I lie here in bed, not sleeping yet,
drowsily drinking in the sounds of this city that never sleeps, only rests.
There's a faint purring of a generator somewhere near, but far away enough.
Cars go by in the night, their wild hoots echoing emptily around the construction site,
deserted and forlorn in the darkness.
The wooden blinds rattle suddenly against the open window frame as a gust of wind slips through, surprisingly chilly on my bare, humid-sticky skin.

Rain is coming.
I can smell it, scentless, the welcome moisture driving away a week's worth
of dust and dreariness.
I can feel it, formless, the saltiness of cool viscid air spilling through the openings into this undisturbed space.

I lie on my side, shoulder and hip sinking into the firm yielding of the mattress beneath, limbs draped around a bunched-up duvet like a bolster, a lover.
Around my face, tendrils of hair stir faintly in the milky darkness. I start
as the blinds clatter again, insistently this time, and
for a brief moment in the splintered silence it sounds like someone trying to climb in.

And then she comes, stealthily at first like a car sweeping past in the distance, and then
steadily, steadily, melding with the humming of the generator,
drowning out the sounds of the world outside.

I slip into a dreamless, watery sleep.

Sunday, April 05, 2009


I'm sitting here lazily surfing the web, when suddenly a new window pops up, and it's you. It's been such a long time, but now when we talk, it's like all those years and all that water under the bridge has melted away.

How are you? What have you been doing? We skip those formalities, launching right in as if resuming a conversation from years ago without a break.

Over the past months, I looked at your photos on Facebook. You in your creamy, satiny wedding dress, serene next to the proud hubby, and I start dreaming of my own. Your unmarked skin slowly stretching under the expanding belly, and I remember those carefree weekends playing in the sunlight garden, when you used to wear those cut-off tees and low-slung jeans, baring your taut tawny midriff when I was still graduating from my uncool, awkward pre-teen years. I always wished I could be like you, inimitably sexy in your calculated insouciance, the embodiment of teenage rebellion to this impressionable bookworm desperately seeking her own niche.

You tell me of a concert you went to the other day, the orchestra from our old school. I start reminiscing about the old days, the old people, and then I remember. Of course, I'd forgotten you were never in the orchestra. Funny how our memories of a place and time merge into each other. But those two years, they were so full, and rarely a day passed where did we not see each other, talk to each other, that it really doesn't matter whether or not you were in the orchestra.

We gossip a little about old friends. They still use the ancient photos from our times on the school website and brochures, those fading moments of our extreme youth frozen for the world to see. I remember you were on one of those glossy leaves, caught unawares and pensive, a surprisingly content look on your face that we didn't use to see too often back then. I saw you in that beautiful photo even before I saw you in real life. I'm glad to see you with that same peaceful expression in all your photos now.

We talk a little about your little boy, the pregnancy. I'm so curious, wanting to know everything, wanting it to be like that time long ago when our lives were so closely intertwined that we knew so many things about what happened during our day, our week. You seem happy enough to tell me, offer up information, but really, how much am I allowed to ask before it's considered over-inquisitive? I'm so glad for you, that you've finally found something to anchor you down in life, that gives you the joy and stability you've wandered so far and long in search for. I look at the photos of the life you've given birth to, that sweet sleepy smile, and I start hankering for one of my own.

You ask me when I'll be coming to visit. I wonder how much of me you have remembered, how much of me you will recognise. In the photos, you look like a slightly older, contented, mellowed version, but otherwise the same you from the old days. I bloomed years after you did, ditched the glasses, grew out the hair, gained the curves and confidence of today. Perhaps you were early, perhaps I am late. Would you recognise me now, if we passed each other on a busy street?

If we could've known, those handful of years ago, the dramatic turns our lives would take away from each other, would we still have done anything differently?

And then it's the end of our conversation. Your laptop's running out of battery, you're sleepy, and you say, long day.. years ahead.

And I suddenly realise... yes, you're absolutely right. Indeed, only a short span of time has passed since we parted ways, and we still have long years ahead of us to catch up with each other.

Saturday, April 04, 2009



基本上,流行音乐太简单了 - 很多现代作曲家只需要作曲一些简单的旋律,加上流行的节奏,这就是算已经写完了一首四五分钟的流行歌。虽然每节的歌词不同,但基本上每节的旋律通常是一抹一样的。





Monday, March 30, 2009

Servicing Service

When I first moved into my flat, I got to know that the previous occupant was an American who went back to the US in December. I didn't enquire too much of landlady's dealings with him, as he had left the flat in a clean and tidy shape, even leaving some household cleaning items that I could use.

Within a few days, I started getting calls to my landline, asking for some Fast Global Supplier company. After a while, it became clear that not only were these people not getting the wrong number, or that the telephone lines had crossed, but my number was actually the published contact on the Fast Global Supplier website, for their China Shanghai branch. One of their prospective clients was actually kind enough to email them notifying them of the invalidity of the number, and on top of that, phoning back to tell me he had done so.

So I Googled my own number. And came across their website. Filled in a contact form, and wrote them a beautifully polite request:
Hello, I'm the current resident of the apartment that is listed as your China Shanghai Branch. I'd like to remind you that your previous manager here in Shanghai has already returned to the States in December. Please remove my address and telephone number from your website listings as I have been getting a lot of mail and telephone calls looking for your company. Many thanks.

It's two days before I get a reply, wonderfully concise and pithy:
This number is all over the website. It is hard to remove this number. You must cancel this number or change to a different number with your phone company.

Can't say they left me with much choice but to reply thus:
Your company obviously thinks it is harder to remove a number from a website than for a foreigner to request for a change of telephone numbers in China. Please be aware, then, that whenever any of your prospective clients telephone my number, it is within my complete power and discretion to say what I wish about your company. Imagine what kind of image and reputation you are projecting, if your clients found out that your company was so lax about providing up-do-date information on your website. Also, you will be interested to note that I have been getting on average one phone call a day. That adds up to a considerable amount of clients, current and prospective. Current clients can become ex-clients, and prospective clients may remain forever prospective. Remember, word of mouth is the most powerful marketing tool. Have a nice day.

How would you have dealt with the matter?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Made in the big U.S. of A.

What is everywhere, on everybody's minds, instrumental in affecting the quality of of people all around the world, and Made in America?

Why, our current 经济危机 dung heap, of course.

Now that their once free-flowing coffers are bust and they are effectively living on borrowed time and money, the greedy, grasping eyes of the West turn to China and its $2 trillion of foreign reserves, like Bilbo's beleaguered dwarves slinking towards the Lonely Mountain and the dragon Smaug with his stupendous treasure trove and jewel-encrusted hide. Of course, the supreme irony of the situation is that just like how the denizens of Middle-Earth shunned Lonely Mountain for its desolate landscape and fearsome inhabitant, the West once sneered at China's primitive, unwieldy financial systems. Even now many Westerners and Western-centric Asians still look contemptuously at anything Chinese, disparaging them for being nothing more than just... Chinese. Now it is this backwardness inherent in many fledgling nations that have protected them from cutting edge folly.

All this, because of Greed, and that wonderful cornerstone of Western civilisation called Individual Rights. With a constitution that places individual rights and individual freedom above all else, the USA sold to the rest of the world that paragon of Western capitalism, the American Dream. And because humans are by nature greedy and selfish, that evocative call of the American Dream, complete with hot apple pies sitting in picturesque houses with white picket fences, became too seductive for many people to ignore. With the droves of people settling down in America over the decades, so grew the public conviction that everything belongs to them by right, and if they haven't got something, well, they could just sue somebody for it. With the intense drive to own everything that your neighbour has and more, the American household became the main source of capital for the US economy.

Think Singaporeans are the ultimate kiasu people? Think again.

So all was hale and hearty until 1999, when the American household quietly upturned from being lenders to borrowers, and foreign capital became the only source of money for the USA. But even so, this was all rather hush-hush, and with the distraction of Sept. 11 and Iraq, nobody really paid attention to the fact that the whole of America was starting to survive solely on credit.

But even so, the greed and covetousness kept on escalating into the 21st century, and even though foreign investors were silently buying up low-risk investments and American debt, the influx of capital and borrowed affluence were not enough. Hotshot bankers and financiers who knew too much for their own good but not enough for everybody else's good started playing around with their magic numbers and spreadsheets so that everybody could get their American Dream for a dollar, minus the fine print of course. And because no sane foreign investor was willing to pick up the high-risk investments, they swapped dicey financial products amongst themselves like a game of high-stakes mahjong, where everybody picks up someone else's unwanted stuff until the whole system is interreliant and there's no more accountability.

And we all know what happened after that.

2008 has been the worst year to graduate in so far, and 2009 might turn out even worse. From a solid track record all the way until university, and a formerly bright future wherever I chose to go, I'm now saddled with no substantial work experience and unemployment rates soaring higher and faster than the Burj Dubai everywhere I go. This was supposed to be a year where a management graduate from one the world's top business schools could pick and choose and negotiate any job she wanted, and all I'm left with is mounting debt and new furrows on my forehead and that perpetual sinking feeling in my solar plexus that I'm sure most of you enjoy too. And statistics have shown time and again that people who graduate into a downturn do distinctively worse over their entire lifetime than their peers who graduate when the economy is stable.

Why such bitterness, you ask?

Well, when one really takes a step back and looks at the overall picture, there seems to be pointed lack of anger and blame in the world towards the USA for ruining everybody's lives for at least a few years. Indeed, the USA has indirectly caused people to die who otherwise wouldn't have, had this crisis never come about. Whereas when the rest of the world does something the US doesn't agree with, there's a massive outcry, a public upheaval, and the US will use all its financial leverage and political clout to get its way. The US has always appointed herself upholder of the world's ethics and morals precisely and only when it suits her, insisting that other nations apologise when they appear to slight the US or contravene with her so-called values. But now when the shit has hit the fan, and we all know where the shit came from, the culprit escapes blame once again.

Japan's humiliating defeat at the end of WWII left an indelible stain on the national psyche of the Japanese that has lasted until this day. Their contrition at having caused such a global catastrophe is etched forever within their society's subconsciousness and manifested in their taking extreme responsibility for mistakes large, small, and imagined, and a rigid unwillingness to inconvenience anybody.

Japan has her honour, and because of her greed for territory more than half a century ago, Japan and the Japanese are still apologising to this day.

America has no honour, and not a single American has apologised. Will it take half a century for America, once the golden land of opportunity, to say sorry?