Sunday, April 29, 2007

Loads been happening in thirteen days since I last posted, but it would be a pain for you guys if I went into details. So, lets cover it all quickly. Orientation Camp (C171 OEI!), start of school, "200 Pound Beauty", first leg of United-Milan (a cracker of a game), CCA Recuitment Drive, and smashing makan sessions. Phew.

Its all been pretty much interesting, but the rush of the first twelve days paled to the two hours of nail-biting tension last night. Honestly. For the first time in a long time, United and Chelsea kicked off their games at the same time, just not playing against each other. If there was ever such a thing as an Molotov cocktail of emotions, those two hours had it all.

United started off pretty bad, and conceded early, much to the chagrin of us fellas watching at home, and to the glee of the boys in blue at Stamford Bridge. Three minutes later, however, those smirks were wiped off their smug little faces when Bolton put their noses in front. Parity restored in the title race (for us anyway). But Chelsea, being Chelsea, refused to lie down and they didn't just pull themselves level, they put themselves into the lead. Our three point lead gone, and so did our fuses.

With every agonizing minute that passed, with every misplaced pass, with every mishit shot, the tension rose significantly, and frankly, it was difficult to continue watching. Half-time came and went, and United started the half pretty much the same way they did the first: poorly. Manuel Fernandes, on loan at Goodison, decided to show the world that Ronaldo wasn't the only brilliant Portuguese in the arena with a smashing goal. But the wonder at having seen such a good goal was tempered by the fact that we were now two down, with Chelsea in the lead in their game. Level on points in the title race. Indescribable agony.

Then, faint hope. Kelvin Davies, the pesky little forward, came up with a surprise, and pulled Bolton level. Two apiece at the Bridge, and a two point lead for us in the race. Still, the football offered by our boys in red was disheartening. The ineffective Smith was taken off, and suddenly the verve was back in United's game. O'Shea pulled one back from Carrick's corner, and hope was restored to the faithful. The boys in the red pushed forward now, this time with Ronaldo finally in the fray, with all their worth, and another corner would bring us level. Ronaldo's header bounced off Turner in goal, and in his frentic bid to clear the ball off the line, ex-Red Phil Neville only managed to stab it home for us. Irony. Three point lead at the top restored, our boys went in for the kill. First Rooney, with a well-taken goal (ironic eh?), and then the unheralded Chris Eagles with a smashing shot, gave us the win, the three points, and the extension to our lead at the top of the table. Chelsea failed to score again, and had to settle for the draw. Five points now separate the two teams, with three games to go.

What a roller-coaster ride of emotions in a short two hour span. No scriptwriter could have written the ending better for United, and tough luck to Chelsea. We're now this close to winning the title that is rightfully ours, and I can just smell the silverware, the glory. Come on ya Reds! Champions!

Man, I love sports.

i heard the crickets at 6:53 pm


Monday, April 16, 2007

Funny creatures, us humans, when you consider the fact that, aside from memories or material possessions, we can't store a single thing for further use. Not sleep, not food, nor emotions.

You can sleep for as long as you want, for many days on end, but the one day you don't sleep at all wrecks you. You find it difficult to concentrate, and the urge to doze off grows stronger with every passing minute. Its almost as if you didn't spend all those days resting up for it!

Food works a little better in this respect. Stuff yourself, and you probably will eat less for the next meal, or maybe even skip it all together. But the effects don't last very long. Metabolism strips you bare of what you've already ingested, and demands for even more. Our bodies just can't store any form of food for long-term use, the way camels do with water, or bears through hiberntation. Irritating isn't it? Imagine trekking through the desert lugging around all that food on top of the weight you're already carrying. Wonders what food storage organs would do for us.

And when you think about it, you can't store and re-use emotions. Take happiness for example. How wonderful life would be if you could keep recalling and re-using the emotions you felt when you were most happy. Not one more day of sorrow, or anger. Just pure bliss. But reality is never like that. Negative emotions will always be there, and we'll all have to grapple with them at one point or another.

Plenty we could do if we just could store all these things for further use, but the Chap-Upstairs has other ideas. Perhaps to remind us of our own vulnerability, or that life isn't just a bed of roses; to fully appreciate it would be to take in both the thorns and the roses. Ohwell. Who can read His intentions?

Which reminds me. Randomness like this is something else that can't be recycled. =D

i heard the crickets at 10:20 pm


Sunday, April 15, 2007

Went to the market for breakfast with Dad. Said something I probably shouldn't have. Anyway, it got him into a rage, not with me, but with everything thats gone wrong with his family. As much as he wears his heart on his sleeve (something I think I got from him), he isn't want of opening up. Today was one of those rare occurances when he lets everything thats troubling him out, and despite the unfortunate circumstances that brought it about, I decided against interrupting.

Fresh insights of course, into the complexities of a family so big and yet one so divided. But it wasn't anything about his family that left any impression on me. No, it was something that had to do with me.

You see, when I was little, perhaps even before my brother was born, my Dad got me started on watching wrestling. Of course, this was before he found out it was all a phoney show, but thats another story. Anyway, it was probably the earliest form of father-son bonding we shared, and come Saturday nights, he'd have the TV on and plonk us both on the sofa, watching the Undertaker decapitate another hapless opponent, or Bret "The Hitman" Hart retain one title or another with his Sharpshooter. But, those nights didn't always end so well, for me anyway. Granny would call him to go down to her place, or someone else's, for him to play mahjong with his siblings and their spouses, and he would oblige, just to please her. But of course, at that age, I didn't understand, and he remembers me, standing at the door, close to tears, begging him not to go. "Papa, don't go", as he recalled.

I remember little of my Dad on Saturdays as a young child because of this, but it seemed to me that I had gotten over it all. After all, it was nearly a decade and a half ago. But when he said the words I purportedly said then, I felt something give. It was like I had locked away the emotions I felt then, and now had them come roaring back at me, the dam holding them back broken. Outwardly, there was no marked change, but inside, I was dealing with a maelstrom.

It hasn't stopped swirling since.

Who knew a kid no older than four could feel so much?

i heard the crickets at 8:54 pm

Saturday was great.

Meiling's right; our gatherings only see the regular faces. But on the bright side, it was fun. Worked up an appetite waiting for just the first person to come, and in the process got my hands reeking of newspaper print. Meiling finally turned up after an hour and a half, and the first thing she did was drag me half way across Orchard so she could buy earrings or something. Managed to find Jen on the way, and he helped kill my boredom at the bazaar. Lunch at Subway, before Jun Kiat found out we had wasted his time and money to come look for us when we were heading back to where he was anyway. So it was back to Dhoby Ghaut, and the start of the wait for our star of the moment. Jaime finally turned up a quarter to 4, and we trooped down to Mind cafe to chill out.

Real cosy place, and so many games to choose from. Man. Spent a good part of 2 hours playing an assortment of games without even realising that all that time had gone by. Love the place. Pity the prices for food and drinks.

Jun Kiat left for a family gathering, and we walked back up to Takashimaya to look for Leonard at work. Damn paiseh la, for him, what with Jaime waving and giggling and generally making a scene.

Ran across the road in the rain like mad folks just to get to Swensens. Tex-Mex Fish was so-so, and oh-so-pathetically small. =\ Dessert was pretty good though. Caught up on the good old times. Man, miss them.

Went back to wait for Leonard to finish with work, and we walked down the street to McDonalds, where we talked somemore.

Smashing outing! How about another one?

i heard the crickets at 8:06 pm


Saturday, April 14, 2007

Its not been an exceptionally good day. Friday the 13th. What are the odds?

The day's never been an issue. Well, most of the time anyway. But this time, my luck ran out on me. See, I was on the train, heading west. Minding my own business (ie. daydreaming), when I noticed this guy inching close to the pole I was next to. He smiled. And the courteous thing's to smile back right? So that's what I did. BIG MISTAKE.

He began introducing himself. Fine, I thought. Charity? I'll donate. But turns out, he wasn't soliciting for donations, he just wanted to talk. Argh. So i let him do it. Then it got creepy. Whipped out his handphone, showed me photos of animals and asked me which was cutest. RIGHT. Then went on about this story of this Japanese friend of his who looks like Wang Lee Hom. YEA, SURE. Started to piss me off.

Approaching Tanjong Pagar, he appeared to be getting ready to alight. Relief. But he decided to first ask me, "Where you arighting?". I JUST HAD to tell him the truth, didn't I? "Outram". Thats when he really spooked me. "OH. Me too."


He just didn't stop talking. And I started to panic. What a creep. How? HOW?

I bolted for my life when the train doors opened at Outram.

i heard the crickets at 12:33 am


Friday, April 06, 2007

A lot's been going on the last few days, and if I wrote down every event worth mentioning, this entry would run on far too long. Nay. I'll restrict this one.

Service is a subjective creature. And I experienced it firsthand, both in front of and behind the counter. Expectations of customers tend to vary from person to person, and it is hence difficult to nail down what exactly is good service. But, allow for a little give and take in expectations, and the picture's a little clearer. Promptness in services, an ever-ready smile, good hygiene, and a willingness to serve. Thats what we have all come to expect, and accordingly demand for. In most places, we tend to receive average service. You get what you asked for, plus maybe a smile or two. Nothing out-of-this-world, but its alright. You can live with OK treatment. But doesn't it just get under your skin when you encounter terrible service, especially when you get that from the same company even in different outlets?

Walk into any Long John Silvers outlet, and the chances are that you'll find yourself stuck with messy tables, long queues, rude staff and long waiting times for your food to be served. I've had that quite a bit. I remember a trip to the outlet at Bedok, when this guy forgot my order, even though he had asked me FOUR times for it. And it wasn't even the peak period! Or the time when I was at the Tampines Mall outlet, when the lady who was bussing tables yelled at customers over the slightest things. Or the time when I had breakfast at the Tanjong Pagar outlet, when this other lady had a conversation with her colleagues WHILE attending to me. She made me feel invisible! And I got rubbish treatment again today! This time at the Century Square outlet. I could just go on and on about the horror stories I've had to endure at the hands of the staff of Long John Silvers, but that would be me going off-tangent. The service sucks. Period.

Among fast food joints (notice the word 'joints'; they simply aren't good enough to be called 'restaurants'), Long John Silvers has, consistently, the worst service standards. And I don't get why. Is it the lack of adequate training? Or is it down to a case of terrible work culture? I just don't get it. Compared to its rivals, the food's unique. No burgers, just good ol' fried chicken, fish and shrimp. The layout's distinctive too. Mural of the docks? Complex knots in frames? Definitely a Long John Silvers outlet. Its brand recognition man, brand recognition! And its all going to waste cos of horrible, HORRIBLE service. Just what would it take to get good service at Long John Silvers?!

I'm sick of getting the short end of the stick.

i heard the crickets at 12:22 am


Sunday, April 01, 2007

The world's abound with all sorts of new inventions, but this very one, in my opinion anyway, is just plain stupid. You see, there's this guy in Thailand, a government scientist, who's come up with odourless durians. Called Chantaburi No. 1 (after the dude's home province), its supposed to be for people who can't stand the smell of durians, especially the picky ang moh. It seems pretty good on its premise; durians that even the ang moh can appreciate. But as a durian traditionalist, I love the smell of my durians; its not a durian if the rich pungent aromas don't assault the senses and call out the good old Singaporean in me. After all, to quote from Adrian Tan's Teenage Workbook (a dear favourite of mine), "A durian by any other name would smell as sweet". Although he does continue on, that Shakespeare, being a bloody ang moh, would, instead, probably have said, "A durian by any other name would still smell as strong". Regardless, durians taste best in their full, rich aromas. No room for argument.

I miss my durians.

i heard the crickets at 6:50 pm


Ginger & Garlic