Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A question of control

I've been thinking about how important is the issue of control to me. I'm talking about this ideal state where I get to call the shots and decide how and what happens to me. I'm not talking so much about control over others (though I admit it's one area I've had to work at in especially in my last job working with students). In this case, I'm talking about control over my own life.

I realize I hate it when I feel helpless. This could be in the case where say, I fall sick. Like right now when I'm working through my kidney stone problems (yep, got a couple of them swimming around my plumbing system rite now), I feel frustrated because this is something that I can't control. I mean, I can't get rid of them, I can't stop them from giving me other related problems like infections. I just have to sit and wait until the doctor blasts them out of my system, one way or another.

Another example is when people force me to do what I don't want to do. I don't know if I sound pompous, but I kinda feel that I've reached an age/point in my life/career where I shouldn't need to do what I really don't want to do. Haha, I can think of so many examples with respect to this. In fact, this contributed partially to why I left teaching last year. I was feeling hopelessly powerless with what I was doing in my job. When I was younger, I'd think about patience, tolerance, etc. But somehow, for me, personal fulfillment/satisfaction seems much more important than just doing something for the sake of doing it.

Right now, I'm still struggling with this issue of control.

It's a frustrating life when I'm controlled by a clock and a card.

It's a frustrating life when I'm controlled by what others want me to do.

It's a frustrating life when I don't find myself doing stuff I find meaning in doing.

I guess that's partially why I'm irritated by those little government things like the longevity insurance, etc, etc. Our governments gives me the idea that we are powerless in making decisions for our lives. Only the government knows best. MPs can say all they want in the 'debates'. You can make all the noise you want at 'feedback sessions'. But in the end, government knows best. The decision was already made anyway. It's just nice to let you rant a little, to let it out of your system.

How? Like that can go crazy rite?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Cloudy skies

I love bright and cheery mornings, but I must admit I also like dark cloudy and breezy mornings provided the rain hasn't started pouring. This is how the sky looked today at about 7.15am. It wasn't raining yet and there was a wonderful wind stirring up the air. Not a bad way to start the day.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

In that kinda mood

For some reason or rather, I've been in a kind of buay song mood over the last few days. Reading the newspapers & surfing the blogs on singapore issues just reinforce this buay-songness. It's like, there are just so many weirdish things going on in our little red dot and we littlereddotians just seem to live with and tolerature them (myself included).

One example is the silly Odex 'demonstration' where a couple of people got together and placed some toy figures carrying little banners and toy flags to protest against how Odex had handled the whole issue. I just can't understand why our dear authorities had to send police to go and 'control the crowd'.... I mean, don't they have better things to do? And what's really wrong with people just trying to make a statement? And as some blogs have mentioned, it's interesting to note that despite having all sorts of news on the Odex court case, there was virtually no reporting in our local papers about the mini-protest. It's all just messed up, imo.

Well, I believe that as a consequence of my mood, I'm a little more irritated with little things that I see around me, stuff that are less political (dun really intend for this blog to make big political statements).

So the thing which I can't understand is this totally silly road crossing between Bugis Junction and Bugis Village. I dunno which wonderful civil servant designed this zig zag crossing but I marvel at how they can connect two MAJOR large road crossings with this tiny strip between them. Everytime I have to cross this place, there's this huge clash of people moving from Bugis Village to Bugis Junction and vice versa. And there's this huge jam as you can see from the pic below resulting in people pushing and shoving and trying to get off the road before the red man flashes on.

Wonderful quirky examples in our efficient little city. My next rant... butt-rests. Be back for it.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Two things on my mind

Two things that happened over the last weekend are kinda weighing on my mind.

First. I was at 7-11 buying some sweets for the movie when I saw this teenager taking two boxes of sweets and putting it in his pocket. Basically, he was shoplifting. Of course, it was disturbing to see this teen behaving like that. But what got me more disturbed was.... I didn't do anything about it. Yep. I just stood there, saw him put the sweets into the pocket and did absolutely nothing except walk out. The point is, I dunno why I didn't do anything. As a former teacher, I talk about doing the right thing always. The right thing would of course be to either stop the teen or immediately inform the store staff about it. But I just did nothing. N.O.T.H.I.N.G. Ok, at the end when I was paying for my stuff, I did tell the cashier that some teens had shoplifted some sweets. But that's kinda too little too late rite. So i've been kinda stewing on why I didn't do anything when I saw the fella taking the sweets. Was I apathetic? Was I scared? It's really weird. Talk about moral reasoning and moral action. ie. Knowing what's right and doing what's right.

And in some way, this is kinda connected to the next thing on my mind.

As some of you might already know my now, Mr Otto Fong, my former colleague, apparently posted a letter on a blog telling everyone that he is gay. Wow. I've known him in my 5.5 years in RI and he's a real nice guy. But I admit that I've never thought he was gay. In fact, I'd thought he was married. lolz. I think it's incredibly brave for him to come out of the closet and tell everyone that he is gay, especially in Singapore and in RI. For that, I salute him. I know he is in for a really rough ride coz he now has to face both MOE and RI, not easy at all. For me, the question is... why did he do it? Why now? It's interesting to read all the comments in Tomorrow.sg and The Online Citizen. My response comes in two parts. First, from Otto's point of view, I can see how he might want to do what he did. But of course, I'm sure he's thought through it thoroughly and knew he could be martyred for this. For whatever reasons he might have I'm not here to judge him. But I must say he is incredibly brave to do it.

My second part has to do with what the school/MOE is gonna do to him. I am of the stand that a teacher's sexual orientation has nothing to do with his suitability to teach. Sexual orientation has nothing to do with moral values. It's ridiculous to equate gay with immorality. So, do we take a lousy teacher who is immoral or do we take a good teacher who is gay but moral? hmm. It's interesting to read about moe's stand that it “does not condone any open espousal of homosexual values by teachers in any form, in or out of the classroom”. As mentioned by many netizens, what exactly are 'homosexual values'? Is there even such a thing? Otto is an excellent teacher in my opinion and has mentored many students well. If he gets fired just for saying he is gay, then it goes to show the school/MOE's priorities.

It's been an interesting weekend.


Last weekend, I took the chance to go catch up on some movies which I'd not been able to watch since my 'incarceration' due to my sickness. I've wanted to watch Hairspray.. it's got raving reviews and I'd just finished watching the latest season of So You Think You Can Dance, so I was in an extra 'dancey' mood.

OK, before I talk about Hairspray, let me tell you what happened before. I went down to The Cathay at Dhoby Ghaut to catch it, but unfortunately, when I arrived, the seats were really bad, like first row bad. So I decided to catch a later screening at AMK Hub. In the meantime, how to past the time? I looked at all the movies screening at The Cathay and I saw the poster for Azur and Asmar. It was kinda eye-catching coz it was an animation not in the usual Disney/anime kinda way and of course, they had those 'First Prize in blah blah blah film festival' flashed all over the poster. So I looked at the screens above the counters and it said it was in English, so I thought, what the heck, how bad could it be.

Yes, how bad could it be.... sigh. First off, to be fair, the animation was interesting in that it really wasn't your typical Pixar or Anime-style. So it was eye catching for a few minutes. What got to me was that it wasn't in English. In fact, I frankly don't know what language it was in. I think is was French and Arabic. Yep... Arabic. I have nothing against the Arabic language. I just never imagined I would go watch an arabic cartoon. My point is, as much as I want to enjoy the animation, how do I do it if I am focussed on reading the subtitles? So, basically, I lost concentration and kinda fell asleep towards the last 1/3 of the movie. I definitely must stop being a sucker for the 'Won First Prize in blah blah blah festival' trick.

OK, back to Hairspray.

This is a real 100% feel good movie. I've read in some reviews that this movie is supposed to be the 'GREASE' for the current generation. I don't think I agree but I think it comes close. Hairspray is a musical. So of course, those who hate shows which break out in singing every 5 minutes better give this a miss. The singing in the movie was not bad. Everyone did a pretty fine job. I even liked all the songs John Travolta sang as a woman. lolz. The songs. Hmm. I don't think the songs were that memorable. Other than the last song, 'You Can't Stop the Beat', I think the rest of the songs are fun/nice but not very memorable. Next, is the dancing. I enjoyed the dance numbers but I can't say that the choreography was very fantastic. It was nice to watch and all that, but I think it lacked some bang. To some extent, maybe it was the filming coz often, we can't see the whole dance move but bits here and there.

For me, one of the highlights was John Travolta. I think he did an excellent job playing the mother of Tracy. Of course, many say it's just a gimmick, but I was checking it out and apparently, in the original musical version on broadway, that role is always acted by a drag queen and usually done in an over-the-top kinda way. I saw a video on youtube and saw this really flambouyant drag queen in the role. I guess it could be interesting, but I think I like the way John Travolta played it, more subdued and in a non-drag kinda way. In fact, I find his quite believable as the mother who was scared to go out. And his dance numbers were quite exhilarating, especially when he/she decides to go for it and does the Tina Turner-like number at the very end.

Overall, like I said, Hairspray is a nice feel good movie. The singing, dancing, acting were done well and it's nice to leave the cinema feeling warm and fuzzy. :P

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Long silence...

Yeah, sorry for the long silence, faithful blog readers....

It's been a miserable two weeks and it's only getting marginably better. I've been down with a viral infection since two saturdays before and it's been terrible. First and foremost.... out when my appetitite. For more than a week, all I could stomach was porridge and kway teow soup. OMG... after the 3rd day, I almost wanted to just inject the stuff into my veins so I didn't need to force it down my throat. Those who know me how important it is for me to enjoy my food. Forcing myself to drink porridge and kway teow soup was just plain cruel.

Then there was the constant fever. Yes, I mean CONSTANT. This time round, no matter how many panadols I took, I constantly had a fever of at least 38 degrees and it just wouldn't quit. Fevers are no fun. They sap the energy out of you from doing anything and everything. So while I may be home on medical leave, i can't do anything coz I simply dun feel like doing anything. Add to that the fact that my baby nephew comes over every afternoon, I had to pretty much hide in my room to prevent passing the virus to him. Fever finally started coming down three/four days ago. It still comes and goes, but at least it actually goes down to a normal 37 degrees some times.

Stomach cramps. It was some kind of stomach virus. So it led to really uncomfortable stomach cramps. And to make it worse, it also led to constipation. Sigh. Actually, I guess there wasn't much for me to... shit out... since I was only taking porridge and kway teow soup anyway. This also persisted for about a week.

Miserable, miserable.

I pulled myself to work this week, partly coz i was really getting too bored at home and partly coz it really wasn't good to be gone on such a long long mc since I'd only start working there for about 2 months. It's been quite uncomfortable coz it's kinda hard to focus on preparing a proposal when you head just doesn't seem to be screwed on right. Add to that the cold sweats due to the occasional fevers and I've got a super uncomfortable day every day.

Silver lining on the grey clouds.... I appear to be able to ingest more solid and palatable food today. Can't take food that's too oily, but I was at least able to have some better food today like chee cheong fun (without sesame oil). Fever is still there, but seems to be less frequent.

Gotta make my way to the hospital next week for some shockwave blasting. Doctor says there's a kidney stone blocking my system so I gotta need to 'blast' it. Sure beats having a scope go up your manhood to attempt to crush and break up the stone. Trust me, it's as horrible as it sounds.

On a more positive note, I was really glad that one of my former students invited me back to RI for his installation ceremony just before I fell sick. It was nice to visit them in RI and I really felt proud of him for being appointed the president. So to my dear Zongyi, congratz again and I'm sure you'll do a marvellous job! (PS. Ernie, if you're reading this, you did great too! Never imagined you as an emcee but you did it really well!).

So that's about it. Sorry for the long delay in posting. Like i said, it was just a long moody two weeks.