Wednesday, September 27, 2006

My Tupperware Fetish

The last 11 days of my holidays have been juggling a full time internship at the Ethnics Council, racing against time to write a 6000 word policy paper with a million sources and interviews (I have eight days to do the paper, normally it takes 9 weeks), planning publicity for the Christmas concert, planning publicity for the Unicef screening, fighting over copyright issues with a film company, writing a policy proposal for my internship with the police, writing for the SSAV newsletter, preparing for my term two assignments and trying to ensure I have a healthy social life. It has been enjoyable and exciting, and honestly quite exhausting. Cooking is my reprieve and I have developed an unhealthy obsession with Tupperware. I was this close to buying a Hello Kitty Tupperware yesterday. Then Bob told me that if I buy my Hello Kitty Tupperware, it is grounds to break up. And Regine told me it is grounds to evict me. Tupperware, or my boyfriend and house? Tough choices abound everyday.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

It's Either Too Much Law or Too Little

I haven’t felt so good and energized about work for a long time. I am currently interning at the Ethnic Community Council Victoria drafting a policy proposal for this coming state election on multicultural policing strategies. And I am just in awe at the amount of things I learn everyday. While here I was feeling all good about myself for going to to Philadelphia alone, many refugees arrive in Australia with no social network, no job, no school, no friends, no community, no money and no comprehension of English. Many have no idea what the police does, or who to contact for help because they do not come from societies with operates by the rule of law. Being so Singaporean that I sweat when I break copyright laws, I cannot imagine being in a country without a police force, or with a corrupt (we are not talking about asking for coffee money kind of corrupt, we are talking will kill or rape you kind of corrupt) police. A place with no law, no rules, no system, no right from wrong and no justice. A system that can’t stop your neighbour from raiding your house, raping your children or killing you. And there is nothing you can do about it except suck it up or do the same back to him. I take my legal system and my police force for granted because I assume that they are as necessary and obviously available as oxygen. And I am humbled by my ignorance. Everyday I am learning, and everyday I am thankful and everyday I feel like I am making some kind of difference. Thank God.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Almost Like An Ailen

Today a government official asked me if I was naturalized. I don’t know why but I felt irrationally upset and offended by that statement. I checked the exact definition of naturalized and it said “naturalization is the act whereby a person voluntarily and actively acquires a nationality which is not his or her nationality at birth.” Somehow, I can’t shake off the image of someone holding me down on an electric chair, and brainwashing me into the propaganda of my adopted country. Then he or she, dressed in the KBG uniform, will force me to say the pledge of allegiance of my new country and burn the flag of my home country. They will never let me return home again, and my adopted country will forever treat me like a second class citizen because they think that my home country wasn’t able to provide for me and that’s why I am crawling to another country so I can get some semblance of basic rights.

I think I have been reading off too many government websites. I just spend 5 hours reading government and police reports for my internship. The scary part was, I found it so fun I almost forgot to have lunch.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

How About You?

The first time I stopped feeling like a kid was: at the Philly train station, during my first ten minutes in philly. I was completely alone with two big suitcases and no clue where to go.

The first time I stopped feeling like a teenager was: when instead of being mad at someone for doing something really immature, I caught myself thinking, she is only behaving like that because she is still young.

I will feel like an adult when I: learn how to pick fresh vegetables from the unfresh ones, and pass my driving test.

The future doctor and the imposter medical student.. Posted by Picasa

Regine was stylist for the night.. Posted by Picasa

Medical Ball! Posted by Picasa

Pretty pretty dresses! Posted by Picasa

Melissa and me! Posted by Picasa

At the end of the night.. Posted by Picasa

The best place to get alcohol poisoning and injured is at the medical least the sober ones know what to do with you Posted by Picasa

The perfect ending to a ball is brunch the next morning Posted by Picasa

Do I Really Want to Know What my Doctor Does at Night?

Medical Ball was much better than I expected. Seriously, I couldn't believe that everyone at the ball were going to be future doctors. I know medical students have fun and drink like fishes, but I wouldn't want to know that my family doctor dressed up like a dominatrix hooker in black patent and was jigging with it while sloshed in her university days. I don't want to be at the operating theatre, look up at the face of my surgeon and go, "hey you puked on my shoe and walked straight into the hotel's kitchen completely smashed five years ago," before blacking out from anaesthesia. Ok so I'm stereotyping, people can get a good job done and still have a fabulous party life. I just don't want to know about their fabulous party life. Would you want to know your doctor was chugging 100 shots of beer and rubbing against someone's ass the night before he does a heart bypass on you? It's double standards. But then again, I wouldn't want to know what my dentist, accountant, lecturer, chiropractor and child's Sunday school teacher do in their spare time either.

So it was all fun and good. Bob's medical friends are really friendly and nice, and I spend quite a bit of time with my IH med friends standing in line for alcohol.

By the end of the night, I was nowhere near high, but quite ready to go home. I went from "cherry- the- I- want- to- go- clubbing- every- night-till-I-spew-blood" to "cherry-the-I-just-want-to-sit-at-home-and-check-my-email" person. If I already feel too old to party at 22, I'm going to be playing bingo and coquette at the nursing home when I'm 26.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Secret to Happiness: Mooning at Tourists and Scratching Your Ass

Today on my way home. I saw space man doing his thing on the corner of lonsdale and swanston. I saw drummer guy with his newly acquired snare drum and bottles. I saw a bearded man in tattered clothes calling out for change. And I saw two homeless guys talking to Big Issue Man at the dodgy KFC on swanston.

The shallow-pathetic-selfish-materialistic part of me thinks, how can they be happy? Growing up in a very materialistic asian country, I have came to associate happiness with a comfortable life. As much as my politically-correct answer to happiness is, love joy peace and harmony, and I would always tick the "happy and poor" box than the "rich but sad" box, I have a shallow conception of happiness. If everyone likes me, I am happy. If I am constantly doing something useful, I am happy. If I feel wanted and needed, I am happy. If I have something to do on Fridays, I am happy. If I am surrounded by people, I am happy. When I am with Bob, I am very happy. If I watch "The Devil Wears Prada" in the next week, I will be happy. If I get into honours next year, I will be happy. If the weather is warm and sunny, I am happy. When I eat something nice, I feel happy. If I wear something beautiful, I feel happy. When I find a pair of jeans that fit, I am happy. When I find pretty and comfortable shoes, I am happy. When I find a strapless bra that stays on while I jump up and down like a mad rocker, I am very happy. And trust me, my housemate and I were doing exactly that in Myers. In the fitting room of course.

But when I saw the three men laughing outside KFC, it hit me. That if I'm bankrupt.homeless.penniless.disfigured.limbless.status-less.pointless.meaningless. Will I still be happy?If happiness is what I have and what I do, then the yardstick for my happiness comes from how much society values what I have and what I do.

People always say they rather be happy and poor than rich and sad. But by poor, they always mean being where they are right now in the economic strata, and not moving up from it. Poor comes to mean comfortably poor. If poor meant being a limbless beggar, will we still choose the happy option?

I came to the conclusion that being happy meant being thankful. Because that is one of the things, besides your faith, that society can't take from you. If they take away your money, you have your family. If they take away your family, you have yourself. If they take away your limbs, you have your torso. If they take away your senses, you have your life. And if they take away your life, then we wouldn't even be having this conversation.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Sunrise on Mt Oberon Posted by Picasa

The tour guide said: See the rock in the distance. It's called whale rock. Cuz it looks like a whale. Now go take lots of pictures of it and tell all your friends and family back home how awesome it is.  Posted by Picasa

Looks like dinosaur times eh... Posted by Picasa

Frolicking with the rock Posted by Picasa

The Kangaroo was like..screw you humans!! Stop staring at me! Ok fine...I'm gonna scratch my ass at you. You think its funny. Huh huh huh!  Posted by Picasa

whao a human..never seen one of those before Posted by Picasa

Survivor Wilsons Prom

There I was lying. In a shrimp like position. Knees to my chest. Hands in between by knees. Clutching desperately to my hotpack. I would twist myself into any contorted position to get warm. The storm was going crazy outside the tent. The tent was shaking violently and threatening to collapse on me.

Yes, that's what happens when you chose to go camping in Wilson's Prom on an exceptionally cold weekend, and not figure out before hand how to get the sleeping bag zipper to work. Smart.

Still it was a pretty good trip. The highlight has to be the sunrise walk up Mt Oberon. It was 5:30am. Blue-grey darkness. The forest was still, and I was kicking myself for being there. The whole climb up I was so tired I was thinking morbid thoughts. What if I saw a dead body now? Would I a) sit next to it and rest? b) run down in the pretext of getting help? Then I thought about juice. And how nice it would be if there was boost juice at the top. And why i should open a boost juice stall at the top. And then I thought about bob. And then juice. And the dead body. And bob. And juice. Yeah you get the general idea.

But as I kept climbing, the forest slowly roused. The blue-greyness was tinged with warm yellow, and tress started rustling. The birds started chirping, one song at a time. There was a certain unexplainable energy about the forest, like a million soft alarm bells going off at the same time. There was such a sense of anticipation about it. And I felt like I was part of that tableau of morning ness.

The moment I stepped on the last rock at the summit, the sun exploded above the dense clouds, creating a harsh silhouette against the twisted landscape of trees. The misty sky was the exact same colour as the grey-blue sea, so no horizon could be seen. The waves, beach, sea, sky, rocks were a continuation of each other, making this just a small part of the larger earth.

Being up there, looking at this God-perfected image, was absolutely amazing. Every photo I took was only cheapening its beauty. The only thing that would make it better was Bob and a cup of juice.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Is There Any Difference Between Dating an Asian Guy from Dating a White Guy?

My recent conversation with a close girlfriend was about the differences between dating an Asian man and a Caucasian guy, ironic since I am doing an essay on the differences between the Asian and western press. Considering I have never seriously dated anyone non-Asian before or have any close white male friends, I have absolutely no expertise in that area. To me, I have never felt the impulse to date someone based on race. I absolutely adore my international friends but I also wouldn't mind if my life partner is so local that he can understand what I am saying when I'm muttering singlish in my sleep, and consider having Nasi Briyani and Assam Laksa for my wedding reception. And I am very much in love and happy with my Malaysian Chinese better half.

But that got me thinking, is there really a blinking difference between an Asian guy and a non-Asian guy? Considering about half my friends are dating people from another races:

Singaporean Chinese/White Aussie 3x,Chinese Singaporean/White French, Taiwanese/Brazilian, Chinese Singaporean/English, White English/Sri Lankan, Chinese Singaporean/White American, Chinese Singaporean/White Canadian, Japanese/White American, Vietnamese/White American, White Aussie/Chinese are just some examples

does race really matter when you are dating someone? Or are we just bounded by the stereotypes of people we see around us? The typical ones I have heard, which I think are all gross generalisations include: white guys are better in bed. White guys just want to get you in bed and then leave. Asian guys are all mummies’ boys. Asian guys are gentler and make better husbands. Asian men are weak. White men are violent and will get drunk and beat the shit out of you. White men who are dating Asian girls all have Asian fetish. Asian girls who date white guys are all SPGs (Sarong party girls: a Singaporean term for Asian girls who dig white men for their money and their supposed expertise in bed)

Well I have seen big strapping Asian men as much as I have seen white men that are geeky and total pansies. So are we just demonising the "other"? Or just thinking that the grass is greener on the other side? Is it just an exotic factor? I mean, it is kinda novel for a while to say, hi I'm dating a Persian-Swedish-Russian-Latino mixed blooded dude rather than I'm dating a fellow Singaporean who I met in school and we are going to apply for a HDB flat together? Do people consciously pick people of a certain race to prove a point? Like, if you are an Asian girl, pick an Asian dude to prove you are not an SPG. Or pick a white dude just to prove you are not the “Fobby/Cheena-chinese” sort?

Or does it really not matter at all? That race has absolutely nothing to do with the person as a whole, and none of the other person's cultural baggage is ever going to affect true love?

The Gum Syndicate

Today I was a total Singaporean.

I went to Norsiah's kitchen again, for the second time in twenty-four hours.

Then I went to 7-11 and thought...hmm...let's get a pack of gum. Seriously, I thought that was the coolest thing I could be doing for the moment. I don't know why I did it, but I looked around, and then gingerly took a pack of gum and paid, with adrenalin rushing through me.

The minute I stepped out of the shop, a police car stopped right in front of me. And for a moment there, my heart stopped. I was about to turn and run with my pack of gum when I remembered, bloody hell, I'm in Australia. Not at the Malaysian causeway trying to smuggle in packets of gum.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Knock knock knock. Sir, today you attempted procreation how many times?

" Having babies is a duty. Make that a duty to self, society and country. MPs like Dr Ong Seh Hong (Aljunied GRC) want to pump up the social pressure on such people whom he described as 'irresponsible'. Yesterday, even as their counterparts continued pushing for carrots such as a five-day work week and cash incentives, Dr Ong and several MPs suggested it was also time to use the stick. Indeed, the MPs argued passionately that procreation was a responsibility that people should fulfil regardless of sweeteners. Adopting the most hardline stance among them all, Dr Ong emphasised traditional Asian values as he dismissed the common refrain that family planning is a personal decision. Declared the father of three: 'Procreation is not only the duty of everyone, but also the responsibility of every citizen towards his family, parents, society and country.' Those 'irresponsible' people who shun the stork, he said, should realise they would become a liability to the society in future. " quoted from The Straits Times

So exactly which part of my life does the government not control? Procreation is an individual choice, and never a duty. Maybe if they took a bit of human geography they will realise that an aging population is a problem ALL developing countries are facing. Modernisation is the best contraception. And it is not going to change. How about tackling it sensibly like creating a more viable pension scheme, increasing the retirement age, helping middle-aged retrenched people get a job, improving our age-care scheme etc.? Or start changing the working culture in Singapore into one that promotes family life, a.k.a children can see their parents before 6pm everyday, and couples don't work till 10pm, come home and pass out on the bed. What is not sensible: TV dramas 'highlighting the sorry plight of a childless old couple and the great problems faced by an ageing society'.

Soon they will increase the price of condoms, tell me how many times a year I should have sex and ask me to fill in the times I attempt procreation in a little brown book with the Singapore core values printed on the front page.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

For the Collective Good of Society?

From Demystifying Asian Values in Journalism,

"the destination Singapore wants to reach has been the progress and prosperity of the nation - a goal ingrained in the mind of every citizen from the moment he goes to school, when he has to recite the national pledge. The mass media as ally in the lofty aim of national upliftment: who can quarrel with that?"

Do all Singaporeans have the lofty aim of wanting Singapore to prosper as a Nation? Or do we want Singapore to prosper only so that we can prosper? What if Singapore wasn't a prosperous nation? Is that what happens when you have a nation build upon the ideals of prosperity and economic progress?

Singapore ranks 147th in the press freedom index. That's way below Arfganistan, Iraq and Palestine. In our category, we are the only developed country there. But no worries, at least the word freedom is not in our pledge. The U.S was founded on freedom, and with all the emphasis on the First Ammendment, they rank 44th.

I am taking a subject now that looks at Singapore from an outside point of view, and everyday I learn things that blow me away. Go read the Newspaper Printing and Presse Act, the Sedition Act and the Official Secrets Act. It says that if the newspaper doesn't cooperate with the government, its license will be revoked. Considering we only have ONE broadsheet newspaper in Singapore, then revoke how? We got no newspaper to read.