About Me

Singapore
I am an indie writer. This is not a blog, it's a berth for my scrawling. Read my works and you'll probably think that they are either just plain junk or maybe knacks of a decidedly Bohemian attitude.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Two-coloured face monsters in people

I have come across many a times but only today did I really come face to face with this monster whose face is half as white as ghost and the other, as black as the devil burned.

When I was young, I read that there are many devil-culprits that creates hindrance in our lives - they manipulate us and make see when we could have not or blind us as and when they like. For instance, a witch has the ability to make us see the person we hate fall into a pit of fire in our minds and therefore, conjure more hatred in us. And there was also a devil who looks like a skeleton who steals our things an hides them from our eyes whenever we need that something, only to find it when we don't.

This two-coloured face monster, I believed who didn't appear in books dwells so deep within us and has never seen the light so much so that writers cannot give him a face. But I gave him two colours because he is made of two traits and boy... is he in everyone.

He lurks in our hearts feeding from our need to always be the victor and then has the the ability to jump into our heads, twisting it with ideas of false virtues when the time or opportunity is right to strike, the masked virtue is then revealed to be full of malice and evil intentions.

People who rears him do not know of his existence and it is people like these whom he gathers his strength from, eating his host from the insides until it shows on their faces, how poisoned and toxic they are.

And what of this false virtue that he so strongly possess that can allow one to think it as a virtue when it is in fact, a vice? It is the ability to believe that you are doing good for someone when all the gains that entails goes only to you.

I met someone like that recently and it irks me to see how the two-coloured face monster wields his wrath and stirs his brain as though it is a huge witch's mixing pot. I see his form in this person's eyes when it should be my reflection in its place, I see him standing on his shoulder and talks into this ear, I see him tugging his fingers to type malice in his text messages and I see him sitting on his shoe and pointing towards the direction of enmity and wickedness.

Let's call this person, Z.

In the office, Z is a pest. He extends help and offers advice when needed, only to buy allegiance and pretence of a kind heart to forge the image of a good candidate for the managerial post.

At home, he boasts of how good a particular brand of refrigerator is and offers to pay for it. Everyone in the family thinks him generous, but later, his siblings found out that it was a gimmick for this refrigerator to only allow his and his wife's food to be kept. Everyone else's is to rot.

In the extended family, he buys expensive Xmas gifts for the rich Aunts and Uncles in a hope to suck up to them and gain more in return such as 'the most filial', 'the most generous', 'the most thoughtful' but alas, is the most churlishly miser to his very own kin for they receive nothing from him.

For party venues and important dates to remember, he is never short of suggestions - the visit to the Thai restaurant or a bike cycling tour sounds fun for a family gathering if not for these places being for them to avariciously gorge on Thai food as though they are Thais themselves while the rest of the family picks at the rice or sits at benches to watch them zoom by like a child prodigy on a bicycle.

While it is not acceptable to do evil like rob an old lady, abuse an animal or kicks away a beggar's bowl, it is far worse to perform respectable acts in a charade to fool people of their real intentions and all benedictions go to them.

There is no beating them or the two-coloured face monster. With every successful stunt, or failure, the two-coloured face monster only grows stronger and stronger as it satisfies its hunger by the cheap thrills childishly created by its host.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Copy cat competitors right in your household

Bridget's story

We all had that friend in school who copied everything you do; from the way you wore your hair, to the pair of school shoes. She got the same bag as you did just few days after you brought it to school and when she found out your current reading interest, she'd go off to get the same book. You get the picture.

Whilst I too am guilty of following the trendy models blindly, I never fail to laugh at and mock these other people whom self esteem and confidence stem from looking like someone else. When I grew up, I no longer poke fun at them, I merely find them pathetic.

One such person is in my household.

Hey, don't get me wrong. We all copy. We all follow what we see and what we like. We want to dress up like super models and dawn the newest hair cut. We also want to be in the know of the latest news and read what other people are reading. But the difference between copying because you like the style versus copying to win is so vast that one just tips the scale of the most annoying people on earth.

As I was saying, this particular person in my household's mission is to top the copying act and the person whom she is copying right to the core, is me.

When there was no terrace solemnization, she quickly squeezed her wedding planner for one and wiped her fiance dry. There was also a 3 tier wedding cake when mine was 2. But hers was big enough to feed a poor African tribe while mine was enough to go round.

And then low and behold, my killer evening gown for the evening being bright red with a mesh back and plunging neckline all the way to my belly button was also being duplicated albeit not as nicely worn as mine during her wedding! It was then that I knew, she was out to beat me.

I love weddings, but if there is one where I felt like puking from the first minute in disgust, it has to be this one.

My husband's family is very big, so naturally, the competition to produce the first male heir is very intense. As drama-like as it might sound but both her and I got pregnant at the same time. Everyone was telling me to be as relaxed as possible for an easy delivery. I tried to listen but the rivalry instilled by my relative was hard to ignore. I went for pregnancy yoga classes and she went to sign up for one too. When I had severe yeast infection during my trimester, she too had to come up with a health issue. Finally, at 4.5 months gestation, I was ready to find out the gender of my baby. Part of me wanted to quickly know and so I can sail by my pregnancy as soon as I can. If I would to have a boy, hell yeah! But if it is a girl I am carrying, then it doesn't matter too as long as the child is healthy. And so this rivalry can be done and over with.

When I found out the gender and yelped in joy, I quickly cautioned my husband to keep the gender of the baby a secret for as long as we could. I did not want the rivalry to extend all the way to my son and definitely not him growing up with this sort of negativity. Alas, the gender was leaked by a brother-in-law and my entire clan of in-laws were overjoyed, much to the dismay of that particular 'her'. Since she was a few weeks behind me, it was not long before she too, hurriedly went to find out the gender of her baby. Perhaps the rivalry will stop if one of us is carrying a girl but the Heavens would want to play more sport of us and the baby in her tummy was a boy, she was more than lightening quick to announce the news- it was plastered all over her social media platforms.

I shudder at the thought of the preschool that she is going to send her son to, the number of enrichment classes he'll be pumped with just because I strongly believe in a child learning phonics as soon as he starts talking and my principal in teaching a child to be bilingual when he is still young. Maybe her son will be multilingual, or be as good in piano and violin at the same time. Or learn to recite the entire Dalai Lama Teachings while mine could just recite the simple rosary.

At the end of the day, copy cats like these... what do they achieve? Being happy only by being in someone else's shadow and knowing that you did better or winning in every.single.damn.thing in this world?

I am sadden by this relative's decision in how she wants to lead and has led her life.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The 4 types of rich people - definition of class

Just the other day, Hubs and I were talking about a rich friends over a cuppa and some English Breakfast and I remotely shared with him about how I feel that even though people loosely classify the rich into self-made and hereditary, there are another further 2 more types to them.

There is the rich who inherit all their wealth from their fathers. They are usually called born with a silver spoon and have never lived a day in poverty or any way close to that. They are well-off not only in their spending ways but also in their taste of clothes and good food. However, these people are differentiated by the way their carry themselves.

The dictionary says that class and elegance is something refined, luxurious, graceful and superior but class and elegance are everything above that. In fact, they have no definite definition. Class and elegance combined are there when you see it.

Rich people with class and elegance walk like royalty but with no air of arrogance and no evil on their tongue. They smile and you know they smile from within them, genuine and sincere. When they serve you wine, it is rich, rare and expensive, not to flaunt their wealth but they believe that good things must be shared. When you see them being treated like royalty, it is not because they enforced it, but because they earned it.

And there is the rich who inherits wealth from their fathers who might have missed out inheriting their gentility and grace or could have inherited their parents' haughtiness and arrogance.

They are brandish about their wealth, choosy on who they mix and hang out with and always look down on people. They are the conventional rich and stuck up people that you read in books or see in movies. Always quick to share a word of how they too possess an expensive car or flown to a particular part of the world with tons of photos as proof on their facebook profile.

When invited to their homes, their swift actions on bringing the costly whiskey and announced it so to their guests makes them inelegant and lowly while not afraid of serving a cheap meal of coconut rice there after only confirms their selfishness and how ugly they are inside.

I have a friend who lived poorly, not only in terms of her family background and status (her brother was a junkie, her mother a home-maker and her father a taxi-driver) where she lived in a mere 2 bed-room flat, but also in the way she presents herself.

She has a deep understanding of where she has come from and with that in mind constantly, she seeks many ways to 'upgrade' herself. She worked hard and took a diploma in some business studies, and with that certificate in hand, she proceeded to advance (albeit slowly) in her career and started to have more spending power. With that, she bought herself luxury brands to decorate her exterior and even read extensively to improve her language. She started to speak more softly and slowly which was something she had observed from the classy people but she is still poor.

Poor does not mean lack of money; poor in my words means lack of class. While there are stones which appear dull but look shiny and precious after a good polish, this friend of mine will never shine for she is raw and coarse.

I might sound rude and insulting but allow me to share this with you and you'll know what I mean -

A group of friends and I decided to catch James Cameron's Avatar and we asked her along. Throughout the movie, she was very fidgety and I would have thought that she was restless and the movie was boring. When it was all over, we streamed out slowly to the lobby while waiting for the rest to catch up. "How did you find the movie?" I asked in order to make small talk.

"It was okay," she replied, then suddenly remembering something, she added, "Do you remember the scene where Jake Sully connected his hair to the horse?"

"Uh huh,"

 "It looked as though the horse was being fucked. Haha haha!"

I looked at her bemused and stumped. And later, an after taste of disgust and irritation.

Now tell me that wasn't poorly.

The last of the rich types would be someone like my neighbour. I really like this elderly man who gives the appearance of a rugged man but one who is definitely the man Rudyard Kipling said, "can walk with kings and keep its virtue and talk with crowds and keep the common touch." That, is class.

He might be dressed in loose shirts that he keeps it unbuttoned all the way to this mid-section. He always wears slippers shorts and yet, drives an expensive BMW. He is always seen sharing beer and rowdy talks with other fellow peers but never goes home drunk or drives when he drinks. When he spots you walking past him during one of drinking sessions, he would nod at his friends to indicate he would like to turn his attention away from their talks for awhile and gracefully turns to you with a ready smile and then turning his head but to give his friends his fullest attention.

He nods and smiles at every neighbour, donates to charity and praised me when I told him I am going clubbing and since I am going to be drinking, I won't be driving. And who would stop his huge-ass BMW along a dirty roadside, hop out of his car to help an old lady push her cart of garbage across the road?

We all know that you do not need to be rich to have class, but it is ugly to be rich and pretend to have class when class cannot be inherited nor self-made.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Tattoos do not define us, we define ourselves

I got a text from my best friend of 33 years who saw me through basically everything in my life. Her text was simple and straight to the point, just like her character.

"Found out that Jerry became mad. Careful if he texts you or calls you and asks you out"

No need to ask which Jerry because between us, there is only 1 Jerry that we know.

"What happened to him?" I replied.

"He shaved all his hair and lied he was turning bald. Then he threw a computer out his window and went to jail for that, then when he was released, he took a knife and slashed a fellow colleague"

Jerry was a tattoo artist. He was a staunched Buddhist and had been vegetarian for more than 10 years before he decided to go to Portugal and start his career there. He came back after a year no long a vegetarian and when I met him, he explained that it was difficult to be a vegetarian there where everything was only salad and bread.

He then went back to his old tattoo parlour and worked for his boss once more. When we caught up, I found out that being overseas changed him, he cracked more jokes, among them some really crude ones and rather hurting too. He also ate more meat than before he turned vegetarian. After some time, we stopped contacting after he decided to start out on his own and like all tattoo artists who do not have a studio, start from his own bedroom.

Being a fellow tattoo fanatic, we know a lot of people who have lots of tattoos and are in the 'scene'. I recalled we used to criticise a girl who has half her body covered with tattoos. She walked with her nose in the air, her head held high and she never smiled. Jerry used to hate her and say that it is people like her who ruin the image of tattoos - because you do not need to have an attitude to have tattoos.

After about a good 6 years and the only news that I have heard about him was him losing his mind, made me realised that life not only plays us like boys to flies, religion does the same too.

My Dad would tell me not to hang out with people who have tattoos, or people associated with occupations like these - they might be gangsters or ruffians but I know so many tattoo artists and so many doing so well in life and well respected in their trade that everyone wants a tattoo from them. But as like a flock of white sheep, there will be bound to have a few black and I am sorry to see Jerry turning out like that.

No, he was not a black sheep in his trade, he was one that made everyone agree what it is to be living a life as an alternative. He proved to be one that we all associate a goon with. He has gone off the cliff and by attempting to stab someone, he is no longer a normal dude but a criminal now.

Live episodes like these really move me and make me emotional. It is not like how a nerd going crazy, buying a gun and starts shooting people; it is more like how a friend whom you know is never like that, turned the opposite direction and proved just what everyone wants to agree with.

Tattoo is an art, a way to beautify our bodies akin to the way we apply make up to our faces. Drawing a longer eyeliner draws attention and we adore the attention we get, just like having tattoos. Yes, we adore and we like being looked at as being an alternative way of life. But no, we are not ruffians or gangsters and we do not need an attitude to have tattoos.

I have tattoos, half my back is covered with tattoos and I have 3 on my ankles and 2 on my belly. I also have one on my left hip. I am also in the education line and I teach children anything interesting from planets to what makes up our blood. Tattoos do not define us, we define ourselves.

Jerry is now on the run and the police is out to catch him. I don't think he will call me but he does live nearby and somehow, there is there thought that I might catch a glimpse of him at the nearby mall or coffeeshop. But then again, he couldn't by near home if he is on the run.

I hope Jerry gets help, not only because he was my friend, but more to prove that he is not one more of the black sheep that ruins the entire tattoo scene.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Stereotyping - What would you associate a country with?

Have you ever felt you were a frog in a well?

I did... and I felt that way when I was in a cab... with a Malay uncle taxi-driver listening to BBC... playing a talkshow on singers in Tashkent. I was so amused, I would have thought that I'd lived for nothing.

The talkshow was about some singers and how they are thriving in a Muslim country like Uzbekistan.

Uzbekistan... just the sound of this place already makes me feel so small.

No, I'm not talking about the a park keeper in Safari in Africa, or the Pope in the Vatican City, nor am I referring to living on a farm and learning about farm-life in New Zealand. I'm talking about a place that we could have heard before and just know that the women there wear clothes up to their noses. I am talking about singers in Tashkent.

It just struck me at that time that there could even be a talkshow on radio about a weird occupation in a country that no one bothers to go sight-seeing in.

And it made me feel very small. It is like, for all the worldly history that I have read or all the eras of literature that I have interpreted in the Uni, or even all the countries that I have visited, I am still this very small in this big world.

Not sure what I'm talking about?

Okay,

If you would to do a study about something from Texas, you would pick a cowboy. If you would to do a study about someone from Greenland, you might pick an eskimo. But would you pick studying an accountant in East Timor as a topic to learn about? No, you would probably choose to study about a tribesman living there.

Majoring in literature has made me love life, but reading about post-colonial literature has opened my eyes to so many other things - for instance, we no longer read about the white man writing about how weird the black man is, we read about how strange the white man is from the black man's point of view - Chinua Achebe, one of the best colonial and post-colonial writers of all time has astonishingly made me realise that there are so many things out there to see and learn about.

And learning about how singers are struggling, singing mostly and only at weddings (and not in concerts) and earning that little to continue their passion in a country where we all thought that they people are masked under a black veil, or fighting terrorists, or trying to stay alive from this meal to the next, is what I have felt that I, am just one Vic in this world.

In a way, we are all like frogs in wells, we'd thought that we know everything about a particular country or stereotype their people, we actually do not know a thing at all. China is not all about picking ducks, women with slit eyes, Chinese tea or Mao. And America is not all about Obama, The Big Apple or their cowboys. And Singapore is not all about Sarong Party Girls, the 4 different races of women or about the terrible 4 seasons of heat. It is also about a young lady, whose occupation is to create enrichment workshops and camps for young children - her own belief that education should be about fun and laughter, not exams and papers.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

In a name

When I joined one of the country's leading childcare company, I was taught to respect all children's names; because their names are given by their parents, we as advocates of education should respect how their names are being pronounced and spelt. 

But no matter how much prepared I am at upholding and implementing what I was taught, nothing had me ready at the many odd names that parents given their children in this modern era. 

Gone are the days where classic names are so commonly used that one can find ten Henry(s) or ten Mary(s) in one city. While these names will never go wrong, they are deemed now as old-fashioned and people who are named George for example, are probably well into their late fifties. 

So in this modern era, parents began to want their kids to stand out and as like clothes that follow trend, so do names. 

I have never taught in a centre without a single boy whose name was not Jayden. It is like suddenly, someone decides that Jayden is the 'in' name and thus everyone wants their son to be named that. And it doesn't stop there, because what if someone has twins; you can't possibly name your two sons the same name so some smart alec decided to toy with the feminine rhyme of the name and came out with names like Braydon, Hayden, Anden, while some kept up with the older names like Ethan and Ayden. 

While it is generally acceptable to go with the trend when it comes to names, I feel that parents should always think twice before coming up with weird names or names that are deliberately spelt in a weird manner to confuse the reader. For instance, Brandon is always spelt this why, why would someone name their son Brenden? Or Ken, why Kentz? How about Jason but spelt as Jaysen?

But what takes the cake was this girl I have encountered whose name is Pheobe. I tried to pronounce it the way it was spelt - Fi-o-bi but the girl was clearly mad when she said no, it is pronounced as Phoebe. I then committed the mistake of correcting her spelling to which she cried and insisted her name is still pronounced as Phoebe. 

I was sorry and regretted having to correct her and ashamed that I have forgotten all that I was taught in always to respect a child's name. But then I also had a thought about how pathetic this little girl will be in future because she would then have to always correct everyone who come into contact with her and cringed at how she would probably blame her parents for that. 

I also met an adorable little boy who is named Denzel. And I couldn't help but to ask if Denzel Washington is his parents' favourite actor. To which he sulked and walked off to no amusement of his classmates who then walked up to me and confirmed as well as laughed about how Denzel always get this question whenever he met someone new. 

Then there was this boy who was named Alpha. Ok... enough said. 

I feel that while we always remember to respect and value one another's names, parents should always think twice... no think more than twice before giving whatever names they think they want to name their children. While the name might seem unique to you, the parent must always bear in mind or consider whatever problems this child might face in future. 

After all, a name belongs to you but other people use it more than you. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Not just fuck, thanks and bye

When a friend's father, during his only daughter's wedding said, "What does a woman ask for but only for today?" Gina and I yelled out in apprehension a loud, "No!". A woman can ask for many things and indeed, should be given many things other than her apparently 'sole' role in life to be someone's wife- she can have a career, she can study for her degree or Masters or PHD, she can be a politician or even a president of a country; she can have whatever and be whatever she wants. She is not only a woman, she is Man too.

So when Zeus split Man into half so that we would not overthrow him and would only seek to find our other halves for the rest of our lives to be complete, I find this myth intriguing to the point, it amuses me. Marriage might be important, but long gone are the Jane Austen days of needing to find a man or a woman to marry that vital. Now, we have so many other things that we can do that maybe, just maybe, marriage has turned into just another option.

We need to study and get our degree first, then get out into society to work and gain some life experience. From this small earning power, we want material gains like an Hermes bag or that Prada power suit. And when we can't afford, we want to climb the corporate ladder faster and higher. Then of course, there is the occasional booze, vacation to the Bahamas that would also suck up all our savings and so we need to earn more and more to sustain what we need and get what we want.

Until one day, we decide that hey, maybe we can date when our raging hormones start boiling till they overflow out of your vagina and we yell out for some fire fighting as that bachelor checks you out over a mug of beer. Into bed we go and into a relationship we find ourselves in days later only to find out what a jerk he is because he leaves the toilet seat up. And then the vicious cycle starts all over again.

In Asia, or especially in Singapore, whilst save for the above and seek to find a man decent enough for Mama to approve and Papa to nod his head, we are still, a daughter, a big sister, a niece and maybe an aunt and with these other shoes to fill, you'll soon find that it would be so much easier to just fuck, say thanks and then bye.

So you continue this kind of lifestyle for the next decade only to find more and more of your friends unable to come out for that booze because boyfriend's mum is in town for the weekend or the kids are yelling for breast milk fresh from the tap and we can only linger around longer in that new Bebe dress and Fendi bag and wonder if these can be turned into a maternity dress and diaper bag instead.

With worry and lamentation come wrinkles and spots and you think, where have all that tight and tone skin gone to. Then we slap more make up and creams to cover up what time has decided to leave on our faces and continue to pretend to be cool that we like to just fuck and, say thanks and then bye. But deep inside, we want that marriage certificate just like everyone else.

Thus, we bring back any Tom, Dick or Harry back home- one is a divorcee with 3 kids in tow, the other one is a hot-blooded young chap earning a fraction of your current salary as a junior clerk in a bank and the last one is a bar tender full of tattoos and piercings, until Mama faints and Papa nearly gets a heart attack and so we only fuck, say thanks and then bye to all three of them.

Soon, we'll attend so many weddings of friends and peers that we begin to attend funerals of older family members until one day, Mama and Papa too both lay cold and stiff in their last resting places that we'll appallingly think, where have all the time gone?

Perhaps mopping around the house and digging out old photos would bring back memories and so we proceeded to reminisce the old times and burrow into our heads for fond and hurting memories and when that is not enough, we take the car and go there physically or fall asleep on the couch to see them in our dreams.

Until one day, we step out of the shower and look at the mirror to find curiously, that hard lump in that left breast and we'll know, no matter what we ask for in life, it is nothing a marriage looks like. It is someone to share and walk with you through all those Masters and PHDs, all that booze and partying, all those weddings and funerals and not just fuck, thanks and goodbye.