June 2006

I'm so confused

My girlfriend and I were talking about gay couples in Singapore and our conversation went bizarre when she mentioned a pair of unfriendly gay couple living upstairs.

Me: Just because two guys are sharing a flat doesn’t mean they are gays.

Friend: They are gays. Confirmed.

Me: Well, they could also be bisexual.

Friend: No, they are not. They are straight.

Me: Huh?

Man, I am getting a headache. The world is getting too complicated for me. Just a moment ago I didn’t know a new gay species exists.

In future, when a guy tells me he is straight, do I ask: “You mean you are a straight guy or a straight gay?”



Best ten answering machine messages I discovered on the Net today. My favourites are 6, 3 and 1. And yours?

10. My wife and I can’t come to the phone right now, but if you’ll leave your name and number, we’ll get back to you as soon as we’re finished.

9. Hello, you are talking to a machine. I am capable of receiving messages. My owners do not need siding, windows or a hot tub, and their carpets are clean. They give to charity at the office and don’t need their picture taken. If you’re still with me, leave your name and home phone number and they will get back to you.

8. This is not an answering machine – this is a telepathic thought-recording device. After the tone, think about your name, your number, and your reason for calling…. and I’ll think about returning your call.

7. Hi! John’s answering machine is broken. This is his refrigerator. Please speak very slowly, and I’ll stick your message to myself with one of these magnets.

6. Hi. This is John: If you are the phone company, I already sent the money. If you are my parents, please send money. If you are my bank, you didn’t lend me enough money. If you are my friends, you owe me money. If you are a female, don’t worry, I have LOTS of money.

5. A is for academics, B is for beer. One of those reasons is why we’re not here. So, leave a message.

4. Hello! If you leave a message, I’ll call you soon. If you leave a “sexy” message, I’ll call sooner.

3. Hi. Now YOU say something.

2. Hi. I’m probably home, I’m just avoiding someone I don’t like. Leave me a message, and if I don’t call back, it’s you.

1. Hello, you’ve reached Jim and Sonya. We can’t pick up the phone right now, because we’re doing something we really enjoy. Sonya likes doing it up and down, and I like doing it left to right…real slow. So leave a message, and when we’re done brushing our teeth, we’ll call you back.

thin & healthy 

Mr Brown celebrated his successful ‘downsizing’ in his blog. After months of healthy eating and exercises, he has successfully downsized himself from size ‘XL’ to size ‘M’. Pretty amazing. I only managed to downsize myself from size ‘M’ to size ‘S’ and give up struggling for size ‘XS’.

‘Downsizing’ is one of the greatest achievements of mankind in Singapore.  No kidding. I share the same view with Mr Brown that most food we find in Singapore is unhealthy and putting on weight is as easy as ABC.

A Japanese friend who was once living in Singapore found it puzzling that young girls here could be so thin and slim. Somehow I suspect the girls did something extreme to themselves in order to squeeze into tiny outfits. Slimming and beauty salon owners with fierce determination on growing wealth has consistently bombarded images of super-thin models at us and I wouldn’t be surprised that most women here have been completely brain washed.

I confess I was once a victim of the slimming ads. In fact, I have tried and tested so many different slimming methods that I could be qualified as a slimming consultant. To tell the truth, none of the methods would work for long term. My weight behaved like a yo-yo for many years and I was disheartened.

Frustrated, I finally called it quit and let the pounds added on. But two years ago I had an awakening. I was slightly overweight at that time and a nurse promptly dropped a bomb on me that my cholesterol level was hovering at borderline case. I had other health glitches too. All were minor but nonetheless irritating and discomforting. All thanks to my long-hours deskbound job and my stupid boss for causing the stress and my binging to de-stress.

My health was in a mess and I was devastated. I decided to leave my job and go full time to search for the formula to become healthy again. Most of the doctors I consulted were nightmares. They were cold and aloof and none of them cared about my health. I had sleepless nights. Finally a friend told me about a Chinese Sinseh and I went religiously every week to pay pilgrimage. Every visit was tormenting; he would tell me how unhealthy I was and I would go home with a laden heart.

One fine day out of desperation, I begged the Sinseh for a cure. He flatly refused and spoke these golden words, “Only you can help yourself, no doctor can. Start eating healthy and exercise and maintain a healthy lifestyle TODAY.”

It was a wake-up call. I took his advice seriously and the rest is history. Today I am a much healthier and happier person.

I am still obsessed about my weight nowadays but my focus has shifted. Contrary to what most people know, the secret on losing weight and achieving health is not so much about the type of food we eat and the exercise we do. The REAL secret is about sheer discipline and determination. 

Games, anyone? trying luck Are you game? Give it a try

Sunday, 25 June, marked the last day of Singapore Arts Festival 2006. One segment of the month-long arts celebration I particularly enjoyed was Arts On The Move, a series of free events for the masses held in public parks, town centres and shopping districts. I always believe that arts should find places where it can reach out to majority people and not be confined to posh looking, upmarket, air-conditioned theatres and galleries for the arty farty groups. No doubt arts is valuable and even priceless, but it should never be perceived by the common folks as something exquisite and expensive and out of reach.

The pictures you see here were taken recently when the troupe for Arts On The Move came to my neighbourhood. From the smiling faces in the pictures, it is obvious that a break away from the usual monotonous Friday evening was very much welcomed by the heartlanders.

Click here to read about Arts Festival 2006

sandwich_1 sandwich_2 

sandwich_3 sandwich_4 sandwich_5 

sandwich_9 sandwich_10 sandwich_12

Artwork or sandwiches?

These cool sandwiches are created for the pleasure of the eyes and tastebuds. But don't you think they look too cute to be eaten?

Your smart chart

Today I hit upon a brilliant idea after reading Mr Miyagi's blog on Singapore's ranking by the Reader's Digest courtesy test. He wrote, "We don't need to be courteous! We have machines to be courteous on our behalf! Serious! You've been spoken to by those very courteous talking lifts which very kindly not only tell you what floor your lift has stopped at, they also tell you if the door is opening or closing."

Looking at the futile result of the courtesy campaigns that have been running in Singapore for more than a quarter century, I think it is time we think out of the box to tackle the issue. My suggestion is for the Government to mass-produce a tiny portable talking machine that would help us utter polite phrases on our behalf, and to make it compulsory for every citizen to use it in our every day life. 

Imagine having this cool machine that stores pre-recorded  words and phrases like "Please", "Thank You", "Excuse Me", "I'm Sorry" and many more. To ensure that the older folks would not be left out, the machines could translate polite phrases into different dialects. Instructions to use are simple: Press 1 for "Please", Press 2 for "Thank You", Press 3 for "Excuse Me" and Press 4 for "I'm Sorry". All we have to do is to beep the machine at someone whenever the occasion calls for courteous words to be uttered. Flashing pictures of our smile at our counterpart is optional. But why not show off our nice pictures since we already have a huge photo gallery stored in our cam phone?

Wouldn't you agree that life would be easier if only we had that darn cool talking machine? No more worries for being misunderstood by surveyors who don't know us well. And who knows we may even move Singapore's ranking up by a few notches in the next global courtesy test.

I think automated courtesy is so cool. Wow, don't know why I am brilliant today. Heh heh.

Click here to check the survey's ranking

say cheese 

A "Singapore 2006 Four Million Smiles" campaign has been launched with aims to put up a mural of smiling faces of Singaporeans to welcome 16,000 delegates visiting Singapore during September's World Bank and International Monetary Fund meetings.

Guess what? This morning, I read from the papers that Singapore has been ranked 30 out of 35 cities in a Reader's Digest courtesy test. The headline screams: "S'poreans get an 'F' for courtesy"!

The survey conducted by the Reader's Digest comprises three tests:

–         Helping to pick up dropped papers;

–         Holding the door open for the person behind you;

–         Saying ‘thank you' when purchasing items;

and, according to the survey, Singaporeans failed miserably for the first two tests but scored well for our service standards.

The report says that "seventy percent of staff at retailers surveyed from classy Marks & Spencer to mamak, or corner shops – said "please" and "thank you" before and after a purchase."

REALLY? How come the test result does not gel with my personal observation. Perhaps the surveyors are non-asians or speak English with a foreign accent. I am curious why I rarely hear "please" and "thank you" from the sales assistants whenever I patronize a store. Perhaps the test was conducted in touristy places where retailers are more willing to say "please" and "thank you" to walk-in foreigners.

If I sound like a disgruntled shopper, pardon me. I am always offended by how badly retailers treat local consumers. It is a shame that Singaporeans treat foreigners way better than our own countrymen. Ask your friends for their views and they would more likely agree with me.

The "Singapore 2006 Four Million Smiles" campaign will meet its targets. After all it is a campaign for the foreigners and we are good at putting up a false front to show the world what a nice bunch of people we are.

Please, Singaporeans, stop your hypocrisy. If we don't have the manners and we can't even smile at our own people, this campaign is just another ra-ra show and serves no meaningful purpose in helping us become a gracious city.

Anyway, keep smiling for the camera if that is the only thing you can genuinely smile at.

Click here to submit your smiley

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