Friday, January 27, 2006
big juicy mandarin oranges are being pelted left right and centre! fake firecrackers are trying their darndest to make as many electronic bang bang noises as possible while keeping to singaporean safety regulations! pigs, chickens and cows are fleeing to the furthest corners of the farm while their fellows are being dragged by their hind legs to the abbatoir to be turned into delicious boxes of bak kwa! children are preparing great long strings of chinese four word good luck phrases to impress their relatives with!

this can only mean that it is chinese new year again.

chinese new year activities have been in full swing! renjun organised a pineapple tart baking party where we happily kneaded dough like happy little elves and created tarts that were rock-hard to the bite, but carefully crafted into innovative works of art, such as cute little hedgehogs, hedgehogs undergoing extensive acupuncture with cloves, mutant hedgehogs with multiple clove noses, tarts carefully crafted to look like a cute little pile of human waste, and so on. although with our limited culinary skills we probably won't be called upon to bake tarts to feed the homeless and hungry during festive periods, there is a chance that Habitat for Humanity may ring us up halfway through constructing an orphanage if they run out of bricks.

michelle had a girls' night in with me, gwenda and shiying at her freshly renovated house on wednesday! it is nice to know that after a bad day, you have good girlfriends to lie around with, with our stomachs fully stuffed with oat prawns and chocolate, and make fun of the one-note wonders that are the contestants on american idol. michelle's new house is amazing and looks like something out of a magazine! her room is like a miniature mango boutique complete with pull out jewelry display case and gorgeous cupboards, and everything in her house makes you feel like pulling out a yoga mat and meditating the night away. she has a new wide screen tv which, when the image is adjusted to full width, can make the girls on America's Next Top Model look like big fat cows, which when paired with gwenda's Royce chocolate, made all of us very happy girls.

yesterday me and ian embarked on a meat-hunting mission at 9pm, and boy is it hard to get denture-friendly bak kwa at 9 at night on the eve of chinese new year eve. one could smell the scent of desperation mingling with the smell of roasting meat, and when ian asked what time the shop opened and closed, the salesgirl barked "open at 9 and close at 11!" like she'd been asked the same question before by desperate housewives struggling to feed hordes of hungry relatives/invading huns/ravenous wolves. eventually ian ended up journeying to chinatown to buy his goodies from an indian vendor who spoke fluent hokkien, managing to bring home the bak kwa and witness evidence of singapore's beautifully multicultural, racially-integrated society.

i am looking forward to seeing my little cousins dressed up like little chinamen with hats with yarn pigtails on them, and teaching them all about cannibalism by building little human effigies out of mandarin oranges, melon seeds, and love letters, and then devouring them messily.

happy chinese new year everybody! may your wealth abound so much that you are able to change it all into one dollar coins and fill a swimming pool in it and go snorkeling in your prosperity in true scrooge mcduck style!



| mando | 6:54 PM

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Tuesday, January 17, 2006
on friday, i was punk'd!

it was a bright, sunny, calm day. ships were sailing serenely in the ocean. birds were peacefully doing poo-poos on parked cars. the bak chor mee uncle at jln tua kong was commanding people to wait half an hour for a lunchtime bowl of mee pok, as is his usual custom. things were all normal.

a week before, zhongyang had invited us all to warm his newly-acquired aircon PGP room. wayne got out his monopoly (singapore and london version) and his jaguar, i got out my jenga, and zhongyang got out the $2.50 pack of playing cards we bought from 7-11. we were rowdily playing asshole taidee in zhongyang's room where we kept making wayne the middle guy who never gets to change any cards (the position now otherwise known as The Wayne), and getting periodic interruptions by the two aircon servicemen , when suddenly there was a knock at the door.

zhongyang nonchalantly said "eh manny since you're standing up already can help me open the door please?" so, grumbling to myself at how lazy zhongyang was and planning to kick his ass in the next round of taitee, i stopped dealing cards and went to open the door for the aircon man.

to my utmost shock and horror, it was not the aircon man. it was not a stripper hired in honour of zhongyang's roomwarming party. it was not even one of those door to door conmen who try to get you to buy stones that will allow you to outlive all the cockroaches on the face of the earth. it was the grumpy owl holding a delicious looking chocolate cake, and sudddenly behind me there began a rousing rendition of the happy birthday song accompanied by the clapping of isaac's feet!

i picked my jaw up off the floor, dusted it off, and reattached it so that i could say "HEY! IT'S NOT A ROOMWARMING PARTY!" so many birthday surprises and still they manage to get me. such is the skill of carol, lynn, liana, zhongyang, wayne, isaac, and ian. and such is the stupidity of the 20 year old birthday girl. thanks you guys for the pleasant shock! i wasn't expecting it at all! they got me a gorgeous big juicy chinese pendant which i was drooling all over in a shop once. the rockingness of my friends knows no bounds.

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come to momma.

(other birthday photos to come! they are all trapped in lynn/liana's camera next to pictures of isaac holding a magazine behind his head and pretending that his hot girlfriend is resting her chin on his shoulder.)

after that we played monopoly and me and wayne ended up owning properties equivalent to an outhouse in a flea-infested shantytown. wayne the impoverished did a little dance of joy whenever he got to go to jail, either because he was happy to avoid the $1500 rental zone, or because he really wanted to see what happened when you dropped the soap. carol ended up owning us all despite lynn's valiant attempt to hide secret nest eggs underneath the monopoly board.

the moral of the story is that the surprise and joy of a surprise birthday party is greatly magnified when celebrated half a month after the actual birthday due to the actual birthday being smack in the middle of exam preparations. i think to keep the element of shock, we have to celebrate liana's birthday, which is in april, on christmas day.



| mando | 10:21 PM

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Monday, January 09, 2006
stick a fork in them, the exams are done! as if to make up for adding stress to the christmas season, and tempting us to strangle ourselves with strings of coloured lights and pierce our wrists with especially pointy sprigs of holly, the microB department decided to take the level of sadism of their paper down a notch. passing has now become a strange new possibility.

carol is back from michigan and chicago! glad as i am to have my favourite blocky back, i am simultaneously enraged at the kind of treatment she got from certain narrow-minded individuals in america. i'm sure she'll write more about it when she finally sorts out when it is day and when it is night back here in singapore. she was at a factory outlet in Chicago trying to buy a watch in a Fossil store, and was denied service by salesgirls who actually spat "You wait your turn!" while serving caucasians who strolled into the store after carol did. it seems that every time somebody goes to america, they come back with anecdotes of how they were treated like lepers. there are few things which can get me worked up til i'm at serious risk of bursting an aneurysm, and american racism is one of them.

why is it every time we go there to feed their economy with our hard-earned accountant/paddy-field-tending salary (because as we all know, all asians are one or both of the above) buying teeshirts and watches that are made in china, we experience americans who throw their girth (enhanced by a million quarter pounders with cheese) around, and treat us like we're the scum of the earth? it's as if we're living out Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry!

obviously i know that a vast proportion of the american community are kind, lovely, warm, peaceloving individuals, open-minded and objective, who are hospitable beyond belief, opening their houses to us, introducing us to their cities and to their way of life. they are some of the nicest people i know. but there are still people, as in all countries, who are firm believers in the racial caste system, who mar the happy memories of our visits there.

We don't expect you to stop hating us. We don't expect you to stop tugging at the corners of your eyes and pushing out your teeth behind our backs. What we do expect you to do, is act like the mature, enlightened adults that you claim to be, educated beyond all other breeds of humankind, and sell us a Fossil watch when we want to buy one. Don't blatantly cut in front of us at supermarkets with a loaded trolley and then very deliberately ignore us when we say "excuse me", and when we finally get your attention, look around you at your fellow star-spangled banner waving fellow men and shrug your shoulders and arrange your features into that expression which says "oh well. these asians. what are we to do?" And above all, for the love of popsicles on a hot day, squirrels that leave cute little footprints in the snow, and all that is pure and good in this world, don't egg our cars. there are starving people in america too who need the protein.

I wrote this after my first trip to america, as a mistreated, angsty teenager :

You say I yellow, slit eyed and winky
You say I have the herbal stinkee
You know although I just a chinkee
You are far worse, far worse, i thinkee

You think it such a big big joke
That Chinese know of diet coke
I see this once on "Martial Law"
Is laugh all you think chink good for?

I not see your yankee humour
In this, don't laugh, Western consumer
You make fun of us, the Wing and Wong
Shirt on your back, guess where it from?
"Made in China", say the tag
Same for the label on your bag

You say we take your jobs, walk on your street
Leave you with not enough to eat
Our breath make city fill with heat -
This called "stand on our own two feet!"

You don't like us, but you like this one,
This girl of Disney's, name Mulan
Of Chinese takeout, you are fan
Eat "chow mein" and "moo goo gai pan"

What so bad about us now?
Why you think we evil, somehow?
I leave you with an after though :
What are you that Chinese are not?

4/6/2000

five and a half years later, it is evident that my maturity has not surpassed that of a mistreated, angsty teenager.

i would like to point out that any bigoted statements i made above are not the opinions i truly hold on most americans, in case someone from the Clamp Down on Racism Association shows up at my door with leg irons and a cat 'o nine tails.



| mando | 7:07 PM

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