Saturday, April 21, 2007

Moral Family Serice Centre

Originally uploaded by daveyll.
This shopfront is at the bottom of one of the blocks I live near.

I've never seen them open, but perhaps moral people only work 8 hours a day.

I hope they don't do spot-checks. My life can be a bit amoral at times.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Seen on a T-shirt

"Who needs a fairy godmother when you have botox?" - New Urban Male (a brightly coloured clothes store staffed exclusively by fit and singleted young men between 16 & 22.)

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Night Rush

Shops close at 930pm most nights in Sg. In effect, this creates a second rush hour as shoppers and retail workers go home. You'd think this would mean there would be extra buses to cope with the load; but no, it's still officially 'off peak'. The buses get so packed that the drivers can't let anyone on. Once I waited 20 mins whilst three full-to-the-brim double length buses drove past without stopping. Sometimes the driver 'kindly' lets us squeeze on, cramming ourselves on the no-standing steps, whilst dodging the door closing sensors.

Taxis, of course, now never pick up off the street. Every single one is on call for the most convenient and profitable fare.

I'm lucky tonight. The first bus is only just full. No one is standing on the steps yet. Phew.

Of course everyone shuffles the smallest amount possible to make room for more passengers. I think there's a secret selfish thought that "If the driver thinks the bus is too full, then it won't stop at all the stops and I'll get home earlier." I know this because I've thought this myself. But of course I'm ever the courteous passenger.

Today's bus driver is fond of tailgating - something not entirely appropriate on a bus full of standing passengers. Already I've had one poor soul fall into me from a sudden stop. But we're on the highway now. I'm thinking about what I can get from the food court for dinner.


Leon: Why did u get a washer-dryer? You live in a high rise block. Your landlord has to provide you with a dryer, surely.
Me: <smiling> No, she doesn't. But like everyone else, I have a long wooden pole I can clip my washing to and stick it on the holes to dry outside if I want to. She said she'll give me more poles if I want.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Still A-wake at night

It's the second night and tonight's the Taoist ceremony. It's a case of "we're not sure what we should do, so we'll just do everything, appease all the gods and then we'll be fine".

They're singing in Chinese opera style with er-hu and tick-tock whilst walking over a small bridge. They 'pay' for the departed's passage to the next world with coins put into a small box. They finish at 2245 with a short round of mahjong to follow.

My 'front yard'

Originally uploaded by daveyll.
Those private condiminiums behind my HDB estate (securely fenced off with barbed wire to prevent interlopers from going in to use their facilities) look really futuristic and cool. They reminded me a bit of Chiho Aoshima's artwork at Gloucester Rd tube station. Of course my buildings don't have faces, but I like the tall streamlined elegance.

It's 2230 and the chanting has stopped. They're still milling around tidying up and chatting.

A-wake at night

Originally uploaded by daveyll.
There's a Buddhist wake of some sort going on under my apartment building. They've been chanting non-stop except for a quick break for lunch since I got home tonight.

At first it was in Mandarin, but I think now it's in Cantonese as I can understand a little bit of it. I hope they stop soon as I want to go to sleep. My landlady says that they have to stop at 10pm as it's the law.

But since the dead don't sleep, who knows what's going to happen.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Good Friday

Multicultural Singapore apportions out it's public holidays along religious and ethnic lines. Each major group gets two. So we enjoy the two Muslim Rayas, two days of Chinese New Year, Wesak and Deepavali.

Christians get Christmas and Good Friday, but not Easter Monday. I wonder if it's significant that Singapore chooses to celebrate the death of Christ but not his rebirth.

Friday, April 6, 2007

today I look like this

today I look like this
Originally uploaded by daveyll.
Just testing out the mobile blogging setup. I look tired, and the fluorescent light and hat shadow aren't flattering.

A stink in the CBD

There's a stink in the cbd. But it's of the literal sort, not underhand quasi-legal trading with Indonesian banks. Three trucks with septic tanks and pumps are parked in Raffles Place. Something serious has blocked.

Canberra - Wee Jasper

Originally uploaded by daveyll.
You couldn't ask for a more countryside Aussie scene.

I went to a friend's wedding in Wee Jasper. The reception was held in a country house. It was such a wonderful laid back affair. She organised and catered the whole event. Just easy finger food and then later on a barbecue. Nothing fancy but so nice.

She wore a beautiful Thai silk coral pink dress that she made in Wellington.

If you could extract the essence of a wedding and distil it down, you would have got this day: a celebration of union, friends and family. Nothing pompous, just the triumph of a quiet love.

Dusk at Elizabeth Bay

Originally uploaded by daveyll.
James's apartment in E-Bay has spectacular views.

Originally uploaded by daveyll.
And such a picturesque neighbourhood.

Originally uploaded by daveyll.

Originally uploaded by daveyll.


Originally uploaded by daveyll.
Karaoke during the day is fun. The rooms are dark and air-conditioned, perfect respite from a hot sticky Sydney summer's day.

Robbie's very emotional when he sings. Tuneless, but heart- (and ear-) wrenching.

From way back then...

From way back then...
Originally uploaded by daveyll.
Unfortunately, skin care technology for men has not progressed much further since this book was published.

Other than more expensive ingredients and accessible products, and that lash-tints (at that time very risque) are now more common-place, Lia Schorr pretty much hit the nail on the head.

I bought this at a school fete when in my teens. To think I could have ended up as a male aesthetician.


Boy Charlton pool:
"...well, he's a player, and players always lose." - fag to faghag
"...well, they're not really lies, they were just fibs." - same fag to faghag

First time back on Australian soil

Sydney airport 17-Feb-07

It's been over a year since I've set foot in Australia. My first meal at Sydney airport whilst in transit to Wellington is:

Wagamama Yakisoba.

Can you believe it? A globally exported English pseudo-Japanese chain.

But I just can't face Eagle Boys' Pizza or a greasy toasted sandwich. My head and heart may be Western, but my stomach is still profoundly in the East.

A huddle of Asiana (Korean) stewardesses, distinctly not flight attendents, gather warbling over a stand of Mei Mei baby lotion. They look sleek and elegant in their immaculately tailored uniforms. Their distinctive hats have a cute little tail-fin which only adds to their bird-like appearance.

The tail gives every head movement agile grace. They buy so many bottles of this lotion that I figure it must be good. It's made from almond oil exclusively, so it smells nice. I figure what's good for Korean skin is good for Popo.

They leave the display a little worse for wear with fallen boxes akimbo.

Cafe Lounge - pre-Mardi Gras Sydney, 1730

Cafe Lounge
Originally uploaded by daveyll.
There's just been a shower. The previously scorching sky pulled over its clouds and dumped water on us. The humidity is at stuartion limit but thankfully it's relatively cool. The cling of the air once again brings forth my nostalgia as I revert to my past life in Sydney.

I feel like I know Sydeny better than I know any other city I've lived in. Well, perhaps I know Wellington better, in that I could probably drive everywhere - I don't know the roads in Sydney well enough for that - but I like Sydney better.

I'm sitting at Cafe Lounge nostalgising my memories of Sydney. I think about the age of the city, how it was once new and how the ancient cities of Europe carry so much history. Is Sydney but a nascent reflective city about to obtain its critical mass of narrative?

Perhaps one day in the far future, after some defined narrative-germination, my counterpart in Shenzhen - that new metropolis springing from a fishing village in ten years - will be sitting down in a similar but different cafe thinking about Sydney as I do about London now.

Today I've shopped Paddington and Oxford St. The shops have been empty, the assistants alert and attentive. I love it. It's almost worth paying the GST for this extra service. I'm still going to claim it back if I can though. Those $440 Diesel jeans put a severe dent in my credit card for sure.

Cafe Lounge
Originally uploaded by daveyll.
Noel, who works at the Darlinghurst bookshop is frantic with Mardi Gras madness. He wishes me well but has a lot to prepare and finish. Cedric at Cafe Lounge stops to have a chat as I sip my ginger beer. The cold bottle sweats with the humidity, but the ubiquitous breeze in this part of town soothes many a shiny sun-screened brow.

Title explanation

They don't say 'sweat' in Singapore.

One 'perspires'.

Just like one 'reverts' on email and conversations to 'get back to you'.

At Changi airport:
Flights are re-timed, not re-scheduled.
and one gives "way to aircrews" not "aircrew".

"Apparels" 50% off proclaims a sign.

And cutely enough, they tend to pronounce the names Roz and Ross as 'rose'. To the consternation of one of the angmohs at work.

Correct, or not?

Hello and welcome

I've shifted from msn.spaces to blogger as this has more functionality with mobile and email blogging. I intend to make the most of my new Nokia E65 and do a bit of mobile blogging. It's gonna hurt my wallet, but I figure since pictures are worth thousands of words, this might be worth the 'postage' to let you guys know what's going on in my life and my head.

I'm having a little bit of difficulty adjusting to working in a corporate environment so there will be my frustrations vented here. I'll try not to make it too negative sounding - Singapore is very easy to live in and I've got a nice lifestyle outside of work. Just that work is not as cruisy any more. No more MSN, personal emailing, online photoalbum touching up, researching idle curiosities to make good dinner party conversation, etc. Not that I don't want to or can't do it subtly at work; but there just isn't the time to fit it all in amongst the infinite meetings, spreadsheets I'm analysing till I go blind.

I'm sure I'll get used to it and sail through - Leon has taught me well with coping with work stress. Perhaps I don't have quite the attitude that corporate giants require from their staff, e.g. loyalty and dedication. But I took this job to give me security, good standard of living and defined work hours (more or less); leaving behind the academic culture of Life is Work (if you want to be a professor).

So, hopefully the blogs will be more frequent, albeit rather snappy and brief due to the nature of txt msg posting. I hope to intersperse with longer musings when time permits, but hopefully the pictures help.