... and oh so true

Sunday, February 26, 2006

One good patch deserves another

When I was a child, I suffered quite badly from growing pains. The attacks always came like sprites in the night - suddenly and in a pack. Throbbing aches traipsing through my joints for hours into the night as I sweated, groaned and tossed about in bed. So unhappy ... and still not tall enough in spite of all that painful growth!

If things got too unbearable -my moans shriller and increasingly disturbing for our neighbours- my late father would prescribe me a painkiller. Most other times though, my mother would squirt some Counterpain or a apply dollap of Tiger Balm on the criminal joint and give it a vigorous massage. This would always be followed with at least one medicinal plaster stuck on for good measure, akin to the yellow talismans (talismen?) in Chinese lore which keep hopping vampires (in imperial court garb) at bay. Ah, the controlled release of soothing agents in subsequent hours!

It wasn't unusual for me to be sporting 4 to 6 of these ko-yok at a time, particularly at my elbows and ankles. During those years, my youthful presence in the household was closely associated with the elderly, ah-kong smell of camphor-cum-balm. Coupled with my penchant for Tiger Balm and Axe Oil, I suppose there could have been a sufficiently strong case made about my all-round flammability. Sigh ... and at that age!

The aches became more sporadic during my early teens, then one fine day just ceased altogether. Like the little lame boy who was healed, I was elated by my ligaments' liberation and threw away the ever-faithful, ever-relieving trademarked Tokuhon and Salonpas plasters.

Today Ste and I headed to Chinatown with a mission. To rally the forces of good and able reinforcements in his battle against backache. We were not disappointed! Behind the bustling cashiers at New Loon Fung Supermarket on Gerrard Street were my ever-faithful, anti-pain patches. Quick introductions were made and we were off to a strong start.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Year of the White Hare

A couple of weeks ago, I bumped into Mark Latonero on the No. 38 bus. We were on our way from Angel to Holborn when he decided to share some breaking news in his friendly American drawl.

Mark:"Hey so you know what, I had a mid-life crisis the other day!"

Alicia:"A mid-life crisis? Mark, we're the same age, what the heck are you talking about?!! Life expectancy -even for men- is much higher these days you know."

Mark:"Well, I looked at myself in the mirror and found one grey hair!"

Alicia's inner voice:"Wah piang eh ..."

So that won him an ice-cold Deathstare at 10.30 on a Monday morning. And before I could follow through with some powerful Elbow-Meets-Rib action, the bus pulled -and kept pulling, as bendy buses do- up to my stop and I had to hop off in haste.

I have a bittersweet relationship with my burgeoning crop of white hair. It was bound to happen at some point, given my advancing age as well as pure genetics. My late father's pate went salt-and-pepper (bucketful of salt, pinch of pepper) when he was an undergraduate, or so I've been told. So these hairs of heredity (which make me an heir of hairidity, ha!) are a natural, albeit small, reminder of what made me Me.

I reckon though that these silver strands, still largely outnumbered by their robust coloured brethren, have expansionist ploys afoot. When Ste and I were out with the JC gang last weekend (commemorating Melvin Liew's London visit and INSEAD rugby triumph), I took the opportunity to get some objective feedback on my rapidly greying tresses.

Ramesh:"Wah! You really DO have a lot of white hair! When did that happen?"

Michelle:"The day I get a white hair will be the day I shoot myself!"

Hmm. The truth be told, I've made a casual decision to go grey - first, out of sheer curiosity, and second, to hopefully develop my (hitherto non-existent) gravitas.

Now how does one cultivate the formidable Indira streak, which has a presence all its own? Knowing my luck, any experimentation in this regard will render me a twin of The Bride of Frankenstein.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Postman Rings

Absolutely fabulous! The postman buzzed our intercom this morning and said there was a package for me. "Ooh ooh ooh, somebody loves me!" was squealed, the elated, self-confident cousin to the more frequent lament, "What, no mail? Nobody loves me!!!"

The large, round handwriting on the puffy envelope betrayed the sender's identity in a snap. The distinctive, loping 'J' could only mean one thing - Janelle's annual V-Day gift has landed! With all the hoopla of Rio at Carnival (minus the unfortunate outbreaks of violence in Rocinha of late) and the shebang of a Hollywood celebrity snog (J - hint for next year's present), HOOAH!

With impressive finesse and enviable timeliness, my dear LA-based friend continually out-does herself with generous thoughts followed up by real action. Yes, it is WOW indeed. Spoiling the market lah, woman.

Overcome with a mixture of glee and shame (for I had also missed Janelle's recent birthday), I ripped the wrapping open and welcomed The Coolest Pair of Pyjamas into my fold. I can now retire the tatty (Was Green, Now Grey) one that was purchased with Esther at Old Navy when we last visited Janelle.

Pai seh, pai seh ... but still thick-skinned enough to do the sofa-slouch for the camera (hugging my cuddly paunch for good measure, of course). Thank you thank you thank you!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

The Wonders of Tiger Balm

For the symptomatic relief of muscular aches & pains, sprains, rheumatism and lumbago. Rub gently on the affected parts.

Ingredients: Menthol BP (8.0%), Cajuput Oil BPC (13.0%), Camphor BP/DAB (11.0%), Clove Oil BP (1.5%), Dementholised Mint Oil BP (16.0%), Paraffin & Petrolatum (q.s.).

Especially effective for easing Swiss-German husband's lower back pain after a whole day at the mahjong table.

Oh I get it now!

It used to bother me when I was younger, that I couldn't get out of her shadow. Though I never saw that much of a resemblance, people would always comment on how much I looked like my Mom when she was young. Well, I've finally come around. It was a slightly unnerving revelation not so long ago, which I've since accepted as The Way Things Are - that inextricable blend of nature and nurture.

When Mom is stressed or anxious about something, she can't sleep. Ditto for me. Mom sings in the bath and will 'la la la' the lyrics she can't remember. Ste puts up with similarly sketchy shower repertoires from yours truly (this morning's included 'You're History' by Shakespeare's Sister ... I can only imagine what was going through his head, "Hoppla, I married a banshee!"). Mom and I are loud, lively and enjoy poking fun at people. We relish noise, dancing, open houses and pot lucks.

After Ste's best man Roman met my parents for the first time, he apparently commented, "Ah, now I know why Alicia is like that!" This struck me too when my folks were in Bern for our wedding. We were having a home-cooked lunch at Roman's flat, preparing Teochew Mueh ... or at least half of us were. Mom and I were having a boisterous go at each other while trimming and curling ribbons on the church programmes, while Dad and Ste were in the kitchen, diligently, good-naturedly and peacefully making meatballs and porridge. They looked at each other, chuckled and shook their heads.

Now that I've got my head screwed on a little tighter, I am both proud and happy that Mom and I are so alike. Without intending to be, without forcing it, it's just happened. We have always shared and fostered big and bubbly dreams for me - as professional belly dancer, ballerina, lawyer, traveller, writer, academic.

Perhaps the one thing that still gets my goat is, "Oh you look like sisters!"

Nice try, but no banana!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Just so you know I'm still around and a contributor

hellos everybody! a very quick note.

how is everyone doing? namely, Alicia, Ste and Michelle?

Michelle, I'm still most remorseful about missing drinks before you left... hope you had a nice flight back and things are going the way you want at work.... Hugs!

Alicia, hello! hee hee. Hope all is well on your side too. Hugs!

Friday, February 03, 2006

Going through the shoebox

I'm organising my photo gallery. Here's a heartwarming selection from 2004.

Serving up an elbow sandwich at Wynford Road. March 2004.

Our first wedding. We topped Las Vegas by signing on the dotted line at even tackier 'Las Vegas Night' in Goodenough College. The sunglassed pastor authenticated the union by signing off on our certificate as ... "pastor". May 2004.

Another opportunity to cross-dress, at Miki and Haydn's wedding blast in July 2004. We had a GREAT time! Ste's favourite colour is still pink.

Our close encounter with the Log Ness Monster in Inverness. RGS gang will find this reminiscent of a similar scene that was created on Orchard Road, with Janelle's 'traffic accident'. Old habits die hard. July 2004.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Things to be grateful for - I

Stefan letting me polish off the last 2 pineapple tarts from our precious stash.

Me: "Er ... you want to share? I have 1, you have 1 ..."

Ste: "No, it's okay. You can have both."

Me: "I thought you like pineapple tarts?!!"

Ste: "I like them very much. But it's a Chinese New Year thing for you and I know you're feeling a bit homesick, so you can have them."

Moral of the story - get your partner hooked on the Da Vinci Code and run off with the family jewels completely unnoticed.