... and oh so true

Monday, April 17, 2006

The end of one era

I suppose we had it coming. We've known each other for well over a decade ... in the case of Michelle and I, a knee-knocking two. It's all well and good being in the same madding city and meeting up to reminisce about 'back in the days', but as Stefan astutely reminded me over tea this afternoon, with this lot it has been about far more.

London life empties people's pockets of precious time (and $!), which is why it's so significant that our group has made it a point to meet up regularly.

We have a smorgasbord of characters - in the food spectrum we are overly represented by the meat, chicken feet and foie gras lovers (though Michelle's rather tasteful Lipid Adventure of the Liquified Kind might have put some off liver for eternity). For sure, nothing stands between them and a hearty Royal China dim sum. Not even the feeble -but earnest!- protestations of the non-prawn-eating pescatarian.

Professionally, the group is dominated by Driven People With Serious Jobs in Big Companies ... apart from myself, of course. And yet -hallelujah- not one is the bland, cookie-cutter product that a PWSJ often is.

Last night Shri and Deepa very kindly had us over for an incredible dinner, quite possibly the last get-together before Michelle heads East, Ramesh and Julie move to Clerkenwell, Shri and Deepa to Highbury. Ste and I still have some months before disappearing to Zurich, but in many ways, we met to bid farewell to an era. The photos will say it better.

At one point, Ramesh a.k.a. Taro (real name in birth certificate) and the token Malaysian, showed off a calculation game that once stumped even the mightiest brain, Karthik Muralidharan. The numerate amongst us were impressed ... Deepa rightly suggested that it had to do with multiples of nine. I stuck to taking photos and my humble mental sums.
Here we have 3/4 of the Regent's Park Sunday Morning Tennis Team! Watch out, we cuss like sailors! Don't mistake Julie's smile for weakness - she was lobbying for early morning tennis the next day. The levitating white blob is Ramesh's napkin. Voices told him to do something spontaneous, so he flung it at us. Indeed, some things never change.

Spirits were high - there was good wine, women ... and Michelle bellowed a song of sorts. Wait, hang on, it was actually a taunt about my abundant white hair (again) and I am putting her down on record as having said that SHE WILL QUIT HER JOB IF SHE FINDS A WHITE HAIR ON HER HEAD.

I will miss doing this. Terribly.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Did I mention that I have cable?

I frequently daydream and have the archtypal 'lights on but no one home' expression on my face. Not that it is warmly appreciated by anyone, apart from fellow spaced-out Tube riders. For better or worse, this vapid condition has escalated this past week and made significant headway into my sacred slumber time. Now not only are the metaphorical lights left on, but the entire clutch of electrical appliances -telly, whistling kettle, radio clock, you name it- jam in the cramped apartment of my subconscious. I dream in full audio and technicolour splendour.

"What about the neighbours?" the civic-minded among you might ask.

Well, I'll be damned if I care, it is a blooming lark! Every night without fail, a long-drawn dream, simmered in home-made thick and chunky plot, unfurls. There is no shortage of weird and wonderful characters -and this is where it gets interesting- there hasn't been one whom I've actually recognised. Yes, it is an ad-hoc, one-night-only deal.

Last night's entertainment was a la 'Memoirs of a Geisha', with yours truly in the dramatic lead role as a moralising entertainer woo-ed by a colleague's spouse. Go figure. The previous night's thread had me sailing across the deep blue ocean with a bunch of strangers in a sampan. Always long stories, but terribly scant on character development. Who will debut tonight?

At crepe brunch this afternoon, Pink said that there might be troubling issues occupying my thoughts. She is right, though it seems obvious on hindsight. Even Ste the skeptic -who is first to hear the unexpurgated gibberish about my dreams at the crack of dawn- had to agree.

So it appears that my mind has licenced itself a separate channel for sorting things out. Where's that damn remote control ...

Saturday, April 15, 2006

An eye for an eye

The hip bone is connected to the thigh bone ... is connected to the shin bone ... is connected to the ankle bone and the foot bone. There you have it, I'm an ace at Biology. And it really gets my goat when a bodily system backs up and does unexpected things.

When I blow my nose, the pressure throws my tear ducts into reverse gear. This is annoying. Evidently they weren't briefed about sticking to their singular roles of obedient eyeball lubrication. So my 'windows to the soul' are in fact windscreen cleaners for the face as well, squirt squirt.

Bloody irritating.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Old Easter Photos from 2004

The Eggs of Easter Past ...

... and the bangs that didn't last!

(title: "On this egg there is still life", colour pencil on chicken eggshell,
c. 2004)

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

What I'm reading now ... and will probably be for the next 6 months ...

I had originally purchased the hard copy of "Mao: The Unknown Story" for my Uncle Thiam Tong, an avid reader of political biographies, and queued to have it autographed by the authors at the launch.

After a couple of months, I thought I should have a go at it myself. It had the potential to be one of the few Thick Books that I have read cover to cover ... except that I've barely managed to pull through the first quarter of it since starting in February.

I haven't read Wild Swans and I do appreciate that 10 years of fieldwork and firsthand research went into this work ... but the authors dwell excessively on the personal depravity and abject evil of the man in question, that the whole working of the Chinese Communist machinery, as a system, goes unmentioned.

Or, perhaps, I should just be patient and persevere ... the crux might lie in the chapters beyond the photo inserts.