... and oh so true

Monday, July 30, 2007

Egad, an elephant in the post!

Forgetfulness is an excellent excuse for One's mindless trespasses. When administered with a helping of sheepish grin and two measures of edible peace offering (I don't mean arsenic ... or my home cookin'), the old 'forgive and forget' is an efficacious salve and is almost certain to mollify the offended party.

However, any salubrious kickbacks are entirely vaporised should One, ever-so-absentmindedly, be in the possession of a torrid past AND childhood friends with elephantine (=massive+long+thick-skinned) memory banks. Deadlier still if those school buddies have in their possession, collections of incriminating ephemera churned out during One's murky teenage years. The Past, when it comes back, generally means to haunt. And only after It has indulged in an attention-seeking ditty with over-exuberant jiggling and under-dressed jigglies.

I might have gone ahead and denied everything ... except that with kith AND kin checking in on this blog now (and no thanks to those of you goading my Mom on for more gory morsels ... bad, bad Rosh!), the past has come trick o' treating.

So here I am with the evidence - grinning ... and baring it.


P. S. Thanks Janelle, that was one heck of a slide down memory lane! ; )

Is it all about location, location, location?

DESTIN gals by the Zurichsee, May 2007

Claudia en route from NYC-Crete-Santiago (Chile), me en route from Dar es Salaam-Zurich-London, and Abhilasha en route from London-Zurich-Schindellegi ... into motherhood.

Bon voyage, all!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Doctor, doctor!

You know how in kindergarten when there's always that one kid who has to throw up during the national anthem, opting to cry helplessly rather than make a desperate dash to the toilet, that would have saved everyone a whiff of putrid kiddy breakfast ...

Or that weirdo perched silently on the floor next to his/her classmates, ne'er uttering a word till King Pong hits and Teacher makes everyone stand up, only to discover -lo and behold- a perfect little turd smeared on the music room carpet ...

There is, indeed, drama in real life even at that tender age.

Well, tonight I regress and join (note: NOT re-join) the less-than-illustrious ranks of juvenile classroom wimps. Taken hostage by an affliction that is dramatic as it is inconvenient. Whining and moaning as I bury my face in heaps of already speckled tissues, suffering inconsolably from what Ste has curtly declared a garden variety nosebleed. Right before he trotted off to bed.

Is there no compassion in this world?!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Duchamp raider

I actively try to simplify and minimise my collection of worldly possessions.

Ste, to the contrary, is an instinctive hoarder and -as if that weren't debilitating enough- takes perverse glee in promoting that distressing trait as a mark of sophistication. Imagine a squirrel in overdrive, building up its massive acorn arsenal for the coming winter. Yup.

Friends consistently ooh and aah -rather unhelpfully, in my opinion- at his sizeable personal collections of (i) loose leaf tea; (ii) books; and (iii) neckties. Keeping in mind the Lilliputian dimensions of our humble abode (ie. a tiny 2-bedroom flat), every bit of living space matters. Like the aforementioned bushy-tailed rodent, Ste too is awash with feelings of comfort and security whenever he surveys his vast accumulation. A wistful smile breaks as he contemplates further (i) blends; (ii) titles; and (iii) colours to be acquired.

There remains an important difference, though. Unlike the squirrel's carb-, protein- and fat-packed stores which will see it comfortably through till Spring, should Zurich ever be ravaged by a most brutal winter, Ste and I -the literate, tea-drinking homo sapiens sporting trendy psychadelic neck accessories- would starve.

Outlived, ironically enough, by the scampering, beady-eyed creature with an acorn-sized brain.


Monday, July 23, 2007

Singapore National Day Reception, Geneva

I've never wavered on my impression of home and what it holds for me.
But what does that same home mean to everyone else, those who are also away?

Got no answers, it's a process.
Me, I'm slowly getting re-acquainted with Singapore through overseas Singaporeans.

Photos from TCS website


Friday, July 20, 2007

Ba da bing ba da breakfast

So, you know what They say ...

Old Chinese cooks never die, they just wok away.

Old bankers never die, they just lose interest.


Old accountants never die, they just lose their balance.


Old lawyers never die, they just lose their appeal.


Old upholsterers never die, they just never recover.


I don't have an oily knack with puns and such. But my 2 Rappen contribution is ...

Old friends
never die, they just meet for continental breakfast in a foreign city at bloody 8.30 in the morning because they have flights to catch.*

*Or shopping to do, as in Michelle's case. Scandalous, I tell you!


After 22 years (and counting) of friendship, there's no fresher way to say it.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

What big teeth you have ... so macho!

My placid, peace-loving parents recently welcomed a new addition to the household. Meet The New Dog - part bull terrier, part shark. Check out those jaws ("er, what big teeth you have ...") ... the sturdy frame ... the thick, muscular neck. Mindlessly named 'Boy' by its previous owners before they abandoned it at the SPCA, my well-meaning mother cheerfully took it upon herself to revive its sense of canine self-esteem with a more appropriate monicker.

Daren and I lobbied for 'Brutus' -indeed, from 'brute'- and in my brother's words, "That dog's body is rock hard". I also campaigned briefly and unfruitfully for 'T-bag', an allusion to its darjeeling/assam-stained coat (as an aside, the dog had coughing fits when my folks first brought it home, so I modified my bid to from 'T-bag' to 'TB' ... another non-starter).

In the end, Mom prevailed and 'Macho' it is.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Burger that, Burgher!

I say I'm vegetarian because I think it just simplifies things. What I really am though is pescatarian, though I've learned the hard way that what people tend to hear (right after they give me the evil eye for springing an unnecessarily foreign-sounding -and possibly new agey- word into my dietary preference) is episcopalian. Which, as everyone knows, is an entirely different basket of fish and loaves altogether. Go figure.

Being pescatarian implies that I don't get a lot of all-beef-patty -with or without the special sauce lettuce cheese pickles onions on the sesame seed bun- kind of action. Which is why the last fortnight has been somewhat unusual, for its recurring burger imagery.

i. Filet-o-Fish BURGER in Basel on a Friday night with newfound friends Danielle, Julie, Barbara and Nthatisi, the mellow conference crowd. I would not otherwise have entered the Golden Arches.

ii. Sprungli's LuxemBURGERli in Zurich with Janelle and Derek, who were visiting from Los Angeles. I believe they gave the exquisite melt-in-your-mouth macaroons four thumbs up (in all).

And finally, to no less acclaim, Stefan Altorfer-Ong in full graduation regalia, as if he'd just walked off the set of Auguste Rodin's real-life mock-up for ...

iii. the BURGHERS of Calais live -one night only, sold out!- performance in the Peacock Theater. He even got a standing ovation from his long-suffering, draft-editing, fellow student spouse.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

While in Brussels ... early July

Saturday afternoon with the DESTIN girls in Brussels was a real treat - my little hubby-sponsored holiday before the onset of conference season. Rosh and I had both visited the city before, so there was no mad scramble to photodocument major tourist sites.

Rosh, being the extreme foodie on a mission, suggested hitting the major chocolatiers. We needed no convincing. With Lizza and Charlotte's combined navigational acumen, the four of us darted through the crowded streets like bloodhounds sniffing a fox's trail. I purchased a few bars, only to taste of course, and stood my ground, bravely defending my newly procured white chocolate in the face of scorn and disdain. Oh the damnable colour bar!

On the way to dinner, we paid homage to the oft-bypassed and currently non-micturating Jannekin Pis (situated obscurely at the end of a rather forgettable alley), the demure sibling of the more-adored and gushing Mannekin Pis. I nodded somberly, noting that even national landmarks face gender discrimination.

The weekend went by all too quickly and Sunday afternoon came a-knocking before we had downed the last nectarine. David and Lizza delivered us safely to our respective points of departure (Bruxelles-Midi for me, Charleroi for Rosh), we said our farewells and 'see you agains', with the next meeting tentatively set in summer. These frequent catch-ups surely promote sustainability and social capital.

I boarded the train and 8 hours (2 wailing babies + 1 ill-behaved boy scout troupe) later, was back at Zurich HB. Hop, bunny, hop.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Scribbles made while captive on a stranded train, Thionville station

Cows are excellent for some things: dairy products and beef are prime (rib) examples. Entire national economies and gastronomic cultures have been built around them.

On a less laudatory note, cows are blooming useless beyond those specified boundaries. On railway tracks, for instance. They are infuriatingly massive, immovable obstructions. Right now, they are standing between me and my weekend in Brussels.

Received wisdom teaches that music moves even the savage beast ... but -alas- what will dislodge the stubbornly vacuous (undoubtedly derived from the root 'vaca') one? Temperatures are rising and pretty soon tempers will flare.

Forget the frites, gimme some ground beef ... hot off the rails.