May 25, 2004

Ok, on the books front I seem to have found a shop which sells what I need. ResearchBooksAsia at Novena was suggested to me by Mom and I'm just hoping and praying that it sells the books that I need.

Had my wisdom tooth operation yesterday and I must admit that it wasn't as painful as I thought that it would be. Furthermore, the staff at National Dental Centre really impressed me through their caring demeanour and careful actions. The surgeon was candid and yet professional and the nurses were really thorough in their work. I haven't been on local anaesthesia before this so it was kind of unnerving to think that while I was awake and feeling the pressure on my teeth, the surgeon was actually drilling through my gums to extract my wisdom tooth. The pain didn't set in hours later as suggested but it's kind of irritating to be eating porridge again for the second time in two months.

Was scrolling through Eugene's blog last night and I came across his post about how he was sad that our H.J nucleus was going to be broken up. Thing is, when I moved into this condominium of mine in 1990, I never imagined that I would be making friends I will remember for life. Mark was possibly the first person I met when my then-maid went over to talk to his maid. Mark was a short and cute little boy then and I remember thinking of him already as an intelligent individual from the first instance I spoke to him. Then came Eugene whom I remember was under the 'iron fist' of his father as we had to constantly cut short play sessions at the playground because he had to go home. He was never allowed out of the gate unless he asked his father and at the time, I wondered about the over-protectiveness Uncle Sam and Auntie Wee Lian showed. But I guess all parents do shower protective love over their children and it's just a matter of how they showed it. When I was twelve or thirteen, Ben moved in to our estate from his previous home in Dairy Farm. I remember Mark and myself playing at the pool when Ben came down for a swim. We decided to make him feel abit more welcome and when he helped us retrieve the soccer ball we were playing with, the conversation started and the rest, as they say, is history. Together with Terry, four of them formed the basis of fun in H.J Heights, my estate.

It's sad that we're all going to be going our separate ways in a few months. Mark got the ball rolling when he moved away two years ago to a condominium ten minutes away. Though it isn't far away, having lived a stone's throw away from my place all my life, the distance can really get to you. Terry is going for National Service in four month's time and Ben and myself will be heading to Australia for further studies. I guess in life each of us has to move on to grow up but it's friends like these that you tend not to forget. All the late night suppers, the 'talk-cock' sessions at the pool till 2am, the chalet which Ben booked and we had a ton of fun in, the drinking party we had before I enlisted for National Service etc. These are memories which stay lodged in my head no matter the amount of new friends I make. To me, these people are the ones who grew up with me, who formed my childhood and shaped my development. So I guess Eugene's fears about losing contact with one another are unfounded. I doubt that I'd ever drop contact with these pillars of support in my life.

On a more sombre note, I've booked my air ticket to Melbourne. It leaves on the 12th of July at 11:45pm on SQ237. So whomever can find it in their busy schedules to send me off, please do come down. I'd appreciate seeing each and everyone of you no matter which part of my 21-year journey I've met you at.

Traveller fell apart at 3:20 PM

May 19, 2004

The books that I'm looking for to facilitate my University course seem extremely obscure. I travelled all the way down to Bras Basah Complex today, a place famed for maintaining a huge collection of books both used and brand new. When I got there, however, all I saw was a shopping centre stopped in time. The layout of the complex was what you would term a shopping mall in the 1970s. There were a couple of bookshops scattered on each floor but none contained the books I was looking for. I walked past lot after lot of closed shops and felt as if I had somehow travelled back in time due to the extremely old interior and open-air concept of the place. After walking each corridor of the four-storey complex, I gave up my search and called it a day. Until I saw a particular bookstore tucked away in the corner. I entered skeptically, due to my prior failures but was not disappointed. In there, I found ONE of the five books I was searching for. The other four continue to elude me and I must ask for your help guys. If any of you know where in Singapore, there is a bookstore selling University readings and texts, please leave a comment in the comment box below this post or in my tagboard. I am seriously getting desperate as I do not want to pay 3 times the amount for books over in Melbourne.

These are the books I am looking for.

1. Psychology (4th Ed.) by Peter Gray
2. Focus On Psychology : A Guide To Mastering Peter Gray's Psychology by M.Trahan
3. Writing For Psychology by R.P. O'Shea
4. Sociology : Exploring The Architecture Of Everyday Life (4th Ed.) by Newman
5. Sociology (4th Ed.) by Anthony Giddens <---This one I've found

This is a plea for help. If any of you know where to get these books in Singapore, please do drop me a note. Thanks alot.

Traveller fell apart at 7:28 PM

May 12, 2004

Back to the task at hand. To prove to the world (or at least the reading audience on my blog) why clubbing is simply not worth it (well to me at least).

I've never realized it to be a long-standing trend because it was seldom seen or heard about in my younger days. Somehow, the culture of clubs and discos has weaseled itself into the youth of today and it has indirectly led to a spiralling upwards of numbers who club. So what do you do when you club? To the best of my knowledge, people go to clubs to do only a few things. And the things that these people are out to accomplish at Zouk or Centro prove my point, why clubbing is simply not worth it.

The first thing I've known people to do at clubs is to dance. Yes, dance! Don't get me wrong, I'm not against dancing but the fact that these people dance like a bunch of monkeys on ecstacy is extremely disturbing. Dances like the waltz, tango and salsa are fun and enjoyable. But on these packed dance floors, you barely have room to maneuvre and the only type of dance you manage to carry out is probably one concocted in the deepest recesses of your mind. And out of that lustful cerebral comes the 'grind'. Probably the favourite move which is carried out when songs by Ja-Rule or Jay-Z are played, the 'grind' is a dance where the guy and girl rub their genitals against each other. Other than the 'grind', there are many other ridiculous ways in which people dance and to say that they can be called a dance, is insulting the age-old tradition of dancing itself. Are we really paying money and cover charges in clubs to make ourselves look stupid? A $35 just to fool around like an imbecile. Is it really that appealing? If it is to you, I pity you.

The second thing you'd see people doing if they aren't on the dance floor is sitting by the side chilling and drinking. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not against drinking alcohol. Far from it. I do enjoy a good drink myself. But the shit hits the fan when you drink way past your limit and start grabbing people and managing to accomplish the stupidest of acts you never thought you'd do. Granted, you aren't actually aware of what you're doing. But is that really an excuse? Is loping around like a moron and smiling and laughing at every insipid comment fitting of a grown young adult? You tell me. Alcohol is fine but only in moderated amounts. Those who say they are getting drunk to forget about their troubles are foolish and short-sighted. Forget your troubles? More like you're putting them away for the moment. The next morning, it'd still be the same. Your problem and of course another one, your splitting headache and hangover. That is the reason why I never frequent clubs and instead, whenever required, choose pubs instead. In a pub, you don't get the loud banging music in the background which subconsciously sends signals to your brain to lose control. I'm sure many of you don't know this but if you'd read more about how our brain works, you'd be astonished.

There are also a group of people who go to clubs merely to pick up one night stands or flings, or perhaps parade themselves in a vain attempt to feel wanted. These people have no self-worth and are the main reason why AIDS cases and STDs still exist in culturally 'conservative' Singapore. Sure one-night-stands are fun and all, but the consequences of the act are far-reaching. Going beyond STDs and HIV, there are the emotional and mental stigmas attached to it. Trust me, after screwing half the girls in the pub, you will find sex a bore and just another act equivalent to changing your underwear.

I believe there will be a day in a clubber's life when he/she wakes up to find that they have grown out of that clubbing phase. Sadly, along with that awakening will come either liver cancer due to excessive drinking, lung cancer due to excessive second-hand smoke or perhaps even an STD he/she did not expect. It is not wrong to party and to have fun but in clubs, it goes way above the limit.

Write me if you have any comments.

Traveller fell apart at 4:36 PM

May 11, 2004

I know I'm supposed to be posting about the cons of clubbing but I'm seriously not in the mood. It's funny how when a football club you support goes down in the dumps, along with it goes your mood. For my favourite club Newcastle United, the events of the past week haven't been rosy to say the least. We lost 0-1 at Manchester City in a game we should have won, were destroyed by Didier Drogba in a UEFA Cup semi-final and the climax of it all must have been this weekend's disappointing draw against relegated Wolves. The team were boo-ed off after the match and even during their customary lap of honour, the once passionate and supportive St James' Park faithful turned on their heroes-turned-sinners. It was disconcerting to say the least, that players who had given their all through the course of this difficult season were boo-ed. It's funny how in sport, the fans can quickly turn against you even if they have just cheered you on a week ago. Reading the various Newcastle websites now, I see various rumours of star players leaving us for greener pastures and it makes me wonder whether another Leeds scenario is on the horizon. Pfft, but enough of that.

I'm all set on the path to Australia I guess. Visa's been approved, hostel place is almost done, university place is confirmed. The only thing I haven't done is to book my flight I guess. My old secondary school buddy Ding just came back from Melbourne after completing his degree and I thought it'd be best if I met up with him and found out as much about Melbourne as possible. What I got from him was that Australia was better in Singapore, in terms of lifestyle and weather. But I guess one question I never asked and doubt that he would have answered was whether he missed his friends here. I'm sure he did, without question. And it's strange to think that you'd stop missing your friends and loved ones here just because life seems abit rosier over on the other side. I have this sick feeling that I'd go there, find it better for the first year or so but as the enthrallment wears off, find myself sick of Australia. When that happens, wouldn't it be extremely miserable for me? I mean, I'd be in a foreign land with no kin or kith and slowly becoming sick of it. I seriously hope that doesn't happen.

In the meantime, even as I have overcome these physical barriers, I must now contend with emotional and mental ones.

Traveller fell apart at 2:00 PM

May 07, 2004

Ok, for those of you who don't know me or are merely strangers reading my blog, I'll be frank. Despite all the hype and buzz about the Rhythm & Blues (R & B) genre of music nowadays, I just can't stand that particular brand of song. Yes. All you R & B fans can start plotting to pelt me with eggs the next time I step out of my house. But before you do that, hear me out. Hear my reasons for developing my way of thought and perhaps you'd understand my intense distaste for R & B.

Note : I categorize R & B and Hip-Hop as under one category.

Reason 1: I've always felt that songs were written to convey meanings and feelings spoken words couldn't do. Hence, when you write a song, you are writing about something you feel or have experienced. Something meaningful simply. In bands like The Calling, The Goo Goo Dolls, Switchfoot and Course Of Nature, you get themes in their songs like mortality, spirituality, separation, religion and in general, just feelings on life and its many twists. They are meaningful and spiritually fulfilling to listen to. Now let's take a look at songs like P.I.M.P. by a rapper who calls himself 50-Cent. Nice nickname for him because he is probably worth that amount in terms of value for his music. I quote from his song : "I don't know what you think about me...I'm a motherfuckin' P.I.M.P." Well, that tells you ALOT about his character and persona. Even if he is faking all this to gain attention and fame, that says alot about his character as well.

Reason 2: It is often said that the music you make reflects who you are in life. Most of the R & B and Hip-Hop genre is written by African American musicians who in short, live very unfulfilling and short lives. I'm not trying to be racist here, but how many times have you heard of Ja-Rule, Jay-Z and co. getting shot, wounded or beaten up in some bar/nightclub? Compare that to the number of times you hear about John Rzeznik (Goo Goo Dolls lead singer) or Alex Band (The Calling lead singer) getting into trouble. See what I mean? The women of R & B are not spared my criticism either. Look at the amount of marriages, break-ups and rumours that have surrounded Jennifer Lopez. To say that she is a loose woman is merely hitting the tip of the iceberg. "It's not working out for me." It isn't? More like the sex isn't working out for you, bitch. To put it concisely, I'd hate to have a drug-using, alcohol-abusing, violent and unreasonable individual as my idol or like the songs he/she makes.

Reason 3: The rhythm and vibe is just not there for me in R & B. I cannot recall the amount of times when I have been driving in my car happily tuned into the Perfect 10 enjoying my daily dose of Hoobastank, Five For Fighting or The Goo Goo Dolls when the song is ended and Ja-Rule's sickening deep grunts flood the air in my car. Now if you have ever heard any of that fucker's songs, all he is doing in the song is going "Yeah...Uh...Yeah...Baby girl...." Either he is really doing that or everything else he says is undecipherable to me in which case, he has failed as a musician as he has not conveyed the meaning of the song to me clearly. Most R & B songs exist on a simple beat which goes on and on till a the lady singer sings abit about how she is not getting enough groove in the club or she is not feeling good about the night and she is interrupted by a grunting, throaty male rapper who raps about how he is going to "pop a few pills and get high all over again" Is that what you call music? R & B fans, I appeal to your sanity and judgement. Do you really like that sort of music?

Oh, and if I forgot to mention, those 'duets' they do which are so common on the R & B Ten 98.7? They remind me of animal mating season when the female has to shriek to get the male's attention who then grunts his approval.

But no, I won't fall into that trap of generalisation. Some songs from the genre are indeed good, but those are rare and they are the few which do NOT talk about drugs, sex, violence or partying.

Next Post : Part 2 - Why clubbing is simply not worth it.

Traveller fell apart at 8:16 PM

May 06, 2004

He sat on the stone surface, sapping the coldness from it and absorbing every joule of energy into the depths of his soul. It was windy, no doubt. But since when were nights along the beach devoid of wind? The wind speed picked up, revealing an approaching thunderstorm. Yet that knowledge had no bearing on his decision whether to stay or go. His human instincts of self-defense had been stripped bare and tonight, it was him and the elements. And her.

Her? What was she doing here? Shouldn't she be resting by now? The pale moonlight reflected off her fair skin and seemed to illuminate her figure on this lamp-less stretch of East Coast beach. It was surreal. She, standing there, tears in her eyes and reaching out for him. She almost looked... ethereal. He found himself drawn towards her and began gingerly taking steps towards her. Could it be? All he was hoping for was a moment like this. A moment when he could confess to her the feelings he had been harbouring for the past ten years. And in that moment, they would hug and kiss and an entirely new chapter would be written in his life. But no. As he staggered over to where she had been, she began moving backwards, as if in fear or apprehension. He began questioning himself, his intentions and motives. Did he look menacing or lustful? No. The look on his face had been one of eagerness and surprise. No. This was a chance he could not afford to miss.

He began taking quicker and more confident steps towards her figure in the distance. With every step, he prepped himself for the task at hand ; the task of telling the girl he had loved for the past decade that he had been in love all this while and convincing her that he was sincere. A daunting task but one that he knew he needed to accomplish in order to calm his soul. His first attempt four years ago ended in complete failure. He had arranged to meet her in a roomy and cosy cafe that night. But she never showed. Family problems, she cited. He was doubtful. That incident shattered his confidence however, and sealed his mouth shut for the next four years. Until now. He saw where she was headed now. The jetty. Wouldn't it be more romantic there? Him holding her hands and looking into those baby brown eyes. She resting her head on his shoulders at long last. Yes. That's what it had to be. His walk began to turn into a trot when he'd heard a splash...

She was in the water!

Without thinking, he dived headlong into the water. His childhood fear of water and deep pools seemed to have no effect on his determination now. Surely, he had to save her. The love of his life. Alas, determination soon gave way to reality and he found himself rueing the missed swimming lessons in school. His muscles felt heavy and his left leg gave way to fatigue. No! Not when he had come this far. He felt himself slowly sinking, sinking into despair and misery. And just as he felt his head submerge, he caught a glimpse of that pale figure standing on the shoreline, waving to him. And suddenly, he'd heard the whisper in his ear, carried by the fast winds of the thunderstorm. "Haven't you always wanted to be with me? Now you can. Forever."

Traveller fell apart at 5:11 AM

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