Summer Blog Episode 11 – Headphones and Lipsticks, Testicles and Handbags (Final Episode III)

On the Friday before our two weeks summer holiday to Europe, what a beautiful morning it was.  Life had been hectic, up until that morning.  I felt so lifted that morning.  And as I walked towards our car, I stopped, and realized that I have forgotten to bring something important to work.

“Oops. Where are my headphones?” asked I.  Cynthia reached into her handbag and asked, “Do you want to borrow mine?”  I shook my head and answered, “Don’t worry.  I have another set in the car.”  “Another pair?!  How many headphones do you have?!”

Well, we are men.  We have backup accessories and devices everywhere we go.

“Like me having a lipstick on every handbag then?” Cynthia pondered.  “You have a lipstick in each of your handbag?!” exclaimed I.  And she nodded.  Maybe it is a girl thing.

You see.  Even after living with that someone for more than a decade, there are still much to be learned.

On the way to work, we were in an exceptional chatty mood.  Cynthia has recently moved into a new role, dominated by men.  Out of nowhere she asked, “Is it normal for men to shift the testicles during meeting?”

Good question.  I am pretty sure I have seen it before from time to time, when we have meetings with only men.  I mean, it is like scratching your head or digging your ears, yes?

“Hmm.  Do girls shift the boobs in an all-girl-meeting, when no men are watching?” I innocently inquired.  “Of course not!  We are civilized.  Not like men,” replied Cynthia.  “What do you girls do then?”

“Hmm.  We talk about makeup and handbags?”

Just when you think you know what the world of the opposite sex is like.

By the time you read this episode, I shall be on my way back to Singapore.  Right now as I am doing my final round of edit for this entire series, I feel as though I have time traveled forward, picture how you would react reading this series, and back.  And by the time I read this again, I wonder if I would think that this series is indeed a silly idea.  Don’t blame me.  Blame Bob the Bot™.

Summer Blog Episode 10 – A Piece Of Work (Final Episode II)

What is a piece of work?

My friend Barbara from Philippine did some research and noted to me that it either means “someone who, although often interesting, is difficult to get along with on an every day basis” or “a remarkable person, achievement or product”.

For some strange reasons, in my mind, when I asked that question, I was looking at “a piece of work” literally as a piece of work.  As in one unit of work.  An innocent question that stemmed from a conversation overheard, outside my office that looks more like a farm.  Maybe I shall compose an article of frequently used and abused terms in my department.

My colleague from India and I often chat.  One morning, like any other morning, she indicated to me her unhappiness towards the many work issues she has.  But these are just work items, I said.  If we have a process to take care of work items, it is a matter of having an issue dropping into this black box called “my daily job” and coming out as a handled issue, which could still be an issue, but it is handled as per the process agreed.

It is like if my daily job is a toilet cleaner, I see dirty toilets coming in and cleaned toilets going out.  Whether a cleaned toilet is indeed a 5-star clean toilet depends on many factors (some public toilets are just impossible to clean, don’t you think?).  The bottom line is, it is a cleaned toilet.  I am neither sad about the dirty toilet nor happy about the cleaned toilet.  But I am delighted about the money I take home that day.

PS. It is quite a miracle that I can write another ‘final’ episode.  I thought I would stop at 9.

Summer Blog Episode 9 – Shortsightedness Versus Spelling Handicap (Final Episode)

I too am shortsighted.  So I am not here to poke fun at you, if you are or know someone who is shortsighted too.

Looking at the number of people around me who require optical aid or surgical treatment to see properly, I cannot help but to wonder from time to time what would happen if we were today magically sent back to the Stone Age where there is no such optical device or surgical technique to correct our flawed vision?

Most of us would be eaten by lions and tigers, wolves and wild boars.  If we were not eaten by the animals, we would have fallen to our death by stepping onto the wrong stone while fleeing.  Most of us would be mating without having a clear idea of what our partners looked like.  Until it was too late.  And prayed that our partners were not from the same sex.

Most of us would not be able to survive for long, set aside passing the genes to the next generation.  Evolution would place us – the shortsighted people – out of this Earth, which could be a good thing.  Because in time, in this game of survival, our population would once again be populated with human beings with good eye sights, who would be able to see the lions and tigers, wolves and wild boars, as well as those whom we would sleep and procreate with.

These days, I too cannot live without a spellchecker.  So I am not here to poke fun at you, if spellchecker is as important to you as it is to me.  I am unsure if the growing inability to see properly as a species is of the same magnitude of us being more reliance on spellcheckers.  I think in time to come, most of us would not be able to spell properly.

Summer Blog Episode 8 – I Am Your New Minister For Transport

I had a dream.  I had become the new Minister for Transport.

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Dear citizens, I have great news to announce.  As a small child, when I see that an average citizen has to pay up to $100,000 to buy an average Japanese car, I see something is not right.  For a wealthy country like ours whose citizens pay $100 to watch World Cup at home, we deserve better.  Therefore, I hereby propose to abolish the car tax system as well as the certificate of entitlement (better known as COE) that unfairly inflates the price of a car.  I am also proposing to ban the import of the cheap cars.  To retain the existing Cat A (car engine below 1,600cc) and Cat B (car engine above) COE concept, we shall have two types of cars on the road – Porsche 911 for the average citizens and Ferrari for the elite citizens.  Trust me, I have seen the numbers.  It works out more or less the same as what our citizens are paying today.

Some of you may challenge that without a quota or COE biding system – like we have today – it is hard to control the number of cars in our country.  Let’s look at it this way.  Even with such a COE biding system, for reasons beyond me, we still have problem in controlling the number of cars in our country.  So what gives?

Some of you may express concern that our government will miss out a lot of revenue from the inflated car price.  Oh please.  We make more with Electric Road Pricing (ERP) than you can imagine.  There are also some jokers who get miserably lost in around Singapore River during the ERP hours and get charged extra.  Jokers like me.

Look at it the bright side.  It is good for our image.  Imagine rows and rows of nothing but Porsche 911 and Ferrari (OK, I may consider bringing in Porsche Cayenne for those who insist on a large family car).  In the spirit of promoting Formula One, I would also propose to disable all the speed cameras when we are hosting the event.

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Summer Blog Episode 7 – Organic Vegetable Noodle With Soup

Recently I have been experimenting in becoming a quasi-vegetarian.  There had been in the past heated debate between my friends and I on how healthy, or rather not healthy some vegetarian dishes are.  Granted.  San meat does not mean that it is good for health.  To take one level up, recently I have been experimenting with organic vegetarian food.  And there is one that I frequently visit, with Cynthia, because the restaurant is near to our Spanish school.  To be frank, Cynthia is not too keen on the dishes.  For me, when it comes to new experiences, my mind is pretty open.  And I think the “Vegetable Noodle with Soup” dish has put my open mind to the test.

Having tried almost all their menu times, I was curious on what “Vegetable Noodle with Soup” tastes like.  The amazing is, after spending close to half an hour consuming it, I have managed to deciphered how to cook it.  Here is the recipe.

Step 1 – Boil the water, cook the noodle, drain the water from the noodle, and put the noodle aside.

Step 2 – Boil the water, put in one piece of organic sweet corn, a few slides of dried seaweed (there is no organic seaweed, is there?), a few slides of organic tomatoes, a few slides of organic cabbage, a few slides of organic carrots, and two pieces of organic tofu.  I presume you know the order of which one to cook first (for example, sweet corns and carrots take the longest to cook).

Step 3 – Resist the temptation to add salt or any seasoning or flavoring.

Step 4 – Put the cooked noodle inside the organic vegetable soup.  Bring to boil and serve hot.

When Benny – my brother-in-law – heard my experience, he asked, “Is it appetizing at all?”.  I suppose that was why I took half an hour to consume the dish.  And when I looked around, there were dinners who took longer than I to finish their food.  I think that answers Benny’s question.

PS. Believe it or not, I am considering to add this into my regular home cooked diet because it is so easy to make.