Wednesday, March 30, 2005


i never thought i'd say this but i cant seem to do without my morning jog.

i woke up at 615, when the alarm shook me out of slumber. but i was almost instantly awake and didnt have to hit the snooze button. and it felt good to run, through the quiet neighbourhoods and as time wore on, past the harried parents dropping off their kids in the prestigious little school near my house, which thank god my parents never sent me to, but yes i did end up in a similarly prestigious pri sch, but thankfully not that cheena one.

last night was at the heineken innovators thingy at Timberlux (i dunno where the hell the innovators part came in cos i only saw some girls wandering around with baylene paper bags, polaroid cams and weird limegreen mini stockings worn over pointed shoes) dj (herbaliser) was decent. not really my type of music but i suppose i hadnt drank enough. had some sake at this izakaya like place at md sultan - nihonshu i think it's called. wanted to eat at En but it was fullhouse (on a wed night at 845pm?) and wasnt too interested in pasta at Fuenti (which looked quite elegant and the staff was very nice, including someone who was maybe the owner - some old italian man, the elegant somewhat distinguished looking sort in a elegant suit) so we went to try this nihonshu place which is quite nicely done up and food was decent. sake not too bad
there's a review of some sake places here

ok gonna grab some breakfast now. starving. but everytime i cool down after a run, i get all these varied thoughts n today, i just felt i needed to blog it!

Sunday, March 27, 2005


i forgot to mention something about the bangkok trip - i bought some books! and man were they cheap at only 350 baht each.
and now... i obviously have to go back again to bkk. to do more shopping (books, clothes, accessories), eat good food (except for that very salty papaya salad we had near siam square) and of course, have cheap(er) drinks.

i am dying for another vacation, dying i tell you!

Friday, March 25, 2005

reading and not

i was appalled by today's front page story on the winner of this yr's angus ross prize for lit. she only read three books last year, and all were dan brown's. she claimed that she "no longer needs to read novels for ideas or to emulate techniques".

One : we all know that dan brown can't write.

Two: how could ANYONE say something like that? how could she think so highly of herself? i do hope what she said was taken out of context. i am truly horrified by her ego.
I mean yes, there are plenty of crap books out there, especially chicklit which I absolutely loathe and romance shit which i cringe to even see on library bookshelves but what about the classics? what about Hemmingway? F Scott Fitzgerald? Willa Cather? even newer writers like Ian McEwan? there are far too many to name.

I'm currently reading Amy Tan's The Opposite of Fate, a collection of various essays about writing, her life etc. I don't exactly count Tan as a prolific writer and she does fall under the chicklit section but I'd wanted to see what she had to say, about her real life. and well, this sentence sorta stood out today when I recalled that story in today's papers.

""I also think of reading as an act of faith, a hope I will discover something remarkable about ordinary life, about myself.''

Reading is not just about emulating techniques or generating ideas. You get to see from another person's perspective, to let your imagination wander into a world that might not exist or might be miles away. It's about reading words, and remarking the way an author crafts sentences, paragraphs, into a story.

I've never won the Angus Ross prize, I've never had fiction published, but to me, reading fiction is one of the most important things I can do. Reading takes my breath away and makes me forget. It amazes me that reading someone's words can make me laugh, cry and be inspired.

Now if only someone would pay me to read. Then I'd be happy.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

nice day

what a wonderfully sunny day, pity i have to spend it working...

anyway... will bring along my ipod charger and then i can have unlimited music while i finish the stories!

i realise that i seriously cannot do any work at night. my brain seems to shut down after 10 and then all i can think of is chilling out and leaving the office.

Men See You As Playful

Men want a challenge and you are the perfect playmate
You know how to push men's buttons and attract a wide range of guys
You enjoy living and loving - it's one of your most attractive qualities
Men are often consumed with desire for you, and you love that!

How Do Men See You? Take This Quiz :-)

Sunday, March 20, 2005

adventures in the book world

it augurs well for a book when the introduction is well-written, doesnt it? The late Elizabeth Young's Pandora's Handbag: Adventures In The Book World opens with an introduction by Will Self, who seems to have nothing but praise for Young and when I began reading, I realised why. She has such intellect and wit that is intriguing and at the same time, easy to read, unlike some plodding critics who are just full of themselves.

Self had this one amazing paragraph that I'm gonna type out, because well, I'm a reader and a lover of books.

""So, if you are there in the counterpane land of the serious reader, like Liz herself, with a book permanently propped on your blanketed knee, I urge not to lose faith. More than this, i want you to take the volume you are holding as an article of that faith which Liz so lucidly espoused. The best of writing presents intimacy as a given tautology; it is aimed at precisely the right kind of person, the person who will feel and understand just this writing. Liz was, in this respect, the best of writers. She was also a writer who believed in the secret communion of readers and texts; that the text, like some vastly superior analog precursor of the internet chat room, provided a neutral arena within which individuals of all ages, genders, races, classes and sexual inclinations could meet and freely mingle. Again and again in her literary criticism she confronts us with this idealised zone, that yet for her - and any other committed reader - is nonetheless profoundly real.''

cooking class

i went for a cooking class at Shermaý's yesterday. it was by chef oscar from buko nero (havent been there? must go!)

anyway it was pretty pricey, maybe more than what a 2-course meal without wine would cost. but it was fun, a good experience, altho will have to think twice about taking another one!

his menu:
cherry tomato and pink ginger soup
pumpkin gnocchi with vegetable ragu
mixed berries with sabayon gratin

they were relatively doable at home and all tasted really yummy. i quite liked the ginger and tomato combination - very heartwarming, and perfect for a rainy day. the gnocchi was not too bad but i have never been that fond of gnocchi, potato or otherwise. the sauce was quite good - with zuchini, pumpkin and spinach.
the dessert was great - a slightly sweet thick cream like topping that was blowtorched to give it a nice caramlised slightly crunchy top. and with a combi of raspberries, blueberries and strawberries, you cant go wrong.

more films

Niceland - 24/4 (sun) 1615hrs
Starring two of UK’s current stars Gary Lewis (Billy Elliot, Gangs of New York) and Martin Compston (Sweet Sixteen by Ken Loach), Niceland is the tale of lovers Jed (Compston) and Chloe (Gudrun Bjarnadottir) whose relationship has suffered a serious setback. Though Chloe becomes suicidal, Jed is determined to remedy the situation and marry her. This sets him off on a quest to discover the meaning of life, a task that seems impossible until he meets Max (Gary Lewis), a junk collector who claims he knows the secret to existence – on television. From junkyards to factories, Jed is surrounded by crazed, unsure people but remains determined to see his quest through to the end. Niceland is both magical and poignant in the unusual world Fridriksson brings to light through a simple premise.

Primer 19/4 (tues) 9.15pm
Primer is an elliptical sci-fi thriller set in the industrial park and suburban fringes of a generic city. Abe Aaron (Shane Carruth) and his friends are mildly bored engineers who work for a big corporation by day and focus their energies on personal projects in the garage by night. Their present preoccupation is a device that reduces the apparent mass of any object placed within it and opens up possibilities for travelling through time. Harnessing the potential this opens up is their first challenge; tackling consequences quickly becomes the bigger issue. Another potential indie stalwart, Carruth taught himself everything from scriptwriting to filmmaking and working on a low budget to realise the project. Evocative, complex and clever, like Donnie Darko (2001) or Fear X (SIFF 2004), Primer will leave viewers puzzled and gripped long after the last credits roll.

Tarnation 17/4 (sun) 9/15pm
At the age of eleven, Jonathan Caouette borrowed a video camera and began documenting his life and Tarnation is the resulting chronicle of nearly two decades, told through video, super 8 and home movie footage, stills and answering machine messages of dysfunction experienced by Caouette and his mother. Strongly promoted by Gus Van Sant who saw a rough cut and instantly signed on as one of the executive producers, critics view Tarnation as a remarkable new direction and standard for autobiographical filmmaking. Using i-Movie editing software, Caouette pieces together the shards of his life: shock treatments, rape, his mother’s drug overdose, schizophrenia, depersonalisation syndrome and abuse with foster parents. Visually arresting in its use of the medium as a correlative for the psychological downward spiral, Tarnation is a disturbing, stunning and finally, heart-wrenching, multi-award winning film.

Whisky 20/4 (wed) 9.15pm
Winner of the prestigious Sundance-NHK International Filmmakers Award, and the Un Certain Regard at Cannes 2004, Whisky is the second feature film from the promising young Uruguayan directing team Rebella and Stoll (25 Watts, 2001). It tells the tale of morose and humble Jacobo (Andrés Pazos) who has managed a stocking and sock factory for the better part of his life, with loyal assistant Marta (Mirella Pascual). They work quietly and efficiently side by side until one day, Jacobo’s estranged brother who has been living abroad for years, decides to pay a visit. Surprisingly, Jacobo asks Marta to pose as his wife and when fun-loving Herman suggests a seaside trip for the trio, the usually quiet pair end up revealing more of themselves than expected. The film won numerous awards including the FIPRESCI Prize and Un Certain Regard at Cannes, 2004. Actress Pascual also won awards at the Lima Latin American and Thessaloniki film festivals.

Steamboy 14/4 (thurs) 9.15pm
Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira) re-imagines Victorian England for his newest anime effort, which was a decade in the making and co-written with Sadayuki Murai (writer of Millennium Actress). Young Ray Steam comes from a family and tradition of inventors and his grandfather and father’s most potent invention is the steamball, which can harness an incredible amount of power within itself. Ray finds himself accosted, attacked and pursued by thieving, conniving men in the United Kingdom as well as the United States. With help from his grandfather and the bratty rich girl, debutante-to-be Scarlett, Ray has to save London from these enemies, robots and a bizarre product of industrialisation called ‘Steam Tower’. Visually arresting in its depiction of 19th century Europe, Katsuhiro Otomo’s painstaking work over the past decade clearly shows in the minute attention to detail. But as the animation director’s previous works have demonstrated, his love of cyberpunk transforms itself here into what he calls “steampunk” (a whole genre of sci-fi writing). This gives a hardness and edge to the worlds he creates and not least, this is reflected in the atmosphere of Steamboy. It aptly captures the progress from industrialisation to the age of nuclear weapons, which is as much a critique of modernity as it is a foreboding portend of things to come in the 21st century. As such, Steamboy is both a stunning adventure epic and an astute commentary

Saturday, March 19, 2005

things i think about on my way home

i think one reason i have this very standoffish attitute towards lpts is that he doesnt seem to have any vices. and well, that makes me somehow very wary. he doesnt drink nor smoke. he's very into being fit, but not the gym freaks type, which i suppose is good.

he'd said something to me today that sorta made me cringe and i just felt pretty weird after that. but doesnt he notice? i dont get it. maybe i just need to say it outright, but how can i when he's never said anything to me? i dont like when people try to hint and presume that others are thinking the same thing.

Friday, March 18, 2005


it's a little ridiculous but i've been doing some travelling. too bad it's not to any place dramatically exciting.
wed- batam island from 940am to 1040pm
thurs- jb from 5pm to 6.30pm (causeway took us 1 hr to get across fr jb side)
fri- batam from 940am to 440pm

my passport has not really left my bag this week and i'm bringing it along with me to work today, just in case they decide at the last minute i need something else for the story.

batam wasnt as bad as i thought. but i guess that was cos me and terence had help fr some very very nice people we imposed on. danu became our de facto guide for the two days, driving us around and translating for us. and mr surya was very nice to lend us his car. one upside was that we had some pretty good seafd at golden prawn. especially liked the calamari and the bbq ayam. tried gong gong (shellfish... well i hesitate to call it a fish, it's more like a slug really) for the first time. and had some of the best nasi padang ever at pak datuk.

after these two weeks (including last week's visit to banda aceh) i realise just how important it is to speak malay. actually i did realise that earlier but i think i need to start learning something now. i mean a bit sad right that i can speak french better than malay (and i'm not saying i can actually speak french well) some reps are thinking of getting a class together and i think that would be beneficial to us all. now whether the company thinks so is another matter.

oh i would also like to add that after two days of trudging arond batam in pants and sneaks i am very happy to wear a skirt and heels today, something i dont usually do on sats as i prefer to dress down a bit. But Í just feel like well, feeling pretty for a change. heheh

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

so many films so little time

thought i'd narrow the SIFF 05 to the essentials. hopefully i can make it for these films (anyone up for these?)

The Five Obstructions / De Fem Benspaend
Together with Jorgen Leth (Sunday in Hell 1976, Haiti. Untitled 1996), Dogme filmmaker Lars Von Trier (Dancer in the Dark, Dogville) enters the world of documentary filmmaking and challenges the conventional methodology that dictates the genre. In 1967, Leth made a 13-minute short called The Perfect Human – a document on human behaviour. In the year 2000, Trier challenged Leth to undertake five re-makes of this film. Trier’s condition comes in the form of five obstructions, which constrain Leth to rethink the story, characters and method of remaking the original. It is a game full of traps and vicious turns and one in which two brilliant filmmakers attempt to outwit each other. In the end, The Five Obstructions is an investigation into the very phenomenon of filmmaking.

Won the FIPRESCI Prize at the Zagreb Motovun Film Festival 2004 and the Best Documentary Award at the Durban International Film Festival.

Director: Lars Von Trier / Jorgen Leth
Country: Denmark
Duration: 90min
Year: 2003
Rating: NC-16
23/04/2005 21:15:00 Jade 1 TBA

Wilby Wonderful
Featuring a stellar ensemble cast of Canada’s most talented actors including Sandra Oh, James Allodi, Maury Chaykin and Paul Gross, Wilby Wonderful is the tale of an eccentric little community on Wilby island who are threatened by scandals that rock their world to the foundations. Duck MacDonald (Callum Keith Rennie) is the town’s dyslexic sign painter who keeps interrupting the suicide attempts of depressed video store-owner Dan (James Allodi). Meanwhile, Dan has enlisted real-estate agent Carol French (Sandra Oh) with the task of selling his house before his intended “departure”. However, Carol is more preoccupied with selling her recently deceased mother-in-law’s property to Mayor Brent Fisher (Maury Chaykin) to find a way in with the in-crowd. In a town full absorbing troubles, no one is prepared for the discovery of a body in the closet.

Director: Daniel Maclvor
Country: Canada
Duration: 99min
Year: 2004
Rating: NC-16
Date Time Venue
26/04/2005 19:00:00 Jade 2 TBA

Sunday, March 13, 2005

inflight service

i would like to add that i observed some of the best inflight service ever on the SAF aircraft to and from banda aceh.

yes, we were served by men in uniform. and not the neatly pressed airsteward types but these men were in jumpsuits and they had their ranks on their sleeves. and they were so nice and polite, greeting everyone as they boarded and deplaned.

and with the help of mercy relief staffers, we were served a late lunch on board the flight home (this was about 3pm) of some local fare - nasi goreng which was quite tasty (but maybe cos i was damn hungry by then, having only had a cheese sandwich, coffee, water and a jagung (corn on the cob - so sweet, and unlike the pale yellow corn we get here, it was bursting with orange-yellow nibs) since 5am.

after the nasi goreng and lemon barley was handed out, the saf guy (dunno his rank tho) served fried chicken wings and some of those fried japanese rolls with that seaweed strip wrapped around. also eddie - the mercy relief staff who oversees the meulaboh project - brought his wife's muruku which was crunchy and delicious and oh-so bad for the throat.

so i arrived in singapore - full stomach, heavy heart

Saturday, March 12, 2005

what a day

it all began at 5am when i woke up with alarm bells ringing in my ears.
it was 5am on a saturday morning, what the hell was i doing up? well, i had been up earlier than that, finding it hard to sleep and having a nightmare of oversleeping and missing the plane.
yeah, it was my first overseas trip with (company). unfortunately it was only a day trip but what a day and what a trip.
i got my ass down to changi airbase by 615 where the amazing folks at mercy relief met us with hot coffee/tea, treats from polar and nasi lemak. that was a bit much for me at that time in the morning, plus i'd had some toast earlier so i just stuck to the damn sweet coffee. it was after all, before dawn, and i had a long day ahead of me.

we finally boarded the plane - not the c130 as i'd hoped but the nice civilian looking fokker. welcomed aboard by some lovely men in uniform (always like men in uniform) and waited for the vvips to jump onboard and take off to banda aceh. about 2 h 45 min later (and some sugar rolls and milo after) we landed at the airport, all set for the mou signing and groundbreaking ceremony which was all nice and mundane, getting some quotes and taking notes and stuff (except that one of the speeches was in bahasa, but according to the BH guy, was the usual - thanking sg for job well done etc). had some delicious treats - fresh boiled groundnuts and corn, which red cross' chairman sorta made me take and try but i'm glad cos man was it sweet and it was so delicious and truly full of flavour!

hilariously, we took a detour to the bupati's house. he's like the mayor of the district.
Toilet stop!
it was a huge mansion like place, but upkeep not that great. but we were just grateful for the toilet cos the ceremony took place, well in a patch of empty land really.
it was quite amusing.

anyway we hopped back onto the bus/cruiser and they took us around to the coast, that is, the devastation, the part that was swept away.

it was horrifying.

id seen it on tv and the newspapers but to see it in front of me, albeit from the bus, was a shock. it stunned most of us into silence.

i'd spoken to a french diplomat who was in meulaboh before and he described it as 'being on the moon' and i know what he meant. it was literally a disaster area. most of the area, as far as i could see, was wiped out. a few coconut trees dot the landscape and remnants of houses too. but that's it.

as we drove through in silence, i saw the concrete foundations of what were once houses, ""like tombstones marking where the house used to be"'' said the assoc professor sitting next to me. I saw a child's shoe among debris, boats where houses used to be, flattened cars and a floating power generation that had been swept three km inland by the power of the wave. there were little lakes, or what seemed like lakes, everywhere. but these were just the spaces were houses used to be. some houses looked intact, but driving further on, and viewing it at a different angle, i'd realise that it was only the hollow carcass of a house.

and the extent of the damage was truly amazing. we drove through it, seemingly for nearly twenty minutes, and out again and you could see where the wave stopped and all was nice and good. or so it seemed. for driving on into the town centre, some buildings had crumbled in the earthquake.

i felt guilty
at coming to look and see, like it was some sort of tourist attraction

the place awed me, made me sick and left a funny taste in my mouth.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005


three days in bangkok.
i want to go back again.

stayed at suk 11 at sukhumvit soi 11. backpackers hostel. pretty cool. pretty cheap (700 baht/nite for twin room ensuite bath). close to skytrain station. great breakfasts. am sure will stay there again!

Image hosted by
this is interestingly the corridor leading to the rooms on the third floor. it's part of the new wing they have. the second floor are dorms.
a pretty cool restaurant/bar sits around the corner and there are a few new spas (raintree and ananda) nearby. and of course bed supperclub is just a few min walk away. sound fantastic? check out (no one's actually paying me to write this btw)

did the usual - shop sightsee eat.