All Aboard the Train of Bad Manners

Sometimes I wish I was Superman, able to fly anywhere I want to in a blink of an eye. Sometimes I wish that I had listened to my parents and got my driver’s license, instead of the crappy learner’s permit that I’m stuck with because I was too lazy to clock enough hours. And sometimes I wish I had a red-haired best-freckled-friend who had a flying car, or a friend who was a know-it-all female wizard (is that a witch, or is that offensive?) and could wave her wand at a car shouting “TOYOTA-LEVIOSA!!”

But until that happens, I think I’ll just take the train. Continue reading

The Random Musings of an Attention-Seeking Author: 19 July 2012


I’ve been trying to reconnect with my old friends from across the seas (Australia), and I have to say, it is hard. What do you say when the fellow classmate you say hello to tells you that he got married to another one of your classmates? What do you say when a friend of yours from church informs you that a man you knew passed away? What do you say when your mate casually throws in there that a mutual acquaintance has a baby on the way?

Continue reading

The Random Musings of an Attention-Seeking Author: 14 July 2012

So I’m sitting all by my lonesome at work, while everyone else has gone home.

I’m lazily twirling around in a chair, spouting nonsensical sound effects and exclamations as I dream of adventurous times…..and cake. I’m counting down the mere hours / minutes / seconds till my release and cannot wait until I can race out that door and into the loving arms of my iMac, wishing, wondering, longing for a moment of clarity to enter my head and grant me an epiphany. The best I came up with is, “Walnuts are not the male reproductive organs of walls.”

Continue reading

The Random Musings of an Attention-Seeking Author: 30-06-12


Just thought I would revive an oldie of mine, where I would chat inanely about my week, and at the same time, write down any random thought of mine that popped into my head. POP!

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A Time To Dream

I love to dream.

Sometimes I imagine myself standing on a mountain, no one next to me but a great sense of achievement. I have pride, not the bad kind when you’re arrogant, but the good kind like melted chocolate, that I have climbed the highest peak, the tallest hill, and that I’m currently perched on the king of the mountains spying the world in front of me. I am seeing the bustle of the cities, one with them and yet apart from them, over everything with the sense of achievement, that I have accomplished a feat that will be shouted from the rooftops, whispered in the halls, and spookily repeated over campfires to young little scouts out on their first expedition.

It is possible, you know. It is possible to achieve your dreams. Possible to climb that mountain, possible to get that driver’s license, possible to write that story. There’s a story idea that has been kicking around in my mind like a loose pebble for months now, and for quite a while I have desired to type it out and lay it on an unsuspecting public like bird poop from the heavens, only nicer, more interesting, and less of a mess to clean from your cardigan. I could say that I haven’t done so because I am still in the army, where my effort is spent in defending Singapore from threats physical, psychological and possibly mythological as well (if Cthulhu appears, we shall fight!).

The truth is I have been fighting the great double-headed dragon, apathy and distraction. And by frozen peanuts, I think they are winning.

But I have a secret weapon. And I think that monster ain’t gonna like it.

Yes. This blog is back.

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

Romans 5:1-5 (NIV)

Picture taken from Used without permission. Tell me if you want it taken down, owner.

Respect Your Elders, You Young Whippersnappers!

Salutations, as the spider Charlotte said to the pig Wilbur. How is the general disinterested community today?

The reason why I’m updating is because of an unusual event that occurred a few days ago. No, not the floods, or even my eighteenth birthday – which I spent running around the entire length of the Singapore CBD. No, this is something that is so mind-blowing that it is even more contentious than the whole Team Edward vs. Team Jacob debate. The subject is the elderly.

You know, those shuffling, grumpy old people whose hair is slowly giving up the fight to stay on their heads. The bunch of wrinkly folk who either prefers to spend their time snoozing in a rocking chair or running after/over kids with their motorized death-traps of doom.

Or killing monsters with glowing staffs. That’s just another of their daily activities, after shuffleboard.

But to move on to a slightly less ludicrous stereotype, those who are 60 and over (including those who LOOK 60 and over) tend to populate any place you can see, and just like the different countries, them old folk have differing cultures. Since I have been blessed to live in both Australia and Singapore, I am qualified to pretend to know what I’m talking about.

The Australian old folk are nothing like those frail, dying old men you see on TV. In fact, they probably put that man in the hospital. Those guys keep fit and active through a healthy lifestyle of bowls, speed-walking, and chasing their daughter / granddaughter’s potential suitors away with a shotgun or a well-placed cauldron of hot oil. Heck, in Western countries, the grandparents may even be getting more suitors than their grandkids. In Singapore, it’s almost the opposite. With the lack of space to swing a cat, the pollution so thick that you could feel it, and the fact that most Singaporean older folk prefer to either stay in and watch Cantonese dramas or stay in and gamble, those people can spend ten years in a comfortable rocking chair being sustained on ancient Chinese kung fu serials alone.

Though to be frank, any diseases in your body would probably die when they see IP Man.

However, one thing is for certain: The older generation has lived longer than all of us hip Gen Y folk. They have centuries of combined wisdom between them on a range of subjects life, marriage, schooling, and gambling. At least, the last was more for the Asian community. The Australians probably teach their kids to hunt koalas or ride kangaroos or something. But altogether, most of us obey and honour our parents, whether it’s because of love and deep familial bonds, whether it’s because of a biblical imperative (Exodus 20:12, NIV), or whether it’s simply because they’re giving us our allowance. The question is, do we, as a younger generation, have to obey the orders given by strangers of the older generation?

Of course, for purposes of this discussion, I of course mean legitimate orders given by a member of the older generation (middle age and over) to one of the younger (say, 20 and younger) in the course of everyday life. This does not include illegal requests or orders, or even requests. If someone orders you to do something and you have to biological or emotional prerogative to do so, would you do it?

I, as a partially-Singapore education teenager, have been brought up in a culture that demands courteous respect to our elders (i.e. anyone older than us), because that is our tradition. Family is one of the most important things in Singapore, and tradition states that we must defer to all elders, even strangers. While that all seems sunny and green, it does have a dark side – though I have no time to go through that at the moment. If you would like to do some further reading, have a look at Neil Humphrey’s Notes from an Even Smaller Island.

But why wouldn’t you want to live in a system that respects your elders? You might ask, and I’m sure that many of my older relatives would in a furious tone of voice. In response, may I just tell you a story? Note that all this is true, and it really did happen to me.

I was riding on the bus a while ago in Singapore. As with most public transport anywhere in the world, it was quite full, but thankfully not packed like a can of sardines. Or like the morning trains I used to take to work, where it was so full that the doors would close less than two inches from my face in an Indiana Jones-esque fashion. But I digress. The Singapore buses were shaped in such a way that there were two doors and two distinct ‘parts’ to a bus. The back had the normal rows of seats filled with rubbish and sticky substances and a narrow aisle, while the front had seats facing sideways, and on the other side was a space for people to stand / a wheelchair / some young goats and a goatherd named Peter. If anyone gets the reference, I owe you a candy bar.

On that fateful day, I was standing in that space and attempting to simultaneously peer out of the window to observe Singaporeans in their natural habitat and keep away from direct sunlight lest I either burn, get skin cancer, or sparkle and be cursed to act in a sappy teenage vampire romance movie. On the seats facing sideways (and me), there was an elderly gentlemen in his, I would estimate, late 50s, and his wife sitting comfortably. Between us were about four very young school children, say about 9-11 years old, still in their school uniforms. They were all from the same school, and were situated around the front entrance and between me and the old folk, and then a gap between them and the steps to the back section.

Now that the Agatha Christie novel-style description (long and draggy) is over, here’s where things get interesting. All of a sudden, and breaking my thoughts on whether the first bulldog was actually a crossbred between a bull and a dog, the old man suddenly spoke up, snapping at one of the kids who was standing in the aisle.

“Hey, you! Boy! Which school are you from?!?!?”

The little boy, in confusion, did an  ‘Are you talking to me?’ gesture, before answering the man.

The man grunted in satisfaction, before continuing: “Don’t block the aisles! Don’t block the entrance! Go move to the back [of the bus]!!”

Now, it may seem like a normal request (the snappish way of speaking notwithstanding), save for two things:

  1. The man had no authority to tell them to move on. He was not a bus conductor or driver, nor their father / teacher / cruel overlord. He had nothing but the casual requests of a bystander or fellow passenger.
  2. Even if the man had had the authority, the bus was currently in motion and not stopped. If someone was being blocked by the kids, the order would be perfectly justifiable. Thing was, no one was moving around on the aisles, nor was anyone trying to enter. The man had no reason to order them to move.

However, the man either didn’t know / didn’t care about the two things. Despite the confused ‘WTH‘ expression on the little kid’s face, he repeated his demands. But he didn’t stop there. Oh no. Ordering a little kid around wasn’t enough.

The man glanced to the side and, observing more of the little tyke’s friends clustered near the entrance, decided that he could embarrass all of them at the same time. He turned back to the young schoolboy and said:

“Go. Go tell your friends to move away. Go!”

If I was the kid, I would have hit the old man, or treated him to my best death glare. Or, at the very least, said no. Credit to the little boy, though, he was nothing if obedient. Trading freedom of individual thoughts for the, albeit unwilling, deference to the old man, he trudged back up the bus to the front and tapped one of the kids on the shoulder.

“Hey,” the boy whispered to her. “We have to move. That man told us to.”

The girl gave him the same dumbfounded look that he showed earlier (maybe it’s catching), and with a look at the old man, told the boy, “You go move!”

Ah, childish insults. Or insults of a child. Potato, Po-tah-to.

In the end, the boy and girl did move to the back, the old man sunk back to his seat with an arrogant smirk, and my face now carried the dumbfounded look. Because, I truly was shocked.

Personally, I feel that the old man overstepped his boundaries. By snapping at the children, ordering them around when he had no authority to, or when he had no need to. He had no reason to make them do what he wanted. Either way, he should have asked them politely, and not barked orders like a drill sergeant. Kudos to the children for obeying and choosing not to make a scene. But in a system that promotes respect of elders, what the man did fell far short of the mark. This was not respect. This is an abuse of authority.

Thankfully, not everyone is like this. Here’s hoping that that old man, and everyone else who is like that, realises that respect is a privilege, not a right. Ironically, I learnt that one from my elders.

But perhaps you feel differently. If so, I would love to hear your thoughts upon the subject and the story – post a comment and tell me what you think!

There’s Something in the Water


How you all doing?

I’ve been a little preoccupied lately with a certain event that has been dominating my mind over the past few days, and it truly is one of epic proportions. People have been, and will continue to be affected by it.

What am I talking about?

My 18th Birthday.

Oh yes, the big ‘One-Eight’. The day where a young boy becomes a young man. The day that usually includes copious amounts of alcohol and/or gambling, and perhaps a celebratory smoke on a cigarette or a cigar. The day that you and your rambunctious friends might decide to spend in a bar getting intoxicated on beer, or maybe a foray into the dancing scene in a nightclub with a hundred other jam-packed bodies swaying and moshing to “I Gotta Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas. The day that, in the case of my brother, resulted in a late night ambush by his friends, attacking him with eggs, flour, and spoilt milk in a lighthearted way of showing affection.

And I would be soon be eighteen.

I’ve heard many stories about being eighteen – now that you become 18, you’re legally entitled to do whatever you want. You can drink, you can drive (not after the first, though), you can gamble, you can enter nightclubs, and you can play paintball or airsoft without a protective vest.

Rambo was so tough, he played paintball without a protective vest AND used real bullets.

I’ve been so excited over this monumentous event that I even compiled a list of presents that I wanted my family, friends, well-wishes and random hobos from Hoboken to give to me. Among others, they include:

  1. My pick of Apple products. Because only Apple makes them cool.
  2. The new Justin Bieber CD. For mad stompin’ on fun!
  3. A pet iguana. Because how many people do you know can honestly say that they have a pet iguana?
  4. Platters of meat products.
  5. Lotion. Or various lotions. That’s why my skin stays so soft.
  6. A whacking stick. For all my whacking needs.
  7. Cigars…and a pussycat. They go in great with my supervillian costume I’ve been dying to try.
  8. An ‘I’m with Stupid’ T-Shirt. For emergencies, in case I ever run into Justin Bieber.
  9. The entire Star Wars collection. Never seen it, would like to. But someone already spoilt it for me – Darth Vader? Really Luke’s father.
  10. A jetski. Do I even need to explain?

The list goes on, but you get the idea.

A few days ago, my mind was rudely jolted out of its party-anticipating stupor by horrific news: Australia had been hit by flash floods of near-biblical proportions. Most of Brisbane, Gatton, Withcott, Toowoomba (west of Brisbane), and other Queensland towns had been devastated, and most of the area was literally under water. At last count, there were fifteen dead and many more missing.

What really brought it home to me is that I used to stay in Toowoomba. I had called the sleepy town home till two years ago, when I moved to Brisbane for university. I went to school there for 9 years, attended a church in the CBD for the same amount of time, hung out with friends at one of the three big shopping centres there. I knew many of the nooks and crannies, the side streets that crisscrossed the small houses, heck, the people that used to stay in those houses. Brisbane, or at least where I lived, was similar. I had only stayed there a year, but I was already familiar with the area around my house and the university. My family and I had made many friends, and I loved that place.

And but for the grace of God, who put me where I am now in Singapore, I would have been, literally, in the muddy soup.

Now, safe in Singapore, I shudder to think of the fear and turmoil that the residents of the affected areas must be going through. The evacuations, escaping the rising tides, or alternatively, sandbagging the house to protect the residents who have nowhere to go. Not only that, but they have to deal with the snakes and crocodiles who have taken it to wage a war on humanity. It’s enough to make many give up in sorrowful defeat.

And yet.

And yet.

And yet the flood waters did not reach the expected peaks, saving many lives and property. And yet the flood waters have already started to receed, allowing the residents in Toowoomba and other rural towns, at least, to start the cleanup. And yet aid in the form of volunteers and international aid have started to pour in to the affect areas. And yet many residents and churches and offered their houses as evactuation centres. And yet places that were affected were not totally destroyed, and are slowly starting to get back up on their feet.

And yet it could have been so much worse.

So, as the days pass, and the flooding continue, let us remember the ones who need our thoughts most – the flood victims of Queensland who are struggling to get back on their feet. Instead of buying that Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese, why not use get some McNuggets and send the money to the flood victims. Instead of throwing out that sweater that your mother-in-law made for you, why not donate it to the residents of Toowoomba. Instead of buying me the jetski, why not send it to the people who need it more than I do.

In the words of Queensland Premier Anna Bligh:

What we have here in Queensland tonight is a very grim and desperate situation. There are many Queenslanders tonight in critical and dire circumstances; emergency workers out facing risky situations and many people facing a very terrifying night. I think we can all say that our thoughts are with them over the coming hours and we pray and hope they’ll be safe when first light comes… [SOURCE]

I fully concur.

To donate to or volunteer for the Flood Relief, please visit for more information.