Thursday, January 29, 2004

The Only 2 Reasons Why I'm Glad My Malaysian Mum Converted Her Citizenship

Blogging makes me more conscious of the morality of my thoughts, or rather the portrayal of my morality.
Therefore, to prevent myself from looking like a critical snob, I shall give only 2 good reasons why I am glad to be a Singaporean, why I wouldn’t want to stay in Malaysia on a long-term basis and/or in support of a Singaporean citizenship (versus a Malaysian one) advertisement.

To begin with, here’s a little history on how this thought evolved:
My Mum grew up in Taiping, a small mining town in Perak, Malaysia. She then came to Singapore to take up law, after which she started working in the city, characterised by the poised Sir Stamford Raffles, Merlion with evil colour-changing glowing eyes, Courtesy Lion and Clean-and-Green smiling frog.
Falling in love either with the quaint country or with the man she met at the Sonny Lau Dance Studio who would later become her husband (I have no idea which came first), she converted her citizenship and also registered my sister and I as Singaporeans. That is one of the many things I’m eternally grateful for.
Anyway, Mum, Sis and I make frequent trips to Malaysia (often K.L.) for our annual shopping trips and relative visitations.

I just returned from the Chinese New Year spent in K.L. and of course, another bout of mad shopping.
This trip was a longer one for me this time around – 5 days (usually, we stay an average of 3 days, basically only during long weekends when Mum doesn’t have to worry about missing work). An additional two days meant a lot for my general experience of Malaysian life.

Back to the 2 reasons, here they are:

1) I don’t like Malaysia
a) The water from the taps and cisterns is a muddy yellow (it looks as if the toilets are never flushed). I prefer rinsing my mouth with recycled pee in Singapore anytime to almost unfiltered genuine pee in Malaysia.
b) I don’t feel safe even in the shopping centre. I also very much prefer the inexperienced and pathetic graffiti of the word “Sars” on walls near my home to “F*ck you cina”.
c) The majority of cars there are way due for scrape. (Apparently, I’m quite aesthetically fussy even on the roads.)
d) Where mosquitoes are rampant, I have to wave one hand behind me to resemble a cow’s tail while trying to shit, in order to shoo off mosquitoes ferociously trying to feed on my succulent rear even in my fourth aunt’s condominium penthouse.
e) The architects habitually miss out the most basic home-building requirements such as water drainage holes outside the shower area, water pumps for units at higher levels (I was forced back into the time of bucket-bathing because the low-pressured showers there produced only a small stream of water good enough for brushing teeth) and an-adequate-length tap heads (which means your toothbrush always touches the sink while you try to rinse it under the tap).
f) The areas in K.L. are named Section 32, SS11 etc. versus the colourful and even laughable names of the Singapore housing estates and road names.
g) Malaysia’s toilets are perennially irrigated because of the Malays’ habit of washing up after they excrete (a good hygienic but really impractical and messy habit).
h) There aren’t bus-stops within walking distances from most homes and no MRTs going to every major town. i.e. I’ll never sustain a home tuition career there nor will I be able to go pak-tor-ing (dating) without my Mum if I did not own a car and a license.
i) Despite being a couple of degrees further away from the equator than Singapore, K.L. always feels hotter than my dear “air-conditioned nation”.

2) I love Singapore

On a brighter note, I feel pretty in Malaysia because the fashion there is usually 2 steps behind Singapore’s and the girls there are more conservative and less exposed to the image-consciousness found in Singapore (sadly brought about by the epidemic of slimming advertisements and skin/flesh-bearing fashion). The girls there hardly dress up; the daily garb consists of T-shirts and jeans, very much unlike Singapore where there is a varied style of trends (close-to-nakedness, Jap, pop, bohemian, grunge, radical…).
In Singapore, I’m considered a plain cosmetic-virgin Jane who has retained the hairstyle of a 5-year-old girl (especially by the standards of those from my theatre group). In contrast to that, I appear trendy and maybe even overdressed while walking in a K.L. shopping centre.

Another positive side of K.L. (to balance my commentary) would be her absence of rude gawking hum-sup-guis (lecherous men) and equally offensive and kiasu housewives divulging the 30%-discount wagons.

But I’m still not moving Malaysia anytime soon, as long as my sanity (or perhaps the absence of it) remains in me.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Wart Removal -- Method 1: Burn, Method 2: Freeze

I had my first wart removal treatment at the National Skin Centre today. They froze my toe with liquid nitrogen that came from a metal cylinder similar to that of the Baygon can, but with a nozzle that looks like that of a welder.

A wart is a viral skin infection that usually comes from the generous courtesy of common swimming pools, which have a high concentration and rainforest-like variety of unfriendly bacteria and viruses, albeit being heavily chlorinated at hair-bleaching levels. Warts (and boils) are also what young children are told witches have all over their faces.

The last time I had a viral wart removed was 8 years ago, according to the records held by the National Skin Centre. I was in primary school then and hence allowed to scream when the doctor injected anaesthesia into my big toe several times. The doctor then told me that I could scream as loud as I wanted to because the room was soundproof. She must have regretted giving me such a friendly and light-hearted assurance. Unfortunately for her, and my Mum, who could accompany me because of that "tender age", I took her comment very seriously. 10-year-old Weiling then could scream just as piercingly as she can now if she was tickled.
When the anaesthesia took effect, the laser woman began welding the bottom of my big toe. As she aimed and shot a narrow and precise jet of blue flame or something along that line of imagination, a “piak” sound (similar to the sound accompanying a spark from an electrical socket) would follow.
It was more traumatising for my Mum than for me then. Apparently, unknown to my Mum, I was aware she was nearer to fainting at the smell of barbequed flesh then I was to letting out another scream. I asked, “Hmm, what’s that smell ah? Smells chao tah (burnt).”
That was probably a cruel comment on my part in view of the fact that I knew my Mum was feeling so quesy. As if to console me, she nervously laughed and said, “Oh yar ah, what’s that smell? Barbeque perhaps.”

Anyway, back to the more recent incident, I was the noisiest patient the nurse ever had today, in addition to owning the title of the having the highest-pitched voice (which gets even closer to ultra-sonic when I’m nervous or excited). I didn’t scream this time. No, no. I behaved better. I just whimpered and whined. I clenched the cushion so tightly through the 5-minute affair and leaving my finger pressure marks behind, the next patient would have no problem knowing where to place his hands.

My Mum was one bad experience wiser this time around. She didn’t stay in the room with me. When I asked her whether it was because she was scared, she didn’t respond. Then I asked her, “You shy ah?” Her reply, which came in a series of positive facial distortions, signalled a “yes”. She added, “Char si lang!” (translated: so noisy until dead man wakes, noisy to the point of murderous, or something along the expression of “You’re embarrassingly noisy.”)

Tears began gathering in my eyes about 10 minutes after the whole episode. Post-traumatic stress I think.

Ly laughed at me when I told him over the phone about what had happened. Stupid boy… I hope it was a laugh of endearment and not contempt.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

The Reunion Dinner

Reunited with my father. That's all. Just for one night.

We had our half-hour "reunion" dinner at the famous Mahatir-visited Nasi Padang coffeeshop at Zion Road, before Mum, Cui and I go onto our night train to Kuala Lumpur before 10PM. Dad deliberately came back from Batam (where he feeds another family and runs a pseudo karang guni business, which in reality is the mere maintainance of a shop turn storage den) on the calling of tradition's guilt.

So it was dinner with 4 immediate members of the family -- a rare occasion indeed. Oh, and a family photo too. Ha ha, how quaint.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

I'll Crush You Like A Cockroach! (If only I wasn't afraid of things that have wings, have six legs and are a few thousand times smaller than me)

I want to write about something… but what? I have run out of events that are bloggable and inspiration for distorted accounts of my life/thoughts… and against the backdrop of my no-trivia, controlled-whining blog policy too (basically, I don’t write what I wouldn’t want to be reading on other people’s blog)… Arghh.. whatever! *Wei Wei does the blondie’s “whatever” and roll eyes thang*

I’m angry, and I need to shit. (I found out I can’t shit late at night. It’s as if my bowel muscles get just as tired as the rest of my physical and mental state.)

I’ve so little patience for immaturity and irresponsibility in anyone old enough to be in secondary school. That’s quite ironic, given the fact that I’m working with children most of the time now: Tuition kids between ages 8 and 14 through Mondays to Saturdays, and then my own one-to-one follow-up 10-year-old girl in church on Sundays. Evenings are the time I take off from children, yet that’s the time when my 14-year-old sister fills the gaps.

14-year-olds are so irritating. I hate seeing those Sec 2-3 characters roaming about Tampines Mall, eating at MacDonalds, being in my space… Argh!
Sec 1s are not so bad: fresh into a new system of secondary school and teenhood, they are still testing out the waters and proceeding cautiously; hardly any airs and all out to let new experiences soak in.
The Sec 4s and JC1s are comfortable in their teenage years and past that teen-insecurity phase of the frightful-fourteen-year-olds.
Sec 2-3s are the “Well, hey! We’re second-years in teenhood, so that gives us the right to start trying to set trends and making our presence loud and clear to you. We’re individuals with a mind of our own, so par-leease show us some R.E.S.P.E.C.T. And to our elder siblings, yes, we think you’re so passé, but we’ll still copy some of the things you do but of course disguise them a little so that they look original. And in the event that our behaviour becomes strikingly similar to yours, blame it on nurture and spending too much time with you. No no, we don’t like the way you talk, but we took after it, most unfortunately may we add, by the cruel fact that we live together. Oooh, and lookie at the front seat of the car, and the place at the dining table Jie Jie always sits at,… they must be the best… let’s try it out!”

And if you have not guessed it right, it’s my sister I have the least patience for. I suppose you could say familiarity breeds contempt and the fact that living together is usually never the best way to bring out the positive essence of anyone’s character.

I hate it when she uses my toilet. In fact, I hate it when anyone uses my toilet. It’s not officially my toilet of course, but the habits of this home have been such that the common toilet that is also an attached bathroom to my room, has become more or less, mine. Totally personalised with my favourite combination of toiletries and hygiene/cleanliness/neatness idiosyncrasies (e.g. The toilet is always wet because I shower the toilet bowl almost after every time I use it. Yes, psychotic as it sounds, I do that.), that’s my second favourite abode, after my room.

At least now, she makes the attempt to use it so secretly well that I can’t spot her presence (Previously, my highly-sensitive intruder alert was often activated by the fact that my facial wash tubes were messy with soap in the caps). But alas, she forgot to open the door into my room today after her shower this morning in my toilet. That’s the problem – the longer she does something in secret, the more careless she gets.

I have to admit I’m not the nicest person to live with either. I’m meticulous, a perfectionist and can’t stand the slightest sight of dirt, untidiness and evidences of irresponsibility.

Darn, now I find me justifying myself through my rambling and complaining again. That’s partly why I try not to whine through my blogs. The b*tch in me comes out.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

The RaRa of My Life Now (the rara that's eating away my nights at home or with Ly)

Here's the Necessary Stage production that most of us Theatre For Youth Ensemble (TFYE) members have been looking forward to. We're currently in the devising stage still, but things are taking shape.
This is the close-to-year-long theatre programme I've been involved in on Saturday afternoons (now 3 times a week... and later hitting 5 times a week).

The advertisement was taken off the M1 Youth Connection brochure which also features "Mixed Blessings" and "Such Sweet Sorrow", now available in all good places...

(Sorry ah Yan, I'm living off your scanning work. And thanks ;> )

Monday, January 12, 2004

10 Things That Would Make A Girl Like Weiling Happy

1. Agreeing with her other half (not a cutsie term for ‘boyfriend’, but the other psychological half of Weiling bound by the inertia of her massive bottom) to go for a morning jog (the only time she would jog because the jogging path outside my window is shielded from the fire-breathing sun then)

2. Returning drenched in perspiration hence feeling lighter and justified to have another binging session should Ly invite her to dinner at his place(no more lunches because Ly resumed lessons at NIE today)

3. Taking a shower cum washing her toilet while her hair soaks in mint Shampoo/Conditioner

4. Using Biore’s Men’s Facial Wash (mint too)

5. Using The Original Mint Showergel mixed 1:3 with newly-bought Dettol soap (I bought a small bottle of the foul-smelling bodywash over the weekend in the hypochondriac expectation that it will kill all the white-patches-and-wart-producing germs that I bring up from the swimming pool and while doing any other health-benefiting exercise in public areas)

6. Hanging about her room clad in my underwear doing all sorts of healthy and clean things that decent girls do in the privacy of their rooms

7. Finally completing her Quiet Time in the morning, and not just before she sleeps (a result of the day’s activities and procrastination) when she usually dozes off while praying

8. Skipping breakfast by virtue of all these happy distractions and having an early lunch instead – simply the delusion of having had 2 meals in one, and hence saving herself some calories while not having officially missed a meal

9. Updating her blog while having a Sunday-cooked-but-today-microwaved-to-reheat brunch, which removes some guilt of making her faithful blog-readers visit my page regularly and finding nothing new

10. Enjoying the prospect of having some more time between lunch and her first tuition session today at 3pm to complete some other household chores which she absolutely loves to get done, not to do: cleaning windows, ironing clothes (To my future husband, I don’t enjoy ironing, so get wrinkle free shirts in the future or be a PE teacher) and changing her bedsheet

Tuitioning Is Fattening

While my busy schedule leaves little time for me to have good nutritious afternoon meals (except when I get invited to Ly’s place for a minimum 5- course lunch – his daily fare), my tuition students’ Mum’s make up for this poor diet.
Two of the Mums gave me a box of home-baked pineapple tarts and chocolate crispies – fabulously made with lots of that motherly touch too. The latter came at my first lesson with the Mum’s 2 boys. I found the box of edibles a nice welcome gift to begin my new responsibilities with – the Primary 2 and 6 boys placed under my charge.

Nevertheless, better than getting a new student by recommendation/request or being showered with Chinese New Year treats, was my Mum’s comment that she was proud of me. She was proud and pleased with the way I launched my tuition career and how I am managing with 6 students (one more on the way). At the risk of sounding like my Primary 2 boy (as lovable as the amount of puppy fat he is endowed with) who requested that I told his nanny that he got full marks for his spelling and dictation test, my Mum’s pride in me has and probably will always be very dear to me.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

The Much Delayed (now much condensed due to the loss of memory with the passage of time) Account of My Malaysian Trip (26-28 December)

Another shopping spree in ringgit. The fact that I can buy everything while giving my Mum the impression that they are twice as expensive in Singapore (even if it isn’t) is the secret behind the 2:1 ringgit appeal to Singaporeans.

On a graver note, I observed to some horror, my Mum, along with my relatives (grandma & aunties), aging. The manner in which they are aging is rather frightful actually: the older they get, the louder they speak, the more instances they talk simultaneously. And worse yet – in the claustrophobia-inducing enclosure of the car (made this way due to the dominant presence of 4 loud women talking in a raucous high-pitched chorus at the top of their voices).

My 12-year-old cousin Zachary, 14-year-old sister Cui, and I kept silent in apathy, bewilderment and survival instincts respectively. While Zach made several futile attempts to turn up the volume of his noise-making FM channel and my sister sat in the gait of a motion-sick creature, I mused on the thought of my semi-deaf second Aunt’s husband being the most blessed man against the backdrop of aging wives.