Thursday, 30 December 2004

Faith is built on stories like this.

The reason why I write is because of stories like this.

You're a What?

I have never faced as much challenge to my faith and belief in my life as I had over the last two weeks.

I became a Seventh-day Adventist when I was 19 and as such, had the fortune of never having to face Sabbath issues in school like many of my SDA friends in Singapore had. Six months after my baptism, I moved off to Australia to begin my college education at Avondale College. Upon graduation, I went on a one year volunteer stint with Newbold College in England as a Public Relations assistant.

The SDA community surrounded me for probably the whole of my born-again life. I lived the “easy” life where I had Friday afternoons free to prepare for the Sabbath, and nobody questioned me about going to church on a Saturday.

That has all changed since I’ve returned home to Singapore two months ago.

Not wanting the commitment of a full-time permanent job just yet, I decided to take up short-term temporary jobs. Unfortunately, most jobs required working through the weekends and as such, job opportunities were far and few between.

Two weeks ago, I decided to start hunting for a full-time job. Besides sending in applications, I also signed up with a job agency. The phone calls for interviews came pouring in and that was when my true test began.

Practically all the phone calls I received required me to work on Saturdays and going through interviews soon became an ordeal. Interviewers would look at me questioningly when I said, not without regret, that I could not work on a Saturday because I had to go to church.

“I thought church happened on Sundays?”

“Yeah, a lot of denominations do that. But because I’m a Seventh-day Adventist, I go to church on a Saturday.”

“You’re a what?”

And thus would begin a historical lesson on Sabbath and Sunday worship that I’m not sure the interviewer actually wanted to hear. To their credit, they listened to me with patience and understanding. Of course, that also meant that I never got the job.

It became quite exasperating because I would get job offers that I would be happy to take up, but had to immediately decline upon hearing the work hours. However, I managed to do so with a light heart largely because the jobs were never much of a temptation to begin with. I liked the job scope, but it was something I knew I could live without.

So my test got harder.

Recently, I was offered a job with a well-established production house in Singapore. It was everything I wanted in a job and would help me gain much desired experience in film production. The Managing Director of the company himself spent more than an hour talking to me about the company, its past and future projects and the responsibilities I would be taking up. I was filled with so much passion and enthusiasm for the job that I was prepared to take it up immediately.

Just as we started discussing my salary and benefits, the MD mentioned in passing that I would be required to work on Saturdays as well.

My world came crashing down.

“I can’t,” I told him, tears nearly filling my eyes.

After hearing my reasons, the MD actually spent close to two hours trying to convince me otherwise.

“Religion is about a relationship between you and your God. It’s about your heart and your mind. You don’t have to worship God on a special day to be a Christian,” was the MD’s line of argument. “Surely your God would not smite you down if you did not go to church on Saturday. It’s not as if we are worshipping the devil here. You’re working and your God would understand that.

We are living in the real world and when you are, you have to leave religion aside. Having a religion is a good thing, but when it interferes with your life, you need to realise that you have got to live and that your work has to come first.”

When I told him that I knew God would still love me despite me working on a Sabbath, and that I agreed with him that Christianity is about a relationship, he could not fathom what then was stopping me from working.

He shot back with, “But if you take up this job, you never know, you may pick up skills that would be useful for your church in future.”

Our discussion went on forever without any conclusion. He finally told me he thought I was making a stupid decision, that I was throwing away a perfect opportunity and that I was too rigid to my beliefs. But I left with him asking me to reconsider, and that if I changed my mind, he would be happy to take me on and have me start work immediately.

I would have to go through almost twelve hours of pain and agony after that as I had to decline the job three times during that time period. The increasing number of times I had to say no did nothing to numb the pain. On the contrary, the loss I felt for giving up what I felt was my dream job became more real after I said sorry to the MD for the third time. I could not help it, something at the back of my head was saying that I would probably regret my decision in years to come.

Naturally, I started questioning my religion in the days to follow. I started wondering if it was even worth it to be a Christian, and began harbouring the idea of turning my back to God. But it is something I simply could not do.

God has become a part of me and giving God up would be equivalent to choosing not to breathe. I have my ups and downs with God. At times I don’t even feel his presence. But I could never ever knowingly give him up. Especially not when I realise that the only reason why I have gotten to where I am, with the experience I’ve got to put into a resume that enticed employers to call me for an interview, is all thanks to him.

And certainly not when I know that my younger brother’s own faith would be shaken if I chose to break the Sabbath.

This afternoon, I had to decline two more jobs because of Sabbath issues and I still feel the loss. Yet, I trust and know that he is going to provide me with something that would be beyond what I could imagine.

And in the near future, I know I will be writing a sequel to this article, on how I have found my true dream job. A job that would help me honour my God. A job that I would love, embrace and call my own.

An article written sometime in March 2004.

An article which existence I had forgotten about.

9 months on, it has become an article which I have already unwittingly written a sequel to.

Friday, 24 December 2004


In order for the South Pacific Division (my would-be employers) to get me a work visa, they would need to apply for a business sponsorship license. The application process would normally take at least 4 weeks.

It took them about 4 days.

In order for me to work for the South Pacific Division (SPD), I would need a work visa. The application process would normally take 4-8 weeks.

I got a call this morning telling me that my application has been sent in. The only problem is that they cannot seem to locate my X-ray which was sent to the visa place last Friday. I provided my SPD contact person, Colin, with the tracking number of the courier package to see if the visa place could better locate my X-ray. He got the tracking number and provided the visa place with it.

Ten minutes later, he receives a phonecall telling him my work visa has been approved.

The entire process took....2 weeks? And I'm being generous at that.

I am left utterly speechless as to how swift everything has gone. What would normally take months has taken me weeks to obtain. Why do I have this strange feeling that God really wants me in Australia?

I can only wonder about the reason why.

In the meantime, I'm going to have to prepare to leave for Sydney on January 13 or 14, 2005. I start work January 17, 2005.


Friday, 17 December 2004

Disclaimer: This post sent to me by Gail.
12.19am. From the desk of the Commissioner of Police, Mr Khoo Boon Hui

Dear Mr Tan,

Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I am directing Commander Ang Mo Kio to look into the matter and see how they can expedite the matter. As I am unfamiliar with the reasons for the delay, I can only presume that it may still be required as evidence for the court case or is the subject of a disposal enquiry.

Khoo Boon Hui

1.24pm. From the desk of the Covering Commander of Ang Mo Kio Police Station

Dear Mr Tan,

Let me apologise for the inconvenience caused to you. The delay was due to the fact that your handphone might be used as evidence in court. Nevertheless, we have since made some alternative arrangements so that the handphone could be returned to you earlier.

My Investigation Supervisor, Mr Sabil Juni, will be contacting you shortly to arrange for the collection.

Once again, thank you for your feedback and we look forward to serving you better.

Michael Tan
Commander Ang Mo Kio Police (Covering)

Moral of the story?

When you want fast action, go straight to the head honcho.

Thursday, 16 December 2004

The Call of a Desperate Phone Owner - my brother

Dear Mr Khoo Boon Hui,

More than a year ago, my mobile phone, a well-beloved Nokia 3315, was stolen by a youth misguided by society.

The reason for my writing is not to express my woes about the youth of today, because the wonderful police force that keeps Singapore safe had actually managed to retrieve my adored tool of communication, along with the misguided youth.

A report (ref no: F/031009/0125) was filed dated 9 October 2003 with Sgt T00148 Lim Swee Hua at the Hougang Neighbourhood Police Centre, which I have attached for your reference. This case was then handed over to the Ang Mo Kio Police Station on the very same day.

Unfortunately, my much missed electronic device is still not in my embrace.

The police officer in charge of the case, Ms Nurul (Tel: 1800 6218 0000), had mentioned that she needed my mobile phone as evidence. As a law-abiding citizen ever willing to cooperate, I bade a temporary adieu to my little bundle of joy. I was promised its safe return within a few weeks.

If my calendar is the same as the rest of Singapore's, it has been almost 15 months since then and I still have not felt the familiar warmth of my phone.

I find it extremely disturbing and am worried my phone may fail to recognise me when it ever returns.

Understanding that our police officers have much to do, I have tried to aid them by calling Ms Nurul on at least 20 separate occasions, so that she did not need to trouble herself to contact me. When I manage to speak with her and question about my phone, she would immediately
brush me off by saying the phone is not ready for collection. It is amazing what a wonderful photographic memory she has, that she does not even need to refer to any documentation as to which case I was referring to.

Also, when I have been unable to speak with her personally, my calls to her would all be unreturned and my desperate pleas ignored, dealing my self-esteem a severe blow.

Now, I sincerely have no idea what has become of my mobile phone and would yearn to have it taken off my "missing persons" list. However, I am not getting much help or response from Ms Nurul or Ang Mo Kio Police Station where my case was reported to.

Mr Khoo, I sincerely plead for your help in this matter as I think I have been placed on the "to be ignored" list of Ang Mo Kio Police Station.

I would really appreciate an explanation of the entire matter, whether my portable communicating device has helped the misguided youth in returning to the flock and if I would ever feel my mobile phone in my hot little hands ever again.

Thank you so much for your time in dealing with this issue.

Looking forward to a much favourable reply soon.

Yours sincerely,
Shannon Tan (Mr)

cc. Quality Services Manager Rajoo V Gopal, Commander 'F' Division Jessica Kwok, Ms Penny Low (MP, Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC), The Straits Times forum pages and Streats comments pages

Monday, 6 December 2004

do people actually care or listen in this country?

I could have been sprawled on the floor of the train this morning, half-dead and foaming at my mouth and I doubt anybody would have bothered to help me. Surreptiously walk to another corner, more likely.

About 15 minutes into my journey on the train to work this morning, I was suddenly hit by a pang of general unease. My heart start racing (and believe me, it had nothing to do with the flamboyant entrance of a stunning specimen of the male species), my head started spinning, my stomach started aching, I thought I was going to throw up and I was doubled over thinking I was going to die.

For some unexplained reason, I was unable to breathe properly and all I wanted to do was to curl up in a feotal position.

Strangely enough though, despite feeling so uncomfortable, one part of my mind was wondering how long it would take for people to take notice of a person dying. Obviously, far too long. I could jolly well have been a decomposing heap of rotten flesh with flies buzzing around and nobody would have thought twice about calling in the police, or some crime scene investigators.

Honestly, I looked around, and people were either asleep or staring into space in a direction other than at me. Singaporeans give others far too much privacy it seems.

On another note, I just got a phonecall from some fellow looking for my uncle who uses our address and phone number for correspondence (the reason why is too long to explain).

Guy: Hi, I'm calling from NTUC Income, can I speak to Mr Tan Hock Lai?
Me: Actually, he doesn't live with us, can I help you with anything?
Guy: Yes, I'm from NTUC Income, I would like to speak to him.
Me: Ok, but I can't put you in contact with him at the moment because he's not here.
Guy: Oh, do you have his mobile number or office number or something?
Me: I don't, but my mom does and she's not here at the moment. Maybe I can take a message?
Guy: Erm, do you know him?
Me: Yes, he is my uncle. What is this regarding?
Guy: We just wanted to ask him if he received a letter from us regarding combined funds.
Me: I'm sorry, but maybe my mom would know.
Guy: That's why I think it's better to talk to him. Can you give me his mobile number?
Me: Look, I don't have his mobile number. My mom does and she's at work. Do you want to call her?
Guy: Is 62xxxxxx Mr Tan's office number? I can call there.
Me: I don't know!
Guy: Maybe I can call him later tonight when he comes home from work?
Me: I told you, he doesn't live here! He just uses our address for correspondence!
Guy: Ok fine, that's alright. Bye.

What is wrong with these people?!?!

Sunday, 28 November 2004

A letter from the Home Office to the People of America

In the light of your failure to elect a suitable President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of Your independence, effective today. Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths and other territories. Except Utah, which she does not fancy.

Your new prime minister (The Right Honourable Tony Blair MP; for the 97.85% of you who have until now been unaware that there is a world outside your borders) will appoint a minister for America without the need for further elections. Congress and the Senate will be disbanded.

A questionnaire will be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed.

To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:

1. You should look up "revocation" in the Oxford English Dictionary. Then look up "aluminium". Check the pronunciation guide.

You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it. The letter "U" will be reinstated in words such as "favour" and "neighbour", skipping the letter "U" is nothing more than laziness on your part.

Likewise, you will learn to spell "doughnut" without skipping half the letters.

You will end your love affair with the letter "Z" (pronounced "zed" not "zee") and the suffix "ize" will be replaced by the suffix "ise".

You will learn that the suffix "burgh" is pronounced "burra" e.g. Edinburgh.

You are welcome to respell Pittsburgh as 'Pittsberg' if you can't cope with correct pronunciation.

Generally, you should raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. Look up "vocabulary". Using the same twenty seven words interspersed with filler noises such as "like" and "you know" is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication.

Look up "interspersed". There will be no more 'bleeps' in the Jerry Springer show. If you're not old enough to cope with bad language then you shouldn't have chat shows. When you learn to develop your vocabulary then you won't have to use bad language as often.

2. There is no such thing as "US English". We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take account of the reinstated letter "u" and the elimination of "-ize".

3. You should learn to distinguish the English and Australian accents. It really isn't that hard.

English accents are not limited to Cockney, upper-class twit or Mancunian (Daphne in Frasier).

You will also have to learn how to understand regional accents - Scottish dramas such as "Taggart" will no longer be broadcast with subtitles.

While we're talking about regions, you must learn that there is no such place as Devonshire in England. The name of the county is "Devon". If you persist in calling it Devonshire, all American States will become "shires" e.g. Texasshire, Floridashire, Louisianashire.

4. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as the good guys. Hollywood will be required to cast English actors to play English characters. British sit-coms such as "Men Behaving Badly" or "Red Dwarf" will not be re-cast and watered down for a wishy-washy American audience who can't cope with the humour of occasional political incorrectness.

5. You should relearn your original national anthem, "God Save The Queen",but only after fully carrying out task 1. We would not want you to get
confused and give up half way through.

6. You should stop playing American "football". There is only one kind of football. What you refer to as American "football" is not a very good game.

The 2.15% of you who are aware that there is a world outside your borders may have noticed that no one else plays "American" football. You will no longer be allowed to play it, and should instead play proper football.

Initially, it would be best if you played with the girls. It is a difficult game. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which is similar to American "football", but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full Kevlar body armour like

We are hoping to get together at least a US rugby sevens a side by 2005.

You should stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the 'World Series' for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 2.15% of you are aware that there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable.

Instead of baseball, you will be allowed to play a girls' game called "rounders" which is baseball without fancy team strip, oversized gloves, collector cards or hotdogs.

7. You should declare war on Quebec and France, using nuclear weapons if they give you any merde.

The 97.85% of you who were not aware that there is a world outside your borders should count yourselves lucky. The Russians have never been the bad guys. "Merde" is French for "Shit". French is the first language of a country called France which is in Europe. Europe is one of the continents in the world other than your own.

8. July 4th is no longer a public holiday. November 2nd will be a new national holiday, but only in England. It will be called "Indecisive Day".

9. All American cars are hereby banned. They are crap and it is for your own good. When we show you German cars, you will understand what we mean.

All road intersections will be replaced with roundabouts. You will start driving on the left with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables.

Roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.

10. You will learn to make real chips.

Those things you call French fries are not real chips. Fries aren't even French, they are Belgian though 97.85% of you (including the guy who discovered fries while in Europe) are not aware of a country called Belgium.

Those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called "crisps". Real chips are thick cut and fried in animal fat. The traditional accompaniment to chips is beer which should be served warm and flat.

Waitresses will be trained to be more aggressive with customers.

11. As a sign of penance 5 grams of sea salt per cup will be added to all tea made within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, this quantity to be doubled for tea made within the city of Boston itself.

12. The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all, it is lager.

From November 1st only proper British Bitter will be referred to as "beer", and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as "Lager".

13. From December 1st the UK will harmonise petrol (or "Gasoline" as you will be permitted to keep calling it until April 1st 2005) prices with the former USA. The UK will harmonise its prices to those of the former USA and the Former USA will, in return, adopt UK petrol prices (roughly $6/US gallon - get used to it).

14. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers or therapists.

The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you're not adult enough to be independent. Guns should only be handled by adults. If you're not adult enough to sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist then you're not grown up enough to handle a gun.

15. Please tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us crazy.

Tax collectors from Her Majesty's Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all revenues due (backdated to 1776).

Thank you for your cooperation.

And this ought to teach you Americans not to abuse the right to vote.

Tuesday, 23 November 2004

it's terrifying, but I think I have reached THE age.

The age that I never thought I would reach. The age where people were mature, sophisticated, intelligent and unbelievably cool. Well, at least that was what my young impressionable mind used to think years (centuries?) ago.

Now that I'm here, I realise it's not that cool after all. It's an age where 24 year olds still behave like they're 16, yet hating the real 16 year olds (my brother not included. Then again, he's 17.). An age where responsibilities start to weigh down on one's shoulders. An age where we would all have to start seriously thinking of our futures.

An age where friends either start getting married or having babies.

I received a wedding invitation in the mail yesterday. It would have been exciting if it weren't the 3rd one I've received this year, the 4th wedding I'll be attending this year and the goodness knows what number person I remotely know who is getting married.

Don't misunderstand me. I'm extremely happy for all my friends who have found the someone they want to spend the rest of their lives with. But do they really have to do it all within months of each other??

Tuesday, 16 November 2004

"Saul was looking for donkeys, while God was looking for a king." Lessons from 1 Samuel 9 summarised by my bible study partner.

After almost a month (perhaps more) of struggling, I now realise I've been having a donkey moment.

Since returning home to Singapore, I've been having pangs of depression because I sincerely believed that my life was at a standstill. I knew my place was not in Singapore, and yet I could see no way out. I was stuck in a job I did not appreciate, but felt reluctant to let go, mainly because it was extremely difficult to find a job with a 5-day work week.

I convinced myself I was reaching for the stars, and would ultimately crash. I was stuck, and would never get out. I gave up my dream and started looking at something that I did not like, but could at least live with.

I was certainly looking for donkeys. Turns out that God had a much better plan that I would never have thought possible.

When I
gave up a job offer at Mission College, I really thought I had given up my last possible chance to leave Singapore. Not only that, I felt bad about turning down a job offer that I had expressed immense interest for months. Then God showed me He already had it all worked out by offering the job to Shimona. And goodness knows she'll do a much better job than I would, having actually chosen to "buy the product", tasted it and thought that it was good.

That left me still stuck at my job at Citibank. The desperation got worse when I was offered a permanent position. I truly felt I had gone past the stage where I was digging my own grave. The tombstone was about to be placed.

Then I was given an opportunity to apply for a job with
Signs Publishing, as an assistant editor for all their magazines, one of which was The Edge, a magazine I wrote for occassionally. Hey, Melbourne, although not my favourite state, would be better than staying in my grave in Singapore.

I was still looking at donkeys.

God hit me left of the centre by having the Director of the South Pacific Division's
Communication Department send me an email asking if I would be interested to apply for the position of News Correspondent.

God really had it all planned. I could have ended up in Thailand or in Melbourne. I was on the verge of taking up a working holiday visa to live in the UK for two years. I could jolly well be working in Citibank (shudder). These were all the options I saw.

I was looking for donkeys, while God was looking for a king.

After weeks of waiting, long distance phonecalls and a 6.30am interview, I have just been told that I have got the news correspondent job.

I may not have a throne or a crown. I certainly am not getting the immense responsibility and influence. But I am going to be working and living in Sydney, doing what I love best - writing.

I am so glad God was looking for a king, not donkeys.

Monday, 1 November 2004

i got high today and it was the wierdest feeling in my life.

After not taking medication for any illnesses I had for the last 3 years or more, I finally succumbed yesterday night.

I was running a high fever, my joints were aching, I was having a pounding headache and I thought I was going to die. Naturally, my mom dragged me to the doctor's. And despite my better judgement, I agreed to taking medication.

Big mistake.

Last night's dosage was fine since I went straight to bed immediately after popping the pills, but this morning was an entirely different story altogether.

About an hour or so after taking the prescribed dosage, I literally felt the drugs kick in. Suddenly I felt that I was floating in the air, I couldn't speak properly, I couldn't think straight, much less walk, and all I wanted to do was lie in bed and go to sleep.

Medication never had this effect on me before. Then again, I've never went on a three year "drug fast".

It terrifies me to experience the strong effects of these prescribed drugs. We instinctively pop pills whenever we're ill and we don't even think twice as to what taking certain medication can do to us. Perhaps it's because we have become so used to the side effects of drugs that we don't even notice it anymore. All we know is that the pills can cure what we want cured.

But honestly, instant cure is not a cure if there are side effects like the ones I've experienced.

My medication can stay on the shelf. I'm not having another "high" experience again.

Monday, 25 October 2004

Below is an actual letter sent to a bank. The bank manager thought it amusing enough to have it published in the New York Times recently, and I find it amusing enough to blog it. Guess banking isn't all that boring after all.

Dear sir,

I am writing to thank you for bouncing my cheque with which I endeavoured to pay my plumber last month. By my calculations, three nanoseconds must have elapsed between his presenting the cheque and the arrival of the funds needed to honor it.

I refer, of course, to the automatic monthly deposit of my entire arrangement which, I admit, has been in place for only 8 years. You are to be commended for seizing that brief window of opportunity, and also for debiting my account $50 by way of penalty for the inconvenience caused to your bank.

My thankfulness springs from the manner in which this incident has caused me to rethink my errant financial ways. I noticed whereas I personally attend to your telephone calls and letters, that when I try to contact you I am confronted by the impersonal, overcharging, prerecorded, faceless entity which your bank has become. From now on I, like you, choose to deal only with a flesh-and-blood person.

My mortgage and loan repayments will, therefore and hereafter, no longer be automatic, but will arrive at your bank, by cheque, addressed personally and confidentially to an employee at your bank whom you must nominate. Be aware that it is an offence under the Postal Act for any other person to open such an envelope.

Please find attached an Application Contact Status which I require your chosen employee to complete. I am sorry it runs to eight pages, but in order that I know as much about him or her as your bank knows about me, there is no alternative.

Please note that all copies of his or her medical history must be countersigned by a Notary Public, and the mandatory details of his/her financial situation (income, debts, assets and liabilities) must be accompanied by documented proof.

In due course, I will issue your employee with a PIN number which he/she must quote in dealings with me. I regret that it cannot be shorter than 28 digits but, again, I have modelled it after the number of button presses required to access my account balance on your phone banking service.

As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Let me level the playing field even further. While this may, on occasion, involve a lengthy wait, uplifting music will play for the duration of the call.

Press buttons as follows

1. To make an appointment to see me.

2. To query a missing payment.

3. To transfer the call to my living room in case I am there.

4. To transfer the call to my bedroom in case I am sleeping.

5. To transfer the call to my toilet in case I am there attending to nature.

6. To transfer the call to my mobile phone if I am not at home.

7. To leave a message on my computer, a password to access my computer is required. Password will be communicated at a later date.

8. To return to the main menu and to listen to options 1 through 7.

9. To make a general complaint or inquiry.

The contact will then be put on hold, pending the attention of my automated answering service.

Regrettably, but again following your example, I must also levy an establishment fee to cover the setting up of this new arrangement. May I, however, wish you a happy, if ever-so-slightly less, prosperous day.

Your humble client, Judy ----

(last name omitted intentionally by The New York Times)

Friday, 22 October 2004

This is especially interesting for me since I love writing - NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), starting November 1.

A whole month to celebrate the joy of writing. Not that I would actually do much in that area. My script seems to have inevitably gone down the drain, what with a lack of resources and yes, I'll admit it, procrastination.

But well, there's always the knowledge that something like NaNoMo exists. The written word is not dead!! Not everybody has forgotten the existence of books outside of school texts!!

And bringing NaNoMo to the next level (where people live in virtual space), Blogger has come up with NaNoBlogMo!

Long live the written art form!

Tuesday, 19 October 2004

it's amazing how people deem themselves as appropriate to nose themselves into other people's business.

A colleague came up to me after lunch today, telling me about a conversation that had transpired between her and another colleague, a person whom I do not know, nor have ever met.

Apparently, she enquired of my colleague as to how can I be dressed so casually. And this was not done in an off-handed manner, but in a disgusted "my nose is so high up in the air, it's a wonder I can still see where I'm going" tone.

My colleague simply replied, "She's a temp staff. And she doesn't need to deal with customers. Your dress code is not applied to her."

"Oh, she doesn't have to see customers?" came the sneering response.

1. What I wear is none of your business. I can choose to turn up in a bunny suit and it still is not any of your business. I leave it up to my supervisor to talk to me about what I wear. And since she has not actually commented on my dressing, I think you should keep your opinions to yourself.

2. I understand I'm working in an office, and I have already succumbed to the culture by NOT wearing jeans, T-shirts and sneakers.

3. I am not you. I do not like to look like a Christmas tree. Or a walking target for robbers. Even if I had money, I would rather spend my money on something more worthwhile and useful than decorating myself so that people would know how wealthy I am. Or dress in such a way so that people would think I am rich, even if I am not. I am more true to myself than that.

4. Is it really that bad that I choose not to conform to the stifling, brainless and superficial corporate culture that I am unfortunately working in? I cannot help it that I happen to have a style I call my own, a style in which I am comfortable in.

And I'm sorry for giving you an ulcer with what I wear.

Actually, I'm not.

Monday, 18 October 2004

my hi-fi set has decided to develop a life of its own.

or is now possessed by a poltergist.

switched on my hi-fi a few minutes ago wanting to listen to a CD. Only problem was, the volume level refused to change. I thought hey, maybe it's got something to do with the buttons on the machine itself, so I tried my remote. No chance there.

Not sensing any alarm yet, I leave it alone for a while. Only thing is, I did not want to listen to track 1. No, I wanted track 7. So I pick up my remote and chose track 7.

That was when I realised my hi-fi was alive.

The numbers on the display kept skipping and refused to settle on a single track. When it finally did, it stayed for a few seconds and moved on. Then it just went absolutely insane.

I stopped it. (and this was probably the last time I managed that.)

I changed CDs. Hey, maybe it was my CD that was faulty.

The moment I put in the CD, I realised something was wrong. The hi-fi just read through ALL the tracks in my CD. It just kept reading the tracks without playing it.

I hit play. It ignored me.

I hit play again. It grudgingly obeys and plays track 1. But within a few seconds into the track, it figured it didn't like the song, and skips to track 2. I stare at it in disbelief. Then it decided it didn't quite like the starting intro music of track 2, so it forwards it a few seconds and then listens on...only to realise that it hadn't forwarded it enough....

My fight with the hi-fi (both using the remote and simply pushing the buttons on the machine itself) goes on for several seconds before I think, maybe I should try to change its function and see what it does in the radio function. Bad decision.

While in its radio function, it starts searching for all available radio stations under the sun, settling at certain ones for a few seconds before moving on. At one point, it stopped for a while at a Tamil station. Goodness knows why. It also stopped for a significant amount of time at Class 95FM.

Sometime while this was happening, I call Faith. It was her hi-fi before I owned it. Maybe she could tell me about the restless spirit haunting it. At the same time, I'm trying to change the function of the hi-fi again, to tape or CD, but it was simply having too much fun that it ignores me. Then I try switching it off. Once again, it refused to obey. It just went on and on, trying to find a station it liked.

After struggling for a good 5 minutes, she suggested I pull the plug. After pulling out 2 other ones thinking it was the correct one, and of course causing both of us to freak out because what would happen if the last plug didn't stop it? It finally stopped with the pulling of the last plug.

It was the only way it could be stopped.

I have a hi-fi that's alive.

Friday, 15 October 2004

While waiting to cross the road to get to the food court near my workplace, I turn to talk to my colleague. Turns out she was already looking at a spot just behind me, with a look of bewilderment on her face.

I turn to see what she's looking at, and took an involuntary jump back. The face of a grinning old grandma was mere inches away from mine. I stared at her in shock while she still stood there, holding an umbrella, grinning like a Cheshire cat.

"It's so sunny, come under my shade," she said in Mandarin.

I nodded at her dumbly.

"What are you so afraid of? Did you think I was a guy?" she continued, drawing closer to me. "Now, if you were in Indonesia, where I'm from, you would have a lot to worry about. But it's so safe here. I walk around by myself late at night and I feel perfectly safe! There's nothing to be afraid of!"

My colleague, a much warmer and friendlier person than I am, responded with, "Yeah, you're right. It's is very safe here."

I simply continued staring, trying to smile politely.

"Actually, I'm afraid to cross this road alone. I was wanting some company," she admitted, firmly placing a tight grip around my wrist.

Now, grandma reaches only up to my shoulders, her hands therefore having a shorter distance away from the ground than I do. Suddenly, not only did I feel circulation being cut off from my hand, I find myself standing as if I have a severe back problem that required me to stand with one shoulder higher than the other.

"By the way, how old do you think I look?" she continued, never wavering in her grip.

Thoughts raced through my head:

If I say she's older than she is, I would piss her off and she probably would detach my hand from my arm within seconds.

If I say she's younger than she is, I may be so far off target that she would think I was being cheeky and would still detach my hand from my arm within seconds.

I turn to my colleague with a pleading look in my eyes.

"63," she guessed.

She smugly shakes her head and says, "No, I'm 71," and then goes on to rave and rant about this product that she was using that provided her with such a "youthful radiance".

Meanwhile, I am simply hoping that the traffic would clear within the next few heartbeats so that I am free of her iron grip and the uncomfortable stance I was in. Not mentioning the fact that I probably looked rather weird standing the way I did.

Suddenly, in her eagerness, she loosens her grip to gesticulate something or other. And at a beautiful coincidence, there was a break in the traffic. Quick as lightning, my hand moved to her back as we swiftly crossed the road to my freedom.

I can only thank God that it didn't occur to her to have lunch with us.

What is up with me and strange grandmas? At least this one isn't as vicious or long-term as the last one.

Wednesday, 13 October 2004

An appointment made with her a few days ago.

Me: "So we're going to the gym at Novena?"
Her: "Yeah, I'll be there early, so give me a buzz when you arrive and I'll tell you where I am."

The phonecall to her yesterday.

Me: "Hey, I'm here, where are you?"
Her: "Oh, I'm at Punggol Plaza." (For those not from Singapore, Punggol is where she lives. Novena is a full hour's train ride away.)

30 seconds of stunned silence.

Her: "Actually, at the Koufu food court having dinner."

Another 30 seconds of silence as I ponder if she was pulling my leg.

Then I hear a loud exclaimation, "OH MY GOSH! MEL!!!!! I'm so sorry!!! It totally slipped my mind that today is Tuesday!!!"

Friday, 8 October 2004

Now I've been called all sorts of different things since I came back to Singapore, but this has got to top everything.

While sitting quietly in a corner of the office trying to change the copy of one of our letters to our customers, I hear a voice behind me go, "Timothy?"

I turn around to find a UPS guy looking at me eagerly, face filled with expectation that I would respond to his call.

All he got was a blank look and a "sorry?"

His face fell and you could read it in his face that he fully expected me - full-blooded female with hair tied up in a pony tail, wearing a blouse and a skirt - to be Timothy. My response threw him off and he hesitated before he ventured, "I'm looking for Timothy?"

As I directed him to Timothy, the naturally would be male Timothy since Timothy is a male's name, he muttered, "so he's not sitting here..."


Sunday, 3 October 2004

i finally have my own computer!

Not that this is the first computer in my house, but I've either been working from my ancient 5 year old laptop or my brother's computer before and to finally have my own private pc just feels like absolute bliss. Especially when we've finally moved on with the times and subscribed to cable internet.

Now I can download whatever programs I fancy without having to worry (much) about a lack of memory space.

Now I can play Gunbound without my brother breathing down my neck - a game that reminds one of its cousin, Worms 3D, but with interactive player options. A game in which I'm still trying to figure out.

Now I can surf the internet using the brilliant Mozilla Firefox web browser - much friendlier, powerful and intelligent.

Now I can write articles and do research at the same time.

Now I can stay online forever!

Ah, what has my life become that a computer makes me so happy?

Tuesday, 28 September 2004

feels like there're supernatural forces leading me to joining this competition.

Happened to have friends who were invited to the press conference of the contest last Monday.

These same friends are going to lend me the latest
video camera that will help save time when it comes to transferring files from the camera to the computer for editing.

And so what if I have lousy editing equipment? I will have access to either a)
Final Cut Pro, one of the best DV editing software to exist, or b) another software that my friends were given (really, press folks have all sorts of privileges).

In all honesty, I was still having some hesitation, having never actually written a proper script before. I have a storyline, but having a story is entirely different from an actual movie script.

Today, I had lunch with a former scriptwriter from

He has since agreed to help me with my script, and get me in touch with people who will have all the equipment needed (eg. lights, sound, etc) to produce a short film for the competition. Not to mention the fact that he has a friend who just so happens to have full video editing software lying unused in his house somewhere.

Now all I need to do is actually get down and write the story.

Oh, as well as source for actors.

Volunteers, anyone?

Tuesday, 21 September 2004

I did something painful today. No, not that.

I wrote an email that I'm not even sure I should have written:

Dear Dr. Mika,

Thank you so much for your email. Of course I remember you.

I am extremely flattered with the offer and in all honesty, would have snapped up this offer had it been given me a few weeks back. The job description sounds really interesting and I could imagine myself loving the job.

Unfortunately, I am no longer able to accept the offer. After several long days of praying and pondering, I believe that God has someone else who would be much better for the job. It really pains me to turn down this offer, but I think God has something up his sleeve for both Mission College and me. Please accept my sincerest aplogies for any inconvenience caused.

I wish Mission College all the best in finding THE person for the job and I trust that the person will be a real asset to you and the team.

My warmest regards,

So well, I have turned down the job at Mission College in Thailand. The one and only job offer I've got so far that offers me security. The job is gone. For some other lucky soul to accept.

The position with Adventist World Radio (AWR) in Singapore is not quite finalised yet, and knowing Adventist organisations, that probably means the position will come up within the next 5 years.

I'm back at Citibank, working long crazy hours for an organisation with an aim I don't believe in.

My wings clipped. My spirit diminished. My soul sobbing.

All these to save up for a future with no uncertainty. A life without security. To be where my dreams will come true.

Let's just hope I'm not chasing pipe dreams. Or look back to this day in regret, or extreme poverty.

Tuesday, 14 September 2004

I return home to an egg shortage.

Yup. Eggs. Chicken eggs to be precise.

Apparently, due to the bird flu epidemic in Malaysia, Singapore has stopped importing chicken and eggs.

The price of eggs has skyrocketed and today, my mom told me that each individual was only allowed to purchase a dozen eggs from the supermarket.

We have resorted to rationing for eggs.

Am I the only one who sees the humour in this?

Sunday, 12 September 2004

isn't it amazing how much people just settle into their comfort zones?

In January, upon arrival in Singapore, I was determined to return to England.

In August, after almost 8 months back home, I suddenly felt an inertia. The thought of leaving on this trip seemed somewhat daunting.

I've been back in England for almost a month now, and once again, I am experiencing a reluctance to leave.

Granted, the main reason has to do with the fact that I really dread saying goodbye to my friends, but I know part of the reason is also because I've gotten comfortable and found somewhat of a routine (which involves alternating nights at different friends' houses, babysitting, fighting for the bathroom with 9 other housemates, eating, sleeping, shopping, some travelling, chatting and doing absolutely nothing).

In 15 minutes, I'll be making my way to the airport for home, and I have to admit the voice inside of me is screaming for me to stay. On the other hand, I want to go home. I miss my room, my own bathroom, my family, my friends. And it never ceases to amaze me, how the precious people I meet constantly welcome me with open arms back into their lives as if nothing has changed.

If only life were less complex. If only I would stop making it worse by leaving a piece of my heart in different parts of the world.

If only Jesus would return soon...

Friday, 10 September 2004

someone knew what they were saying when they came out with the quote "when it rains, it pours". I am in such a fix now I have no idea where to turn.

Currently, here are the options I have:

1. Citibank

The job which we have in mind is for APB23. Thus in term of timeline, this should be a 2-mth project....(the exact duration, we are still checking and hope to know the details by early next week). In the interim, if you are keen, we shan't talk to the agency in sourcing for the person for us. BUT will need to know when you are coming back should u be interested.....!!!

2. Mission College in Thailand

I have just spent today putting together a position description for aPR/Promotions Officer. Are you still interested? We are almost ready to employ.

3. AWR in Singapore

I also wanted to tell you that yesterday I received an email from Akinori Kaibe, the AWR Region Director for Asia and he was inquiring as to whether you might be available to work in the AWR office in Singapore. As I understand it, he needs someone with special skills to work with their program distribution system for Asia.

4. My heart's desire

You can stay in the UK for two years as a working holidaymaker, from the date you were first given permission to enter the UK in this category. There are no restrictions on the type of work you can do as a working holidaymaker. There is also no restriction on the amount of work that you can do (part-time or full-time), but we do expect you to take a holiday during your stay. If you are given permission to enter as a working holidaymaker you may also be allowed to switch into Work Permit employment after one year in the UK.

Strange that the one option that I would like to take the most is the one with the least security, the one with the most number of unknowns (will I actually get a job? Will I be able to afford living in the UK? Will I be able so support myself?).

Goodness knows how much I want to live and work in the UK. Not for the rest of my life, but at least for a few more years. Yet, it is filled with so many uncertainties. The option is there, but it is what requires the biggest amount of faith.

Will I regret my decision if I went with option 4? I'll be giving up job security, steady income, a guaranteed comfortable life. No, it will not be luxurious, but the worries I will have is going to be considerably less. At least I would not have to worry if I can afford my next meal. At least home will be close, so so close.

What do I do? Where do I go? What should I think? What does God want for me?

And God is strangely silent...

Monday, 6 September 2004

you know you've been a nomad way too often when you have absolutely no idea where you are after waking up from a nap.

in the state of semi-consciousness, my brain struggled to register just where I was sleeping. I fought to open my eyes to find out and when I did, I still had no idea where I was. My mind said Germany, yet I was dreaming of my friends in Australia. A friend from Germany suddenly appeared in my dream, but yet my mind told me I had to go home from London.

I was dreaming of the Tower Bridge, of my friends from all over the world, of strange unknown places but yet, I had no idea where I was. I fought to wake up, yet I couldn't and I honestly had no idea where I was.

It was only after about 10 minutes of dreaming, wondering and struggling, did I manage to successfully pry my eyes open, have it stay open and then finally realise I was in England.

I really need to find a place to grow roots in soon.

on another note...went off to Hampton Court Palace yesterday with Glauber (my accidental housemate from Brazil. None of us even actually belong in the house, but I was at least visiting friends who lived in the house. He was...well...I'm not entirely sure how he is even connected to the house, seeing that his friend who lives in the house also does not belong in the house. There are currently 10 people living in a house I swear is meant for 4, and it is great fun, although I have to say I am grateful I no longer have to sleep in the living room.) and we had a real great time. Of course, in typical English style, the trains were delayed on our way to Hampton, and what would have been a 1.5 hours ride turned into a 3 hour nightmare.

The palace was absolutely magnificent and what honestly took our breaths away were the gardens. Very similar to that in Versailles, which was no wonder since William III built Hampton Court after being inspired by Versailles. There were mushroom shaped trees and Hershey's Kisses bushes all around the gardens, beautiful fountains and lakes that seem to stretch on forever, brilliantly coloured flowers and a maze we got lost in for about half an hour.

The interior of the palace looked perfectly well-maintained and it stirred in me a certain awe to know that I was in the very same palace Edward I was born in, where Henry VIII, Elizabeth I and Mary lived in, and where A Midsummer's Night Dream was staged in front of Shakespeare himself.

We came so close to attending a Sunday service in Chapel Royal - the same Chapel a huge majority of English kings worshipped in, but unfortunately they were only resuming services next Sunday. We strolled through the dark corridors where sunlight never shone because it was meant only for servants, housing the wine cellar and kitchens. We attended a mini-concert performed by musicians dressed in period costumes, using medieval instruments.

We stood amazed by the beautiful floor to ceiling paintings and tapestries of various religious motifs as well as Greek gods (how these two differing beliefs were reconciled I would like to know). We experienced the richness of the place with its gold-plated and silver crockery, the magnificant four-postered beds that enables one to shut out the world (there was even a travelling bed, and I'm not talking about sleeping bags. This was a proper four-postered bed with mattress. How it was considered a travelling bed, I have no idea. Try travelling with that on the plane.) We even had lunch in the beautiful sunshine in a garden I'm sure many courtiers have strolled in.

It was a glorious day-out filled with much beauty, as well as an enormous amount of time spent on the wonderful English "I'm sorry to announce, but the 1127 Southwest Train to London Waterloo has been delayed" trains.

And I believe it will also be the day that Glauber will recall as the one where a strange Singaporean girl first walked him to death and then starved him to the point of unconsciousness - upon arriving at Hampton at 2pm, we only sat down for a brief 15 minutes for lunch, which consisted of two jelly sandwiches.

Judging by the fact that he is currently unconscious on the couch next to me tells me that he hasn't quite recovered from his trauma...

Friday, 3 September 2004

i've been a babysitter for the last 2 days and by the end of it, I have come to this conclusion - I am not going to have kids of my own.

Don't get me wrong, Ameya is an absolutely adorable baby and I love playing with her, hearing her laugh and watching her being just unbelievably cute.

Yet, at the same time, the amount of attention a baby needs, the feeding, the drooling, the nappy changing (which thankfully, Guisele spared me from doing), the...oh, the everyday baby chores, are enough to convince me that babies and me do not go well together. We are only able to communicate on short 10 minute bursts. After that, baby goes back to mummy.

Although, I have had a great 2 days, taking Ameya out for a walk (we survived 20 minutes before she started whinging, then tearing, then crying, then falling asleep in my arms, which then meant I had to walk 10 minutes home with my arms protesting for the uncalled for exercise).

I enjoyed being silly and trying to make her laugh. It was also interesting trying to dodge her saliva-filled fingers that almost always find my mouth or hair...and of course, to see her laughing excitedly when Guisele sings and dances with her.

I love the child. She's incredibly cute. And thankfully, she's not mine.

Sunday, 29 August 2004

of all the strange places I've slept in, my accommodation this week has gotta be in the top 5.

I'm sharing a queen-size mattress (note: mattress, not bed) with Nat, in a corner of a living room in a typical British house.

The house is shared by 6 people, but at times has more than twice the number of people in it. So we almost constantly have people watching movies, eating, checking their emails in our 'bedroom'.

I have my sleeping bag as a blanket, and next to me is the big glass door that leads to the garden. Just last night, we had a visitor in the form of a frog. As well as a mosquito that kept attempting to live in my ear. It was quite a sight seeing Nat chasing the frog all around the living room trying to catch it.

At my foot is an unused computer that I constantly kick because my legs are too long. On my right, near my head, hiding behind the curtains, are the legs to the ironing table threatening to fall on you.

When you are half asleep and do not have your glasses on. When the light has already been turned down low, you turn to your side and get the heck scared out of you because you imagine that someone has entered the house through the garden door beside you and is standing behind the curtain.

On Nat's side of the bed, near her head, is the ironing board that belongs to the legs of the ironing table. That too, threatens to fall on us.

Anca put it very aptly when she mentioned that we are sleeping in between an ironing board. many people travel 13 hours from Singapore to England to do that? I love the good ole' English life.

Friday, 27 August 2004 be online again. To be updating again. Won't stay long but thought I owe it to my huge fanbase to write a few words on what I have been up to since I left Singapore on the 19th.

Firstly, Cydknee and Edy's wedding in Germany was absolutely beautiful. And mercies of all mercies, I managed to fit into the gorgeous baby blue bridesmaid dress. The bridal party (6 bridesmaids and groomsmen) took photos in front of this castle in Munich, causing quite a stir and tourists were all taking photos of Cyd and Ed because they looked simply stunning together.

Love the community there. From the minute I arrived, I felt totally welcome and everybody practically embraced me into the community. Very warm and friendly folks with ready smiles and open hearts. Then again, these folks are largely Romanians living in Germany...

Was a real international wedding. 23 or so nationalities represented in a reception of 90 guests. Needless to say I was the only one from Singapore there.

The best part of the wedding had to be when we were driving from the church where the vows were said to another church about 10 minutes drive away for the reception. We drove in a convey of 20 over cars and all of them had lavenders and blue ribbons tied to the car antenna. Everybody was tooting their horns as we drove along, waving out the windows to astonished but smiling bystanders...then Cyd and Ed both peeked out from the sunroof and stood there as the car drove, waving and smiling like they were was simply beautiful.

I had such a wonderful time in Germany even though I never ever had enough sleep, having to help with decorations and everything else. The people were great and I had so much fun meeting up with old friends and making new ones. It had been a real fantastic trip.

In England now. Basically slacking and finally recovering from my jet lag. Have to start hunting down old friends and attempt to surprise them, although I doubt it would work coz it would seem that my arrival had been announced several weeks before.

Typical English weather....rainy day today...although would have to leave for town soon to meet up with a friend...

Till later!

Thursday, 12 August 2004

oh to be able to wake up late

oh to be able to choose where you can go and when you want to leave the house

oh to be able to dress what you want, without being dictated by office policy

oh to be able to enjoy lunch without being restricted to 1 hour

oh to be able to go online, chat on msn and check mail without being annoyed by firewalls

oh to be able to do what you want

oh to be able to enjoy the freedom of not working and being stressed by unnecessary matters

oh to be able to let loose the free spirit in you

oh to end up going back to your old workplace the day after your last day because you have to do some filming at the building next to it

one can never escape the clutches of Citibank...

Friday, 6 August 2004

some really cool photos here

never thought one could generate such good pics in Singapore.

*dodges the daggers for making the sweeping, prejudiced statement*

Wednesday, 4 August 2004

cornered like a mouse

"Hi, may I speak with Melody please?"
"Yes, speaking."
"Melody, Kenny here."
Stunned silence, followed by a timid, "oh, hi."
"Hey, you have not SMS me your email address yet."
"Er, yeah, I forgot."
"That busy huh?"
"Yes, that busy. And I don't have your number anymore."
"Why don't you just tell it to me now. I'll write it down."
"Yup. And don't give me your Citibank email."
Wishing for the ground to swallow me whole..."Ok, here it is..."

Wednesday, 28 July 2004

I’m not sure if I should be freaked out or traumatised.

As part of one of our Marketing promotions, we regularly give away crystal vases to customers. These vases are kept with the supplier and are delivered to us only when we require them. As such, I have been put in charge of calling the sales rep whenever we need any vases.

Today, I get a call from the sales rep, Kenny, telling me that he would be able to deliver 10 of them to me this afternoon.

K: singing “Melody, this is Kenny.”
M: “Oh, hi. I was just thinking of calling you this morning to ask you about the vases.”
K: “You only were thinking about it? But why didn’t you call?”
M: “Er, I was busy?”
K: “How could you? And I even left you a message. Why didn’t you return my call?”
M: “Sorry, but I haven’t had the time to check my phone messages.”
K: “I’m so hurt.”
M: “…”
K: “Anyway, your vases will be delivered in an hour’s time.”
M: “Ok, great!”
K: “Hey, what happened to Hoon Hoon?” (Note: Hoon Hoon is the lady I took over)
M: “She’s on maternity leave, she’ll be back soon.”
K: “Oh, you know, I prefer talking to you. Hoon Hoon is always scolding me. But you’re really nice.”
M: “Er, thanks? Anyway, she’ll be scolding you again in a months’ time.”
K: “Huh? Why? What about you?”
M: “I’m leaving.”
K: “Where?”
M: “I’m leaving the bank.”
K: “Why?”
M: “Because I’ve got other plans.”
K: “How can you leave so soon? How am I going to talk to you then?”
M: “…” but thinking “You don’t, bozo.”
K: “But I just got to know you.”
M: thinking - no you haven’t
K: “Why don’t you give me your handphone number?”
M: “Why don’t you just email me?”
K: “Why?”
M: “I’m leaving the country so the handphone number wouldn’t work anyway.”
K: “Really? Why?”
M: “My friend’s getting married.”
K: “So where are you going?”
M: “Germany.”
K: “Oh, so will you check your email? Will you reply?”
M: “Of course!” (fingers crossed)
K: “Ok, you sms me your email address then.”
M: “Ok.”
K: “Then when you sms me I’ll get your handphone number as well!”
M: thinking – Crap.
K: “Ok, so my handphone number is……are you taking it down?”
M: exasperatedly “Yes, what is it?”
K: provides handphone number and continues “We should meet up one day, have coffee or something. Nothing to do with Citibank you know?”
M: “Erm, yeah, sure…”

Two hours later, the vases were still nowhere in sight. Reluctantly I have to call him again. After checking it out, he calls me back to tell me they would be there soon, and then continues…

K: “Hey, I’m still waiting for your sms.”
M: “Oh, sorry, I’ve been busy.”
K: “You know, I’m a sales person, so I know how to hassle you for it ok.”
M: “Ok, will you just be patient, I’m really busy.”
K: “Ok ok, make sure you sms it to me later ok?”
M: “Yeah, sure, whatever, bye.”

Monday, 26 July 2004

oh, the beautiful English language

Cocktail lounge, Norway:

At a Budapest zoo:


Doctor's office in Rome:

Information booklet about using a hotel air conditioner. Japan:

In a Nairobi restaurant:

On the grounds of a Nairobi private school:

In Aamchi Mumbai restaurant:

In a Tokyo bar:

Hotel, Japan:

In the lobby of a Moscow hotel across from a Russian Orthodox monastery:

Hotel, Zurich:

Advertisement by a Hong Kong dentist:

A laundry in Rome:

Tourist agency, Czechoslovakia:

Advertisement for donkey rides, Thailand:

The box of a clockwork toy made in Hong Kong:

Airline ticket office, Copenhagen:

In a Japanese cemetery:

Monday, 19 July 2004

Before I started work at Citibank, I was always under the impression that there was only one way to pronounce my name.

I mean, Melody is not a strange foreign word. But the different variations I get of my name in a matter of 3 months has proven to me that maybe Melody really isn't that common a word, even amongst the English-educated.

Starting from the most common mispronounciation, not including the numerous times I get called Melanie and Madeline.....







And the one that leaves me dumbstruck with bafflement....


Friday, 16 July 2004

Hi Melody. How are things.

Dr Valentine and I have been away for quite some time during the past couple of months. We are here (Mission College, Thailand) for about 2 weeks and then to Europe to a Youth Congress in Poland. We may see the Newbold folk there.

So how is your work going? Anything permament come up yet?

Our VP for Marketing and Development has been away for a couple of months and will not reutrn until the end of August, but we do need to make some appointments then.

Are you still interested? We still need someone to coordinate Events (alongside a Thai speaker) as well as someone to do PR. So the offer is still on the table.

Would love to hear from you.

Gail Valentine

Need I say that I am extremely interested?
On another note, I love this new feature of blogger. Multicoloured text!

Thursday, 15 July 2004

somehow, asking, "Hello, may I speak with Mr Tetet?" sounds vulgar...

it's been almost 24 hours. I still cannot bring myself to make the call.

What if I burst out laughing? What if I burst out laughing in the middle of the sentence? What if all the other person hear is me laughing?

Wednesday, 14 July 2004

My mobile started ringing at 4.50am this morning.

Reaching for it and forcing my eyes open, I see an unidentified number on my caller ID. I promptly hung up. (Fanja and Anca forgive me).

A few minutes later, it started ringing again. After realising that it could be an overseas call (hey, it was 5am, my mind works at half the speed at 5am) I picked up the call.

Me: "mmmmm...."
Caller: "Hi, is that Melody?"
Me: "mmmmm...."
Caller: silently whispering "1, 2" and then a loud chorus "Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to Melody, Happy Birthday to you."
Me: "awwwww...soh schweet...."
Fanja & Anca: "Mel, are you awake? What time is it?"
Me: "Fiiiiveeee"
Anca: "Oh, Fanja said it was 6. I'm so sorry..."
(Me wondering - would it really make a difference if it were 6, especially since they know I'm no where near a morning person. Yes, I'm grumpy when I'm woken from my sleep.)

After about 3 minutes of me mumbling something incoherant and them telling me really sweet things like that I need to make sure I have fun because if I were with them in England they would make sure I enjoyed myself, they realised the conversation was not going to work. With a final goodbye and love-yous, we hung up. I turned over and went back to sleep.

My phone went off again. This time it was a text message from another friend in England.

The feeling that I am missed and not forgotten, that even though I'm halfway across the world in a totally different timezone is not making a difference, that I have such wonderful and dear friends who bother to make contact with me and wish me a happy birthday touches me.

And sensing a wave of protests from my dear friends in Singapore, I feel loved here too. Even before my day started, I have already received several birthday wishes. And I am touched that the time I've spent away has not seem to dilute our friendship. That I have friends who make an effort, wanting to celebrate my birthday with me.

Today is a great day. Not because I've grown OLD-er, but because I feel incredibly affirmed and love. That my friends whom I hold extremely dear to my life, love and care for me. That despite my warts and all, I still have a group of people who will stand by me and support me.

That I am so loved by my family that my mother hugs me tight and wishes me a happy birthday in the morning.

That I have a brother who shows his love for me in strange warped way, slapping my stomach, insulting me and wishing me happy birthday all at the same time.

And most of all, that I have a God who is in charge of my life and who will never let me go.

I honestly feel blessed.
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