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.
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