Friday, December 29, 2006

Letter home from Bangkok

Dear All,

I'm safe in Bangkok! My flight back is Airasia FD3507 and it arrives in Singapore on Wednesday at 2220 hrs.

Have unfortunately only seen the interiors of malls so far (Don and Terry are shockingly uninterested in Southeast Asian sculpture), but cultural reports are forthcoming. So far, service has been consistently bad, but food has been decent, excepting some bad ramen (Terry does not believe in going to Thailand to eat Thai food, either).

Am spending tomorrow exploring on my own. Have bought a grievous number of T-shirts - none at all for Yi-Xian, partly because he's a brat and partly because I haven't found the exact combination of blue ringer tee and yellow circle of the iconic Red Bull design yet.
E-Ching, do you want a T-shirt inscribed with the entire Thai alphabet? It's very philologically dinky. It's being sold exclusively to the farangs, however, so I have yet to come across a version that comes ina size smaller than Gargantuan.

I miss you all abjectly.



P.S. Spicy fried food is actually quite beneficial to a sore throat, provided that it's accompanied by hard tap water and Heineken.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Shouting her name forever

Columbia University, my alma mater, still refuses to apologise for expelling a student who protested our support of the Nazi regime.

"[Dean] Butler had Burke expelled for leading pickets protesting the Columbia administration's insistence on sending a delegate and friendly greetings to a major propaganda festival the Nazi leadership orchestrated in 1936 in Germany, the 550th anniversary celebration of Heidelberg University. Although he was a fine student and had been elected president of his class, Burke was never readmitted."
-Stephen H. Norwood, The Spectator

Y'know, most universities manage to make their alumni send them money. Columbia ends up making us at lest half-arsedly politically aware, and then flabbergasts us with their moral corruption.

Incidentally, I'm doing freelance writing for IBM, which of course was the company that gave Auschwitz the supercomputer that issued the serial numbers tattooed on the concentration camp victims' flesh. See here.

Was gonna post a bunch of photos about my last few days in Singapore before leaving for Bangkok tomorrow, but goddamned Beta Blogger won't let me post my pics. Blurty users, don't change armies.

Mood: belligerent.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Thought for the day

Today's Comic

I was in the Singapore Art Museum yesterday evening and I ended up talking to a couple of New York girls, first answering questions on Singapore contemporary art and later stuff on Singapore itself. And one thing that came up was the fact that I'm really not that radical.

Despite the PAP's patronising attitudes, disconnectedness from broad sentiment and disregard for conventional definitions of human rights, I really do believe that at the end of the day they're thinking about the country's best interests. That there is a 'benevolence' to the dictatorship - often misguided, and self-justifying (hence the massive salaries), but ultimately that it's a government that wants to be the best government that it can be.

And it's a crying shame that you can't assume this as a given, to expect this from all the governments in the world. Maybe after a US education and the discovery that the American two-party system's just so mind-bogglingly lobby-driven and corrupt, it's harder for me to be idealistic about democracy.

Of course, you could point out that a religiously influenced government - the American religious right or Iran, for example - has a Messiah complex and thus believes it's the best government possible.

Hmm. Feel free to comment and disabuse me of my nepotistic, gerrymandering loyalties. I'm thinking aloud.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Technical difficulties

About a month ago, my digital camera suddenly started malfunctioning. As you can see, everything suddenly became bathed in a lavender wash:

At the Books Actually 1st anniversary party.

In the MRT.


I was going to spend megabucks on camera repairs, but the glitch has suddenly fixed itself. For how long, who knows?

Btw, the reason I needed to fix the machine was because I'm leaving the country briefly... details forthcoming.

Friday, December 22, 2006


Terry and Don, two of my bestest JC friends, have invited me to go with them to Thailand! I'll be there from the night of Wed 27 Dec to Wed 3 Jan. It's my first time in Bangkok as an adult. I have been told it's inspiring.

My friends will be flying back on Jan 1, but I couldn't get an AirAsia flight back any earlier; shoulda taken the bus and train; I mean, two days alone in Bangkok, what am I gonna do????? ;)

Seriously though, I could do with advice. E.g. I wanna write a Fridae article while I'm there but I don't speak Thai... how to be edgy news reporter like dat?

Friday, December 15, 2006

Texts consumed Nov 16- Dec 15, 2006

I wonder if these lists will ever be used as a criminal alibi? They really are one of those little compulsive rituals, though. It's got to the point that I try and read shorter books so as to prove to myself that I've read more - you'll notice I overdid the poetry and the graphic texts (i.e. comic books and children's books) this month.

Ooh - new policy! I'm going to bold the stuff I really liked.

Eddie Tay's "Remnants"
Charles Bukowski's "Play the Piano Like a Percussion Instrument Until Your Fingers Start to Bleed a Little"
Hedwig Anuar's "Under the Apple Tree: Political Parodies of the 1950s"
Paul Tan's "First Meeting of Hands"
Maya Angelou's "Amazing Peace: A Christmas Poem"
Mani Rao's "Echolocation"
Kahlil Gibran's "The Prophet"

Max Brooks's "World War Z"
Zai Kuning's "Bluemonkish"

Bertolt Brecht's "Life of Galileo"
Euripides' "Medea", "The Trojan Women ", "Hecuba" and "Andromache"

Margaret Chan's "Ritual As Theatre, Theatre As Ritual"
Ian Blyth and Susan Sellers's "Live Theory: Hélène Cixous"
Gretchen Liu and Angelina Phillips's "Wayang: A History of Chinese Opera in Singapore"

Andy Riley's "Loads More Lies to Tell Small Kids"
Popjustice and David Whittle's "A Girl Called Madonna" and "A Boy Called Marshall"
Allan Ahlberg's "The Little Cat Baby"
Edward Monkton's "Life", "The Wonderful Man", "The Lady and the Chocolate", "The Pig of Happiness" and "The Shoes of Salvation"
Guy Delisle's "Shenzhen"

Alex Wang's "Believe"
Agni Kootthu's "O$P$"
Cake Theatre's "Divine Soap"
W!ld Rice's "Jack and the Beansprout"
Adrian Tan and Ng How Wee's "Pulau"
The Theatre Practice's "Mama Looking for her Cat"

Tony Scott's "Deja Vu"
Stephen Frears' "The Queen"
Lots of "QI" (ok lar, this was on Youtube)