Monday, January 29, 2007

Scary Mary

We used to own the Mary Poppins home video as kids, so this mashup is articularly resonant.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Required reading

Shakespeare, Cervantes, Montaigne, Milton, Tolstoy, Lucretius, Vergil, Augustine, Dante, Chaucer, The Yahwist, Socrates/Plato, St Paul, Muhammad, Samuel Johnson, Boswell, Goethe, Freud, Thomas Mann, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Kafka, Proust, Beckett, Molière, Ibsen, Chekhov, Wilde, Pirandello, Donne, Pope, Swift, Austen, Murasaki, Hawthorne, Melville, Charlotte Brontë, Emily Brontë, Woolf, Emerson, Dickinson, Frost, Wallace Stevens, T.S. Eliot, Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, Giacomo Leopardi, Tennyson, Swinburne, Dante Gabriel Rosetti, Christina Rosetti, Walter Pater, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Victor Hugo, Gérard de Nerval, Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Valéry, Homer, Camões, Joyce, Alejo Carpentier, Paz, Stendhal, Twain, Faulkner, Hemingway, Flannery O'Connor, Whitman, Pessoa, Hart Crane, Lorca, Luis Cernuda, George Eliot, Willa Cather, Edith Wharton, Fitzgerald, Murdoch, Flaubert, José Maria Eça de Queiroz, Machado de Assis, Borges, Calvino, Blake, D. H. Lawrence, Tennessee Williams, Rainier Maria Rilke, Eugenio Montale, Balzac, Lewis Carroll, Henry James, Robert Browning, Yeats, Dickens, Dostoevsky, Isaac Babel, Celan, Ralph Ellison

I forgot to mention my New Year's resolution - I bought my sister a copy of Harold Bloom's "Genius", and while I do think the man's a puffed up wanker, I still agree with his assertion that we should be familiar with the Great Books (I gotta lotta anxiety of influence, baby).

So I've taken the 100 great authors he lists in "Genius" and resolved, by the end of the year, to have finished reading them all. Of course, this is a little equivocal - I'm not going to read the complete works of every one; I'm just going to ensure that I've read at least one book-length work by all of them.

In the cases of some writers (especially poets) I've read large extracts from their work, but not complete texts (e.g. about a fifth of Dickinson's poems, most of the chapters of Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales", and extracts from the Bible and the Quran). These authors are listed in italics.

Authors whom I've never read before, save for the odd poem, are listed in bold. (Yes, it's true that I've never read Tolstoy, Balzac or Browning. ) There are 34 of these chaps. I'm gonna finish them by December 31. I just read Celan at Kinokuniya, so that's one down, 33 to go. Book orgy starts now!

UPDATE 28 September: Oh dear, it's nearly October and I've still got 25 left... been de-bolding the ones I've finished. How?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Ephemeral Art

Um, so last night I was at the opening of Brian Gothong Tan's latest installation, "Signs, Omens and Relics of Faith". I wasn't drinking the wine, I was only high on Doritos and grapes and doughnut holes from the reception and my own natural effusiveness.

Anyhow, while attempting to highlight to Jason Wee the possibility of doing interactive performance art on the site, I ended up playing Godzilla over the porcelain city diorama and... well, I broke a fluorescent light tube.

I'm feeling guilty enough about this that I feel I've gotta advertise the exhibit.

"Signs, Omens and Relics of Faith"
25 January - 4 February
(12-8pm Tue-Wed, 12-6pm Sun)
72-13 Mohammed Sultan Rd
Free Admission

Luckily Brian was awfully jovial about the whole incident and says it's replaceable. He also says the video we made based on my "Virgo" poem is earning him mucho views on Youtube. Warning: features nudity. I'm really getting into the skin of Annabel Chong.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Lianhe Zaobao E@News, Friday 19 January 2007, p9

Some coverage from the Chinese press on my upcoming play, "251", on the life of Annabel Chong!

he title reads, "Cynthia Lee: This isn't the first time I'm going topless on stage". Christ, how come everyone thinks this play's about sex? ;-D

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Musical Theatre Auditions 27-28 Jan 2007 1-4 pm

Hey - gonna advertise a little. If you like singing, why not come down this weekend to audition for the dry presentation of my musical, "Georgette", plus other members' projects?
You are invited to audition for a number of Exciting Original Musicals for a presentation on the 10 March 2007 at the Esplanade Rehearsal Room.

Interested parties may walk in for an audition. If you would like to confirm your schedule, please contact Frederick at 81618031 (Between 9 AM to 6 PM) or email : Musical Theatre Club

DATE : 27 January 2007, Saturday
28 January 2007, Sunday
TIME : 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm
PLACE : 65 Sing Avenue (Off Rangoon Road)
MRT : Farrer Park

Please prepare TWO BROADWAY SONGS (One slow/ One Fast) that will show your RANGE and EXPRESSION. These songs are to be sung a cappella or accompanied by your own minus one. Bring along a photograph (any photo will do) and your bio-data/resume if possible.

Monday, January 22, 2007

A Procrastination Alphabet

An A-Z list of cool time-wasting sites I enjoy: artists, bloggers, archives, webcomics, news and erotica.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


I'll be doing a promotional reading of my poetry book, "last boy" at Kino this Saturday! Don't forget this:

Saturday 20 January
Kinokuniya Bookstore
Takashimaya SC.

Photos of a hospice ad for E-Ching



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Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Brian Gothong Tan made this and the following videos for my poetry book launch. "last boy", available at Kinokuniya, Borders and Books Actually.

kami/kaze: a correspondence

Thursday, January 11, 2007


...Xiaxue believes that if you're drunk and wear slutty clothes, you're asking to be raped.

Seriously. She goes on about her crush on a rapist here.

Can we please teach our young men and women the definition of rape in this country?


And I agree that it's problematic to label all drunken sex as rape, but the circumstances in which sex occurred in this case do not suggest consensuality at all.

I wish at times like this that I believed in karma.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

After the Firecrotch

I've been reading the Press Release of the American Dialect Society's 2006 Word of the Year nominations (click here). I was especially struck by the Most Outrageous category, which in previous years presented awards for the words "cliterati" and "santorum.

Most Outrageous WINNER Cambodian accessory: Angelina Jolie’s adopted child who is Cambodian.
RUN-OFF: Cambodian accessory 61, sudden jihad syndrome 36
Cambodian accessory 20
firecrotch: a person with red pubic hair. 10
macaca: an American citizen treated as an alien. 14
tramp stamp: a tattoo on a woman’s upper bottom (or lower back). 7
sudden jihad syndrome: an outburst of violence from a seemingly stable and normal Muslim. 38

And yes, the word that sprung out at me was "firecrotch", because I have horribly fond memories of being in sophomore year, disrobing a Jewish engineering student in my Furnald single, astonished at the brilliant ginger of his pubes.

I do miss my college days, not only for the kind of play I was getting but also for the kind of person I was, eager to love, eager to speak, helpless, senseless, relentless.

I don't have a pic of his pubes but I have ended up bookmarking one of his nipple. The auburn is only subliminally visible, due to the fineness of the hairs.

Other wonderful words:

Most Euphemistic
WINNER waterboarding: an interrogation technique in which the subject is immobilized and doused with water to simulate drowning; reported to be used by U.S. interrogators against terrorism detainees.

Most Useful
WINNER climate canary: an organism or species whose poor health or declining numbers hint at a larger environmental catastrophe on the horizon.

Most Creative
WINNER lactard: a person who is lactose-intolerant.

Hmm. I suppose this post suggests that my sexual perversity is inextricable from my literary perversity, followed by gustatory hunger. An ideal date would thus involve being humped vigorously while my partner recites the works of Helene Cixous and allows me to devour raw tuna off his wasabi-coated tits.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Bento Porn

Speaking of food, have I ever told you I read cookbooks like pornography? Food blogs too. I just stare at the beautiful photographs and imagine eating the creations (when I actually do eat the compositions, as has happened with Chubby Hubby's recommendations, I generally find my fantasies too heavy to stomach).

And there's no food as erotically supercharged as bento. I've been going to half-arsed American bento blogs like Cooking Cute and Bento Corner so far, but I just found the best Bento site ever, with pictures of obscenely aesthetic lunchboxes galore.

The site's in Japanese, but it's, for those of you with similar perversions.

Friday, January 05, 2007

The Omivore's Diorama

A few of you may be familiar with my perverse habit of photographing every meal I eat while I'm on holiday.

I don't know the names of half these foods, incidentally.

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Preemptive nostalgia

Woo weet! These are the photos I was trying to post before I left Singapore for Bangkok. I got into this frenzy of photo-taking just before leaving, just to preserve something of my everyday life before it got foreign again.

So here's a few shots of the last days of 2006:

It was Dongzhi, the Chinese winter solstice festival, and my family had made tangyuan with pink food colouring and boiled pandan leaves as per tradition. (And as per current lifestyle, they didn't bother to save any for me when I came home after midnight.)

I also went to Bukit Timah Plaza to see Dr Chang Tou Liang, my GP (I switched over from Nam Sang Clinic because the doctor there has known me since I was a toddler and is consequently infuriatingly patronising). His prescriptions didn't help my cough much, but guess what? It turns out that he's one of the two reviewers for The Flying Inkpot Classical Music Review site, which is still really active, despite being somewhat delayed in its updates.

And this was where I went to shop for jewellery for my grandma. Got her an utterly tasteless jade pendant which cost much more than I could afford. No-one saw me giving it to her either, dammit, so there goes the filial piety cred. On the other hand, she really seemed touched that *someone* remembered to give her a present.

Stuff on Bangkok tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

My latest e-mail to my family

Dear All,

Hey. Following the bomb scares and my friends' departure, I'm staying over with Singapore's foremost contemporary dance authority in a dinky little apartment right off the Skytrain line beteween Ratchatewi and Phaya Thai. God, these Thai names. They taste like deep-fried lemongrass strips.

Until last night, I was at the Riverfront Service Apartments at Bangpangpong, outside the main city area, but overlooking the Chao Praya River and the post-apocalyptic mid-construction sites that halted in the boom of the early-90s, never to be animated, frizen in their skeletal glory. My friends watched the fireworks from the balcony on New Year's midnight while I made friends with an international clique of gay farangs and luuk khreung (whites and half-castes )at a bar in Silom Soi 4. Don't worry; nothing scandalous occurred; these were the only guys I could find who spoke English and some of them spoke Thai as well; a towering Australian anmed David and a mohawked Bavarian named Volker took me to an after-hours Thai club in the middle of nowhere named CNN (so called because it never stops). Other people of note include Jose, a wheelchair-bound San Franciscan entrepreneur who's rather well-known as a bomb of happiness at parties; everywhere he goes people feel joy. I've invited him to have dinner when he and his partner come to Singapore, naturally.

Now, I'm staying with Tang Fu Kuen, who happens to be Singapore's foremost international contemporary dance authority - only everyone asks his advice for free, so he's subjected to working as a Southeast Asian heritage archivist for the Thai government. He's been taking me to fabulous restaurants and clubs like the SamSenSoiSarm and the Face Bar and the Bed Supper Club with his European choreographer friends (who pay for everything with their mighty euros and affable natures) and giving up his own mattress so I can have a place to snooze (he says if I go to a backpacker inn on Khaosan Road, I'll get blown up by another bomb, and while I wouldn't mind being part of history, he thinks it's unwise).

Tonight I'll possibly be going to see Suraiwong Road to see a fucking show, which he insists is compulsory. I was rather traumatised by the Patpong girls, who not only open bottlecaps and shoot darts with their pussies, but also withdraw long strings of needles therefrom.

This fucking show, however, involves two dicks. So don't worry Mum, I'll sleep soundly.



Texts 16-31 December

In a move towards greater organisation, I've decided to start listing my reading from the beginning of a month to an end rather than doing the whole ides-of-march shebang - and as per Cody's suggestion, I'm using +s to indicate the stuff that was actually good. My texts for late December were as follows:

Cecil Rajendra's "The Hour of Assassins

Madame de Lafayette's "La Princesse de Cleves"

Eli Solomon's "William Farquhar's Life in the Far East: A Chronology"
Jessica Williams's "50 Facts That Should Change the World"
Paul Arden's "Whatever You Think, Think the Opposite"
+Tom Wolfe's "The Painted Word"
+Daniel Ziv and Guy Sharett's "Bangkok Inside Out"

+Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie's "Lost Girls"
Ellis's "The Authority: Relentless"
+Jennifer Camper et al's "Juicy Mother: Celebration"
+Marjane Satrapi's "Embroideries" and "Chicken With Plums"
Alan Moore, Leah Moore and John Reppion's "Albion"

Down Syndrome Association's "Natural"

"Monty Python and the Holy Grail"

Incredibly graphic novel-heavy, cos the sales were one and comic book compendia have prices that require a 40 percent slash.

Seeya in January!