Saturday, September 27, 2008

Friday, September 26, 2008

Father's well again!

So we're back to sharing mineral water bottles. :)

Unfortunately, we're afflicted with the unfortunate disease of ruinitis, otherwise known as post-Pharaonic ennui. Enough with the pyramids and stelae and sphinxes and obelisks and asterisks and ampersands; we have been jaded by sandstone.

Saw Karnak this morning; will see Luxor tonight and the Valley of the Kings tomorrow. It takes a while to remember that what we're seeing is fuckin' awesome.

And then we're on for a 20-hour bus ride over to Mount Sinai. It's the Ten Commandments/Prince of Egypt megaschlep!!!

To all of you guys back home, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's photolog. :)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Oedipus at Aswan (Warning: members of my family really shouldn't read this post)

My father's sick. Or getting sick. Or recovering. He doesn't know. Probably picked up a bug in Cairo or Alexandria due to my enforced exposure of his body to grungy backpacker life.

I may in fact be killing my father.

At the same time we're being forced to bond: I'm talking to him all the time, we're helping each other across ruins, sharing bedrooms.

Thus we arrive at my unique problem:

1) To fall asleep, I find that it helps to relax my brain with sexual fantasies.

2) I tend to fetishise men who look like teenage versions of my father.

3) Everyone keeps commenting how young my father looks.

This definitely isn't good. I'm between sleeping with and killing my father, and tomorrow we're going to Luxor. Which was, in the old day, Thebes.

And of course, we've already met the Sphinx. (Photo coming.)

I definitely need to get laid sometime. I don't think I care much for Egyptian men, though. An awful lot of them have forehead scars from praying too much. I know that sounds like a ridiculous stereotype, but wait till you see it.

Sigh. Israel might be more fun, though. You know how Orthodox boys get over the "thou shalt not lie with another man" judgment? They do it standing up.

Monday, September 22, 2008

We're in Egypt!!!

And our legs are super-shacked from climbing so many pyramids!

That's my dad in front of the Red Pyramid in Dahshur. Those buggers really are bloody awe-inspiring. I've led him through temples, catacombs, mosques, hypostyles, courts, churches, fortresses, museums, subway systems and very smelly alleyways in the five days we've been gadding about so far. And amazingly, he can take it at the age of 59. Everyone keeps thinking he's my best bud, not my daddums.

He's wary, though. He's taking extra care of his health by snoozing a lot (I've become an early sleeper in tandem with him). Unfortunately for him, I've consistently booked us in budget hotels (with me it's second-class all the way, I told him). After travelling for years in four-to-six-star hotels, it's a little bit of a culture shock for him.

We're also sharing rooms and washing our own clothes. I'm seeing a little too much of his naked body these days. Shades of Noah and Ham.

Nyahaha. I love abusing my daddy.

I'm also inviting him to be culinarily adventurous. Above is something I ordered on the menu of Al-Shark in Alexandria called "Caw Lee Fatta", which I figured out was probably "Cow Leg Fatta", fatta being a heavy rice and bread dish.

Turns out that it's some kind of tendon rice pudding with chips.

It was actually good! But I couldn't finish it.

I really have to recommend the mango juice at El-Qobesi in Alexandria too. Lonely Planet called it the best mango juice, ever, and I'm inclined to agree. You sip that stuff and you can't move. You're transported into another state of epicurean consciousness.

Unfortunately, this being our second night in Alex, I decided to order something different. In addition to the obligatory juice (mango-guava-strawberry, each in its own delicious stratum), I got an extremely heavy fruit salad to go with it - banana, green honeydew, date, fig, pear, persimmon and grape.

Ugh. Too much. The embodiment of jelak.

Interesting incident last night: the owner of El-Qobesi gave me a free mango when I showed him what Lonely Planet said about the shop. Then I walked into another street and started taking a photo of people praying in a mosque, when a young man in a car suddenly started calling for me to show him my passport, saying he was the police.

I figured he probably wasn't the police, so I walked on. He followed on foot. I tried to protest. He was joined by a friend who told me, "When police ask for your passport, you show them!" and boxed me in the right ear.

I ran. They chased me. At first down the road, then I crossed over to the other side of the road and found a provision shop where there were bright lights shining. The shop owner made me sit down with him and insisted I stay down there when I explained what had happened. A shoe-shiner sitting nearby got me a glass of water.

They're good people here in Alexandria. (I say that mostly because they're much better than the Cairenes, who try and swindle you at every turn. It's bloody awful.)

I've got lots more stories to tell - bonding with my dad, and the way Egypt is so linguistically decentralised sometimes; in the tourist spots you hear as much English as French and Spanish and a bit of German and Portugese and Italian, and there are Coptic goldsmiths and catacomb tour guides who speak better Mandarin than I do, good god.

But I've gotta go back to mistreating my father:

Gesundheit, daddy. B).

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I'm going to Egypt and Israel from 17 Sep to 18 Oct.

Just for pleasure. My dad's always wanted to go since he was a kid and he watched "The Ten Commandments". He's trusting me to make all the arrangements, so I'm reading Lonely Planet cover to cover.

"If you are visiting Sodom via the southern route..."

Seriously, that's one of the lines in there. :P

Monday, September 15, 2008

In Conversation, After Viewing the Moon at the Mid-Autumn Festival

My Mother: I now understand that you really can . You can become so angry that you want to have a heart attack and die. Ki si lang.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


I was cruel to a friend.

Not going to explain. Just want to state this so that people don't assume I'm a nice person all the time.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Biennale Blog!

Unsatisfied with my umpteen other blogs, I've also volunteered (or was I volunteered? I can't quite remember) to maintain a blog for the Singapore Biennale.

I'm bein' plenty bitchy. Trying to make the site readable is one of the justifications. The other is that there just is so much to be dubious about, including the TVC:

Don't worry; I think the art will be pretty good. (Crosses fingers) Opening previews on 9th and 10th, open to the public from 11 September.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Goodbye, Cheebye: The Joy of Lex

Part of our farewell party involved a good ol' traditional game of Sexy Scrabble. Rules are that every word you put down has to have something to do with sex. Raunch ranks higher than standard orthography.

Note, for example, neologisms such as HERCOK, BANGNOTIE, PENIO (which was originally just PEN) and BAAGASM (this was at first just GASM, but it mutated into AAGASM and then finally to its current incarnation, which is probably a sexual climax involving a sheep).

Also note the multilingualism of the board: NONOK (Malay for vagina) and DIU (Cantonese for fuck) share the board with JIEB (which was originally JIE, but now might be short for jiebye...?).

A few further explications: ZULU => ZULUVA (either someone who loves a guy called Zul or someone who loves sex in zoos) and SEX/EASE => SEXTEASE => NUNSEXTEASE => OLNUNSEXTEASE -=> OLNUNSEXTEASER.

Gawd, why am I blogging. I have the Biennale press conference tomorrow and way too many articles due.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Season of Migration to the North

Two weeks ago, my little brother's flew back to Virginia for his final year of college.

To wish him goodbye, we ate chicken rice:

And rode the Singapore Flyer. Look! The fireworks festival was on that night.

Below, you'll see evidence of the Tourism Board's systematic marginalisation of Tamil:

Even Italian, Spanish, Portugese and Singlish are deemed more important to print than Tamil! I mean, I thought they were trying to wipe out Singlish. (It's not even very believable Singlish. My sister's ascertained that "lah" is only used in the context of replies.)

That's her below, being grumpy in the sky.

It's a rather nice view, though.

Not incredible, but not bad. Worth about 20 bucks, okay, the first time round anyway.


Saturday, September 06, 2008

Goodbye, Cheebye

Last night we had an all-night farewell party for my JC Creative Writing Club pal *****. [name withheld, because he's got a reputation.]

At one point, we pulled out the MacBook and started making faces.

From now on, none of us will be able to run for office. Ever. Again.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Saturday Morning Breakfast Comics

Incidentally, I recently found out that my godmother doesn't believe in evolution.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Amaaaaaazing anti-gay comic

From Comics with Problems:

"Not only are their habits disgusting, but they are incredibly harmful and damaging!"

"Such as?"



"Most of the contacts involve kissing - and that means saliva exchange. Many sexual and non-sexual diseases are spread through saliva."

.... and apparently, straight people didn't learn how to kiss until gay people taught 'em. May I say again that we're awesome?


From Wikipedia:

The interrobang (/ɪn'tɛrəbæŋ/) (‽) is a nonstandard English-language punctuation mark intended to combine the functions of the question mark (also called the interrogative point) and the exclamation mark or exclamation point (known in printers' jargon as the bang). The typographical character is a superimposition of those two marks. The same effect is also frequently achieved by using both, for example, "How could you do such a thing!?" or "How could you do such a thing?!"

American Martin K. Speckter invented the interrobang in 1962. As the head of an advertising agency, Speckter believed that advertisements would look better if copywriters conveyed surprised rhetorical questions using a single mark. He proposed the concept of a single punctuation mark in an article in the magazine TYPEtalks. Speckter solicited possible names for the new character from readers. Contenders included rhet, exclarotive, and exclamaquest, but he settled on interrobang. He chose the name to reference the punctuation marks that inspired it: interrogatio is Latin for "a rhetorical question" or "cross-examination"; bang is printers' slang for the exclamation point. Graphic treatments for the new mark were also submitted in response to the article.

In 1966, Richard Isbell of American Type Founders issued the Americana typeface and included the interrobang as one of the characters. In 1968, an interrobang key was available on some Remington typewriters. During the 1970s, it was possible to buy replacement interrobang keycaps and strikers for some Smith-Corona typewriters. The interrobang was in vogue for much of the 1960s, with the word 'interrobang' appearing in some dictionaries and the mark itself being featured in magazine and newspaper articles.

The interrobang failed to amount to much more than a fad, however. It has not become a standard punctuation mark. Although most fonts do not include the interrobang, it has not disappeared: Microsoft provides several versions of the interrobang character as part of the Wingdings 2 character set ( on the }/] and the ~/` keys) available with Microsoft Office.[4] It was accepted into Unicode and is present in several fonts, including Lucida Sans Unicode, Arial Unicode MS, and Calibri, the default font in the new Office 2007 suite.

The French equivalent is "point exclarrogatif", expressing a similar idea - the fusion between "point d'interrogation" (?) and "point d'exclamation" (!).

A reverse and upside down interrobang (combining ¿ and ¡, Unicode character: ⸘), suitable for starting phrases in Spanish, Asturian, and Galician, is called by some a gnaborretni (interrobang backwards). Unicode encodes this character at the code point U+2E18. In current practice, interrobang-like emphatic ambiguity in Hispanic languages is usually achieved by including both sets of punctuation marks one inside the other (¿¡Verdad!? or ¡¿Verdad?!)[6]. Older usage, still official but not widespread, recommended mixing the punctuation marks: ¡Verdad? or ¿Verdad!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Reservoir Review (Today Weekend, 30 August 2008)

We rather like this review because it actually describes the problematics of the show's construction.

From Ng Yi-Sheng's Careerblog

A Shrining example

“A STRAIGHT line into the forest!” It’s a phrase actress Patricia Toh utters in amazement upon finding a pathway in the middle of Reservoir.

It’s also an apt analogy for this new multi-media production by TheatreWorks, as director Choy Ka Fai, playwright Ng Yi-Sheng and the rest of the team beat a straight path into uncharted historical territory like a band of merry explorers.

This collaborative piece is essentially a heartfelt ode to a forgotten monument in the heart of MacRitchie Reservoir. And not just any whitewashed statue or structure, but the rather controversial Syonan Jinja. The Shinto shrine was built to commemorate the first anniversary of the British surrender to the Japanese during World War II in 1943.

Reservoir has an autobiographical approach, literally: It tells the story of a group of people who go in search of a mysterious structure that’s been swallowed up by the jungle.

Like episodic chapters in a multi-media history book-cum-diary, it combines song and dance performances — from actor/singer Rizman Putra and Japanese dancer Norico Sunayama, respectively — Choy’s own video graphics, an evocative soundscape from Chong Li-Chuan, as well as documentary footage and audio interviews of people who’ve seen the shrine in its heyday.

It’s an inventive approach to telling a story; one that few people would even think of bringing up without getting their knickers in a bunch.

That’s because it’s a sticky topic to begin with. And because Reservoir does not dwell at length with the less-than-pleasant points of war and colonial occupation, it may get accused of handling a sensitive historical topic irresponsibly.

During the opening night’s post-show talk, for example, an audience member even made comparisons to the World War II Auschwitz concentration camp.

But that comment reveals, more than anything, certain prejudices towards such topics: for example, when you bring up the Japanese Occupation of World War II, every Japanese must have three eyes, two horns, a tail and feed on the blood of young babies.

But this reviewer was relieved that the young team behind Reservoir did not even attempt to tackle the topic in such a manner, because they found a way of making sense of a symbolic structure on their own terms, no matter how romanticised it may sometimes feel.

Unlike the black and white views of textbook history, Reservoir feels fresh. There’s a sense of wide-eyed innocence and an eagerness to explore and it’s worthwhile to follow the piece all the way to that proverbial clearing in the forest.

Reservoir ends Saturday (Aug 30), 3pm and 8pm, at 72-13Mohamed Sultan Road. Tickets at $28 from or call 6737 7213.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Mad About English!

Just watched it at Shaw Lido. AWSUMLY full of WTF moments. Catch it before it disappears from theatres.

My Supperclub stint, incidentally, was full of FAIL.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Performing at Supperclub tonight.

My first time. Experimental drag + Sprachstimme, 10-10.15pm.

Texts August 2008

+Justin Chin’s “Bite Hard”
Edwin Thumboo’s “Still Travelling”

+James Baldwin’s “Go Tell It on the Mountain”
+Xu Xi’s “Daughters of Hui”

Robert Yeo's "The Eye of History"
+T. S. Eliot’s “Murder in the Cathedral”
+Athol Fugard’s “Master Harold… and the boys”

+Goenawan Mohamed’s “Conversations with Difference”
+Ludwig Wittgenstein’s “Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus”

+Mark Millar's ”Wanted”
+Alan Moore’s “Batman: The Killing Joke”
+Erich Origen and Gan Golan's "Goodnight Bush"

Agni Kootthu’s ”OH!”
+IndigNation’s ”Tong Bu Tong 2: Strange Tribe”
Panggung Arts and Dramabox’s”Angel-ism”
W!ld Rice’s ”The Swordfish, then the Concubine”
+W!ld Rice’s “The Last Temptation of Stamford Raffles”
+The Theatre Practice’s “I Am Queen”
+W!ld Rice’s “Apocalypse Live!”
+The Magdalena Project and the Substation’s “Blood Binds”
+Paradise Alley’s “Jazzy Jazz and the Razzmatazz”
+Theatreworks’s “Reservoir”

+Jimmy Ong's "Ancestors on the Beach"
+The Singapore Art Museum's "The Artists' Village: 20 Years On"
+FARM's "Rojak 12"

+John Woo's "Red Cliff"

... Honestly, I think that was the only movie I saw this month. Been damn busy with drama.