Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Love According to Chinese Ballads

A new year is arriving in 5 days. This is the time of year to be morose and introspective.

Over the last two weeks, I've spent more time at in front of a karaoke mic than I care to admit, accentuating another part of my fading Singapore identity - the easy availability of Asian ballads. Music about love, hate, betrayal, rejection, set to terse, succinct lyrics that is the hallmark of the Chinese language.

Like it or hate it, growing up Chinese in Singapore means growing up to the music of Jacky Cheung, Andy Lau or (if you're younger) Jay Chou. If you'd grown up in a Chinese household like mine, you'd even be familiar with the songs of Theresa Teng, Yu Tien, Fei Yu Qing and Sam Hui.

For good or ill, the music, and the values they espouse, form a foundation for your value system. Singing them at a karaoke is more than a trip down memory lane. It is walking down the dark cul de sac you always knew was there but never dared walk down, complete with homeless in cardboard boxes, burning oil drums, and hoodlums lurking in the shadows waiting to rob you of your last twenty bucks.

A part of me wonders if I exagerrate, yet I know it is unadulterated truth. Asian ballads are either encourage the formation of certain values, or the songwriters grok Chinese male cultural mindset. I cannot tell which, and it probably doesn't matter.

Love is Sacrifice


- 苏永康, "男人不该让女人流泪"


How do I prove my loving kiss,
To protect your brittle soul
I will sacrifice my life to protect you from harm
Even if I am discarded,
Even if I sin,
I'll never leave.

Love is doing what you need to do. Love means no price is too steep, no sacrifice too trivial, no cost too high - even if unrequitted love is the asking price. Love asks the impossible, and a true red-blooded male will not only deliver, he will deliver until his broken, bleeding spirit can deliver no more.

What a terrible thing it is to love. If love asks such terrible things, who can we expect to love?

Love Inspires

- 光亮, “童话”


You said to me sobbingly,
"Fairy Tales are lies,
You can't possibly be my Prince"
Maybe you'll never know
From the day you told me you loved me
The stars in my night sky brightened
I am willing to be
the Angel in the Fairy Tales you love so much
And enfold my wings around you to guard you
You must believe that We
Like all Fairy Tales
Will have a Happy Ending

Love never asks for sacrifices. Sacrifices are offered, given, presented of free will. Demanding a sacrifice turns love into a transaction. One can never exchange the infinite for the infinite.

Love inspires. Love shows you that there is more in you, that there is always more in you. And when there's always more, you, in turn, inspire.

Love is Infinite, Humans are Fallible

-伍佰 & China Blue,“浪人情歌”


Let love blow with the wind,
Let love leave no scars
Let all joy, sorrow and all that is past be discarded
Let all thoughts and yearnings not be you
I can bear it no longer
I must forget you

Sometimes love does not work out. When love does not work out, it asks one duty of you.

Walk away with dignity. Bear the scars, swallow the hurt, but walk away.

And that, sometimes, is the hardest thing to do.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Seasons Greetings

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukka, and Happy Holidays to one and all!

Off to pick the wife up in 15 minutes. Don't do anything naughty while I'm gone!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Day 10 of Return

I had been meaning to write about my thoughts and feelings coming back to Singapore for a while. The emo entry I wrote when I first returned captures but a small aspect of what I am feeling.

Singapore, to me, seems like that odd midway-point between home and ideal holiday destination. I know it's only been 6 months, but even those 6 months were enough to throw me off. Marina was under construction when I left - and Carl's Jr didn't have a Singapore outlet. Several roads seem to lead to different places from what I remembered, though driving on the left hand side of the car seemed oddly familiar.

The greatest point of disjunct, however, has been food. It's no secret I've been hitting Singapore food pretty hard. I just never expected it to hit back so fiercely.

Last night, just before dinner, I developed bad abdominal cramps. I've had these before when I was in the States - it was when I discovered that I'd become lactose intolerant. This time round, however, no lactose was involved. The cramps got so bad that my parents had to rush me to a doctor for an injection. The injection settled my stomach for all of 5 minutes - where I promptly "merlioned" my dinner outside the clinic.

A graphic representation of what happened outside the clinic for those unfamiliar with what "merlioning" means

Needless to say, I spent the whole of last night feeling bloated and queasy. I threw up two more times before my stomach settled.

What does this have to do with local food, one might ask? The final time I threw up - I threw up the remnants of my dinner two nights ago, and the pain immediately ceased. It was a bowl of bak-chor mee. More accurately, it was probably the bak-chor, which tasted a little funky to me even when I was consuming it.

I am now recovering at home, with plenty of time to think about food misadventures mere days before Chirstmas. Perhaps even my stomach no longer acknowledges its Singaporeaness. I certainly had no problems consuming wasabe beef sandwiches recovered from the floor. Either that, or it's my retribution for tormenting Victoria about the availability of mee pok tar in San Francisco.

Perhaps there is no moral to this story, save for those manufactured by a morose mind.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Bloggers E-Carolling

Note: My thanks to Mrs Lim for her wonderful carolling meme, without which I would not have thought this up.

The heart of Christmas is giving. Carolling is a way of giving - it sends forth a much-needed reminder that Christmas is bigger than presents, trees and a respite from work. There are, however, those that need more than a reminder of Christmas cheer. People for whom presents are a far-off dream.

I'd like to give something to these people. I'm sure you do too.

Here's the deal - send me a request to sing a carol or Christmas song, and I'll sing it and put it up for your enjoyment. If you like my rendition, all I ask is that you make a gift to a charity. You pick the charity, you pick the gift. Send me feedback and I'll put your name up beside the music link, along with the gift you made. It's that simple.

I look forward to your patronage.

FAQ for Bloggers E-Carolling

Q: How do I make a request?

A: You leave a comment, or email me at khaycelim-at-hotmail-dot-com. I will take any and all requests until 1 Jan 2006.

Q: Will you guarantee that you will fulfil every request?

A: I will do my best to fulfil your request. However, there are some songs that are completely beyond my ability to do a credible job, for example, "Santa Baby". If I cannot do a song, I'll let you know, and you can pick another song, or be very pissed off with me and never speak to me again.

Q: What if I already made a gift to charity? Do I have to make a fresh gift to request a song from you?

A: If you're already made a gift, kudos. Send me a request and I will do it, as my way of thanking you. No fresh gift required.

Q: Is this just a cheap publicity stunt to get traffic to your site?

A: Actually, it isn't. The traffic is nice, but I will be deriving no benefit from it. Any ad revenue that I get from this traffic spike will be donated to charity.

Q: Any amount? Any charity? You're kidding!

A: Different people will value what I am doing differently. Just give what you think my singing's worth. If you think I'm utter crap, don't donate. Different people will also have different ideas where their gifts should go. I don't care about where the gifts go, so long as they go somewhere needed.

Q: How do you stop people from cheating, i.e, requesting a song, then making no gift?

A: I can't. I however, believe that people who cheat charities during Christmas go to a Very Special Place, along with child molesters and people who speak loudly at the cinema. Let your conscience be your guide.

Q: Who the f*** do you think you are? Some celebrity?

A: On the contrary, I know I'm not a celebrity. I don't even have a high traffic blog. I'm just an ordinary Joe Bloe doing his bit for Christmas.

Q: How do I know you're not utter crap?

A: I've sung a few carols for Mrs Lim in her carolling meme. They are here, here and here. Sample them, and if you don't like them, don't make a request.

Q: I love your idea! Can I E-carol on my own site?

A: Absolutely! I'd love to have more people involved in this. As long as you carol for charity, I'll all behind you!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

White Christmas

In the spirit of Mrs Lim's (no relation) Christmas Carolling meme, here's my contribution.

White Christmas

Added: What Child is This

More added: Last Christmas by request of Mrs Lim. My apologies for the bad syncopation - the song is damnably hard to do.

Now any blogger who reads this post must also do a Christmas carol. Muahahaha!

Dear Mr Brosnan...

You are in grave danger. On Monday, 19 Jan 2005, at approximately 8 pm,Shianux , Linda Chia and I were shooting the breeze when the conversation took a darker turn.

Somehow, the conversation turned towards rape laws in Singapore. Shianux brought up the fact that women are unable to rape men in Singapore, because the legal definition of rape in Singapore requires penetration. Upon gaining this knowledge, Linda's eyes gleamed in an unwholesome fashion. Moments before this, we had discussed actors that we liked and your name came up.

It is for this reason that I fear for you. Please heed this warning.


As is obvious, the coffee session on Monday went splendidly. Shianux and I had a lot to talk about. What can I say? Put two lawyers together and we talk shop. Even if we had all night, and an infinite number of jurisdictions, we would have talked those to death. Indeed, The World Is Not Enough.

Linda joined us at about 8.30. I don't think it's an understatement to say that she lit up the place like Dante's Peak. To our discredit, Shianux and I continued talking shop - which must have bored the Living Daylights out of her. She was, however, happy to discover some useful legal tidbits. Laws of Attraction, sad to say, almost always take mindshare precedence over boring legal discussions.

The conversation continued late into the night. Linda suggested supper. Shianux and I agreed. Shianux was hungry. I think he hadn't eaten After The Sunset. Besides, it was too early to be back. Since none of us were working, we decided to live for today, and Die Another Day - Shianux, Linda and I split an unhealthy but oh-so-delicious supper of sambal stingray, fried kway teow and roti john.

All in all, it was great fun. I hope to be able to meet all of you at the Tomorrow Christmas party. I hope that happens - the discussion about it seemed inactive for a while, and no venue has been confirmed yet. Nevertheless, I have high hopes. Even if individual discussions and news items do get shelved...
(wait for it)
Tomorrow Never Dies.

P.S: Forgive me Linda. I had to.

P.P.S: I ask my readers to pardon my pun-niness. I'm high on teh-o peng. Yeah. That's it. Blame the teh-o peng.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Rivendell, Lothlorien and Lost Ones

Shyue Chou, Brian, Poon and I

The last time I met these guys was when I was 17. They were former co-residents of Rivendell and Lothlorien, two BBS sites where I used to hang out at back in the days of 2400 bps modems. There are people from that BBS I'd prefer to forget of course, but these are the people that I should have remembered but didn't.

Life got in the way.

We talked. The last time I had met them, I hadn't entered NS yet. That's three entire stages of my life where I had not seen them - NS, Uni and eventually career. We talked, we caught up, and out of morbid curiousity, I asked about some of the people in the BBS I'd rather have forgotten. I felt more than a little disappointed when I heard that some of these characters hadn't changed one bit.

All in all, though, I'm glad all of us managed to find our way around life eventually. At 16, we were angsty, depressed and angry at the world. At 29, we had or have successful careers, and can look back on our teenage days with a little embarassment, but much nostalgia.

There were several turning points in my life - and meeting these people on Lothlorien was one of them. As an angsty, wound-up teenager, finding out that you weren't as alone as you thought was a godsend - even if my sanity was often tried with this bunch.

I wish you all the best. Lothlorienites, Rivendellians, and all that have entered my life but, through my own lack of care, have dropped out of my life.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Coffee on Monday

I'm going to be at Liat Towers Starbucks at 8.00 p.m, Monday, December 19. I will be meeting Shianux for coffee (I think) and would love to meet more Singapore bloggers and my readers. Please drop by if you are so inclined, and don't be shy - I'm probably even more shy than you are and this arrangement is entirely uncharacteristic of me, but I do very much want to put faces to comments and blog handles.

I'll be the bald Asian guy wearing a polo T and cargo pants, reading a book. If I'm alone, please come up and introduce yourself - you're more likely to know what I look like than the other way round.

Alternatively, I will be happy to meet people for coffee at alternate times if you leave a comment or an email at khaycelim-at-gmail-dot-com.

Note: Edited for Tym's benefit. I wasn't aware there was any place in Liat Towers apart from Starbucks -to- have coffee, but I really should be specific about it.

Thursday, December 15, 2005


I never expected homecoming to be so surreal. I'm not even sure that "homecoming" is the right term.

My old room was exactly as I left it when I made my trip six months ago. My books. My graduation photos. My stuffed animals. All of them where right where I left them - less the ones I took with me to California. The absences were conspicious. Someone had ripped the most important parts of my life from my old room, and that someone was I.

I met up with friends from my old firm this afternoon. My old supervising partner looked pale and overworked. My friend told me about his recent hospital visit. My friend was busy and overworked. We met up with another old friend who has since moved on to another firm. We talked like I had never left. I missed them greatly.

Tonight, I suprised AC Drama with my appearance at their dance recital. After the recital we talked as if I had never left - about what I had done since I left. I talked about the time I had spent in my LLM program, about the freedom I had there. I talked about my schoolmates. I talked about how humbling, yet inspiring, my experiences have been. We made plans to meet. I missed them greatly.

There is more, of course. I learnt what the price of friendship was this afternoon. It was from someone I missed greatly, but I just cannot face right now. I pray that one day this person will understand all I ever wanted was to be able to face him without disappointment, and I cannot even do that. I shall miss him greatly.

Somehow, I'm home but I'm not. I've only returned to the life that I've left behind, and everyone else has moved on. I cannot help but feel disappointment, yet I have no right to. Somewhere, through the haze of jetlag and disappointment, the impact of being caught between 2 homes has yet to sink in.

It has however, landed the first cut.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Food For Thought

I finished my last exam, submitted my research paper and had a good dinner. I am amazed by the amount of time I had left over after every exam, and how much time I -didn't- need. Oh, and I passed my MPRE. Yay me.

I fly back tonight, near-midnight. A time warp will throw me in Singapore at about 11.30 am on the 14th of December. For fun and entertainment on the flight, I loaded up on onions and beans for dinner. That should make me real popular. I hope they upgrade me to First Class. Perhaps my -ahem- personality will be in first class while I languish in economy.

Then, it's a couple of weeks of enjoying Teh-O Peng with old friends and annoying the heck out of my productively employed friends.

Life is good.

Friday, December 02, 2005

How Do You Feel Sorry....

Is it right to feel sorry that someone who's life never intersected yours passes on? Is it right to write about loss when you've never read a single word of her writings?

I don't know La Idler. Yet, for some reason, I feel sad. I don't feel I have a right to feel sad, and this drives me nuts.

I fear death. Even though I am Christian and I believe in the Better Place, I still fear its arrival. I fear the end of things that I have yet to do. I don't know if any of these thoughts crossed Sondra's mind as she passed on. Perhaps my sorrow is only a pale reflection of my fear.

Perhaps there is a Better Place for Sondra. Perhaps not. I don't know what her beliefs are, and I don't feel right imposing mine on the dearly departed. What I do know is that I feel as if I've lost something that I never knew I had.

Or perhaps it is a stark reminder that we are all mortal, and we have but a short time. Perhaps it is a reminder to use my time wisely, and not let my fear of the unknown stop me from making sure lives intersect.

Rest well, Sondra. I knew you not, but thank you for your precious gift to me.

Tagged Yet Again

Victoria tagged me with this a while ago. I promised to do this after I'd finished writing my paper. Here it is.

1. KC
2. Khayce
3. Anthony (but not Tony)

1. Khayce
2. Sykobear
3. Keeper of the Scrolls (this one dates back almost 15 years)

1. My facial skin - few pimples, small pores.
2. My crooked teeth - makes my smile maniacal
3. My thumb reflexes - I've incredibly coordinated thumbs.

1. My curly hair
2. Skin on my arms and legs, which occassionally break out in itchy rashes
3. My flat feet

1. ACS
2. Chinese
3. Did I mention ACS?

1. Death
2. Not knowing what I have in store in half a year
3. Knowing that I can (and have been) taken advantage of.

1. Sleep
2. Internet Connection
3. Books

1. My glasses
2. My Berms
3. My grotty, hole-y, cotton T-Shirt

THREE OF YOUR FAVORITE SONGS (currently, anyway):
1. Iris - Goo Goo Dolls
2. Drops of Jupiter - Train
3. Unwell - Matchbox 20

1. Road to Damascus - John Ringo and Linda Evans
2. White Wolf - David Gemell
3. Magic of Incarnum - d20 book that has nice, game-breaking material

1. Intelligent conversation.
2. Quiet "alone" time.
3. Great sex.

TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE (in no particular order):
1. I've mooted in international mooting competitions.
2. I can do Yoda, Gollum, Grover and Ribena Berry voice impressions.
3. I've acted in 2 musicals and 3 plays.

1. A cute butt.
2. Mischevious eyes.
3. Nice Shoulders. (My intelligent wife pointed out intelligence was not a physical trait.)

1. Tabletop gaming.
2. Computer gaming.
3. Heck, all gaming.

1. Finish my exams.
2. Find a job for next year.
3. Not freeze because it's winter here.

1. Research Chemist.
2. Journalist.
3. College Professor.

1. Norway
2. Italy
3. China

1. Anton
2. Annmarie
3. Bobbi-Jo

1. Have and raise kids.
2. Find a job I actually -like-.
3. Sing for an audience one more time.

1. I solve problems, but not people.
2. I like watching American Football.
3. I like violent martial arts flicks.

1. I'm much closer to female friends than male friends.
2. I can pick out a stunning dress at 20 paces, just by walking by.
3. I hate putting on make up, cos it ruins my skin.

1. Angelina Jolie
2. Catherine Zeta-Jones-Douglas
3. Monica Belucci

1. Christian Bale
2. Johnny Depp
3. guessed it...Brad Pitt

I tag Richard, Brenda and Ada.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Back From Ohio

Slowly recovering from sub-zero Thanksgiving. Am glad to return to the (relatively balmly) California winter. Took tons of pictures. Will post them and write about them when I get the chance.

Will be spending the next few days finishing up my paper and hunting for cut-price turkey meat. Have fun Singapore.

P.S Is anyone who reads this blog going to attend the Blogger's Christmas Party on December 23rd? If you do, can you leave me a comment? I'd like to go but don't like going if I don't know anybody there.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

"I Fail To See It"

First, read this. Then read this.

And then ask yourself, "Since when was ignorance a quality argument?"

"They deserve every black eye and every broken nose. Why? Because they choose to remain with the guy. ANYONE who chooses to remain with a beater deserves all that is coming to her."

(Bolded for emphasis)

Therein lies the flaw of Hades' entire argument. Sure, it's a choice to remain with the guy - but making that choice can be damn difficult.

Let me get a few myths straight.

Domestic violence (meaning abused men, women AND children) is not about violence. It's about control. The violence is merely a symptom of the need for one person to dominate someone else's life completely.

Calantha wrote:

"Anyway....since the abuser can make it hard enough for the victim to leave, it's worse when there are kids involved. I agree that such a home is not a place to raise children, but they are sometimes used as pawns in this conflict (ie "If you try to leave me, you'll never seen the kids again/I'll kill them.") No mother or father wants to hear that or let it happen. Stupid Catch-22, that's what it is. And sometimes the police don't do a damned thing to help."

That is true, but that's an advanced symptom. It usually starts a lot smaller. Persuading you to give up your job. Expressing a dislike for your friends. Making himself unpopular with your family. Then it spirals downwards. Cutting off your supply of money when you don't listen. Your friends don't talk to you because they can't stand your partner. Your family doesn't talk to you because they can't stand your partner.

Not so easy to leave your partner after your support network's been completely destroyed neh? Once that happens THEN the real abuse starts.

The sad part is, it doesn't start this way. Many domestic violence victims stay because they had a -very- good relationship at one point in the past. In fact, one telltale sign of domestic violence is the niceness-abuse-reform. The velvet glove covering the iron fist so to speak.

Hades writes:

"Women who choose the bad guy over the good deserve to have their skulls split open. I mean, why not? She had the choice, she made it. No one forced her to be with El Skull Busto with the "I DATE MY SISTER" tattoo. She chose it of her own free will. Surely she deserves whatever she gets."

Because abusers don't necessarily come with "I DATE MY SISTER" tattoos, any more than Ken Lay had a "I STEAL FROM ENRON" tattoo. Domestic abusers come in all shapes, sizes and forms. They cut across race, nationality, gender, and sexual orientation.

Life would be a lot simpler for me, professionally and privately, if people came with warning labels attached.


Don't take what I say as the gospel truth. Go do some research. The results may suprise you.

Sad thing is, at one stage, I did think a lot like Hades. It was only due to a fortutious encounter with the head of the Domestic Violence Unit of the San Jose Public Prosecutor's office that I even know as much as I do now.

I am sure Hades is well-intentioned, but this is the exact kind of thinking that should not be perpetuated. If we do, the abusers win. The abusers get their way because fewer people is unwilling be sympathetic.

YOU are the one with the choice. YOU are the one that can help. How will you choose?

Monday, November 21, 2005


The days are getting cold, and the nights colder. The leaves on trees turn brown and my knees hurt like the dickens at night and early in the morning. I complain incessantly to my wife about the cold. Her only response "Ohio will be colder." She gleefully shows me the weather report on Ohio.

Why's Ohio important? Cos I'm headed there over Thanksgiving. There is much fowl to be eaten and two ladies, two mischievious cats and a pair of wingless snow owls to be met. People from my wife's former life that I've never been involved with, until now. They (meaning the ladies, not the cats and snow owls) were gracious enough to fly me in. I hope I do not disappoint them. :D

On other news, I return 14th December to Singapore, and I fly back 6th Jan. I'll be happy to meet up with people that I've only managed to blog to, if you drop me a message at khaycelim-at-gmail-dot-com. I'm normally a lot more shy about these meetings, but I figured this would probably be my last and only chance to meet some of you - I probably won't be flying back next year until Dec 2006, if at all.

On other news, Tor has tagged me with a meme, which I will do once I've completed my cyberspace law paper. In truth, I could probably have scraped by with an easier topic, but I feel I need to take this one on. Much thanks to Huichieh actually, and his book recommendation Freakonomics. That was the inspiration for the angle on my paper.

P.S Shianux, if you are reading this, do a search on Boldrin and Levine. Everything I thought I knew about the economics behind IPR was wrong. Everything. God help us all.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

On Plastic and Wasabe Beef

Taking a break from my usual cook-eat-sleep-study routine to check out
some of my fav blogs, and I see this, this and this.

Let me state right upfront - I can't find it in me to condemn Dawn Yang for her behaviour. Furthermore, I do not believe Dawn Yang has done anything particularly deserving of the Singapore Blogs Lynch Mob.

The Cowboy's nailed most of the issues down - there's nothing wrong with having had plastic surgery, living a life of luxury, partying with pretty people nor having great press coverage.

There is one issue that bears examination. Dawn lied. At the very least, she coyly denies having had plastic surgery. This, I think, is the source of ire among the Singapore blogosphere. She lied. She cheated. She deserves to be taken down.

Doesn't she?


I asked those questions to tell you this story.

Last Friday, I was rushing from class to my MPRE exam - 25 miles away from where I study. I was already running late and I had to grab lunch from the school cafeteria. I don't normally have lunch there - the food there is way too expensive, but I hadn't had time to pack my homecooked lunch on Friday on account of studying for my exam. So I paid too much for a wasabi beef sandwich, and ran out.

On the way out of the cafeteria, I heard my sandwich go "splat". There it lay, on the ground where pigeons pooped, men trampled and rainwater collected.

I almost cried.

The first thing that crossed my mind was how I couldn't afford another sandwich. I probably could have, but I was afraid that with this "waste" I would somehow be depriving myself of vitally important money down the road. Plus, I knew I wouldn't have the time to queue for another sandwich.

So, feeling like an absolute fool, I scooped it up. Except I didn't eat it straight away. I made to dispose of part of the sandwich into the bin, but retained most of it. I travelled a bit of distance from the cafeteria before I tucked into my soggy, dirty sandwich.

I deceived the crowd around me that I'd disposed of the sandwich when I didn't, because I felt I had to. Heaven forbid if anyone I knew saw me do what I did. I was ashamed that I had to resort to eating something off the ground. So I lied to everyone around me. Most of all, I lied to myself.


Yes, Dawn Yang probably should not have tried to play it coy with the truth. Yet, I recall my wasabe sandwich and I just cannot find it within myself to condemn her. Judging by the reaction in the blogosphere, I'd say she was spot-on about her intuition - that people react to plastic surgery, wealth and popularity like it connotes some character flaw.

Put another way - if she weren't rich, popular and pretty, would we even give a $#!+?

I don't know what her reasons are for wanting to mislead, but I'm fairly sure she has her reasons. Regardless of the legitimacy of her reasons, I believe she is entitled to some level of human weakness.

For in the end, are we all not human?

Friday, November 04, 2005

Yay Me

Pardon the long silences. Between cranky school computers and travelling a hundred miles a day, I've had very little opportunity to update people on my situation. I am glad to say that the situation is remedied by the purchase of a slightly-used laptop.

I am currently studying for my MPRE, which is a component of getting called to the California Bar. People tell me its easy. I don't believe them - hence my nigh-religious mugging and neglect of all important things, blogging included.

One thing I have noticed about law school in America. It feels like I'm back in NUS. The more things change, the more they stay the same. The mass hysteria to join large firms, check. Leaving assignments to the last minute, check. Having way too many activities to reasonably choose from, double check.

More later. Finishing up a mock MPRE exam.

Friday, October 21, 2005

On the Road Again

Before I begin this post proper, let me say what a pleasure it is to be accused of murder by Mr Wang. Go read, quite fun.

Driving a 100 miles a day gives you plenty of radio time. With increased exposure to music, combined with my propensity towards aural learning, means I get Last Song Syndrome a lot. It's generally not unpleasant.

However, some days, it becomes more than pleasant. Some days it takes over your life, hits you just there, and leaves you gasping for breath. Some days it becomes your personal soundtrack, and you wonder if the music is the message you've been looking for.

"I know there's something in the wake of your smile.
I get a notion from the look in your eyes, yea.
You've built a love but that love falls apart.
Your little piece of heaven turns too dark."

- Listen to Your Heart, DHT and Edmee

I'm not much of a Roxette fan. I think the female lead for Roxette sounds way too harsh for their rendition of "Listen to Your Heart", and I don't think the way Roxette oversynthesizes their music does justice to the song.

I first heard the DHL version a day ago. Today, at 7 am, on my way to class, I heard it again. I heard it one last time at 8 pm, on the way back from classes. Each time, the raw simplicity of piano + voice left me breathless. There's a raw honest simplicity in music that dares to use rests in music as an invitation to fill the music with my own thoughts and personal experiences.

It is, however, the voice that truly carried the song. Clean, clear, powerful, yet so very...real. As if the song wasn't really sung and broadcast on radio, but sung by a dear friend, right beside me.

I swear, I even identified the friend. And as I named the friend, the voice changed again, and I heard in the song another friend's voice. Then another. Then another.

They all sang together, and magically blended together, for the voice in the song was the song of EveryWoman. I found myself missing these friends in Singapore terribly. The names I ran through weren't the people I had expected to miss, but I did. Even as the song ended, the feeling of loss remained.

Your mind may play tricks on you, but your heart always knows who it misses.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Zhng My Books

I am -such- a geek. Given a choice between zhnging my car and zhnging my books, I'd almost always pick the latter.

Hence, I am extremely appreciative of living in Berkeley. One of the perks of living in Berkeley is that you're in a place where cool authors visit. One of the downsides of -studying- in Santa Clara while -living- in Berkeley is that you're usually away when that happens.

In September, Cody's, a bookstore 15 minutes walk away from my house, brought in Neil Gaiman -AND- Terry Pratchett. Except on both the days they were around, I wasn't. At least, I -think- I wasn't. I didn't even remember they were popping by.

To make matters worse, I had none of my Pratchett books with me, and I don't own a single Gaiman book. Yeap, not a single one. Not American Gods. Not Anansi Boys. Not Neverwhere. Not a single Sandman comic. No book zhnging. Damn.

I figured body autographs were just out of the question anyway.

Well, at least Lois McMaster Bujold will be popping by in October. Hopefully I'll be able to catch her.

Anyone wishing to pledge their firstborn/sell an organ/donate to my non-existent scholarship fund in exchange for zhnged (Read: Autographed) books are very welcome to email me at khaycelim-at-gmail-dot-com. Perks for those who know me. I'm good that way.

P.S I saw an autographed copy of Anansi Boys still available at Cody's I think. Pre-zhnged books. Anyone wants?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

I Am That Guy

I am the blogger that started blogging as an intllectual experiment, and continued blogging because it must be done.

I am the child who shattered the glass doors of our brand new radio set. I am the child who destroyed our main sliding doors, also made of glass. I am the child who got his hands tied up by rafia string. I am the child that slipped those bonds and proceeded to destroy yet another household item in the process.

I am the brother who is forever guilty of all the blessings I have that my brother does not. I am the son who is forever angry at the lies my parents told me for my own good, and yet still love them very much. I am the husband that often feels inadequate because he can't promise anything in his future for his wife.

I am the driver that drove drove down the wrong side of a road at 2 a.m at night, until my passengers screamed.

I was the Christian that left church because of accusations that I was a Satan worshipper. I was the Christian that could not believe my buddist parents would go to Hell. I am the Christian that could not believe that Lord of the Rings, Dungeons and Dragons and Harry Potter are works of the Devil. I am the Christian that could not believe God was so heartless to allow men to rule the Church.

I am the soldier that thought he was going to die. I am the soldier that thought he was going to get charged. I am the soldier that somehow muddled through all that without a scratch.

I am the ACS boy who spoke mandarin, plays the chinese flute and watched mandarin serials. I was the ACS boy that all other boys picked on. I am the man who never understood to this day why boys can be so cruel to each other, and yet is so very appreciative of the strength that these experiences have given me.

I am the stuttering debator, the actor doomed for supporting roles, the dysgraphic writer, the singer that does not read music. I am the flawed artist, the incomplete creator, so grateful for every opportunity to create.

I am that guy.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Tagged. I'm it. Again.

Since I got tagged twice by Dawn and Gloria, I will attempt to finish this 20 questions in less than 1 minute so that I can not tag anyone at all.

20 Random Facts about yourself.

1. I've been RPing for 22 years
2. I started with D&D and moved on to Marvel Super Heroes.
3. FPS games give me vertigo.
4. Heights give me vertigo.
5. I'm now into my fifth collection of game dice.
6. I've painted exactly one miniature in my life.
7. I play the chinese flute.
8. I read notes in numbers - a result from playing the chinese flute.
9. Reading notes in numbers ensured a short a capella career for me.
10. I almost joined Singapore Idol.
11. The reason I didn't join was because I knew I was going to be in California soon.
12. I detest giant robots.
13. Except Transformers. Transformers are cool.
14. I have over 20 teddy bears.
15. I have over 5 seperate colonies of teddy bears.
16. I can sing almost any 80's cartoon theme song, word for word.
17. One of my favourite songs happens to be the theme song for the sitcom, "Growing Pains".
18. I can't take Mary-Kay and Ashley Olsen seriously cos I remember them from the time they were babies in "Just the Ten of Us."
19. Dysfunctional people fascinate me.
20. I can swear in 5 different languages.

Darn. 2 minutes. I tag Edward Yong and Slinky.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Freedom of Speech

The beauty of freedom of speech is that, even if you say exactly the same thing that you would say without freedom of speech, what you say becomes that much more significant.

There are tons of subjects I could write on. Seditious bloggers. Comparisons with US and Singapore law. More whining about living in the States and how expensive it is. Today will be no whining, no commentary, no intellectual discourse. Yes, these things matter to me, but there's one thing above all that matters most.

On this day, a year ago, we threw a great big party, knelt a lot before relatives I rarely met, and had a grand old time.

Fast forward a year from now. My wife and I just shared a wonderful, home-cooked dinner (wonderful, because I made it) of cream pasta, and blackberry pie. We toasted each other in our coffee mugs of water, ate off metal and pyrex plates and rickety Dollar Shop cutlery. I couldn't be more grateful. We've kept our promises to each other.

Of all the things that I could say, this is the most significant.

"Happy 1st Anniversary, dear."

Saturday, September 03, 2005

The Future is not Future-Proof

During lunch on Thursday, I had a chat with one of my LLM classmates. She asked me what I was doing in Santa Clara when I didn't have (i) a scholarship and (ii) sponsorship for my degree.

In my head there was only one answer. "My future."

That would have been the simple and misleading answer - it would have raised assumptions that I was here to improve my career prospects, and I'm not -solely- here to advance my career.

I told her as much of the story as I felt I needed to. I told her about my wife coming here for 5 years. I told her that leaving her for 5 years was unthinkable. I told her that it was a small sacrifice to leave my job and come here to improve myself. I told her about how I was here on savings and family money, and how I needed to ration my money. I told her about how guilty I felt about taking family money, and how important it was for me to do well in school. I told her all this and I realise now that this was still misleading.

I can't tell her the full story, because I'm not sure I know the full story - and it's my story to boot.

My wife is here for 5 years. That's the only constant I have for the next 5 years. If I am truly as future oriented as Mr Wang makes Ennegram 5 types out to be, I should not, rationally, have made this trip. Yet, here I am. I don't know what is going to happen after my LLM ends.

Yet, it is the future-orientation that drove me to this decision - when loved ones are apart, they grow apart. It is natural. They lack shared experiences. I cannot imagine being apart from my wife for 5 years. She will be a different woman when she returns. I will be a different man.

My wife had a wonderful opportunity to do what she wanted in Berkeley. She would have been foolish to turn it down, and I know that if she turned it down it would have affected our relationship - I know she wouldn't blame me, but I would blame myself for causing her to miss this chance. It was for her future that I am here. It was for our future that I am here. But what about my future? What am I to do here?

I often overstate my case when I say I sacrificed a promising career in law to be with my wife. The truth is probably that I sacrificed a career in law to be with my wife - the way I see it, there is nothing promising left about legal practice in Singapore. The market has played itself out. Sure, there will be adjustments over the long term, but these adjustments, logically, affect those without the wealth and power to protect themselves, i.e, young lawyers like myself.

In short, I've seen my future in Singapore legal practice, and I do not like it.

I have, in effect, only one choice left - wipe the slate clean, and see what other possibilities I can develop. That decision was what lead me here. I did not like my future, and I've done what I can to change it. In many ways, I'm -still- doing what I can to change it.

I now count pennies to make sure that my money lasts - I am afraid that spending on luxuries now will mean not having money for rent and food later. I wake up early mornings and commute from Berkeley to Santa Clara - 98 miles there and back daily. I read my cases. I study, and return home to cook, clean and sleep. I'd like to tell myself I'm studying hard, and my classmates are impressed with my dilligence, but I always feel like I should be doing more. I know I goof off to blog, comment, and play computer games.

I don't know what will happen to me in a year's time. That's the scariest thing that I've ever done. In a year's time, if I don't get a job, it will mean choosing between leaving my wife and taking more family money to continue studies. Either way, I will have lost on my own terms.

Perhaps that is what drives me now - not knowing what the future will bring. This drive, this bundle of love/guilt/hope, this feeling and knowing in your heart that tomorrow will bring something better, this small prayer that I'm not just in self-denial, that's what drives me.

My future.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Manberries of Titanium Steel

I'm not dead yet.

On August 25, 2005, I wrote a whiny post about turning 29 in a foreign country. It was essentially a complaint about turning 30 in a year's time and my bitchy friends not letting me forget it. My non-bitchy friends did not let me forget it too, but since they were (i) nice to me (ii) threw me a party and/or (iii) fed me, I'm all good about them. They know which category they're in.

That post will never see light of day. It's not right. I should have more manberries than that.


"There are two types of balls: there are big brave balls, and there are little mincey faggot balls."

- Bullet Proof Tony, played by Vinnie Jones, Snatch.


I'm a student, and I'm funded through savings and family money. If I don't find work, I won't have luxuries but I won't starve. Not this dude. This dude has serious, diamond-hard, basketball-sized manberries. My own manberries feel puny and mushy in comparison.

He delivers pizza to make ends meet. He sleeps in a room with no heat under a large pile of blankets. He does all this, and he doesn't mind because he wants to make things better.

Now THAT is a Jim Braddock right there.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Cabbage Soup

The last of the IKEA furniture has been assembled. I'm settling down to a new routine of commute-study-household chores. This was the first weekend I've had since my wife arrived where I could kick back, relax and enjoy a peaceful Sunday.

The wife and I spent a bit of time tidying up the house - with the new furniture and tasks, we had to do more, but it was nothing we couldn't manage. The wife has obviously had more experience living alone than I do and it showed through her breakdown of the household chores. Another reason I am glad to have her around.

I experimented this week with making soup - Sunday afternoon, I made chinese cabbage soup. My first attempt was bland to say the least. After consulting with my mom about her recipe, I found the ingredient for making the soup base. Boiled soy beans.

Hence, I tried it out this week - and it worked. It tasted almost as good as the ones that I used to have back in Singapore, and I added some stuff that I liked and were not part of the original recipe - beef (taboo in my house), mushrooms and carrots. It was a good meal.

After the end of the meal, I sliced up half a watermelon, and I suddenly had waves of nostalgia for Singapore. Watermelon after a good chinese cabbage soup meal was something bordering on a family tradition - and the tastes brought back memories of Singapore.

Strange how a familiar taste can evoke memories like that.

Sunday, August 14, 2005


No incisive commentary today unfortunately.

My wife has finally arrived. We have spent the last few days assembling furniture and generally getting my spartan apartment furnished and homely. My hands are worn to stubs from twisting one too many allen keys, and my body aches from carrying over 500 lbs of furniture. Admittedly, 300 of those 500 lbs were delivered, but STILL...

I've been having a good time feeding my wife the various dishes I've mastered over the two month's I've spent here. Work is hard, but we're doing well.

Oh, and I've gone through a major life change. Better to show you.

What better way to feel the California breeze?

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Cinderella Nation

"I have to believe I got some kind of say over our lives. When things are bad we can do something about it, make things better for our family."

- James Braddock, as played by Russell Crowe, "Cinderella Man"

I do not believe a country that decides what's best for its people. I believe that people decides what's best for its country.

Like a looming shadow, we, the citizens of Singapore, have seen our lives become increasingly complicated, increasingly expensive, increasingly insecure. We have seen men we trusted tap on our trust, in exchange for gold. We have seen the waking of the giants of the Orient, and the waves that have come crashing down on this little midget of an island.

But we are still alive. While we are alive, we can still make history.

During the Great Depression, an over-the-hill boxer, Jim Braddock, boxed with a shattered right hand. Against all odds, he won a grueling 15 round match to become the heavyweight champion of the world. He did not fight for glory, fame or riches.

He fought to buy milk for his kids.

People call the Singapore blogosphere infantile. I don't. I scan Singapore blogs and I see Jim Braddocks. The everyman, beating back demons in their lives with quiet dignity and compassion. I cannot begin to imagine how difficult life must be for some of these bloggers. Yet, these men and women still have smiles, and share them freely. They share their stories because they have a story to tell.

These stories are often fairy tales. True, people often get killed in fairy tales, but so do dragons.

The story of Singapore is a fairy tale, but the men and women responsible are often forgot. Not the statesmen, the politicians, the wealthy. The everyman that carried the bricks, laid the mortar, clawed at the earth in search of a better life for their families. These everymen remind me that no politician, statesman or leader, no evil looming shadow, no twisted complication can grant us that which we already have, nor take away that which they cannot - our dignity, our compassion, our love for family, and our willingness to bear any hardship for their sake.

Happy National Day, Singaporeans.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The Kangaroo and the Rabbit

The summer's almost over. The fall session starts in two weeks. From now till then, I have some well-earned time off.

My summer session has been fantastic. My LLM classmates are a hoot. More importantly, I got an overview of US Law - and learnt to see Singapore's legal system with fresh eyes. Learning about US Law through the eyes of a Singapore lawyer is the mental equivalent of seeing a kangaroo and picturing a rabbit.

You know sometime a couple of million years ago they shared an ancestor. You can even see the common features. Yet, somehow, you can't seem to grapple with the fact that many legal terms you take for granted mean something absolutely different, or are approached completely differently.

I have started to grow to respect US lawyers. Yes, they have a reputation for being ambulance chasers and aggressive beyond reason - in some cases this is well-deserved. Yet, during my course of study, I find that even 1st year US Law students have to deal with a level of complexity that just isn't found in our single-city state. The multiplicity of different ways of thinking by the law - created because each of the 50 states is, in fact, a sovereign - creates a dynamic and culture that is just not found here.

At the heart of it, it is being comfortable with uncertainty.

Singapore laws are, at their heart, stable. Singapore legislative drafting is generally overinclusive - this cannot be done in the US by virtue of the Constitution, itself a vague document. US case law often cross-germinates, and judicial ideas get tossed around, exchanged, and incorporated - what happens once in a case does not always get repeated.

More importantly, the litigious society that America is has one great impact - there is a mechanism, at least, for the people here to air their grievances. I find no such safety valve in Singapore. Here, at least, I can advise my client to lobby the legislature and sincerely mean it.

I worry for the day where a pipe in Singapore's social structure bursts. I doubt it will be a dramatic event. Rather, like a small pipe bursting in a large house, the effects will only be felt when one ignores the burst pipe long enough.

Friday, July 29, 2005


Have an exam on Monday 1st August. Will be back after that!

Sunday, July 24, 2005

So You Wanna Be a Game Designer?

Gamespot is running an article on how to become a game designer. It's not easy.

Then again, many things in life worth doing are not easy.

A Defence of and from Xiaxue

Anonymous writes in comment to my previous post:

"When I saw the pic, instantly I was repulsed. A girl who exposing herself in public because she's "bored" clearly has psychological issues. I mean, is this a normal response to boredom?"

To which I responded:

"Nudity is treated differently in different countries, in different contexts. I personally think what SPG has done is artistic, and displays an aesthetic beauty in the female form. The fact that its -her- female form that she posted is something that I respect even more."

Xiaxue writes a passionate article on why her position is the opposite of mine, perhaps directed at this post, perhaps not. However, I have reason to believe she has at least read some of the commentary, because she writes:

"Nude photos can PASSABLY be called art. But flashing... That's where I draw my line. I think it is crude, tasteless, and not to mention a cheap stab at getting attention."

Let me get some facts straight. There are two photos in issue here. One is the original black-and-white photo that caused the whole Straits Times controversy. The other is the photo Kenny Sia put up. I think there's an injustice done to link or compare the two.

The first can tolerably be called art, depending on your opinion - it certainly is in my opinion. The second is more dicey. I have not commented at all about the act SPG's exposure - an issue I wish to address here.

Xiaxue's next comment:

"Nice try, but not bombastic enough: Why not spread your legs, hold them up tightly behind your ears, and let everyone have a clear look at your genitals? If they want, they also can insert foreign objects inside. And feel free to blog about it!"

Xiaxue, the reverse is also true. Would you like to be punished for removing your veil in front of anyone but your husband? That's an unfortunate reality in several fundamentalist Muslim states. If there is a line drawn somewhere, I'd like to know where it is. Certainly, the heart of the controversy here is WHERE the line is drawn, if indeed there is one drawn at all. I think the variance in attitudes towards the whole incident can be demonstrated by the whole spectrum of views available.

What I've written in my article about Kenny applies equally to you, Xiaxue - I don't necessarily like what you write, or the personal attacks you occassionally mount, but I don't condone people trying to jeer you away. -IF- one has something to say about your posts, say it, and say it civilly - or just ignore it. I will not condone the act of hacking into someone's blog. That's an act of cowardice, slightly below the bombing on someone's house.

There is, however, another aspect to this that I did not take into account, and probably should have. For that I apologise.

I think there's a lot -I- can learn about friendship from three bloggers - minishorts, Xiaxue and Kenny. Whatever your argument or methods for or against the whole incident, you probably did so out of friendship to Kenny. That is something I admire greatly.

Moreso, it takes a certain kind of stubborn courage to write what you write and still not be affected by hatemail, and that is the most honest kind of journalistic integrity there is. It's easy to write dispassionately (as I do) - and still continue writing. The pressure to self-censor isn't as great.

I'm not your friend or Kenny Sia's or Claire Wong's friend - I've never had the opportunity to meet you or them. In so far as my post hurt you or your friendship in any way - I apologise unreservedly. Words cannot be unsaid unfortunately.

I do not have to agree with you. You don't have to agree with me. I ask that you try to understand that I wrote what I wrote because I don't think the commentators in Kenny's post should have expressed their disapproval quite so harshly - a sentiment I am fairly sure you can understand. I'm glad the three of you mended your friendship.

There are always circumstances beyond what we know, and a culture of tolerance in the blogosphere is something I've always advocated and strived for.

Or, perhaps I'm losing it, reading too much into a post I should not have. Please feel free to ignore a small readership blog with a bombastic writing style then.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

OMG...They Killed Kenny!

-deep sigh-

Kenny Sia, Malaysia's Number 1 blogger, appears to have fallen on hard times, due to a picture he took of Sarong Party Girl, sans top. He has since taken down said pictures due to some rather strong response from his readers - minishorts in particular.

Update: The post is gone. Kenny has taken the whole post down. In its place he's put up a parody of a parody.

I confess to enjoying some of Kenny's older gags - in particular, the Xiaxue Proposal and the recent parody of Sarong Party Girl's nude photo. Here's the question - what has changed about this new gag that provoked mob-lynching?

Some of the comments I've managed to glean from Kenny's post:

"This post is offensive. Why would a so called decent guy like you think this is funny?

Could you give me ten good reasons why your girl friend would be okay with this? No decent girl out there would think this is okay. I never posted a comment before, and I have enjoyed reading your decent posts in the past. Even the one about your dad made me all teary. But this is utter nonsense."

- by aka

I lost my respect for you Kenny. And I pity your gf. How do you think she feels when she sees that pic? Maybe you're saying that 'hey, it's just in the name of fun', but this is already over the limit. At least respect your gf by not posting up a pic of you and another girl - half naked - for the world to see.

Totally tasteless.

- by bleh

It seems to come down to (i) Kenny has a girlfriend (ii) Kenny should not be posing half-nude with Sarong Party Girl and (iii) Kenny should not have post these pictures. My question here is - what is the limit? Did Kenny step over some invisible line of morality?

Let me come right out and say it - I can't find it in me to condemn either of them, or both of them collectively.

To the facts - from what I gathered, I doubt Kenny anticipated SPG's easy acquiesance to his request to disrobe. At MOST Kenny was culpable for making a request he did not anticipate will be followed through, supported by his version of events that he didn't even realise that SPG had disrobed. Yes, I know this is his version of events - I was not there, but I am willing to take Kenny's version at face value given the glowing reports minishorts wrote of Kenny's character. Since the bulk of the comments seem centered around his perceived lack of faith with his girlfriend, my question here is - Is Kenny culpable for something that he did not intend?

Hence, it comes down to Kenny's decision to post the photo on his blog and make the breasts jiggle - about the only intentional act he may be culpable for. There was a perceived "tastelessness" to the post. Perhaps it was, perhaps it wasn't, but this doesn't seem to be the real issue, does it? Was the post -in isolation- tasteless? Or was the post -in combination- with his perceived lack of faith that made the post tasteless? I get the impression it's the latter, not the former.

Let's face it - in this particular case, when aka and bleh said that Kenny has crossed a line of morality, what they are really saying is that they have crossed their line of morality. Yet, nudity is highly subjective. Depending on context it can be moving, funny, distasteful, obscene, or titillating. The very FACT that there is so much controversy over this picture supports the diversity of views that Kenny's post inadvertently caused.

All I ask Kenny readers to do is to take a deep breath, consider the diversity of views available, then make your decision. More importantly, I ask you to consider things from Kenny's perspective. He obviously found it funny. A few of you did not. Is that really grounds to be disappointed in him?

For the record, I am not sexist - I believe the fact that I am willing to remove myself from my lucrative legal career in Singapore for the uncertainty of living (and possibly not finding work) in California to facillitate my wife's desired career in academia speaks more than I can ever write in this blog. I fully support SPG's right to nudity, and more than admire her guts to be unashamed of her body and sex. I fully support Kenny's right to post whatever rocks his world and feels is true to himself.

-IF- there is one thing I find objectionable about the whole thing, it is the fact that Kenny took down the pictures. I do not think he has done anything wrong, and his pictures, while distasteful to some, obviously provided amusement to others. To support some readers at the expense of others seems to smack of a compromise of what Kenny had set out to do in that post.

For that, Kenny, I mourn your passing. May it be temporary.

Temper, Temper

I have a temper.

No suprises there - I had just yesterday vented it on some hapless Straits Times Reporter whose name I will not deign to repeat. I do not regret it, considering the "buay hiao bai" behaviour he roguishly displayed to Linda.

That is not to say I do not regret displays of temper. In fact, this is one of the rare occassions I do not regret losing my temper.

Hence, when Huichieh describes my writing style as being "ever measured", I feel it is my obligation to let my readers know that I am not, in fact, even-tempered. Far from it. I've just learnt over the years to keep my temper on a short leash.

There -are- still a couple of things that can set it off - most of them to do with my upbringing. One of the things that -will- set me off are bullies. Growing up a geeky, overweight teenager in an all-boys school priding itself for producing jocks has left it's mark on me.

What does this have to do with poor hapless Mr. Au Yong? Simply that I have a very short temper for perceived injustices, especially when said injustices are perpetuated from half-truths or misleading "common wisdom" - the meat and drink of bullies to exert social power. -ESPECIALLY- when someone should know better.

For someone who prides himself on his self-control, coolness of mind and ability to rationalise argument, it is with some shame that I look back on my writings yesterday. Not that Mr. Au Yong didn't deserve my harshest language, but because I did what I did for improper motives - and received much positive feedback from it.

No one should have to deal with ungentlemanly behaviour because of someone else's hangup. No one.

This is not an apology to Mr. Au Yong. This is a statement to the Singapore Blogging Community - you guys did great. Don't let the ravings of one biased ignorant reporter and one foaming-mad writer ever take that from you.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Perpetuating a Stereotype

I've been avoiding commentary about Singapore events - I feel that as a Singaporean that has left Singapore, the news that I get about Singapore may not accurately reflect the actual sentiment of Singaporeans.

However, it is with a great deal of annoyance that I read the recent Straits Times report on The article annoyed me enough to spur me into commentary - and probably in the strongest language I've used on this blog.

My biggest gripe about this article is that it is built on false assumptions and perpetuates two negative stereotypes about bloggers (i) that blogging is primarily about "provocative pictures, biting commentaries and wit", and (ii) that bloggers are unjustifably uncomfortable with commentary when their public identities are known.

Mr. Au Yong, before you continue to spread such lies, I strongly urge you to examine your own prejudices before infecting the local media with them. As a journalist, I would expect no less from you, though I'm willing to give a small discount on journalistic standards simply because I understand the system you're working in.

The Purpose of Blogging

Mr Au Yong, reading the totality of the first two paragraphs of the article, I am forced to ask - What were your expectations of a Bloggers' Conferfence? It seems to me that you've relied on two common but erroneous stereotype of blogging (i) that blogging is about readership and (ii) bloggers do what they can to -attract- readership.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

I write of my life in California, and the trials, tribulations, joys and sorrows I've faced here. If nothing else, my readership has gone -down- since my post about my move to San Francisco. Yet, I continue to write about it, simply because I feel it is a good source of information for me -and- my friends to look back on.

I can name any number of bloggers that write solely in their chosen areas of interest. Huichieh on singaporeangle writes excellent analysis on current affairs - but in a manner that would almost certainly exclude many casual readers because the depth of his analysis can get intimidating. InfernoXV writes primarily about his interest in Catholicism, the Classics and ancient music - again, subjects that will not interest the casual reader. Ivan writes about his work in the library. Shianux writes about legal developments and very occassionally, Singapore politics.

I write about what I do because of something Mr Miyagi wrote to me a long time ago. The Story Tells Itself. I believe in this strongly enough that I write - and if I get readership so much the better. I believe that many others in the Singapore Blogosphere write because they want to - and in the areas that they are interested in. If they -happen- to be interested in controversial issues, nude pictures, scolding taxi heisters or austitic children, more power to them.

More importantly, they do so because they are filling an information void created by mainstream media.

In short, Mr. Au Yong, you've got the entire phenomenon a** head backwards. Some of us write for readership. Others just write - readership follows.

Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Are bloggers uncomfortable without their online personas? Perhaps.

Or perhaps there's this thing in Singapore called the Public Entertainment License SPECIFICALLY curtailing the very things that you seem to expect from a blogging conference? You know - controversial pictures? Dirty jokes?

Do we bloggers honestly expect protection with our online personas? Explain to me how acidflask got sued seven ways to Sunday by Phillip Yeo then. Explain to me how our beloved PSC scholar started a media frenzy over his racist comments - a media frenzy whipped up by you, the Straits Times no less.

Mr. Au Yong, if you -had- done your homework, you would know that there -is- no protection with an online persona - a fact that most Singaporean bloggers are becoming uncomfortably aware of, and a fact that the paper you work for exploits from time to time.

Hence, I strongly resent the overtones of cowardice or hiding behind your online persona that seems to be prevalent in your article.

A Whole Load of Hooey

I'm willing to wager, though I've not spoken to any of the organisers of, that the whole point of the Blogger Conference was to =have= a Blogger Conference, nothing more. There would be no discussion of specific =topics= to blog on simply because the interests on =what= to blog are just too diverse.

We blog. That's good enough for Blogger Conference. That's good enough for me.

Apparently, that's not good enough for you, Mr. Au Yong. You are entitled to your erroneous opinion. I am entitled to rip it to shreds.

I will give you the benefit of the doubt that your article was written without careful consideration, and that you did not set out maliciously to do an NKF on Singapore bloggers - in spite of the fact that mainstream news reporting has very legimitate reasons to fear this phenomenon called blogging.

That being said, Mr Au Yong, I find your article as offensive as stereotyping Chinese as slanty-eyed money-faced gamblers, or stereotyping Australians as underachieving beer-guzzling former convicts. Your article is inaccurate and misleading, Mr Au Yong. I sincerely hope that an apology would be printed, even though I know the chances of that happening are smaller than the chances of winning TOTO - without buying a ticket.

If you take away -anything- from this, Mr. Au Yong, take away the solemn reminder never to let your stereotyping infect your work.


All bolded text below is my emphasis.

HEADLINE: 1st bloggers' conference is one big YAWN;
Mostly in their 20s, they seem guarded; Internet Relay Chat livens things

BYLINE: Jeremy Au Yong Shawn Woo

"THEIR personal websites are all about attitude - keeping readers riveted with provocative pictures, biting commentaries and wit.

Yet, when 200 of these bloggers got together at DXO CLUB at the Esplanade yesterday, the result was neither riveting nor provocative.

Many of the mostly 20-somethings seemed guarded, as if uncomfortable without the protection of their online personas. They listened politely to the talks given, spoke in turn, clapped at the right times and largely kept to PG-13 topics.

It was Singapore's first bloggers conference, but at times it could have been mistaken for a chess club board meeting.

In fact, despite baring their heart and soul online, many bloggers that The Sunday Times approached were shy and did not want to reveal their real names.

All the brightest moments came from the 'backchannel' - a large screen displaying a live Internet Relay Chat between members in the room.

There, in their native environment, the bloggers were themselves again - poking fun at the speakers, swinging insults and cracking crude jokes. The speakers were interrupted numerous times by the audience laughing at a remark made on the screen.

Among the speakers were lawyers who spoke about legal considerations for bloggers. A panel of tech-savvy Netizens also gave a presentation on how to use technology to improve blogs.

Those that went there to meet popular bloggers, however, were not disappointed. The who's who of homegrown bloggers - Mr Brown, Mr Miyagi and Xiaxue - were out in force and posed for photographs with the fans.

One of the organisers, Mr Lee Kin Mun, 35, an Internet consultant who goes by the name of Mr Brown, noticed that some people were not paying attention to the talks, but he said that was in the spirit of things. 'We always wanted a casual thing, not everyone sitting down listening to one blogger telling them what to do. I could tell at one stage many were mingling at the back, but that's fine.'"

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Friday, July 15, 2005

How Cool is That?

Lots of good things happening.

- My private international law professor, Prof Jiminez, was kind enough to give some of us tickets to this week's baseball game between Oakland Athletics and the Texas Rangers! I don't follow baseball, but it'd be great to actually go to a ball game!

- Sadeel, our Jordanian import, was kind enough to treat us all to a meal of delicious Tajim Ajeeb, which Sadeel humourously calls Lebanese fast food. It's a flat pastry folded over, with minced beef, onions and kebab spice. It's excellent!

- My criminal law and procedure professor, Gerald Uelman, was lead counsel on the OJ case! I'll be seeing him next week.

Yeap. Life is great.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Book Meme

Extracting revenge for tagging him with the Movie meme, Edward has now tagged me with the Book Meme.

Before I start this meme, let me explain that (i) I'm primarily a Science Fiction/Fantasy reader, so expect that to be the major influence in my reading choices and (ii) I'm endlessly fascinated with the nature of heroism and the human spirit.

With that, here are my responses

Total Number of Books I'ved Owned:

Close to 1000, probably, estimating my five over full shelves, some double-stacked. Most of it is science fiction and fantasy.

Last Book I Bought:

I had just completed Robin Hobb's "The Golden Fool", second book in the "Tawny Man" saga. I like the series, but I'm not absolutely crazy about it - mainly because the protagonist is a well-fleshed character but is way too whiny for my liking.

Last Book I Read:

"Before sailing away with the sad news, their leader came to see me. He was an oaf named Procopius and the wine had not improved his appearance. 'O great and mighty Master Li, pray impart to me the Secret of Wisdom!' he bawled. A silly smile was sliding down the side of his face like a dripping water-colour, and his eyeballs resembled a pair of pink pigeon eggs that were gently bouncing in saucers of yellow won-ton soup. To my great credit I never batted an eyelash. 'Take a large bowl' I said. 'Fill it with equal measures of fact, fantasy, history, mythology, science, superstition, logic and lunacy. Darken the mixtures with bitter tears, brighten it with howls of laughter, toss in three thousand years of civilisation, bellow kai pei - which means 'dry cup' - and drink it to the dregs.' Procopious stared at me. 'And will I be wise?' he asked. 'Better,' I said. 'You will be Chinese.'

Li Kao, excerpted from Bridge of Birds written Barry Hughart

Bridge of Birds is an excellent novel about an Ancient China that never was. It never was because it was invented by Barry Hughart, a resident of Arizona. However, it is so -very- believable that it could have happened in Ancient China. The story begins with a village of children poisoned by a rare toxin, and the quest to rescue them that ties into an ancient wrong. The two protagonists, Number Ten Ox and Li Kao, are hilarious and so are the large cast of minor characters. I highly recommend this book.

Five Books that Mean a Lot to Me:

My first response to this would be "only five?!". Given the limitations of the meme, these are my picks.

"Legend" by David Gemell

"Never violate a woman, nor harm a child. Do not lie, cheat or steal. These things are for lesser men. Protect the weak against the evil strong. And never allow thoughts of gain to lead you into the pursuit of evil. Never back away from an enemy. Either fight or surrender. It is not enough to say I will not be evil. Evil must be fought wherever it is found."

---The "Iron Code" of Druss

There comes a time in our lives where we are given no quarter, and ask for none. The book is about one such situation. An old fortress, the gateway to the Drenai Nation is understaffed and is about to be overwhelmed by the world's equivalent of the Mongol hordes. The leader of the ragtag defenders is the greatest Drenai hero, Druss the Legend. Except he's aging. And he dies before the final battle.

Yes, it's stock. Yes, it's trite. But David Gemell's writing is elemental in a way that I can't explain. It's not just this book - all his books hit you in the gut in a primal way. My respect for David Gemell grew when I discovered that he started out mining coal for a living - and discovered that his years of coal mining gave him lung cancer. In many ways, "Legend" can be read as his battle with cancer.

Read it, give the plot a chance. :D

"Hunchback of Notre Dame" by Victor Hugo

Having extremely limited proficiency in French, I was unable to read in its original language what is, in my opinion, Hugo's best work. I liked Les Miserables too, but honestly, for raw power and heroism, no one beats Quasimodo - the original "beast with a good heart". I especially love the scene where Quasimodo climbs up the tower one-handed (the other bearing his lady love) and yells for sanctuary.

The question I always ask when I read and reread this masterpiece is, "What kind of mix of self-loathing and heroism would lead Quasimodo to do what he does?" The other question is of course...

"Who =hasn't= ever felt like Quasimodo?"

"Snow Crash" by Neal Stephenson

Name me one other book that would name their protagonist..."Hiro Protagonist". A break from my usual taste for heroic protagonists, Hiro is anything but his namesake. What the book does in scintillating splendor, however, is explaining some truly esoteric concepts in almost-believeable manner.

What I love about Snow Crash, however, is Raven, the main antagonist.

How badass is Raven? He's so badass he rides around with a nuclear warhead strapped to his cycle. He's so badass he wired said warhead to a deadman's switch - ensuring that anyone who kills him is going to take out most of the city Raven's currently in. He's -so- badass that he uses knives made from the one material able to hold a monomolecular edge - glass.

"A Hymn Before Battle" by John Ringo

Military science fiction is an extremely niche area of literary fiction. In this small niche area, there exists an undisputed master - John Ringo. This author has served time in the military, and it shows in his writing. More so, he knows and is able to explain the difference between a hero and a heroic soldier. I do very much enjoy his postulations and extrapolations of fictional "what-if" scenarios.

The interesting thing about "A Hymn Before Battle" is that while it features a main protagonist, the true strength of this book is the theme of collective heroism - so important in seperating an elite fighting unit and an ordinary one.

"Remains of the Day" by Kazuo Ishiguro

A departure from my usual readings, and a text from my undergrad days - my only foray into academic literature. Remains of the Day had a major influence on me - it has always represented the ideal of hope and sacrifice to me.

Indeed of all the books that I love, this one strikes me even closer now that I'm at the cusp of a new journey, and so close to having completed my old one.

The five people I tag are:

One Little Twit (sorry to victimise you again!)
Loy Huichieh (who will probably blow me away with his intelligence)
Shianux (ditto)
The Slinky Cat (because a good turn deserves another)
Ivan Chew (what does a Librarian read?)

You Know You've Been Logging Too Much When...

...the first thing you think off when you see this article is Faith, Mr Brown's 4 year-old daughter.

Perhaps there is some hope left, so long as people like Mr Brown continue to raise our awareness of autism and other learning disabilities. Mostly about how even autistic kids will be kids.

God Bless, Mr Brown.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

How Far Would You Walk.... save 2 quarters worth of parking fees?

When I head to the commercial heart of Berkeley, I usually park my car in the nearest residential area (2 hours free parking) and leg it the rest of the distance. Sometimes I even just forego the parking and walk the whole distance. That's 2.6 miles walking, there and back. All to avoid 50 cents parking and gas money.

I've had a number of struggles to overcome since I've arrived here. For the most part, I think I've done a decent job. The one thing that I haven't been dealing too well with is my new lack of income.

Make no mistake. I miss it, but I'm not going through withdrawal symptoms. However, some spending habits that I've acquired over my three years of work form a very stark contrast to my current situation. When I walk by a restaurant, I look at the menu and am acutely aware that I would have been able to afford it had I still been working. I look at the price tag of a book I want and wonder how much of a dent that would make in my extremely limited budget.

I try to do what I can to save money. Sometimes I wonder if I am going overboard, but I suppress that thought. Better safe than sorry, and I had already had to incur many costs that were not budgetted.

Interestingly enough, it has not dampened my spirits in any way. If nothing else, the whole experience has taught me to appreciate the best things in life. Long walks down Telegraph Avenue (the Bohemian district) on Saturday. Chilling out at the park. Making simple but delicious meals. Those things govern my life now.

I've never been happier.

Friday, July 08, 2005


Oh gawds.

I was awaken today with Edward babbling something about phone bills and checking if people are safe. Confused and bleary, I only just made out what happened.

Nothing I can write can describe how I feel about this. This is ghastly. I can only think of my friends who are in London when this happened - I pray that you are okay.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

What You Use To Catch De-Fish With

A month ago, I had a farewell lunch to my beloved mentor and good friend. She had lost a husband earlier this year in a tragic accident. She dutifully turned up for my dinner invitation even though I knew her heart wasn't in it.

Some time during the dinner conversation, I asked her why she did not take part in competitive debating anymore. Her answer, "It's too destructive".

For a long time I couldn't think of a response.

Slowly, it dawned on me that she was right - and I had been feeling that way for years. I had tried out for competitive debating while I was in JC but I wasn't selected - leading to over 5 years of trying to "get into" the debate scene. I tried out for debates in University - and I succeeded in getting selected for a team.

It wasn't the joy I thought it would be.

I continued on to try out for mooting competitions (I failed at that too) and slowly, the passion I had when I was in JC faded away. I just...slowly distanced myself from it. The passion wasn't there.

It's now, after almost 12 years, that I realised it wasn't passion - it was envy. The truth is, I never had enthusiasm for being a debator. It was a means to an end - to get into law school, to get over my stutter. But never what I -wanted- to do. The sad thing is, for years, I had mistaken it for passion and pursued what was ultimately a dead end.

Now, at the beginning of a new beginning, I now see what had always held me back. I was not inclined to be destructive. I've never been. I eventually became good at it, sure. But as I grow older I realise that it is not complex seemless arguments, or the thread of argument that survives the attempts to tear it down that is ultimately true or wise. It is merely that which survives destruction.

It is simple truth.

Professor Steinman once asked the class to "prove water is wet". I go further and ask if any simple truth, by nature of being simple, will ever be proven.

I do not ask people to simply accept truths as being self-evident. Far from it. I ask people to remember that in the midst of seeking truth, one might forget that truth might simply settle on you when you're not looking.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Living in the Bay

There's one thing I simply cannot get over - the weather in the Bay Area. The air here is always dry and crisp. Bread doesn't go mouldy. Cereal doesn't turn soggy. Stuff dries up so fast.

It's a godsend for someone with ezcema. I've not had an attack since I got here (touch wood).

I also can't get over how going 40 miles south can turn a day from cool and bracing to warm and sunny. There's a big difference between the weather in San Jose and Berkeley. San Jose feels like a dessert - a pleasant desert, but a desert nonetheless. Berkeley feels cool and bracing all the time.

Another thing I can't get over is how...bright the sun here is. It's a whole different quality from the sun we get back home. Sunlight here is white. Sunlight back home has a yellowish quality to it.

Thanks to my 40 mile commute everyday, I now have one arm darker than the other. That's because I drive down south in the mornings and back north in the evenings - meaning the sun's always left relative to the direction I'm driving.

The food here feels no different from the food I get back home. That's probably because I cook a lot. Rice here is cheap enough that I can have it as a staple - and there's no difference in price between Thai Jasmine Rice and them Japanese sticky short stumpies (Rice grains! RICE GRAINS!). Soy sauce and oyster sauce are readily available.

Most of all, I'm much happier about the level of independence I have here. I do stuff for myself, and while I'm very money-conscious here since everything here is so expensive, there's a lot I can do to entertain myself for free. I now relish walking down to do groceries - about 10 blocks down, and 8 of it is beautiful suburbia, complete with lawns, gardens, flowers, fruit trees and squirrels.

In short, I feel the changes coming. It's barely been a month and I don't feel like the person that left Singapore - or more accurately, like the person in Singapore should have been.

I'm not sure if I can fit in once I return to Singapore. I'm not sure fitting in is a good thing.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Meet Sierra

Sierra is a gorgeous golden retriever belonging to my Constitutional Law professor, Edward Steinman. Professor Steinman brought her to class for both his classes. She's an absolute sweetheart, quietly napping away while we grapple with the Bill of Rights.

My LLM summer session has started. It's been all great so far. We have about 14 topics to cover and we've managed to cover 2 in our week here so far - Constitutional Law and Contract Law. We've started Intellectual Property so far. The work's intense but I finally have the chance to relax over this Independence Day weekend.

My classmates are great. We have 2 Austrians, 2 Chinese (as in from China), 1 Peruvian, 1 Jordanian, 1 French and 1 former UN Commissioner for Human Rights (what he's doing in our classes I have -no- idea). And there's me, the only common law conversant person among the whole group. We're planning parties already.

My course material has been great so far, save one - I've realised a wee bit of bias against Foreign LLM students in terms of course selection. It probably isn't intentional but it exists. We've one year here - and hence our selection is extremely limited due to prerequisites. We've no GPA so that further limits our course selection. End result - cool courses like internships, externships and writing for the Journal are barred from us.

I'm can't say I'm not disappointed - but at least the option of contributing to the Journal is open to me, and I've learnt a long time ago not to dwell on inabilities but to do the best I can.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Busy Busy Busy

Classes have started.

I'm incredibly happy to be back in school. Santa Clara University is certainly a cut above the only other university I've attended - both in terms of student resources and quality of teaching.

I can honestly say that, while I'm overwhemled, the sheer opportunity of the place is exciting. I'm currently looking into possibilities I never thought possible - internships, externships, writing, working part-time.

All this mixed with the sobering realisation of how naive and sheltered the legal profession in back in Singapore - it's motivation for me to work that much harder, and learn what I can here.

Oh, and I got a picture of my Constitutional Law professor's pong pong Golden Retriever. Will upload it in a few days.

Monday, June 27, 2005

IPO Announcement

I am proud to announce that Almost Infamous has been listed as of June 26 2005 approximately 7 pm Pacific Time.

:fiddles around with blogshares:


You mean I can't speculate in oil derivatives, lose a fortune and repay 33 cents to the dollar on my oustanding debts?!

You mean I can't announce a merger, inflate my stock price, post records losses, then subsequently announce that the merger was a big mistake and drop my original name from the company?

You mean I can't use questionable accounting methods and tactics to manufacture a power failure to drive my profits up?

You mean I can't speculate in Nikkei derivatives, lose a fortune and...oh...wait...

This sucks! Where's the fun in listing your blog?

Disclaimer: This entry was intended to parody real life events. has no intention to speculate on derivatives of any kind, announcing mergers, use questionable accounting methods or tactics.

My Weekend Off

Having completed most of the setting up chores, and left with a day before school starts proper, I took a quick drive down to the Berkeley Marina. I received two recommendations to head there - one from Don the Technician, the other from...I forgot who.

Wat a view it was.

I drove right to the end of the Marina, where the Fisherman's Pier was.

Humans aren't the only fishers here

Fisherman's Pier is 3000 feet of fishing heaven in San Francisco Bay. That's 3000 feet of useable space - the entire length of the Pier is actually 3.5 miles. From the Pier, I could see San Francisco, the Bay Bridge, and the Golden Gate Bridge - shrouded in the summer fog this area is famous for.

Golden Gate Bridge in the Background

I arrived at the Pier at about 1 in the afternoon and damn near froze to death. The sea wind (I hestitate to call it sea breeze) blasted away relentlessly. I found out later from a former boat salesman, John, that the Bay has some of the best sailing available in the world - as evidenced by the many sailboats I saw.


Worried that my toes were going to turn blue and fall off, I headed for land as fast as I could. Hoping to catch more glimpses of the sailboats, I drove down to the berths.

Oooo...many sailboats

I had never been to a Marina before in Singapore. To my best knowledge, those are exclusively private affairs - very much unlike the one here. Hence, I ogled at pretty sailboats until I felt like leaving.

One thing about Berkeley Marina though - it was also connected to a small nature preserve where bird watchers liked to congregate. There were nearby barbecue pits overlooking a sheltered bay area as well. Familes gathered around in idyllic bliss.

And there were squirrels!

My good friends know that I've a barely-concealed obsession with things cute and furry; the fluffier the better. Here in the Bay Area - EVERYTHING is pong-pong and fluffier than what I am used to. Including the squirrels, which I like chasing around.

Don't shoot me please!

Needless to say, I was damn proud getting this shot of the squirrel. I've tried several times to get a squirrel close up, but none were as good or close up as this one.

All in all, a nice lazy afternoon spent doing boh-liao things - for the first time since I got here.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Been There... the T-Shirt!

I learnt a valueable lesson today - never make a boast you can't keep. Yes, I went to Google today. No, I'm not about to write in detail about it.

Because friends are more valueable than any boast I can make.

Jay was a class act. He was responsible for the wonderful lunch I had, he was responsible for the cool T-shirt I now own and he's one of two friends have who live here. Because I can't endanger Jay's job by any inadvertent disclosure to detail that I can make, I will write only that the details don't matter.

Sounds self-contradictory? Not so.

Think, if you will, of Rodin's statue "David". Imagine that you own this coveted statue. Like many others before you, you know have the opportunity to study, in detail, the many nuances of Rodin's masterpiece.

Assuming that you got every detail right, would you have duplicated "David"?

I argue not.

There are many terms for this quality. The French call it "'je ne sais quoi". The fashion industry calls it the "X-Factor". Houduins call it "mojo". Sportmen call it the "110%". Businessmen call it the "Midas Touch".

I have a simple term for it. Greatness.

Like all forms of greatness, the details are mere symptoms, not the processes by which greatness is acheived.

Today, I've witnessed greatness. I did not think it possible for greatness to exist in the corporate world, yet today, there it stood, a complete success story, there in brick and mortar, flesh and blood.

And now that I've witnessed greatness I am now ever more determined to find my own greatness. For that, I thank you, Jay.

Friday, June 24, 2005

I Did It!

To everyone who says the US Driving test is a piece of cake, I can only say "I hope you choke on that cake." Reason - no matter how easy a test is, it only takes one circumstance beyond your control to really mess things up.

Wednesday was the most awful day I had since I got here. I failed my driving test first try. Sadly it wasn't my fault. Some idiot driver cut into my lane while I was making a left turn. He approached from my blind spot, so I couldn't see him - leading to tester intervention which was an immediate failure.

I think the tester took pity on me, because he offered an unscheduled test the very next morning. I thanked him profusely. The rest of that Wednesday left my nerves in very bad shape - because all I could do was wait for the test next morning, and speculating the consequences of failing a second time.

Thankfully I didn't. I passed it this morning. Joy! I immediately rushed out and bought a nice second-hand Civic. I know I probably got gouged, but I don't care anymore. I got my license, got rid of my rental and drove off with my Civic, all in one day.

My Ah-Beng Car

I'm so relieved. That was the very last item I had before school next week. I can now spend my weekend in peace - and I shall.

I'm heading to Google tomorrow! With a camera!