Friday, September 29, 2006

A Filthy Mind

One of the things I love most about learning a new language is taking its sentences completely out of context.

I learnt the classical Greek word for seed today. It is "σπερμα". Anglicised, it is pronounced "sperma". Yes, the modern word is derived from the Greek word for seed.

Needless to say, it made today's lessons very interesting.

Found in today's Greek lessons:

"έλθε δευρο, ώ καταρατε, μη κατθευδε άλλα βοηθει. λαμβανε γαρ το σπερμα και όπισθεν βαδιχε."


"Come here, you cursed creature! Don't sleep but help! Get your seed and come behind me!"

"ό μεν όυν δουλος το σπερμα και όπισθεν βαδιχει, ό δε δεσποτης καλει την Δημητερα και λεγει "ίλαος ίσθι ώ Δημητερ, και πληθυνε το σπερμα."


"While the slave takes the seed and goes behind his master, the master calls out to Demeter and says, "Be Gracious, Demeter and multiply the seed!"

"έπειτα δε το κεντρον λαμβανει και κεντει τοθς βους και λεγει "σπευδετε, ώ βοες έλεκετε το αροτρον και αροτρεθετε τον αγρον"


"And then, the master takes his goad, goads the oxen and says, "Hurry, oxen! Drag the plough and plough the fields!"

Nothing is ever boring with a dirty mind.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Meaning of Life

"Can you tell me the meaning of life?", said the man seated next to me.

Linda must have caught my "WTF" expression. She interjected, "I told him that the meaning of life was here" and pointed towards her heart. I tried not to look too long where the finger was pointed.

"Hey you. Yeah. Can you tell me where in Singapore I can find the meaning of life?" At this point, I figured out that he was drunk. His speech was slurred and his cheerfulness seemed chemically induced.

Another man was seated opposite him, and he said at this point, "Forgive him. He almost started a few fights in the bar." I made some reassuring noises.

Linda and I exchanged glances again. She looked amused. I must have too.

"You are in the wrong place if you're looking for the meaning of life. Ask me for something else. Want to know a decent bar?" I leaned back. A coherent response might take some time.

It was the other man who responded. I took the time to examine him. Caucasian, slight build, intense look, and spoke English with an accent I couldn't place. "We just came from a bar. Didn't like it. Too..."

Linda poked her nose and lifted it, "Too proud? Too uppity?" I stifled a laugh. "We were just talking about that. I was just asking her for a place where I could get a drink, without loud music and just chill out. Doesn't exist."

The other man sighed. I took the opportunity to lean in to ask Linda if she was offended. No, she didn't mind, and was having fun.

With that, we proceeded along our new playground - the minds of our unsuspecting neighbours.

We found out in time that our friend had 22 beers and was in Singapore by way of San Jose. Our other friend was from Singapore, by way of Ireland. Both had worked in Singapore for years. We talked through the night about absolutely nothing, and everything. Our newfound friends bought us a round of coffee. We talked some more.

Our San Jose friend tried to convince us Singapore was a peaceful wonderful place. Linda and I, veteran Singaporeans, defended our non-existant freedoms. Our friend cited fighting in Cambodia and Vietnam. I cried plurality in US and UK. Linda, who had never lived outside Singapore, had my full support. It was great.

At the end of it all, Irish guy asked for Linda's number. I had a suspicion that was what they were after for a while, if not necessary from the start. Linda playfully deposited only her email, much to Irish guys disappointment. We stalked off with big grins on our faces.

I maintain that Linda needs her own warning label.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Home is where friends who will drag you out incessantly are.

It's been almost a month since I've returned. I'm in pretty good shape. I'm meeting up with friends, old and new. During quiet days, I read, or play silly computer games, or observe a little quiet time.

My memories of the Bay are becoming increasingly hazy. Occassionally, unexpected corners jolt those memories awake. My hand still hurts when I write. Small amounts of text will send jolts of pain through my arm and shoulder. I know I must have done something to my hand writing for three days consecutively. I'm not sure when my hand will recover.

Come to think of it, my hand is a pretty apt allegory to my situation. When I'm awake, the situation bothers me little. I know I have done everything conceivable, and for that I will not regret what has gone on. Yet, late at night, I occassionally wake up to some bizzare thought or vivid nightmare.

I am alive. That is more than I can ask for.