My Tech Fails Me

I want to rant my cable TV provider for embedding a record-blocking signal in their transmissions that made it no longer possible for me to record any more of my favourite shows onto my HDD recorder.

I have always been recording shows off the TV, ever since the old VCR days, so that I can always watch and enjoy them over and over again whenever I’m free. And I had bought a LG RH388H HDD/DVD recorder precisely for this purpose. Apart from recording TV shows onto the harddisk, I could also transfer the shows onto DVDs, this way freeing up harddisk space for more recording.

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LG RH388H HDD/DVD recorder

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But ever since July last year, I have not been able to record any more shows onto my HDD recorder. This is what I get when I press the ‘record’ button.

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Apparently, Starhub had embedded a record-blocking signal on ALL its channels as a “piracy prevention measure”. WTF? I thought I was already paying Starhub for watching cable TV every month which should entitle me to record any of the TV shows for my own personal viewing, provided that I do not make any profit out of it. In my opinion, Starhub should seriously refocus its energies on tackling this so-called “TV piracy” on the Internet where it has always been much more rampant, instead of penalising people like me who still actually watch TV from their television sets.

For a while, I was thinking of a get-around measure, by first using a VCR to record the TV show onto a VHS tape, then transfer the recording onto the HDD recorder. As a test, I pulled out my old dusty VCR, cleaned it up a bit and hooked it onto the system. I was able to record a show onto a VHS tape, but when it came to transferring the show onto the HDD recorder, the record-blocking signal was still detected and it could not record. Apparently, the blocking signal is embedded within the recorded signal on the tape, and it is still detected by the HDD recorder even if it plays from the VCR. It didn’t work.

As a result of my HDD recorder being blocked from recording any further TV shows, I am no longer able to record some of the upcoming shows that I had been looking forward to, which includes:
– All six Star Wars movies which were showing in conjunction with the release of Episode VII.
– All future X-Men movies coming after “X-Men: Days of Future Past”.
– All future Marvel Cinematic Universe movies coming after “Guardians of the Galaxy”.
– All future seasons of “Marvel: Agents of SHIELD” after season two.
– All future seasons of “Agent Carter” after season one, which was only season two.
– All other non-MCU Marvel movies that I have not recorded yet, just the other day they were showing “Daredevil”.
– All future DC movies coming after “Man of Steel”.
– As I could no longer record shows to watch later, I have also totally lost interest in following “The Walking Dead” after season five, as well as “The Librarians” after its first season.
– I was going to do a re-recording of the fourth season of the documentary “Digging for the Truth”, and also some of the season one episodes that were not aired in its recent rerun.

Oh, the humanity…

We could be dancing

I begin this rant with anecdotes from an actual conversation I had with a friend:

Miss SingleYou know? I have a friend, she was sooo desperate to have children that she joined the SDU, got married, and now she’s expecting a baby!
Me: Well, since you brought up the subject, let me tell you what I think. I don’t think your friend was desperate, I think she just felt that it was the right time to move on to the next stage of her life, to set up a family, have kids. You don’t have to be desperate to do all this.

Miss Single-and-obviously-is-not-interested: Oh.

Well, it’s just too bad that you regard your singlehood as some sort of freedom that you will never give up by getting into a relationship, and that you are soooo accustomed to that single lifestyle of yours that it has never occurred to you the idea of meeting a guy who can possibly share in your interests, be a reliable and trustworthy friend and companion, and become someone that you can like.

Aren’t you ever full of envy and admiration when you attend your friends’ weddings, and somewhere inside of you you secretly hope that it is you who catch the bouquet? Or do you simply want to be remembered as the Auntie who never got married. And that you never even tried whenever the opportunity presented itself. Everyone aspires to find the special someone with whom you can have great chemistry with, a soulmate to relate to, the life partner. This axiom has always been true, for all time, for everybody, whether if you are a Maths teacher, or a piano teacher. Anyone who tells you otherwise is deluding herself.

And what I do know is that for any relationship, it will take time, effort, and sustained interaction for it to develop. The first step needs to be taken, it could be something as simple as inviting a friend out for dinner, movie, or together let’s share a common interest such as sports, karaoke, go for comics convention, or even join a dance class. Have fun and enjoy the company, and you don’t put too much thought into it,  not yet anyway. Hey, at least you will get to know more friends and meet all sorts of personalities, and have a chance to figure out which character type best appeal to you.

But of course nothing is going to happen unless you actually allow a guy into your life, a relationship can only develop if there is an enthusiasm on both sides to meet up for the occasional dinner or movie date. And sustain this interaction by making your meet-ups regular, such that you both won’t feel too much of a stranger each time you meet and can easily pick up from where you left off. All these need to start off in one form or another, instead of you totally avoiding the issue by only hanging out with your sisterhood of friends, or going off again for your diving trip in Boracay, or aurora-gazing in Norway.

A word of advice: You may not have outgrow that “phase” of yours but instead went on to adopt it as your lifestyle choice. But do your buddy a favour and quit hogging all her time and attention so that she can move on with her life. Some of us are doing our utmost trying to make a breakthrough here, and while you may wish to ride full throttle on that highway of yours, but don’t drag her down to perdition with you. So back off!

Well, I pick up the courage, take the initiative and make the effort to make contact. I want to be close to you, but you are not letting me near. It’s fine if once in a while you are busy and cannot make it for a date, but if you are always that busy the least you could do is suggest an alternative time when you could be free. Otherwise I will assume that it is a lousy excuse that you always use, and I trust that if you are ever free you will have the decency and respect to let me know. On the other hand you didn’t even notice that I’ve stopped looking for you anyway, so I’m calling it even. If you had ever on your own accord felt that it is an important thing to get to know someone better, you will make the time for it.

It doesn’t help much when you treat every SMS I send like the end of a conversation, or that you only bother to reply days later at the end of the week, even for a simple “hello”. And you only give yourself a bad impression by saying things like “Don’t mistake my attention in you for an actual interest”. You justify to yourself by raising the bar so high as to make yourself unattainable for any guy with an honest, genuine interest, and yet you will gladly slut yourself out to the first angmoh or bengala that comes along your way.

I have never assumed that building a relationship will be easy, and I believe that there’s nothing wrong in giving it a push in the right direction. But so as not to scare you away I have already frozen all my efforts to directly bring our friendship up one level. I no longer raised the issue, instead this time round choosing to let it nature take its course, since you so prefer it. Of course I will still be expecting at least some progress to happen with time. But even if with all these the idea of you liking me still never even occurs to you, I will need to move on. Not that I had never taken the chance, or given you the opportunity. Funny, for a while I actually thought that you are just like any other girl hoping to find some romance in life. Stop giving me hope where there is none. We could be dancing, but do we even hold hands?

I ain’t patronising this karaoke, and that’s not my problem

….. Alright, this rant will be presented in a story form, and it will be good to know the people involved:

Me
Mr. Cloud
Mr. No-Aim, and
Mr. H (with whom Mr. Cloud is very angry at, but I’ll go into that later.)

Back in my university days,  my friends and I will sometimes chill out by going for drinks, dinners, and even karaoke. And now that we have graduated, we would still occasionally meet up to catch up with one another, in spite of our busy schedule. It’s important to maintain contacts once in a while so as to strengthen our friendships, good enough to last a lifetime, although we unanimously decided to not remember Miss Act-cute anymore since she’s only begging for attention and is not really interested in being any guy’s friend.

And since I like to sing karaoke, I once suggested that my friends and I meet up for a karaoke session. Usually at this point, my friends would balk at my suggestion and will try to throw some cheaper ideas to spend time. But in this case, Mr. Cloud recommended that we visit “Teo Heng KTV”. And I was rather curious, as “Teo Heng” was a supplier of KTV equipment, and I was unaware that “Teo Heng” also went into the karaoke business. Mr. Cloud mentioned that being its own supplier of singing and music equipment, “Teo Heng KTV” charges one of the cheapest KTV rates as compared to KBox, or Party World.

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However, I was wary, for “Teo Heng KTV” is located at Katong Shopping Centre. Built in the 1970’s, Katong Shopping Centre is a place that had long past its heyday and is nowadays more renowned as a rather seedy place with its main tenants consisting of massage parlours, maid agencies, matchmakers for Vietnamese brides, LAN gaming, and even VCD shops that only open on weekends (though I’ll admit those VCD shops had been gone for years). I was rather apprehensive about going there.

It was decided, Mr. Cloud agreed to arrange a reservation at “Teo Heng KTV” on one Saturday. Unfortunately (or fortunately), the KTV was fully booked, and instead we had dinner somewhere else. And I pointed out the obvious to Mr. Cloud: Since “Teo Heng KTV” has supposedly the cheapest rates in town, there was no point in trying to book a reservation there since IT WILL ALWAYS BE FULLY BOOKED as everybody will want to go there. With that I told Mr. Cloud we should not to consider going there anymore, but instead opt for the more popular KTVs which we are familar with.

Nonetheless, I would like to commend Mr. Cloud for playing his part in giving ideas for us friends to hang out, even though all of us have had to put up with his antics of teasing or mocking every last word or syllable or topic of discussion mentioned by anyone, regardless of whether or not it is offensive. Sometimes his favourite habit seems to be making fun of his friends’ Facebook profile pictures, especially if it’s a “guai-lan” face.

Likewise, Mr. No-Aim deserves worthy mention for being friend enough to show up whenever he can, although sometimes Mr. No-Aim sure knows how to dampen the atmosphere, such as once, when we had almost decided on eating at a German restaurant, where there is good food, only to change location at the last moment when Mr. No-Aim found that the place was al fresco dining, there is no air-con and there’s some smoke from people smoking outside. He never seem to realize that the best and most meaningful things in life are those in which you had to put in your effort and overcome obstacles in order to achieve. All his life Mr. No-Aim spends his full-time travelling from one path to another so as to avoid any little bit of inconvenience he may encounter, living a life with with no particular motivation to pursue any goals or aims. And to skip any possible embarrassment Mr. No-Aim vetoes nearly every KTV suggestion that I made. Who knows, maybe if he went to karaoke more often he may learn to enjoy it. I could have sworn he had no problems singing a Jay Chou rap.

Which now brings us to Mr. H, who had been considerably missing in the entire story. And that is precisely the point. Mr. H has taken to totally ignoring all calls and logging off from WhatsApp whenever Mr. Cloud and I try to contact him. It’s as if he rationalizes that there’s no reason for us to find him so he wouldn’t answer, even if it’s an invitation to hang out. As a result it is impossible for us to confirm whether the photo on his Facebook album of the babe with a large tattoo on her shoulder is that of his girlfriend. We can’t even ask him about it, let alone find out what’s going on in his life, especially now that Mr. H had (allegedly by accident) deleted his Facebook account, in which he had previously posted updates and pictures of his travels.

I’ll be frank. I will understand if you feel that it is none of our business to pry into your private life, but if you are going to totally avoid your friends just so as to prevent any of us from having a chance to tease you about your current love, isn’t that taking things way to the extreme? Any comments if we should make will only be in jest with no malice intended, and what makes you think that I will actually do that? It’s not even in my nature to mock and make fun of others anyway (Ok, perhaps Mr. Cloud will do that, but that’s not my problem). It is a bit hard for us to share in your happiness if we are seriously unaware about it. You keep us all in the dark, I hope you are happy.

Not one of you

I used to hang out with this group of friends, we would usually meet on Sundays, but sometimes we would meet on weekdays as well, either for dinner or for movie. At first it was rather fun, as I was hanging out with people of my same age group, everybody seemed to be quite warm, welcoming and friendly, and I can get to know people from my generation. In fact I can even say that it was nostalgic for me, all that singing kinda reminded me of my school days.

As usual, I had always made the effort to widen my circle of friends, as it was in this case. And of course, it would be in my interest to meet new friends such that, perhaps I will meet someone who can develop a friendly interest in me so that I can actually make some progress towards moving on with my life. And I never let myself be too discouraged when at times things do not go in my favour, such as if some of those girls just cannot look in my direction whenever I smile and say “Hi” them, it’s as though something in their mind thinks that I am some kind of a monster that is going to eat them or what.

Never mind about that. But what more discouraging is that, whenever I decide to further develop my relationship with any particular person, none of those friends ever had the decency to tell me that she is already attached with someone else. Everytime I had to find that out by myself, and it makes me very angry, for I could have saved much of my time and effort if they could have told me about it in the first place. This was especially so when most of the times the supposed “couple” had never displayed any outward signs that they were already an item. It is as if they’ve got something to hide, which I think is wrong since I believe that there is no need to keep secret an true and honest relationship. They can just show it to the whole world so that everybody can be aware of it. I mean, it’s now the 21st century isn’t it? Attitudes had evolved.

And so my association with these believers only got increasingly frustrating, after a while I really got fed up of attending the weddings of the people that I like. And the last straw came when yet another girl that I was trying to get to know better, AGAIN I had to find out by myself that she was already in a relationship with somebody that I know. And I never even saw it coming, neither of them had ever given any indication that they were getting together. Furthermore, I think that the guy was quite undeserving since he is such an aloof person who had never put in any effort on his part into building a relationship with any girl.

But more importantly,  I can see no further benefits from my association with them, since almost nearly every venture that I attempt seems to be already undermined by the fact that the girl is already attached, and everybody is so secretive that no one ever bothers to tell me of that fact, leaving me to waste my hopes, time, and effort, over and over again. Even effort has got to have some progress by some point. Just as I told my cell leader when I terminated my association with them (Oh, and I went to her wedding by the way), she doesn’t know how bad it feels when everytime I try to get to know somebody, the person is either unable to say a single word to me, or I’m simply too late.

And I did hope that my friends and I can still meet up for dinner or movies sometimes, but none of them bothered to contacted me again. From what I heard, one person was expecting the other guy to do the contacting, and so no one actually did. And they all still seem to be under the delusion that I actually believe in their ideas and can only think of inviting me for their services or events, all of which I am totally uninterested in. I do know for a fact that they also meet up with other non-believer friends. Funny, I thought that Singapore is a secular nation whereby even if I don’t buy your idea I will still respect your beliefs, even if I don’t agree with or approve of it.

Now that I have cleared that out of the way, let me go into all my complaints about that bunch. Some of them can act very peculiar. One of them claimed that he was watching a movie that was just starting on TV, he suddenly became very agitated and worried when he realized that it was a James Bond movie (“Goldeneye”, iirc.) And the reason was because he thought could inadvertently be committing something sinful and possibly lose his ticket to salvation by just watching the movie’s opening credits (your typical James Bond opening credits, btw) Sheesh, it’s only a movie opening credits, with some artistic expression thrown into it that’s all. In the words of one my friend who heard about this, that guy can “go catch spider” instead.

Some of them can even say the strangest things. One person that I know, a Mr. Chivalrous, suddenly out of the blue he started preaching to the girls, telling them to repent for all the “sinful thoughts” they have on their minds, somehow insinuating that girls were all salivating for the male muscular hunks, which in my opinion is denigrating their dignity.

Many of these believers also place more importance on their faith and beliefs than on their own family. For example, my colleague’s sister, who is an ardent believer, decided not to invite her uncles and aunties and cousins to her own wedding, apparently because she has been brainwashed to only consider her church friends to be her one true family, throwing away the age-old tradition of inviting your family members to your wedding.

Some people will just go off for years-long mission trips, completely abandoning their careers, family and friends while supposedly pursuing the higher purpose of interfering in the indigenous cultures where you have no business being there. Not to forget that they are actually wasting their money away on such trips, when they should instead be making the important decisions in their lives where it comes to finances, career, taking care of parents, finding a suitable life partner, and starting a family.

And even more recently there had been several incidents and scandals that reveal just how two-face and despicable these people are. Some of them think that they have a God-given right to anyhow park their cars blocking people’s houses whenever they go for service. And an unrepentant pastor had even embezzled millions of tithings to support he and his popstar wife extravagant lifestyle. Someone had even gone to the lengths of mocking people of other beliefs during the service itself. In fact, I had once heard a speaker insist that his flock only befriend people of the same beliefs, and not outside the church. What they are more interested in is to convert people into buying their idea with the notion that they are actually doing the person a favour. All these self-righteous and intolerant behaviour totally contradicts what I believe in as a Singaporean, in the principle of equality and respect for people of all races and religions. They should all be ashamed of themselves for blinding adhering to such false beliefs.

It’s just as well that I had never gone too close to these people. For all my efforts I didn’t get what I wanted during my time with them, and I gained absolutely nothing from my association with them either. But I remain ever the optimist, that I will be able to find the right partner one day.

In the meantime, I’ll be in the gym, pumping iron.

P.S. For more exploits of Mr. Chivalrous, you may also wish to read this.

She won’t dance, SHE JUST WON’T DANCE!

At a friend’s suggestion, I signed up for dance class at the local community club. I wanted to learn something new, and I figured it wouldn’t hurt to learn dancing, it can be a valuable asset. In fact, I was thinking that, to know how to dance, that can only be an advantage for me. And besides, who wouldn’t want to emulate his favourite movie idol, who happens to be able to dance so well in every ballroom scene?

And of course, I understand the importance of stepping out of your comfort zone when it comes to learning something new. One must never be afraid of feeling embarassed or appearing awkward initially when it comes to picking up a new skill. This situation is only temporary and will quickly pass once you get the hang of it. With that in mind, I have learnt several steps for cha-cha, disco rock, and most recently rumba, or at least in the forms that my instructor teaches. Although I find that there is a tendency to forget the steps for the earlier dances everytime after I learn a new one. That’s not good.

But the more fun thing about dancing is to be able to remember and execute all the moves flawlessly, it really does gives you a high. And it sure feels good to able to prove, not just to yourself but to everyone else, that you are able to carry out a complete dance sequence with your partner, and then repeat the sequence again so long as the music continues.

And nearly all of  my friends have at one time or another suggested that I should join some club or class where I could meet like-minded people with common interests, with whom I can make friends, and if I should see fit to develop upon our friendship I can go ahead and make the effort to do so and move on with my life. With that in mind, I suggested to my dance partner that, perhaps were can first go for dinner together before heading for the dance classes.

Partner: “Oh, I just so happen never eat meals on Tuesday nights (the night of the dance classes). I only eat bread that I buy near my office for dinner.”

Hmm… okay, maybe I can invite her out on weekends. We can even watch a movie together.

Partner“Sorry, but I would rather be stuck at home watching TV dramas on my laptop. Either that or I’ll probably be hanging out with my group of sisters-only friends. And I never watch movies.”

So much for my attempts at trying to establish a rapport with my dance partner. I mean, it’s not as if I’m too scared or afraid or procrastinating to ask her out. I’ve gone past that. But the restrictions that she had imposed on herself for going out are so incomprehensible (eg. not wanting to go too far away from her apartment, or having to leave first so that she can rest early, etc.) such that, respecting her choice to be so self-isolated, I don’t even bother to invite her out anymore. You cannot begin to imagine the multitude of excuses she can invent just so as to deprive herself of normal and sustained interaction with a healthy mix of friends, which goes against my firm belief that any slight inconvenience that comes together with friendships should not be regarded as too big an issue, be it hanging out slightly later occasionally or watching a movie once in a while. In fact, you may even benefit from this sense of camaraderie, or find it to your liking, if only you gave it a chance.

So, it was rather disappointing for me to have met such an anti-social person, based on my own personal experience, nothing much can be expected from such an association. And that’s not the worst part.

During dance lessons, she must always keep a distance, nearly an arm’s length, away from her dance partner (me), which makes it difficult for us to do all our dance moves properly. Imagine, trying to do a natural turn, but not letting me support her on her waist. As our instructor puts it, the dancers must keep close so as not to spiral out of the central axis. And she says it tickles. It’s seems as if she does not want to enjoy any sense of intimacy that comes naturally with dancing, like as though it is something bad, and that by dancing so close it will cause her to get some wrong ideas.

Here’s one more: Both of us went for a dance party organised by our instructor, but despite all our practising, at the party she would rather sit down and just listen to music and watch other people dance, instead of actually DANCE. She would insist that I go on and ask someone else for a dance, when the truth is that I am only most comfortable dancing with the person that I had always been practising with. With this, I had to ask some serious questions: Why did she want to learn dancing in the first place?  To dance? I sure as hell don’t see her doing any dancing. To meet new friends? Well, I wanted to meet friends, but I can now see for myself that she is obviously making a conscious effort on her part not to know me any better, even as a normal friend.

If you are unable to behave like a normal person and play your part to contribute to the progress of society, then you may as well get on a bus and get back to where you once belong. Don’t waste everybody’s time, hopes, and effort, NO ONE welcomes a freeloader on this island.

Where’s my post-credit scene? Where’s my shawarma?

**Bet you can guess which movie I’m going to refer to in this rant. If not, read on!**

A couple of weeks back I went to watch “The Avengers” with my movie buddies. Being a Marvel Comics fan, the movie was a real treat as I get to see my favourite superheroes rendered in real-life physical forms. Especially since “The Avengers” is the cumulation of all the hype generated from the “Iron Man”, “Thor”, “Captain America”, and even “The Incredible Hulk” movies that Marvel had earlier released, in the anticipated build-up towards this ensemble piece.

And one feature of the Marvel superheroes movies is the inclusion of a post-credit scene, a bonus for those who decide to hang around after the main story has ended. So, after watching “The Avengers”, my friends wanted to leave as she thinks that the movie had already ended once the credits start. Fortunately, we waited until what I thought was the post-credit scene started to show after the main cast was listed, which had the big reveal who the real alien mastermind was.

Big bad guy, intrigued at the prospects of courting death.

As always, I had kept away from all the spoilers on the Internet until after I had watched the movie. So, it was only after I got home and when I surfed the Internet then I found that there was another post-credit scene, which appeared only after all the credits have listed. Needless to say, I was damned pissed at having missed out the extra scene and not having got my money’s worth for the movie ticket. You can catch this scene on Youtube here, and it has an interesting backstory.

Shortly thereafter, I got fed up of having to beg everytime I hope to watch a movie with them, so I’ve decided to catch up on the summer blockbusters all by myself.

Several movies later…

I was watching “The Amazing Spider-Man” when suddenly the projector went black. There was some technical difficulties, and everyone waited almost half an hour for the movie to come back online. But they simply couldn’t get the movie back to exactly that interrupted scene, instead it was jumping to a scene before, much AFTER, before again… until finally it was close enough. After the movie, the cinema people gave everyone, including me, a complimentary ticket as compensation for all our troubles.

By this time, I have already watched all the movies that I was interested in for now, and I was undecided on what other movie to watch using my complimentary ticket. And then out of the blue, it was announced that there would be a rerun of “The Avengers”. Guess which movie I decided on. That right! I’ve got a free ticket and I am going to use it to correct a grevious mistake that was made. So, I rushed down from work, had a quick dinner, and made it to the cinema in time to watch “The Avengers”, again!

Great show, and the credits started rolling. I sure ain’t gonna miss the post-credit scene on the big screen this time round. The last of the credits rolled, but instead, what???

The big red MARVEL logo comes up, and the screen fades to black. The lights came on, and the ambient cinema music started playing. WTF? Where’s the post-credit scene? Where’s my shawarma? This is a conspiracy, man. The shawarma scene had been totally removed, it is a sacrilege! And it did not make any sense to me, the whole wide world got to see this extra scene which should be present in every print, except for some reason not in the one I’m watching here.  It’s as though the universe is playing some kind of cosmic joke on me, I thought that I had been given a chance to fix a mistake that was inadvertently made, when in fact nothing could have been done, as the post-credit scene was probably not there in the first place. D’oh! If anyone is able to shed more light on this incident, please do.

 Not a very accurate depiction of the extra scene, but hey. At least the Hulk knows how I feel.
And if you really want to know where the table and chairs come from, click here.

This logo is here purely for FB purposes.

[UPDATE 22th December 2012: The decidedly unofficial internet movie database suggests that the post-credit “Shawarma” scene was added only in the US release of the movie, and not in the international release. So I guess the whole wide world didn’t get to see the extra scene after all. Dang.]

Looks can be deceiving…

I’ve just completed my annual reservist in-camp training, which had lasted for the past two weeks. Apart from brushing up our military skills, the ICTs were also a good time for army friends to catch-up with one another, and share our experiences with regards to our careers, relationships, etc. Indeed, after having known each other so for many years, some of us had already moved on with our lives, getting attached, married, and even starting a family, while others are still just as single as they were at the very beginning.

In fact, as each of us come from different backgrounds and had gone through different paths in life, it is always a good idea to learn from someone else’s experiences on finding the right partner, as you can get to see things from that person’s unique point of view, which you may be unaware of. As such, often during my chats with army friends I would pay attention  to whatever advice, tips or ideas that they would like to share, and that I can possibly use.

However, at many times the discussions would be skewed into some other directions, which happens whenever someone gets inspired to tell of an actual story that he had witnessed outside. An army mate spoke of his bank colleague, who somehow managed to negotiate a consensual affair between himself and his China female co-worker. Another told the story of his fellow TCM female coursemate, who is married with three children. She is aware that her husband has extra-marital affairs, but she still sticks with him as he is rich. And besides, she even conducts affairs of her own, under the guise of attending her courses but actually skipping her classes.

From his observations, the same army friend also cautioned that the girls from China are not to be trusted, they are here only to cheat their way towards obtaining a Singaporean citizenship, and also stealing your money in the process. He also added that the highly educated China girls are only interested in finding partners who are of equal or even higher education qualification than them, provided that they also have money of course. Too bad… although that does explains why my colleagues suddenly cannot even notice me in the same office, in front of her.

Another friend related the story of his cousin, who married a Vietnamese bride. After getting her citizenship, she borrowed quite a sum of money from her husband, supposedly for overseas studies. But she absconded to Australia and gambled all the money away. During the divorce proceedings, she even further demanded a lot more money. Someone also shared the story of this honest and down-to-earth guy, who thought that he had found the love of his life. That was until he discovered that the girl was only interested in scamming him, his family, and his friends into joining an insidious pyramid scheme investment, and that she was trying to psycho him into doing the same scam as her.

… Listening to all these sad/bad/horror stories can sure put a dampener on the mood of even the most optimistic person who is in the search of happiness in life. And this was not helped much either when any further attempts at asking for some useful, practical tips and suggestions, always quickly degenerate into derogatory taunts such as, “You desperate is it?”, “How come you keep failling?”, “This kind of girl you also want?”, etc. Remarks which serve no purpose other than reveal that, sadly, for those who had managed to move on with their lives, most seem uninterested in sharing their success story to someone who is eager to join their ranks, and that they would rather revel at the lack of achievement in the said person, regardless of whether they themselves had gone through the same difficulties. It’s as if love had come all too easy for them, and the failures of others seem to be their only narcotic, and they want to keep it that way.

… Okay, perhaps the ONLY practical idea that I’ve heard was how someone managed to express his interest to his girl, by grabbing her hand while they were dashing across the road. Good thing that the girl wasn’t only thinking that he was only trying to be helpful. And it may not always work under similar situations.

But anyway, now that I had completed my LAST ICT, it’s just too bad that the friends whom I thought are in the best position to give me tips and advice, simply refused to do so. And I’ve learnt that what appears to be a good, best solution or idea on the surface, may not necessarily translate so when you go about putting your effort into it. That’s not a reason not to try though, just be more aware of what actually goes on around you, so that you can make the informed decisions that you can believe is right.