The “Opium Song”

Some time back I was walking through a shopping centre, it was during a Chinese festival and an electronics shop was playing on their televisions the MTVs of several Chinese festive songs. It was then I thought I heard a song which mentioned the words “鸦片” (opium). That’s odd, how could there even be song singing about opium, the highly addictive and dangerous drug? And that such a song could actually be allowed to play on Singapore airwaves? Surely the draconian Singaporean entertainment censorship board would have caught such a lapse in censorship and not allow such a song to be broadcast. The very mention of the word “opium” in a song could possibily be perceived as a glorification or promotion of a drug culture, and it would be just as bad as that “rehab song” by the recently dead wine singer. Oh my…

Back home, I asked my Dad if he had heard of the “opium song”, that song sounded rather old so maybe he might have heard it before. My Dad couldn’t figure out what am I talking about, and likewise he seriously doubted that such an “opium song” could be allowed to play in Singapore, the government would have banned it straightaway! He then suggested that I might have heard the song wrongly. Unfortunately, I was not able to remember the tune of the “opium song” such that I could humm it for my Dad to identify. But I resolved to try to remember how the “opium song” sounds like if I ever heard it again, and ask my Dad about it.

It wasn’t easy. At times I actually got to hear the song being played somewhere during the day, only to let its tune slip my mind by the time I returned home. Finally, after several months, during yet another festive season I got to hear the “opium song” being broadcast from a loudspeaker at a temple. I made myself remember its tune by repeating it to myself all day! Returning home, I hummed the tune for my Dad to listen, and he immediately recognised it! He has the song somewhere in his CD collection.

The song in question is entitled “叮嚀” (“Advice”), it’s a 1930s Chinese song famously sung by the singer Zhou Xuan (周璇) and more recently by other singers, it is usually sung as a duet but can also be sung as a single. Its main theme is about a girl’s boyfriend having to go overseas to work, and that she should not get into trouble by becoming addicted to opium. Somehow back then it was quite okay to sing openly about drugs and warn against drugs and other vices. You can listen to the song at the below link.


The lyrics with the “opium” word happens at 2:19, and it goes: “… 望情妹切莫吸鸦片, 鸦片香烟费金钱…”, which roughly translates to “… think of your girlfriend, must never smoke opium, opium and cigarettes waste money…” Somehow I must have only selectively heard the words: “…吸鸦片, 鸦片香…” which if taken out of context of the song means “smoke opium, opium smells sweet!” No wonder I thought that it was some “opium song” promoting the nasty habit of taking drugs!

You know, this entire episode has inspired me to rewrite the song such that it really is a song that glorifies and promotes smoking opium. Try singing my lyrics to the tune!

“鸦片香, 鸦片甜, 鸦片又香又甜, 快来吸鸦片! …吸鸦片, 鸦片香…”

Now that’s a song that is askin’ to be banned!

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Apes of the Planet

One day, my Dad and I went to the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. I wanted to visit a sports shop there as I was thinking of buying a pair of mountain shoes for an overseas hiking trip. Unfortunately, the shop was already closed. But along the way, we came across numerous wild monkeys which were frolicking about on the grass, grooming each other, and helping themselves with fruits and food plundered from nearby rubbish bins. Their carefree mannerisms both amused and intrigued us. For several years, the National Parks had been releasing monkeys (specifically the long-tailed Macaques) into the Singapore forests to help repopulate the species. Given the numerous instances of monkeys invading private residences to steal food, and the incessant feeding of monkeys by law-breaking citizens, I should say that NPark’s efforts at raising the awareness of wildlife conservation among Singaporeans had been met with a considerable degree of success.

The sight of so many monkeys inspired my father to comment: “猴子是人的远亲” – which translates to “Monkeys are distant relatives of Humans”. Hmm… I know of a couple of people who would take serious offense at that statement. Yet again, they also think that Yoga is evil, and that the universe was created in six days, but I’ll leave all that as a blog to rant another day. Obviously, my Dad was making a reference to the Theory of Evolution, which as suggested by Charles Darwin from his 1859 publication “On the Origin of Species” that Humans today evolved from apelike ancestors through a lengthly process of natual selection, adaptation, survival of the fittest, and probably even mutation. Being a person of scientific thinking, personally I find the idea that man could have evolved from apes to sound logical and it is possibly credible. Though I know of someone who totally outright rejected the Theory of Evolution since “he hasn’t seen any monkey turn into a man yet”.

Interestingly, my Dad’s comment inspired me into thinking what exactly are the implications of his comments, and it wasn’t very long before I came to the logical conclusion which I expessed by replying: “人是猴子的远亲!” – “Humans are distant relatives of monkeys!” Actually, that statement sounds more amusing than it was logical, as me saying it implies that we are the monkeys! Living about our carefree lives in this urban jungle!

On this note, I would like to mention of the upcoming movie “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”, which I assume would be a remake of the classic “Planet of the Apes” movie series, excluding the faux 2001 Tim Burton version. The “Planet of the Apes” series told of the story of… the planet of the apes, and I am not going to spoil the story for you by going any bit further into the details. What you can know about the upcoming movie, you can see for yourselves from the movie posters or movie trailers, the latter of which I am going to avoid since I choose to keep myself unaware of the storyline until I can surprise myself by what I see in the cinema.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Coming soon.

The worst field trip. Ever.

Several Saturdays ago, a family friend by the name of Mdm. Trim, invited me to go on a field trip, to visit an organic farm in Johor, along with a couple of other tourist locations. It was suggested to me that the field trip would be an opportunity for me to get to know some of the other friends and acquintances that Mdm. Trim had managed to drag along for this excursion, namely people who are often too preoccupied with their work or other activities to ever have had the time to meet new friends. Personally, I am never against meeting new friends, and quite so eagerly I accepted the offer.
 
And before the field trip, Mdm. Trim suggested that I should do some sort of makeover. Apart from buying a new, expensive branded shirt to wear, I also went for a haircut, for Mdm. Trim advised that my previous smart, center-parting hairstyle was rather old-fashioned and tended to scare away people (?). And I was recommended to get a new spiky hairstyle which I thought looked like a cross between a Mohawk and a conehead, but it was assured to me that this new style was much more attractive to people than the earlier one.
 
We assembled at the meeting point in the school, where I introduced myself to the guys and girls that Mdm. Trim had invited for the field trip. Occasionally I would try to start a conversation, but most of the time the girls tended to only cluster and talk among themselves. Any conversation that I initiated was quickly ended by a one or two word reply from her. And it wasn’t helped much when I was assigned to sit next to a Malay girl for the entire bus trip, whom I had no interest in getting to know. In addition, one of the girls looked like she was already going steady with a guy who also came for the trip. I thought it smarter that I should no longer distrub them.
 
In fact, during lunchtime, the entire conversation was hogged by some guy who was boasting about his experience of having climbed up to the base camp of Mount Everest. I don’t even think that I had the opportunity to say much during lunch. I wonder if my experience of having climbed Mount Kinabalu would have impressed anybody, should I have bragged or boasted about it, before someone else does about some mountain higher.
 
And for the dinner, I was not seated next to any of the girls again. This time I was between Mdm. Trim, and some guy. Hey, look. I got no interest in knowing guys, it will not be very helpful to me. And Mdm. Trim was taking photos of people around the table, girls posing as sisters, guy with girl. But for me, it simply had to be with some guy that I had no interest in seating next to, leading me to comment that "you have got to be kidding me."
 
As the bus returned to Singapore, I was hoping that, perhaps after getting off the bus, I could exchange contact details with the girls, or maybe even offering to drive them home. Instead, what happened was that, just before the bus entered the school gates, the girls quickly got off the bus already, and were quickly saying goodbyes and moving off in their separate directions!
 
Arghhh! Screw the whole thing! It is not as though I didn’t try, I did go for the trip after all. But pretty much nothing happened in my favour. Nevertheless, I still welcome whatever opportunity to get to meet potential friends, and I would still continue to accept outing invitations from Mdm. Trim, of course, provided that she can remember to invite me to join in a dinner outing with friends at some Orchard restaurant that she actually thinks that I would never find out.
 
But I’m keeping the hairstyle, while it lasts.

Facebook is useless

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Recently, I attended a dinner gathering of my primary school friends. It was a blast, to be able to catch up with one another after so many years. And information about that dinner event was passed down to all of us via Facebook, the reigning social networking website. And that’s the only way that Facebook should be used, as a social networking device, and that’s it. But instead, for many, Facebook has literally taken over as the way of life, something unnatural and artificial, insidiously supplanting all the interactions that one needs when living in the real world.
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Perhaps a brief description of the functions of Facebook is in order. With a Facebook account, Facebook users can make connections with their other friends who have also signed up with Facebook. It is even possible to use Facebook to search for and make contact with long-lost friends, people whom you have lost touch with for years ever since primary, secondary schools, or even junior college and university. It has even become quite a fad amongst Facebook fans to link up with as many friends as possible, with their list of friends going into the hundreds or even thousands, blindly sending their invites to all of their friends’ friends without actually personally knowing who they are.
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Facebook users can post comments or share in discussions with their friends on the News Feed, you can just post whatever that’s on your mind there, for all of your friends to read and comment. Other features of Facebook includes photo hosting, and the many games available for playing such as Farmville, and Mafia Wars. Apparently there’s an automatic feature which reports onto the News Feed your progress during these games, your entire circle of friends can learn about your progress in farming your village, decorating your aquarium, or cleaning up the mob.
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If all of the above suits your way of life, please do carry on. But I for one can already see all the shortcomings that Facebook so blatantly presents. Well, for one thing, I am skeptical about the whole “Facebook helps you make friends” business. You call those on your friends list your friends? Do you even meet them? Go out with them on a regular basis, have a drink and chat with them, find out more about them? NO? And you just do it all just on Facebook? AND you call them your friends? Seriously, with over a hundred names on your list I would think that apart from a couple of geniune friends, you keep that name on the list only as a means of contact. And that’s what I mean by social networking tool, such as when a gathering event is organised, the information gets deseminated down to the necessary people, just as Facebook was designed to do.
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And of course, nothing more need to be said about the dangers of blindly inviting friends on Facebook. Perhaps, after an actual introduction, perhaps at a gathering of friends, then you would know who is that person who had sent you a friend invite. If not, these invites are no different from spam from someone who simply just wants to increase the number of friends on her list, just like when I received an invite from a friend of my colleague’s wife, someone who I had never heard of before, whom I see no further need in friending her any longer, especially since she always seemed to be posting onto the News Feed boring exploits of her green eco-trips to the countryside. For another example, in a previous rant I made mention of my friend Issac and his wife Laura, who would rather that I try getting making contact with my JC idol through Facebook, instead of them having to go through the trouble of setting up an actual face-to-face introductory meeting between me and her. Naturally, for someone who doesn’t even know who I am, the Facebook invite from me gets ignored. I suppose Laura never realised that Facebook can never serve as a medium for real friendships.
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And I can’t use Facebook as a blog. The News Feed was never designed for the posting of paragraphs for display. And any topics or comments posted onto the News Feed will simply be pushed down by the latest postings or games playing progress. The nearest thing that comes to blogging would be if I made a post with a link to my blog on News Feed, which would quickly be pushed down into obscurity by some one-liner comment, or by those incessant games progress. There must be some serious need to tell ALL your friends that you had just found some mushrooms or eggs on your farm, or if you request for additional help in taking out some mafia lord or dictator. Woe to those who have hundreds of friends on their list, and even bother to read every one of their postings, surely they must all come in a torrent.
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The old schoolmates reunion that I attended was possible only because of Facebook’s networking ability that allowed me to contact an old primary school friend who was organising the reunion. It was after the dinner that I thought it may be a good idea to use Facebook to search for and contact another old JC friend. The last I heard was that my friend was helping out a singer-friend sell chocolate cakes in Taiwan. I sent out an invite, asking if my friend remembered me. Not too long after, I can see that my invite had been ignored, which is pretty obvious when you don’t even see the photo of your friend with that “awaiting friend confirmation” tag on your list. So I sent another invite, reminding that we were JC friends, in the same ECA too. That lingered around for a week before it too became ignored. Neh, despite having over 400 friends, my friend simply couldn’t add one more of me to her list. Funny, I thought that it was her idea that we should keep in contact. I wonder why was she even doing on Facebook anyway.
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Facebook should only serve its function as an online networking device, and when it connects me with my friends either old or new alike, it is indeed very useful. But no one should ever obsess over reading the latest News Feed, or spend hours to play the online Facebook games. These things are virtual and inconsequential, and they take you away from the real world, going against the very purpose of improving upon friendships that Facebook was meant to do. But in the meantime, until the next internet fad takes over from Facebook, I expect to see people continue tapping their lives away on their iPhone Facebook apps.
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And don’t even get me started on the iPhone. (Btw, I don’t have one.)
:)

Something was very wrong with this conversation

There was once I had dinner with a group of my friends, we were together celebrating the birthdays of two of the girls in the group. All of us were eating and chatting, with me joining in their conversation every once in a while, when I find that I got something to add. But for most parts Mr. Chivalrous was hogging all of the attention, engrossed in his self-appointed role of providing entertainment to the girls present, by saying a lot of funny things and making quite the clown out of himself.
 
I always believe that it is a good idea to maintain a group of good friends, with a healthy mix of both guys and girls. These are people that you can go out with to eat dinner, watch movies, play badminton or bowling, or even go on holiday together. We can get to know more about one another, and who knows, perhaps you can get lucky and a girl may take a friendly interest in you and you can build a relationship with her. While I still allow for the possibility of “love at first sight”, it is always a good idea that you have some knowledge about the person you are interested in, and vice versa, and this can be done through interaction within a group of friends. I will be in deep trouble if I were to go up to each and every girl that I know and tell her that I’m interested in her. Even I will grow suspicious if some girl that I hardly know was to suddenly express an interest in me. But if we can first know each other as friends, I would be able to gauge for myself whether the girl that I’m interested in is suitable for me.
 
For reasons that I will not go into, I have already determined that none of those girls will ever think of me as a possible life partner no matter how much more kindness or friendliness that I show towards them. Nevertheless, I still consider them as good friends, and anyway I continue to keep that option open.
 
Okay, back at that dinner. I was trying my best to be as friendly as I had always been amongst friends. But Mr. Chivalrous’ topics of discussion has no holds barred, and then suddenly he was laughing and joking about the marital status of his friends, such as so-and-so are getting married, who’s just found a girlfriend, or boyfriend. He seems to think that it is very funny to reason out why someone is still single, or why someone took such a long time to get attached. And soon enough he was questioning those present as to how are they with their love life, with the obvious intentions of making a joke out of whatever answer that he gets.
 
And just when I thought that Mr. Chivalrous was asking me when am I getting a girlfriend, I simply stood up and left the table. I was already rather upset that despite all my effort, there had been no progress in my trying to develop relations with any of the girls, and I have no intentions of blowing my chances with them by saying what I actually felt either. For some strange reason, there is a tendency for girls to be scared away once they find out that someone had an interest in them. There is no way that I am going to let Mr. Chivalrous joke at my expense.
 
When I returned from the restroom, thankfully the conversation had moved on to some other topic.
 
I don’t know, but I do not apologise for being the optimistic person that I am. You’ll never know unless you try, and the last time I checked, there is no crime in trying to find someone to like. And people like Mr. Chivalrous can either say something supportive for a change rather than get a perverse thrill from such a sensitive matter, or he can just shut his foul-mouth up. Nobody is going to think that he is mute anyway.

Someone that I'd really like to meet

There is someone who I always wished that I can get to meet her and be friend with. Miss A was a fellow student from another class back when I was studying in JC. Actually, Miss A is one of a pair of sisters who were studying together in JC, they were also known among friends as WAWE, an acronym of their initials. And why did I want to get to know Miss A? Well, frankly speaking, I thought that Miss A looked rather cool, something along the lines of an "Ice Queen". Just think of Jacelyn Tay, you’ll get the picture.
 
However, back then, I was more concerned with the worry that if I ever said something wrong to Miss A, she may become seriously offended and I may not even be able to talk to her again. Also, there was never an opportunity that Miss A could have got to know me. We were not in the same class, or the same ECA. She joined the Student Council. I didn’t even get pass the interview stage. We may be studying the same subjects in the same lecture hall, but I can say that I have never interacted with Miss A, or said anything to her. Somehow I thought that even the risks of making a self-introduction were too high. I felt that it was just too weird if I just came up to Miss A and try to start a conversation, especially when she doesn’t even know me. She might even think that I am trying to be funny or act like a fool.
 
So, I had to content myself with only being able to see Miss A at lectures during my two years of JC. I did my NS, and then university. And on and off, I still sometimes think of what if Miss A and I were friends. And in the meantime, I have come to realise that I really shouldn’t have to worry too much when it comes to making friends with girls. People make friends all the time, either with guys or girls. This is quite normal, all it takes is to overcome the initial shyness, don’t say wrong or stupid things, and be yourself, act natural.
 
And then one day, I attended the wedding of a friend, Mr. Newton, who works as a prudent financial advisor. And I thought that someone at the wedding looked like Miss A. Later at the wedding dinner, I found out that she WAS Miss A, she was a church friend of Mr. Newton who was helping to emcee at the dinner. By this point in my life, I now have the guts to introduce myself to Miss A during a break. Of course, she has never met me before, but now knows me as one of Mr. Newton’s friend. We chatted for a while, and I did give her my namecard.
 
I was rather happy to be able to see Miss A again after so many years. But in the following days, I found myself consumed with the idea that I should try to establish contact with Miss A. I had more or less been obsessed with this thought for over 10 years, and I can no longer afford to obsess over it for another decade. I asked Mr. Newton if he could arrange a meeting between me and Miss A, perhaps at some function which I can attend, and be properly introduced. I also asked if he could tell me anything more about her. Mr. Newton said that he would try, though I did detect a sense of unwillingness in his tone.
 
Nothing much happened for a few weeks, and then I got myself invited to a dinner party hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Newton to thank their wedding helpers, although Mr. Newton did tell me that Miss A would not be coming. At the party, I was hoping to inquire about Miss A from Mr. and Mrs. Newton, but they seemed to be too busy with attending to the other guests. Seeing that I would not be accomplishing much there, I was about to leave already when they realised that I was not getting what I came here for, now then they really speak to me.
 
Mr. Newton said he mentioned to Miss A that I would like to meet her, but she was not interested. That’s odd, I do not need Miss A’s permission in order to be introduced to her. But personally, I think that Mr. Newton’s attitude in conveying my request might have impressed upon Miss A wrongly. After all, Mr. Newton is renowned as a happy-go-lucky type of guy, there is something in the way he speaks that makes it sounds as if he is never serious in whatever he says, such that no one is ever sure whether he is either saying something important or he is making up a joke. I always wondered how he got a girlfriend in the first place with that kind of attitude. In addition, I also thought that, for someone who has already found some degree of happiness in his life, it was rather disappointing to see Mr. Newton quite so reluctant to be involved in helping out a friend make similar progress. Hey, I’m only trying to be friend with Miss A, not asking him to be a matchmaker.
 
On the other hand, Mrs. Newton did suggest that I try to contact Miss A via friending through her Facebook friends. I did that, and so far there has been no response to my invite, nor am I expecting such. Oh, btw, did I mention that I find Facebook to be a rather useless device? The only thing that Facebook is good for is to tell you how far your friends have progressed on with their lives through their profile photos, and getting yourself seriously upset by just looking at them, with their partners, their baby, or even their car, and realise how stagnated your life had become. And besides, who would want to click friends with someone you don’t even know or haven’t been introduced to?
 
Then I thought that perhaps I can visit Mr. Newton’s church so that I can get to meet Miss A, but almost immediately I killed that idea. I should know much better than try to fake my way into a church in order to get to know a girl, or her friends for that matter. Whatever else that I think it may be, the church is NOT a social club.
 
Ah heck. I still welcome whatever opportunity to get to meet Miss A, if fate ever allows it to happen, again. Life goes on, and I don’t intend to let my thoughts on Miss A dwell on my mind all the time. At least this time round I know that I have tried. Perhaps the only good I got from all of this is that my attitude towards making friends with girls had become much more optimistic than before. Cannot let the past hold you back, the future is yours to make.
 
P.S. One day I was walking through a shopping mall and thought I saw a familar face. On closer inspection, I recognised that she was not Miss A, but Miss E, her twin sister. I gave myself a smirk, it is always nice to see a familar face from your past, and it is always nicer if that person actually knows who you are.

I want to criticize this bloody bitch

(Names have been changed so as to protect me from those who actually think that I am writing about them.)
 
There is this person, whose callous actions had pissed me off so much that it had even made me question my fundamental rationale of being such a nice, friendly, and helpful guy to all my friends and the people who know me.
 
About seven years ago, back in my university days, I was enrolled in my physics course, and one of my fellow coursemates is Mr. Xam, a friend whom I had known ever since primary school. Mr. Xam and I were also in the same secondary school and junior college, although frankly speaking I could not remember meeting him in JC as we did not bump into each other. Mr. Xam’s girlfriend, Miss Gone-Case, was also studying in the same university, and quite often I would have lunch with both of them, to catch up on the latest news and happenings.
 
Miss Gone-Case also gives tution, and it so happened that she was going to give some students tution on JC mathematics but she did not have the necessary materials to teach. Gone-Case asked me if I had any A-level statistics notes that I can lend her. And being such a helpful person that I am, I agreed to lend her my statistics notes, with the understanding that she would have to return them to me if I should need to use them.
 
Fine. Time passed, and both Mr. Xam and Gone-Cassie graduated first while I stayed on for one more year to do my Honours. And it so happened that in my last semester I signed up for a statistics course, and I thought that it would be useful to have my JC statistic notes to use as a reference. I contacted Mr. Xam, telling him to ask Gone-Cassie to return me my notes. However, apart from replying an "ok" sms, Mr. Xam did not seem to have done much of anything else to help me get my notes. On my part, I managed to find Gone-Cassie’s email address from one of her emails, and emailed her, asking her to maybe send my notes back to my address since she lives in Malaysia.
 
To my shock, Cassie replied saying that she had already passed my notes to Mr. Xam and was expecting him to return my notes to me. I confronted Mr. Xam about this. And then Mr. Xam mentioned that he had recently moved house and had lost my notes amongst his many boxes, and that he was unable to find them. As a result of all this ruckuss I was unable to refer to my statistics notes for the course, having my notes might have made the course easier to understand. In a final communique to Cassie, I scolded Cassie in a block letter sentence, saying that SHE SHOULD HAVE RETURNED MY NOTES TO ME DIRECTLY! Cassie only gave a half-hearted apology, saying that she thought that it would be easier for me to get my notes from Mr. Xam, now that the two of them are not together anymore.
 
And to this day I am still waiting for Mr. Xam to return me my notes. Ever since he graduated, Mr. Xam has moved on with his life. He had found jobs, changed jobs (at least twice that I know of), and even got married. I recently managed to reestablish contact with him via Facebook, reminding him to return my notes. Instead, he didn’t even offer to try to find them, or give me a possible timeframe to find them, still saying that my notes are lost among his stuff at his parents’ place and he cannot (or cannot be bothered to) find them. Personally, I feel that this incident had placed an unnecessary strain on my friendship with Mr. Xam, one that has dragged on far longer than it should have been allowed.
 
I have this fundamental belief that when you borrow something from someone, you must return the item to that person directly, or at least make sure that the person got the item back. This is basic courtesy. But somehow, my helpfullness to my friends has resulted in my statistics notes going missing, which made me question myself what’s the point of being so helpful. It did not further develop or strengthen my friendships but had instead brought me more trouble. My A-level statistics notes meant a lot to me, I wrote one whole bunch of equations in all sorts of colours during those memorable times of studying for A-levels. And I also hoped to use my notes to do some statistics surveys of my own, finding the average time or costs that kind of stuff.
 
And in all this, I somehow blame Cassie for not returning my notes to me directly. I am also her friend, she had my phone number, she could have easily called me to arrange a meeting. But no, she simply didn’t do that. She simply had to avoid me. This is madness. I don’t know why, or even pretend to know why, but quite often girls would avoid me for no reason at all. I know of someone whom I suspected decided not to take a particular bus to university so as to avoid bumping into me. On another occassion a JC acquaintance decided to sit somewhere else in the canteen just so that she would not be facing in my direction as I ate my lunch. But my notes going missing, that has got to be the worst case of "I simply have to avoid you for God knows what hell reason" as it resulted with my notes ending up in limbo, especially since it happened when I was only trying to be helpful.

I like you just the way you are

Recently, one of my friends announced that he has found a girlfriend. For reasons that I will not go into, I wasn’t particularly sharing in the joy of my friend’s newfound happiness. But anyway, my friend suggested to me that, since I am currently still in search of a life partner, I may wish to use this time to consider what qualities would I look out for in a potential life partner, to know what I want to expect from this person, and maybe from my criteria recognise the person suitable for me.
 
Strangely, I felt that my friend’s suggestion was somewhat lacking. Whatever happened to the concept of accepting a person the way she is? And respecting that fact, understanding that each person’s personality and behaviour is unique and possibly different from your own. People are who they are, each person’s character and values are shaped by their life experiences and the situations that they had faced. And whenever we interact or associate with our friends or even with the people around us, we should accept them for who they are, provided that there is nothing evil or criminal involved.
 
Not everybody’s character or interests are going to be exactly the same as yours, and quite often when we make friends, we do not limit ourselves to those who are your exact clones, but also befriend those having personalities different from our own. What’s more important is that we can get along with each other just fine, and also have fun doing so. And should any conflict or difference in opinion occur, we should respect each other’s different point of view, "agree to disagree" so to speak, or maybe even try to see the issue from the other person’s perspective, gain some new hindsight, as long as we do not let the issue stand in the way of friendship.
 
Come to think of it, my methodology towards companionship does seem a bit too idealistic. Perhaps I should give an analogy: Suppose that amongst your friends you have found someone who you see as potential life partner and that person similarly likes you. It is up to you to decide for yourself whether if you are magnanimous enough to accept her for who she is, even if she is a person who nags and complains incessantly about every little thing, is totally unappreciative towards you for all you do for her, wants everything to be done in her own way, and thinks that she is right all the time. After all, you may have to put up with this for the rest of your life, and for your own good you probably need to know whether if you can handle it.
 
And somehow if there is a part within you that hopes that she can overcome her shortcomings so as to make you like her more, I would suggest that you do not waste too much of your life waiting for such a miracle, especially so in this day and age whereby you are SUPPOSED to be respectful and accepting of each other’s views and differences amongst friends and acquaintances. And just as much as I cannot compell a person to like me against her will, I do not assume that I have the right or authority to demand of any change in someone else’s behaviour or beliefs. Any change for the better has to be done out of the person’s own accord and it cannot be forced upon, only then can such a change be genuinely done from the heart.
 
I am going to have to conclude this rant by saying that nobody is perfect, and we can always try to improve upon ourselves by making changes for the better, such as correcting our own personal failings, or developing a tolerance towards the flaws of others. Decisions such as choosing a life partner should not be taken too hastily, and being in a relationship should be a fun process for either side, it could even be a learning experience. More importantly, try to recognise what is it in the person that you like about. Sometimes the reason cannot be put into words, but it could be something as simple as a friendly character or a good nature.
 
May the one you like be someone that you can stand, flaws and all.

I DON'T EAT CHILI !

Whoever is the first person to say that all Singaporeans like to eat chili, I want to whack him on his head. I DON’T EAT CHILI! I don’t like the chili taste and I don’t like the chili smell, and I choose not to include chili on my food since I don’t like chili anyway. I can still remember back in my school days when classmates would eat their ikan bilis with peanuts or french fries, all soaked in that chili sauce which gave off such a pungent stench. Yucks. And nowadays I can still smell that revolting stink when people eat pass me, it can literally churn your stomach.
 
There is an urban legend which, either I heard from somewhere, or I made it up, in which: If you dine in a fine restaurant and if you add extra sauce or chili to your food, the cook would come out of the kitchen and chase after you with his cleaver because, you are actually implying that the cook had not prepared the food well enough and therefore the food is not tasty enough. I don’t often add extra favour to my food because, I’m eating the original taste of the food as the cook had intended when he prepared it, which should be the case whenever we go eating. By adding chili to your food, you are not eating your food in the way it is meant to be tasted.
 
What I detest most are the hawkers who assume that when people order their food, the hawkers would automatically think that people would expect them to add chili even when they did not tell them to add. Tell me, which part of the words "Yong Tau Foo", "Fried Prawn Noodles", or even "Carrot Cake", does it spell "chili" ? Many a times I find myself unable to enjoy my lunch or dinner because the food is spicy when I did not ask for it. In worst cases I had to return the food for another as I simply do not eat chili. There was once I ordered popiah from a hawker, specifically mentioning that I do not want chili. The next customer behind me on the other hand ordered popiah with chili. But when the hawker prepared the popiah, he first sliced the chili popiah with his knife, then proceeded to slice the no chili popiah with his already chili-contaminated knife. As a result there was a nasty chili aftertaste in the popiah that I ate. That hawker fails in his customer service.
 
And I am particularly angry at KFC for introducing their ‘hot and crispy’ favour fried chicken, offered alongside with their ‘original receipe’ favour. I like to eat crispy food, but if it is too spicy I can’t eat it. Why can’t KFC also offer ‘crispy’ favour and leave out the chili when frying the chicken? KFC is sure doing all non-chili eaters a great disservice here.
 
 
If I never asked for chili in my food, you’d better not add any. I don’t eat chili. Deal with it.
 

She's just not that into you, so what's the point?

RANT, RANT, RANT…
 
I have figured out a long time ago that, it is not a crime to get to know friends. And it is also not a crime to try to develop upon one’s relationship with friends of the opposite gender. Who knows? Maybe there’s someone who similarly likes you, and something amazing could progress from there. Personally, I believe that with whatever effort you put into such an endeavour, you will get your due and just returns. But, from my observation of my friends, as well as from my own personal experience, it does appear that many girls perceive that any attempt by guys to get to know them better, even as a normal friend, is some sort of unforgivable crime, and some believe in it with a vengeance. And sometimes I even ask myself, why do I even try so hard, if I am just going to scare her away, and we wouldn’t even be able to talk to each other anymore.
 
Let’s just take for example the innocent actions of a typical guy who wishes to make a good impression of himself in the eyes of his female acquintances. He may dress smartly, stand up straight, groom himself properly. He may also talk with confidence, and act like a gentlemen, display courtesy and generous behaviour. All these in the hopes of getting off to a good start. Strangely enough, some girls may become annoyed at this guy who is acting all-so-proud and so full of himself, suspicion may even grow as to the motives of this guy’s kindness towards them. Usually by this point, the girls would already be giving the guy the cold shoulder, leaving me to wonder what have I done wrong this time round?
 
Perhaps a more common theme that has been floating around almost forever is the idea that girls would prefer guys that are confident of themselves and take the initiative, instead of some spineless, cowardly loser who cannot make the simplest decisions. So I take the initiative, start a conversation with girls, invite them out for dinnner or movie. Rather than feeling flattered at having received such attention from guys, some girls would become seriously offended by this upstart who thinks that he even has the right to talk or socialise with them, and henceforth they would literally shut me out of their lives. They don’t seem to realise that for guys to even try to approach them required enormous courage and nerves of steel. And to get such an outcome is, simply put, devastating. Not only is a possible friendship totally destroyed before it could begin, it’s not even recoverable.
 
It seems that in my above examples, the girls in question belong to a category that regard themselves as having no necessity or desire to know any guy friends, either because they think that they already have a satisfactory pool of friends (usually all female ones), or they are simply hostile towards guys for no tangible reason. In my personal opinion, this kind of behaviour cannot be normal, especially when if she is not interested, at least we can still be friends, but instead she treats me like a fool and avoid me like the black death. This only goes to show a lack of maturity on the girls’ part with regards to making friends. I thought we humans are all a social people, needing interaction and association with each other to live our lives meaningfully. 
 
And almost every time I try to befriend someone better, it always seems like some sort of disaster in the making, such that I have to be very careful in what I say or do, so I could at least stay on talking terms with her. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. And still, I keep on trying, not because I like to fail all the time, but I believe that somewhere out there there is the special one for me. Nothing is ever achieved through zero action. And trying is not a crime, the crime is in not trying. To give up without knowing what it could have been, what can be even greater sin than that?
 
And with each experience I come away having learnt what had I done wrong, and hopefully know what mistakes to avoid when I make friends in the future. Life goes on, and what that does not kills me makes me stronger and wiser. I have decided not to feel too bad if the girls I try to associate with have no interest in me, from my perspective they are only losing out a great opportunity to know me as an ally and a friend. Frankly speaking, if a girl is unable to even continue as a normal friend with some guy who tried to be nice to her, it is her serious problem. Not mine.
  
P.S. Can anybody guess which movie did I derive my blog title from? I don’t believe it, never see it happening.