Saturday, November 26, 2005

Five hundred twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes.

Last night was opening night for "Rent," at Kallang Theatre, performed by the touring cast from Noo Yawk. Yes, this is the one with Ms Mok (not Pat) in it to give an Asian audience someone to root for.

So much can happen in a year. Friends are made, lovers pair up, plans change, romances disintegrate, trust is betrayed, fame is gained, somebody dies. Not necessarily in that order but that's life, social beings that we are. And in this setting, we get the debate between order, control and profit vs. chaos, spontaneity and poverty; corporate systemania vs. creative Bohemia. Either way, the 2 cannot find a way to get along together. Interesting that in Singapore, we're trying to develop both in the same space.

Bohemia comes with a price tag. Crime, substance abuse, disease, material privation, disregard for established law and order. We want the benefits of a lively, spontaneous, creative, out-of-the-box lifestyle that Bohemia promises; yet consider our attitude towards the above. Wonder how realistic we are in our desire for a managed bohemian utopia? [Oy, get off the soapbox, you!]

The musical has lots of exciting, energetic choreography, nothing overcomplicated. Adrian was quite tickled by the character of performance artiste, Maureen, whose protest recital (the play-within-the play) was played-for-laughs silly, yet poignant; and because our seats were extreme left of the stalls, we got the full benefit of her mooning the entrepreneur, Benny, whose rent the Bohemians refuse to pay. Yay, Maureen!

Also lots of different musical genres blending together in the score, so there's not a boring moment anytime. There were a few technical hitches though, like sound and lighting cues not quite perfect yet. I was surprised when Mimi, Ms Mok's character, got a call from her mother, "Dónde está, Mimi?" Then I realised Mimi was supposed to be Hispanic! Wouldn't it have made more sense for her mom to call in Cantonese?

But what are we quibbling about? It's a great show, we had excellent seats and we got in by invitation, big thanks to Mary! Mary's invite included drinks with the cast as well, hence the dress code. We only hung around long enough for Ms Mok to make her appearance 'cos, well, it was our chance to be so close. She's actually quite small-built though she looks taller on-screen, and she has a very wide smile. Guess she must have been happy to see the couple of fans (not from our party, I assure you) who approached her for an autograph.

Adrian's walnut bread -- which we devoured in the parking lot during the interval -- didn't last us long. As soon as was decent, we skipped out from the reception and headed for Teochew porridge at the Oasis complex. Food, at last!

Friday, November 25, 2005

I whacked my bush off today. No, it not what it sounds like. I mean I got a haircut. Think the kid who usually does my hair has left. That's what I understood from the new guy who gave me a Marine cut told me, if I've translated it correctly.

New guy's ok. Did a decent enough job but tried to engage me in conversation, which isn't my thing. Thankfully, I was engaged in a flurry of text messaging at the time so I was sufficiently distracted while he could concentrate on the job at hand.

Preparing for "Rent" opening night. Got complementary tix and we're expected to dress for the occasion. Dress code: Ghetto glam. Anyone know what that means? I interpret it as rapper-wear with lots of bling-bling. Ripped T (bearing "Yo' Momma" or some other vernacular idiom), baggy jeans, Nike treads, slick shades, NY Yanks baseball cap worn backwards, big-ass Mercedes hood ornament dipped in gold-plate hung round the neck on a security chain... Adrian tells me it means smart-casual. Oh. Well.
Too much NFS:MW means spending the night in the living room. Not because the wife's pissed off, but because running from the cops can be quite fatiguing, especially when you've been at it for the better part of the day. Before midnight, I switched off Watson and staggered outside to watch a little TV for a break. Almost immediately, I shut myself off and, try as she might, June couldn't wake me to go to bed proper. I lay comatose on the carpet, unwashed and CLs still in my eyes. Thank God for off days.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

I could stand it no longer. Too long have I been deprived of a good video game. So I finally bit the bullet and picked up a Radeon x700 Pro to replace my useless 9800. For good measure, I also picked up "NFS: Most Wanted" and spent the afternoon driving recklessly at ridiculously high speeds, inviting the traffic cops to catch me if they could. In the early stages of the game, the cops are quite hopeless, and I have to slow down, stop and wait a bit before they can catch up then the chase is on again! What fun!

Couldn't progress far though. Went to pick up June after work then met Amy, Vince and TKS (CL Dept) bowling at Downtown East. The alley is quite a retro one, similar in design to the one at OCC.

3 games each, then Anthony, Wendy and Weng joined us. We all adjourned to Fisherman's Village for dinner. Nice place, I guess. Boardwalk dining by the beach which was nice, but the Cantopop didn't quite work with the atmosphere.

Sought dessert at Via Mare in Siglap. They have a decent bread-and-butter pudding and an ok brownie a la mode. But our main purpose was to play bridge. Think there're still a few finer points of the game I haven't quite appreciated yet, although I'm beginning to recognize I've made a mistake as soon as I play a wrong card. That's a start.

Oh, and before I forget, we've named the new kitten. His name is Kaiser. Bow before him or feel his wrath! Das ist alles!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Finally finished my marking quota by this afternoon. So tired, I spent the evening passed out on the living room carpet again. June wrapping Christmas presents around me. Is it that time of year already?

Monday, November 21, 2005

Once in a while, a reminder of our mortality comes up and makes one sober for a while. Today I attended a little ceremony to remember Mim, and to witness the award of a scholarship in her name to its first ever recipient, a Mr Robin Yong. In a simple, polite ceremony, we recalled the colleague and friend we lost 2 years ago as scenes of her life flashed before our eyes via PowerPoint slideshow.

I was prepared to be stoic through the ceremony, but then on one of the earliest slides I recognized a quotation that happened to be something I myself had written on her condolence card to her family, and I was quite touched that Yee, who created the slideshow, had chosen to include it. It felt like I was a part of Mim's circle after all, though I didn't hang out with her after she had mentored me through my first week in college. Guess at that time I felt I wouldn't have been able to live up to the kind of teacher she was, so I sought my own path as soon as I was able. Still, it's nice to be associated with one of the good guys, tenuous a link though it may be.

It hits me harder that she and I were born the same year, yet she didn't reach her 40th year as I did. Life is so fragile, so easily lost; but Mim's memory will endure because so many people regard her highly for the person she was, and for the things she did for them.

Mr Yong, you have enormous shoes to fill for the education you are receiving in Mim's name. Congratulations, and good luck!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Met early for 'blading at Bish Park for a change. JY bought us breakfast. That was nice of her.

Bish Park in the early morning is quite different from the one we're used to at midday. Early morning is full of people and their dogs. The dog run is busy conducting obedience classes; the 'blade rink is packed with kids training with the Skateline instructors; joggers, walkers, cyclists and some guy doing half-naked yoga throng the walking trails. It's a jumpin', happenin' hive of community activity, but it's a nightmare for beginning 'bladers like June who left the confines of the rink and ventured out into the park for the first time.

Maneuvering through the park means taking climbs, slopes, bumps and bends which a rink 'blader is sheltered from. Add a crowd into the equasion and my 2 L-plate companions get a very practical lesson in crash-landings.

A sudden downpour ended today's session early.

Got home in the afternoon to receive a delivery of a set of pet clothes for Q-tip. June had placed an order through the Petsonality website and John, the contact person, made the delivery himself. Now Q-tip has an updated wardrobe to model, but perhaps not today.

And could this handsome fellow be Belle's replacement in our house? We found him hiding behind a couple of bicycles parked on our floor in the lift lobby. He doesn't yet have a name, but he's quite good tempered, so maybe we'll keep him. He seems like a proper little gentleman wearing a formal tuxedo and sports a little goatee, so if you have any naming suggestions, maybe that description would help.
Slightly edited 20 Nov 2005:
Today the ladies (i.e., Sharon and Wendy 'cos June and JY sat out) get to try out the trapeze at Sentosa we've been raving about, as well as the Luge later. Check out the pix from our action-packed afternoon:

Theory lesson before the practical. Posted by Picasa

Weng prepares for take-off. Posted by Picasa

This is about the only maneuvre I could get right today. My timing's gone a little screwy. Posted by Picasa

The launchpad gets a little crowded with Sharon about to take off and Wendy anxious to take her first swing. Posted by Picasa

Wendy demonstrates perfect form. Posted by Picasa

A quick conference to see how we can help Anthony get his routine right. Posted by Picasa

Anthony in flight. Posted by Picasa

On our way to try out the Luge, Sentosa's latest attraction. Posted by Picasa

JY and June play it cool on the chairlift. Posted by Picasa

At the end of the trail. And JY braces for impact with Anthony's rear end. Posted by Picasa

Bravely ascending for the 2nd ride of the day. Posted by Picasa

Returned to the Trapizza in the evening for dinner. Shared the space with a beach wedding dinner which was more formal than a beach party should be. Fortunately, there was a sudden torrential downpour which drowned out the "festivities" then the party really got more fun with the guests just mingling around, nursing their drinks and ice-creams and flitting from wet guest to wet guest making happy chat. The guests even surprised the bride with a birthday cake that appeared when her attention was, erm... directed elsewhere by a friend.

The wedding party left our table unmolested so we, dry under our canopy, were free to devour our outstanding thin crust pizzas. We had a Sicilana (basically everything on top), a Quattro Stagione (four seasons -- pizza divided into quarters, each quarter sporting a different topping), and an Aloha (Hawaiian, duh). Fresh ingredients, explosively crispy crust. Yummy. Though as usual I would've appreciated a little less salt.