Saturday, January 12, 2008

Human kindness is not kindness at all, especially concerning our dealings with the wild animals in our midst. Now that the fine for feeding the wild monkeys at Upper Seletar Reservoir has skyrocketed, the monkeys -- spoilt by years of living off human handouts -- have pretty much forgotten how to forage for themselves in the forest and are instead moving to the edge of human habitation in search of food.

We were at Casuarina Road today where we saw families of monkeys dangling on tree branches hanging over the public parking lot. There were monkeys on the street and clambering over the parked cars as well. They've never come this close to our space before, but hunger is making them stupid, making them lose their natural caution of us.

I can imagine what will happen next. People are going to complain to the authorities. Their homes will be invaded by desperate monkeys. Their cars will be scratched and shat upon by monkeys who know not the value of COE-enhanced automobile luxury in Singapore. Several will get killed by passing traffic, and when the authorities arrive, well, let's just say there'll be a significant reduction in the primate population in our protected rainforest.

What's happening to these monkeys is our fault. Our acts of kindness and charity sometimes do the greatest harm to others. But it's probably happened many times before as human civilizations encountered one another. Apart from bringing warfare and disease, we've also killed each other with a similar brand of misguided goodwill.

It's hard, but sometimes, the greater kindness is to say, "No. Go away!"

Friday, January 11, 2008

"Survival" is the name of the horror movie genre these days. There is no triumph, no hero. Only people who make smart and/or lucky choices and live to see another day. It is this way too with AvP2. A Predator ship carrying Alien facehuggers has a nasty Alien-induced accident and crashes on Earth. This is the Earth of today, a semi-large town, populated with ordinary people with ordinary concerns. We haven't a chance against the specialized hunting skills of the escaped Aliens and the one horrid "Predalien" that emerges from the wreckage.

A single Predator arrives to take care of the mess. Between June and me, we can't decide if the Predator is of the Hero class, or the Janitor class. Whichever, the lone Predator is quite capable of taking on the Alien infestation and taking out any human being careless enough to get in the line of fire.

And all the townfolk can do is to run, scream, cry and die senselessly and unpredictably. With everyone equal in misery, no one deserves their deaths, helpless in the disaster that befalls them. I'm pretty sure the Predalien crossed an unwritten line that horror movie monsters have not crossed before: don't mess with newborns and expectant mothers. The atrocity it commits in the maternity ward is the stuff of nightmares.

No one's a hero. There is no avoiding an Acheh tsunami, a Katrina hurricane, a Malibu wildfire. There are only survivors and casualties. In these days, we're beginning to recognize how helpless we are against nature's wrath. Yup, it's time to give nature back the respect she deserves.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

When dealing with turkey leftovers from the recently passed festive season, M-i-L does it with style. Her solution: breaded turkey cutlets served with french fries and side salad.

I lie. The turkey in the pix is freshly thawed, not actual Christmas leftovers. Still, if anyone does have a problem with turkey leftovers, this is one way to make disposal more pleasant.

On my side of the family, the story's quite the opposite. We got Mom a nice, 4kg turkey to roast on new year's eve. June dropped out to entertain Madoka. Then their designated driver for the evening got sick, so I had to provide transport. 31 Jan 2007 was a Monday, not a Sunday, which is our usual day to drop in and have dinner with my folks; so my sis and her brood forgot to show up that evening. Same thing probably happened to my bro too. Poor Mom & Dad waited till 2000 hrs and no-one showed up for dinner. So, according to Dad, they switched off the lights and had a quiet, romantic candlelight dinner for two.

Yep. There's still a lot of turkey left in the fridge. Turkey porridge for the next few weeks... mmm...

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

I'm going to miss the journo/debate kids now that I've moved back to drama again. While I'm happy that NYconneX has continued to publish over the last two years I've been on board, I still feel that I haven't got it running at the level I was hoping it would be at by this time.

Truth be told, I had no idea what I was doing when I first took charge of it. Thankfully, Amy's initial guidance and advice helped me catch some direction, though what we are still producing today -- two years later -- still tends to be more self-indulgent ramblings than actual Journalism. I'm quite proud that it's got this far, that is, all the parts are working, but it hasn't taken on a life of its own yet. That's why it's hard to pass it on to new management. I feel I haven't done enough to let it go.

Debate, on the other hand, was an unqualified disaster. That's no reflection on the wonderful, enthusiastic, and courageous trio who stuck with me through the year. Let's just say I've been nursing the team through a stint in the ICU and have just managed to keep it breathing, but not much more. Hopefully, new management will find a way to revive the team. I'm sorry, guys, but when it comes to debating, I just don't have a green thumb for it.

CCA recruitment starts tomorrow, so good hunting, my ex-charges. Hope you get another crop of good people this year that'll bring some new life to the club!

Meantime, with drama, I'm taking on yet another role I've never done before -- not at this scale, at least. I may well have just signed up to direct a famous local play penned by a famous local playwright. As yet, I have no cast, no crew. I do have a couple of sketchy ideas, and a grand total of three months to put it all together into a performance... if we're lucky, on the SRT stage. No pressure.

Kindly keep an open reservation for my favourite padded cell. I may be visiting it wearing my favourite long-sleeved jacket real soon.