Saturday, March 29, 2008

Earth Hour has come and gone. I did my part too. I switched off all my lights at home and fled with Q-tip to Sunset for a nice, juicy steak. Sunset was crowded and I didn't have a reservation... and I was keeping a dog's company, so I got a seat at the outdoor bar counter where Jerry himself was holding court with his regulars.

When Jerry got hauled back inside to work, I found myself in the company of an American couple who were probably seeing each other socially. They'd lived here for more than a decade and a half already and the guy was well-acquainted with the small towns in Malaysia that I'm not even familiar with. Both are seasoned travellers, so far from their places of origin, yet so at home here halfway around the world.

So while I was hoping for a brilliant view of the sunset, I wound up socializing instead. That was good too.

I came home about 20 minutes short of 2100. For 20 minutes, I just sat in the dark, no fan, no entertainment. Just me, a dog and two cats, sweaty and getting sweatier, bored out of my skull. Only Maui was happy, practicing his 'kowabunga' pouncing technique on Kaiser and Q-tip under the cover of darkness.

As soon as my digital clock hit 2100, everything went back on and online again. It's no use... we're already too addicted to the light and the 'net.
Friends we may be in real life, but when it comes to battling it out for House pride, we staff become unbelievably partisan. But there is no rivalry between the Houses as is between House Peggy and House Fifi. It's probably because outside our Houses we are a really close-knit group, that's why our passions spill over when we compete against each other.

Before the matches, there's the drawing up of division lines, the trash-talkin' and intimidation... and some behind-the-scenes skulduggery going on as we pick our battles, choosing events that will give our sides the best advantage to win.

As reviewed by the Phys Ed folks Mel and I met by coincidence at Island Creameries for after-game refreshments, the staff games are the most nail-biting to watch as we go at each other tooth and claw. For us who played Modified Frisbee (it was Peggy vs Griff), bumps, scrapes and possibly bruises that will probably show up tomorrow were par for the course, from the collisions and tumbles that occurred all too frequently during the game. Even the P himself, who represented Griff and was the game's top scorer, wasn't spared.

The kids' games are usually less violent, according to Phys Ed. I figure we still recall the way we used to play when we were schoolkids ourselves. We weren't as safety-conscious then as our kids are now. Blood, sweat and dirt we knew intimately, having had our faces rubbed in it all the time. Games were unsupervised, improvised, and apart from a few basic ground-rules to remind us which game we were playing at the time, pretty much anything went. And that was how we played today.

The more civilized of us, though no less competitive, went on a trekking race through the Botanic Gardens, our games venue. Nevertheless, the tensions between Peggy and Fifi remained high, no one being too friendly today.

Peggy came out tops in both staff events, but that's the odd thing about us. We win our battles, but eventually end up losing the war. The day went to Fifi, so hey, congrats!

We shall reconvene for lunch, Monday.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Young, mobile, more adventurous than I'd ever give her credit for. I'd underestimated how badly my lunch companion of today had been struck by wanderlust as she talked about her options for moving out and moving on.

And why ever not? The world is so accessible to us these days, as long as we can contribute to the community or at least not make a nuisance of ourselves, anyone is welcome to live anywhere they want. Just pick up a random pin, plunk it on any random coordinate on the world map, and chances are, we could find ourselves there in person within the week.

So what's with my own inertia? I seem to have lost the drive, the desire to have adventures of my own. Perhaps I'm too settled, too comfortable, have too many responsibilities to discharge and debts to pay off.

I do know I'm not too old, though. And I'm not yet accomplished enough. Every knight has a dragon to slay, and I'm pretty sure mine has yet to challenge me. If it has it was probably the size of a cicak which I killed by accidentally treading on it. When I take stock of everything that I have, I feel like I'm living a life I never really worked hard enough to deserve. Shouldn't I go have another look at the radar to see if my dragon's looming on the horizon?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

I have a mad fantasy. At some time in the near future, my pals and I will take over the college and we will be the ones making the policies and running the programmes. Today's news of promotions for quite a few of them is entirely heartening as now we are all one step closer to fulfilling my dream.

The news was also timely as I was starting to waver over my own next step. There was a little self-doubt for a while, a little loss of confidence, but I feel a little more encouraged today.

Why do I call the fantasy mad? My pals are too young, too mobile, possibly too impatient as well. So many of them have already left for greener pastures or new experiences. A few more are already making plans, weighing their options. I don't begrudge them their freedom. Few people these days keep a single career for life so I won't expect them to either.

But for today, congrats on your success! Let's celebrate your achievements and continue to enjoy each other's company... while we still can!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Cyclists on the road are totally abhorrent. Especially the ones that cycle like the Highway Code everyone else abides by doesn't apply to them.

This moron -- not some uncle-guy but a young-looking rides-a-bike-for-exercise guy -- blithely cycling against the flow of traffic just cut across my path as I was turning out from a busy intersection. I didn't see him as I was concentrating on the direction the traffic was coming from, and if I had been in a little more of a hurry, he would have discovered from underneath M2's undercarriage that cycling isn't as good for his health as he thought.

Fortunately for him, just as I was accelerating out onto the main road I could still hit the brakes with inches to spare from the juicy target in front of me. He didn't even blink, kept riding on like he didn't even notice how close he was to being introduced in person to M2's front fender.

If I had hit him, it would definitely not have been my fault. But I don't need the extra nightmares, nor the investigations, nor the expenses incurred either.

If cyclists want to be respected on the road, like Mr B is pushing so hard for, then they'd better start respecting the Code. Else stay off the road, stay off the footpaths, just stay at home. Period.