Wednesday, February 16, 2011


If there's one thing I know, one immovable fact that I base my world on...

It is that I know where I belong.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Slightly out of tune

Love is like a never ending melody,
Poets have compared it to a symphony,
A symphony conducted by the lighting of the moon,
But our song of love is slightly out of tune . . . .

Once your kisses raised me to a fever pitch,
Now the orchestration doesn’t seem so rich,
Seems to me you’ve changed the tune we used to sing,
Like the bossa nova love should swing . . . .

We used to harmonize two souls in perfect time,
Now the song is different and the words don’t even rhyme,
‘Cause you forgot the melody our hearts would always croon,
What good’s a heart that’s slightly out of tune?

Tune your heart with mine the way it used to be,
Join with me in harmony and sing a song of love,
We’re bound to get in tune again before too long,
There’ll be no Desafinado when your heart belongs to me completely
Then you won’t be slightly out of tune, you’ll sing along with me!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Call Me

Flirting with the truth
Reading feelings between lines
My heart yearns deeply

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, June 25, 2010

Summer Rain

Rain falls in glass sheets
Pounding waves march forwards and
Journey is on air

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

On the art of relaxation

I was heading about my way at Dhoby Gaut MRT, walking back from Peace Centre, pondering whether to take the bus from here or to pop by Orchard to look for shoes, when I realized that there was a pretty peaceful area just above the MRT station. It's a long straigt pathway between Park Mall and Plaza Singapura, and it's... Unsingaporean.

Why do I say so? The moment I walked through this area, my mind was carried a year back to Edinburgh. I recalled the shining white tiled floor just above Waverly Station, where the tourist info booth is. I'd stopped there on more than one occasion, sometimes waiting for others, sometimes looking for info, sometimes just appreciating the view of the Old Town. Very surreal. It's not quite as picturesque in SG, but the essence of a green spot in the middle of the city is.

Singapore has a lot of green, but not many integrated gardens. Why don't we have one that's right in the middle of everything?

I miss lying around in the grass watching clouds go by. This spot brings me back to simpler times.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


I love sci-fi / philosophy crossovers. Perhaps that's why Dollhouse appeals to me. It's one of those shows that at first appears to be some hot chick exploitation show ( but seriously, Eliza Dushku?) but under the hot girl action, serious issues of personality and being comes into play.

When it all boils down, who are we? Man is more than the sum of his parts, people say. The theme of identity is widespread throughout this series.

A quick synopsis : in the near future, man has learnt to (forcibly) seperate the mind and the body of a person, enabling a person to be stored remotely as an "imprint", and the body to be used as a "doll", albeit in a blank and simple (vegetative) state, a condition known as "tabula rasa", Latin for blank slate. Apt, as these few who undergo this treatment can now be "imprinted" with designer programming, and are rented as high class... Tools. Tools for those with the wealth or power to afford them.

And so, in a clean way that Plato and Descartes can only dream about, the mind and the body are seperated. However, what is it that defines the individual?

We see the characters approach this in multiple ways. Through each way we see a differet perspective on the issue.

We have the agent who is looking for a girl associated with the dollhouse, and identifies her by her appearance. Echo (Eliza Dushku) obviously doesn't agree. She had been imprinted with the imprint of another, so she doesn't believe a word of what the agent says. To the extent that even if she was tortured, she would deny any knowledge, for in her experience, there is no other reality!

We have the son who recognizes his mother, even after she was imprinted onto Echo's body. (She was attending her own funeral, long story.) Is the individual identified by it's behaviour and habits? That's easily disproven. Habits can be learnt and behaviour conditioned. The son could as easily be taken in by a well trained trickster.

Of course, there are those who argue that it is our unique memory and experiences that create an individual. But doesn't the shows premise immediately contradict that? The dollhouse designs dolls with unique skills and habits that are derived from imprints of other peoples' imprints. Using a mix and match approach, each doll could be part Mary, part Jane, part Helen. But which part is uniquely her?

By extension, all of us are mix and match mélanges of each others' personality. How do we know our shared memories are true? By implanting false memories, are we rebuilding ourselves from a far deeper level?

Which part of me says I'm me?

Now, one interesting development pops in, where the dolls evolve and experience some form of self awareness. They remember bits and pieces of their past, and better yet! They remember parts of everyone else they've been! Akin to the bleeding effect in Assassins Creed, they take on the skills and memories of their multiple personalities.

So now, the question is: Is Caroline, who Echo once was, still Caroline now, with fragments of memories of multiple imprints on her?

Debate on that if you will.

Next question: Are you the same you you were yesterday?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, December 07, 2009

One more for the road

Well, so anyway, over the weekend I bought yet another guitar. I know, I've only got one pair of hands, why do I need another guitar? I guess it's my secret obsession. It's been a hobby I've been keeping for a while, and the longer I keep it, the more it matures like a good red wine, my understanding and appreciation of it going deeper. I listen to the same songs, and I derive deeper and deeper understanding and satisfaction from them. I get the thrill when I start to be able to play licks I could never have even begun to imagine to play years ago. I listen and I understand the subtle interplays of tone and volume. And most of all I grow as a musician (albeit a weak one).

In a way, I'd always been obsessed with music. I guess it kind of shows when the last 15-20 passwords i've had were all songnames or lyrics. Don't try to guess, I've probably forgotten more songs than most people actually know.

My brother told me about a friend he was talking to at a party the other day. She told him that she always remembers exactly what she's eating at the most significant times of her life. For me it's music. I remember the times of my life by the music I've been listening to. My secondary school life passed by with pop in sec 1 and 2, punk rock in sec 3, and ska punk in sec 4. JC swivelled by with more punk and leanings into old school rock, detouring into Sinatra towards the tail end. Army life was all that jazz for me, with Lady Ella stepping into my ears. I still recall Sinatra's "Love's been good to me" playing in my mind on those lonely days on the shore of Sungei Batu Apoi. Army was also my transition into retro pop, exemplified by the hedonism of mambo. Good times. University brought more depth with further forays into old school rock, and a new insight into metal. I spent life in Edinburgh listening to straight up rock and roll, and 90s rock. And now, I've been infected with the blues. It's been a good run. The blues are so gonna stick with me a while. I might just be able to play some of them blues, pop by and ask me to try.

Come on, I dare you. ;)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Scare Tactics?

Personally, I don't quite see what the fuss is about regarding the new HPB anti-smoking ads.

Apparently they're using images of what happened to young women after long periods of smoking, eg yellow teeth, bad skin etc.

Some have lambasted it as a form of scare tactics, which representatives from HPB vehemently deny.

I think to myself, bemusedly, why bother to deny it?there's a reason why scare tactics are so common. They work! It's not as if there isn't any hard truth behind it. I'd like to think of it as aggressive education. I'd never really been partial to smokers, and seeing young women smoking have always set me on edge. (most of you should know what I'm talking about).

So kudos to HPB. Strike where it hurts.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

600km in 2 days

After an embarassing fiasco with my dad, I eventually had to sell my tickets to the Mr Big concert to a friend of a friend. Thank god there was an available buyer, and I didn't incur too much of a loss. It didn't help that a certain xialan Jah went to catch them in Bangkok for half the price I paid, and was taunting me with vivid descriptions of the performance. Aaargh they played smoke on the water! But anyway I digress.

So on Friday night, after 3 liters of beer made their way in (and out of) my mouth, I somehow managed to make my way home to crawl into bed with a massive death wish, only to wake up at 4 with an even larger hangover. I haven't felt this bad since I kicked that cuts little puppy. Well, I didn't really kick a cute puppy, but that's how bad I felt. It didn't help that I had to pack a suit and stuff for 2 days worth of weddings in one and a half hours, and somehow manage to get myself washed up in the process. Miraculously I managed to get the deed done, even stealing some time to lie groaning on my bed, between trips to the toilet clearing the stomach reflux, remnants of last nights excesses. By the time Jimmy pulled up, the only reminder I had of my massive binge was a splitting headache and the stale taste of bile behind my teeth. I felt like an involuntary bulimic.

I guess after 7 years of drinking, I finally figured out how to deal with the post-partum puking: starve it. I don't think anything went into my stomach until late in the afternoon. On the bright side, nothing came out either! Besides some ghost retching, the ride up was relatively uneventful. Maybe it was because I was in no position to say or do anything besides moan and whimper. But again I digress.

We arrived at KL, or rather, near KL. Apparently we were to be housed at Sunway Lagoon, which was a queer coincidence for it came across one of my conversations I had at work the week before. I didn't expect to be seeing that place again so soon, considering that the last time I was there was probably more than ten years ago. I could hardly recognize the place! It looked so completely different. We dropped by the bridal salon before we checked in, to dress up the car. something simple, but hardy. After all, it had to survive a 300km drive down the next day. I met the bride, for the second time in my life. She looked normal then. That would change soon.

So after checking in, I went with Jimmy to wander around the attached shopping centre, which was massive, with a skating rink right in the middle of one of the foyers. Now why don't we ever so something like that? It was rather popular, with skaters of all ages and skill. I barely managed to finish a mac meal ( that's how bad I felt) before crawling back to the room to pass out for the rest of the day. Now I haven't stayed in a hotel in a while and I might be biased. But this felt like heaven. If ever any of you really feel tired, book a hotel room, and just spend the entire day sleeping in it. Guaranteed to make you feel better.

That night was the first wedding dinner, and the brides family was out in full force. They practically took up the entire restaurant, rambling on boisterously. Dinner was great, I haven't had a traditional 7 course dinner in a while. I'm not sure about the number of courses, but still it was good. The entrance of the newly wedded couple was astounding. I swear I had never seen either of them look so good before in my life. The rest of the night went on like a standard Chinese wedding dinner. The cake cutting, the champagne popping, the interlocked armed champagne drinking, the toast, the tabled toasts... Which usually results in a very drunk looking groom, and Zongxun was no exception. But it's all in good fun. The dinner was peppered with bouts of karaoke, and to my surprise, I actually knew most of the songs they were singing! Normally it's nothing special for me to recognize songs, but this time they were all Chinese. Gives me some motivation to learn some Chinese ballads though. We eventually got back to the hotel at 11, just to knock out again in preparation for the next day.

So the next morning, we got up at 6, because the overly anxious groom wanted to get us ready early. Considering we were expected at the brides house at 9, and it was 20 minutes away, I would think that his jitters were getting a little too much control over him. So we had breakfast, at the hotel buffet. Again, I haven't had a hotel buffet in ages, and it tasted completely awesome. The only reason I didn't make a pig of myself was because I didn't want to burst out of my suit. Wait, did I mention my suit? Apparently, when Zongxun asked me to be the best man, he wasn't kidding. What else could I do? SUIT UP!

So we left for the brides house, the groom and his small entourage of 6. We got there in 3 cars, horning and yelling and generally making a royal nuisance of ourselves. When we got there I was shocked. The bride was rolling about 97655738 deep in homies. I might be exagerrating, but I swear there were at least 40 people waiting for us in the house.

Upon seeing us outside, the bridesmaids weren't going to let us in without a fight. Their terms? Either we play a game with them, or fork out 9999 bucks. I'm fairly sure we could afford the latter, but it's so much more fun to do the former. The first challenge? A song from the groom professing love for the bride. And this crappy groom couldn't remember lyrics for nuts, so that's where I came in. After a couple of verses of "Words", they were satisfied, if not swooning. Next up, the groom had to identify the lipstick mark of his bride amongst a myriad of smooches. If he got it wrong, one of his entourage would have to add his own mark (with lipstick generously supplied by the bridesmaids) to another sheet. And he had to get it wrong 3 times, dooming his brother, Jimmy and myself to don lipstick. The third challenges was to survive 4 tastes, sweet, sour, bitter and spicy. Hold on, I just realized it shouldn't be spicy, but rather salty. But we got spicy anyway. Concentrated sugar solution, fresh lemon juice, bittergourd juice, and wasabe hidden in rice cakes. I almost didn't make it past the wasabe... But I did. After that the girls relented and let us in. As we approached the brides room, we were stopped at the door, a final challenge. Zongxun had to read aloud and sign a finely worded contract, professing his eternal love and devotion to his new wife. And not just in english, but in Cantonese too! Hilarious. After he signed it,( with a pen, though I maintain they should have made him sign it in blood) they let him in. The bride was radiant, they looked so happy together. After sharing a kiss, they went down to offer tea to their elders. Now, that took a while. I realized why the bride had so many people at her place, her family was huge. The two of them spent almost half an hour offering tea to what seemed like an endless chain of uncles and aunties, of course after their parents.

What followed next was probably one of the most bizarre things I have ever witnessed. We all got into the cars, and as a procession drove down to JB. That's a 300km drive from the brides home to the grooms home. Now, that's definitely a long way to go to steal a bride. We even stopped halfway at one of the rest stops, as per normal for any long trip. I did feel a little odd stopping there in a suit though.

We eventually got down, did a far shorter tea session with the grooms side, then proceeded for a second wedding dinner. Talk about excess, I think I had way too much to eat. But all for a good cause I guess.

So i kind of missed Mr Big, but I guess I couldn't have missed this without a clear conscience. Well, more weddings to come.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, October 15, 2009

At your fingertips

I have been touched by the mobile revolution.

I wonder how had I lived without an iPhone before. This sense of power from having the world at your fingertips, this complete sense of instant connection and ability... Aaah this is good stuff. There is no longer such a thing as downtime. Any moment, you are enabled, you are empowered. I read the news on the train in the morning, I'm blogging on the train on the way back in the evening. I no longer need to check my mails the moment I get back, I can get them on my phone!

If I need directions? Google maps at a touch. Food reviews? Also at a touch. Feel like checking something online? Again, at a touch. This is no simple tool, it's a lifestyle revolution. Bloody amazing.

My only gripe so far is the dismal battery life, it probably would last a day at my kind of usage, although I'm too paranoid to let my battery level drop below 30%. Which leads to me carrying the charger about almost everywhere. But it's not an issue, it's just a frigging USB cable! (and a really slim and sexy plug head. Talk about small form factor.)

The apps are amazing, now all I need is some real good guitar based apps... If I could bother to pay for it. :p

Now, more time for Lucille, Rosie and Betty. I'm done with this and I'm not even home yet! :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Musings on a wednesday morning

Driving across the city centre on the way to work, I was struck by how majestic it looked. I hadn't had much opportunity to ooh and aah at the Singapore skyline before, but it's a wonderful view, especially at 6am in the morning. The half lit towers, showing signs of life in the wee hours. Tourists and business visitors from halfway around the world struggling to adapt to the time zone, evidenced by the amber night lights glaring through the silky curtains. Eruptions of steel and concrete along the bayline, proud erect monuments to future achievements, standing haughty, cranes held high in the air, looking down on the traffic passing by.

This is what progress should look like.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone (and how in the world did I live without one before?)

Monday, October 05, 2009

I learned how to carry on.

D'abord, j'ai eu peur,
Et puis je me suis habituée
Comment pourrais-je vivre encore sans toi à mes cotés ?
Depuis j'ai passé tant de nuits à me dire que t'avais tort à t'en vouloir
Et puis je me suis habituée
Et tu reviens, si sûr de toi
Avec ce regard qui se teint et des mots stupides et tristes
J'aurais dû changer la serrure ou juste reprendre la clé
Si j'avais pu imaginer que tu reviendrais me troubler
sors de ma vie
ne reviens plus
Car désormais tu le sais tu n'est plus le bienvenu
J'ai trop pleuré j'ai envie de vivre aujourd'hui de t'oublier
Et tant que je serai aimée
je survivrai
je survivrai
J'ai tellement sur terre de choses à faire que je préfère te dire
N'essaie pas de m'attendrir
Non n'essaie pas de revenir
je survivrai
je survivrai
Sans toi
Et ne cherche pas à tout prix à te justifier
Ni à recoller les morceaux, tu n'y arriverais pas
Je me suis souvent sentie seule et je suis une autre déjà
J'ai bien changé tu ne me reconnaîtrais pas
je ne suis plus comme autrefois
Je ne suis plus la fille autant amoureuse de toi
Tu crois sans doute qu'un seul soupir suffit pour que tu me reprenne
Mais je garde mon amour aujourd'hui pour celui qui m'aime
Sors de ma vie
ne reviens plus
Car désormais tu le sais tu n'est plus le bienvenu
J'ai trop pleuré j'ai envie de rire aujourd'hui de t'oublier
Et tant que je serai aimée
je survivrai
je survivrai
J'ai tellement sur terre de choses à faire que je préfère te dire
N'essaie pas de m'attendrir
Non n'essaie pas de revenir
je survivrai
I will survive
sors de ma vie
ne reviens plus
Car désormais tu le sais tu n'est plus le bienvenu
J'ai trop pleuré j'ai envie de rire aujourd'hui
de t'oublier
Et tant que je serai aimée
je survivrai
Sans toi

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Sunday bloody sundays.

Well I woke up Sunday morning,
With no way to hold my head that didn't hurt.
And the beer I had for breakfast wasn't bad,
So I had one more for dessert.
Then I fumbled through my closet for my clothes,
And found my cleanest dirty shirt.
An' I shaved my face and combed my hair,
An' stumbled down the stairs to meet the day.

I'd smoked my brain the night before,
On cigarettes and songs I'd been pickin'.
But I lit my first and watched a small kid,
Cussin' at a can that he was kicking.
Then I crossed the empty street,
'n caught the Sunday smell of someone fryin' chicken.
And it took me back to somethin',
That I'd lost somehow, somewhere along the way.

On the Sunday morning sidewalk,
Wishing, Lord, that I was stoned.
'Cos there's something in a Sunday,
Makes a body feel alone.
And there's nothin' short of dyin',
Half as lonesome as the sound,
On the sleepin' city sidewalks:
Sunday mornin' comin' down.

In the park I saw a daddy,
With a laughin' little girl who he was swingin'.
And I stopped beside a Sunday school,
And listened to the song they were singin'.
Then I headed back for home,
And somewhere far away a lonely bell was ringin'.
And it echoed through the canyons,
Like the disappearing dreams of yesterday.

On the Sunday morning sidewalk,
Wishing, Lord, that I was stoned.
'Cos there's something in a Sunday,
Makes a body feel alone.
And there's nothin' short of dyin',
Half as lonesome as the sound,
On the sleepin' city sidewalks:
Sunday mornin' comin' down.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Insomnia. (Redux)

I wax lyrical the moment I can't get enough sleep. I guess it's the only time I find to unburden my thoughts, when the day is done and the night is silent around me, settling in a comfortable blanket of solitude.

I ran my IPPT earlier today, surprisingly coming in with a better than expected result. Perhaps the work of some higher being, but I'd like to think I worked my ass off for it. There we go, no more RT... for now.

Recently i've ran into a close encounter with some existential angst, following the departure of a few wonderful Honky friends whom I had met in Edinburgh. Their coming heralded a new age of fun and laughter, joy and friendship. And a side of me that I hadn't seen for almost 2 months. I didn't do that much. Just played myself as a good host and brought them around to my favourite places, ate my favourite foods, talked as much (or as little) as I knew about Singapore's history.

But I don't know why. I have never felt this carefree and footloose for a long long time. It's almost as if since I touched down in my homeland, the weight and cares of my life has resettled around me like a leaden cloak, dragging my shoulders down, keeping my head firmly set on putting one foot in front of another in unerring rhythm.

Don't get me wrong, I love my job. I like the people, I enjoy the job. But something is missing. I'm not sure if it's the people I had with me on exchange that triggered this metamorphosis of boring serious Luke into fun and playful Luke (yes, even I can tell when I'm boring), or it's the situation of where I'm working.

I liked it when I was more fun. I thought I was more interesting then.

It might just be some inner mindgame... Or is it just that different people bring out different things in me?

Monday, September 07, 2009


I was teaching one of my tuition kids something, when her mom came out and passed me a peach. She had a habit of feeding me while I was there, a fringe benefit of the job. (Besides the job satisfaction of teaching, that is.)

It was a massive peach. Round, reddish, redolent in its ruby splendour. Freckled with little yellow spots, like dimples in its blushing cheeks. It's perfume was enticing, smelling sweetly reminiscent of apples, yet uniquely ravishing in its character. Lacking the tart sharp sweetness of simple sugars, the fragrance exumed a refined quality of sophisticated delight.

I held the magnificent peach up to my nose, letting its subtle flavour waft into my mind. It was intoxicating.

My tuition kid was laughing at me. She had been doing her work for the last 5-10 minutes, all the while looking bemusedly at me sniffing the peach as if it was an olfactory gold mine. She had finished hers already. She asked me, "Why haven't you eaten it yet?"

Ah, but how could I tell her? The smell of the peach was a heaven unto its own. The vivacity of that strong scent brought it into a life of it's own, enthralling the senses, lulling one to imagine the peach as larger than life, full of flavour and sweetness. However, the perfection of the peach lay only in it's scent, for it is the scent of the peach that calls the fruit-lover, the taste of the unknown. What if I eat the peach, and find it less than fulfilling? Should I have been content in just smelling it all the while?

Before this degenerates into a needless philosophical discourse, to cut the story short, I ate the peach. As expected, it did not live up to my expectations.

But whose fault is it that it didn't? Was the fault mine, that I had expected too much from a simple fruit, and had built up my expectations too high? Or was it the fault of the peach, with it's alluring fragrance, tricking the fruit-lover into thinking that the peach was tastier than it looks?

Taking nature's view of it, it is an elegant solution to the problem of attraction. The peach simply had to attract fruit-lovers to it, for in the process of being eaten, it would be transported to new pastures to grow and reproduce. It is not necessary for the fruit to be sweet and tasty, for the attractive smell alone had achieved its goals.

But of course, if you ask any layman, he would find that the fault is in the fruit-lover, who loves fruits but does not understand them. Hence each time he tastes the fruit of his labour (heh heh) he is disappointed.

In my mind, the fruit-lover has to be an eternal optimist. Each time he sees a fantastic fruit, he has to try it, to find out if the fruit tastes as good as it looks. And even if it doesn't? Well, there's always different kinds of fruits, and new ones all the time.

But someday, when he knows the peach a little better, he might come back, drown in it's intoxicating spell for a moment, and take a bite.

I wonder how that will taste.