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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Believe in a Better World.

I look forward to 2012, so should you!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Apple of My Eye

Everyone was raving about this Taiwanese movie when it screened. I hesitated watching it (thinking it was lousy) but glad i caught it at the eleventh hour before it stopped playing. I would buy the DVD and watch it again and again.

Written and directed by famous internet writer Giddens Ko, more widely known by his Chinese name Nine Knives 九把刀, the movie is based on his life's story and is one of his best selling novels.

He wrote in Mandarin,
"Adolescence is like a heavy rain. Even though you catch a cold from it, you still look forward to experiencing it once again. Everyone has those impetuous times, the time when every boy likes the same girl in class, rushing days with mischief and pranks. Then, youth departed without a sound."

The story played around the school belle whom every boy lust, likes, wants.
It brings back memories of my school time. This is the school belle (on the right, i am on the left). Though Dewi wasn't fair, she was thought to be the prettiest. She had a vivacious nature, playful, sporting, cheerful, friendly and she's a dancer. She can't get any more perfect. She had a heaving bosom, which boys loved to sit at the benches and watch her jump around playing netball.
Like in the movie, the prettiest girl in school always has a less pretty sidekick who doesn't get attention, if any at all. I was that sidekick.
 The school belle would get the cutest boys liking her while i get the weirdos.
I would plan study camps and hound the principal for approval so i could sneakily "live" with my school crush (the one sucking the bottle, it was a game). I remember this picture causing much "orgasms". I didn't know about masturbation until after graduation.

Later on, i became a little more popular and i got my own less pretty sidekick.

In the movie, it highlighted the relationship between youth and masturbation. The tagline below in the trailer even said, "So long as you are still masturbating, your youth has not left you."

Syed was the one who brought a blue tape to share in school. We all heard about the boys plans to go to someone's house after school to watch it together. I guess it wasn't weird for boys at that age to masturbate side by side, brotherhood bonding.

Arjuna was nicknamed the Pak Chiu Cheng King. Girls never understood what that meant. Later on, i learnt from my elder brother it meant 打手枪 (shoot water gun) which also meant masturbation. Arjuna had skinny legs like a stork and i remember i read from a book called Talking Cock by Richard Herring that showed an old photo of a malnourished man who overdosed on masturbation. He had skinny legs too.

Then the passing of notes. Girls do that more than guys. We write notes and plan for after-school. To get the boys involved, sometimes i write a line and get them to continue the story. The boys never did play along.
The antics demonstrated in the movie reminded me of the days where boys bully girls and people getting punished.

Boys pull bra straps and make it snap from the back, Syed took my watch and slipped it into his pants.
Ivena fell asleep in class and i whispered in her ear "Fire! Fire!"
She woke up screaming.

We both got detention.
Then there were the different courtship methods that boys deployed.

During courtship, i had Andy writing me a love letter every single day for 6 months. There was Sul who carved me a wind chime during Design & Technology class over a semester. He also did my art homework, made me pop-up cards and picked out red gummy bears from a mixed bag. Then there was Jeremy who used felt pen to colour a A3 art piece, every morning he would colour a bit over 2 months. Ailmer gave me a Swarvoski rose brooch which at that time, i didn't know was expensive.

Courtship was so innocent and sincere, remembering them makes me smile sweetly. No one was thinking about getting into your pants with that bouquet of flowers. There was no motive in the courtship, it didn't matter if the love was unreturned. Courtship would go on months and even years till graduation. Now, men drop you like a hot potato and move on to another potential if you don't reciprocate in 2 weeks.
There's a creepy classmate photo bombing us.
Like in the movie where the boys climax just seeing the apple of their eye tying her hair back in a pony tail, there was one boy who got wet just seeing me tie two.
We sit according to index numbers and teachers rearrange mischievous students to the front. It irritates the hell out of me when the boy sitting behind me loves kicking my chair to ask something he has missed. It was sweet revenge when he was asked to change seats and he got in front of me.
The movie had a hilarious scene where the boys masturbated to their teacher. When there is a hot relief teacher in town (usually the young girl who works interim while waiting for university), the boys plot to remove the mirror from round shaped sharpeners and put it on the floor. Near the edge of their table leg, they cross their fingers for the hot teacher to walk pass. The Internet wasn't a big thing then, but without it and the influence of the Japanese No Panties cafes, the boys then were still creative and imaginative.
Mrs Chia was however one of the better looking permanent teacher in school. She also had a heaving bosom, a pair we called papayas and she walked like a duck.
There were all sorts of punishments. Standing in the corridor, standing on the chair, standing on the table, those were the days. Now, teachers are not allowed to punish students nor scold. Teachers are graded by students instead. My teachers would throw dusters a metre away and uniforms will be dusted with chalk. There were also teachers who wouldn't allow us to go to the toilet and pass boys rubber bands to tie their cock (no one did it).

Under 18, we weren't allowed in the clubs yet. So on Racial Harmony Day, Teachers or Children's Day, it is usually a cause for celebration and we would party in a classroom. Just loud music and no alcohol.
 And yes, romance blossoms between the weak students and their tutors.
 Like the movie enacted out, Jing Ting hated Kenneth's guts and they were often at loggerheads. Two opposite poles, she was the student who cries when she misses 5 to 100 and he was the prankster who didn't care two hoots about studies.

The teacher appointed her to tutor him and the many afternoons spent together after school brought forth a relationship. They were the first official couple in my class.
The movie was about youth, about friendship, about dreams and hopes. There were different types of students back in school. The ones who studies the hardest don't necessary turn out champions in life. The ugly ducklings became swans. Most importantly, it talks about the first love that never fades.

It reminds me of KC who held a torch for me since 14. He was the suitor who nicknamed me Chrispy. He irritated me alot with his endless questions. Boys were really immature at that age. He courted the school belle first, and when she spurned his affections, he gave me the Swatch watch which i believed was intended for her.

Though he courted the school belle first, i believed his affections for me were stronger. He always flitted in and out of my life, and i often hear him asking about me even 10 years after graduation.
If you've watched the movie, here's the MTV to reminisce moments of the awesome movie. My favourite scene was the last part where the school belle finally got married to none of the boys who courted her back in school. Her first love (thought nothing official really happened between them in their youth) felt it was a pity and asked to kiss the bride. Her new husband jokingly said he would have to kiss him first in the manner they want to kiss the bride. The first love rushed forward and gave her husband a hot wet tongue twisting kiss.

Below is the movie trailer and i attempt at a very lousy translation of the snippets.

Boy: " Shen Jia Yi, i like you. I like you very much. One day i will get you."
Boy: "In every boy's heart, there is a girl like Shen Jia Yi. I am Ke Jing Deng, i was16 that year.
Although Shen Jia Yi has been in the same class as me for 3 years, the disparity between a good and a bad student, our distance is always there."

Teacher: " Who did not bring the textbook, stand up!"

Bad boy student sacrificed himself and saved the perfect girl student from humiliation where she forgot to bring her textbook for once.

Girl: "why do you not study? I do not like boys who are stupid."

Boy:" I always thought i am very confident but i realised that in front of the girl i like, i am a coward."
I want to become super. So that with me in the world, it can be different."

Girl: "why are you so stupid to fight in a competition! Now you are injured, you are so immature!"

Boy: " Yes, i am stupid! That's why i will court you for so long. I don't know anything!"

Not like an exam, not every difficult question has an answer. This is life's mystery, there are sometimes no answers.

May our youth be continued.

Apple of My Eye, the novel made a sensational sucess with its debut screening because it's a story of youth, hope, love and dreams. The battles and the triumps in life, how you will never guess what the future holds.
Based on a personal account, here is Gidden Ko and the school belle whom everyboy wanted.
and the other movie characters VS real life.

As for my story?

Syed became a roti prata stall owner.
Arjuna went on to win university beauty pageants.
Kenneth became an Airforce pilot.
JingTing became a professional dancer but they didn't end up together.

as for Dewi the school belle? She grew fat.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A sheet from my Notebook.

Like a prisoner who marks the days that has passed by making notches on the bed post to an alpha male who keeps memorabilia of every girl he has slept with, I keep a book of boys whom I’ve rejected. This post is going to sound extremely egoistic, but hey everyone has one of those low self-esteem moments and this diary entry will probably serve its purpose in a pick-me-up.

Mind you, the name only makes the list only if the boy explicitly asked me “to go stead” with him. The recording stopped in year 2003 when “be my stead” became passé.

Nobody uses that phrase now and thus the ambiguity and hearts broken unconsciously. Whilst in those days where "want to be my stead" can be asked unabashed, it also means the reply don't need to be minced. "No, i don't want to be your horse."

Today, with the wishy washy start of the subject matter 

"I spending time with you. I hmmm....really like your personality. I hmmm....would like to see you more. I hmmm...hope you will want to..."

If you don't feel the same way, you need to think quickly on the spot how to let him down gently and tactfully. I twist, turn and wriggle my way out with words but i've never said "No, i don't want to be your girlfriend". Why? Because that would be totally presumptuous on my part, for he never did ask "want to be my stead?"

And men accuse women of leading them on.

Women Should not Court

Female magazines like Cosmopolitan or Cleo teach women to take charge and be a man eater, making us believe that men actually like aggressive women, women who make the first move for a change. Despite how convincingly their articles are, i think it's innate and will never change, that men are the hunters.

Born with a star sign that oozes with sexuality and passions, I often am not afraid to make the first move on any moving thing. I have no qualms courting a man and i've done it to the men whom i call boyfriends.

Experiences have proven me that men do not appreciate and treasure as much as if they were the one who hunted for you. Men has an innate desire to chase.

2011 has seen a couple of suitors that bemused me with their antics yet showed so clear how society has breed a generation of focused (not in a good way) men. A generation of girly men who cower in fear, not wanting to chase is another topic for another day.

2011 has seen suitors of professions that every mum would want her son to be, and a profession that every mum would want her daughter to marry. Alas, my mum is taken by my dad.
Mothers are biased. Because of a certain profession, they think well of a person. This man who would be held in high regard by mothers tried to cuddle me in the cinema on a first date! I put his hand back in place, crossed my arms and warned him to behave. He obeyed. 

He continued asking me out a total of 3 more times in consecutive weeks before his interest started to wane and disappeared.

Honestly, he had the entire package for a typical Singaporean girl. Looks, cash, condo, car. It shouldn't be too difficult for him to get hitched if he wanted an instant wife. 

Last I heard he has since then gone around the social circuit asking any available girl out without any quality control.

Then there was that younger boy, who tried to impress me with his domineering ways. Hollering for taxis, insisting on a show i wasn't interested in and then insisting that because i didn't want to be with him, i must be not into settling down, marrying and having babies.

Last i heard, he hasn't graduated from university.

But then there was this man who had his head screwed on right and his ethics in check. After going out a couple of times, i was pressured to decide. In his exact words, "i want to be investing in someone whom i see a potential in and a high chance of bearing fruit."

He was blatantly honest and so i could brutally reply that i won't be a pawn in his chest game. He cannot check-mate me.

Then there was the sweet man who took me out for a birthday lunch but made a wrong move of making it a picnic. In all honesty, it was a refreshing change, kudos for being different and i appreciate his sincerity. However, it was a romantic idea executed too soon that raised goosebumps. 

Whatever happened to friendship first, whatever happened to brewing a good brew? Is this lost in a rat-raced society?

Then again, perhaps each of these men knew exactly what they want thus they cut to the chase.

Then again, perhaps i was never really into them thus i never really chased.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Building Homes, an experience being a foreign construction worker.

While you were probably nursing a hangover on Saturday, i was up at 5.30am to ride on Asean Raider to Batam. Batam often frequented by Singaporeans for the food, sex and shopping neglect to realise there are poverty stricken suburbs. With extremely poor hygiene conditions, you can find any kind of thrash imaginable littered in every nook and cranny, some which isn't even ashamed to be in the middle of the street.

Habitat for Humanity builds, rehabilitates and repairs homes like these. I heard that if the Indonesian family earns less than 3 million rupiah (that's SGD 400) a month, they get help from Habitat.
We arrived at the work site where we see a sparse quarter with the skeletal frame done by previous volunteers.
Local professionals equipped us with the tools, gave instructions and soon we start cracking!
Everyone was enthusiastic about laying bricks. Perhaps that was the most obvious when you think about building a house. Little did we know we first must shove and even the ground. That first step takes the most sweat as well as breath.
Then, metal wires are bent this way and that to form metal squares which has then gets tired around the pillar structures.
It looks simple but it's still exhausting nonetheless. A lot of bending over, a lot of wrist strength and arm power. Once the ground has been even, my friends enthusiastically started laying the bricks. I think its the most "fun" because they get to play out as The 3rd Pig who builds a brick house that can't be huffed and puffed away.
After 1 hour of twisting metals, shoving ground, mixing cement, we all realised one thing... we did take the foreign workers for granted. The ones who toil under the hot sun, the ones who eat nothing but curry sauce and rice. 

After 2 hours, we were FAMISHED from the labour. It wasn't even close to lunch time.

 Lunch came and i really don't want to complain, but this meal made me count my blessings further. Imagine if we had this much variety yet it still doesn't taste edible, then imagine the villagers who may not even have enough..

The man on the extreme left was the to-be home owner. He gave a speech of thanks when it was time for us to leave.

 This was the shack next door.
This is the toilet.
Looking at the children and the way they live struck upon me that poverty is not a choice.
 Chicken and her brood went around pecking non stop.
The girls are playing masak masak. The older girl was chopping grass and playing cook with the other children. I know my friend's 5 year old daughter wished for an iPad this Christmas and daddy's going to get her one because her Pre School is using it and all her fellow 5 year old friends have one.

Just like the African kids you see on documentaries, it's real that these kids do not swat flies away even though they land on their face.

 Posing with the bad boy look.

 I went into another depilated house when it rained to take shelter, and i came across a broken LV mattress. I don't know why but i instinctively looked for strewn condoms, but i found none. Then i thought in impoverished countries like these, they probably do not use birth control or protection and thus the society problems sometimes.
 I look like some kind of killer here, with that heavy weapon and gloves. Do you see the perspiration rolling down my forehead and collarbone?
I spotted a tricycle stored away beyond reach of children. Perhaps it's a treat for when they are well-behaved.
After 6 hours of work, we managed to put up partitions for the bedrooms. Right on track!
When i was younger, my mum always compares us to other children. When we were young, XX is a better child, XX has better grades. Now, it is with a different agenda. XX married so well, XX got such a high rank etc. Truthfully, i do know i ain't the perfect child and i think it's a cause-and-effect theory. I am born into a blessed fortunate complete family, i am sheltered from the "tough life". That makes me not any more hardworking than the boy from a low income earning father because i felt there's no need to be a high flier because my Daddy provides for me.

The kids born in an impoverished situation, they are surprisingly very mature at a very young age! 
This boy is probably 3. We sat on his porch and ate our lunch. He probably got upset that we messed up his porch so after we got back to work, he started cleaning.
It dawned upon me that doing good benefits the doer, perhaps more than the receiver. Are we really doing good work without motive? Or was there a subconscious need to selfishly feel good? It is innate in humans to think of one's self first.

Like the mayor who plants a tree, a gesture rather than real work, is volunteer work a facade? What we did probably helped with a day's work, but we are definitely far from completion. While we made a mental note to return and complete, honestly i don't know when that'll happen. It was an unanimous sigh of relief when transport came to take us back. When we reach a proper toilet at the ferry terminal, our faces beamed at the sight of it. Oh, our creatures comfort, so badly missed (mere 5 hours).

But i do know that my purpose in life is to touch lives, and it matters to see them smile.
And when they do, it's an out-of-the-world feeling.

For interesting reads on the life of migrant workers, check out here

"Migrant worker is the synonym of low-quality in the society. I admit that we are the people living in the lowest level of the society. Even if we were paid attention to, we were seen as the weakest group.
But now I do not feel worthless anymore, in fact we the migrant workers are also human beings, we are proud, all of the high-rise buildings are built up with our blood and sweat; we also are educated, I can write posts; we also know how to live......
We live in the shack at night, chatting and masturbation is our only activity....."
 and here

"I asked him if he always eat out at night. “No, I cannot afford to eat out everyday! Today I delivered more, rarely come out to eat, normally I eat at home.” I asked him how much he spends each month. He told me, mainly is rent and food, almost no other spending. He kept a tab on everyday spending, about 800 yuan a month. He mails the rest of money home. “My daughter was accepted into a university, she is the first college student of our family!” Then he smiled, a sweet smile..."
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