Sunday, September 30, 2007

Time to introspect, people!

It should have been a perfect day with leisure visits to travel agencies to secure a trip for my incoming short getaway. The day was marred with some woman (40 or 50 something? Definitely not in her thirties) trying to hijack the personnel who was serving me.

See, the travel agency staff was in the middle of explaining to me about the itinery when the other woman interrupted her & threw a question.

Me interrupted, I glared at her. The tension escalated. The woman was too thick skin to realize it. The staff politely told her to wait as she was with the costumer.

The explanation ensued.

For a time being.

The thick-skinned woman barked her questions again. To exacerbate the situation, the staff chose to answer the woman's inquiries. I was freezed by anger. I fought the urge to stand up & shouted at her how ridiculous it is that her generation laments about the inconsiderate behaviour of the youngsters whereas she herself demonstrating the same flaw. Yes, I was disturbed by the reader' letter to the Sunday Times today.

At the same time, I was irritated by the staff who slighted me with her entertaining the other's questions. I decided to punish her first. As the thick-skinned woman asked her many questions, so did I. Simultaneously. Our questions overloaded the staff & inevitably confused her. As she smiled in doubt, I turned to the thick-skinned woman & asked her whether she left her manner at home.

I wish I could ask that with a smile. A sarcastic smile filled with pity that she's such a poor creature.

But I couldn't. I asked that question with an anger. I followed that question with yet another rhetorical question whether she knew how impolite it was to hijack the conversation. And whether she's deaf that she couldn't hear the staff earlier told her to wait.

She left in anger muttering some Chinese words (sore loser!). I was left fuming (I couldn't understand the Chinese words!).

Seriously, how it is that the youngsters are expected to be well behaved if the adults themselves are behaving badly too?!


Finally managed to borrow the graphic novel from Bishan Community Library. However, up to date only 21 copies have been bought by NLB. (Compare that to 48 copies of V for Vendetta, another graphic novel that also inspired a print-to-screen adaption.) So please, NLB do buy more of the book or please shorten the lending duration from 3 weeks to, say, 1 week.

Anyway. Back to the comic. Written & illustrated by Frank Miller, it is about the the Battle of Thermopylae where Spartan King Leonidas led his 300 soldiers against the invading army of Persia unleashed by King Xerxes--the army was said to be so huge in numbers that it "drank rivers dry". Man, King Xerxes must have had a headache in planning the logistic.

Needless to say about the outcome.

I like the simplistic artwork. Silhouettes are used effectively as if to portray the grim situation that the Spartans faced. A gentle note of caution, though, 300 depicts quite an amount of graphic violence (what do you expect from a war?) that will not make the comic appropriate for children.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Sorry, not interested & just because.

A few days ago, someone claiming from ABN AMRO Bank called to tell that I've been given a free Platinum card for life. "Free...for life?" I asked. "Free...for life." she echoed. (I could almost hear her smiling), "And no catch." she added as if reading my mind. "I just need to check what name you want to be printed on the card."

I was silent.

It's too good to be true. Perhaps some cosmic power was at work here. You see, the last few days have been rather bad for me. I went back home. Stuck in traffic jam like for eternity. With a car which air-con was not working. And when I eventually reached home, I saw my father very much unwell. To think that he's only in his early 70s. Sigh. The frailty of life.

Will surely prefer life described by George Dennis Carlin, an American stand-up Comedian, Actor and Author:

“The most unfair thing about life is the way it ends. I mean, life is tough. It takes up a lot of your time. What do you get at the end of it? A Death! What's that, a bonus? I think the life cycle is all backwards. You should die first, get it out of the way. Then you live in an old age home. You get kicked out when you're too young, you get a gold watch, you go to work. You work forty years until you're young enough to enjoy your retirement. You do drugs, alcohol, you party, you get ready for high school. You go to grade school, you become a kid, you play, you have no responsibilities, you become a little baby, you go back into the womb, you spend your last nine months floating...

...and you finish off as an orgasm.”

Anyway. The lady in the phone coaxed me further by saying that I could always cancel the card after using it for 9 months. "Hmm...why 9 months?" But I did not raise that question.

I was still silent.

I was contemplating how life had been kind to me. Oh yes, upon arrival in Singapore I suffered stomach pain (inner parts like being squeeze, discomfort because of bloating--not a good sight--and diarrhoea which interestingly only in the morning & in the night) & true, I had been worrying that it was peptic ulcer. And no, I didn't mean to be sarcasm. Life really had been kind to me. A doctor checked & confirmed that it was just stomach flu. Pardon me for not recognizing the symptoms. This was only the second time I experienced it.

The lady on the phone put a brake on my train of thought as she asked whether I was still here. I had indeed been silent.

"Thanks but I am not interested." I told her. "But why?" she sounded hurt. This is always the part that I hate most. I never find any need to explain my choice of action. To anybody.

"Just because." I replied & ended the call.

Out of interest, I visited the ABN Amro homepage about the card. Wanted to check if there's such a promotion where people are given a credit card without any cost for life. Nothing. No such information.

An attempt of scam had been taken place? Not that I ever heard of. But even if it's true, even if there's really such promotion going on, I doubt I will regret my decision. Yes, just because.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


Man, I love the movie: 1408!! It's a horror movie with attitude. And that attitude is 'sarcasm'--without overly done by the main character, Mike Enslin.

Take this one for example:
[Speaking into his recorder as he goes out on the ledge, trying to escape the room]

"If something should happen, if I should slip and fall, I want it known it was an accident. The room did not win."

I'm glad to note that I was not the only one laughing on that line. Heh.

And also this one when he suspected that what he experienced was just hallucination:

"He gave me booze! Did he take a sip? I can't remember. Or maybe it was the chocolate! Don't take candy from strangers!"


(More quotes: here & here.)

Really, the protagonist is what gives the movie something different, something freshly original than the usual premise of haunted room or hotel or apartment. (Yes, I'm referring to Apartment 1303).

Saturday, September 01, 2007

(very late) follow up: Kusu Island

Yup. Referring to this post dated 23/11/06. Finally I got time to visit Kusu Island last Sunday.

0. Alighted at Marina Bay MRT station & walked towards the bus stop outside. Prayed for bus 402 which is the only service to Marina South Pier. Very infrequent. Should have brought a book with me.

1. Saw some praying's going on there. Couldn't resist taking a shot. part of the Hungry Ghost Festival, I guess. (The praying, not the photo shooting)

2. The ticket. Had no idea it mandatorily included St John's Island.

3. The ferry trip took about 20-25 minutes. The above was not the ferry. Obviously. Shot just after the ferry arrived at Kusu Island.

4. Not exactly a good shot of a not exactly good depiction of turtles. Seriously. Every time I see the photo, somehow I'm reminded of snakes. Because of the necks?

5. It's a small island alright. With a very few visitors. Guess that's why it's appealing. Didn't have the heart to interrupt a father-daughter moment to get the photo of only the beach. Heh. But the photo turns out quite nice.

6. At the other side of the island.

7. Now these statues I like. Be advised, though, you're not allowed to climb on top of the shells.

8. St John's Island may be bigger than Kusu Island, but I found the latter is better maintained. Not much photo taken here. Perhaps I was already tired. And sleepy.

9. Really, not much...