How Do I Love Thee?

(Note: Emphasis my own.)

How Marriages Can Last

I read with interest Tee Hun Ching's Girl Talk column (Script Your Own Fairy Tale, Life!, Jan 16).

Marriage is no fairy tale nor can it be scripted. Marriage is between two people and unless both have the same script, the storyline would be very different.

I have been married for over 15 years and have known my husband since I was 19. We had three children in five years. I stayed home to take care of my girls.

A year ago, when we were talking about marital affairs, he blurted out that a married colleague once told him that she was in love with him. For days, I wondered who she was but I never did ask because I was afraid to know. I didn't want to know if she was smarter, more glamorous or better than me in any way.

But I want my husband to know that his success today is partly due to me. I take care of his home, I cook his favourite food, I am the best mother to his children and I never complain (maybe just once or twice) about his snoring.

Many people will agree with me that marriage takes a lot of hard work. Trust has its limitations if both parties do not share the same values. At the end of the day, it is the time you have invested in that person, the children who link the two of you, and your love for each other, which can stand the test of time.

Ong Saw Yim

(Source: 21 January 2006. Life Mailbag. The Straits Times.)

Elizabeth Barrett Browning once wrote: "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways."

Count indeed - that one should speak of marriage in terms of years, calories, superlatives and tolerance; that marriage stands the test of time, rather than love; that it is an obligatory relationship between two people.

Were it as simple as honing housekeeping skills, signing up for a culinary course, having a working womb, and being just a little hard of hearing - I might be married by now too.

But marriage is "a lot of hard work" - literally. I guess I am just too lazy for marriage. And oh yes, my ears are so sharp I often hear things that I should not.

Ah well.

And Another

Gah! When it rains, it pours. Here goes my second MeMe. Tagged by a new bride.

Name 5 of life’s simple pleasures that you like most, then pick five people to do the same. Try to be original and creative and not use things that someone else has already used.

. Floating on my back.
. Just being at the beach.
. Writing something beautiful.
. Snuggling up to Elmo for an afternoon nap or bedtime.
. Reading the papers by the windows on a sunny weekend afternoon.

And the tag stops here! :-P (Before I get burnt at the stake for chain-MeMeing!)

(Note: Eh, in what way does indulging in the same pleasures make you unoriginal and uncreative???)

My First MeMe

Owww. Reach behind. Pull out feathered (PINK feathers no less!) arrow from The King of Fairies. Grumble.

4 jobs you've had in your life

. Sales Promoter
. Tuition Teacher
. Administrative Officer
. Editorial Manager (Nooo, don't ask me about a job - unless you are offering me one. Heh.)

4 movies you could watch over and over

. Dogma
. Personal Velocity
. Before Sunrise & Before Sunset
. Lord of the Rings (the entire trilogy)

(Note: Not necessarily a reflection of my favourites - some of the best movies are meant to be savoured just once - or at the most, twice.)

4 TV shows you love(d) to watch

. Sesame Street
. Sex and the City
. The Muppet Show

4 places you've lived

. Brunei (born and lived there for a year)
. Jalan Kayu
. Ang Mo Kio
. Bishan

4 places you've been on vacation to

. Perth
. Bangkok
. Manado, Indonesia
. Kapalai/Sipadan, East Malaysia

4 places you would rather be

. Wordsmithing in the publishing industry
. Alternating between reading and dozing by a bay window
. Freezing my nose off at the Antarctic (polar bears and ice-diving)
. Sun on my face; sand beneath my feet; sea in my ears; soulmate by my side

4 of your favourite foods

. Foie gras
. Ice-cream
. Chicken rice
. Vongole pasta

4 websites you visit daily

. Gmail
. Bloglines
. MINE! (laugh)
. - World of Warcraft

4 tagged

. Circe
. ScubaPro Girl
. Rabid Fan
. Neil Gaiman (haha)
. Aberwyn (nudge)

To Date or Not to Date

"When I first moved to Asia, I thought it was strange how relationships here seemed to be much more 'possessive'. I have met many people whose partners wouldn't allow them to hang out with friends of the opposite sex. ...

"Different people bring different viewpoints. Besides, isn't it healthy to mingle with others rather than just your significant other? I think this is a clear sign that someone is so insecure that he has to latch on to his partner. It goes without compromise. Maybe I'm wrong. Perhaps it's valid for people not to trust their partners and to minimise all interactions with others whom they may be attracted to. ...

"One of the happiest couples I know in the US was advised to cut off friends of the opposite sex so as to improve their previously rocky relationship. They saw a marriage counsellor, who advised them to hang out only with other couples and not go on dates with persons of the opposite sex. It worked for them. ...

"Romantic notions make me want to think that as long as two people really are head over heels in love with each other, they can hang out with whoever they want and still maintain a strong relationship. But perhaps the reality is, like any project or situation, you want to minimise the chances of failure. How unromantic. And yet, perhaps, how true."

- "End a Friendship for Love?". 15 January 2006. The New Paper.

"Hmmm. Interesting," she pointed out the anecdote about a couple whose 'rocky relationship' was saved by a marriage counsellor.

I smirked. Was it any wonder that their relationship was on the rocks if they had been going on 'dates with persons of the opposite sex'? You mean you need a marriage counsellor to tell you that???

The guest columnist later clarified:

" ... by 'date' I don’t mean a romantic date, I just meant that they would go for an outing with someone of the opposite sex. I’ve noticed that in Singapore it seems like some folks use the word 'date' to mean any planned outing with anyone and others use 'date' to mean like a romantic/attraction type of arranged outing."


First of all, if it was just an outing, why was there a need to specify hanging out only with 'other couples' and not 'persons of the opposite sex'? Obviously, this was an issue in the couple's relationship.

Second, I think it is safe to say that most Westernised cultures, no matter how 'open', would acknowledge that a 'date' is commonly understood as "a social engagement between two persons that often has a romantic character".

I speak English. You speak English. Since we all can speak English, how about not mucking around with the language, and just call a 'date' a 'date'? And if it truly is not a 'date' (yes???), please do not refer to it as a 'date' - unless you are trying to muck around with your significant others (insert apostrophe where appropriate) head(s).

Personal issues with self-confidence aside, I do not think it is inappropriate to continue meeting friends of the opposite sex, especially if you had known them before your current partner - that is, generally speaking.

But obviously, if your friend of the opposite sex is someone you "may be attracted to", it is only appropriate to "minimise all interactions". And no, involving your partner in a 'group outing' does not make it any less inappropriate - because your clever idea of a little having-your-cake-and-eating-it ménage à trois most probably forgot all about that not-so-little matter of 'informed consent' which has to be obtained from all parties concerned.

And unless you are in a Kathy 'Misery' Bates type of relationship, if you find yourself starving for "different viewpoints" and having to keep explaining that it is "healthy to mingle with others rather than just your significant other", you have to wonder if maybe, just maybe, your significant other should continue to remain a significant part of your life. If there seems to be so much lacking in your relationship that you feel the need to 'supplement' it - assuming you do not have a biological predisposition for polygamy - then maybe, just maybe, you should be spending the rest of your life with someone else.

At the end of the day, "as long as two people really are head over heels in love with each other", while they might give the other the freedom to "hang out with whoever they want", in all likelihood, they would still end up spending most of their time with each other - because they want to; they enjoy each other's company too much to not want to; they never tire of wanting to learn something new about the other; and they never, never, tire of loving the same thing about the other every single day.

Now, that, to me, is really romantic.

It's Only an Introduction

She asked if I had met up with Mr Homer Simpson since the introduction over MSN chat almost two weeks ago.

Well, no, because he had not asked me to. In fact, after that first MSN chat, we did not communicate again, because he had not initiated contact either.

Why don't you ask him - make the first move, she urged.

Well, because I thought I had already fulfilled my quota of first moves in this lifetime, and it was time that I got to sit back and enjoy the 'good karma'.

But frankly, if he was interested, he would have initiated contact again or just cut to the chase and asked to meet. So, the truth is, he probably was not - which is why I was not inclined to initiate meeting either. According to the introducer, he thinks she does not have good taste. (Excuse me, I am not single because I am undesirable okay? I am just a little unhinged at times.) That impression might also have been reinforced because I declined to put up my photo (because I think it is tacky to exchange photos over the internet???), though he volunteered his - which was too small to make out anything. And the chat session ended just then, because he said he had to attend to some work.

Still, good karma notwithstanding (more like not happening), if I really liked someone, I would have made the first move or nudged him into making it (or clubbed the blur sotong over the head and dragged him back to my cave). Evidently, my interest was not sufficiently piqued. There was not much of a conversation going on, though granted, some people are just more reserved online. And, I confess, I googled - thank you Google! - him and found a few photos. Heh. Heh. Though he was not a hobbit, had no discernable missing limbs and seemed to still have all his hair, it was not a face I took to (not that it looked anything like Homer Simpson, his MSN avatar) - though I could imagine other women might take to it, if not the doctorate in astrophysics.

So, tacky as it was, I suppose his request for a visual was not unreasonable. And when you get to a certain age (20-somethings, shuddup, listen and learn), it is not unreasonable to not want to 'waste your time' - though some people would argue that beggars should not be choosers. The reality is this: after the initial enthusiasm and novelty of meeting new people wears off, each subsequent and unsuccessful encounter in an ever-shrinking 'Single, Desirable and Unusual' but ever-expanding 'Single, Desperate and Unattractive' pool wears you down, and leaves you a little more discouraged and jaded (again, 20-somethings, shuddup, listen and do not speak until you are 30-something).


In spite of all of that, if he had asked, I would still have met him - simply because he asked. And also because of what everyone says about giving life a chance, and I would give my friend that much courtesy (making the first move does not count!!!) for her good intentions and not wasting my time with a very funny (but married) man.

As they say, "It's only an introduction, the rest is up to you."

And it really is. It is up to you: to approach these introductions in the right spirit; to know what you want when you see it; to know what you do not want - or are not what the other wants - and move on from there. And oh yes, it would also be nice to remember your manners while you are at it.

Conversations in the Sun

What do you call an old Golden Retriever? A Golden Oldie. Heh. Heh.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

You know how some cyclists just lurrrrve going at their bells like their fingers are having epileptic fits everytime they are anywhere from 1m to 50m behind you, even after you have drifted to the side so they can pass you safely? Next time, turn around and yell "I'M NOT DEAF!!!" - because you know, maybe THEY are deaf, like how people who are hard of hearing tend to speak very loudly because they cannot hear their own voices.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

It was agreed: Malcolm Gladwell does not so much write than do the literary equivalent of ramble (much like writing versus blogging). My fellow busker in the sun, who was in an especially pugnacious mood, was flabbergasted that millions would buy a book - The Tipping Point - that stated so much that was 'obvious' about human nature, that everyone already knows. And yet, pop psychology continues to sell well even after decades, no? Our enduring fascination with all things human aside, I suppose there are always the less perceptive and enlightened ones for whom such 'obvious' books would be a constant delightful discovery, and these books are not so much for those who are already good at reading and understanding people, but the former. As with Blink, whether or not the way it was delivered - rambling and all - was intended, is another matter altogether.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The latest from vPost is certainly good news for online shoppers who buy from the States, though I hear that they are still working on expanding their list of vendors (what do you mean Victoria's Secret is not on your list yet???) and shipping costs remain relatively high. The alternative would be to get a friend/colleague living/working in the States - if you have one - to receive the goods and ship it to you. While The Stapler Maniac's company has an office in the States (and costs for personal parcels have been known to be 'absorbed' on occasion), she was not too enthusiastic about asking her overseas colleague to pass on a Victoria's Secret parcel (even after I promised that I was not getting lingerie), especially when they realise from the sizing that it is not for her and start wondering if it is for a special female friend. Cough.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

And I have lobster-red cheeks now. Heh. Heh.

"Don't Jump My Queue!!!"

I am beginning to think that a lot of times, inconsiderate behaviour happens because people actually believe (and know) they can get away with it, and they are counting on the affected parties being non-confrontational, if not less nasty than they are.

This morning, I spent 5 minutes glaring at two young boys who obviously knew (since they kept turning back to look at me glaring at them) I was already waiting for a cab 20m away. While I almost started walking towards them to start yelling (if their mother, who was deliberately looking away, did not intend to educate her sons, I would), I did not because I could not think of something 'smart' - and still nasty - enough to say. And I was naive to think that my obvious displeasure would prompt them to back off. In the end, they got a cab - while I waited another 20 more fucking minutes and had to pay an extra $2.50 to summon one to get to the beach.

I guess there are always more civilised ways to engage such inconsiderate behaviour, and one does not have to resort to the same level of nastiness. So the next time, I will calmly walk up to the queue jumper, smile politely and ask if they are in a rush. If they are not, I would smile again and say, "Good. Then DON'T JUMP MY FUCKING QUEUE!!!" And if they claim to be in a rush too, I would still smile and say, "Oh. Guess what? So am I! But since I was here first, DON'T JUMP MY FUCKING QUEUE!!!"

Growl. Bare teeth.

It was otherwise a lovely morning at the beach and I cannot wait until next weekend! (Though I may be partnerless because I think I almost paced my companion into the ground today. Heh. Heh.)

Drama Mummies

It looks like the local blogsphere just made its very own reality drama series Desperate Bloggers: Sex, Lies and Photoshoots. Tsk. Tsk.

One can only wonder if the photospread in the March issue of Her World would be worth the ongoing and very public catfight. But considering that I have stopped buying the women's magazine because of the deteriorating editorial standards and increasingly sensationalistic headlines that cannot even deliver (come on, if you want to do smut, at least, deliver the smut!), the photospread is likely to be an anti-climax - or the start of Season 2 of Desperate Bloggers: Sex, Lies and eh, More Hate Sites???

Vanity Flair

I need to get wedges to go with my ankle length swishy skirts. I'm like a road sweeper in flats, and conventional pointy heels keep getting caught in the skirts. And oh, the crochet skirt should not go down narrow passageways or crowds, unless I want to get hooked by furniture again (and who knows what else next time)! Gaaah.

You've Been Blonde'd!

The best blonde joke ever. Cleverly subtle.

Xena, Warrior Premenstrual

He demanded to know why I had not returned his call earlier; he did say I was to call him back, didn't he? "Mr O, I did not return your call earlier because I was on *MC*." I huffed. Later, his assistant tried to get my mobile number in case I was not available through the office line. Again, I huffed that I had not been contactable earlier because I was on *MC*. (Obviously, she did not manage to get my mobile number - and even if she somehow did, she would wish she had not if she somehow managed to speak with me on that line.)

And when Mrs Y asked about the advertisements, I offered to fax the listings for her perusal. When she repeated her question, hoping I had an answer off-hand, I repeated my offer and added: "Unfortunately, the listings are long and I do not memorise every single item."

What do these people think? I only return phone calls??? and memorise listings??? Christ.

Bend It Like Benrik

January 9-15: This week lie your ass off about absolutely everything and enjoy a much more stimulating existence.

* "No, I'm not married."
* "Trust me, I'm a doctor."
* "You don't have a daddy."
* "I never got your e-mail."
* "Don't worry it's not hot."
* "The president just got shot!"
* "They give me one week to live."
* "Of course I'm wearing a condom."
* "I gave you that report yesterday."
* "This porno mag was in your drawer."
* "I paid you for that coffee a minute ago."
* "He fancies you like crazy, he told me so."
* "I double-checked your parachute myself."
* "He's a well-known child molester. I read it in the paper."
* "What do you mean you're my wife? I've never even met you before."


"So pleaseeeee, baby please, come onnnnn, catch my disease ... "
- Ben Lee

An infectious little ditzy ditty that I wish I had with me earlier during the weekend when I did catch something - stomach flu. I went to bed on Friday night shivering so badly I eventually had to crawl into my outdoors sleeping bag, and I only managed 1.5 half-hearted meals because of the nausea and spinning head, which was made worse by the stiff neck and shoulders. I spent most of the weekend and Monday home actually sleeping. The only reason I started eating on the third day was because I was too weak even to WOW! Heh. And yeah, because the doctor said I should eat.

Bird Brains

"So what is it about kids, and chasing pigeons around, waiting to see if they scatter? Must be the first time they find out they can affect the world, or maybe it's just simply a fun game."

I've got a better idea. Why not run into a group of kids and see if they scatter?

Hardly charming behaviour, I know. But I am probably thinking of the kids at the lift landing who try to provoke my dogs into making a ruckus by barking at them. Maybe I ought to step out of the house and bark at them one of these days instead.


Subject: Wall/Rock-climbing
Date: Thu, 5 Jan 2006 09:44:49 +0800
Thread-Topic: Wall/Rock-climbing
From: A
To: X, L

Dear X,

My colleague, L, is from Canada and in the last 4 months he’s been here it’s been getting hard to get going with his rock-climbing activities. I remembered you were doing some indoor rock-climbing at SAFRA Yishun and figured it might be a good way for him to start getting something going. Would you recommend it?

He’s been to Bukit Timah Nature Reserve but he needs a partner for climbing. He says he’s, “keen, friendly, handsome, not much trouble, interested in international climbing trips…” Heh. Basically, he needs to have someone to partner with so that he can keep one of his favourite activities going. Anyway, look forward to hearing from you and your advice about wall/rock-climbing in Singapore.

L, X is a fit and charming Singaporean lady who isn’t afraid of sweating in Singapore. While not in Singapore, she is going around getting bends from diving trips, challenging catastrophic tsunamis.

Best Regards,

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Okayyy. My friend is sooo dead.

Life is Like a Benrik

January 2-8: This is the first week of your life change, so take it easy and warm up with a gentle task. Any of these will change your life, but only a little.

* Lose one gramme in weight.
* Base-jump off a chair.
* Donate your milk teeth to science.
* Save the life of an ant.
* Tell your deepest secret to the talking clock.
* Go on a one-man demo.
* Make a small dream come true.
* Sow one seed of anarchy.
* Dye your hair its natural colour.
* Watch a different TV channel.
* Eliminate avocados from your diet.
* Gamble $1 on a horse.
* Write the first letter of a novel.
* Graffiti with a pencil.
* Join a sect part-time.
* Get a microscopic tattoo.
* Clear out your belly fluff.
* Sexually harass yourself.