c*devotchka

having my Cake, eating it – and not counting every last calorie

je suis étudiante January 10, 2008

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i am glad that i can no longer say “oh, i’m a homemaker, ya know? the glorified bum?”

before the entire species of housewives turn on me with ladles and graters, i must clarify that the homemaker without children or even a pet to call her own is quite the glorified bum. homemakers with kids however, now they are the modern day feminists.

what i can now safely call myself is the unemployed student.

i’ve toyed with the idea of going back to school for years, having been derailed some years back by the intoxicating lure of money and independence from overbearing parents. but i was never sure. what does one study? if only we could be apprentices in livelihoods one could love, like during the Renaissance.

i’m sure i’d have dug up cadavers and sliced ’em open with glee. possibly with a mushroom or two dangling precariously from lips moistened with wine.

but these days, many intern at companies, learning the very pillars of money-making such as coffee-brewing, coffee-serving, photocopying, filing and collecting the boss’ silk shirts from the laundromat instead. when their talents might be better off writing the script of the next hit tv series or scrawling catch phrases on a board which may one day, be on everyone’s lips. we aren’t training to be barristas, no? or we’d have joined Starbucks – and many of us have.

we don’t hang around a musky studio, hacking away at an 8′ tall marble slab. for some reason, i think i’d quite like this type of apprenticeship. the kind where one sits in a straw basket supported by a basic pulley system rigged to the ceiling by a rudimentary iron ring, perfecting murals upside down on one’s ceiling over and over again. some kind of super hero floating in mid air in the Middle Ages with a brush, dripping pearls of exhaustion onto the cold floor below.

but the only one who has ever appreciated my art work was Miss Ong Hana from TKGS. and sitting in the dark somewhere is my styrofoam sculpture, waiting to be returned to its rightful owner. or more likely, at the bottom of a landfill, disintegrating at a rate of never.

this was back in the day when environmentalism wasn’t as sexy as Burger King’s Mushroom Swiss burgers.

tonight’s Orientation Night and i’m crossing my fingers.

oh God, please, don’t let me get freaks for classmates.

and Eds arrives tonight, what delight!

tomorrow, we will view the Greek exhibit on loan from the Louvre at the National Museum. and it will be a day of feasting. oh yes, it will be.

 

don’t blame it on your bowl May 16, 2007

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at my 23rd long, bubbly, droning fart, i looked apologetically at Ravi and explained, “irritable bowel, sorry.”

to which he replied, “humph. don’t you blame it on your bowl.”

here are some of my favourite moments from Singapore.

singapore - boatquay silhoutte

silhouette of Boat Quay.

singapore - asian civilisations museum

at the Asian Civilisations Museum, by Boat Quay. i love it there.

singapore - esplanade

my prayers are with he who cleans each and every spike and window of the Esplanade. it doesn’t look as much as a durian as it does painful.

bunga rampai

searching for bunga rampai at Geylang. for my bro’s engagement to Nuril.

bunga rampai 2

she was a grumpy lookin’ lady, but that’s not why we didn’t order from her. check out her blingblingbuhbangles.

engagement ring

rough cut. putting together the ring at the ringmaker. because i no longer believe in commercialised jewellery shops.

engagement - cage

how the ring was presented. cage not to be taken symbolically.

blueme

he called out to me. with his blue curls and sausage lips. and i crumbled. and bought him.

kuah lemak

i love my nan’s kuah lemak. saturated fats don’t bother me.

tempura ice-cream

tempura ice-cream. not for those with sensitive teeth. or for those with sensitive teeth who don’t mind a little pain.

mom

she won’t confess i’m adopted. my momma, happy momma’s day, momma. eye lub ewe.

abang

*raaarrrr* at Carnivore, Vivo City. pigging out on Brazilian churrascaria. he has one false tooth in front. a big prize is in store for he who guesses the right tooth.

ina

pink is the new blue.

ina at asian civilisations museum

walking through civilisations.

sheela

if Sheela isn’t pretty, i don’t know who is.

sheela priya scribbling in book

Sheela and Priya scribbling in my redbook as we wait for my new biometric passport. we also made friends with a 10 year old kid called Alvis. his dad loves Elvis. but Alvis doesn’t care much for Elvis.

priya

Priya and the soffiato to die for.

sum

Sum, wondering where Alyx is. because she’s always, always late.

alyx shera

meet Alyx, the Serial Latecomer. me, looking positively like a char siew pau. and Shera in navy.

hans and jay

Hans and Jay, stark sober on watered down drinks.

joy

movin’ it at Movida, St James. Joy and i, all shiny and tingly with perspiration.

shana

Shana groovin’ it on. he has a very, very, very good ass.

alley with charlie

Shana’s Alley with my Charlie.

 

the smell of home April 30, 2007

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me and mom

because moms are the best.

you don’t get more Chinese than this.

nuril and me 1

having too much fun with the camera at the airport.

sent dad off for exam in Frankfurt.

nuril and dan 1

at the 21st birthday party of mom’s colleague’s daughter.

at Singapore Khalsa Association.

 little girl at bday party

yes, kids hate adult parties.

i promise not to bring mine to 80% of such parties.

 mom bored

mom was bored. and partially deaf from loud Hindi music.

dan cracking durian open

ask me how much the X.O. (yes, as in the cognac) and 666 durians cost and i’ll smack ya.

it was more than it shoulda cost.

here, my brother attempts to split a quarter of a durian.

 million dollar durian

yum.

all hail Durian, the King of Fruits.

cafe del mar 1

at Cafe del Mar, Sentosa.

 cafe del mar 2

day beds, hmmm.

 gendang kasturi

gendang kasturi and fried keledek.

yu char kuay

yu char kuay.

one of life’s best comfort foods.

best with mayonnaise.

you know, that killer condiment?

yuuuuuuuuuuuuum.

chicken rice - new hawa

oh, how i’ve missed thee, chicken rice.

 

don’t bring me down April 19, 2007

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Electric Light Orchestra’s “Don’t Bring Me Down” (thanks, Eds) is on eternal repeat loop.

because i like bobbing my head and sniffing to its catchy tune. i also like lifting each shoulder alternately à la MJ’s Thriller to its happy hippity beat. what i like the most about this song is that it makes me wink flirtatiously to imaginary beings in my presence while lifting each shoulder alternately as i bob my head and wipe the snort from my nose.

i like tunes which match titles. ELO, “you got me runnin’, goin’ outta my mind”.

as the weather in Dubai takes an about-turn towards something not unlike a sauna that you cannot switch off, people here have been catching all kinds of bugs. out of 5 cabs i take, 3 cabbies are coughing miserably with snort dribbling down their noses without a single tissue in sight. this is what i call a hygiene violation, “keep the change, no, really, please, please keep the change.”

a week later, i caught a phantom bug and my throat starting hurting so bad, even my ears were screaming. that, and a shawarma sandwich with veggies that weren’t washed well enough and kebab meat exposed to roadside pollutants, i’d say i’ve been in a pretty miserable shape.

through the haze of disease, i thought, “hey, this might be God’s way of helping me lose 2kg magically before i hit the plane to Singapore.”

but hum. no chance of that. i’ve been stuffing myself with baby food, oats and chocolate spread. chocolate spread is God’s healing balm. today, i even feel good enough to wanna bake us some wholesome dark chocolate cookies. if i were brave enough, i’d bake me some furry eggs. Easter’s long gone, but i can’t help but stare at these in wonder. who’d have thought to bake in eggs like this! the eggs look so … furry. it appeals to the part of me which has been begging for a cat.

here are my to do lists for my 13 days in Singapore, 3 days in KL.

things to bring to Singapore

  • dates
  • Lebanese sweets
  • abaya + shela + silk for mom
  • gold nose jewellery for mom-in-law
  • various other gifts
  • lots of space in luggage for stuff to bring back

stuff to find and consume within a span 16 days

  • mom’s and nan’s cooking
  • anything and everything Eds stuffs down my throat except for babi guling
  • nasi padang
  • mee goreng pattaya
  • roti prata
  • mee siam mamak
  • rojak mamak
  • nasi lemak
  • laksa
  • satay
  • anything at Iniavan’s
  • bubur terigu
  • bubur pulut hitam
  • soyabean curd + fresh soy milk
  • Killiney’s kaya toast
  • putu piring 

people to meet other than family

  • Joy
  • Ina
  • Sum
  • Shana
  • Sheela
  • Priya
  • Shawn + Rebecca + Qalam + Cecilia, if she ever makes it
  • Silke
  • Lena
  • Eds + ‘Chap + George + Sir Striped Atticus

things to buy/bring back

  • Canon EOS 400D
  • a 120GB hard drive
  • books, books, books! yippeeeee!
  • 3 enlargements of wedding photographs for our families, so no one feels marginalised
  • dried chillies, dried anchovies, belacan, real vanilla extract, nan’s killer sambal
  • some clothes perhaps
  • and perhaps, if i bump into that fucken asshole who screwed up our wedding by the name of Kevin (i think his real name was actually Kalvinder Singh), i’d get back SGD500 for his lousy service and SGD700 worth of liquor that he somehow refuses to pass to my brother or Ravi’s best friend. he never appears for the appointments and avoids all their phonecalls. this is what i call a balls-less rat. i’d organised the entire wedding to the T, all he had to do was take over on the actual wedding day and host, and he managed to screw up everything, but let’s not go there because i’ve let it go. though i’d still like my SGD500 back and the liquor, so drunken people we love can enjoy them.

i can’t wait to pig out. you can lose weight, but you can’t put value on the pleasure of eating familiar foods with people you love.

i’d also like to announce publicly, THANK YOU, RAVI, FOR DOING THE DISHES FOR ME TODAY.

on random, unrelated things:

i’m amazed at this, the dedication, ingenuity and creativity that went behind the Steampunk Keyboard. easy, but not really. typing on old typewriters make me ache. but i’m just aching to have meself one of these.

Steamfunk keyboard

Ikea, you either hate it or you love it. BoKlok homes by Ikea.

micro compact homes, for the ant in you. i wonder if this is what the future will look like. grounds littered with little boxes.

 

mad, quite ravin’ mad April 16, 2007

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“what kinda glass do you use with your frames?”

“glass?”

“yes, glass,” i repeat.

“yes, we use glass.”

let’s try this again. “ok, what kind of glass?” i cock my head to the side and smile.

he opens door to dodgy store at the back. “cheap glass … ”

is he supposed to tell me that?

“… and that glass,” he replies, pointing to the picture of the ruler of Dubai on his wall.

“what kind of glass is that?” i point to the picture of the ruler of Dubai on his wall.

“matte glass.”

“ok, does it have UV protection?”

“yes, it doesn’t reflect.”

? “does it have UV protection, against the sun? so my prints won’t fade?”

“yes, it doesn’t reflect.”

pretty good start to finding a reliable framer for all our future framing needs. i was too afraid hiccup “acrylic”.

we went to Elements Cafe & Restaurant at Wafi City last night and i was really excited to be there. there were paintings from wall-to-wall, it was quiet and the ambience was perfect for young, flourishing, bourgeoisie buds and the yuppies (or overprivileged, spoilt Peter Pan Poseurs) they’d eventually turn into, and the average nobody or somebodies like us.

service was prompt (with a handsome smile, a shy laughter and a sense of humour), the food wasn’t too bad and their desserts are to die for. personally, my chicken burgol was a disappointment and the stack of stir-fried vegetables accompaniment was a little salty but good.

my eyeballs found their way to the back of my head when the chocolate fondant found its way into my mouth. i was properly stuffed but i cleaned the plate.

there’s always room for dessert.

Elements - Chicken burgol

 Elements - Chocolate fondant

Elements - Iram, Anita, me

Ravi and i took a walk after having dinner at Singapore Deli and chanced upon a small (and rather dodgy) pedestrian Indonesian eatery called City Moon, CM Supermarket that stocks up on Thai and Filipino foodstuff (and pork at the back of the shop, like a shady mafia-run outfit), a promising Thai restaurant called Bai Tong, a corner Indonesian foodstuff shop that was half empty and barely stocked, and a video rental shop.

i love finding new places. especially when they sell kangkong at reasonable prices and pandanus leaves (CM Supermarket) which the larger supermarkets like Spinneys and Carrefour do not have.

a couple of weeks ago, i baked Mini Bolognese Meatloaves, a recipe i adapted from Meat Loaf Muffins. i think certain words just shouldn’t be associated with each other, like pineapples + pizza, meat + muffins or meat + cakes, it confuses my brain, and my brain mustn’t be confused when my napkin’s wet with drool at the dinner table. having said that though, these meat cakes look pretty darn good.

these breadsticks are aptly named bouquet breadsticks and are oh.so.beautiful, i don’t know if one should eat them or just stare in wonderment *stares in wonderment*

Lucy’s Kitchen Notebook - Bouquet breadsticks

looks like the motifs on my mom’s vintage china.

which i hope to inherit.

because i’ve been a very, very good girl.

although we had an argument these afternoon about my dressing like an apparent slut at my wedding or at my brother’s future wedding.

because long tube dresses are the attire of choice of those who like getting chafed by leather underwear and being beaten to a pulp before sex.

because exposing one’s armpit is worse than sticking one’s nipples into one’s auntie’s face.

looks like i have to steal her china.

gotta go now, join Ravi on the sofa watching the subtitles-less Tamil VCD because i am one of those people who digs being tortured before sleep.  but before that, i’d like to leave one more person in the world a little more equipped to handle the large world of Google and useless sites – 12 quick tips to search Google like a pro.

Eds – this is for you. or your mom rather. get her this Jesus Pan and she’s gonna looooooove you like you shot out of her with a bag of diamonds 28 years ago.

 

i like my pert breasts, thank you very much March 14, 2007

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day 16

  • weight: 70.5kg
  • breakfast: 2 instant prata + leftover chicken curry
  • snack: 7 cookies, i think
  • dinner: steamed jasmine rice + black pepper beef with broccoli and bell peppers + carrot soup + 1.5 eggs omelette
  • snack: 4 cookies

today, it’s clear why i’ve eaten a hundred cookies over the past three days, Aunt Flo’s in town and all the uncontrollable cravings for sugar and barbequed meat have magically disappeared (into 1kg spread unevenly around my tummy). this also means i can no longer use the “i feel out of sorts” excuse and skip going to the gym tomorrow onwards.

day 17

  • weight: 70kg
  • breakfast: weetabix mini chocs + warm whole milk
  • snack: 1 choc coated date rolled in shredded coconut
  • planned lunch: steamed jasmine rice + beef kicap + stir fried cabbage and carrots
  • planned dinner: 2 slices wholemeal bread + beef kicap + organic soyabean milk

for some reason, breasts have been the topic du mois.

for some mysterious reason unknown to womankind, my friends and i started talking about our breasts simultaneously on MSN in separate conversation topics interspersed with gossip on people long forgotten who’ve crept up on us on Friendster, thoughts on psychotic Muslims who taint the good milk that are the moderate Muslims, how the Catholic Church and other organized religions rein us in by dousing us in guilt so we can set ourselves alight in hellfire and how, how, how do we lose 10kg when we just love, love, love food?

one’s got average-sized boobs but would love if she didn’t have any boobs at all. one’s got two motherships of milk oceans and is so worried about the sags. one’s got stretchmarks more extensive than all of the fractures in the earth’s crust. one’s got perfect, symmetrical boobs and has no complaints other than the fact that her bikini collection of 47 pairs is too small. one’s got AA boobs and is finally beginning to see why this is good for her.

i only have one bikini top (and the bottom must have been stolen by a creepy visitor) because i think the sun is only for necessary vitamin D production, photosynthesis so the cows i love to eat can have enough grass to grow fat on, and for finding ear rings in spots behind the bookcase which the rays of a ceiling light just cannot reach.

a few years back, the wife of an ex-colleague talked excitedly of an array of cosmetic procedures after a female cousin who was so ugly she looked like an ugly man, sashayed back like a hot, exotic Asian model. my excitement at meeting her beautiful cousin was absolutely deflated after i found out everything i loved about her wasn’t real. her eyes, her forehead, her cheeks, her nose, her lips, her body, her boobs, everything about her wasn’t real. then i found out another lady had practically everything done too, months after i was in absolute adoration of her natural Thai beauty. apparently she looked nothing like that before all the surgeries, “just look at her sons” quipped the ex-colleague’s wife.

both times, i felt cheated when i found out.

oh my, am i anti-plastic surgery?

i talk of getting boob implants all the time because after watching Dolly Parton at 6, nobody should have smaller boobs than the ballpark that is Parton-ted boobs, but i don’t actually want boob implants. i, like a lot of other women, just love putting myself down in the presence of other women while praising them to no end because women love the see-saw effect of the pulley system – i’ll pull you up if you’ll pull me up. it’s our disease, you know, like how most men do not understand that the laundry basket is not the sink or the tile beside the shoe rack.

growing up, we were taught to appreciate all we had, not to disrespect the body that God had given us. as if on cue, we all proceeded to pig out on Long John’s Silver’s $2.99 meals every single day (because Super Size Me was not in production yet), made out with the wrong boys and pierced our temples of God with shiny metal implements in places your mother still hopes never to see in public.

i’d spent enough time of my life in hospital beds and physiotherapy rooms to understand how important plastic surgery is for people to get on with their lives. it’s difficult to walk on the streets with kids pointing at you, screaming like as though you’re the Boogeyman incarnate because a quarter of your skull is missing. it was clear in my mind during those formative years that plastic surgery was a good thing, it had to be done out of sheer necessity.

then suddenly the teen years hit and there were all these impossibly perfect girls and women on magazines. and the first time i found out that Pammie’s boobs weren’t real, i was crushed. i thought Nature was many a splendored thing and Pammie was many a splendored alright, but it turned out that she was as real as the plastic in the nipple-less boobs of my childhood Barbie dolls. what puzzled me then was that Pammie was more beautiful before her slew of cosmetic procedures.

and then i understood, because i realised that like every other woman on the planet, i have body dysmorphic disorder and i too have a list of things i’d like to correct

  • i’d like a slightly slimmer, smaller nose (apparently, i risk looking like MJ)
  • i’d like a shorter forehead because i look like E.T. (apparently this makes me look like a doll and is endearing)
  • i’d like some fats sucked out of my cheeks (apparently this also makes me look like a doll)
  • i’d like thinner lips (when it gets to this point, people usually think i’m severely delusional and start recommending therapy)
  • don’t get me started on the body

but then again – not really.

i don’t need to grace magazine covers, and if i ever do, let it be on public record that i’d like to be there  because i’ve found a cure for human stupidity. i don’t care if people opt for cosmetic surgery, the one form of medicine which is mostly self-diagnosed. if it makes ’em feel like having a smaller nose helps them take over the world, go ahead, get a smaller nose if that’s the boost you need to take over the world. if you need lipo because you’ve worked out like hell and can’t, no matter what, lose that 5cm stretch of deadfat, go ahead, you deserve it. if you were cursed with severely asymmetrical boobs and are terrified of being seen in a bikini, go ahead, get that corrected.

just don’t end up looking like a strange cat woman or like a completely different person altogether. or get those DD boobs because you’re afraid to lose your boyfriend – dump the boyfriend.
we’ve complained for years, but we’re getting to the stage where we’ve started to see the payoffs of the Humble Average Boob. we love that we don’t have to flake off cakes of dirt under our boobs that some of our better-endowed friends have complained of. we love that doing the Jumping Jacks doesn’t hurt like a goddamn bitch. we love that we can prance around bra-less. we love that we can wash dishes without boobs in the way. we love that our boobs have not started sagging under heavy gravitational pressure.

then my well-endowed friend said “wait till you get pregnant, dali, just you wait” as she wagged her finger at me.

but i think when her revenge does arrive sometime in the future, we will all find a way to love our newfound saggy boobs and laugh about it.

because it’s not really about the boob, isn’t it?

 

now i have to find mud to roll around in March 6, 2007

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day 9

  • weight: 69.5kg
  • breakfast: 1 slice chocolate cake + 2 wholemeal slices with labneh
  • dinner: (you might want to take a deep breath before attempting to read the entire list) egg fried rice + kung pow chicken noodles + sweet and sour chicken + szechuan spiced beef + pak choy with oyster dip + tiramisu + cinnamon apple tart with vanilla ice-cream

we shared everything so the guilt’s also rather fairly distributed (although i continued eating after both girls had long stopped eating).

i have the stomach of a cow and the hide of a shameless buffalo.