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

hit schmits from this week April 5, 2008

Filed under: life,Uncategorized — c*devotchka @ 11:09 pm
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“hey! this is what i like to step on!”

– the husband, on the escargot i was about to devour

sampai masuk dalam-dalam, sial!” (… until all the way inside!)

– the husband, on the lady sitting beside me in the train – who was cleaning out her nasal cavity with the long nail on her pinkie finger, looking very, very, very, satisfied

“NEVER? NEVER? come, next week, i’ll give you a history lesson at Labrador Park”

– the granduncle, amazed that a Singaporean has never been to Labrador Park. this is the same granduncle who insisted on bringing me to Sungei Buloh Nature Reserve so i can shed my jakun skin

“this is not for a part-time degree…”

– the lecturer, insinuating that all the t-test scores we’ve been working on (by hand) are for nought

“i will not fly with faulty instruments”

– the boss, frustrated in a 4-hr long meeting

“somebody kill me please”

– me, singing aloud to the tune of Adam Sandler’s “Somebody Kill Me Please” in the office on Thursday when it became apparent my 2 hands were not enough for everything falling into my lap


– me, to Ravi, when he tried to smack me out of a delicious evening nap so i could finish my essay on time and submit before the deadline. i didn’t.

“can’t you fucking drown somewhere else?”

– me, to the dead ant in my glass of water

and that’s when i knew, i really need a bloody break.


on a Good Friday March 21, 2008

Filed under: life — c*devotchka @ 8:46 pm
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It’s midnight and I’ve just realized that the past 9 hours has been spent reading and understanding (haha!) empirical data and opinions relevant to my topic of choice. I haven’t even started my essay and I know I am screwed. Ravi laughed hysterically when I said I’m gonna sleep soon and get up at 0730 to continue.

Out of those 9 hours, I’d spent 90 minutes on repeated pseudo-cardiovascular walks to the refrigerator and back to the dining table which has been converted into a craze of

  1. used tissue paper,
  2. empty Essence of Chicken bottles,
  3. chocolate wrappers,
  4. waxy earplugs to shut out happy, screaming kids at the playground and stupid Mats and their stupid bikes,
  5. a notebook adapter sprawled across the table annoyingly like a foreign hair across my laksa,
  6. books that make me appear smart (e.g. The Psychology of Gender, Evolution and Social Psychology – both serving as effective paperweights),
  7. my 15 year old Oxford dictionary which I love flipping right under my nostrils for a high that rivals 60% dark chocolate,
  8.  out-of-ink highlighters which I hope would magically refill themselves if I leave them on the table long enough, and
  9.  dead ant carcasses.

I’d be reading something that sounds like “Gender theorists stress how girls’ development gives-” and then an ant crosses my reading path. Squish! “-primacy to communion.” Today, I’ve killed about 15 ants, some manic, zigzagging across my notes, filled with the paranoia of being squished while others strolled leisurely to their deaths.

I’ve stopped cooking, don’t know where these ants come from.

Sheela mentioned she has to write 30,000 words for her thesis and that she’s just finished her 2nd chapter. I should just shrink and shrivel up into a conch. I bet one of her chapters is far longer than my essay on sex differences. While I’m in the conch, I’d love to float away to Bora-Bora. Or any Polynesian island with brown-leathered hunks, seafood, chocolate, vanilla and coconuts. Please.

I enjoy pre-writing hours, especially when I’m reading literature that attempts to explain why some men are pigs and some women whiny shits. I especially love going to the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library at Bugis. The clinical smell of regularly shampoo-ed carpets, the straight backs of librarians behind the counters and shelves and shelves and shelves of books! I’ve a thing for shelves.

They really should ban flip-flops in the reference library. Nothing more distracting than listening to piak! piak! –pause- piak! piak! –pause- piak! piak! piak! piak! piak! in the silence of the library. I also don’t understand how some girls can wear hot pants with woolly sweaters in sub-zero library temperatures. Their genes must have evolved to involve widespread numbing of sensation in their legs (which would be nice when it gets so cold, my nose drips a monsoon). A side effect must also include auditory impairment, since they can’t hear how loud their flip flops can get. That’s what flip flops do, right?

They flip, and they flop. Flop flop.



hutan di bhutan March 17, 2008

Filed under: life — c*devotchka @ 8:09 pm
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since my last blog post below – i’ve been doing nothing less than tearing through days at speeds greater than any i’ve personally known. i don’t think i’ve ever been this diligent. and i’m sure i’m paying for years of sloth now.
but i’m thankful for it.

the day i was to go to the museum with Eds, i was called in for an interview (at an extremely short notice). i changed out of my cargo pants, into a dress i hadn’t worn in 5 years, got interviewed, went about my day cos they wanted to interview more people, then lo and behold, by afternoon, i was gainfully employed.

and then i wondered to myself – not the first logical worry that should come to mind (how can i study and work?) – how do i appear for work on Monday in clothes i hadn’t fit in for years?

and before i knew it, i was sucked into a vortex of work, assignments and classes that i never imagined possible. 10 classes in a row, including weekends was a bit much. even God rested on the 7th day, i wailed repeatedly. a few weeks ago, i worried if this life has turned into a blackhole, – if i’ll forget my friends, my family, my baking, my travels, my pictures, my words – swallowing anything that meant everything to me.

but i know it hasn’t turned into a blackhole.

they’re just chilling out in the backseat. for now. for the next three years.

and i am thankful for the friends in my life. my life would not shine so bright without them.

Ravi and i saw a documentary on Bhutan several days ago and were intrigued. a Gross National Happiness index instead of the GDP? how inventive is that! (either inventive or escapist, whichever way one looks at it.) the King of Bhutan was so concerned about preserving the country’s culture and centuries-old way of life, he restricted tourist numbers to Bhutan. to about 21,000.

first time i saw anything related to Bhutan was Tiger’s Nest monastery, in a magical photograph i stumbled across online several years ago.

and again, a few nights ago, we saw Tiger’s Nest monastery on television. we got excited.

i got so excited, i wrote in to the tourism board of Bhutan, begging to be part of the selected few allowed into Bhutan annually. we knew it was going to be expensive – we just didn’t know how expensive.

it so happens that NatGeo’s got a spread on Bhutan in this month’s issue – i choked on my saliva in bed when i read that tourists to Bhutan have to pay daily taxes of USD240 per person.

USD240 per person per day.

mm, other than sounding like several Swedish names in a row, it sounds like a trip which might actually include my selling a kidney or two.  i jumped out of bed and ran to Ravi (who’s quite the sexy househusband these days, ironing and all), “RAVI! WEHAVETOPAYTAXESOFTWOHUNDREDFORTYDOLLARSPERDAYPERPERSONINBHUTAN!”

to which he sleepily turned around and concernedly asked, “hmmmm?”

oh Bhutan, i know you don’t want backpackers – i promise to bring bags on wheels – but please, USD240 per person per day? sigh. i sure hope the rich leave Bhutan with more than just a trinket in their pockets.


i happen to love bananas November 22, 2007

Filed under: life — c*devotchka @ 12:09 am
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okay, dali, seriously, what the fuck? get out of yer lame —huuummmm— limbo and write something!

to be quite honest, the reason i haven’t finished talking about our adventure in Jordan and Egypt is because … here it comes … we’ve lost one of our luggages in the move from Dubai to Singapore.

a luggage with my guidebook, my notes on the holiday, the pamphlets and ticket stubs, emails of people we met i had promised to send pictures to, a hastily packed plastic bag of mud from the Dead Sea that we stole, a book of lithographs by David Roberts of Egypt in the 1800s that i bargained so hard for at the Luxor Museum, a bunch of shawls we haggled an hour over in the market at Luxor, a book on Sufism we bought at a stylish bookstore in Zamalek, Cairo which i loved so much that i begged Ravi to find suitable employment in Egypt which would not involve bending over with one’s pants down in the alleyways of Cairo’s markets.

i’m quite heartbroken, but i am still trying to describe each photograph i will post as accurately as possible with an old guide.

it was a good day today although it started out with a cacophony of noisy heels clumsily descending on the steps next to our bedroom wall, the karang guni man’s airhorn and the stupid mats’ motorbikes.

we’ve moved into a small 4-room flat in the west of Singapore, and if not for the cheap rent, i’d have a string of complaints burned into the agent’s door. i’ve never lived in the west of Singapore (save for that 2 month stint on Holland Road till we grew brains and left), having lived in Tampines, Katong, Telok Kurau, Pasir Ris and finally River Valley. i maintain and am now absolutely convinced that the east and south of Singapore are the best places to live in.

what we had not considered when we took this flat is that our bedroom is located next to the main staircase that serves at least 3 sets of families up to the 6th floor. this means that at least 15 families use this staircase to descend into the bowels of Singapore’s heartlands to break bread with pajama-clad aunties pulling rusty market trolleys across the neighbourhood basketball court.

i cannot begin to explain how this has led to my inevitable desire to bite somebody’s nose or ankles off in the mornings. i am a light sleeper, save for the rare night i’m knocked out cold and snore and snort louder than a certain pug i am in love with. i’ve heard of how new mothers who were previously dead-dog sleepers became light sleepers after they gave birth, always paranoid that they couldn’t hear their babies breathing on the baby monitors or convinced they’d hear someone climb through their window and steal their baby to make voodoo soup.

i can’t say i’m looking forward to that because if that’s the case, i might as well sleep with my eyes wide open like a freaking goldfish.

i am not even pregnant and i hear e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g.

i can hear when the neighbour upstairs goes to the toilet, i can hear when children of imbeciles attempt to hop down a block of stairs in one jump (every violent landing knocks several points of their IQ, i am sure, hence rendering certain heartland sprouts stupider and stupider by the day), i can hear when at least 5 female neighbours are not able to walk down in heels gracefully, i can hear when the pakcik 2 doors down decides to sing karaoke after his night shift, i can hear when the ah pek 3 floors up listens to Chinese music from the 50s as loudly as a deaf, old ah pek can afford.

i can hear ALL THESE while still participating fully in my dreams.

like as though my dreams are not fucked up on their own already, i’ve to have all these distractions to add multi-dimensional distortions to my convoluted dreams.

which reminds me – i forgot to get me earplugs today. instead, i got myself japanese made cream puffs and macaroons from Carousel. i am what one can sharply describe as not focused.

which means that tomorrow morning, i’ll jolt abruptly from sleep at least 15x from 0600-0900 and wake up absolutely exhausted like as though i really did run or fly as i did in my dreams.

i’ve just finished reading Rupert Everett’s autobiography “Red Carpet and Other Banana Skins”. i must say that this is one of the most delicious books i’ve read. Rupert writes as smoothly as KY spreads over an erect penis. at times, i found it difficult to get through chapters when he threw in names of industry movers and shakers in multiples. i got confused between John and Jane and Jim. i am, after all, one of those mindless movie goers who says “i want to marry optimus prime” after watching Transformers without even knowing the voice behind the machine.

at times, i had to bite down on my tongue in the train so as not to scare fellow passengers from my yelps of hysteria because Rupert Everett really is that funny and self-deprecating. and at least once, i sobbed uncontrollably in bed.

i’d always thought Rupert Everett was straight, or at most, bisexual, and i was most disappointed to find out that he is very gay (although he did have affairs with Paula Yates and some goth looking french chick called Beatrice). this does not mean, however, that if i were to spot him in a bar, that i would not feign ignorance of his celeb status and shamelessly throw myself at him.

one must try.

as Sheela so cleverly described, Rupert Everett is dreamy.

yes, he really is. when i reached the end of the book, i found i was a little sad, as i usually am after completing a good book.

more, Rupi, i want more.

don’t stop talking to me.

(yes, one must have grandiose visions of a famous drop-dead, dreamy hunk talking to them one-on-one sometimes.)

reading the book felt like listening to Rupert Everett talking to you over a table by some poolside where dead bugs and leaves float adrift while he smokes his millionth cigarette and idly rolls his 3rd joint while you reach desperately for the Ventolin inhaler in your purse.

oh Rupert, won’t you please come to Singapore? i promise to cook you some sweet and sour fish.


november rain April 22, 2007

Filed under: life — c*devotchka @ 4:23 pm
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i’ve been tagged by bigmista! 10 gotta-get-goals, originated here. *crumbles under pressure* somehow, this feels like a chain-letter adapted for web logs. except no one’s gonna die if you don’t do it it, and you ain’t gonna win $1,000,000 if you do.

10. jam in a bar. no, really. i love singing. this terrifies me the most, so it’s number 10.

9. play the violin before i lose more functions in my right hand.

8. visit at least 15 places on my To Visit Before I Die list.

7. have 3 kids, although Ravi only wants 2. i’ll just have 2 with him and the 3rd with Eric Bana. put a cap on dysfunction when Ravi and i have these kids. i promise i’ll try not to emotionally blackmail my kids or overwhelm them with The 10 Shades of Guilt. teach them that most of what “they” say doesn’t matter, as Goethe had said, “Let everyone sweep in front of his own door, and the whole world will be clean.” that it’s not about negotiating, it’s about convincing why you’re worth that much. that you can’t keep taking, you gotta give back. that you are what you eat. that some animals have the propensity to feel, no matter what people claim. that animals are put on Earth to feed humans and i’ll smack ’em if they don’t eat/doggie bag every morsel on the plate. that no matter how much it hurts, you cannot stop believing in love. that humanity extends beyond humans (don’t turn this into a vegan issue). that being a loyal friend is important no matter how much you get on each other’s nerves. that if you bite, it will bite you back someday. that after you’ve retched, screamed, scratched, yelled and spat on your parents, you’d be embarrassed 10 years later and realise your parents were right, so try not to scream too loudly so you won’t have to dig a deeper hole to stuff your head into.

6. open that shop. that we wanna open. you know, that shop. everyone has a shop, cafe or restaurant they wanna open. we have ours.

5. finish something i’ve started, like embroidering and Women in Love by DH Lawrence. and be impeccably fluent in a 3rd and 4th language. like French and Arabic. and while i’m at that, find out what “verb”, “adverb”, “infinitive” etc. mean, cos 20 years after my official education started, i only know what “noun” and “adjective” mean.

4. health and financial soundness. you know, the usual life goals that would be nice to have.

3. eradicate my ignorance and practise a little more temperance.

2. convince Ravi that cats are not the enemy, that we can live with one without acting like a moron. that fur in your curry doesn’t kill.

1. die with Ravi in the same exact moment. because i don’t think i could make it without him.

seeing how this goal is practically unattainable unless both Ravi and i fall off the same roof in the same instant, i’d relegate this to my Fantasies list and list another goal.

1. die before i’m old.

ok, also relegated to Fantasies list.

1. change the world. one heart at a time. because even if you’ve managed to win one heart over, you’ve already changed one world and that, inevitably, changes others.

stop throwing tomatoes at me. am tagging thegrouch cos i love torturing her.

am off to Mina Bazaar. i love Regina Spektor’s “On The Radio”, it moves me. these are my favourite bits.

You peer inside yourself
You take the things you like
And try to love the things you took
And then you take that love you made
And stick it into some
Someone else’s heart
Pumping someone else’s blood
And walking arm in arm
You hope it don’t get harmed
But even if it does
You’ll just do it all again

While we were on our knees
Praying that disease
Would leave the ones we love
And never come again

On the radio
We heard November Rain
That solo’s really long
But it’s a pretty song

yes, it’s a real pretty song.


don’t bring me down April 19, 2007

Filed under: life — c*devotchka @ 6:32 pm
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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.


it’s my party and i’ll cry if i want to April 11, 2007

Filed under: life — c*devotchka @ 4:36 pm
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i’ll be visiting Singapore and K.L. in 2 weeks. in my endeavour to lose 1-2kg before i get there (so i can put on a kg or two gorging on nasi lemak, soyabean curd, mee goreng pattaya, Kuishin Bo’s sashimi buffet and my nanny’s homecooking), i’d successfully overstrained my butt and thighs and have been waddling like blue-footed boobies for 2 days. and lost all of negative 1kg. i managed to put a kg on.

over the weekend, while rolling in bed procrastinating the actual act of removing our lazy selves from bed, i suggested to Ravi that we call property agents and make them bring us to a million apartments. although we don’t need to view apartments, not for the next 3 months, at least.

“for what?” Ravi asked.

“for fun!”

“are you crazy?”

“noooo, i just want to see houses. i love seeing houses.”

“no lah, it’s so mean.”

“no. property agents are evil.”

Ravi’s standards of “mean” cannot be trusted. he’s confused. when he sees stray cats on the streets, he shapes his right hand into a gun, thumb towards the sky, forefinger and middle finger perpendicular to thumb and aimed towards the cat, then exclaims “bang!”. i’m just happy he doesn’t then bring Air Gun up to his lips and blow the smoke out à la cowboys in dusty old towns. it would cement the fact i am married to a lunatic. like as though pretend-shooting cool cats isn’t crazy enough.

the cat usually just walks away, very unbothered.

he knows if he dares touch the cat, any cat, i’m gonna smack him as hard as he smacks the cat, and make his life at home a living hell for 7 weeks just because 7 is my favourite number (especially with the stroke across the stem, the only way the number 7 should be written. all fonts should be revamped.) and i can be very difficult if i want to be.

right? right, Eds? i can be difficult, right?

right, Joy? i am dems fierce, right?

our Threadless t-shirts have arrived and i am absolutely delighted! Ravi supports me walking into Saravana Bhavan, a vegetarian restaurant, wearing the Tasty Murder tee. but i think he’s just more interested to see if i’ll actually do it because i am a pussy who doesn’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings. unless they’re evil or unbelievably stupid. oh, and i also don’t want to be lynched by people who subsist on spinach, Popeye was a very, very, very strong man.

Threadless - Meat is Murder

i wish i wore lipstick (am allergic to practically everything under the sun that’s used to make lipsticks), but it’ll just be a waste of money because one of my worst habits is that i lick my lips every 15 seconds. it’s as necessary as blinking every 5 seconds. i love the idea of these lipsticks by CARGO because you can plant the packaging to grow wild flowers! how wild is that? i love the idea!

Sephora - Cargo PlantLove Lipsticks

they market to girly people like me. girly planeteers (i wanted to marry Captain Planet when i was a kid) like me.

marketing is evil hypnosis and entrapment. today, i noticed this on my soymilk carton.

Soymilk carton

that’s right, don’t forget to shake well! and oh! buy us again! and again! and again! and AGAIN! this brand of soymilk is delicious, by the way. though nothing beats fresh soymilk. and soyabean curd with syrup *wails*

apparently i am not alone in my love for caveman-type men who thump their chest and roar “rraaaarrrrr!” before they club a beast or a moron over the head with a saucepan of bechamel sauce or insults. the State of the British Man Survey found that Gordon Ramsay is the most admired, and Pete Doherty (and yucky David Beckham) the least admired. when i first watched Hell’s Kitchen, i found Gordon Ramsay rather unattractive, then at the end of the hour, i found him incredibly, as i’d say it, fuckable and delicious.

tough love’s the only way to go, honey.

gonna leave you now with a BBC article on China’s love for bland, rubbery penile dishes so i can complete my list of Friends to Meet and Food to Eat back in Singapore/K.L.. the article both disgusted and cracked me up – but not when they kill endangered animals who have no business being on our dinner plates.