c*devotchka

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

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.

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almost settled September 6, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — c*devotchka @ 10:06 am
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i don’t even know where to begin!

i’m slouching on our new paprika-coloured sofa, a metre from the computer, still cloaked (or rather, barely decent) in last night’s green t-shirt which still smells of 8 hours of sleep and a pair of faded green boyshorts topped with a pink ribbon.

sounds like my daily routine in Dubai, except we’re in Singapore!

3 weeks in Jordan and Egypt, 3 in Singapore and KL, another 2 in Dubai, and now we’re back to Singapore. we’ve tied up all thinkable loose ends in Dubai and have moved back here. i’m gonna miss all that airplane food. plastic food in little boxes? how can i resist!

there are two main phases to any inter-country move. settling down and settling in.

settling down. looking at classified ads for rental apartments daily, running around Singapore looking at apartments and meeting agents with dollar-signs in their eyes. all this, in one of the wettest months of the year, August, is hardly a walk in the park.

more like a dash through soggy parks with a pair of flip-flops.

while looking for a more permanent pad, my granduncle and grandauntie were generous enough to put us up. grampies are the best. they have funny stories, they are loving and they repeat everything they say. we even managed to squeeze in an excursion to Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserve where we faced off with what looked like a giant monitor lizard. more of that next time.

rentals in Singapore are absolutely insane. we knew from looking at online ads 2 months ago but we couldn’t really believe it, or at least, we were in denial.

HDB (Housing Development Board – government flats for Singaporeans and Permanent Residents) flats going for above 1K, private apartments for above 2.5K. the owner of a crummy 3-room (2 bedrooms + 1 hall) HDB for rent on Zion Road was hoping to bank in 1.7K just on the apartment’s central location! i’d rather pay the same for Redhill or Tiong Bahru apartments which are far newer and only a few MRT stations away.

understand the general rent increases but some landlords are plain greedy (and ridiculous!) and while some agents can barely convince the landlords of how stupid some of the insisted rents are, i believe a good bulk of agents are happily cashing in.

selling prices are even more ridiculous, especially with regards to HDB units. some owners are asking for $100k in cash. young Singaporean couples can only opt for new HDBs if they don’t have ridiculous amounts of spare change lying around.

this needs to be plugged – HDBs are supposed to be affordable housing for Singaporeans, not money-making schemes for greedy owners or for PRs who’ve left Singapore for good but are renting out their HDB units to genuine Singaporeans/PRs who really need a place to stay.

mass hysteria, this is what it is. greedy hysteria on the part of some HDB owners. i’m relieved we purchased our Pinnacle unit 2 years ago, the only headache we have to deal with is the ant problem in this house we’re renting! i am being eaten alive by tiny black ants! can’t leave a mug of soya milk out unattended longer than 15 minutes.

and now, settling in. we moved in on sunday. cable tv up on sunday. Ravi started work on monday. sofa arrived on monday. internet connection finally rectified wednesday. now we’re just waiting for our container to arrive from Dubai. can’t wait to be surrounded by familiar things.

we live in Bukit Batok now and i have to confess i’m absolutely lost, geographically. drop me anywhere in the west or north of Singapore and i’m a lost chicken. although the housing agent arranged for the house to be cleaned before we moved in, it just looks clean and is nowhere near clean. the previous tenants were somehow living in filth and did not really care for the apartment as much as they should.

this is what i don’t get. many tenants barely care for the house they live in for whatever reason they think is fair e.g. “i’m paying what, i can do whatever i want.”, “these aren’t my things, so whatever.”

when we borrow a book from the library, we do not exactly rip its pages out, do we? or maybe some of you do, the same ones who never scrub dishracks or the kitchen stove.

we’re treating the kitchen with Body Shop’s Passionfruit to get rid of the strong curry smell we were initially bowled over by when we viewed the house. it’s working out nicely – save for the ants who’ve been zooming in on the vegetable tealight candles. go pick up some cockroach leg or something! leave me and my candles alone!

now, all that’s left to do is scrub the kitchen grease, sanitize all the cupboards and sparkle the bathrooms! oh, and gotta find me a job.

my extended holiday is over. damn.

 

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

Filed under: Uncategorized — c*devotchka @ 3:12 pm
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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.

 

and then there were 13 more. meowurrrrr. May 12, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — c*devotchka @ 10:12 am
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baby

Baby, Cocoa’s daughter.

Cocoa and Baby used to live quite the fugee life, constantly running from cruel people. Cocoa’s front leg was broken by one of our neighbours, and she’s limped ever since. what is wrong with people?

beavis

Beavis.

he only looks like a fool, but he’s quite insidious.

very adorable, with a high-pitched meow.

can be very insistent when he wants to be.

he used to scratch me if i kicked him off the bed.

cargo

Cargo.

he used to wait for my dad to come to work everyday, and even followed my dad into his office and sat on his chair.

casper

Casper.

one of the 5 kittens in a box.

very shy. very pretty. very sweet.

cocoa

Cocoa.

she taught me about motherhood.

dino

Dino.

i don’t understand how Persian cats can end up as strays.

abandonment knows no prejudice.

he followed us home.

ginger

Ginger.

one of the 5 kittens in a box.

extremely shy, always at the backyard.

very sweet when she wants to be.

meera

Meera.

she’s the adventurer.

always running out of the house, but some of our neighbours can be very cruel to them, even if all they’re doing is running after flies.

migo

Migo.

Chiqo’s brother. Chiqo’s gone missing for half a year now ūüė¶

Migo’s the sociopathic cat, hates everyone and every cat. he follows Tito around. sometimes i think i catch Tito sighing cos Migo won’t leave him alone.

pepper

Pepper.

also one of 5 kittens in a box. comes running when his name is called. or when any other name is called for that matter. he’s a love junkie.

tompok

Tompok.

one of the smartest, coolest cats i’ve ever known.

yogi

Yogi.

cos he’s too cool.

 

 

say hello to some of my feline obsessions May 2, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — c*devotchka @ 7:30 am
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niki 1

Niki. who sometimes forgets to clean her eyes and nose.

she slept with me every night.

also understands “no”, “naughty”, “makan” (food/eat), “cicak” (lizard), “come here”, “good girl” and “sleep.

she’s as soft as mink.

 puteh 1

Puteh (poo-teh. white). we also call him The Godfather.

just look at those folded hands. deep in thought.

of his next meal.

cats who dare venture near him or annoy him will get a big, fat smack across their faces.

 charlie 1

 Charlie.

she used to be the size of my hand (most of our picked up strays were), with a giant swollen thingy on her forehead. the vet said she’d die within the first month we got her. but look at her now.

inka 1

 Inka.

don’t you just love tri-coloured tortoise-shell cats?

she thinks she’s a horse. she gallops like one when beckoned.

blaqui 1

 Blaqui.

the waiter with socks.

he never grew out of infancy, always looking to suckle on our t-shirts.

rudy 1

Rudy.

he is one of a few gangsters at home.

extremely mischievous and gets into frequent fights with other cats.

 lucky 1

Lucky.

because she was one of two kittens stuck in a huge ass canal in torrential rain. her foot was stuck in thick mud¬†and she’d struggled in the water for more than an hour. till one of our neighbours climbed down the 6m wall of the canal and got her out. her sister’s Sheena.

phoebe 1

Phoebe.

one of 5 kittens that a kid brought to us in a box. they had been taken from their mom. wasn’t a clever thing to do, but sometimes, kids just don’t know better. we could not find their mom and took them in. i hope their mom didn’t miss them too much.

tito 1

Tito.

as in Tito Jackson.

he was a super friendly kitten who looked like another of our cats back then, Teddy, who has since passed on ūüė¶ we thought he was Teddy and that he’d fallen off our 2nd floor balcony. we brought him up, then realised we brought home someone new. Tito’s a really sweet, cool cat.

dodi 1

Dodi.

he’s too cool for words.

very Garfield. enough said. he also likes to sleep on our telephone.

sheena 1

Sheena.

drowsing off. Lucky’s sister.

monty 1

Monty.

he’s our French cat. Mom brought him home from the French Embassy.

 

the smell of home April 30, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — c*devotchka @ 2:55 pm
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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.

 

Singapura, here i come. April 24, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — c*devotchka @ 1:01 pm
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am pretty sure i got fleeced at the Deira Spice Souq when i bought dates, frankincense, myrrh and Madagascar vanilla pods. we hate bargaining so both of us are plump victims at markets like these where others enjoy the very experience of haggling.

i prefer giant Sale! signboards where i just go in, grab what i like, pay at the cashier and leave. all without saying a word.

does hating bargaining have something to do with wanting to be liked? i think it’s also got something to do with knowing what the price really is, i don’t have imagination, i feel like i can’t demand the reduction of the price of something when i don’t know how much it costs. some people can go into a shop and right off the top of their heads, demand for 50-70% lopped off the offered price.

this is a disease. i should shamelessly lop 50-70% off everything.

alright, am off to Singapore now. cowabungaaaaaaa!