Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Phuket Day 2

Aaargh! It's so frustrating to be NOT able to share my experiences at Phuket with my colleagues.

I was back at work today and the first thing they noticed was my new haircut. Fine.

Actually, I was hoping that they would comment about the dark tanned sexy nice tan that I have ... but oh well.

The questions asked were like who did you go with, what did you do, what did you see, etc.

And the most annoying part was that I can't answer with - I went with a bunch of gay people and some of them were such divas that it was so much fun to be around them and this was one of the best trips ever with my first visit to a gay massage while being surrounded with so many hunks and cuties from Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Sigh ...

My brain was still on holiday mood and I was thinking as I sat in front of my PC, "Just two days ago I was snorkelling with colourful fishes and frolicking on a white sandy beaches with wonderful people and now I am back in the office."

This is my second trip outstation trip and first international one with LPG. It is so much different going with a bunch of queens and like-minded people than with straight friends. We can go crazy, act all gay (which doesn't necessarily mean soft or feminine traits), make crude gay jokes and simply let our hair down without fear.

I miss the warm and friendly Thai people. For your info, TSG 2007 is going to be held in Phuket again, as it is the ONLY place where participants can really be themselves and play with make-up on the volleyball courts and drag openly in clubs and discos!

Friday, 27 October 2006

The day's events were the volleyball matches. Malaysia didn't send a team this time as they couldn't form a team in time.

Volleyball was the sport with the most participants. I think each country sent at least two teams. With the competition format being round robin, it lasted almost an entire day and it ended about 10.30 pm.

The Malaysian delegates were there to watch, but we left at about three.

As the games were held at a country club, those who were not playing were either swimming, gymming or playing table tennis.

I only watched the games for a while and spend most of the time swimming or chatting with the other Malaysian delegates.

We arrived back at the hotel and got ready to do some sightseeing and shopping. There weren't that many stuff to buy that were reasonably priced. This was because we were at the Patong area where most of the ang mohs are inclined to stay. Thus, things are more on the expensive side.

Besides, there weren't that many stuff that was uniquely Thai. Most things were imitation T-shirts, bags, clothes, wallets, etc. There were some handicrafts, but they weren't cheap. It was obvious that they were tourists traps.

After walking around for a bit, a few of us decided to go for a massage. Okay, this is kinda embarrassing, but it was my first massage ever, gay or straight.

Anyway, I opted for the oil massage. I showered and removed all of my clothing and proceeded to the designated room.

In the room, my masseur took off his clothes. I wasn't looking at him as I was lying on my stomach and I actually thought he stripped off completely. In actual fact, Tong (that was his name) was only stripped to his black underwear.

He started massaging with left leg and moved on to my right. We were making small talk like asking him about where is he from (Bangkok), how old was he (twenty) and how long has he been working there (7 months).

When he was doing my lower back, he suddenly asked whether I was hard. I was a bit taken aback but I said no.

He found out about me being Malaysian but working in Singapore, how old I am (he thought I looked younger), about my availability, etc.

In turn, I found out he was still single, boyfriend-less and girlfriend-less.

I was told that in Phuket, it's quite OK to ask them whether they are straight or gay. In this sense, they are way ahead of us in terms of openness and acceptance!

When it was time to do my front, as in lying on my back, I got hard almost immediately! I think it was a mixture of shyness and arousal.

He smiled and continued massaging. I turned flacid again.

As he moved upwards from my legs and massaged very near my groin area, I got turned on again. I supposed that was only natural.

A while later, he was massaging my scrotum. And there were occasional touches on my penis ...

He didn't massaged much of my upper body. Just for like five minutes and then he asked, "You want to cum?"

I was like, "Huh? You are finished with the massage already?"

Monday, October 30, 2006

Phuket Day 1

I just got back from Phuket. I arrived back in Singapore at about 11 this morning. Bought two bottles of icewine at the duty free shop.

Sigh, I am already missing the sun, sea and sand. Gotta go back to work tomorrow.

Thursday, 26 October 2006

As you may know, I was there in Phuket for the Straits Games (I know it's ironic to call a gay inter-country game as Straits Games, but it started off just between Malaysia and Singapore, hence the name).

We arrived at the largest island in Thailand at 1 p.m. I didn't know about this fact, as I thought the island was like, well, maybe the size of Penang island or smaller. Which was why it took us close to an hour to get to the hotel using the trunk roads.

First thing that struck me was that the island looks very much like a kampung. Wooden houses and all. The town has more of the modern shops and eateries that cater for visitors. We stayed at the Patong Beach area, which is a popular ang moh area.

Due to this, quite a lot of prices are on the higher side. The souvenirs and even the road side food stalls. I am sure there are bargains, but they were harder to find.

By the way, Patong was also the most badly hit area during the tsunami two years ago.

Another thing about the island is that is very hilly.

When we arrived at the hotel, one of the staff came out to greet us and he was wearing a tee with these big bold words "Nobody knows that I am gay".

Yup, we stayed at a gay hotel. The reception has gay magazines for reading, paintings of naked men and shelves displaying lubricants.

This was my room.

After freshening up a little, we were taken to the usual tourists spots. As it is, because of the TSG 2006 event, our rooms rates are already cheaper than the usual rate. It costs 1600 baht a night during peak season, but I only paid 1000 baht.

But first, we were taken to meet the Hong Kong contingent and they were really yummy. ;P

We were in separate buses; the Hong Kongers in one and the Malaysians were in another. There were about 30 of the former and two dozens of the latter.

The first stop we were brought to was a gem factory. Yeah, I know it's weird. I don't think any of us bought anything, even though there was a souvenir store selling Thai handicrafts and products.

I was pretty bored looking at the gems. The women might have liked it, or rather, those woman-at-heart among us.

After that, we were brought to visit a temple. I don't remember it's name though; it's in Thai (duh!).

But it looks like this.

View from the top of the temple.

I was told there are seh ling zi stored in this temple. They are the remains of monks after cremation and they look like tiny beads.

After that, we were taken to watch the sun set. Nothing spectacular about this though.

Then we were taken to the bowling alley at this shopping center called the Big C. Malaysia only sent one team while the other countries (Thailand, Singapore and Hong Kong) made up 14 teams.

We were treated to some performances for the opening ceremony. The Thais even have a theme song called Amazing Thailand, consistent with their tourism marketing tagline. The Thais really know how to market tourism, unlike Malaysia.

The Singaporeans were sporting enough to put up a ragtag team, as they were actually volleyball players and bowling is not their forte. They ended up as the worst team and was given the title of, no surprise, The Worse Team.

But one of them is really cute. Heh. And it's not just me who found him to be cute.

The Malaysian team missed a medal placing by 23 points. The first place went to the Thais, second to a Hong Kong team and the third was another Thai team.

After the bowling competition ended, we were brought to paradise. A place called Paradise actually, where all the gay bars, go-go boys and cabaret shows are. The organisers were amazing, as they had a street party for us.

Everyone was dressed in red and carried placards welcoming partipants from each country. We were dancing on the streets and just mixing around.

This is my first time attending a drag show ala cabaret. There is one type of performance which is particular to the Thais, I think, as I see it performed almost everywhere. It's some guy dressed up as an old lady, with his face painted like a cat, with whiskers and brown nose and lip synching to a song with intermittent tongue sticking out.

It's supposed to be funny, but I find it more annoying than amusing.

Also, the boys are unfortunately, not as pretty as the drag queens. The bar owners should really find cuter boys ;P

Anyway, there is this particular bar which I feel is a bit of hustler type. To be precise, the owner is.

You see, the drag queens and boys would perform on stage and if someone in the audience likes a particular performer, he can give tips of 100 baht.

Towards the end of the show, the owner, who came from the Philippines, came on stage and tried to create rapport with the crowd. It went something like this:

Owner: Where you come from Mister?
Friend: Malaysia.
Owner: You like pussy or cock?
Friend: Cock.
Owner: You like show, the Thai boys?
Friend: Yeah.
Owner: You like show just now? Give 100 baht.

We were like, huh? Just making some lame jokes and crude questions and she wants 100 baht? Unless she can dance or sing or twirl on her fat butt, isn't it more like hustling?

After about five performance, I was bored. After a while, they all seemed the same. So I left Paradise and get my beauty sleep for tomorrow.

Overall, it was a good first day. Didn't get to mix around much with the other delegates yet, but I did the day after.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Two fathers

In this season of festivities and love and being together with family, here is a wonderful video which brought tears to my eyes. *sniff*

It's all about love and the family, in whatever form. In this case, it's one which I hope to have one day.

Catchy tune and more importantly, absolutely wonderful, heartfelt and amazing lyrics!

From one of the comments on YouTube, his name is Terrence Van Cleave and he is one of the over 270,000 Dutch kids with same sex parents. He is on the cast of a Dutch TV show and has sung in the United States.

By the way, I would be back in KL on Tuesday and Wednesday. Then I will be off to Phuket on Thursday for the Straits Games (TSG).

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Gay play

I got the following email and thought it would be of interest to visitors of this blog.

Dear friends,

Buy your tickets for "Sam & Jet 2 : The Revenge" from PT Foundation

Controversial, audacious, daring!

Captivating and mesmerising. ... another breakthrough play!

A wonderful adaptation.( from the movie "Bishonen')

A surreal experience and unforgettable memory.

Emotionally absorbing.

These were some of the responses from those who have seen Sam & Jet's premiere play in January 2004.

Now, the producers of "Sam & Jet" is back with the sequel, "Sam & Jet 2 - The Revenge"!

The title says it all. But for those who need some persuasion, can go here for more information. However if you are a banana like me, the website may not be of much use as it is written in mandarin and the play is mostly in Mandarin. This will not stop me from going for the play. Sam & Jet 2 is a drama performance whose central characters are gay, and the plot is apparently based on a true story. For this reason alone, I want to encourage all of you to go watch it. If it is any consolation, there are English subtitles throughout the play, and one of the lead character's lines is in English!

Still if you need a synopsis, the drama evolves around 3 lead characters - Sam and Jet (who are a couple) and Ching (Sam's ex). Apparently based on a true story, it is a melodramatic tale of how a scorned lover seething with vengeance can wreck havoc on the lives of those he most cared for. There will be ample romantic and endearing moments, some sizzling love scenes, plenty of drama, and (dedicated to the drama queens), plenty of bitchy rebuttals!

There are 2 more reasons why you should support this play. Part of the proceeds from this play will go to Pelangi Foundation, a non profit NGO dedicated to helping homeless people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) by providing them with support and care, living skills, and dignity to lead a life free from stigma and discrimination. For more info on Pelangi, please visit www.pelangifoundation.org

And if you purchase the tickets through PT Foundation, 20% of the proceeds will be donated back to PT Foundation to support our HIV prevention, care and support programmes.

Dates: 2 - 5 November 2006

Venue: Panggung Bandaraya, Jalan Raja, Kuala Lumpur

Ticket Prices:

Ranges from RM25 to RM78 depending on show time:

2 Nov, 2006 (Thur) - 8pm (RM 35/RM 45/ RM 58/ RM 78)

3 Nov, 2006 (Fri) - 8pm (RM 35/RM 45/ RM 58/ RM 78)

4 Nov, 2006 (Sat) - 3pm (RM 25/ RM 48), 8pm (RM 58/ RM 78)

5 Nov, 2006 (Sun) - 3pm (RM 25/ RM 48), 8pm (RM 35/ RM45/ RM 58/ RM 78)

Please buy your tickets through PT Foundation so that PTF gets 20% of the proceeds of your ticket price. Contact Ivan Yap at 016- 2099 620 for more info on where to buy your tickets.

Only limited tickets available on a first come first serve basis.

For a review of Sam & Jet, please go here. As I haven't started blogging yet back in January 2004, I can't provide a link to my own review. ;P

Anyway, I did go for the abovementioned play. What I can remember, I will try to pen down.

As the title suggests, it was based on the movie Bishonen, which has become almost a cult movie, due to the scarcity of gay-themed Hong Kong films.

The play was extremely long, at almost 3 hours. I had a feeling that the director wanted it to be grand, an epic love story but somehow that didn't really materialised on stage. It was like they were trying to make a movie, but on stage.

A lot of scenes I felt was irrelevant. The direction could have been tighter.

On the plus side, the set was grand. The acting was average. The actors were cute. Some of the scenes where they tried to be metaphorical which I didn't quite like. I think there was once where there were a few of the supporting actors were dancing across the stage holding a stretch of cloth.

Maybe I just didn't get the message then, but apparently it was meant to show a barrier between the two leads.

In addition, I felt that there were a few scenes that specifically pander to the largely gay audience. Like the opening sequence of a singing competition with the one contestant dressed in drag, a fat one and one straight acting guy (or band, I can't remember).

The "different" singers elicited quite a few laughs from the audience, with the obvious outcome of the latter being the winner.

That scene did not add anything to the story, but merely to draw laughter.

Personally, I think the script should have just focussed on the story. Secondly, it shouldn't have further enforce stereotypes.

I wouldn't say the play was a bad one, but it could do with being more original. Less shine and gloss, more content and bite.

That play came not long after Angels, which I think was the superior one.

Another thing that I have to be picky about gay plays or movies is the tragic ending. Why can't they portray two people being happy together in the end? Though it could possibly be that the plays have to be screened by the authorities first before the show can be staged and the authorities believe that two same-sex people couldn't be happy together and showing something to that effect is encouraging people to become gay, but still ...

Anyway, give this sequel a chance. If I were in KL at the time, I would probably go and see whether they have learnt from the original.

I might actually be in town on that weekend, as my colleagues are planning a trip to KL and I am supposed to show them around. Though I don't think watching a gay play as part of the itinerary is what my Singaporean colleagues have in mind. ;P

Love conquers all

Malaysian film makers have been making themselves known at various international film fest. A number of them have won awards, with the more prominent being Yasmin Ahmad, James Lee and Amir Muhammad.

The question is, has anyone seen their films? The only notable ones are Sepet and Gubra by Yasmin. The other one, which was banned this year merely because of a sensitive word in Lelaki Komunis Terakhir by Amir.

Even if Yasmin's films were shown and loved by local audiences, other people in higher up places weren't. Or even so-called colleagues in the same industry.

The point I am trying to get is, if no Malaysian is going to support local films, who will? Definitely not the government. The film makers themselves can never dream of relying on the government for funds, unless the movie or script fits nicely into carefully defined and acceptable themes, which are those ubiquitously shown on TV on a Saturday night.

Anyway, I got the news from another blog and the original can be found here.

Malaysian-Chinese director major winner at Busan film festival

BUSAN, South Korea (AP) - A 28-year-old Malaysian-Chinese director was the big winner at the Pusan International Film Festival Friday, bagging an international movie critics' award and sharing the prize for best new Asian filmmaker.

Tan Chui Mui's "Love Conquers All," about a woman confused about her feelings after moving to a city, won the FIPRESCI prize awarded by the International Federation of Film Critics.

She also shared the New Currents award - given to best new Asian filmmaker - with China's Heng Yang, who directed "Betelnut," the story of Chinese youths who spend an aimless summer together.

At a news conference Friday, Oscar-winning Hungarian director Istvan Szabo, chairman of the New Currents jury, praised "Love Conquers All" as "a beautiful film using a known cinematic language but in a very, very nice way."

Szabo said the jury picked "Betelnut" for its "new cinematic value, great acting by all the cast, powerful pictures and beautiful silent moments."

Tan said she will use the US$30,000 cash prize to finance her company, Da Huang Pictures, which also produces movies by other directors.

"This is (a) very important film festival in Asia, and they set up a section for new directors. It's very rare," she said.

Tan said it's difficult to get government funding for Chinese-language films in Malaysia because the authorities there classify only movies that have 70 per cent or more of their script in the ethnic Malay language as Malaysian. Malaysia's population is dominated by ethnic Malays, but Chinese and Indians form significant minorities.

She said her next film will be about two middle-aged women.

"Love Conquers All" was backed by the Hubert Bals Fund of the Rotterdam International Film Festival.

In other awards, the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema named South Korean director Roh Gyeong-tae's "The Last Dining Table" as best Korean feature film. The movie portrays the social isolation of lower-class families.

Meanwhile, festival director Kim Dong-ho announced that festival organizers will run a spinoff event in Los Angeles in spring 2007 that will focus on Korean and Asian films.

Kim also said the festival will set up its own TV channel, just as the Sundance film festival has done, which will air 50 films that have been shown in the Busan festival. In addition, South Korea's JoongAng Broadcasting Corp. will establish a 50 million Korean won (US$52,603) fund that will help Asian documentaries get airtime.

I don't think I need to point out which paragraph that is the most absurd thing to do in a logical and progressive society, but which has become acceptable and entrenched in our society.

Marginalised, anyone?

The sypnosis of the movie is here. The good news it that, it would be shown in Malaysia, most probably in GSC Midvalley and 1 Utama, beginning 21 December.

A love story. At first sight maybe a simple love story. About how blind a girl in love can be. Slowly but unavoidable the story will become less simple, will raise more questions without giving too many answers.

Main character - if not main victim - is Ah Peng (Coral Ong Li Whei). A common girl from Penang. She arrives in some outskirt of Kuala Lumpur to find work in the economy rice stall of her aunt. She is taken in by the family like an older daughter and shares a room with little sister Mei (Leong Jiun Jiun). In a way Mei is the main character - and certainly no victim - of her own love story with a mysterious pen pal. The indolent Ah Peng and the bright and lively Mei get along very well. Like real sisters.

Ah Peng has a boy friend in Penang. Regularly she makes her way to the public phones to make her ritual call. Fate has it that just there she attracts the attention of John (Stephen Chua Jyh Shyan). John shamelessly listens in on the conversations between Ah Peng and her boy friend and right there starts a relationship that has to be doomed. John even tells her - in the same shameless way - how to lure a girl into prostitution. But revealing this can not stop this fatal story.

Although certainly not a period film the movie renders homage to two disappearing tools of communication: the handwritten letters by Mei and the fixed to the ground public phone calls by Ah Peng. Soon this kind of phone booths and letter boxes will form a problem for the movie art departments.

Wishing my dear readers a Happy Deepavali and Selamat Hari Raya. Have a great long weekend, while I have to go back to work on Monday.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

So what? That's their sexual preference

Taken from here.

So what? That's their sexual preference.

Francis Paul | Oct 16, 06 2:11pm

TWO weeks ago, I went to see a dentist in Kelana Jaya. It was my first visit to the clinic. The interior decor of the place is nice and the dental charges are also reasonable.

But what struck me was a calendar-size wedding poster in the clinic's waiting area of Jessie Chung, the Kuching transsexual who married Ipoh accountant Joshua Beh last November in what is believed to be the country's first marriage involving a transsexual.

Of course, the marriage was immediately frowned upon by the government with a minister declaring that it has no legal standing since the law does not allow marriages between two people of the same sex, even if one of them had undergone a sex change operation.

I thought it was very 'brave' and 'thoughtful' gesture of the clinic's management to display the wedding photo (I have not seen it anywhere else in KL). For whatever reason it was put up, I can still conclude that it was a public display of the acceptance of the union. "So what" seems to be the message, "as long as the couple truly love and accept each other".

Three cheers to the clinic!

Well, Jessie Chung's marriage and the union of others with certain sexual preferences (not 'problems', mind you) can make for an interesting discussion on a boring, hazy Kuala Lumpur afternoon.

(For context, click here, here and here.)

Forgotten and ignored

So Sir Elton John finally married his lover! (photo) So what, no big deal. Gays are getting married in countries where such unions are legal.

So Ang Lee’s recent movie Brokeback Mountain, a western with a gay theme,
won four Golden Globes early this year. So what if Hollywood is now fond of all things gay!

So there was a Protestant bishop in the US who openly admitted he was gay and had a partner. So what, no big deal! Even if the case had threatened to split the Anglican Church when it first came to light some years ago.


Some of us would probably remarked with a “so what” and then forget about it. I suppose we would say, “being gay is their choice, they have the right to choose their preferences”.

However, for the majority of our fellow citizens, being gay or having different sexual preferences seem to be a big deal. Such people are not considered ‘normal’ and would be frowned upon. This is sad but true.

It is also true that even as our nation had gone through a period of reformation, a period in which people are demanding for equal rights, homosexuals seem to be forgotten, or in most cases, ignored.

This is a group of people that need guidance. Our society generally does not care about them, as long as "my child is not gay". Come on, let’s be honest. Isn’t this the case?

We blame them for transmitting AIDS, disordering society, being decadent and even for being a public nuisance at times. They are exposed to an essentially heterosexual world that condemns their existence. The laws, the religions, the moral values are made for heterosexuals. Who is going to tell them what to do?

A lot of heterosexuals don't consider homosexuals as ‘upright’ human beings. But we must learn to accept them as just one of us. They have sexual needs, self-esteem and hence deserve equal rights as heterosexuals.

We shouldn't ignore their existence. Instead we should understand and help them the best we can. Certainly, they are entitled to a suitable set of moral values.

Isn’t our society caring?

Maybe we should legislate some laws in order to accord them due rights and equality. Reforms start with people. Accepting homosexuals and stopping discrimination against them would be a perfect start. After all, isn’t our society a caring one? We care about the poor, the sick - why can't we care about homosexuals?

Then there is the other group - transsexuals. Look at that widely-publicised case of the transsexual who was groped and humiliated by policemen in the lock-up at the Ipoh police station some time ago. Even our law enforcers could not help ‘enjoying’ themselves with a person not viewed as ‘normal’.

Isn’t it true how we often used to brag that “when Malaysia speaks, the world at large listens!”. Oh yes, this formerly poor Third World country is now going full steam towards becoming a developed nation. Well and good.

That we have achieved considerable ‘physical’ success has put the country in good stead. Alas, the same cannot be said of our country's sincerity in making Malaysia a home for one and all - how sad again.

A case in point is the statement by Women, Family and Community Development Minister Shahrizat Jalil (right in photo) last year who voiced her assurance that the welfare of the mak nyahs or transsexuals in the country would be looked into.

But soon after, she justified that there were variables that had to be studied before any step was taken. (My thoughts on this here.)

Then came the issue of transsexuals who in spite of having undergone sex reassignment surgery (SRS) were denied the right to state their gender on their identity card. A 33-year-old woman who had undergone such surgery failed in her bid to be declared as a man, as it was thrown out by the Ipoh High Court.

The man filed the application to be declared a man in 2004 after failed attempts to alter ‘her’ birth certificate and identity card at the National Registration Department.

I feel that the state should not intervene, if one wanted to go through the SRS. Perhaps Suhakam could initiate a study on the law to determine what recommendations it could make to help transsexuals, while at the same time conform with the Islamic belief.

Freedom comes at a price

According to the government, a majority of the 10,000 transsexuals in the country are Malay Muslims. The lack of understanding on the issue of sexuality perhaps explains why we still have statements in the newspapers made by religious officials who are of the belief that transsexuals and homosexuals need to be “rehabilitated” or "rescued" and brought back to the "right path".

The need to impose a particular lifestyle on individuals has been a constant affair with Malaysia's keepers of morality. There seems to be a pricking need on their behalf to determine how one leads their life.

Freedom to choose one's lifestyle comes at a price, as some have found out. To acknowledge that Malaysia is home to transsexuals and homosexuals is a great difficulty for the government. That we can all understand and appreciate but it must not be an obstacle towards governmental efforts to help the group lead a ‘normal’ a life as possible.

There will likely be a long debate on this issue and no one party will be happy. Whatever the outcome and decisions made, we need understanding to tackle this issue of sexuality.

Meantime, I will continue to buy Elton John’s albums. That he is gay (so what, no big deal!) will not cloud my support for his talent as a song writer, singer and musician.

And if anyone has a Jessie Chung wedding photo to spare, feel free to send it over. I promise to display it on my desktop.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Joy of schooling

When I was in kindergarden and primary school, I learnt A is for apple, B is for boy, C is for cat, ...

In addition, the classes in school were named after something. For example, primary one classes were 1 Melur (1M), 1 Cempaka (1C) and 1 Teratai (1T). Usually, we would stay in the same class, as there was no streaming.

As I was in 1C, my second year I was in 2C, third year 3C and so on.

By the way, all those words are in Malay and they are names of flowers. Melur is jasmine and Teratai is lotus.

And I was in an all boys' school. Go figure.

When I went to secondary school, the classes names were colours. The classes were streamed according to the colours of the rainbow.

As such, no one from my school would ever forget the colours of the rainbow in order - red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.

Apparently nowadays, kids are smarter. So the classes have to have more erm ... more intelligent and difficult names.

I was at a colleague's house recently and we were talking to his 7-year old niece. She is in Primary 1. Her class is 1A.

You wouldn't believe what A stands for. I would never have guessed either.

I heard something that sounded like "threesome".

Heh ...

Anyway, A actually stands for Altruism.

Heck, I only learnt that word like ... last year or the year before!

It gets better. The classes are until J, so here are the names of the classes.

B = Benevolence

C = Charity

D = Diligence

E is for Empathy.

F is not for friendship, but Faith.

G is not for generosity, but Grace.

H is not honesty, but Hope. (Do I smell a hint of evangelicalism?)

I is not intelligence, but Integrity.

And last but not least, J is for Joy.

Even though she doesn't know the meaning of the words, except for Hope and Joy, still it is amazing that she can pronounce all of them correctly.

Kids these days are smart. Or maybe school these days are just highfaluting.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Dragon boating

I am typing this amidst lost of clanging and banging outside. I have no idea what is going on; but my guess is most probably another funeral.

There are a lot of elderly people around. So that is to be expected. Heck, even Lee Kuan Yew himself is an octogenarian. He just turned 83, if I am not mistaken.

I have a feeling there seems to be more deaths for the past two weeks. More than usual. This is exacerbated by the more frequent email notifications about death claims that I have been receiving. The usual frequency would be like one or two a week. But for the past two weeks, I remember getting like 5 or more a week.

Maybe it's because of the haze.

Speaking of which reminds me of something. When someone ask me what do I do, I am loathe to say actuarial. Firstly, because not many know what that is, even though there are more who do now. Secondly, it is kind of difficult to explain what I do.

Replying with "I estimate how much to set aside or reserves to be allocated for insurance payouts in the future, using various assumptions for mortality, morbidity, lapse and interest rates" would give me blank stares.

Saying "I deal with the liability side of the balance sheet" would prompt more questions.

So usually, my answer would be "I work with an insurance company."

And I would get a hesitant and somewhat fearful look.

Why the hell does almost everyone think that anyone who works with an insurance company is an agent and sells insurance? Do they think that a company can survive with just a large sales force, without marketeers, underwriters, administrative staff, etc?

Anyway, in case you are curious, this is what I do. Or more precisely, what I would be doing when I pass all my exams.

And this explains the reason I have not been updating - studying. Not that my exams are near, but there is a lot to cover since it has changed to a module-based system. A lot of reading and module exercises.

The way I think is that, I put off posting till I have done with some studying. But then when I finish, I am too damn tired to blog.

In fact, the reason I am writing this is because I couldn't sleep from all the noise outside, even though I am freaking tired and I can feel the achey feeling (the kind you get after a heavy workout or doing something excessively for the first time) starting to build up in my shoulder muscles.

Me being the "try-everything-once" believer, I went for dragon boating for the first time today. Got up at 7 this morning, all rearing to go.

The Singapore Dragon Boat Association is located in Kallang, near the Singapore Indoor Stadium. Even this early in the morning, there were many people getting ready for their weekly training. More so as there is the annual River Regatta, which I blogged about last year, coming up in a month's time.

Guys make up more than 80% of the rowers. All ages are here, from the late teens to the early twenties to the late thirties and beyond.

I trained with them for about one and a half hours, going all out with some guidance from a dragonboating coach. There was another first-timer too.

Even my friend admitted that the intensity of training today was greater than usual.

Trust me to pick such a day ;P

I kept knocking and hitting the paddle in front of me. Also, the paddle was slippery and my grip slip numerous times. The salty water kept splashing into my eyes and irrirated them, till at one point, I was rowing with my eyes closed. Read the first sentence again.

Towards the end, I stopped quite often to catch my breath. I would rate my performance as bad, but I did give my best.

After the training, my arms were shaking. Could barely lift them up. Which is to be expected from a novice like me. I tried to do it the correct way, using my torso and the twisting motion, but still it would take lots of practice to get it right.

It was about half past ten when we went for breakfast. From then till now, it seems to be better, but still achey.

I was warned that the effects will be fully felt tomorrow. Oh wow ...

Back to the guys who were training. First things I noticed, they come in all shapes and sizes. Some are slim, some nicely built, quite a few are fat. So basically anyone can do it, if he has the right technique.

Cute factor, very much lacking though. Out of ten, maybe one of them is cute. There were about a hundred people on land (the rest were on the river) and about ten were really cute.

Oooh, they have open shower stall in the toilet. And most of the guys are not the shy type where they wear swimming trunks when they shower ;P

I was asked would I go again next week. Well, it very much depends on how I feel tomorrow.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Random thoughts

I realise that I pick up on other people's actions, especially those whom I see often. The way they talk, the way they sound, the vocabulary they use, the gestures.

Does this mean that I have no individual style of talking and expression?

Just finished reading this manga called "The Voices of a Distant Star", a lovey-dovey mushy love story that spans across time and space. Something like The Lake House, I suppose, though I didn't watch the movie. Made me go "awwww" and renewed my hope about love again.

Read somewhere that one doesn't have to know another person a lot before beginning a relationship, but just enough to pique one's curiousity to spend time with him to find out more.

Thought for the day: What is Love ?

Love is Accepting
Acceptance is labeling someone as "okay" and having no particular desire to change them. Who they are is perfectly fine with you. You pose no condition on whether you will love them or not. This is call unconditional love. When your love is conditional, the moment they step outside your set of conditions, love evaporates.

Love is Appreciating
Appreciation is one step beyond acceptance. Its when your focus is on what you like about another. We look at them and feel this sweeping appreciation for who they are, their joy, their insights, their humor, their companionship, etc. When someone says they are "in love" with another, they mean their appreciation is so enormous for this person that it consumes their every thought.