Saturday, October 24, 2009

Pink feathers flock together

My colleagues sometimes ask me whether I think their friends are gay or not and I will go through that guy's friends list to determine his sexuality.

Obviously this is not a foolproof way to tell but I think it is pretty accurate. Logically speaking, how many gay friends would a straight guy have? I would say none or at most zero.

Unless that guy happens to work in the creative industry like fashion or hairdressing.

So when I found this article, its findings are not surprising. To cater for someone who doesn't like reading long articles, these are the key paragraphs.

Using data from the social network Facebook, they made a striking discovery: just by looking at a person’s online friends, they could predict whether the person was gay. They did this with a software program that looked at the gender and sexuality of a person’s friends and, using statistical analysis, made a prediction.

The two students had no way of checking all of their predictions, but based on their own knowledge outside the Facebook world, their computer program appeared quite accurate for men, they said. People may be effectively “outing” themselves just by the virtual company they keep.

The idea behind the MIT work, done in 2007, is as old as the adage that birds of a feather flock together. For years, sociologists have known of the “homophily principle” - the tendency for similar people to group together. People of one race tend to have spouses, confidants, and friends of the same race, for example. Jernigan and Mistree downloaded data from the Facebook network, choosing as their sample people who had joined the MIT network and were in the classes 2007-2011 or graduate students. They were interested in three things people frequently fill in on their social network profile: their gender, a category called “interested in” that they took to denote sexuality, and their friend links.

Of course, this is not an excuse to go "unfriending" all your gay friends. It's just to let you be aware that this it is possible to be outed this way, but still it is pure speculation on their part. There's no way to be sure unless it is from the horse's mouth.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Youngest Headmaster in the World

This is one the most inspirational stories I have ever heard. Babar Ali really has my utmost admiration and respect. May he continue with his wonderful work and bring change to his community and the world.

From the BBC:
At 16 years old, Babar Ali must be the youngest headmaster in the world. He's a teenager who is in charge of teaching hundreds of students in his family's backyard, where he runs classes for poor children from his village.

The story of this young man from Murshidabad in West Bengal is a remarkable tale of the desire to learn amid the direst poverty.

Babar Ali's day starts early. He wakes, pitches in with the household chores, then jumps on an auto-rickshaw which takes him part of the 10km (six mile) ride to the Raj Govinda school. The last couple of kilometres he has to walk.

The school is the best in this part of West Bengal. There are hundreds of students, boys and girls. The classrooms are neat, if bare. But there are desks, chairs, a blackboard, and the teachers are all dedicated and well-qualified.

As the class 12 roll-call is taken, Babar Ali is seated in the middle in the front row. He's a tall, slim, gangly teenager, studious and smart in his blue and white uniform. He takes his notes carefully. He is the model student.

Babar Ali is the first member of his family ever to get a proper education.

"It's not easy for me to come to school because I live so far away," he says, "but the teachers are good and I love learning. And my parents believe I must get the best education possible that's why I am here."

Raj Govinda school is government-run so it is free, all Babar Ali has to pay for is his uniform, his books and the rickshaw ride to get there. But still that means his family has to find around 1,800 rupees a year ($40, £25) to send him to school. In this part of West Bengal that is a lot of money. Many poor families simply can't afford to send their children to school, even when it is free.

Chumki Hajra is one who has never been to school. She is 14 years old and lives in a tiny shack with her grandmother. Their home is simple A-frame supporting a thatched roof next to the rice paddies and coconut palms at the edge of the village. Inside the hut there is just room for a bed and a few possessions.

Every morning, instead of going to school, she scrubs the dishes and cleans the homes of her neighbours. She's done this ever since she was five. For her work she earns just 200 rupees a month ($5, £3). It's not much, but it's money her family desperately needs. And it means that she has to work as a servant everyday in the village.

"My father is handicapped and can't work," Chumki tells me as she scrubs a pot. "We need the money. If I don't work, we can't survive as a family. So I have no choice but to do this job."

But Chumki is now getting an education, thanks to Babar Ali. The 16-year-old has made it his mission to help Chumki and hundreds of other poor children in his village. The minute his lessons are over at Raj Govinda school, Babar Ali doesn't stop to play, he heads off to share what he's learnt with other children from his village.

At four o'clock every afternoon after Babar Ali gets back to his family home a bell summons children to his house. They flood through the gate into the yard behind his house, where Babar Ali now acts as headmaster of his own, unofficial school.

Lined up in his back yard the children sing the national anthem. Standing on a podium, Babar Ali lectures them about discipline, then study begins.

Babar Ali gives lessons just the way he has heard them from his teachers. Some children are seated in the mud, others on rickety benches under a rough, homemade shelter. The family chickens scratch around nearby. In every corner of the yard are groups of children studying hard.

Babar Ali was just nine when he began teaching a few friends as a game. They were all eager to know what he learnt in school every morning and he liked playing at being their teacher.

Now his afternoon school has 800 students, all from poor families, all taught for free. Most of the girls come here after working, like Chumki, as domestic helps in the village, and the boys after they have finished their day's work labouring in the fields.

"In the beginning I was just play-acting, teaching my friends," Babar Ali says, "but then I realised these children will never learn to read and write if they don't have proper lessons. It's my duty to educate them, to help our country build a better future."

Including Babar Ali there are now 10 teachers at the school, all, like him are students at school or college, who give their time voluntarily. Babar Ali doesn't charge for anything, even books and food are given free, funded by donations. It means even the poorest can come here.

"Our area is economically deprived," he says. "Without this school many kids wouldn't get an education, they'd never even be literate."

Seated on a rough bench squeezed in with about a dozen other girls, Chumki Hajra is busy scribbling notes.

Her dedication to learning is incredible to see. Every day she works in homes in the village from six in the morning until half past two in the afternoon, then she heads to Babar Ali's school. At seven every evening she heads back to do more cleaning work.

Chumki's dream is to one day become a nurse, and Babar Ali's classes might just make it possible.

The school has been recognised by the local authorities, it has helped increase literacy rates in the area, and Babar Ali has won awards for his work.

The youngest children are just four or five, and they are all squeezed in to a tiny veranda. There are just a couple of bare electric bulbs to give light as lessons stretch into the evening, and only if there is electricity.

And then the monsoon rain begins. Huge drops fall as the children scurry for cover, slipping in the mud. They crowd under a piece of plastic sheeting. Babar Ali shouts an order. Lessons are cancelled for the afternoon otherwise everyone will be soaked. Having no classrooms means lessons are at the mercy of the elements.

The children climb onto the porch of a nearby shop as the rain pours down. Then they hurry home through the downpour. Tomorrow they'll be back though. Eight hundred poor children, unable to afford an education, but hungry for anything they can learn at Babar Ali's school.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

The rabbit and the tortoise

So my housemate got attached. With Bunny.


Seriously I was thinking like it was not going to happen anytime soon. Or even proceed anywhere.

If I were him, I would be celebrating my third month anniversary by now.

But then that's just me. I can't stand it when things are moving so slowly. If I like someone I would have made my move.

Carpe diem.

Of course, I have had my fair share of rejections. But no pain no gain.

As I said, that's just me. My meat is someone's else poison.

Still, I get to claim some credit on how things have worked out. LOL.

Anyway, best of luck to the both of them. It's always good when my friends get a partner in their life. They make a great couple because they are very similar in so many ways.

P/S In case someone gets offended by the title post, it's because I think it's quite catchy. One can look at it in a positive way. Think proverbs.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Price of admission

Something useful I found on a gay forum. He takes a long time to say it, but basically he's saying that we have to pay the price of admission to have a relationship. And the price of admission is his or her flaws.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

September update

Blogger has been acting up on my PC. Not sure whether it is their problem or mine.

Anyway, sorry for the quite long hiatus. This past month since my return from Bali has been mostly work and studying. I don't even watch that many movies anymore.

Life has been quite good. SK was down in Singapore last weekend. She cooked chicken curry and made soup for my friends and me. That was a wonderful lunch surrounded by excellent company.

The week before, I went to Nick's place for lunch. That was another delicious lunch with braised pork and Hainanese chicken. It was followed by an afternoon of card game of Taboo.

Oh, I had an experience of fish spa three weekends ago. It was my first time and frankly I wouldn't do it again. Sure, it was relaxing and kinda fun but the novelty kinda wore off after 10 minutes. Personally, the feeling from the fishes feeding from my feet was more pricklish than ticklish; more pins-and-needles like than gentle nibbles.

Nyk has been on and off sick for the past couple of weeks. That was quite worrying. For now, there is a persistent cough that remains.

So that's about it for my update. I am sure you guys have more exciting things in your life than mine at the moment. Cheers!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Pixar grants girl's dying wish to see 'Up'

HUNTINGTON BEACH – Colby Curtin, a 10-year-old with a rare form of cancer, was staying alive for one thing – a movie.

From the minute Colby saw the previews to the Disney-Pixar movie Up, she was desperate to see it. Colby had been diagnosed with vascular cancer about three years ago, said her mother, Lisa Curtin, and at the beginning of this month it became apparent that she would die soon and was too ill to be moved to a theater to see the film.

After a family friend made frantic calls to Pixar to help grant Colby her dying wish, Pixar came to the rescue.

The company flew an employee with a DVD of Up, which is only in theaters, to the Curtins’ Huntington Beach home on June 10 for a private viewing of the movie.

The animated movie begins with scenes showing the evolution of a relationship between a husband and wife. After losing his wife in old age, the now grumpy man deals with his loss by attaching thousands of balloons to his house, flying into the sky, and going on an adventure with a little boy.

Colby died about seven hours after seeing the film.

With her daughter’s vigil planned for Friday, Lisa Curtin reflected about how grateful she is that Pixar – and "Up" – were a part of her only child’s last day.

“When I watched it, I had really no idea about the content of the theme of the movie,” said Curtin, 46. “I just know that word ‘Up’ and all of the balloons and I swear to you, for me it meant that (Colby) was going to go up. Up to heaven.”

Pixar officials declined to comment on the story or name the employees involved.


Colby was diagnosed with vascular cancer on Dec. 23, 2005 after doctors found a tumor in her liver. At the time of her death, her stomach was about 94 inches around, swollen with fluids the cancer wouldn’t let her body properly digest. The rest of her body probably weighed about 45 pounds, family friend Carole Lynch said.

Colby had gone to Newport Elementary School and was known for making others laugh, family friend Terrell Orum-Moore said. Colby loved to dance, sing, swim and seemed to have a more mature understanding of the world than other children her age, Orum-Moore said.

On April 28, Colby went to see the Dream Works 3-D movie "Monsters Vs. Aliens" but was impressed by the previews to "Up."

“It was from then on, she said, ‘I have to see that movie. It is so cool,’” Lynch said.

Colby was a movie fan, Lisa Curtin said, and she latched onto Pixar’s movies because she loved animals.

Two days later Colby’s health began to worsen. On June 4 her mother asked a hospice company to bring a wheelchair for Colby so she could visit a theater to see "Up." However, the weekend went by and the wheelchair was not delivered, Lisa Curtin said.

By June 9, Colby could no longer be transported to a theater and her family feared she would die without having seen the movie.

At that point, Orum-Moore, who desperately wanted Colby to get her last wish, began to cold-call Pixar and Disney to see if someone could help.

Pixar has an automated telephone answering system, Orum-Moore said, and unless she had a name of a specific person she wanted to speak to, she could not get through. Orum-Moore guessed a name and the computer system transferred her to someone who could help, she said.

Pixar officials listened to Colby’s story and agreed to send someone to Colby’s house the next day with a DVD of "Up," Orum-Moore recalled.

She immediately called Lisa Curtin, who told Colby.

“Do you think you can hang on?” Colby’s mother said.

“I’m ready (to die), but I’m going to wait for the movie,” the girl replied.


At about 12:30 p.m. the Pixar employee came to the Curtins’ home with the DVD.

He had a bag of stuffed animals of characters in the movie and a movie poster. He shared some quirky background details of the movie and the group settled in to watch Up.

Colby couldn't see the screen because the pain kept her eyes closed so her mother gave her a play-by-play of the film.

At the end of the film, the mother asked if her daughter enjoyed the movie and Colby nodded yes, Lisa Curtin said.

The employee left after the movie, taking the DVD with him, Lynch said.

“He couldn’t have been nicer,” said Lynch who watched the movie with the family. “His eyes were just welled up.”

After the movie, Colby’s dad, Michael Curtin, who is divorced from Lisa Curtin, came to visit.

Colby died with her mom and dad nearby at 9:20 p.m.

Among the Up memorabilia the employee gave Colby was an “adventure book” – a scrap book the main character’s wife used to chronicle her journeys.

“I’ll have to fill those adventures in for her,” Lisa Curtin said.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Interesting observations

Quite a few of my university got or are getting married this year. And I have a few observations which I find to be interesting.

1. They are not walking down the aisle with the person whom they were dating during university days, which were only 5 years ago.

2. They were with their former boyfriends / girlfriends for quite some time, at least two or three years

3. The person they are getting married to is someone they have dated for less than two years

These led me to think, are their biological clocks ticking? What's the hurry? Also I know for sure there are no "accidents".

I really don’t know.

True, the length of time of a relationship is no guarantee that it will end in marriage. But surely, it must have meant something too.

Or could it be that their university relationships somehow have taught them one of lives greatest lessons about their preferred qualities in a partner that they applied it and found the person to marry soon after?

Anyone care to share your thoughts?

Monday, August 10, 2009

August update

I just came back from Bali on Saturday. It was a really wonderful and relaxing vacation for me. I enjoyed the beautiful culture, food and the friendly people.

There were still many Caucasians there. The bombing in Jakarta recently did not seem to deter them.

I am still in holiday mood. I will post up more about the trip soon.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


There were a few friends who were down visiting from KL, namely DH, Alexander and JL. So I met up with them and brought them to this restaurant called Hachitei which is in the CBD area to avoid the weekend dinner crowd.

DH who doesn't drink beer, practically went orgasmic when he found out that the restaurant has this Japanese beer called Suntory. This is the only beer that he drinks. Apparently, it can't be found in KL.

We ordered 3 bottles and I have to agree that it is very nice and smooth.

DH hasn't been to the clubs here and he was quite keen to check out the scene. I haven't been clubbing for a long time and I wasn't too keen on it, but I changed my mind.

We practically did the rounds all in one night, except for Play. We were at 8 Cafe for drinks, followed by Tantric. Tantric wasn't really our thing as it was way too crowded and there were a lot Caucasians. We could barely moved in that place. And I didn't realize that there is quite a number of gay expats over here.

Next up was DYMK. The place is pretty nice and cozy for drinks. My friend was gaga over the straight Laotian waiter. All of them thought that he was quite cute but I thought he was OK. I prefer the other guy behind the bar.

We headed to Taboo next where everyone was already partying. It was only my second time there. The crowd here is mostly on the older side, as in above 20 as opposed to Play. I had an enjoyable time as I had a pretty good buzz in my head. Danced a little, but the music was not really my type. Probably should go when they have their monthly Handbag Party nights (which I learn are Kylie and Madonna kind of music, instead of techno).

The way I see it, yesterday night was more for catching up with some friends and just enjoying myself. DH and I had this mutual friend, whom we probably knew at around the same time 5 years ago. This was indeed a surprising tidbit of information. It just shows how small the gay community is.

Reached home at 4 in the morning and fell into my beauty sleep.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Singapore Science Center

I am still alive thank you very much.

Anyway, I was busy entertaining Nyk when he was around the second week of July, amidst juggling my workload. There were a few reports due during the week he was here, but it all turned out quite well.

We didn't do much outing this time so that he won't complain of walking too much till his feet hurt. We only went to the Singapore Science Center to see the Da Vinci exhibition.

The exhibition was quite interesting. They constructed many of his designs which spanned the fields of physics, mechanics, war machines, flying machines, etc.

There was also the photograph of the Mona Lisa. Apparently, by using current technology, some guy managed to reproduce the original Mona Lisa the moment Leonardo da Vinci finished painting it. They extracted the base paint, sans all the restoration paint work performed over the years.

The original looked so much more vibrant and there are really a lot of details which couldn't be seen in the current state. The current one has aged paint with a yellowish tint, which definitely pales in comparison to the original.

Oh, and da Vinci was most probably gay. He had a relationship with his young apprentice and he was always surrounded by men.

After that we went home and rest for a while before heading the airport. Unfortunately (or was it fortunately), his 7.40pm flight was delayed to midnight. We requested for the next day's flight instead. So we got to spend another night together.

And off he went the next morning.

Friday, July 03, 2009


I came across this article. Really quite sad what gay people have to go through to keep others happy. It is a delicate balance and difficult choice between your own happiness and that of others.

All of these are taken from Yawningbread.

For most gay men and lesbians in China, revealing their sexuality to their families is unimaginable. Parents expect their sons and daughters to produce heirs, an obligation that has become even more intense in a society where single-child families are the standard.
-- New York Times, 14 June 2009, Gay festival in China pushes official boundaries

The story also told about cover-up marriages like Huang Jiankun's:
To assuage his parents, he orchestrated a fake wedding to a lesbian friend, but eventually the truth came out. “The problem is when you lie, it becomes connected to another lie and you can’t keep it up,” he said.

There is a blog, in Chinese, about the predicament of wives of gay men.

Below is the translation in English.

Caring about homowife

I attended a forum that discussed the problem of “homowife”. The so-called “Homowife” (tongqi) is the wife (qi) of a homosexual (tongzi). It has been said that China has 20 million male homosexuals, of whom 80 per cent would marry a woman. These women are the “homowives”, and there would be 16 million people.

The homowife phenomenon is a phenomenon characteristic of China, seldom witnessed in other countries. In other countries, homosexuals would remain single or live together or marry other homosexuals. Very few would contract a heterosexual marriage. This difference comes about because Chinese culture places such a great emphasis on marriage and reproduction, as to make them compulsory.

During my visit to Hungary, I found out that only 10 per cent of people of marriageable age got hitched. The rest fell into three categories: single, cohabiting (living together), LAT (lovers who live apart). In this kind of society, homosexuals do not have any need at all to enter into a heterosexual marriage. People would not gossip about them and parents do not apply pressure. Unfortunately our Chinese culture is oppressive with its dictum on men and women having to get married when they reach a certain age and naming the lack of progeny as the most serious breach of filial piety – "there are three kinds of unfilial behaviour and the greatest is have no descendant". It thus forces a community of male homosexuals to marry women to have children.

The situation of the “homowife” is extremely tragic. At the seminar, there were homowives who burst into tears as they spoke, leading all of them to hug each other for a good cry. Most days, they wash their faces with tears. I heard what I considered the most shocking testimony that from a woman who told of how she even doubted her ability to attract men -- why wouldn’t her husband even want to look at her or touch her? Am I really that unworthy as a woman? She assumed that all men would treat her like that, not knowing that this is far from the truth. She did not dream that her husband would be gay. Under the circumstances, even the most beautiful and accomplished woman would not arouse him.

Homowives have started to get organized in an effort to help themselves and help others. They have started a website and a helpline to assist fellow women who have fallen into the same predicament.

Their highest priority is to prevent women from marrying homosexuals, help those who suspect the sexual orientation of their boyfriends to analyse their situation better; and in the event that the other party is a confirmed homosexual, to persuade the woman not to proceed with the marriage.

Secondly, they would like to extend a helping hand to those women who are already married to homosexuals and who would like a divorce. This includes helping them to make up their minds, relieving the pressure on them and reduce the financial and psychological damage that comes with divorce.

Thirdly, they would like to address the problems of homowives who do not want a divorce for a variety of reasons. This would include helping them to analyse the cost of keeping such a marriage going, how to communicate with their husbands and how to get along with their children.

They proposed a slogan: “Homowife ends with me”. This slogan is full of hurt and also extends concern to those who may follow in their footsteps. The slogan gives one a feeling that it is a noble cause.

I hope the majority of male homosexuals do not enter into heterosexual marriages any more and spare a thought for the feelings of the homowife.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Life, friendships and July

Nyk was getting a bit wistful yesterday about friends lost and made. I suppose that is a fact of life that we have to accept - that friends come in and out of our lives all the time.

In different stages of life we would have different interests and activities and understandably, the people that we acquaint with would be different. Over time, we would have grown and move in divergent directions; we would have moved on to newer and other more exciting stuff.

But of course, this is not always the case. There would be that select few who would be with us for a very long time. Who would see us through the different stages in life and our ups and downs. Those that might even know us better than we know ourselves.

Even in this age of communications technology, its availability doesn't mean that it would be meaningfully utilised to keep in touch. The tools are all there and precisely because of that it is taken for granted. Everyone is just an email, phone call or text message away but sometimes we forget or are too lazy to use them.

There would also be others who would appear intermittently in our lives. They come in and out of lives. They reappear a few or many years later. But somehow we could still reconnect with them; there is still that bond of friendship. It’s like they have taken a break and came back from it.

I understand how he feels. I had that feeling a long time ago. Come to think of it, there are not many people whom I meet often. It is always the same group of people. They are the important people in my lives right now.

They may or may not be in the future but I guess the most important thing now is to treasure the friendship and not let it deteriorate.

Work and family takes up most of his time. Especially his mom. She has her mood swings and her mood significantly affects Nyk's mood.

Things are not balanced. One need to spend time with other groups of people too. The bonds of friendship can nurture and invigorate.

Perhaps all these negative energy points to something deeper. There could be something lying beneath it. Possibly feeling stuck in the rut? Midlife crisis which arrived much earlier?

Or maybe it is something as simple as the blues. Everyone gets it sometimes. Even I do. But this time it seems longer than usual.

There is only so much I can do cheer him up. Would like to just meet him now and make him feel better. I do feel powerless as I am not beside him now. This is one downside of long distance relationship which infuriates.

Hope you feel better soon dear. He is coming down in early July, so I am thinking I might have my work cut out for me if he is still not alright.

But of course, the sooner the clouds lift the better.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Community service

My company has this annual community service thing whereby staff volunteer to spend a day or more contributing back to the community. I signed up for it last month and it happened on Friday.

The expected activities were cleaning, repairing, painting, that kinda stuff. Luckily for me, there wasn't painting involved. I know painting could be fun but really, I don't like the mess produced. And painting is less fun when you have to do a decent job of it. It is another person's house after all.

The beneficiary of these activities are underprivileged kids, defined as not doing so well in school and who come from a broken or troubled family. Mine was a 11 year old girl with a single parent. She has two older brothers. We were supposed to help make their home more conducive for studying.

Anyway out job was to help clear her stuff. They live in a one bedroom HDB. Living space is already pretty cramped but it was made worse by the countless and endless boxes of stuff stacked high from wall to ceiling. They must have at least 50 boxes of stuff.

The mom had at least 5 boxes of clothing, some of which were new but never worn before. She also had at least two dozen bags and handbags wrapped in plastic. There were more than a few sets of plates, cups, saucers and other kitchenware. She had a box full of perfume for an unknown number of years.

How she got those stuff? From years of collecting and keeping the things she received from relatives, friends, neighbours. Or even good and usable stuff which she picked up from wherever.

There we were, 10 adults helping her sort through her mess for 5 hours. We had to convince her to part with her belongings. We told her all the usable equipmend would be donated to the Salvation Army. We then had to separate the things that she wants to keep from those to be discarded.

All in all, I think we managed to achieve our target. We removed at least half of her stuff and rearrange the living room. Boxes were stacked nicely and there was more floor space. We donated a study desk and computer table to them.

There were a lot of moving and carrying of boxes and bags. We had to carry the items onto a lorry which shipped them to the Salvation Army in Bishan.

In the end, the mom was visibly happy and thankful for our help. Apparently, she had tried to clean up on her own but it wasn't as productive. That was understandable as she would certainly be hesitant to discard the stuff that she had painstakingly accumulated over the years.

She thanked us profusely for making her home more spacious and cleared up the clutter.

As for me, this wasn't what I expected when I signed up for it. Clearing up stuff didn't seem to be much of a service, but judging by their gratitude, we seemed to have contributed something meaningful into their lives.

It is not much but our little service made a difference.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Male penguins raise adopted chick

Interesting news from around the world. Taken from the BBC.

Two "gay" male penguins have hatched a chick and are now rearing it as its adoptive parents, says a German zoo.

The zoo, in Bremerhaven, northern Germany, says the adult males - Z and Vielpunkt - were given an egg which was rejected by its biological parents.

It says the couple are now happily rearing the chick, said to have reached four weeks old.

The zoo made headlines in 2005 over plans to "test" the sexual orientation of penguins with homosexual traits.

Three pairs of male penguins had been seen attempting to mate with each other and trying to hatch offspring from stones.

The zoo flew in four females in a bid to get the endangered birds to reproduce - but quickly abandoned the scheme after causing outrage among gay rights activists, who accused it of interfering in the animals' behaviour.

The six "gay" penguins remain at the zoo, among them Z and Vielpunkt who are now rearing the chick together after being given the rejected egg.

"Z and Vielpunkt, both males, gladly accepted their 'Easter gift' and got straight down to raising it," said a zoo statement.

"Since the chick arrived, they have been behaving just as you would expect a heterosexual couple to do. The two happy fathers spend their days attentively protecting, caring for and feeding their adopted offspring."

Humboldt penguins are normally found in coastal Peru and Chile, but their numbers have been dwindling due to overfishing, reports the AFP news agency.

'Drive to mate'

There have been previous reports of exclusive male-to-male pairings among penguins, some of which have also included the rearing of chicks.

Homosexual behaviour is well documented in many different animals, but it is not understood in detail, says Professor Stuart West, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Oxford.

Professor West says it has been suggested that homosexual activity could serve various purposes - for instance, it may relate to social bonding and establishment of dominance among bonobo chimps, while in some bird species, females may come together to rear young.

Other animals may simply exhibit a "drive to mate", while others may, like humans, enjoy non-procreative sexual activity.

"Homosexuality is nothing unusual among animals," Bremerhaven zoo said on Wednesday.

"Sex and coupling up in our world do not necessarily have anything to do with reproduction."

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Terminator Salvation

I managed to catch Terminator Salvation on Sunday. It was better than I expected. The action scenes were great and exciting. Haven't felt this kind of adrenalin rush from a movie for quite some time.

You don't really have to know much about the earlier Terminator movies to follow the story. I would highly recommended it.

The next movie which I really want to watch is Up, Pixar's movie for this year. It's the highest rated movie I have come across on IMDB. Nine out of ten stars.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A logical voice

It's amazing that even after the AWARE EGM on 2nd May, the issue still hasn't died completely. I suppose the Christian fundamentalists really stirred up a hornet's nest when they decided to steeplejack AWARE.

I can't remember who said it, but he said something about he didn't speak up when groups of people were taken away, in the end there is no one left to speak for you when it is your turn.

And if this source is to be believed, the mother-daughter team is deeply involved in a very fundamentalist organisations based in the U.S. I would think that this warrants a more detailed look than Siew Kum Hoong - Swiss connection.

A Reply to Letter by Dr Thio Su Mien dated 18th May 2009, taken from the author's Facebook.

Dear Sir,
It is with amazement that I read Dr Thio Su Miens letter "Gay activists a key constituency of Aware", published on the 18th of May 2009. As a responsible heterosexual member of the public, I feel that it is my duty to respond to her diatribe.

I find the fact that Dr Thio believes that Aware are pushing a pro-homosexual agenda terribly disturbing. To my knowledge, the homosexual lobby in Singapore have never had any political agenda, focusing instead on their right to acceptance in society for who they are, and as noted in the recent 'Pink Dot' gathering, on their right to select their own partners. It is a matter of deep concern that so distinguished a member of our society should display such intolerance towards the sexual inclinations of others. As a law student myself, I find it equally disturbing that a former dean of our law faculty, who must in her time have taught many of our current lawyers to critically appraise what they are told as facts of evidence, should now hold such bigoted and inflexible views herself.

Also, it is deeply disconcerting to note that Dr Thio believes that homosexuality be viewed as negative in the education system. The fact that Aware took a neutral stance when dealing with the issue, is highly laudable. It is with great pride that I say that as a Singaporean, one of the key social values I was taught during my school days was that of acceptance. Education is not about skimming over what some might deem as unpleasant fact, but about giving youth information and the power to make informed decisions over the course of their lives.

I do not understand how the CSE manual's description of anal sex, conditions the minds of teenage students towards acceptance of homosexuality when this is also practised by heterosexuals in the privacy of their own homes. Is Dr Thio oblivious to this fact? To immediately equate the two with one another is a direct admission of an agenda against the homosexually inclined.

The old guard received the vociferous support they did not because it was among their aims to promote a homosexual agenda, but merely because they accepted that certain people were inclined differently. As a 'discerning Singaporean' who has also examined the evidence in print and online accounts, I have come to the conclusion that the purpose of the 'ex-new exco' was to attack a group of people whose sole intention lay in obtaining acceptance of their status as people and not as societal non-grata. If we were to accept her argument that the old guard had a homosexual agenda, then we must also accept that Dr Thio and the group she claimed to have mentored, had an agenda based solely on their religious beliefs. This is eminently borne out by their pastors statement on the pulpit calling on his congregation to support the 'ex-new exco'.

I have always been under the impression that all religions were inclusive, and not exclusive, of human frailties. Given the plural nature of Singapore's society, it is unthinkable that a group consisting of people from a single racial background pushing a single religious agenda, represent the views of our racially diverse and secular populace. We have always been an accepting and tolerant society. The outcome of the whole 'Aware Saga' fills me with hope that we will remain so.

Akesh Abhilash

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Leftward or upward?

I was at Borders yesterday and saw this book called Bonk.

Looks interesting and I flipped through the pages. An interesting paragraph on the the erect penis caught my eye.

According to a Taiwanese doctor who specialises in penile implants, when the penis is erect the most common direction is to the left. This was followed by downwards, left and finally upwards. Sort of like anti-clockwise.

Indeed, this is a startling observation for me. It basically contradicts what I have observed.

From my limited *ahem* experience and the porn that I watched, I have the impression that facing north is the most common one. Thus far, I have only seen one that points left and the rest all point upward.

Anyone else care to share their empirical observations? ;p

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The power of words and fear

It is very difficult to change one's mind if you have already decided beforehand that you are right and gay people are sinful and plain wrong. You will disregard all facts that are contrary to your view.

In addition, it's not enough that you think that you are right, you want the society at large to have the same thoughts and opinions as you. The weapon of choice: fear. Stoke fear that the children are being taught about homosexuality; that anal sex is a neutral word.

Those poor innocent children! Everything and anything must be done to protect them! If not, they will turn out gay!

Obviously, that presupposes that homosexuality is spread by the word of mouth. Like how you convert people other people into your way of thinking. If only it was so.

They who have use the power of words to gather support and spread paranoia are of course wary of it. But hardened minds who think that homosexuality is a choice fail to understand that it is not. Hearing and repeating the word gay doesn't make one turn gay.

Just like how if I say the word heterosexual one thousand times make me want to place my privates into a woman's down under.

But of course you want to admit that you are wrong and irrational would be a great humiliation. Never mind logic, the book says homosexuality is wrong means it is wrong. Never mind that the cold hard evidence shows otherwise.

Because when one start doubting, the whole system of belief begins to crack. The stand on homosexuality is one small part of the belief but ultimately it still is part of it. Admitting a mistake is tantamount to doubting the whole belief, which has taken years to develop and solidify in the cerebral cortex. It would crumble their confidence as no one willingly admits they are wrong.

It is just incomprehensible that someone who is smart enough to be a doctor or a lawyer could be wrong.

But didn't someone say to err is human. Oh wait, that wasn't in the book so it must be not true. So they could not be wrong.

I can understand that they have worked hard to get up on that high moral horse of theirs, surely they are very afraid to fall from it.

That is why when they are afraid of science. Science questions everything. Ideas and hypotheses are always being tested by other scientists. You said this is true, let me try to replicate it. There is a check and balance. You said this is possible, then please show it to me.

But who checks what they do? Who do they answer to when they spread fear and tell lies?

Nobody. They can get away with it because they believe that sitting on a horse gives them the right.

And they are unhappy when the people around them throw horseshit to their faces.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ramblings, sunny hot weather

The common topic of complaint/whining for the past two weeks was the weather. I was already sweating the moment I stepped out from the shower and into my room.

Nothing much has happened over the past three weeks since I came back from KL. It was basically more work and work. Though I did manage to finish this gay novel called When You Don't See Me. It was quite good but the ending was a bit flat.

Though I quite enjoyed it, I didn't think that it was gay enough. It was mostly about Nick, a 19 year-old living in Manhattan who lost a loved from September 11. He dropped out of art school because he didn't know what he wanted to do with his life. Very real people with real problems. Probably I was expecting more drama and excitement; I don't know.

I am now reading a book on cognitive dissonance. It is an interesting aspect of human behaviour whereby we always justify one idea when two opposing ideas exist. It shows that we are more governed by emotions than logic when it happens. An obvious example would be George W Bush continuing with mobilisation of more US troops to Iraq even when it was obvious that there was no WMD.

Meanwhile, the AWARE saga over here has me really riled up when I read the news about the new guard. An example of my own cognitive dissonance.

On a side note, I haven't been watching many movies recently and there are quite a few great movies now like Revolutionary Road and Taken.

There is a long weekend coming up and I really forward to it.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Handsome suit

There is a happiness which you can never have unless you're being yourself - taken from the movie Handsome Suit.

That movie was more enjoyable than I had expected. It was a friend who organised the movie outing. If it was me, I wouldn't have chosen it.

Basically it was like a Japanese version of 300 Pound Beauty, only that the protoganist is a guy instead of a girl. How an ugly guy was given the chance to try out on a suit (which looked like the Michelin Man) that could transform him into a slim and gorgeous looking guy who is popular with the ladies everywhere he goes and eventually become the hottest male model in Japan.

When Takura had to finally decide between choosing between his original self who is a great cook, loving and always cheerful and Anni, the model superstar who could have the greatest happiness surrounded by adoring fans, the audience could really sympathize with him. Being ugly means he has to put up with people making fun of him, discrimination and sometimes subjected to downright cruel treatment from the rest of society.

The truth is that sometimes beautiful people do get away with things. They seemed to live better lives. But Takuro realized that being treated nicely by people he doesn't know or adored by fans is not what makes him happy. It was his customers' satisfied smile, his friends' jokes and his assistant's infectious joy; all the little happiness in his life which he truly treasures.

It's a little reminder to wake up, look carefully and smell the roses.

Overall, a good movie with a timeless message packed with humour and comic situations. Go catch it!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Good Friday

I haven't been blogging for some time now. I have quite a bit of things to pen down but somehow they were never written.

I was back in KL for the Good Friday weekend. Got a chance to finally meet up with a friend who was back from the U.K. for holiday. It was wonderful to see him again after four long years and thus far non-existent U.K. trip. I really want to go to U.K., probably next year, as I haven't been there before.

Mostly my time was spent with my family. On both Saturday and Sunday, my dad took us out for lunch which was almost an hour's drive away. That is one hour too long for me. My dad is a foodie so this kind of things happen quite often.

We had lunch at the foot of Bukit Tinggi on Saturday, where we had fresh river fish and cheap dishes. Sunday's lunch was in Sungai Besi, this restaurant tucked away in an industrial area but was featured before on a good food television program.

Nyk came over for a swim on Sunday. Admittedly I didn't get to see much of him this time, but we did what we could. I will only be seeing him next in 6 weeks' time.

Nyk is pretty stressed at work, so here's wishing that your work goes well dear.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

A week with Nyk

Nyk was here last week. It was great to have him here for a week, though I could only take 2 half days off. I think it was a little exhausting for him as we did quite a bit of walking on some of the days.

He arrived on Monday evening and we went for dinner at Eatzi. The food wasn't that great, but it was passable. The next day was a very busy day for me as it was the quarter end. So he had to spend the afternoon wandering about in Tanjong Pagar with James.

On Wednesday, we went for the Henderson Waves trail again. Think the whole trek from Harbourfront MRT to Hort Park is about 5 kilometers. Nyk was complaining that his feet ached thereafter.

Before that we had lunch at this place called Fre(n)sh which serves French food. He had a quiche and I had tartines. It was really quite good, though slightly on the expensive side. They had set meals throughout the day though and those are more worth it.

I got the chance to savour Nyk's cooking on Thursday. Even with the very limited available condiments at home, he managed to make do and came up with chicken chop, herbal soup and vegetables. It was really quite nice and satisfying to eat a meal cooked by a loved one.

On Saturday, we went to Botanic Gardens. My only time there had been two years ago. We spent the whole morning there and then proceeded to Shaw Tower for an affordable Thai meal.

His timing to visit me at the end of March couldn't be better, as it only coincided a little with my busy period. The week before was absolutely crazy as I had to stayed back for the whole week. So I believe that we did spend as much time as possible in that 5 days he was here.

It was really comforting to come back home to have Nyk waiting for me. I am sure he feels the same. It does make me yearn more for an actual home for the both of us.

I suppose the emotional and physical benefits of a relationship is more important that anything else. My god brother asked me the other day, how do you know that your partner is the one. I replied, you don't. A relationship is hard work. There has to be a lot of communication and giving. Of course the giving part is done willingly.

To me, love is supposed to make me want to become a better person. For him, for me. I think one of the qualities I have improved on is patience and to start with, I am not a very patient person by nature.

All in all, we had a very wonderful time last week. You should come down more often, dear.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Manhunt Singapore 2009

I didn't have time to blog anything this week, so I will leave you guys some pictures I took from Manhunt Singapore 2009, held in Heeren for the past three weeks. The finals was just held yesterday.

I didn't manage to take pictures of all the participants; only those that were in my view as it wasn't easy to move around the crowds surrounding the stage. The pictures are also not cropped, my apologies.

If you noticed that there is one person that appears a lot in the pictures, he is the winner for this year's Manhunt. His name is Yu Hao.

And I do have the most pictures of him. Of course it wasn't intentional and I had no idea that he would emerge the winner. I do agree that he is cute in a boyish way. He looks the most scrawny amongst the other beefier and hunkier contestants. According to reports, he has been hitting the gym to beef up and there is improvement in his body since the preliminaries.

But my personal favourite is Jason Chee, the one in the final two pictures. Those yummy abs and he has this hot tattoo his right shoulder. Drool.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Different approaches to deal breakers

Love has found its way into two persons I know. I am happy for both of them. One has been searching for some time now and the other is his first ever relationship.

Speaking of the former, she has a very different view on starting a relationship from mine. To me, the getting to know each other and dating stage is the most fun and exciting. Everything is new and fresh. We learn about each other slowly, probably starting from 20% on the first meet and progressing to a higher level of intimacy.

But after two failed relationships, she prefers to go straight to the point. No more starting from zero and progressing from there. It starts from 70% (the most embarrassing details / weakest character / most annoying traits) are shared right at the beginning. Then only they move on to the smaller details.

I was quite shocked that she would do that. But then I remember it is not that much different from those who prefer to have sex first, found out that wow sex was great, then only consider the other person for dating as steps 1-2-3. To some people, sex is the most important thing and that condition has to be satisfied first before moving on to other things.

So to start with the thing that is the deal breaker first is very practical. No point going further ahead who knows how long, possibly weeks and months ahead to find out that the deal breaker really breaks the relationship.

But to me, where is the fun in that? I know that the dating process could be long, it could get tiring if it doesn't work out and we have to start all over again.

There will always be people who don't make the cut for us but they could be perfect to someone else. Different people value different things. It may take twenty wrong guys before the right one is found, but that should not stop us from trying.

Maybe I am just a true believer in love. That even though it may hurt and the search could be long, but I believe that ultimately it is worth it.

I still remember when I first started to meet people from online. I had to repeat the same things about myself over and over to different people. It did feel tedious and pointless sometimes, but I liked the feeling of getting to know more about other people's lives, their likes and dislikes, personalities etc.

It is the journey that matters, not the destination. It is cliche and very Buddhist, but that is how I see it.

It is like shopping. The more you want something, the higher the anticipation. You talk about it, you dream about it, you crave for it very much. It is all part of the journey.

But once you buy the desired item, the feeling changes. You got it and the feeling of satisfaction can only last so long, probably a month at the most.

Of course I am not saying that things go downhill from there. I just feel that it is best to take things as they come; to go with the flow.

Still, to each his or her own. As long as it works. Thus, I sincerely wish both of my friends the best of luck and lots of happiness.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Weekends whereabouts

I usually spend one weekend days outdoors and the other indoors. I like to spend time doing my own things like reading or watching some movies I download.

However, I have not been able to have this luxury for the past 6 weeks. On Saturdays I usually go to the gym right before noon and then meet up with William for lunch followed by a movie. Although William is back in Washington now, my Saturdays are still busy with outings with friends (my birthday celebration two weekends ago) and buffet lunches (last weekend).

On Sundays, either I would have a tuina session which will take the half an afternoon followed by board games or I would be in the office.

Not that I am complaining. I feel like I am getting to this new weekend routine. Previously I was recharging my batteries by staying at home and lounging. But now I am unwinding in a different way.

Sometimes, I feel like it wasn't even a weekend at all. Or that the weekend seems to zoom past faster when I spend time out of home.

I just feel like I am constantly doing and not enough time to just slow down. To reflect and contemplate.

Anyway, I have been hitting the gym at least twice a week. There is a noticeable difference in that I feel more energetic and not as tired even after a long day's work.

I suppose that's why some people just can't get enough of gymming; this boost of energy level actually feels good and could be addictive. Hence there are people who visit the gym almost every day.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Busy busy

It has been a very busy week for me since 1st of March. My job is actually pretty routine, with some work days pretty slow especially at the beginning of the month. But if there are ad-hoc stuff that needs to be done then I get pretty busy. Especially when it rains, it pours. The ad-hoc stuff just gets more tedious and never-ending.

Luckily, the weekend wasn't taken over by work. Well, not completely. Two weekends ago, I thought I could finish my work by getting into office early. I underestimated the time needed, so I left it unfinished and went to gym. After that I had lunch and movie with William.

Movie was He's Just Not That Into You. It gave me some insight into the mysterious minds of the straight woman. Some things are so true, like how they always create drama when there was none, how they dissect every little action of a man and how they basically think too much. Perfectly fit my colleague to a T ;-)

Right after I left the cinema, it was back to the office for me. I managed to get the job done in 3 hours.

What a weekend!

Anyway I'm still doing the 25 things about myself list from Facebook. I didn't know it was that hard to come up with things not commonly. But let me clarify that it won't be as revealing as Nyk's!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Oscars 2009

The Oscars are finally over. Not many surprises in most of the major acting categories.

I am extremely glad that I managed to catch Slumdog Millionaire last Saturday, just before the Oscars. I could definitely see why it is hugely popular. It is edgy, vibrant and essentially a message of hope.

But it did tug at my heartstrings that Mumbai kids are living in poverty and violence. They are begging and scrimping on food. Preying amongst themselves just to get by. It seems quite impossible for them to escape from poverty and violence in a city of 14 million people.

I had expected Slumdog to win Best Movie, as opposed to The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. The latter is quite good as well, taking an interesting concept and making it into an engaging story. Brad Pitt was candy to the eyes as he became more yummilicious as he aged.

However, it did feel a little draggy at times. It also had a lot of similarity with Forrest Gump, which is not surprising since both the screenplays were written by the same person.

And Cate Blanchett wasn't even nominated for Best Actress! She was absolutely brilliant and completely outshone Brad Pitt. But Brad Pitt was the one who got nominated for Best Actor pulak.

Of course, Sean Penn fully deserves his second Oscar. Kudos to Dustin Lance Black too for his original screenplay award.

Kate Winslet performance was good in The Reader, but it wasn't that great to win an Oscar. Apparently, she was much better in Revolutionary Road which she wasn't nominated for.

All in all, I am extremely pleased to have watched most of the Oscar-nominated movies. The only two that I have yet to watch is Frost/Nixon and Departures. The latter is the winner for Best Foreign Film and it will be shown next week! Yay!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

To be ourselves

I suppose it is easier to live a life when you know what is expected of you. It is much harder to create your own choices and expectations. Takes effort to redefine ones roles and responsibilities.

I do realise that it is not easy to do so either. Many years of social conditioning can do that to people. Things like guys making the first move to ask girls out, girls not encouraged to show affection first; these things confound me.

Of course, if one is happy to live within these rules and boundaries, then it's alright. But when one is not, isn't it time to change?

We have only one life and I believe we should live it the best we could. We should be the captain of our own ship and not let the wind and seas dictate where we go.

Being true to oneself could be difficult especially when we feel obliged to please the people around us or to fulfill their expectations. I have realised that it is pointless to do so. Why live up to other people's standards? Why make others happy when you yourself is not?

It might sound selfish, but isn't there a saying about being liked and accepted for who you are, rather than someone you are not, is much better? Because in the end, the choices that we make or don't make that affect ourselves the most. People around us might prefer that we make another choice, but it is not them that live our lives. We do.

Be true to yourself, and be proud of it.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Valentine's Day 2009

Valentine's Day was yesterday (like duh!). I don't find it to be any special compared to other days. Except of course retailers and restaurant owners and everyone else who sells something don't think so.

I seldom credit straight men for their intelligence and Valentine's Day is a huge illustration of that fact. I simply couldn't imagine spending $10 for a stalk of rose. Or pay a meal that is at least 2 to 3 times more expensive than other days.

I was out for gym at 11 in the morning. Had a really good workout and then headed out to Orchard Road. Love wasn't in the air yet; they were still in bed. There wasn't that many people out and about yet. No roses, no pink-wrapped gifts, no matching T-shirts.

I was thinking, "Wow, I could really enjoy this day being outside. No cliche display of mushy lovey dovey affection. Thank God for the economic recession."

I headed to Takashimaya and found that they were having a post-CNY sale. 2xist underwear were selling for $10-$15. There were not many sizes left, but I still managed to grab some.

Then I headed back to California Fitness to meet William. By this time, lovebirds had awaken and they were seen everywhere. The spirit of entrepreneurship (or taking advantage of suckers) was alive as there were stalls selling flowers and teddy bears on the street.

I ignored them.

We headed to Shokudo for lunch, which is like a Japanese Marche. I had the tonkatsu omu rice which was quite good. William had tonkatsu ramen. He also ordered a cold sake. It was my first time having sake. The alcohol taste was strong but it tasted smooth and slightly sweet. I quite like it.

After that I watched The Wrestler, the movie which Mickey Rourke is nominated for a Best Actor Oscar. He was pretty good playing the role of a has-been wrestler who tried to escape from his downtrodden life. I quite enjoyed it even though it didn't have a happy ending.

I was supposed to meet the gang at City Hall for dinner, but I was running a bit late. Wanted to eat at the Thai restaurant at Shaw Tower but unfortunately they had closed for the day. We ended up having Vietnamese at the Suntec Convention Center instead.

The plan for Valentine's was to spend time with my dear friends. There is not only romantic love to be thankful for on Valentine's. We had a great time playing board games. We laughed, we had fun and it was indeed a memorable Valentine's. Thanks for coming guys!

Of course, I would have preferred my Valentine to be with me but yeah, I would have to make do. He was deeply missed in my heart.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Hidden trail

I took half day of work a few days ago to go trekking, right in this urban city of Singapore. I wouldn't have thought that the city has something like this to offer, what with the low Bukit Timah as the highest natural ground in Singapore.

I was with PL and her two friends. Our objective was to see the Henderson Wave. It is the tallest pedestrian bridge in Singapore and its shaped like a wave, hence the name.

We started trek started from somewhere near Vivocity, after having lunch at Superdog. As an aside, it was my first time eating at Superdog and I quite like the fish burger that they serve. Oh, their fries come with a beef-and-onion sauce, which I think is similar to the kind of sauce on A&W's coney dog. The fries were lovely when eaten with the sauce.

Anyway, we started with the Marang trail and ended up at Mt Faber. Mt Faber is where the expensive Jewel Box is, which houses a few high-end restaurants that has a wonderful view of the harbour and Sentosa.

View from Mt Faber, at the Jewel Box

The weather was just great with the sun mostly hidden behind clouds. It was a pleasant hike to Mt Faber. It is like trekking in wild forests, but with nicely paved paths. Not quite back to nature where the trail itself would be soil and not tiles or cement.

Some of the fauna which we managed to catch sight of.

The lizard above was pretty well camouflaged on the ground but one of us manage to spot it. Its shiny scales were deceiving; I thought it was a very short snake. But really, it was beautiful and utterly motionless while we were snapping pictures 3 feet away.

Finally we reached Henderson Waves. It looks like the deck of a ship with its wooden floor and sail-like wave design. There was a cool breeze blowing which enhanced the effect of being on a ship.

From Mt Faber to Henderson Wave, it took us about 2 hours as we stopped quite often to take pictures. I was pleasantly surprised by the very existence of this trail. Indeed, one of the hidden gems in Singapore.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Sweat the small stuff

Relationships are hard work. Two people, with all their imperfections trying to create something fulfilling, meaningful and mutually beneficial.

No relationship is without its arguments and disagreements. It is how it is solved that matters.

Experts always warn about issues like money, children, chores and other differences in expectations of major issues as main conflict points. But sometimes and possibly quite often too, it is the small things. Little things that no one expect to be an issue become one.

There must exist the commitment to overcome them. That the relationship is more important than issues. Give and take has to occur. Patience, buckets of them, are needed.

Ultimately, communication is key. Problems cannot be solved by keeping quiet. Issues will not go away just because it is not spoken.

For me, I am glad that my relationship has been going well despite some hiccups. There are things which I do not like and do not understand, but I do or not do them because Nyk is happier that way. And he does the same.

Because of that, our relationship continues to grow and strengthen.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

How now, brown cow

I am back in Singapore and tomorrow it's back to work for me, while Nyk has still another day off (it's a replacement public holiday for tomorrow in KL).

My parents was quite worried about my job, what with reports of companies cutting jobs everyday. No wonder they are spooked! Still, I think I am pretty safe. No signs of bad new yet. No new is good news, I suppose.

Still, I understand that there are still vacancies available in my line of work. So it's not as bleak as other industries.

CNY this year has been pretty quiet. I didn't go out much for pai nien as most of my friends have gone back to work on Wednesday itself. It was only Nyk and SK who came for visit on the second day. That's about it.

I also got to savour my favourite pineapple tarts. The traditional ones, not those where the jam is wrapped or covered.

This trip back to KL was quite fruitful, as I got to spend quite a bit of time with Nyk. We went to this restaurant called The Cave, where the interior was designed to look like well ... a cave. It was a pretty interesting concept and it was definitely reflected in the food prices.

We ordered the set lunches. The food was decent, but nothing great.

On Saturday, there was a gathering of my high school friends in the afternoon but unfortunately I was already on the bus ride back to Singapore.

A new start to the working year. Here's wishing everyone a good start to the Year of the Brown Cow, which actually starts this Wednesday.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Happy Moo Year

I am back in KL for Chinese New Year. Although it's for a week and seems long, it doesn't feel as such. It is already Tuesday and I will be going back to Singapore on Saturday.

This Chinese New Year is more quiet, as I don't have much time to visit friends. Second day is always to visit my maternal grandmother.

And this year on the fourth day, my whole family is going to Genting for a Shaolin kungfu performance. So the whole day gone.

First day of CNY is a non-visiting day and thus I was at home watching television and reading a book.

That only leaves Wednesday and Friday free for myself. But Wednesday is my anniversary with Nyk and of course it is just the two of us.

Fortunately I got to meet a friend of mine yesterday for yum cha. He brought two of his friends along, whom I met before last Chinese New Year. I invited Nyk too and everyone had a blast chatting over drinks.

Although it is a little late, I wish my readers a very happy and prosperous Year of the Cow (as there is more yin than yang, according to a feng shui master). May the year ahead bring lots of happiness, wealth, health, opportunities and love to you.

Gong xi gong xi!

Monday, January 19, 2009

When it's time, it's time

I just learned a new phrase this weekend. Serial monogamy. It was mentioned by Nick and coincidentally it was also mentioned on Trevvy in their recent editorial feature.

Basically, serial monogamy is going from a relationship to another, whenever the current one becomes unfulfilling or unsalvageable. To me, it seems an intermediate stage between a one night stand and a relationship. It is longer than a fling but shorter than a long term relationship.

One goes into a relationship not expecting to be long term and hence when it really does end, it would be relatively easier. One enjoys the stability of a relationship which comes in the form of emotional support and physical needs. There are dates and movies and gathering with each other’s friends. It does seem like a perfectly healthy relationship.

There is a sense of familiarity but at the back of the mind, you realize that it would end one day.

I suppose this is really taking the 7 habits literally, begin with the end in mind.

To quote from Trevvy, where the author in turn quoted from Before Sunrise:
the ideal relationship was two intense years, with clean breaks, fresh starts, friends for life, something like that. It's like if you knew your relationship had to end in two years, there would be no room for fighting or wasted time. There could be more love and appreciation for one another. ... If everyone you met you knew was going to die at midnight, you would be a much more compassionate person.

Perhaps it is that relationships work best if we don't drag them on unnecessarily; if we step into them with the primary objective of getting the most out of it, emotionally, spiritually, in whichever ways, even if that means letting the relationship be short-lived. Too often we're more preoccupied with how far and long the relationship will go instead of making every second of it worthwhile and letting things run their natural course.

Indeed, if the relationship couldn’t be salvaged then really it is time to move on. No point wasting each other's time. But I do believe that breaking up should be the last option, not the first. All effort to save the relationship should be tried before finally waving the white flag.

The main thing is that you have given whatever you can into the relationship to make it work. This is totally different from dating someone and dumping him when someone better comes along.

Ultimately, I think what the author is trying to say that relationships have its own expiry date too, be it a break-up or death. Nothing is permanent; treasure every moment together and a break up could be the best, no matter how difficult, thing to do.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Shopping and ginseng

Yesterday I was out with my ex-colleague. We were doing some catching up and at the same time, she wanted to get a shirt for her boyfriend. Apparently, he only has whites, blacks and greys. Not surprisngly, she wanted something to brighten up his wardrobe.

She saw this white red shirt with white stripes at Banana Republic, which is very outstanding and eye-catching. Unfortunately, they only have size 17 left, which is an XL size. I usually wear M but for their label, a 14 suits me just fine.

So she has to choose something else for her boyfriend. We continued looking but in the end, her purse was not unopened. Instead it was me who was carrying shopping bags. I bought a striped pink and purple polo T for Chinese New Year and a T-shirt from Celio for Nyk.

For today, I had to wake up early to go for tui na, which is a form of Chinese massage which works on acupressure points. PL's mom has been doing this for a long time and we decided to engage her services. The appointment was fixed at 11pm for both MJ and me.

I usually have a stiff shoulder and back due to hours sitting at the desk facing the PC. So tui na is supposed to loosen the muscles and get the blood flowing and the nerves firing again.

It was a 1 hour session and I was told it was going to be painful. Yes, it was painful at certain points, like when she pressed my butt cheeks (apparently there is this point in the center of the butt cheek which is really painful when pressed but it clears up some nerves somewhere) and behind my knee (the soft part right behind; apparently its due to walking or standing too much).

It was painful but bearable. I did let out a soft moan or two but I did feel good after that. I could feel the muscles relaxed and loosened. Still, the prognosis for me was so good; there are some blockages somewhere in my body.

She noted that my hands and legs are colder than it should be which means that blood circulation is not as it should be. These extremities are colder to the touch than the rest of my body.

The solution is return for a few more sessions of tui na and to eat "healing" food, like chicken essence and ginseng. And of course to return for a few more sessions.

Looks like I have to upgrade my life to a tai-tai from now on as I have to feast on this sort of delicacies and go for massages. Who wants to buy me ginseng and massage vouchers? ;-)

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Happily gay

My colleagues whom I am out to, occasionally says that I am in too deep; that I cannot be saved. In the first place, I am not in danger. Secondly, save me from what, I don't know.

Of course, I know they mean well. They meant that I am too gay to turn straight. In too deep to pull out.

But what is so great about being straight anyway? When I was still a wee teen, yeah I would. To fit in and not to be different. But now that I am perfectly comfortable with who I am, I don't really see the point.

I am certain that many will choose to be straight, if given a choice and a 100% conversion rate. I am aware that there are people whose lives would be so much better and improvement in all areas of life if they were straight and be like everyone else.

For me, even if I could, I wouldn't. Not that I chose to be gay in the first place, but since I am, I am fine with that thank you very much.

The reason is because I like being who I am. I am different (I know we are all different, but you know what I mean) and all these years I have looked at the world in a different light. I notice things that straight people usually would not. I have become who I am from years of experiencing things in a way distinct from other people.

Men claim they don't understand woman and woman claim they don't get men. I suppose it makes their lives more interesting spending a lot of time trying to figure out their partners. It is already difficult enough to understand someone as an individual, so taking away the sexual differences helps.

Besides, I don't look at a woman and think of her, "She is female and hence she is expected / probably / supposed to / going to act like this." There is gender roles defined and predetermined. We are just two guys who love each other, Nyk and I. Our roles are fluid and interchangeable.

Perhaps for some people, predefined roles and expectations are comforting. They know what to do and what is expected of them. They don't need to reinvent the wheel. They don't have to start from a blank piece of paper. The map is drawn and one just need to follow the directions.

One other pertinent issue. Sex is important to guys. I would think that it is the same for women too.

If public surveys and opinion were to be believed, three quarters of women have faked an orgasm. Obviously I can't speak for the straight males, but I always believe in reciprocity and mutual gratification.

I definitely would want my partner to feel great and achieve orgasm. And I do know for sure when he does. There's no faking it. For me, this certainty of the male reaction comforts me.

My colleague revealed that she had wanted to pair me with her best friend. This was before she knew about my sexual orientation. She jokingly said why must I turn out to be gay.

But most probably I may not be who I am if I were straight. I may not be sweet and cute, to quote someone (I am flattered). I might turn out to be some male chauvinist, wife beater and foul-mouth straight guy.

As they say, all the good guys are either taken or gay.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging

I watched this movie called Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging, by the same director of Bend It Like Beckham. I quite like the latter, so I thought I would like her latest movie too.

And I was right.

As you could probably guess from the movie title, it is a movie about all those things, from the perspective of a 14 year-old named Georgia. Or as her friends call her, G.

It is quite a hilarious movie on how tweens deal with things like crushes, boyfriends, kisses, uncool parents and organising the coolest birthday party.

Someone commented that it is like a very much younger version of Bridget Jones.

But the movie was made the more enjoyable by this cutie called Aaron Johnson, who played G's crush Robbie. He has such dreamy eyes and lopsided smile. In the movie, he's a member of a band.

Unfortunately, he is not that famous and this is the best picture I could find online. But trust me, he looked waaaay cuter in the movie.

He even has a shirtless scene.

Many would probably disagree, but I think Johnson is hotter than that guy in the Disney musical ... errr ... what's his name ... oh, you know who .....

Overall it is an excellent movie and I would recommend it if you like Bridget Jones. Even if you did not, its British humour and sarcasm made it enjoyable one for me.

A rating of 3.5 stars and an additional half star just because of Aaron Johnson ;-)

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Two oh oh nine

Another year, another beginning of all things good. A new hope; a new dawn.

I suppose new years force us to think back and reflect. Going through the paces of life, sometimes we forget who and what we are and where we are going. A changing of a digit makes us pause and take a breather.

As I don't really like crowds, I spent New Year's Eve at home, cuddled with a book. I really want to catch up on my reading; there are too many books which are yet to be flipped open on my shelves.

My New Year's was pretty uneventful. I would say downright boring and inappropriate start to 2009. I was behind my desk in the office for a good 5 hours. It was indeed unfortunate, but it was necessary.

After that, I went to indulge in my favourite past time. I caught Seven Pounds, starring Will Smith. The phrase was taken from the Bible, if I am not wrong; seven pounds of flesh. The story was indeed interesting, but it takes just a little too long to get to the main point.

Still, the cast all did a great job in their roles. Clocking at 2 hours, it didn't feel that long as the actors and actresses carried their roles very well. I was kept guessing till the final 30 minutes of the movie.

To all my readers, wishing you a very Happy New Year 2009. May the year bring you

and hope you enjoy life in all its multitude of colours.