i love daylight savings. it means when i get home at 6:30 it’s still nice and bright for me to walk the 20 metres to the library. i’ve decided that no matter where we move to next, “close to library” will definitely be a major plus for me.
by the way, i love my husband! he’s doing the dirty dishes now without complaining because i’ve got a stiff neck. and even if i didn’t, he would do them. he also does the laundry! feeling so blessed right now.
so those who know me, food and me have an extremely intense connection. i feel personally insulted if someone tries to keep me from helping myself at the dinner table and / or when the food is positively unedible – like at ‘miso’ at world square sydney where i was served a small cold soft shell crab and stinky salmon sashimi – and the waitress does nothing about it (no free dish or discount).
so anyway yesterday a few of us went to mamak at chinatown. sydney siders will know who incredibly popular the place is. expect to wait at least half an hour for seating ANY day of the week (but the good thing is, the food comes out fast). my expectations were pretty low given that i’ve tried other malaysian/singaporean food (temasek, kopitiam and ginger and spice) and at best they suppress my cravings. i’ve never really been blown away by any of the food. this time was different. when i put that fork full of mee goreng into my mouth, i suddenly started thinking of singapore. i started thinking about my friends there and my family and singapore in general. i suddenly felt so homesick that i was going to cry.
it felt almost exactly like how the food critic in ratatouille felt when he ate the dish ratatouille for the first time. it was such a weird experience, one i thought was only possible in prose, not in real life.
it’s interesting how most singapore national day songs assume that singaporeans will venture overseas for a period of their lives. see also “my island home”.
this video makes me nostalgic. i remember watching it ten years ago and surprisingly loving it. the feelings haven’t changed.
i’ll actually be in singapore for national day this year. first time in 8 or 9 years. can’t wait. i actually secretly like national day, even though i haven’t readily admitted it for many years. it’s so exciting and i love how when you go, you get a whole showbag full of goodies to rattle, click, blow, burst and wave. i remember going to a national day parade when i was about three or four and coming in contact for the first time with a glow stick. it was so amazing. i remember running home to nainai’s house and showing her the glowstick and the excitement of looking at its neon yellow light glow in the dark.
anyway speaking of glow sticks, i can’t believe that nat and his family had never seen a glowstick until new year’s even 2004 (going to 2005). i remember the excitement nat and his niece shared when upon taking home the goodie bag from a new year’s eve dinner, they apprehensively cracked a glow stick (at my urging – don’t worry, you won’t break it!) to see it glow. nat’s niece loved it. she just kept looking at it, mesmerized by its luminescent quality.
“You, the mothers who sent their sons from faraway countries, wipe away your tears. Your sons are now lying in our bosom and at peace. After having lost their lives on this land, they become our sons too.”
Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish Republic
what a beautiful quote. just watching the anzac day parade and tributes on tv throughout the day has made me teary. one thing i hvae appreciated about being here in australia these nine odd years is the spirit of mateship australians hold dear to their hearts. i remember my year 12 history teacher breaking down in tears each time she told us stories from gallipoli and the great war. needless to say, i was in tears too.
i don’t think i can really say the same about singaporeans. i think we’re slowly forgetting the sacrifices that our forefathers made during world war II. it seems like a movie plot just thinking about the torture our forefathers went through, the cruelty they faced in the hands of the japanese. i do remember learning in secondary 2 about how the barbaric japanese mercilessly pierced the wombs of pregnant women and plunged their knives into innocent infants.
i think singapore should have a day commemorating the glorious dead and noble servicemen that gave their lives defending our country as well. you know, lest we forget. so i say to the descendants of anzacs who suffered and lost their lives in changi or in battle in singapore, as one whose great-grand uncle was taken away by the japanese never to be heard of again,
your sons are our sons too.
We slept when we were tired and if we woke the other one woke too so one was not alone. Often a man wishes to be alone and a girl wishes to be alone too and if they love each other they are jealous of that in each other, but I can truly say we never felt that. We could feel alone when we were together, alone against the others.
Ernest Hemingway ‘A Farewell To Arms’
so this is week two in our noddy house and whilst we still don’t have internet (we are going to get wireless – which means no need for any phone connections, just plug in and go), we now have a tiny little television set. borrowed from our bible study leaders. it’s a tiny white samsung tv and since we don’t have a tv stand yet, it sits on a box of plates. also precariously perched on another box of plates is our indoor antenna, which is really quite good. however, we are looking forward to getting a proper tv and tv stand because you just can’t live normally with your tv and tv antenna on your boxes of dishes!
oh and yesterday nat and i caught australian gladiators for the first time. it brought me back to about ten or so years ago when i used to watch american gladiators with the dude and the yaya. i LOVED it. anyway, the australian gladiator games are exactly the same games as the ones played ten years ago in american gladiator! i mean, as much as they make me feel all nostalgic and everything, can’t they come up with new games? oh and the aussie gladiators aren’t as cool as the american ones. nat agrees. he used to watch american gladiators too in his little kampung too! hehe. i remember last time when dude and yaya and i were younger we used to pretend to be american gladiators and i was the MC and i came up with different challenges and i made them compete and fight against each other. it was really fun! especially the one where they had to jump off the high ladder (the one who dared to jump off the highest rung won)! hehe.
so this evening, after dinner, nat and i went to check out the library. as i’d been there before and found out they had free internet services, free book loans and free playstation loans, i was eager to show nat my new fantastic discovery. soon after signing up for his very own library card, we spent some time exploring the little library. i don’t know if i’ve mentioned it in the earlier post, but it has been newly renovated and so it has a very welcoming, modern, cosy neighbourhood kind of atmosphere. lovely! it even has a whole section full of different fashion, lifestyle, papercrafts (woohoo!), sports, cars etc magazines that library members can borrow. wonderful. it also has sofas around the library which made the atmosphere all the more welcoming. very impressed. it has different shelves for mysteries, biographies / autobiographies, romance & family, horror, science fiction etc… it also has a little section for ‘new arrivals’ where i found a book about barack obama i decided that i just had to break in my spanking new library card and borrowed it. i’m still a ron paul supporter though, but i’ve decided that i’d just read this book to keep more informed! nat wandered around and picked up a copy of BRW. he was very pleased as well. woo hoo! so many books, magazines, dvds etc at our fingertips and they are free. i’m really looking forward to our new lifestyle.
today i spent the day bringing things from my parents-in-law’s house to the noddy house. i took my time and tried not to stress about it. it was very good and actually quite relaxing. so far, i’ve unloaded most of my clothes (some of nat’s – he wants to go through his things first) and most of my scrapbook stuff. you’ll see when i finally take photos of the new place that scrapbooking will be a very prominent feature of this house.
tomorrow i shall spend the day cleaning the place – it’s not extremely filthy, just a few dirty surfaces and cupboards, and then do more moving. so far so good.
if you are like me, you will normally find contemporary speeches made by australian ministers (prime ministers included) extraordinarily dull. but recently i have found that for some reason the recent speeches made by the prime minister and opposition minister have been surprisingly inspiring, motivational and even of a (dare i say it?) lump-in-the throat quality.
for example, prime minister rudd’s “sorry” speech was a spectacularly crafted masterpiece i think. which pleased not only the left but the conversative evangelical right (with it’s biblical references). it was marvelous and if anyone knows who the speechwriter is, please let me know.
brendan nelson’s “sorry” speech, although not as brilliant was good. and i say this despite of the many who literally and disrespectfully turned their backs whilst he was speaking.
and again today, i was just so surprised by the excellent quality of brendan nelson’s speech. if i had to rate it by the number of times i got a lump in my throat and wanted to burst out singing “advance australia fair” (and i’m not even aussie), i would give it 7.5. which is pretty darn good given that australian speeches hardly even rate past six in my book. it was just brilliant. the wordsmith who carefully and meticulously crafted each and every word, each and every punctuation, each and every provocative phrase, each and every personal story, each and every reference to a real working class family is pure genius. i can’t believe i am sitting here praising a leader of the opposition’s speech to the national press club. it’s just bizarre. it was just amazing. i think if i were an australian citizen, i would burst out sobbing. just from the sheer beauty of his oration. and guess what, he memorised the whole damn thing (no teleprompter, no notes). i’m sitting here watching him take questions and i’m equally gobsmacked. he’s answering questions so articulately, not drawling and avoiding questions like his predecessor. oh, and dr nelson practically shouted out that marriage is only between a man and a woman and that he does NOT surport gay marriage. gotta love his courage.
i hope that one day when i go back to singapore, i will be able to craft something as beautiful as that – all the time. one day when i become some great political speechwriter, i want every address to a heartland community centre, every introduction and reading of a bill, every national day address to be of such lump in the throat quality. well. i can dream right?
this song, “bubbly” by colbie caillat is my new favourite song. it definitely goes into the soundtrack of my life. it just makes me want to start running around and dancing. love the music video too.
anyway nat and i found a house. it’s a tiny tiny little noddy house. really. not unlike the kind of house noddy lives in. tiny. we decided on it because:
1) it is near my parents in law – just a few houses away – major plus point since we will be going there for dinner every night
2) it is near the bus stop
3) it is near the library – which is important. why it is will be explained soon.
4) it is near the shops
5) it has been renovated – so it is new inside and that was nat’s top priority (he has since changed his mind and now wants space)
6) the local police station is two streets away from us – i plan to keep them on speed dial
7) another suburb’s police station is just three minutes away – so basically i’m surrounded by police stations – which is a good thing and a bad thing – because it makes you ask the question, WHY ARE THERE SO MANY POLICE STATIONS IN THIS AREA!?!?!?!? please, don’t answer that question.
problems with it:
1) it is tiny – slightly larger than a studio. TINY TINY TINY
2) it has no phone line
3) it has no TV antenna connection
4) it is tiny – oh, i said that before
5) it is near the main road – good and bad
so because it has NO phone line connection, we have been thinking about how to get internet and everything. then just this morning, i walked over to the library, which i said was just opposite it (i think i could run from my house to the library in less than 30 seconds) and realised THEY HAD FREE INTERNET! all you had to do was to SIGN UP and you get FREE INTERNET in a computer lab. HOW COOL IS THAT! and the library is really quite cool. reminds me of the PLC library. very nice and newly renovated and lots of friendly librarians around.
so i quickly signed up and ran home to call nat and tell him that because our little noddy house was so near the library, we could save on LAND LINE PHONE and INTERNET simply by using the internet next door. that’s a MASSIVE SAVINGS OF 100 a month! woo hoo! plus we don’t have to pay to install a telephone line! :D
anyway today i also realised that not having a TV connection is ok too because we can always get a TV antenna and we can always use my parents in law’s internet and TV when we go over for dinner. so everything works out. there. i’m being positive about everything!
plus i was thinking not having the internet at home will allow me more time to READ the books i get to borrow for FREE from the library WHICH IS NEXT DOOR and SCRAPBOOK instead of go on facebook all the time. i might even write the great singaporean novel there and one day decades from now, this little noddy house may become a great tourist attraction because it was there that the great singaporean novel was written. haha
this afternoon, i chanced upon a movie about a famous american abolitionist fanny kemble. born and raised in england, she moved to america with her husband only to discover the horrors of slavery on his georgian plantation. i was moved to tears. it was such an amazing story and it reminded me that according to statistics, there are more slaves now than ever before. how can that be when we pride ourselves to be more civilised, more modern, more democratic than ever before? how can that be? it’s disgusting and shameful.
her story echoed other famous abolitionists like ex-slave frederick douglass and famous english abolitionist william wilberforce’s never-ending struggles to end slavery. and it made me think, we too, should do something.
some quick stats i got from the International Justice Mission website:
– According to the United Nations Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery, an estimated 20 million people were held in bonded slavery as of 1999.
– In 2004 there are more slaves than were seized from Africa during four centuries of trans-Atlantic slave trade. (Kevin Bales, Disposable People)
– In 1850 a slave in the Southern United States costs the equivalent of $40,000 today. According to Free the Slaves, a slave today costs an average of $90.
– Approximately two-thirds of today’s slaves are in South Asia. Human Rights Watch estimates that in India alone there are as many as 15 million children in bonded slavery.
and let’s not forget that slavery is everywhere. in australia as well: http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/lifting-the-veil-on-the-slave-trade/2006/07/08/1152240536201.html?page=fullpage
what can we do? well International Justice Mission has many ways for people to contribute but I guess the first and easiest way is to donate money! IJM also has other ways in which we can get involved. I’m going to look at those options right now.