Shall We Dance?

Shall We Dance?

I saw this on Sunday. Reluctantly, as my friend wanted to see it.

I thought it was ok. I didn’t see the original, but heard it was funny.

Here’s a line from the Hollywood version:

“We need a witness to our lives. There’s a billion people on the planet… I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you’re promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things… all of it, all of the time, every day. You’re saying ‘Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness’.”

This is great.

The foreign brides issue is pretty hot here in Singapore. I had some conversations with different people regarding this. It’s complex and I know many people have strong views over this matter.

I have great sympathy for the many men who cannot find a wife here and resort to “buying” foreign brides. For some of them, it’s not an issue of women’s rights, money or society’s norms.

They may simply be desperate for a witness to their lives.

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At the Urinal

We have a really small toilet here where I work.

I really hate it when I find someone I know at the urinal when I enter. If it’s someone I know rather well, that’s fine. But if it’s just a casual acquaintance, that’s when all the trouble begins.

You see, this person will then have his back faced towards me. I will then have a choice to greet him or I can saunter quietly to the next urinal, not far from him, without saying a word.

I just feel damm awkward greeting a faint acquaintance when he’s clinging on to his intimate member. I don’t know but it’s just weird. If I don’t greet him, then it’s rude. And some of these casual acquaintances are people I can’t offend.

What a dilemma.

Nowadays, I just try to open the door gently and sneak in quietly to the cubicles.

Where I pee unashamedly, privately and blissfully.

Simple pleasures.

In 22 days, I turn 31 and I feel like 0

It’s already the end of the first month.

Just like that.

In 22 days, I turn 31 and I feel like 0.

My award-winning film hasn’t been written, my fabulous body hasn’t been built and my finances are nowhere.

And here am I writing my blog. Before that I was having a packet of nuts from Carrefour. And before that I was having yong tau foo.

In between that my mind floats, the clock ticks and my body ages.

I seem to be waiting. Waiting for what, I don’t know.

I still haven’t found what I’m looking for. But what the heck am I looking for?

The film? The body? The money? And if I found those, does it end?

Does it?

In 22 days, I turn 31. It never ends.

But I have not begun.

Everytime We Say Goodbye

Isn’t BBC simply wonderful?

I’m listening to a Radio 2 show on-demand on the internet. It’s Lulu presenting “the world’s best love songs from the fifties to now”.

As I type this, it’s Ellan Fitzgerald on the playlist with “Everytime We Say Goodbye”.

When I broke up with my one proper girlfriend in my life, I gave her a CD I made with iTunes. I have erased the playlist but here are some songs I remembered:

Alone Again (Naturally) – Gilbert O’ Sullivan
It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye – Boyz II Men
When I Fall in Love – Nat King Cole
I Try – Macy Gray
You’ll be in My Heart – Phil Collins
You’ll Never Walk Alone – Gerry & the Pacemakers

It was damm theraupeutic. I got the idea from Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity. I cried a lot when I was putting the mix together. But it felt damm good after doing it. And looking back, it’s very funny actually. I’m glad to have done it.

Since then, I have done some mix CDs for my friends. One liked his (thanks, Satan), the others are culturally inept.

Of course.

Now I’m inspired to make some CDs for friends.

And maybe one for the future partner.

Holland V

There is some major construction work going on at the Village in Holland.

I think there are at least 2 car parks demolished for the LTA’s work on the Circle Line.

Despite passing by Holland V many times, I have not given much thought to all this reconstruction.

Until I saw that KFC was no more and replaced by a Crystal Jade Xiao Long Bao.

Feels strange.

Not that we can do without one less KFC, but that one was special.

You see, I used to hang out at Holland V since my secondary school was in the area. Must have spent hours in that place.

Chilling, having lunch, reading comics, reading my weekly fix of Smash Hits, oggling at girls, you know the things that guys do when they’re younger.

All the KFCs in the country can close for all I care, but this one is special, alongside the one at Kallang.

I remembered when I was in the scouts, we toured the Kallang KFC, as part of an educational trip. By the way, when I was in the scouts, people always make fun of us by saying we “curi ayam”. Don’t think we stole any chickens that day though.

Anyway, it just feels very strange that KFC is gone from its corner at Holland V.

(As I’m contemplating my next sentence, LAUNCHCAST plays Sarah Mclachlan’s I Will Remember You)

Strange.

Mango

I was at the basement of Raffles City today when my friend asked me where MNG (Mango) was in the building.

Unbelievable.

I thought all Singaporean women had this homing device which automatically locks in to the nearest Mango store.

What’s with our women and Mango anyway? It seems to me all my normal-sized lady friends shop there. The petite and younger ones go to Mangosteen. The bigger ones go to Spotlight.

The curtains there are damm versatile.

I thought women were very particular about being in the same room as someone wearing the same clothes. So why do they all shop at Mango?

Walk into any design or post-production house and you will see some toys on display. For my new studio, I’m so not going to do it, although I have so many loose toys.

I’m thinking of a nice fruit basket in the studio, so all my visitors can help themselves to some tasty fruits.

No MNGs though.

Untranslatable

From http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4457805:

Linguist Christopher J. Moore has made a career of searching out some of the world’s most “untranslatable” expressions — words from around the globe that defy an easy translation into English. Moore shares a few of his linguistic favorites from his new book In Other Words: A Language Lover’s Guide to the Most Intriguing Words Around the World with Renee Montagne.

From In Other Words:

African Languages
ilunga (Tshiluba) [ee-Iun-ga] (noun)
This word from the Tshiluba language of the Republic of Congo has topped a list drawn up with the help of one thousand translators as the most untranslatable word in the world. It describes a person who is ready to forgive any transgression a first time and then to tolerate it for a second time, but never for a third time.

Arabic
taarradhin [tah-rah-deen] (noun)
Arabic has no word for “compromise” in the sense of reaching an arrangement via struggle and disagreement. But a much happier concept, taarradhin, exists in Arabic. It implies a happy solution for everyone, an “I win, you win.” It’s a way of resolving a problem without anyone losing face.

Chinese
guanxi (Mandarin) [gwan-shee] (noun)
This is one of the essential ways of getting things done in traditional Chinese society. To build up good guanxi, you do things for people such as give them gifts, take them to dinner, or grant favors. Conversely, you can also “use up” your guanxi with someone by calling in favors owed. Once a favor is done, an unspoken obligation exists. Maybe because of this, people often try to refuse gifts, because, sooner or later, they may have to repay the debt. However the bond of guanxi is rarely acquitted, because once the relationship exists, it sets up an endless process that can last a lifetime.

Czech
litost [lee-tosht] (noun)
This is an untranslatable emotion that only a Czech person would suffer from, defined by Milan Kundera as “a state of torment created by the sudden sight of one’s own misery.” Devices for coping with extreme stress, suffering, and change are often special and unique to cultures and born out of the meeting of despair with a keen sense of survival.

French
esprit de I’escalier [es-pree de less-ka/-iay] (idiom)
A witty remark that occurs to you too late, literally on the way down the stairs. The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations defines esprit de l’escalier as, “An untranslatable phrase, the meaning of which is that one only thinks on one’s way downstairs of the smart retort one might have made in the drawing room.”

German
korinthenkacker [core-in-ten-cuck-er] (noun)
A “raisin pooper” — that is, someone so taken up with life’s trivial detail that they spend all day crapping raisins. You can spot these types a mile off — it’s that irritating pen pusher or filing fanatic whose favorite job is tidying up the stationery cupboard.

Greek
meraki [may-rah-kee] (adjective)
This is a word that modern Greeks often use to describe doing something with soul, creativity, or love — when you put “something of yourself” into what you’re doing, whatever it may be. Meraki is often used to describe cooking or preparing a meal, but it can also mean arranging a room, choosing decorations, or setting an elegant table.

Japanese
tatemae [tah-tay-mye] (noun)
A term often translated as “form,” but it also has the specific cultural meaning of “the reality that everyone professes to be true, even though they may not privately believe it.” For privately held views, the Japanese have a different term, honne, meaning, “the reality that you hold inwardly to be true, even though you would never admit it publicly.” The British civil servant muttering the reproach “bad form, old boy” over a drink in the club, may be expressing something very close to the quality of tatamae.
yoko meshi [yoh-koh mesh-ee] (noun)
“As an untranslatable, this one ranks high on my list of favorites. I could not improve on the background given by commentator Boye Lafayette de Mente about this beautiful word, yoko meshi. Taken literally, meshi means ‘boiled rice’ and yoko means ‘horizontal,’ so combined you get ‘a meal eaten sideways.’This is how the Japanese define the peculiar stress induced by speaking a foreign language: yoko is a humorous reference to the fact that Japanese is normally written vertically, whereas most foreign languages are written horizontally. How do English-speakers describe the headache of communicating in an alien tongue? I don’t think we can, at least not with as much ease.”

Spanish
duende [dwen-day] (adjective)
This wonderful word captures an entire world of passion, energy, and artistic excellence and describes a climactic show of spirit in a performance or work of art. Duende originally meant “imp” or “goblin” and came to mean anything magical. It now has a depth and complexity of meaning that crosses artistic borders, from flamenco dancing to bullfighting. The Spanish poet Garcia Lorca wrote an eloquent essay on duende that explores the complex and inspirational flavor of its sense, and I know no better introduction.

Excerpted from In Other Words by Christopher J. Moore. Copyright © 2004 by Elwin Street Limited. Excerpted by permission of Walker & Company. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.