Raffles Girls Don’t Play Rubber

Maybe it’s because I am a boy.

But I was surprised the other day that I found out my colleague, who went to Raffles Girls Primary, didn’t know how to play “Rubber”.

In fact, she didn’t know what rubber was.

Well, for my more cosmopolitan friends, rubber is another word for eraser.

At least, that’s what we used to call it in Monk’s Hill Primary.

I happen to think “Rubber” is an amazing game. It is a very humble game. All you need is a rubber; small or big, used or brand new – it don’t matter.

The rules are simple. Playing on a flat surface, with each person moving the rubber one at a time, usually with your thumb, all you need is to get your rubber over the opponent’s. And winning means you get to keep the loser’s rubber.

It’s a great game to play to kill the time, even right under the teacher’s nose. Rubbers belong on the table, unlike a stack of Snap cards or a Game and Watch game like Octopus. And it doesn’t hurt if you like collecting rubbers, provided you’re good at the game of course.

I used to remember those rubbers with flags of countries printed on them. It must be one of the first things I ever collected.

Damm. I should have stuck to those. Much much cheaper than anything else I have collected.

Anyway, I was surprised that Rafflesians didn’t know the game. What do they do during recess, I wonder? Maybe they hang out in the library or discuss philosophy under a tree.

As for me, I remember my plate of mee rebus and a second helping of Mak Cik’s extra gravy.

But then, I am a heartlander.

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Seasons Change

“To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.” – George Santayana

“Spring passes and one remembers one’s innocence. Summer passes and one remembers one’s exuberance. Autumn passes and one remembers one’s reverence. Winter passes and one remembers one’s perseverance.” – Yoko Ono

I have a theory.

People accustomed to seasonal changes have an advantage over us one season folks.

We often complain about how boring life in Singapore can be.

I say blame it on the weather.

Its always the same here. Hot, hot, hot. Maybe some rain. Then the heat comes back.

The monotony of it all.

Our fortunate friends who live in more frivolous conditions enjoy so much more. A classic coronation chicken for the summer and a bowl of hot caramelised onion soup for the winter. There’s the summer games and the winter sports. A cool cotton shirt in the summer and a wooly mitten for winter. The shedding of leaves and the shovelling of snow. A cool swim in the summer and a warm fire in the winter.

Seasons tell us there is a time for everything. Listen to the Byrds (they took this from the Bible) who sing:

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time for every purpose, under heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

I sometimes feel that living in stuffy Singapore, I am slightly less aware of the passing of time, slightly less appreciative of Nature and enjoying slightly less variety in my humdrum existence.

I miss Shanghai.

Suzhou Pics


I can sit and talk the whole day here


Wangshi Yuan 1


Wangshi Yuan 2


Shizi Lin 1


Shizi Lin 2


Shizi Lin 3


Shizi Lin 4


Shizi Lin 5


Zhuozheng 1


Zhuozheng 2


Zhuozheng 3


Huqiu Shan 1


Boat ride at night 1


Boat ride at night 2

the simple shanghai life (fri)

“Paradise in Heaven, Suzhou and Hangzhou on earth.” – Chinese saying

Suzhou is simply beautiful.

If you’re used to city life, Shanghai isn’t that great. It’s a lot of buildings and a lot of people.

Like any other city.

But Suzhou is quite the opposite and a nice break from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Suzhou is a 75 minute train ride away from the Shanghai Railway station. If you don’t intend to stay overnight in Suzhou, start early in the day and you can spend an enjoyable day there. (The last train leaves from Suzhou to Shanghai at 1 am)

I reached Suzhou at about 10ish and was able to visit the following places:

Wangshi Yuan
Shizi Lin (built in 1342)
Zhuozheng Yuan (built in 1513, rebuilt in 1860)
Huqiu Shan

Basically, a lot of trees, flowers, lakes, Chinese furniture, pavillion, one leaning pagoda, some world class heritage sites endorsed by the UN.

And a lot of walking.

But in this weather, it is simply gorgeous.

I would have liked to sit around more and just enjoy the scenery. Still, I enjoyed it tremendously.

In the evening, I took a 70 minute boat ride from Renmin Qiao and took in the beautiful-litted river.

I would have loved to stay another day in Suzhou and visit Zhouzhuang, the little Venice.

But this gives me an excuse to return to this beautiful place.

Pictures in the next post.

the simple shanghai life (thurs)

My bladder is incredible.

I must have peed about 200 times on Wednesday. The weather here in Shanghai is about 16 -10 degree celsius. And although I loved it, my bladder didn’t.

At first.

But on Thursday, everything was back to normal. It adjusted to the weather and I was peeing normally (tall, proud and occasionally).

Damm straight.

I love cold weather. I was here in July where it was the hottest time of the year and I never did enjoy it then.

It’s incredible what agreeable weather can do to a city.

Not to mention the people.

In my opinion, the jacket is the most wonderful clothing accesory in the world. It never made much sense to wear a jacket in humid Singapore. But here, at this time of the year, you see people in jackets, coats, windbreakers and all sorts of cool-looking drapery.

Everyone looks so cool here.

I love it.

the simple shanghai life (tues)

Come to Papa is banned in China.

Like cnn.com and news.bbc.co.uk

Nor can I post this blog the usual way. Thankfully, I have the option to email this entry and hopefully, this gets published.

Ok, it’s not just my blog as I can’t seem to access any blogs at blogspot.com

I’m staying at a second rate hotel that is far away from civilization. The people at front desk don’t speak much English. (What’s adaptor in Mandarin?) The television channels are all in Mandarin, and strangely enough, we have BBC but that has running Japanese commentary. The aircon is not cold but the weather outside is great.

Boy, I can’t wait for more surprises tomorrow.

I’m off

It’s a quiet week for me as I leave for Shanghai Tuesday. Due to the high season, I’ll be staying in a hotel where I will not have any Internet access in my hotel room. So I don’t expect any updates this week.

But I promise you some nice pics when I come back. I still have some photos from my previous trip.

Stay safe.