Archive for November, 2011

receptionist fail

Please meet Mr. Wari in Court tomorrow morning at 9am

Person who showed up to meet me was Ms. Tiwary.


Please return call to Mr. John for file reference [garbled file reference]

Since I didn’t know a Mr. John and couldn’t for the life of me piece together what’s my reference number, I didn’t call back. Subsequently, a Mr. Chong called me and screamed bloody murder about how he has been leaving messages for me to call him back.


She: Your client is here to see you.
Me: [stunned] Huh?! What client?!
She: Mr. So-and-so from Company X.
Me: I don’t have any clients due to see me today. Are you sure you got the right person?
She: He says he is looking for you. For some industrial accident. He is the safety supervisor of Company X.
Me: I don’t know any Mr. So-and-so or Company X. What’s the reference number?
She: Don’t know. He says he is looking for you. You wrote him a letter to ask him to come down.
Me: But I didn’t schedule any meetings! Are you sure you have the correct person? Could he be looking for [some other person] instead?
She: Oh! Maybe you are right! [abruptly hangs up]

She: Can you return call to Mr. So-and-so?
Me: What is this about?
She: An accident matter.
Me: What is my reference number?
She: He didn’t say.
Me: So how do you know this is for me?
She: Because he asked for you.
Me: How can you be sure?
She: …
Me: I think we should just wait for him to call back.
She: Okay!


Please call Ms. So-and-so at [telephone number] for this-and-that file.

Me: *dials number*
Sorry, the number you have just dialed is no longer in use.


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From an article with the same title in the papers today:

Another participant, Shirlene Leong, 17, said she was inspired to consider a career in law after reading about criminal cases in the news.

‘I am a Buddhist so I also believe in karma, and I want to do good deeds by becoming a lawyer,’ said the first-year arts student from Serangoon Junior College.

Now that really made my laugh like hell.

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When you said that you hoped that our working relationship will not change because you like working with me, I made a mental note that you had said working with me and not for me.

I do not doubt the truth of your statement because it is an accurate reflection of my working relationship with most people.

So I remain silent, because it really is much simpler to let everyone think the worst of me. That way, there is very little to live up to, and very little to disappoint.

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He: Bought tickets for 2.50 pm. Pies in boots!

She: That’s kinda messy.

He: Stupid autocorrect.


And so we have been married for half a decade 🙂

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On Marriage:

‘It has always been a mystery to me why people marry,’ said Mr. Prendergast. ‘I can’t see the smallest reason for it. Quite happy, normal people. Now I can understand it in Grimes’ case. He has everything to gain by the arrangement, but what does Flossie expect to gain? And yet she seems more enthusiastic about it than Grimes. It has been the tragedy of my life that whenever I start thinking about any quite simple subject I invariably feel myself confronted by some flat contradiction of this sort. Have you ever thought about marriage – in the abstract, I mean, of course?’
‘Not very much, I’m afraid.’
‘I don’t believe,’ said Mr Prendergast, ‘that people would ever fall in love or want to be married if they hadn’t been told about it. It’s like abroad: no one would wnat to go there if they hadn’t been told it existed. Don’t you agree?’
‘I don’t think you can be quite right,’ said Paul; ‘you see, animals fall in love quite a lot, don’t they?’
‘Do they?’ said Prendergast. ‘I didn’t know that. What an extraordinary thing! But then I had an aunt whose cat used to put its paw up to its mouth when it yawned. It’s wonderful what animals can be taught. There is a sea-lion at the circus, I saw in the paper, who juggles with an umbrella and two oranges.’

On man as a summation of his experiences:

For an evening at least the shadow that has flitted about this narrative under the name of Paul Pennyfeather materialezed into the solid figure of an intelligent, well-educated, well-conducted young man, a man who could be trusted to use his vote at a general election with discretion and proper detachment, whose opinion on a ballet or a critical essay was rather better than most people’s, who could order a dinner without embarrassment and in a creditable French accent, who could be trusted to see to luggage at foreign railway-stations and might be expected to acquit himself with decision and decorum in all the emergencies of civilized life. This was the Paul Pennyfeather who had been developing in the placid years which preceded this story. In fact, the whole of this book is really an account of the mysterious disappearance of Paul Pennyfeather, so that readers must not complain if the shadow which took his name does not amply fill the important part of hero for which he was originally cast.

For an evening Paul became a real person again, but next day he woke up leaving himself disembodied somewhere between Sloane Square and Onslow Square. He had to meet Beste-Chetwynde and catch a morning train to King’s Thursday, and there his extraordinary adventures began anew. From the point of view of this story Paul’s second disapperance is necessary, because, as the reader will probably have discerned already, Paul Pennyfeather would never have made a hero, and the only interest about him arises from the unusual series of events of which his shadow was witness.

On Life:

But he did not go. Instead he walked to the parapet and leant out, looking across the sea. ‘It’s a good thing for you to be a clergyman,’ he said at last. ‘People get ideas about a thing they call life. It sets them all wrong. I think it’s poets that are responsible chiefly. Shall I tell you about life?’
‘Yes, do,’ said Paul politely.
‘Well, it’s like the big wheel at Luna Park. Have you seen the big wheel?’
‘No, I’m afraid not.’
‘You pay five francs and go into a room with tiers of seats all round, and in the centre the floor is made of a great disc of polished wood that revolves quickly. At first you sit down and watch the others. They are all trying to sit in the wheel, and they keep getting flung off, and that makes them laugh, and you laugh too. It’s great fun.’
‘I don’t think that sounds very much like life,’ said Paul rather sadly.
‘Oh, but it is, though. You see, the nearer you get to the hub of the wheel the slower it is moving and the easier it is to stay on. There’s generally someone in the centre who stands up and sometimes does a sort of dance. Often he’s paid by the management, though, or, at any rate, he’s allowed in free. Of course at the very centre there’s a point completely at rest, if one could only find it. I’m not sure I am not very near that point myself. Of course the professional men get in the way. Lots of people just enjoy scrambling on and being whisked off and scrambling on again. How they all shriek and giggle! Then there are others, like Margot, who sit as far out as they can and hold on for dear life and enjoy that. But the whole point about the wheel is that you needn’t get on it at all, if you don’t want to. People get hold of ideas about life, and that makes them think they’ve got to join the game, even if they don’t enjoy it. It doesn’t suit everyone.
‘People don’t see that when they say “life” they mean two different things. They can mean simply existence, with its physiological implications of growth and organic change. They can’t escape that – even by death, but because that’s inevitable they think the other idea of life is too – the scrambling and excitement and bumps and the effort to get to the middle. And when we do get to the middle, it’s just as if we never started. It’s so odd.
‘Now you’re a person who was clearly meant to stay in the seats adn sit still and if you get bored watch the others. Somehow you got on the wheel, and you got thrown off again at once with a hard bump. It’s all right for Margot, who can cling on, and for me, at the centre, but you’re static. Instead of this absurd division into sexes they ought to class people as static and dynamic. There’s a real distinction there, though I can’t tell you how it comes. I think we’re probably two quite different species spiritually.’


I loved the book. But it is really quite bittersweet for me. It is funny, slightly Chekhovian, and ends a little like Will Self’s Book of Dave.

Or that could just be because I am feeling a little weary, a little worn out at this time of the year. Or maybe because I am just static, like Paul Pennyfeather, sitting in my seat and letting things happen to me.

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…is the title of one of my favourite songs by Placebo. For some reason, all through my run tonight Yekaterina (being my mobile phone) decided to play all my remixes of the song one after another in spite of the fact that it’s usually on Shuffle All.

Around the time the song was released, I met a boy named Joe at a (now defunct) cafe I just started working at after spending about a month at home attempting to be a full time pianist and almost losing my grip on my carefully weaved sanity in the process.

I started the job to bring back some sense of balance in my then rather precariously perched life. I had started a rebound relationship with someone wholly unsuitable ( whom I then proceeded to neglect to break up with for about two years, a fact I will remain quite regretful about). I was deeply unhappy and disturbed.

Joe and I started work together at the cafe about the same time. We trained together, carrying tables, moping floors, laughing and sharing beers at closing. A while on, he moved to the bar and shift time was spent either him watching me work the floor and snucking me excess mango freeze or me watching him over the counter, waiting for my drinks to be made.

After about a month, he told me he was in love with me.

But I was going with someone and told him so (even at my most irresponsible I was still responsible like that). He appeared devastated. I remember us sitting outside the roller shutters of the cafe one night after work in the dark, him telling me that he didn’t think we could ever be platonic friends and me feeling rather sorry for being the subject matter of such unhappiness when Lord knows how abjectly unhappy I was with my life as well. This will later on become one of the recurrent themes of my life, this inexplicable guilt and suspicion that I am responsible for the world’s problems, however tenuous the connection.

The point is that Joe was right in a way. We never did manage any semblance of a platonic friendship. In fact, by the time he quit the job, we had very little good humour for each other after some other events that took place in the narrow universe that was the cafe’s society. I would even venture to say that he was really never in love with me. Maybe he was in love with the idea of being with someone like me given that we were so different like Kraft Singles to Danish Bleu.

Thinking back to that time of my life tonight, it occurred to me that I should always remember that a lot of things in life, even the ones that come packaged under rather serious and grown up labels (like Love for one), are transient. Looking forward is basically an exercise of looking through all that heady effervescence to find the colour and taste of the drink beneath.

So, my conflicted self, do not despair. If you can’t tell what drink you were served today, remember that the life cycle of froth in most coffee drinks is about 3 to 5 minutes tops, shorter if we are talking about head on beer.

Time will always fix it.

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The Court decided to give me a break last Thursday, which allowed me to take Friday off to make it a super long weekend.

waiting for ramen

So on Friday, we dropped Peanut off at school, then took Lion for his MMR jab at the paede’s. After, we dropped Lion off at my parents and went to the movies! We had ramen at Ippudo and saw Ryan Gosling in Drive (which was really really good). We then dropped by H&M to check out what the fuss is about (blah), dropped by The Other Half’s shop, then picked the kids up to spend the evening with their paternal grandmother, who very kindly took care of the kids while I passed out on the sofa.

On Saturday, we woke up to an overcast sky and thought that we might give swimming a miss and head to the zoo instead. So I started the preparations to make fried rice to take to the zoo when my mother called and summoned us to my cousin’s place for a swim because Sis2 is back in town and wanted to go wading with the kids. Fried rice was therefore postponed and off we went to the pool (and the sun came out!) and then extended conversation with cousin and his family thereafter, before heading home to continue with the fried rice, put the kids to nap, and head out to dinner with their paternal grandmother and aunt. After putting the kids to bed, I made a chocolate orange cake to take to lunch the next day before going to bed.

expert milk-drinker

On Sunday, we took the kids to the hairdresser’s before crashing Elmi’s family lunch with the chocolate cake. Dinner was with my family as an early celebration for my mother’s birthday (today). Before dinner, we did a quick dash to the supermarket to pick up things to put together a cake for my mother. We headed home after dinner to put the kids to bed so that I can start up my mother’s birthday cake [an eggless chocolate cake from a recipe I’ve never tried, substituting the 2 cups of hot water with hot milk and 2 tablespoons of distilled white vinegar with balsamic vinegar]. The cakes, unfortunately, did not turn out as I had hoped, but I was too tired and just headed to bed to meditate on it for a bit.

expert bowl-cleaner

I woke up at 6am on public holiday Monday and proceeded to put the balsamic strawberry jam I needed for my mother’s birthday cake to boil while I attempted a whole new cake with a modified recipe [2 cups of hot coffee instead of 2 cups of hot water / hot milk]. The results were much better. Then I made pancakes for the kids and The Other Half for breakfast, cool the jam, and we all left for the Mickey Mouse show at Marina Bay Sands [where Peanut earnestly watched the show and asked questions while Lion bobbed and clapped, then fell asleep halfway].

We lunched out, headed home [attempted] to put the kids to nap [but failed because Peanut refused to nap], then I beat up the fresh cream and started to put the cake together. It’s pretty, I supposed, from afar. My icing skills still suck, but according to The Other Half, are vastly improved than say 3 years ago. Peanut happily cleaned my bowls out.

We were supposed to eat dinner with Becky but then she couldn’t make it. We decided to spend another quiet evening with the paternal grandmother but she banned us from going to her place because her immediate neighbour passed away. We looked at each other, rolled our eyes, and decided to head to the Night Safari. We had an enjoyable dinner at the restaurant next to some goats (?) then a nice walk through the park with the kids.

Given my action-packed weekend, it is little wonder that I forgot to take my laptop to work [having taken it home and wrote two advices in between all of the crazy activity] this morning, as a result of which, I arrived at work twice in two hours this morning.

Oh well. It was a nice break before my crazy schedule takes over again in the next two weeks.

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