Gold 90 FM, Home of Brian Richmond

I was slightly offended when I turned on the radio and heard, “Gold 90 FM, Home of Elvis Presley”. It was read out by Brian Richmond, the doyen of radio presenters.

Then I realised that they really should have a promo/announcement that says something to the effect of “Radio Singapore – Home of Brian Richmond”, for he is nothing less than a living legend, an institution, and a life story that mirrors this country’s own history – an Englishman, an orphan of Empire, adapting to local climes, flourishing, maturing and evolving into the voice of Oldie Goldie Radio, with his slow, deliberate sentences and flat vowels that bely his enthusiasm when he introduces Glenn Campbell’s and other country songs.

If I had a hat, I’d tip it to you, Uncle Brian.

Brian Richmond sings Elvis
Brian Richmond sings Elvis

The salty salesmen of the Dead Sea

Dead Sea Mudpack

The sales tactics of Vardi & Migdal – the Israeli company with pushcarts in malls all over the island – used to work. They use pushcarts instead of renting a shop space because if you were a salesman in a shop, you wouldn’t be able to roam a mall’s thoroughfare and accost passers-by.

We have some nail buffer thing we bought about two years ago thanks to a salesman who insisted on buffing Naomi’s and my nails. I agreed to buy the item just so he’d stop holding our hands like we were conducting some seance.

One of their (presumably Israeli, I don’t know for sure, I’m just assuming based on my racist profiling of what they look and sound like) salesmen struck again yesterday with the same aggressive approach.

Well, not quite the same. He approached Naomi and startled her by declaring, “Your skin has a lot of blemishes!”, followed by an enquiry, “What skin care product do you use?”

Thankfully for him, before I could smack his presumably Israeli head with my shopping bag, Naomi brushed him off, telling him she didn’t use any skin care product and didn’t care for his Dead Sea mineral-enriched jars of mud and crap.

Vardi & Migdal, your time is up. Pack up your pushcarts and traverse back to whence you came! (After you wind up your local registered company and pay your taxes).

Female circum… whaaaaat?

I was shocked to learn from Naomi yesterday that female circumcision is practiced in Singapore. I had no idea.

You learn a lot from motherhood forums, where Naomi stumbled upon discussions on whether to circumcise, where to circumcise, how to do it and how much is done and how much is charged.

I’ve always thought that female circumcisions were only carried out in some tribes in Africa, and that there was never any religious basis for doing so.

Further googling the subject:

In Singapore’s small Muslim community, female circumcision involves nicking the prepuce, the skin covering the clitoris.

It is markedly different from the practices of some Muslim communities in Africa and the Middle East decried by human rights activists as female genital mutilation. In those cases, a young girl’s clitoris is clipped and burned. In a few communities, all the external genitals are cut off and the remnant tissue is sewn up to leave only a small opening.

Those practices originated 1,400 years ago, before the birth of the Prophet Mohammed, says Noor Aisha Binte Abdul Rahman, a professor at the National University of Singapore.

Singapore’s milder form is viewed as symbolic of this tradition.

But anyway, I’ve always known male circumcision to be ‘compulsory’ among Muslim males, and I’ve a story of a friend of mine who’s Muslim, but whose mother managed to hide him from the circumcisor’s (is that what they’re called?) scissors until he was about eight or ten years old, when he was found out by his mosque mates, presumably when they went to the loo together.

My friend was dragged kicking and screaming to the circumcision table and given the sunat. His mother, heartbroken and guilt-ridden by her only son’s wails and pleas, bought him an Apple computer to help soothe him as he recovered.

A few years ago this friend and I were talking about computers, and he was complaining that his laptop was on the blink. He couldn’t afford a new one at the time, and said that he thought about asking his mother for a loan, but decided against it eventually, because “I think my mother will sunat me again”.

Inappropriate children’s songs


Now that Kai is beginning to learn and mimic, we are starting to be more mindful of the songs we sing to him. Especially children’s songs.

On our banned wagon now is the French ditty Alouette, which we thought was about a skylark.

It is about a skylark, and the cruel thing (plucking its feathers) the singer does to it.

The song gets really awful at the end, when the singer goes:

And your neck
And your back
And your wings
And your feet
And your tail
Alouette, gentille Alouette
Alouette, je te plumerai

Skylark, I shall pluck you

The other song we’re considering either banning or changing the lyrics of is the Chinese children’s song called “Ke Ren Lai Kan Ba Ba” (There’s a visitor to see Daddy), in which the child sings:

A visitor came,
To see Daddy.
Daddy was not home.
I invited the visitor in and asked him to sit
And gave him a cup of tea

I know, right? WTF? You’d smack your kid if he did that. He could’ve let in Jehovah’s Witnesses, debt collectors, travelling salesmen, NEA inspectors even if he didn’t let in criminals or something!

So we’re changing the lyrics to something (I’ll get Naomi’s mum to translate it back to Chinese) like:

When a visitor comes
And says he’s looking for Daddy
And Daddy’s not home
I’ll tell him Daddy said get lost
See this cup of tea?
It’s hot and will scald your face
If you don’t step away right now.

Now that the homeless families have been housed

HDB dawn

CNA reports on HDB’s 50th Anniversary with an opening paragraph which would have been an outright clanger if they hadn’t found lodging for the park-dwellers:

SINGAPORE: Is there a role for Singapore’s Housing and Development Board (HDB), now that the entire population has been housed?

Congratulations on 50 years of housing the nation!