Remembering The Recipe

The missing thought bubble above Zoe's head probably has many unsavory thoughts about the grinning idiot next to her
The missing thought bubble above Zoe’s head probably has many unsavory thoughts about the grinning idiot next to her

Last month I attended the premiere of the telemovie “Recipe”, commissioned by HPB, directed by Eric Khoo, starring Zoe Tay and aired on Mediacorp Channel 8 on 29 September 2013.

As I’ve mentioned previously, the movie deals with dementia, and the topic was handled as sensitively as possible, and made for a good 40 minutes’ viewing at the premiere. On television of course, you must’ve had to contend with the commercial breaks, because, you know, public service message or not, our local broadcaster still needs to make money.

After the premiere screening, there was a little gathering outside the cinema where invited guests made most of their photo opps with the stars of the show. Apart from having worked with Moses Lim (for the theatre production ‘Happy Ever Laughter’ last year) and the movie’s writer Wong Kim Hoh (who was the first ST reporter to interview me – for a Life! column known for featuring freak shows) I don’t really know the other notable people involved in the telemovie.

So I went around introducing myself and I asked Zoe Tay if she remembered me. I told Zoe I remembered her playing mahjong at a mutual acquaintance’s home, where she asked if I could bring durians from my mother’s durian tree the next time they had a session.

She looked at me with eyes betraying horror, probably vaguely remembering such an instance, but not sure whether it was an incepted memory, not sure whether there was an unsavoury extension to that memory that she would have liked erased, not sure whether I was pulling her leg, and not sure whether to call the nearest Mediacorp artiste manager to get me thrown out of GV Vivocity.

The Queen of Caldecott held her poise, thankfully, and we posed for photos.  You can see from the shot that she’s still wondering whether she gets paid enough to deal with asses like me.

OK, enough goofing off – I was actually glad that the HPB pooled these resources and talent together to get information about dementia known to a wider audience. Now, at least for the people who managed to watch “Recipe”, you’d know that dementia is NOT a normal form of aging, and that there are signs to look out for:

  1. Memory loss – especially one that affects day to day functioning – even remembering the day of the week and what days come after, for example;
  2. Difficulties with doing familiar tasks
  3. Difficulties finding the right words and with communication
  4. Mood swings
  5. Confusion of time and place
  6. Misplacing things
  7. Problems with abstract thinking
  8. Poor or decreased judgement
  9. Changes in mood or behavior
  10. Changes in personality
  11. Withdrawal from work or social activties

It is also a progressive disease, and signs might not be obvious in the beginning. But it is important to keep a look out for them, and just like in the movie, deal with them with the network of support that is available to us in the public healthcare system.

There are nearly 30,000 recorded cases of dementia in Singapore presently, and you can imagine, with the lack of public education, many more being unrecorded and untreated.

The look of horror in the character Madam Ching’s eyes when she can’t figure out where her hawker stall is (because she’s moved into her daughter’s home), or remember the supplies she needs for the day’s cooking sums it all up – patients of dementia need constant care and support.

We’ve also seen from time to time, FB and twitter appeals to help look for an aged relative who’s gone wandering off for hours. It is terrifying and heartbreaking, and one of the ways we can help is to arm ourselves with as much useful information about dementia as we can get.

Because of the constant care required to look after dementia patients, if you have a relative or friend who has dementia, it’ll affect you as well. You’ll want to remain as positive as possible, and to provide as encouraging and supportive an environment as possible for everyone around you.

I encourage you to watch “Recipeonline, right after this blog post. Tell your friends about it too. Like what the specialist in the telemovie says, essentially, the person suffering from dementia may have memory loss, mood swings and personality changes, but he or she is still the same person inside who needs your love and support.

If you do need more information, or someone to talk to about dementia – call 1800 223 1123 or browse through the dementia website.

The Bravery

When I went to uni with this bunch of fellas, we used to dare each other to do really stupid things. Like playing football at night in winter, topless, or diving into the surf at Bondi at night in winter with clothes on – this went on even after we left uni and returned to Singapore.

Once when we were at some expensive bar, we dared each other to do a runner. We all ran, but in wrong directions, and no one stopped us because we were shrieking like girls.

If we had a motto, it would have been the commando-like “Who Dares Wins”, but localised: “Who Scared Who? (Nabeh!)”

A nicer way of putting it would be that we all got along because we liked giving things a shot. My friend Shakir played in a Sydney rugby club with me before even learning the rules, and we both went abseiling precisely because we were scared of heights.

Once a student of aeronautics and a licenced commercial pilot, but who had the worst timing when it came to graduation – in 2002, Muslim trainee pilots held (and still hold) the world record for most number of planes flown into skyscrapers – Shak never once saw work as a pilot.

But always on the lookout for something interesting to do, the dude I’m proud to have been friends with for 18 years is now co-running this new joint in the newly hipster Jalan Besar Stadium neighbourhood, Shak revealed that the name, The Bravery, came about because “if you want to open cafe, must be damn brave man”.

Besides the damn kok etymology, The Bravery’s other noteworthy pedigree is that it is set up by the people who opened The Plain, on Craig Road in Tanjong Pagar. With that comes super coffee (they don’t roast their own beans, but that’s more than made up for by expert baristas who make sure your coffee is never burnt or sour), great sandwiches, and this breakfast item you have to have:

The Brave Bergedil is poached egg on bergedil corned beef hash with avocado and turkey bacon. Apart from the turkey bacon (which tips it over to the halal side of breakfasts), this combo works – I don’t care what this blogger says.

People who work nearby and who are familiar with Chye Seng Huat Hardware and Windowsill Pies (you know who you are, you Mad (Wo)Men) must come here for your coffee and light lunch fixes. And because they’re open all weekend, it’s worth coming out to Match-Fixers’ Central. Apparently it’s packed on weekdays but Sundays see crowds smaller than a regular S-League match.

The Bravery
66 Horne Road
Singapore 209073

Choom Choom!

It’s been a very rough month so far, and I’m not in a position to elaborate further as to why. Just know that unreasonable people are involved, light will be shed soon, and the same said unreasonable people will have their comeuppance.

Meanwhile, there are ways to raise one’s spirit. Unfortunately, Naomi has warned me against partaking of any more spirits, or beer or light cocktails.

There’s always laughter and silliness at home, so I’m very very grateful to get to spend time with my family. Even better is the fact that Naomi’s started a Tumblr documenting little snippets of what Kai gets up to.

The title, “Choom Choom!”, is Kai’s version of how one of those Star Wars spacecraft guns sound. I also think the blog is Naomi’s way of telling me to get off my butt and blog more, because she’s outblogging me by some ways now!

As they say on the stage at D&Ds, without further ado, here’s Choom Choom. (Please click the like button if you like any of the posts!)

When you’re crabby