Days of yore

Class of '85
Class of ’85

Mr Brown and myself have never attended our school’s Founder’s Day dinner, but decided to do so this year, because it’s been twenty, yes, twenty years since we left the stinking halls (my classroom next to toilet) of the school on a hill with the clocktower that showed a different time on each face.

It was worth every cent we paid, even though we were a bit miffed we didn’t think like this classmate of ours, who said, and I quote, ‘Wah lao eh, pay so much for fuck? I come at 10pm and sit with you all lah’.

Our school produces these sorts, but Mr Brown and Mr Miyagi have obviously forgotten some of the things we learnt.

It was good seeing some faces we haven’t insulted in two decades, but before I could fire the first shot, a familiar face went, ‘hey, wah, you grew taller’. And when Mr Brown arrived, another familiar face went, ‘hey, what happened to your giant plastic spectacles?’. Next time, must draw faster.

Mr Brown memorised the school anthem at work today, so he sang with gusto when it was sung before dinner, while I got lost at the second verse (there’s a second verse?? WTF are the ‘Islands of the Main’?)

Then there were the hordes of school kids who were trying to sell us all manner of miscellany, like rugby jerseys and rugby balls, which, surprisingly, the rugby captain of ’85-86 didn’t buy. (For the record, merchandise included: umbrellas with school crest, polo shirt with school crest, rugby balls with school crest, rugby jerseys with school crest in 3 designs and playing numbers, frisbee with school crest, very nice red fleece hooded sweater with school crest (almost bought one), neckties with school crest, posters, tickets to school musical and fun fair tickets).

The rest of the evening was spent trying to eat the food on our plate, trying to find our old teachers, and trying to remember what we did in school. It’s been so long ago, that I hardly remember the time I was in an electro-pop band that played mostly Depeche Mode songs (Master & Servant, Slave Whip Mix 12″ Extended Single). Mr Brown remembers vaguely his band, which I vaguely remember covering Duran Duran or The Bangles.

Now, the Class of ’85 didn’t know who Mr Miyagi and Mr Brown were, so our secret identities were safe, sorta. Until the conversation swung round to I.T., the ingterneck, websites, and blogging. And this is where it hit us like a ton of bricks.

One of the Class of ’85 said, ‘hey, I have a friend whose daughter has a blog. Her name is Wendy, and her blog is Xiaxue.blogspot…’…

Messrs. Miyagi & Brown @ ACS Founder's Day
Golden Oldies R Us.

iTunes’ party shuffle is playing a copy of: Me And Julio Down By The School Yard – Paul Simon – The Paul Simon Anthology, Disc 1, of which I have the original CD and therefore didn’t steal music.

Even larger than life in Meatspace (Mr Miyagi forget to bring camera)

So, Adri had to bugger off to the Night Safari, which was a pity, really, because that meant we were short of one very good set of brains to pick. But then, nair mind, the doyen of Singapore bloggers, Mr Brown, arrived soon after, knocking over some chairs and almost a table at Cafe Cartel before he got to the table.

And what a table it was too. I got to sit next to Xiaxue, who sat next to Preetamrai, who sat next to La Idler, who sat next to Agagooga, who sat opposite Myrick, who sat next to Mr & Mrs Acorn, who sat next to The Calm One (Neh? the One, so Calm until stop blogging?), who sat next to Mr Brown, who sat opposite me.

So many things we talked about, and I was in charge of doling out gossip. Everything I know about the bloggers I know is now in the reliable hands of the abovenamed. They might choose to do something about it, so stay tuned!

Of course, one of the more important things we discussed was blogging. My contribution was ‘how to increase your page hits’, although that was only limited to ‘putting up a photo of Fiona Xie’. Preetamrai, on the other hand (where there are also five fingers), offered a solution to parents who want to know if their teenage children have blogs: buy them a gift, then google ‘my mother/father/parents bought me a gift’.

Xiaxue, who I think makes a darn good journo/media personality with her incessant probing and baiting, contributed in her own inimitable way, very generously offering to let me feel her up. (That’s when Mr Brown choked, coughed and sneezed one piece of macaroni back onto his plate, decent family man that he is). I declined, of course, knowing that if I had as much as sampled her offer, I’d be splashed all over her blog as the sleazy old bloke who squeezed her tit at Cafe Cartel. As the others would agree, you cannot buy this kind of experience, man… eh, actually, you can, but that one has got little to do with blogger meet-ups.

Night safari photo taken by Adri

Xiaxue's wallet
What’s in Xiaxue’s wallet? Xiaxue’s photos, lah! What?

iTunes’ party shuffle is playing a copy of: It’s Just Not Cricket – The 12th Man – The 12th Man, of which I have the original CD and therefore didn’t steal music.

Hot Goss and little else


Oh no. Things have gotten out of hand! What drama! So essiting!
FYI, Xiaxue has deleted and replaced the post that this entry links to, so don’t bother clicking there. But if you want to read what she’s made of Fiona ‘closing down her blog’, it’s here. Will Fiona close down her blog or not? Mr Miyagi takes no chances and cuts and pastes Fiona’s last post:

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

dear friends
this is seriously getting out of hand and out of line . i am shutting down this blog and moving it to personal emails . i am saddened by the fact that people have wasted so much time fueling such rubbish instead of using time wisely to improve on their lives . going to zouk or typing here is not a sin and i am answerable to god for my own actions not anyone esle’s . the sterotype of going to zouk , getting drunk and sleeping around or actresses sleeping around to get their roles , has to be broken .that is completely untrue . thank you very much for your interest but i think this has gone on too far and i wish for all of you to just concentrate on investing time in people you love and making a difference in their lives instead . god bless and keep you .

And no, I do not drive a Ferrari, and Xiaxue wasn’t referring to me when she mentioned a Ferrari, but I’m happy if it came across like that.

Alrighty, on with our regular programming…

Nothing like a spot of gossip mongering to liven up a sleepy afternoon.

So, go to it! Spread the love! Or lack thereof!

I logged on this morning to find the usual two to three early risers visiting this blog had the company of five hundred, scouring the archives for dirties. That could only mean either one of two things: I had been browned, or xiaxued. Turns out, I was xiaxued. (If I had been browned and xiaxued on the same day, this blog would essplode).

Xiaxue had read one of the posts here, and I am so flattered, but that’s besides the point, where she found one Surf Stop link that piqued her interest somewhat. After going through that said link, she’s verified (and who are we to doubt her) that it is, as I suspected, Fiona Xie’s blogspot blog. (My colleague Sherlock-san found it on her Friendster profile).

The gist of it is this: Xiaxue is mightily pissed at the blatant hypocrisy (or as Fiona calls it, ‘hypocriticism’) on display, and puts Fiona and, indeed, all of us, on notice. She says there is no room for hypocrisy in the blogosphere. Your readers will sniff you out no matter how tortured your prose and contrived your verse. You want to make a stand? Put your monkey where your mouse is, or something like that!

Me? I’ll just sit idly and watch the flame wars ensue. Or maybe I’ll just fan the flames a little, y’know, just so the satay can cook properly?

I’ll have Xiaxue know that I hold Fiona in the regard that she deserves, though I’m not necessarily hurt by her opinions of my one-time charge. But I’ll admit I did a very bad job of polishing her PR skills. But you know what they say, you pay peanuts, you get elephants.

But whatever aspersions that might have been cast, let me say this here once and for all, I did not have sexual relations with Fiona Xie. There. She can say what she wants, but it DID NOT happen. Once again, her blog is at

While we’re at it, I find myself agreeing with Xiaxue that the local press is way too nice dealing with media personalities, covering up their sordid dalliances all the time. If this were Hong Kong or Taiwan, once someone knew you were caught in flagrante with Robin Leong during a break in filming One Leg Kicking, well, you’d be doing it again because you’d be so much more famous.

And they also say that if you choose a life in the limelight, be prepared to die by the swordfish. All youse celebrities and media types, google yourself now, there is nowhere to pretend to hide. We are talking about youse! Yes, you too, Steph Song, you are 34 years old this year, was once married, and is now away in L.A. because you didn’t back the incumbent!

Watch out, starlets, wannabes, cannotbes and neverhasbeens, the Revolution is under way! We will champion our versions of the truth! We will be standing on top of Caldecott Hill burning copies of 8 Days and iZhouKan!

OK, I have to go. Frothing at the mouth is not a good look. … but there once was a menage a trois between…. two…. and one…. and then….

Lalala… Sunny Day, Sweepin’ the clouds away, On my way to where the air is sweet

Surf stop: You think leh?
iTunes’ party shuffle is playing a copy of: Yellow Roses – Ry Cooder – Chicken Skin Music, of which I have the original CD and therefore didn’t steal music.

My father the eggbeater

iTunes’ party shuffle is playing: South Side – Moby – Play

‘A man sets out to draw the world. As the years go by, he peoples a space with images of provinces, kingdoms, mountains, bays, ships, islands, fishes, rooms, instruments, stars, horses, and individuals. A short time before he dies, he discovers that that patient labyrinth of lines traces the lineaments of his own face.’

Jorge Luis Borges, Afterword, El Hacedor

Several years ago I took a road trip with Pa up north to Seremban, where we were to settle some family things.

We had some time to spare, so he asked me to drive slowly, and said that I must ‘turn up out the exit’ when he tells me to. Pa’s directions to drivers are often exasperatingly cryptic. Many times, my road rage is directed at him.

What is ‘turn up’? Left or right? Tell me left or right? Don’t tell me ‘up’ or ‘down’ the road, can?

This time, he asked me to ‘turn up out the exit’ somewhere south of Seremban, and take the rickety old trunk road we used to take when I was a kid.

Pa required several toilet breaks as I did smoke breaks. At the various stops along the highway, I took out a notebook and started interviewing him, asking him about my family’s history.

We drove to the township of Mantin, Negri Sembilan, where, according to Pa, the coffee shop that stood in the middle of town still looked the same as it did sixty years ago. With the Plus expressway, Mantin has more or less lost its purpose. It remains a typically dusty Malaysian town, with people drifting around on little motorbikes, dirty Malay kids running barefoot, tired looking Chinese schoolchildren lugging their Mickey Mouse bags back from school.

Pa said he used to work at the coffee shop as a coffee boy. His eyes welled up as he spoke of sellling coffee powder and yew char kuay at the market; of cycling the twenty odd kilometres to Seremban to school; of how Grandfather and Grandmother lived separately; of how Grandmother sailed from Hainan to Malaya to look for Grandfather, but didn’t know where Malaya was, and how, as a result, her route was Village – Haikou – Canton – Hanoi – Saigon – Bangkok – Hatyai – Ipoh – Seremban; and of how, when he was six years old, Grandmother sent him on a boat to Singapore to look for Grandfather, not knowing Grandfather was in Port Dickson, and couldn’t come to Singapore to meet him because he owed a substantial amount of money to some Hainanese gentleman there.

My notebook was soon filled, noting these and many other stories, some involving Malaysian royalty. Some about thugs. And some about how our family came to run nightclubs and hotels that rented rooms out by the hour.

Pa was laughing as he told me the odds and ends of his life. He was tearing as well.

I asked Pa why he never told me or my siblings these things before. And he said, voice breaking as he did, ‘I don’t want you all to know about poverty’.

On Tuesday night, Pa called me on my mobile (even though we live in the same house), and asked if I could see him in his room. I went, and he told me he went to the neurosurgeon’s who confirmed he had Parkinson’s Disease.

He then said, Old already is like that one lah.

I said, Good, Saturday morning you make breakfast. Scrambled eggs. No sunny side up in this house anymore!

Pa laughed again for a good minute, again hiding his hands behind his back so I wouldn’t see him with his shakes.