Meet the Karen Cheng

Doing the Karen Cheng

I’ve been following Karen Cheng’s blog on and off since blogs were invented way back in 1976. If you’re not already a fan, she’s a hot Perth mother of two lovely kids who blogs about her family, shopping et cetera on a very pretty self-designed website at

On occasion, she takes self-portraits in a manner which has spawned this viral thing called “doing the Karen Cheng“, where someone takes pictures of themselves in front of a mirror, with the camera visible in the picture, and with their heads tilted at a specific, precise angle, facing north by northwest.

The point of this all is that Karen will be visiting Singapore for the first time in six years, and instead of merely dropping in on the shops and hanging out with friends, she has decided to also raise money for the Singapore Red Cross while she’s here.

On Saturday, 5 July at a location to be finalised on the Facebook event page, she will “do the Karen Cheng” in front of a, preferably large, mirror. And everyone is invited to attend and “do the same Karen Cheng”, and donate $10 to the Red Cross.

If that sounds even remotely dodgy to you, maybe you, like me, have impure thoughts, and should really read Karen’s blog post for a clearer explanation.

(Thanks for the alert, Lancerlord)

No one thinks big of you

This anti-speeding campaign ad is targeted at young male drivers in NSW, Australia. It depicts young men driving fast to impress women and friends, who aren’t impressed and who wag their little finger to indicate that the driver has a small… y’know?

As with a lot of things Australian, it’s slightly offensive and controversial, but to the point. Like the first slogan for the state of Victoria’s anti-drink driving campaign: “Drink, Drive, Bloody Idiot”.

It seems there was a twist in NSW’s offensive offensive against speeding.

Last week, a driver blamed the RTA’s ad campaign for a fit of road rage:

A Sydney man has blamed the Roads and Traffic Authority’s “little pinky” advertising campaign for a fit of road rage, saying that a woman’s wiggling little finger implied he had a small penis.

Simon Jardak was fined $400 by a magistrate after an accusatory finger on the Anzac Bridge enraged him so much he threw a plastic bottle out of his car window, hitting the gesturing woman’s car.

Mr Jardak blamed his malicious damage charge on the RTA’s anti-speeding campaign, in which hoons are mocked with wagging little fingers, suggesting they have tiny penises.

He told Richard Glover’s Drive program on ABC 702 that the RTA’s relentless promotion of the “little pinky” gesture had made it more offensive to males than the traditional “middle finger”.

Still, I think we can do better here than “Speeding Kills” or “Drink Driving Is Not Safe Even If You Are A Mediacorp TV Actor”.

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Communicado IV: I promise you!

Perhaps I’ve been a little negative about Ex Wallaby 05, and for awhile, perhaps forgotten about the most uplifting radio comms statement transmitted. It was made by my company commander just after the tank mishap, and when the word ‘exhaustion’ failed to describe what all the commanders and troopers really felt:

Two-Niner to all stations Two-Niner, if your Zulu (Armoured Fighting Vehicle) drivers or commanders are tired, I will stop and let you rest! I promise you! We will finish this mission safely! …Two-Niner, out!

I speak for some of my fellow troopers when I say, Captain N W Ho, you cannot imagine how good we felt on hearing that over the comms.

Cpl Guai pops out of Two-Eight’s animal cage for a breather

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Exporting Singlish

Unlike most of Australia, the people of Rockhampton and its environs understand Singlish a little better, seeing as we have had a permanent armed forces base there and have trained there for almost a third of every year since 1990. The signboards we stick up everywhere help too:

Ex Wallaby 2005: Signs of Singlish

Ex Wallaby 2005
Signs probably seen in Johnny’s workshop

Surf stop: nlim’s photographs from Ex Wallaby 2005 – I have no idea how they got to go to the beach while we were in the woods.

Surf stop II: Mindef video of Ex Wallaby 2005.

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“Doesn’t this feel like an episode of ‘Band of Brothers?’

3SG Gerard Tan asked anyone who’d listen, prompting another thread of conversation.

“Which one?”

“‘Bastogne‘, my favourite one, where they’re being bombarded by artillery endlessly in the forest, and there aren’t any officers around, and there are no resupplies of food and water”.

Gerard was right about the depiction of misery. The 4th and 5th day of our unit’s ATEC evaluation stopped feeling like an exercise, and began to take on some resemblance of a real military operation as we started to ration food and water – fuck the ammunition, not enough, never mind – in case we really got stuck in that neck of the woods that seemed impossible to negotiate with a bicycle, much less a battalion of tanks and armoured fighting vehicles.

At least a dozen vehicles had already gotten bogged down or disabled by the third day. My motorcycle was put out of commission on the second, having crashed into a creek which flooded the engine. (I was unhurt, but had to abandon the bike for the recovery team to recover – it took them three days, but that’s another story).

Armoured vehicle drivers logged unbelievable hours at the wheel/sticks every day of the exercise.

One tank overturned, but her crew escaped unhurt. At the other companies, no-duff (real) casualties amounted to not more than cuts and bruises, with the most serious being a dead-fall (tree branch) injury that initially required a helicopter medivac.

I am certain we were very, very lucky to make it out of the exercise alive and mostly unhurt. My mates will attest to that. I don’t know how to describe how bad conditions were. Maybe you’d have to ask Gerard about that. He did ask those around us who’d listen:

“Why does this feel like the retreat of the Russians?”

About a minute passed before he corrected himself:

“I mean, why does this feel like the retreat of the Germans?”


So, if you believe reserve training is doing something for the security of the nation, spare a thought for your colleague who’s had to take a coupla weeks off work. Sometimes, it’s not quite a holiday.

Ex Wallaby 2005: Tree 1, Armour nil
Tree 1, Armour nil

Ex Wallaby 2005
Taking shelter

Ex Wallaby 2005

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