Monthly Archives: February 2011

Week 7/11: Voter’s Pledge

My consciousness about politics in Singapore sparked young. I was staying in the ward of Anson when it was under the “hammer party” and I recalled my mum pointing the picture (and thereafter the lightning bolt picture) to me when I was young.

I also remembered, circa 1991 (and thereafter) my Dad making me sit in front of the TV on voting night. My job was to write down the percentages/total number of votes each candidate received next to their printed faces on the center-fold of the chinese newspapers when the results were announced. Even though voting is secret (“投票是強致的,投票是密密的”, the TV announcer repeats), my parents always told me who they voted for. Over the years, they voted for those that could provide a better future for my sister and I.

2 elections had since been held after I turned 21, in 2001 (22 years old) and in 2006 (27 years old) but there were walkovers in my constituency then. Hence I got really excited on Wednesday night when the electoral boundaries report was released, even more so after finding out that I will now be voting in a single seat ward in the upcoming elections. It will be the first time I’m eligible to vote since I turned 21. [Of course, I’m expecting someone to contest in a single seat ward, yes?]

Looking back, I wondered if I had the chance to vote then, who would I have voted for? And if my vote would have changed over the years? I’m not sure.

But we can only look forward.

Maybe I’m an idealist, but the process of voting (and being able to vote) is important to me. The ability to choose my leader makes me more engaged as a citizen, even if I know that my vote is but a drop in the ocean. [1 out of 31,011 votes to be exact.]

Still, I promise to be a responsible voter. Just as my parents thought hard about who could bring about a brighter future for us then, I will be thinking about who can bring the same to my children (if/when I have any) and how my parents can bask in its glow and share the fruits of the country’s success in their twilight years.

I promise to be engaged, to listen to what you have to say, to give all a fair hearing, whether you are the incumbent or the challenger.

I promise to be discerning in my choice of leaders. That I will choose someone who not only does what’s right, but also has his/her heart in the right place.

I have only one request. Let me hear and see clearly your passion and your motivation to serve this country and its citizens.

So convince me. It’s not that difficult.

I’m sure I’ll be enjoying the ride as much as you do.


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Week 6/11: Listening

Happy Valentine’s week!
  • So why do fiction not prepare us for the love that happens after “happily ever after“? I think because there is an implicit assumption that the phrase connotes routine and therefore a contented state of being? But damn, marriage is hard work. No easier than romance. We become our worst selves with those that we are closest to. We become whiny, grumpy, bad-tempered, childish and selfish. We may say too little words of encouragement, so that’s what not being said obstructs like a heavy rock, tripping us up. Or we may say too much, that the words stay in our hearts weighing us down.
  • I think the balance lies in 聽, or listening. I saw a picture explaining the component parts of the word (聽) in my mediation workshop.
  1. There is the “耳” which involves bending our ears to the speaker.
  2. “王” where true listening involves treating the other person as royalty. We honor the person when we listen.
  3. There is the “eyes” to maintain eye contact, so that we aren’t distracted.
  4. “一” signifies undivided attention and focus.
  5. “心”, where listening with the heart is as important as listening with your ears.


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Week 5/11: Husbands, Wives, Money

  • I think men and women tend to spend their money differently. Men tend to spend their money on a single big ticket item, like an expensive car, which is equivalent to about 90, NINETY!!! luxury branded handbags. Women, on the other hand, go for quantity – luxury brands or mass brands notwithstanding.
  • There is absolute truth in the saying “If a man can’t change his wife, he changes his car instead“. I wonder which wise man or woman said this. I can’t seem to find a google link to this. And yes, the result of the car versus share buy-back debate was that Mr. Cinical bought himself a new car (not the Z4!). And he has been gushing on and on about it. I actually haven’t seen the car yet. I reserve my rights to choose the color though. 🙂
  • I had flagged out WSJ’s “The gender of money” earlier in this week as an interesting article to share. Funny how the major events of my life this week coincided with money. Or perhaps it’s just a spurious correlation. I chanced upon this article as I was surfing the Spousonomics Blog about how economic principles (division of labor, pareto efficiency etc) may be used to “master love, marriage and dirty dishes”. It’s just the type of book that appeals to me! I have placed an order for this book and can’t wait for it to arrive. Perhaps I can learn to quarrel better (I mean, manage my marriage /Mr Cinical better) ! Ha.
  • Also read the WSJ’s article “How to Nag Effectively” by Paula Szuchman, incidentally, also the co-author of Spousonomics. Proven: People respond to incentives mixed with a combination of division of labor (according to comparative advantage) to achieve pareto efficiency.

I can’t stand messiness, while Mr. Cinical can’t stand dirtiness, but we both like shopping for the house. Hence:

  1. He takes out the trash, settles the newspaper recycling and buys expensive cars (okay, car).
  2. I’m in charge of the laundry, general tidying up (*I give a concession to his work-desk which is perpetually messy) and online-shops on a (very) regular basis.
  3. We outsource the general cleaning once a week to improve our standard of life (clean toilets!).
  4. We reward ourselves by doing the weekly grocery shopping together – an activity that we both enjoy.

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Woman, thy name is water.

A woman after your own heart is tea.

A woman who intoxicates your heart is liquor.

A woman who moves your heart is soup.

A woman who softens your heart is vinegar.

A woman who persuades your heart is medicine.

A woman who makes a mess of your heart is perfume.

A woman who makes your hear feel good is coke.


女人: 红颜祸水 (Woman: Red Features, Disaster Water)


Credits: Ouyang Yu’s On the Smell of an Oily Rag: Speaking English, Thinking Chinese and Living Australian.


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Life with a Law Student: Of Cars & Share Buyback

I think Mr. Cinical is facing a mid-life crisis of sorts or perhaps he has ran out of (new) gadgets to entertain himself with. I have been assaulted these few days by his begs, pleas, threats, bribes about us getting a new car. A car which we can ill-afford. A car also known as the BMW Z4.

Take 1 (Appeal to the Heart)

Me: It’s still a NO…We can’t afford it..Blah Blah…expensive…crazy..Blah Blah.

Mr. Cinical (with bright pleading eyes): You know, I have never asked you for anything ever since we have been together.

Me: No. You asked for my hand in marriage, don’t you remember?

Mr. Cinical: Argggggggggghhhh! No!!!


Take 2 (Attempt at a more rational approach)

Mr. Cinical: You know, I’m not technically asking you to okay the purchase of the car.

Me: What do you mean?

Mr. Cinical: Think of it as a stock buyback. The company usually has to seek the Board of Director’s Approval before a stock repurchase. But this approval given doesn’t necessarily mean that the company will exercise it.

Me: That means it’s still conditional upon my approval right? It’s still a no.




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Week 4/11: Retrospective

Week 4. Admittedly, the weekly “forced” writing challenge is starting to be a drag. I’ll rather be losing myself in Robin Cook’s new medical thriller (“Cure”, on loan from the library).
But isn’t that what challenges are all about?
A challenge is both demanding and stimulating. Demanding because you have to find an innate motivation to complete it. Stimulating because you can look back and savor the sweetness of that completion.
Some random thoughts/interesting stuff I found off the web this week:
    • It rained for almost 3 days straight in the early part of the week. I love rain. Particularly if I’m the passenger in the front seat of the car. I love the splitter splatter of the rain on the windscreen. I love that rhythmic swipe of windscreen wiper. It’s almost hypnotic.
    • It was the first year that I helped my mum cook for the lunar new year. I don’t know why, but it just hit me that if I do not start learning, I may never be able to recreate those age-old recipes infused with their original flavors of homeliness. Perhaps it’s a recognition of mortality, or that I have reached a point in my life where understanding where I’m from is just as important as knowing where I’m going. So, I cooked nonya-style curry chicken. The secret, my friends, is in the potatoes and in my mum’s home-made chili sauce which I have yet to pick up.
    • It must be nice to open a bar with the cocktails inspired by one’s lost loves. Check out the bar 13 wives at Kampong Bugis for a preview where each drink is accompanied by a soulful narrative of the woman who inspired it.
    • Ms. A and I have planned a grand holiday in June/July to Chengdu. Chengdu is apparently also referred to as the Land of Milk & Honey! I’m not kidding. It sounds almost like the Oriental version of the Promiseland! So yum to pandas, gorges, valleys, E-mei mountain, great Buddha statues, spicy sichuan food and tea houses where you can waste whole afternoons away.
    • Love these 2 quotes about writing from here.

    “Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.” ~Gene Fowler

    “We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection.” ~Anaïs Nin

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    Filed under 2011