Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Conspiracy Theory – Stories from the Street

Just what the local street aunties are talking about nowadays. Overheard somewhere, aunties were gossiping about the many cases of bird flu reported throughout the year. They yakked that this is all a conspiracy caused by the big companies that supplies fresh or frozen chickens to the giant supermarkets. Since these companies cannot beat the low prices of local produce, bird flu cases were reported wildly and chickens of local folks were condemned to burn in hell. So there won’t be anymore competition, and the general public will be forced to buy the products from the giant supermarket.

What will they think of next…

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Menthol Effect

I sat on the bench after my swim. The breeze was strong in the late afternoon sun. My eyes forced to shutter down to just the typical lined eye of a Chinese face, I watch the waters. It was but a shiny tattered mirror of reflections as the afternoon breezes on. I was alone, I inhaled my Davidoff, the menthol effect, and the taste of coolness filled me. As I closed my eyes watching the waters, I was back by the river.

It is summer, and I am in the jetty near Blackwall. I am early as usual to get the best spot on the jetty. I am alone. Holding my rod with my eyes close, I am waiting patiently for the first sign of the Tailor run. Peeking out onto the glaring afternoon, the tatter of reflections on the Swan, the Marlboro, the menthol effect, and the taste of coolness fills me. I can smell the brackish river. The water splashes, the Blowies plays. A crow calling I hear now. The tree rustles in the wind. The crows of Perth are elegant, steroids in shiny black feathers like silk. They do not look anything like their undernourished cousins in Asia. I hear the bark. Must be a Retrieval on the river walk with his owner. It is summer. I am in the state of blissfulness.

I opened my eyes. I was beside the pool. The tattered mirror of reflections filled my vision. Maybe this is self denial, but maybe just enjoying the euphoria so long lost never to be found in Singapore is all that’s worth for. I am the free yellow bird (ok,,, fat yellow Chinese bird), away form the cage of a diminutive, routine and restricted population.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

i-Home Finally

For over 30 years, I have waited for this day. A home I can call my own. Ironically, a home is where my home not is. Singapore had made it rather impossible for me, but I can’t blame her all. It’s the longing to be elsewhere that has driven me to this. A home, away from the motherland. A dream home costing so much less but alluring so much more. Though it may not be vast, a studio she is, I have built my own Shangri-La. 30 years was a long wait. I never had a home. A resort…., my Resort.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Granny so Corny

Just this Sunday, which was Thailand’s Mothers Day, I brought gig’s mum and gang for the usual “tamboon” trip. “Tamboon” means something like going to the temples and boring myself to death while offerings were given to the monks followed by prayers.

Gang includes one about to be transvestite, the mum and a granny of about 55 years old. Yakking non stop as I drove, I tried to pick out and understand what I could of their conversation….

Mum: So you are saving for a sex change operation soon?
Transvestite: Yes, I am goin to XYZ hospital to do it. I am going to be a woman soon (sounding very happy).
Granny: How old are you?
Transvestite: 36.
Granny: Are you sure men will use your new thing after sex change? You are already so old.
Me: ... (Continue driving in shocking silence)

Granny: When you see men’s thing, will your thing rise?
Transvestite: No… prefer to be entered so my thing will not rise…
Me: ... (Continue driving in shocking silence)

Mum: Brother has been bringing different girls home in the night lately.
Gig: Brother is very “playboy”.
Mum: He is so young (18) and have many different girlfriends.
Granny: His thing can use? He is so young still.
Mum: Sure can, seen it recently…. Big and good.
Me: ... (Continue driving in shocking silence)

Then in the temple in front of Buddha…

Mum: Have you eaten? You have been driving non stop.
Me: Its ok, I had milk in the morning.
Granny: Why drink milk? Your gig don’t have enough milk for you?
Me: ... (expecting lightning to shoot from Buddha’s eyes any moment)

It is interesting ain’t it. In Chinese families, your grandma will not speak like that unless senile. But here in Thailand, they seemed so open. However, there are a certain “high-so (high society)” group of people, normally Thai-Chinese, who thinks talking like that is definite taboo. They consider normal families like what I encountered “low-so” and of a lower grade. Interbreeding with such families is a no-no. Having the transvestite on the journey was also one of my first. Don’t get that much in Singapore but here, most groups of friends will certainly have one or two of these interesting gentle creatures within. Thailand, still new to me after 3 years.