Saturday, October 09, 2010

Donch anyhow laugh me okay?!

My "設計對白" in 2004 when blogging was catching on..

Ah beng : aye, ah lian, u know now a day peepur very feyshun this thing call BLOG leh! you have or not?
Ah lian: si mi si BLOG? u mean like my hdb block 1, block 2 like that issit?
Ah beng: no lah! blog is hor, you write your fee lings and let peepur read and they pass konmen on your fee lings lor. Macam let other peepur read your dailee but now they can immelialy swan you lah.

JULY 12, 2004 11:08 AM


Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Dear King of Kennedy Town

May I present my innovative ideas- that will help the fat distribution challenged citizens of your kingdom:

Wear a tea leaves strainer over y mouth. This encourages the dieter to eat only fluids or any food which can pass through the mesh of the strainer.

Fitness with a mobile monitor screen. Unplug the monitor from your desk and carry it with you each time you leave your desk. As you become fitter, you can gradually add weight, example, carry the CPU.

Saunas in your office. Plug in a few sandwich toasters in your room. Set toast power to medium brown. Sweating helps rid toxic and increases your metabolic rate.

Your humble subject

Monday, February 27, 2006

Latest Discovery - librarians have a sense of humor

Who says we don't have a sense of humour? Of course we do, librarians have a better sense of humour than a lampshade. A columnist has defined humour as "a measurement of the extent to which we realise that we are trapped in a world almost totally devoid of reason. Laughter is how we express the anxiety we feel at this knowledge.”

Apparently, many librarians do not realise that it’s possible to make things out of nothing at all, twist the truth, make unbelievable statements and call it fiction. Well, curse upon anyone who writes humorous fiction about librarians, death to those who write anything about reference librarians. In the case of an article I have written, the characters are all fictitious. Except for the ones I didn't have to make up. The librarians who are smiledisabled. One library patron described librarians in my library as "stoned face". One can never embellish this character. I often write in the stereotypical spinster bun in the hair fashion. But then I have more than once, spotted a few austere (“stoned faced” ) ones not far from the characters I have written about.

I have observed that a few of my colleagues in this library and elsewhere, have developed an unsuspecting trust in chain emails asking for blood, sending gold medallions to dying child, cold bananas cause lupus etc. Mused, I wrote a spoof for a library publication. My dream of becoming a celebrated Library Newsletter Writer of the century was shattered. I spent the entire day in an unconscious state when the editor of the library newsletter rejected my article. Next to global warming, she was deeply concerned about potential violent etaliation from co-workers and the library community at large. My article she deemed too "spicy".

I felt dejected . I concluded that librarians ' lack of humor cannot be explained by any known neuro-sciences or law of physics.

Well, fellow blogarians, Read my article re- produced below and send a smile by email, to support my cause to fight violations of freedom to humor!

From: Nineteen 97
To: Undisclosed-Recipient:;
Subject: ‘Help a librarian’ plea

I am a very sick library employee. I was born without a smile. It doesn't hurt, except when I sit at the reference desk.

The surgeons gave me an artificial smile. My lips are injected with acid free paper lint fibres. The surgeons said that was the best they could do on account of employees in de-linked universities having no money for medical insurance.

I would like to have a smile transplant, but I need a raise funds.

I hope you will help me. You can help me if you forward this e-mail. Dr. Wing-Yuen Mei-siu said if you forward this e-mail then Bill Gates will collaborate with Arthur Li and do an online survey with SARSA (Special Administrative Region Space Administration). Then the SARSA astronauts will collect virtual well wishes and prayers from librarians all over the world and take them up to Princess Long Ear (zhang er 常耳 ) of the Moon, then they will go to the Li Foundation, and they will take a cash donation to my surgeons at SARCASM Hospital (Special Administrative Region Courtesy And Smile Management Hospital).

Maybe one day I will be able to answer your enquiries with a smile. The surgeons said that when you forward this email to a friend or relative, the astronauts can take their prayers to Princess Long Ear. Please help me. I want a smile. I don't want the paper lint in my lips to turn mouldy before I turn 60.

If you don't forward this e-mail, that's OK. You're just an apathetic and heartless person who doesn't care about a poor librarian without a smile. I hope that you can never find any book or journal in the library when you need it most!

Please help me. I try to smile at users but it is hard.
Thank You.
Siu Ng Lok
The reference librarian without a smile

Dsiclaimer: Any resemblance (no matter how familiar they seem to you) in my stories to any person, alive or dead, is purely, coincidental even if they happen to have the exactly the same names, bodies and facial features as actual people. This spoof does not reflect the opinions of my employer, my organisation or my pet fish; don't quote me on anything, If you don’t get the joke, do not attempt to repair it yourself, please send it back to any authorised joke service centre. May be hazardous to yourself and family. No animals, alive or dead, are used to test the credibility of the story. If you develop a rash or irritation, relax and get a life.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

The time has come

My anonymity and disguise as "Gahgah" (the other main man in my workplace cleverly pointed out that Gahgah is Haghag spelt backwards) has succeeded as much as a purple hippopotamus in dark glasses who tried to get into a 'Pink Flamingos Only' polo club.

Inevitably, after a night of rumination, histrionics and hysteria, I reached the only conclusion that could be reached - I have to leave this blog, go back to my dome, and my beer and my existence as an ant in this chaotic cosmo.

It's about time to bid a fond adieu. To say goodbye and cut the tie. My blog is a momentary glimpse at my insanity. Today I leave this blog before my senses take leave of me.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Cantonglish vs Singlish

HKSAR 's biliterate (English and Chinese)and trilingual (English, Cantonese and Putonghua) language policy 两文三语 has caused confusion among the Hong Kong people.

There are many Hong Kong Chinese who can speak VERY Good english and there are many more who speak Very BAD English. There are so many forms of English spoken by non native speakers - english spoken by Philippinos, thais, malaysians, singaporeans etc. I don't think it is fair to laugh at Singlish or Cantonglish. Why can't we accept English as spoken by non native english speakers as "World English"? (There is "World Music") instead of making snooty comparisons with British or American or Australia or any White English?

Of cos my amor patriae HK friends often argued with me whenever I commented that the Lingua Franca of HK is not English but Cantonglish or Engtonese. For example, students copy "node-see" (notes) , attend "Tiew Tor" (Tutotial) and borrow books from the "Mad Lie" (Medical Library) and they get mad when the "Pwin Tah"(printer) is jammed.

HK has cleverly cantonised the english words.

Cantonese is the dominant "language" used in HK. Cantonese is even used as an instructional language in schools up to the university. Students are taught to navigate on web pages by kicking - Please "kick" (click) the mau-see (mouse) and "kick" this link. A plan is a pan. The pan falls mainly on the pan. Cantonese is also used in the Legislative Council, media and government.

I am not criticising the use of cantoglish. In fact, I love it! Efficient and creative bilingualism. The comic and wit of spoken and written Cantonese is uniquely HK.

The use of contraction and truncation of cantonese terms is equally facinating!

腩粗走油走青,奶茶走糖,油菜全走 (beef brisket with mee pok, leave out the oil and spring onions; milk tea, no sugar please. Steam veg, no oil, no osyter sauce and no whatever you are about to add to my plate of veg)

里汁叉鸡跟意粉,跟署菜 (curry sauce on spaghetti with char siew and chicken, and potato with veg )

旧中银 (old Bank of China Building)

机铁 (Airport Express MTR station)


See you LAY TAH!

[Post 27/1997]

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

To kill a roach

Roaches. Lovely things to look at, a joy to crush. I am the official roach and critters crusher in my family. Even the men I know would squirm shamelessly. Of course a few of them would salvag their ego by telling me that they were not afraid of roaches, just could NOT tolerate the smell of them or some stoopid lame reason.. like I am a vegan. I kill them not eat them!

I am also the roach buster for my friends who would risk MY life by opening the car door and dashing into the traffic whenever they thought they saw a roach inside the car.

I love roaches. I would trail them with my roving eyes each time I see a roach. There was one in my room last night. 6.9 cm long (post mortem). Let me share with you the secret of immobilising a roach. YOU DON'T USE B*YGON or M*RTEIN or any kind of pest spray.

The trick - use any SPRAY - lemonpledge, hair spray, 1 to 99 bleach/water DIY spray (HK advocated this combo during the SARS outbreak), Dettol spray, even EDT from a cheapy boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse.

Like some Chow Yuen Fatt movies, I put on my roach eaten B&rberry trenchcoat , I armed myself with 2 nice cans of Dettol spray and position myself to spray that damn roach. Die! Roach Die! The roach slowed to a painful wriggling stop, flipped over (I am not exaggerating) and I continued to administer that last fatal spray into its limp body.

If I wasnt in the chow yuen fatt or john wayne mood, I would be merciful and offer it a quick death by clubbing it swiftly with rolled up newspapers or my enhanced roach killer slipper. When I wanted the roaches dead, I want them very dead.

I left the gun and took the cannolis. All the time, I was smiling.

[post 26/1997]

Thursday, July 29, 2004

The greatest FCUK in the world

Dear NiRvanA

7 years ago, I decided to give up swear words that enquire about each other's parents, ancestors and other relations and any swearing that requires specific reference to any other anatomical parts of homosapiens or animals. I am not holier than thou, I am definitely not moralising the issue. Many a man's use of profanity has saved him from a nervous breakdown. I grew up around friends and relatives and neighbours who were swearing every 4th word.

The most profane word I use these days is probably a twisted form of "sh*t", I say "shoot" like the rest of my bostonian college (all women college) schoolmates and professors. As as Mark Twain said "I shall never use profanity except in discussing house rent and taxes."

Of course, I do suffer from the 7 year itch, every once in a while, I use the F word but since it is now a fashion label, it seems tolerable and not too uncouth. The label is FCUK. (French Connection UK). I bought a couple of tee shirts from the FCUK shop. And it turned a few heads in Singapore. On the tees : "Possibly the greatest FCUK in the world". "I am with this stupid FCUK". If you want to pronounce "fcuk", try the bahasa sound "cuk (choke) - so you end up cursing "F-Choke" you!

Mark Twain on profanity:

When angry count four; when very angry, swear.

The idea that no gentleman ever swears is all wrong. He can swear and still be a gentleman if he does it in a nice and benevolent and affectionate way.

There ought to be a room in every house to swear in. It's dangerous to have to repress an emotion like that.

Under certain circumstances, urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer.

Let us swear while we may, for in Heaven it will not be allowed.

It is no harm to be an ass, if one is content to bray and not kick.

From "Beer" episode of BlackAdder II (starring Rowan Atkinson of Mr Bean):

Lady Whiteadder: I hope you did not invite anyone else. For where there are others, there are people to fornicate with!

Edmund Blackadder :Well, I'll just go tell them to...fornicate off

Profanity? F chook that!

[post 25/1997]

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Compos Mentis (Of Sound Mind)

LKY "I am still compos mentis" ST 7/28/2004.  Compos mentis is latin for sound mind. Punctuating your sentences with latin phrases is voque, sensu lato (broadly speaking).

I love to argue. I always assume what I 'claim to be proving' and assume that the other person is begging the question.

Here is a simple trick to have the last say in a fallacious argument.

For e.g (exempli gratia - by grace of example):

Me: "There is no such chew-zhau (teochew, chao zhou) cuisine known as "打冷“ , pronounced by HK people as "da larn". It is made up by HK locals as they 打个round to look for food (supper) after a midnight movie. And in those days, the teochew eateries are always open late into the night. So teochew food becomes "打冷“ as it sounds like 打个round"

Opponent: "But the chewzhau chef who has been in HK for past 4 decades told me that teochew cuisine is normally known as "da larn" because..."

Me: "You are begging the question."

Opponent silenced. Reason: He was indeed begging the question or he did not know the meaning of Begging the Question. Or he pretended to know the meaning and play safe to avoid detection by keeping his mouth shut.

For the record (another good phrase to use). Begging the question means

"In the fallacy of circular reasoning, you assume to be true what you are supposed to be proving."

If this fails, end your sentence with a "QED" (quod erat demonstrandum) meaning which was to be demonstrated or proven. During my undergrad days as a Statistics Major, I used "QED" to its death. I have never failed any of my statistics papers, ipso facto. (by that very fact).

[post 24/1997]


Tuesday, July 27, 2004


An open letter to a fellow "old flower eyer":

Hi Aniram,

Long sightedness (or farsightedness) AND "old flower" both have the same outcome, meaning people with LS or OF have difficulty seeing up close.
In both instances, the light falls behind the retina due to the shorter eyeball.

However, the CAUSE of LS and OF is different.

In optical terms:
Long or Far sightness is HYPEROPIA
Old flower eyes is PRESBYOPIA
Short sightness is MYOPIA

Presbyopia is an age related process while Long (Far) sightness is related to the shape of the eyeball. Presbyopia is due to the loss of flexibility (musular fibers or protein build up) of the natural lens in your eye.

In USA, a new method of surgery has been temporary approved to correct Old Flower. (April 2004). I think we can wait till we are 70 or 90 . Of course by then we could be dead with perfect eyesight for the journey to the other side.

What come may, I am happy to have the lasik surgery. Soon or sooner I will need reading glasses. Doc explains that if you have myopia, then your will need reading glasses at a later stage - meaning you have to wear bifocals at some time in your life.
Now that I have "perfect eyesight" (20/20):
1) I don't need contact lenese or bifocals
2) I no longer need to memorise the Smellen Eye Chart to cheat my optometrist
3) now I look cool and intellectual with my flaming red rimmed reading glasses and only need it when reading size of letters the height of a viral cell. 
If I have not gone for the lasik surgery I would be blind as a bat in the left eye (-9.00) and half blind in the right (-5.25), therefore need contact lenses if I can find them, or I need bifocals when I age gradually.  

One of the disadvantages of having old flower eyes is that I cannot go dine by myself without the risk of pointing to a blur menu and saying to the waiter "I'll have this" - and ordering the address and fax number of the restaurant. 

The doc said I would have Monovision. Left eye to see far, and right eye to see near. The brain naturally favors one eye. Great! But I can't play "I spy with my little eye" with my nephew and nieces, I have to play "I spy with my left eye" .

Cheers, your fellow old flower eyer,

[post 24/1997]

Beng Go

I normally check my inactive yahoo email once a month to delete bulk emails and to read any genuine ones. I was annoyed by several emails in the regular IN box encouraging me to PRAY BENG-GO (Singaporeans: please decrypt, PRAY as in Phua Chu Kang's Don't Pray Pray).
Why did I not use the correct English words instead of Pray Beng-go? Well, I have a nagging suspicion that someone someplace hijacked my email to a long lost friend. In that email, I wrote: "Hi .. I havent heard from you for a long time. I was checking my yahoo and Beng-go! Got a msg from you..."
And soon after that reply, my mail box was attacked by half a dozen of email ads on Praying Orfline or Ongline Beng-go
Therefore if we write in Singlish, we are probably less likely to be spamed. I am not kidding. HKU has this plagarism detection software. The results are indicated by color codes - RED if more than 90% are plagarised. The local students cleverly cheated the software. How? They replaced the plagarised paragraphs with mispelt words and grammar errors to trick the software. The software matches exact 6 words to determine that a hit.
Wellcome to Bengo Zonh!
[post 23/97]

Friday, July 23, 2004

"And goD saw the blog, that it was good: and goD divided the blog from the forums, discussion lists, mailing list, instant messaging etc."

Blogging is good, it unleashes wit, sacarsm, humor and emotional chaos remembered in a state of restlessness.
This post "isn't about writing book reviews" (phrase hijacked from Raw Notes). Just a few titles from my fragments of what I can remember or care to remember:
The year preceding the title, indicates the year I started reading the book..
1992- Final Exit (known to be banned) (read from cover to cover and was smug that I could get hold of a copy)
1996 - How we die  (clinical and physician's perspective, wont help you much if you think you are suicidal and looking for a quickie way)
2000 - Learning Legal Rules (Someone, pl kick me, I was actually enjoying this one!)
1998-2001 Red Herring, MIT Technology Review (staple diet)
2001 - Wrong Rooms (out of print, read the chinese translation)
2001 - From Alchemy to IPO: The Business of Biotechnology (it was so "IN" to read abt bio-whatever)
2001-2003: From Third World to First, The Singapore Story (..and many many other books about my hero. I won 2 bucks writing about him "The person I admire most". I submitted the 50 word article to "Student World" 1970 issue. I spent the entire $2 on a Wall's ice cream from Yaohan)
1993 - How not to get pregnant (Men: be surprised but dont be surprised!)
2003 - God's debris (an old man in a rockin chair sending a postal man into life's journey - by engaging him in a mind boggling discourse)
1995- Idoru - Parallet stories of Chia and Colin - trailing Rez star of a Lo/Rez pop band - Rez is marrying an Idoru, the cyber woman named Rei. I like the character - Colin - he is a cyber data miner, epitomising "there is elegence in chaos" - colin has uncanny skills on mining from disparate nodes of data
1996- Neuromancer - Gibson's first cyberishdegook novel. Got me hooked on his other works.
2002 - Mere Christianity - magnum opus by my all time favorite C.S Lewis. Read all his classic apologetics one christmas - while house and cat sitting. Great defense and logic. Wit from the engimatic man from Cambridge. Regularly meeting JRR Tolkein, his fellow "inkling" from the Inklings Club (Lewis's room in the college). Both Lewis and Tolkein bonded by their common interests in myth and legends.
2002- Screwtape Letters - Ingenious - another by Lewis! Letters from the well honed and senior demon "Uncle Screwtape"' to novice junior demon Woodworm. Uncle advises nephew on how to corrupt a converted christian.  Diabolical and refreshing.
2002-The problem of pain - Another Lewis classic. Better to read this before "A grief observed" to catch the paradox.
2002-A Grief Observed- Lewis wrote about his wife's death
2002-The Narnia Chronicles - something fairy taley fantansy after heavy doses of the apologetics.
1992- The picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde. "the love that dares not speak its name".
1998 -If Animals Could Talk - Funny book. First person (i mean first animal) narrative of the mysterious designs of life in the animal kingdom. Picked this up for 3 bucks, from a MTR busker in Hannover.
1994- Moonshadow (series, # 1- #12) - see "review" on Raw Notes
1989- The Prophet -  A Gilbran classic
1990- Either-Or: A Fragment of Life. Philo stuff. Kierkegaard. Dead. Great conversational piece if you ever want to intrique strange danish men in Copenhagen pubs.
1993 - The Zen and the Art of the Internet. See my post "Ten Years Ago"

1985 - The Man on the flying trapeze. James Thurber. Chockful of wit and great drawings. Borrowed from Queenstown Branch Lib?.
1989 - The Book of The Law, The Golden Dawn - Alister Crowley.  

Chinese books  (akan datang. I need time to post my "review" in chinese, my pinyin is pathetic)

1988 -男人的一半是女人
2003- 蓝宇
2004- 孽子
1985- 边城
[post 21/1997]

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Dear Long John

Dear Long John *
You wrote "
Actually even for me, I still don't have a mental picture of what you are really like now.  Either time or HK* has tamed you.
And frankly speaking, I enjoy what you were at that time.  Ha :-)
John *"  

Yup, i was like a wild child. My motto was "do one thing daily that scares me".
I am still pretty much the same, less reckless but gutsy when least expected (and when expected of cos). But I have mellowed over the years and 4 years at K* has transformed me a great deal too, especially on dealing with seniority, superiors and the eccentrics (they are not mutually exclusive).
Someone * once said to me "To manage, first you must learn to be managed" - that advice  was a retort when he saw the slogan on my tee shirt "I am unmanageable". Next advice, from same person "Respond, not react".  The inalienable truth is, I am still pretty much unchanged "Carpe Diem" - except that my pleasures are less dangerous over the years.  
And I'll still do the funky chicken when I am 85 - hopefully not in funny farm.
Yours as always, Dancer On Your Grave 

* Any resemblance to reputable companies. world class organisations, famous people dead or half dead is strictly intentional.
[post 20/1997]

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Disco Lab

I am not blogging about more discotheques. "Discolab" is the name of a network centric computing laboratory. A stab in the dark guess why it is named Discolab : Dis (distributed systems) Co (computing, convergence). Innit cool?  
[post 19/1997]

我爱 (邓)小平 

A tasteless bad pun on Deng's name "Xiao Ping". Each time I tell my friends I am going to Deng XIaoping, they know what I am referring to - shopping (siow pin, get it?).
Ivan has a blog on the books he has read or reading. I find it a great way to keep a "I read therefore I am" log. That gave me an idea - how to create the scariest blog on this planet - a shopping blog.    Dated entries on
1. who we shop with
2. where we shop
3. the modus operandi
4. what we bought
5. what we bought and regret later
6. what we almost bought and 
7. what we almost bought  but left in a huff (and regretted like hell later) - just becos our non-metrosexual, insenstive boyfriend or husband muttered with the interest of a fly: "buy lor.... quick lah, if like, buy lah!".
etc etc
My blog can be titled "The more you buy the more you save" or "Sunzi and the art of shopping".
To many women (including myself and the shop‘ping 精's in my family), shopping is not merely walk around and hope to buy. Shopping is COMBAT man! We devise strategies, requiring actions on both our physical and psychological levels.
1. Basic Equipement Considerations
Plan carefully as not to overload. You can consider the following optional equipment. Measuring tapes* (you cannot trust the size labels on factory outlet items. A bottle of mineral water (you may get thirty from price negotiation). Wet tissues (cleaning your hands from the dust and dirt while ravaging through cartons of sales items). Plasters/Bandaids for corns and blisters.
2. Rookie training
If you shop with a group of rookies, they need training. Take them into the heat of a summer sales.
3. Take a mixed set of "weapons"
Cash, Octopus cards, Credit cards, Vouchers, VIP cards,
4. Load craft.
Another friend with larger range of weapons. Sizeable friends to block off other attackers on the same item you have set your eyes on.
5. Spread out and cover each other
Call each other on cell phone or walkie talkie to compare prices.
etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc
Shopping is also a sacred act. You can be ordanined as a shoppinguru bodhishoptra once you can tell the novice shopper friends -  what brand, how to pronounce it, which shop, how to get there by land, sea, air, best time to be there, and which floor, which rack, how often they have sales and even the opening hours, and the locations of the nearest ATMs and toilets.
Malls and factory outlets are our niravana-land. Men do not and probably never will understand the karma of shopping.
[post 20/1997]

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Insomniacs in a Discotheken

Insomnia, an aptly named opened for 22-hours dance club. Open 8 AM - 6 AM, meaning you need to go find somewhere else to hang out from 6 AM - 8 AM. 
I arrived at the club at Lan Kwai Fong just slightly before midnite - a Philippino gig. Saving grace was that the DJ spinned great 70s, 80s, 90s dance tracks. I left the club at 6 AM. A line of cabs were in waiting.
The only time I could better my record of clubbing marathorn was a Summer of decadence in Gronigen. If my memory hasnt failed me - 10 PM to 7 AM in a discotheque named after Andy Warhol and somehow I managed to stay sober and touristy enough to buy a Andy Warhol designer tee from the club merchandising counter. 
just blabbing. I am suffering from Insomnia after Insomnia. At 8 AM I was still lying on my bed - eyes wide open and swearing that I would cross my heart and hope to die if I ever ever indulge in any forms of night life again... in the next 5 years.

[post 18/1997]

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Kompasu 圆规

(Typhoon: tropical cyclone; foong kow (wind-ball))
Kompasu skirted  HK (Sai Kong) yesterday. Kompasu - my 4th severe troical cyclones, with signals up to no. 9, since I arrived in HK 2 years ago. We are allowed to leave our workplace when typhoon signal no. 8 is announced. I was specifically grateful for Kompasu cos I was having a head splitting hangover and dying to go home. I almost stepped on Siu Kiong (Hong Kongers call roaches Siu Kiong (Xiao Qiang) after a cockroach movie dubbed in cantonese) on the way to work. When you see roaches scurrying - you know the cyclone would successfully head this way. So I was 90% confident that 8 would be hoisted.
Many of us are rasied to believe that typhoons are always named after women. No longer true. West pacific typhoons are named from a list of contribution by members of a Typhoon Committe (Cambodia, China, DP Korea, HK, Lao, Macau, Mironesia, Philippines, RO Korea, Thailand, USA, Vietnam).
Kompasu, pronounced KOM-PA-SS, is a compass, a V-shaped device for describing circles or circular arcs. Next on the Japan's list -Tokage, a lizard. If the next cyclone name comes from China, it will be named Long Huang (Dragon Emperor).
Hagupit (signal no.1,3, 8) was hoised on 10/11 September 2002, my second week at work in HK. I was amused, at the same time excited and anxious about where to get my meals! (typical foodie singaporean). 
Dujian (3, 8, 9), a double eyed wall cyclone hit HK September 2003. The rarely issuance of signal No. 9 was activated on 2 Sept. We all left after lunch or during lunch. we were expecting the HKO to issue no. 8 between 2-3PM. We were faced with a moral dilemma: a) go lunch and hang around in the office b) go lunch then home c) go home.  No. 8 was issued at 2:20 PM.
There was a recent one with issuance of no. 8 but unfortunately it was down to no, 3 by 8:30 AM, meaning we have to drag ourselves to work after an overnight severe tropical Mahjong session or Severe Sing-K night. The phone lines in HK suffer severe traffic congestion as many of us would be busy doing one of the following :call friends, relatives, maids (buy groceries, fish, veg - stock up!)' call friends, relatives (mahjong); call friends (watch a movie follow by SING K).
Isnt beat wind ball 打风球 exciting (sans the damages and injuries) ? 
[post 17/1997] 

Your Current Position is 6

I am elated. The automated voice on the other end of the phone says "Your current position is 30". I was the 30th person on hold to speak to the enquiry hotline office of the HK Immigration Dept. As I am typing this, my current position is 3. OK, HOLD THE BLOG. I need to speak to the officer soon.
I am back.
It took only a jiffy 10 minutes to climb from 30th to 3rd, averaging 20 seconds per position.
Well, there is a gratifying sense of hope on the other end of the line when you can visualise a queue of people in front of you.
The immigration department of HK has the best service people I have come across in the government services category. I was so impressed with the way HK handles the upgrading to smart IDs. Systemtic and super efficient. Total time taken for the registration (starting from entering the building to leaving the building) was a mere 20 minutes. You take a queue number and 30 seconds later), you were ushered to one of the hundreds of temporarily installed cubicle offices.  A smiling uniformed staff (English speaking) greeted me and apologised for having kept me waiting for 30 seconds. He started to process my registration, including a brief interview, taking your mug shot and finger printing all my 10 fingers. He thanked me for my time and explained that if I didnt understand any part of the registration, I can call him.
HSBC HK still tops my list of friendly and effective services in the non SME category. Note that I say effective and not efficient. I'll blog about this some other time.
[post 16/1997]

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Courses for Bloggers

Blogging Course Titles

1. Blog is a many splendid thing
2. Blog lifts us up where we belong
3. All you need is Blog
4. Blog: would there be any other name that smells as sweet?
5. I'm OK, You're OK, Blog's OK
6. She blog, He blog, a We blog
7. The Zen and the Art of Blogging
8. The Sun-zi Art of Blog
9. Yoga for Bloggers
10. Fighting Blog Addiction (special rates for those who have completed courses 1-9)

William Gibson's last blog : "I’ve found blogging to be a low-impact activity, mildly narcotic and mostly quite convivial, but the thing I’ve most enjoyed about it is how it never fails to underline the fact that if I’m doing this I’m definitely not writing a novel – that is, if I’m still blogging, I’m definitely still on vacation."

[post 15/1997]

From the mouth of babes  ヤバイ !

Act 1 Scene 1
Nephew, age 3: "Look, that man is fat"
Nephew's mum (my sis): "It is impolite to call someone fat. That man is not fat, he is muscular".

Act 1 Scene 2
Nephew, his mum and a neighbour entered elevator.
Nephew said to neighbour: "Wah, auntie, you are very muscular!"

Act 2
Sis fainted.

[post 14/1997]

For whom the bid tolls

My first internet purchase : 1995.

Before I made that brave click - I called up my credit card company and asked them to lower my credit limit to US$400. They were puzzled.

Ok, I was a wee bit paranoid but I NEED TO BUY. Otherwise how could I face my class of matured adult learners aka MBA students (I co-teach) of the Internet Commerce course? I thought if there was any security loophole and fraud, I would only be liable up to the limit the credit card company has set for me, which was only US$400.

That "the men dont get it" card was set aside for internet purchases only.

My first internet bid : 2004. I am now the proud owner of "The Compleat Moonshadow" comic series - at an amazing US$9.49. I first read my friend's pirated copy in 1993 - I was hypnotised and intriqued by Jon Muth's watercolor illustrations and the moth eaten cat, Frodo.

The series is retailed between US$24 - US$34 (exclusive of shipping charges) and in UK, it sells for over 20 british pounds!

[post 13/1997]

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Gas what?

Reinventing. Re-engineering. Think out of the box. Unfair advantage. TownGas did all that.

Towngas in HK is what PUB is in Singapore. Many of my HK tai tai friends have enrolled their domestic helpers in Towngas classes. No, they were not sent there to learn gas safety or energy saving measures. They were enrolled in cookery classes conducted by HK culinary experts in their Cooking Centre.

Towngas even sells appliances. Want to get a Chinese Pig Roaster? Towngas sponsors cooking competition, kitchen design competition and even has a cafe downtown (Towngas Avenue Cafe, Causeway Bay) which easily passes off as a 5 star french cafe which serves freshly-brewed gourmet coffee and great meals. You can even see the cooking by their chefs. And, by prior booking, you can have a private party in the self cooking areas - either to cook meals for your gf/bf/family/strangers (not sure abt this one) or enjoy pre-cooked meals for your party.

The next time you head this way, try the cafe at G/F., Riviera Mansion, 59-65 Paterson Street. Monday to Sunday : (Including public holidays, closed at Lunar New Year holidays) 10:00am-10:00pm

How does "Snow Crab Leg with Nagaimo in Tobiko Mango Sauce" sound to you? Or Baked Cod Fillet with Salted Egg Yoke (Cooking demonstration), and for desserts, Steamed Glutinous Rice with Apricot & Almond? Hearty Onion Soup with Port Wine in Puff Pastry and Holland Beef Tenderloin with Cognac Pepper Corn Gravy? I can go on...

[post 12/1997]

Mike, the bouncer at The Library

Year - late 80s. I was darn proud to be a librarian. When asked "so, where do you work?" "The Library". "Wah! Cool! The Library - nice disco!". Dont get the twist? Mandarin Hotel used to have a basement pub named "The Library", now renamed "The Boiler".

[post 11/1997]

なんなの 怎么搞的

I was a newbie branch library librarian. One of my senior colleagues one day called me while I was at the reference desk, totally baskin in full glory as a new LYE_BEAR_RIAN (i hate it when they drop the "R")

SC: "harlo, can you check for me if we have the book, call no R658.6589123how and if have, is it on the shelf?"
Me, without any nanoseconds pause, talked into the handset: "No idea" and I hang up the phone.

SC complained to my other colleagues "Alamak! WHO IS THAT staff? SHe never check and immediately said "Dont have!". I wanted to correct her, I did not say "Don't have", I answered "No idea".

[post 10/1997]

Las Tres Preguntas

Ivan asked if I was ever with NRL. (national reference library). Maybe he was not aware that, in those days, there was a stringent selection of the highest order to ordain these special (civil) servants as reference librarians. A disguised supervisor lurked around and count the number of readers who have approached you with these three questions:

1. Where is the toilet?
2. Where is the male toilet?
3. Where is the female toilet?

If you had that "ask me about toilets" look and unwittingly drew such readers to you, then you FAILED immediately on no uncertain terms to ever ever be considered to work in the prestigious Reference Section.

[post 9/1997]

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

business of a blogger

``To talk in public, to think in solitude, to read and to hear, to inquire, and to answer inquiries, is the business of a scholar.''

Samuel Johnson Chapter VIII The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia

[post 8/1997]

Ten years ago

It was Dec 1993. I was dutying at the timeless placeless CDROM room. I was gophering for another copy of "Zen and the Art of the Internet" (FIRST book ever published on the internet) and was saddened by news that the author Kehoe has met with a car accident and needed a brain surgery. He shocked all by waking up from a coma to a near full recovery a few weeks later. (he was with Cygnas. Redhat (a linux company) later aquired Cygnas).

Anyone out there remembered BITNET (because it's time network), WAIS (wide area info server), ARCHIE (one of my ex bosses and I had a fun time arguing over the pronunciation of archie as AHH CHEE and AHH KEY)

Before the WWW, librasaurs might remember vaguely "Hytelnet" - we were so exicted to find telnet addresses to internet accessible libraries catalogs. Hytelnet was the first internet directory developed by Peter Scott. Here is an example from the directory:

login: libopac
To exit, select 3 on main menu

[post 7/1997]


Coffee - Musing 1
The first time I came across the word "anema" it was from a preggie book I was flipping through at Borders. I read anything from holistic pregnancies to aromatherapy for hamsters. A doc will perform an anema for women about to have a C section birth. Anema is a colonic cleansing.

The next time I read about anema, it has something to do with COFFEE. If you are having a coffee break (many of us work between breaks), put your mug down, and have a vomit bag ready.

"In the approximately 30-minute session, a mixture of water and coffee is pumped into the colon - a section of the large intestine extending from the caecum to the rectum - to remove the build-up of 'debris' within the body. " Unquote. ST Jul 13, 2004, Life.

OK, above just described "colonic therapy". Arabian beans or decaff? Now instead of "may your armpits be infested with flea" curse, you can add this to your curse collections "May your colon be addicted to coffee".

Coffee - Musing 2
Just a few weeks ago, I introduced a male friend to the "drink this and heaven can take me" MOCHA BROWNIE CHILLIno at Pacific Coffee (HK). To the south east asian brothers and sisters - this is not a coffee laced with CHILLI. It is a chilled mocha latte spinned and blended with 3 solid blocks of American Brownie and topped with thick fat cream. And later in the evening, this friend confessed his urine was coffee scented. Yes, this metrosexual male said "coffee scented".

[post 6/1997]

Monday, July 12, 2004

The Din wth Dim Sum

To get a three dimensional and stereo definition of the word "cacophony", go to Grand Court Restaurant on the 3/F of Melbourne Plaza during the weekend yum char specials. I was explaining to a Singaporean visitor why people in HK NEED to talk above 100 decibels. If you don't, nobody including yourself can hear you. We compete for prime 'ear'state.

OK, 300 yumcharers were running at the mouth. AND all of a sudden, everyone, including the waiters/resses in colorful yellow shirts with purple lapels, were awed to complete SILENCE. We turned our heads towards the direction of a SUPREME voice that shook the dining mess - a well healed tai tai BARKING at her husband. Let me translate her conversation (in cantonese) " star star moon fish shrimp crab! * * o >=> { =( )= why can't you wait star star moon fish shrimp crab me!? Why star star moon fish shrimp carb do you need to walk ahead of me! "

Well, if you have been a fan of "Lao Fu Zi 老夫子" you will be able to figure out the star star moon fish shrimp crab expletives.

The couple walked towards a VIP room and the rest of us including my traumatised Singaporean friend, returned to our ramblings in 100 decibels.

[post 5]

Friday, July 09, 2004

Side effect - post lasik op

Possible receding hairline from pulling off hairs stuck under the 3M micropore tape on the plastic eye shields.

[post 4]

Mind your bloguage

Blogger: 博客 (bo ke)
Blog: 网志 (wang zhi), 博录 (bo lu), 博客网(bo ke wang)

[post 3]

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Nairarbil - a backward librarian

Yea, my first blog fiasco - I just lost my second post.
I was writing about liblogarians - a species of bloggers who are librarians. I lost the post after clicking on "No" when an unfamiliar dialog box popped up.

Mr Ivan from NLB, Singapore quizzes if there are any Asian Librarians who have created blogs. He wrote "If you know of weblogs written by your local librarians"

Who will qualify to be included in his list? What if an Asian librarian blogs about anything under the sun except about the L word (I have to qualify in library land, the L Word is not about the TV show with the same name).

Nairarbil - a backward librarian, librarian spelt backward

[post 2]

It's about time, it's about space

It's About Strange People In The Strangest Place Posted by Hello

[post 1]