Tress-free morphine

Blinky

Tucked away, all clean and shiny, in a mostly-forgotten corner, a soft and meek voice floated from an adjacent shower cubicle requesting for some shampoo as she had forgotten hers. Cheerfully squeezing my toiletries kit through the small gap of the door, I apologised for not being able to leave the cubicle yet. She gave a short and nervous laugh as she thanked me to which I responded by merely describing the contents of my kit in a bid to ease the awkwardness out of the situation.

The 10 mins it took her to finish felt unreasonably long due to my hangry condition after any strenuous activity that tended to shorten the fuse the longer one does anything other than eating or industriously looking for food. Yet amidst splotches of unfavourableness, there were overwhelming sunlit areas inside the cavity in which my electrified heart resides—I recall reading about chemicals released by the body to help one along activities that stretches the boundaries of normal capacity such as running or doing charity work. Endorphins—they call it—nature’s pain relief that brings out feelings like sweet morphine. It makes sense, I thought later, as I remembered that I had forgotten to (still) be angry with Patrick when I sent him a text telling him about my tan and hoping he would ask for a picture.

Altruism also appeared in the search results looking like just the thing to read and write about in an euphoric state—behaviour that is at least partly motivated by a desire to benefit someone else for that person’s sake, requiring no self-sacrifice but includes avoiding or preventing harm.

but—more fun always comes after all ‘buts‘—according to the theory of psychological egoism, all behaviours are motivated by self-interest and in doing so, it is our very own satisfaction that is being sought when making others happy; We will not act if it will only make us worse off—I am not convinced many of us will agree with this in spite of our varied personal experiences when it comes to helping others. Firstly, it would make better sense for ‘worse off’ to be a matter of degree—having less shampoo and spending more time hungry and tired hardly puts me in a worse off position in a way that matters; it’s not the sort of thing one would notice let alone feel satisfied for having given it up or endured on behalf of someone else’s happiness. Secondly, I am of the opinion that altruism should not be read, necessarily, as the condition of being devoid of all instances of self-interest as long as the desire to benefit someone else for their own sake is present, not least because some of us mere mortals affected by— this dastardly thing called—love can result in us doing things we once thought outrageous, inconceivably self-sacrificing and unconditional to boot (such as *ahem* most mothers) but that the concept admits of both non-exclusionary motivations—that it also benefits others other than the beneficiary does not contradict or negate the benefit to the beneficiary in any meaningful sense AND fact that it does benefit the beneficiary for their sake is surely what counts.

Kant distinguishes acting out of duty vs acting as a result of positive feelings like empathy, compassion etc even though the latter is an appropriate response to instances when help is required; if there were no feelings involved, there’s no reason to act which can lead to some appalling results such as whether to save a drowning refugee. Besides, our circumstances would have a bearing on the presence of these feelings such as misfortunes and bad experiences or professional duty, values, religious beliefs etc. Moral duty compels us to act even though we really don’t feel like it so even if nobody has ever given us shampoo on the day we desperately needed chlorine-free tresses, we must not let our own negative experiences and feelings attached to it, compel us to act similarly. In any case, being devoid of feelings does not always lead to problems; For example, it would be safe to say that most of us are more concerned in having our Surgeons act efficiently rather than whether they have any feelings about cutting into us and prodding our organs with sticks. Arguably, doctors should still treat incarcerated murderers despite lacking the accompanying compassion owing to a sense of duty, not simply arising from their professional capacity, but to treat everyone free of moral judgement of their actions; We want doctors to treat STDs even though they do not approve of a promiscuous lifestyle —but that’s just my opinion.

act only in accordance with that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it become a universal law

Immanuel Kant

Moral reasoning entails singling out a fundamental principle, testing it for universality and then either check for

(1) existence of perfect duty by assessing if this leads to a sensible result e.g “kill everyone who crosses you” is surely not sensible because making this universal spells the end of mankind (contradiction in conception). In this instance, we have a perfect duty NOT to act

OR

(2) existence of imperfect duty which arises occasionally and up to a certain extent, whose content is not fixed and thus be fulfilled in various ways (contradiction in will). Put simply, certain conditions are necessary before you get to do what you want (will) and as rational beings, we have wants that we think will lead to our ultimate happiness, flourishing or whatever. For example, to be able to study in a University entails someone having built that campus in the first place, people learned enough to become professors and other staff to set up computers (and having learnt computer science/programming/built computers) etc— helping people falls in this category because we need the help of others to realise our own visions.

I think that the difference between (1) and (2) is the absolute quality in perfect duty whereas the latter admits of exceptions, qualifications, conditions etc So in the shampoo scenario, I do not think it a moral duty to go above and beyond providing what I already have and can afford to part with at that immediate point in time—altruistic actions does not have to be grand before it counts as such, surely —can we not pat our backs and take in the well-deserved morphine that is so hard to come by nowadays—To be honest, I am not sure I understand (2) any further other than what my circuitous reasoning allows; in this way, I am going to need help making sense out of it—Maybe the high has already run out and I’m going to have to go downstairs to look for some cats to pet and get them to recount their day in meows.

Incidentally, been looking at this off-white, satin dress for more than a year now— it was $159 and now it’s $95. Given how long it has been on the site, I dare say, if I were to hold on a little while longer, it might even fall to $60-$70 range and within my budget as is the trend with the site. Should I wait? Are there any moral considerations to this? They are a local small fashion/designer business. Some questions need answering.

References

Johnson, Robert and Adam Cureton, “Kant’s Moral Philosophy”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2021 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2021/entries/kant-moral/&gt;.

Kraut, Richard, “Altruism”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2020 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2020/entries/altruism/&gt;.

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Cup of hot endnotes

Disaster strikes to test endurance, beating sense out of the stalwarts as it gets chipped away gradually, with neither reinstatement nor replenishment, surreptitiously.

What can words bring if unaccompanied by drink and for how long? Our faith and trust on conference alone? Can we do so without great self-sacrifice and red bull, our sense of self-preservation knocked out cold?

Naively we rely on the dependability of others as we imagine ourselves to be for their benefit, forgetting that we are only hoping, to our own partly conscious detriment—that how we are to them is not a predictor of how others will be for us, silly goose —at most only a standard to aspire towards, ignored and unrecognised.

With great sadness and heaviness of heart we must speak of truth kept hidden, for something so pure and aspirational can still turn to poison when imprisoned. Explanation thus required —every drop of love goes wasted, along with it, life force without interruption, drained, mercilessly slaughtered.

Latch on blindly to whatever is around to hold wavering feet sturdy, putting absurd amounts of confidence until one day it can no longer hold your weight and expectations, collapsing and crashing dead in the night upon your fragile toes up to your woolly head. There is nothing left to hang on to; it’s finished, irrevocably, something’s already long dead.

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Sartorial coconut gravy

Am I overdressed for the occasion? This thought whooshed inside my head as straggles of wet hair hung limply off my shoulders from which droplets of water fell strategically onto that very part of my black, t-shirt dress I had always wanted to de-emphasise. My impatience is costly; I would have invested in one of those mini-hairdryers to take to the pool had I thought any of them were as good without the price tag of a pinky toe. That particular occasion to which I was referring was getting a takeaway lunch —vegetables and rice cakes in rich coconut gravy a.k.a Lontong—from a casual, neighbourhood eating-establishment my faithful pool sandals took me—up one level from a sans air-conditioner hawker centre. Everyone else, blasé about this unremarkable affair, was dressed more casually in their best “weekend” neighbourhood-friendly outfits—not as raggedy as the ones we Singaporeans wear at home but still showing evident signs of wear—C’est parfait pour cette occasion and the perpetually humid and stuffy weather.

Explain this fixation with appearances—this was a riddle for google to unravel which it did, giddy with excitement, with an array of articles about fashion, sociology, psychology, business etc. I gave them all a casual once over and belched with satisfaction after chugging the last of the no-sugar soymilk straight from its 1L carton—must rehydrate properly after exercise.

It appears, on the main, a primal need—lol—to avoid drawing too much attention and risk turning into carrion for vicious vultures—no, I’m not talking about the grounded cinereous vulture stuck in Singapore that resembles a human introvert out of hiding having lived in a cave alone for 10 years (Take him in, Jurong Bird Park! Singapore must give it citizenship!)— the ones judging everything from the ground up till the heavens above on appearances alone leading to—sometimes—embarrassment and painful memories. Nouveaux riche stereotypes also came up—I suspect some want to appear simply riche without the adjoining tackiness and classlessness associated with the former, the latter can only be attained through purposeful restraint from gaudiness as an indicator of proper breeding and observance, thus mastery of esoteric rules of etiquette—such as abstention from belching loudly in public and drinking straight from cartons.

Introverts’ aspirations are set low—most of us just want to blend in through the use of muted colours, material, form and practical sense. Plus, when we—rather introverts of my kind—show restraint, it is mere peripheral observance of detestable (from our POV) social norms due to diverse motivations, the very same social norms collected from plain observation—none of that high-breeding necessary—or google, youtube videos and so on, at least the faux pas as dictated by the norms of the day, place, culture, societal whims and fancies, hoity-toity aunties and uncles disguised as penguins etc etc.

But some people want to draw attention to themselves—it’s a form of wordless self-introduction to every human within line of sight as extensive self-image manipulation and so, my fair people, dress for success for the things you want and how you’d like to be treated—or so we’ve been told—the more expensive you appear, the higher your perceived value affecting demand and vice versa. How much for that bleating sheep over there?

The clothes on our back, wear multiple hats: an expression of political solidarity, association or societal classification, our values such as that of an anti-consumerist, challenges to societal norms and expectations that are the product of patriarchy, our ideals such as equality in employment, gender, education or politically such as that which were espoused by suffragettes of the first wave feminism in their completely ordinary Edwardian and thus non-distracting/diverting white dresses or political agency ie our choices according to self-expression, aesthetics, lasciviousness vs abstinence, acquisitive vs minimalist etc —Essentially the fusion of ideas that encompass and transcend the waves, some as far as to appear at loggerheads with each other but attentive all the same to varying, equally important, overarching objectives.

For example: Whilst social equality, female empowerment, sexual liberation etc were, as most would agree, the recurrent themes of the second wave, there was a (superficial?) contrast between the mini-skirt, eyebrow-raising wearers from those who strive to change systemic sexism at home or at work by protesting against sexual harassment, domestic violence, marital rape etc and at its core, internalised patriarchy and objectification.

Exhibit A: The protest of Miss America Pageant in 1968 during which bras and Playboy magazines were burned.

My takeaway: In fact, all of the objectives are equally unimaginable to live without in this day and age (at least becoming so) and need not be contradictory in substance—that of paramount nature of autonomy and mutual respect that accounts for the eclectic nature of all our needs, desires, aspirations, interests etc AND we can prioritise how and what we like.

That is as soon as we take the time to stop and take it all in with gratitude just like we ought to with the modern day staple in every human’s wardrobe – jeans brought to you (ladies) courtesy of the third wave feminism, appearing as androgynous fashion juxtaposed alongside its opposite, the ‘girly makeup and high heels’ which says ‘one should not tell me how to dress’ in an outright and categorical rejection of any form of restrictions—neither by patriarchy nor the feminist. Sartorial politics leads to resistance against views on religious identity, class, race, sexuality, social mores, representation in key positions of power etc working in tandem and in opposition across varying standards such as decency, length and type of fabric, style, make, colour and so on whilst underlining the flawed nature of justification for prejudice, ill-treatment, discrimination, oppression, disparagement of body size, age, gender markers, hair quality/style etc.

As to over/under-dress, that depends highly on the circumstances—some would argue— such as in a high-end scene in which the affluent dine and people celebrate keystones, sartorial choices builds on ambience even if relegating people to mere decorative feature in their coordinated outfits—or uniforms—refined and aesthetically pleasing, sometimes whimsical— etched into memories and in pursuit of excesses in unashamedly hedonistic fashion—the pleasures in life that is food, drink, music, the company of and in presence of others that if one cares to think about it, is a sort of thing that only happy people can afford, genuinely, if state of mind is paramount; At the height of Queen OCD’s reign, the darkest of times and pointlessness of it all, enjoyment of everyday things was difficult let alone the fantastical, made onerous by the ball and chain that is fatigue holding me back from socialising and smiling then lying about well-being so as to not shock people with unexpected response —And I am not alone in this, sadly.

Be merry and never forget to feel lucky; Remember the currency with which we purchase even more continued and subsisting feelings of elation etc—seeds from which trees grow, tiny and insignificant they are but when lost, barrenness, lifelessness and despondency take its place, persisting forevermore until something significant is changed.

Do we prefer not to overdress as consideration for people who could only afford to be casually dressed with the goal that they would not feel inadequate? such feelings of inferiority made worse by the prospect of having no other place to go apart from places that allow casual dress. Ought we care for people in this way? I think it’s a valid consideration and factors into conscious dressing except people dress in all sorts of ways that sometimes, it is impossible to point at a standard. Fashion is an art form & getting dressed is an art requiring skill with which some of us are abundantly blessed whilst the rest of us blunder— bottomline is, performing arts or not, we care what others think or feel, difference is a matter of degree and with or without the element of self-interest—Exercise this skill artfully with the grain of caution and the wind.

Further reading

https://www.vox.com/2018/3/20/16955588/feminism-waves-explained-first-second-third-fourth

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Snowboarding babies

Social media can be such a vile and scummy place that one can be forgiven to have overlooked their commendable objectives: an inspirational space through which earth people can connect through the exchange of ideas —presumably—Not like ,’hmmm let’s make a place available for free in which people can piss each other off till oblivion or societies disintegrate & collapse, bringing about the return to crude, primitive societies, whichever comes first’ — like zombie apocalypse except with regular people and their garden-variety simulated murderous intent. Blimey!

You see, a video of a broad smiling toddler—around 3 years of age cheerfully gliding down the side of a snowy mountain on a snowboard like an angel—was particularly tormenting; not that I have problems with any sort of accomplished and jolly toddlers (well done, you wonderful human) but I resented being reminded of the fact that I was born with no meaningful sense of balance; fallen off bicycles numerous times whilst trying to negotiate a bloody simple turn and from a kick scooter on the way back from Subway (the sandwich shop) in the rain, sliding across the wet pavement on my side to the grumbling of my hangry tummy and landing a good few metres away from my things including my footwear; While everyone at the bus stop turned to check the source of the disturbance, they quickly averted their eyes upon hearing me cuss as colourfully as that parrot perched upon the shoulders of Pirate Captain ArrrrrGH or whatever his name is — apparently evident to them that I had not died; No help needed to be rendered— with the utmost confidence, we can tell that she’s fine.

Even though I lived about 45 mins drive away from Chamonix, Mont Blanc—this was prior to the pandemic but I’m returning soon— expensive gear & lessons were really discouraging on top of potential savage injury and death. Now I am wondering if ski poles might help with the balancing bit. Plus, renting equipment will surely help me decide whether to commit to a long-term equipment investment or not. There are plenty of gentle slopes on which to train and build confidence around the region; gotta start small, snowboard along with the other babies—their smiles alone will make the pain of crashing worthwhile.

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Bulbous glory – Year End’s Reflections

All things round can make a bobbin’ fookin’ start. What, you say? Complicated but vaguely familiar (no?) —as the audiobook was to me during an evening’s stroll in the rain; Not the fault of the Author who writes scholarly and beautifully, this I solemnly swear.

One is entitled to hold wrong opinions that doesn’t necessitate correcting—definitely not with condescension by anyone with enough hubris to be so certain of one’s level of rightness—This was where the book took me through a series of jewels including not expecting perfection from everyone else and that self-deprecation—while indication of some introspection—can cross the line towards unhealthy obsession with the self if done excessively —Jeez Whiskers, I feel called out. *Overdue self-reflection alert* and yes, yesterday counts as long ago—mantra of OCD the relentless; makes me sick, literally, in all sense of the word ‘sick’—though it does lead to a mixbag of result: frustration, confusion, tears, shame, contrite, determination, enlightenment and so on; like a lightbulb appearing to signal incoming nuggets of wisdom or my most cringey moments on loop, ad infinitum, both above my head—thankfully only one distressing. I make a mental note to give the book another panning for gold; Rain gives it a mystical quality it did not intend. Some application to my life will make it better and to me in it—I hope—including this post—I hope the Author(s) never reads this. Tsk Tsk

Speaking of cringe, I am here to deliver some good news to those with a completely ordinary and healthy admiration for cat’s testicles—either fixed and dainty or au naturel in its bulbous glory—prepare to gingerly indulge this season like never before. This ball of fun Instagram page of which I speak, is run by a Japanese photographer whose love for all spherical protuberance is boldly and without reservations displayed; Here is the link for your enjoyment –> https://www.instagram.com/yanyam2929/

Kitten

Now for the sake of collective wisdom —ok, really just mine—I ask, ought we feel embarrassed on behalf of the cats whose privates have been photographed and put on the internet for the world to see, instead of being simply tickled by—aside from the obvious—the dedication to such an unusual endeavour and fascination that, as it turns out, is quite in demand?

Long-ass post ahead!

That depends (perhaps) on whether cats and other animals alike, are capable of secondary emotions such as shame and humiliation for which to feel indignation alongside them, as a result of thinking, reasoning, reflecting and so on. In any case, if it were embarrassed it should have worn pants—Just kidding. This attribution of emotions, intentions and other things associated with the human mind is termed anthropomorphism. To view these non-human entities as having these and especially higher order mental processes would have a bearing, amongst other things, on (judgments of) our actions towards them and their actions as regards responsibility attribution as one would for intentional actions.

Anthropomorphism allows for the creation of an empathic connection where there’d normally be none including with inanimate objects like cheeky bananas. We all do this, according to David Hume —perhaps not everyone will be entirely convinced by this though the difference is a matter of degree and depends on culture, nurture, experiences, education etc. It is but one way amongst many through which people feel empathy towards anyone/anything including those they don’t know or have never met which will account for some to call for justice against corporations who carry out harmful acts such as forced child labour and turn others into environmental or animal rights activists or volunteers in a children’s hospital in their free time; others protest against low or starvation wages, repressed voting rights, poor living conditions or employment rights, violation of human rights and so on even when they are in no danger of them because they know or fear that others are subjected to such conditions.

“…There is an universal tendency among mankind to conceive all beings like themselves, and to transfer to every object, those qualities, with which they are familiarly acquainted, and of which they are intimately conscious. We find human faces in the moon, armies in the clouds; and by a natural propensity, if not corrected by experience and reflection, ascribe malice or good-will to every thing, that hurts or pleases us…The unknown causes, which continually employ their thought, appearing always in the same aspect, are all apprehended to be of the same kind or species. Nor is it long before we ascribe to them thought and reason and passion, and sometimes even the limbs and figures of men, in order to bring them nearer to a resemblance with ourselves…”

—David Hume, the Natural History of Religion, N 3.2, Bea 40-1

There are many things to take from the above quote but for now: We have a tendency to attribute familiar human-related aspects, not necessarily only manifestations of the physical self, to another, in order to facilitate our understanding of them; Maybe Kant’s concept of appearances will help elucidate this — the difference between our perceptions ie representations of reality (phenomena) vs actual reality (noumena) stems from the process of knowledge acquisition —through the structure of our minds thus a human way of perceiving and this, reflects our relationship with the world.

The opposite of ascribing human traits is the failure to do so which can have dire consequences to a human subject — dehumanisation. Like attribution, omission will also change our interactions with the subject and how we treat “the others” — of a different social class, minority groups especially foreigners with different culture, language, religion etc — might be subjected to discrimination, oppression, exploitation based on unfounded beliefs that informs negative stereotypes or an “overriding” purpose such as enforcement of agreements or regulations that justifies — without having regard to justifiability, proportionality or necessary (moral) assessment of an individual’s risk to the good of society, their mental health or well being — limiting freedoms and exercise of rights, intrusion into private lives, deprivation of right to participate in social, cultural and leisure activities etc

Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of another, always at the same time as an end and never simply as a means.

 —Immanuel Kant, Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, 4:429

Implicit in the concept of humanity is —as rational beings—the capacity/authority to set and determine our own ends using reason and principles (practical reasoning). ‘End’ has a negative sense which acts as moral constraints limiting what we do in pursuit of our ends. ‘Mere means‘ is distinct from using people to achieve our ends as long as we also recognised the other’s humanity – the former entails that they could not (actually) consent as in Kant’s example on false promises or coercion, duress or taking advantage of the vulnerable and desperate especially through unequal bargaining power or abuse of position of trust etc if deeper consideration were given to the meaning of ‘consent’. Kant’s formulation of humanity entails recognising everyone’s moral standing ie as morally autonomous which does not depend on meeting certain standards or through achievements but by virtue of simply being what or who he is, his humanity — this, we have a moral duty to (constantly) strive for everyone, equally.  

Why?

There is not necessarily anything extraordinary in the one who is capable of committing atrocities according to the Hannah Arendt’s assessment of Eichmann and conception of the banality of evil — it can be committed through thoughtlessness or incapacity for independent critical thought. Add to this wilful blindness and possibilities abound even without the need for depravity or sadism—prevalent, then normalised until it becomes an ordinary fact of life (banality) — a shuddering thought if present in an egocentric society that values social status, financial success or practices in-group favouritism, bigotry, blind and unquestioning faith etc over fairness, equality, integrity, non-injury, truth, personal responsibility, sanctity of life, benevolence, mutual respect etc; Where is the exact point at which to frown upon undesirable actions or consequences and demand for change/accountability from those to simply, let live?

This post of a lesson will count as resolution 2022: strive to develop critical thinking and empathy — be reflective, self-critical, always checking and assessing principles, values, consequences but with the right balance — Return life to the basics yet elevate meaningful connections and endeavours — have fun, live, love like fuckingly mad people but stern and tough when necessary— be kinder to myself and others but resolute in the pursuit of justice and fairness —live and let live but with both eyes wide open. Just keep climbing up that mountain.

References

Baggini, J. (2020). Life: A user’s manual: Philosophy for (almost) any eventuality. Ebury Publishing. 

Kleingeld, P. (2020). How to Use Someone ‘Merely as a Means’. Kantian Review, 25(3), 389-414. doi:10.1017/S1369415420000229

Waytz, A., Cacioppo, J., & Epley, N. (2010). Who Sees Human? Perspectives on Psychological Science, 5(3), 219–232. https://doi.org/10.1177/1745691610369336

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Haircut two-way quandary

If you have to ask, it’s an amalgamation of a mild case of Locubrevisphobia (fear of small talk) in addition to its scarier cousin: being at the receiving end of hard-selling whilst in effect strapped to a chair (who would leave in the middle of a hair cut?). I do not doubt that this sort of modern day phenomenon will be given some sort of identification by mental health experts, if they have not done so already, to reflect the prevalence of this genre of irritation — at least according to the mind of this introvert.

Oscar

Speaking of modern-day affairs, such experience— if one does perceive them negatively as is common judging from scathing public feedback on Google reviews—would appear to differ only ever so slightly from a torture regime conducted exclusively on chairs to which a significant number of people, in a most perplexing fashion, give a resigned shrug in anticipation of an illusory, class-transcending crown of hair at the peril of their bank accounts; whether they merit admiration depends on how unremarkably ordinary hair is on a particular head as opposed to being simply neglected or abused—generally of course—as not everyone’s life admits flamboyance, the visage to carry them and unlimited hours of free time, monthly.

It’s the reason why I’ve invested in some hair-shearing device despite never having acquired any relevant skill albeit hours of YouTube lessons. It’s also why the mess that is the edges or alignment of my hair is all over the place—although not stubborn as a sentient being would be on top of someone else’s head—their perceived faults being entirely of my own making.

The ladies at Vybe’s hairdressing @ Bedok central gave me the service of a professional haircut minus everything else that would taint an immaculate experience. Their attention were on cutting hair with care, skill and expertise, not wasting energies on getting someone to pay for jibber jabber or something they plainly do not want and have expressed that very sentiment unequivocally—notwithstanding a wide array of hair-transforming equipment & products within arm’s reach; One need only ask.

An appointment was booked for only a hair cut and that is what I got, as breezy as the wind. My capacity to make enquiries or self-assessment of all things related to my own hair would not have left me just because I’m sat on a hairdresser’s chair—I’m grateful that their reverence to clients’ autonomy is still intact.

After this pleasant and knot-free haircut experience, my perturbation is confined solely towards the sinister motives and/or skill of other hairdressers who have kept me for way longer just to achieve the same result as these ladies have in such a short efficient use of time; But the silver-lining is the awareness of the existence of a non-meandering hairstylist; Someone standing that close and holding a sharp object to your head ought to earn your trust even if your sense of sight or any other senses for that matter, has left you. These ladies have mine on top of my sincere gratitude.

Alas, now I will have to ruin their hard work by going for a dip in the pool—swimmers are hairstylists’ nightmare, aren’t they? Two-way quandary.

After swim hair – always dry and unkempt
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Roadwork tennis rackets

Greetings Reader,

My bananas send you their warmest regards; They’re all dressed to the nines in long, flowy skirts of crunchy all-natural peanut butter, extra chewy because some of the oil spilled over the jar as I was stirring it —what a workout— and a single bandeau micro-top of honey as my sweet tooth demands it just for today. Still beaming and delightful, both bananas and I.

Today is as perfect as any other day in the last few weeks of roadworks to try my level of proficiency as regards the shutting out of noise if only as cheap and vague imitation of which I speak is the very same, Seneca the Stoic, would have possessed and mastered if his instructions were to be ascribed some dependability as they ought, given its contribution to the success of the originator of the words himself and thus, settled the question of possibility—He lived above some very noisy bath house for a period of time.

Bear in mind that even the master approved of common sense to set boundaries or limits to possibility, quite aside from any sense of reasonableness when faced with an extreme form of disturbance. Take a walk, use some ear plugs, drown out the noise with other forms of your choosing; it’s quite all right.

Bottom line is that an external racket is triggering, in the modern sense of the word, only to the extent that it is reflective of the internal state of mind. Thus a peaceful state of mind—which can only come from within—if firmly established will hardly discriminate between unpleasant external noise and other ordinary background noise such as the chirruping of birds or children’s playful laughter in a distance.

To come to this state requires some skill and practice of focus and concentration on not only tasks at hand but our reactions to those externalities. Simply put, noise is irritating only if we allow it to irritate us.

With that said, I’m happy to report that this blog was written whilst its writer, me qua tuxedo cat Minuit, was for 95% of the time oblivious to the drilling downstairs which is a noticeable difference from the lunatic, me qua human, who had shouted some profanities out of the window yesterday.

And now it’s time to settle on the bed and listen to an audiobook with headphones on; listening to JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire—no, I don’t feel embarrassed at all. It’s one of those many things in this world that could enhance the holiday spirit (for me), the time of the year full of magic, self-reflection, counting blessings and laughter along with dried figs and blue cheese. Fat fingers wrote the word “giblet” instead of “goblet” just now on my phone and that gave me quite a chuckle.

La magnificence de la vie commence dans l’esprit s’étend vers l’extérieur jusqu’à l’infini.

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Super Market woes

Shall I blog about my food shopping for the third time this week? I’m on a row, three strikes I’m out; tenuity of their connection stands out with properly-understood context and this is the theme of the park.

In other news, Sister-in-law ceremoniously dumped her kids at mum’s place late last night without any fanfare. Mum will be home for 2 weeks having fractured her arm making her an available ‘sitter’. Nobody had time to ask questions but by threading together bits and bops, fragmented sentences and standalone words, it transpired that the younger son spent $600 almost $800 on games—Not the first time if you count different phones and owners. The elder of the two had his money taken away when he orchestrated a similar heist last year.

Hardly any remorse or understanding of the seriousness of the problem and when prodded, they only just told me that this incident occurred weeks ago. This means, I must trust their sense of time unlike their understanding of the value of money—Nay, I say! It’s not even the important bit. They look too happy playing games on mum’s phone for comfort.

Doris

She’ll be back to pick them up this evening; that’s high-grade forbearance—one of her many talents. I hope she gets her money back(She got back a couple of hundreds). The foundations of a building would have collapsed just by being subjected to my screams alone.

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White Tiger and Lion t-shirt

Throwback on my last birthday I spent in the zoo. This white tiger, quite a distance away from visitors obviously for our safety, locked eyes with me the moment I entered his line of sight. I dare say it was because it had noticed my T-shirt that had a silhouette of lion on it which incidentally, a real lion plainly ignored because it was bored and wanted to nap. This tiger was egging me on with its eyes ,”come closer and tell me to my face that I’m chonky, lion fan girl”.

If I could spend my birthday with them every year, I would. Animals are straightforward: They don’t hide their true intentions, feelings, nature which are predominantly geared towards survival with little to no regard for long-term strategies unlike humans who, albeit been given the ability to describe or exhibit their intentions or feelings with words or actions, don’t always mean what they appear to mean. I’d say humans are scarier.

Lion whisperer T-shirt
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Holiday figs chow down

On the carriage this very moment, gaining momentum and making very public journal entries on this hard seat & non-traditional holiday. Who else is having theirs completely remade to ‘live with Covid’? Rhetorical, of course and it doesn’t even matter that not a mention of any specific day to which mortals on this planet look forward is to be found in this entry—all equally transformed. Happy holidays! Do I hear jiggling bells in a distance?

The train took me again to Vivocity where dried figs are currently in residence which I picked up along with some discounted roasted cashews, beaming bananas, ‘less than 7g of sugar’ muesli bars and a takeaway box packed to the brim with stir-fry dishes and brown rice from my favourite vegetarian food court stall, actually vegan as I just found out today.

E veg – Vegan & halal mixed rice stall at vivocity’s B2 food court – Chinese spinach, long beans & tofu, tempeh, veggie sausage & tofu all stir-fried 3 different styles and on a hot bed of brown rice

Since today is a special day, an effort must made to look festive in order to blend in with the masses looking to bask in that holiday spirit by being amongst strange but bustling company. That means to the trusty black dress paired with my *ahem* highly versatile, ‘swim’ sandals (Birkenstocks’ Eva – cheap, good, no blisters) fitting for Singapore’s wretchedly humid weather and to the pool and back. I smacked some transparent eyebrow gel to fix my eyebrows, some mascara on the eyelashes et voilà! C’est fini, je me sens déjà plus belle.

With age and an increasingly thicker skin, there is no embarrassment connected to wearing that same dress again and again and… the very same one I picked up half price off the rack years ago; It’s the quality that matters; I want them to last a long time just like relationships with friends, pets and cosmic mates as well as furniture, kitchen spatulas, hand-held blenders, blooming red roses named after Edith Piaf, roasted cashews and everything else magnificent.

Nearing now the bottom of the bag of sticky sweet figs, another year and continent away from Patrick who’s busy moving to Geneva with Marley the Puppy before the start of next year. Do I wish that I was with him right now dealing with administrative paperwork such as residence permit, Marley’s immigration papers, customs and such like AND the people who must help fill them up or demand them in perfect order? Not really, No. Patrick is built twice of me in everything good and not, such as apparition within the meaning set in the wizarding world, which would be calamitous if he hadn’t come with double the level of patience; imagine that, twice the havoc, twice the lunacy. Watch out for that beam overhead!

Ringing in my head today is what it means to be living in the present time, not anyone’s exact words, maybe vaguely and general which could go off tangent whether I let it or not. That we make our grand escape through our minds to a place created for safety that no one can come even if invited—in a world or smaller still—just our lives that could be and away from things that hurt and could hurt—-in which we’re in control over our own minds and helplessness—only away from a physical plane where our bodies remain and inside them still, in our imaginations.

We could be in bed by now sharing a cuppa, a movie playing overhead, teaching Marley about testicles and many other infinite possibilities but that would mean saying goodbye to things in the now: The pool I’ve frequented this past year, the best of people I’ve met, my veg food stall, the conveniences of the train carriage and everything else in a small city—when we live in the moment and we seize the day, we do through appreciation and gratitude, recognition and prioritising. For the most important, give rise to them; For the best of here and the present, make shelter out of memories against the worst of times—Learn, grow, flourish, be better than yesterday and the day before, invest in all before it’s gone as it inevitably will.

So on the princely carriage I go on this day, alongside strangers with whom passions overlap. As cosmic mates, our paths converge and connect us always in a not so distant future and closer still, enough to touch what we built in our minds.

Our Tampines Hub where my favourite public pool is found on the 6th floor
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Traffic jam psychedelia

What is it now, Day 5 of booster shot? Went swimming again this afternoon which makes it the third day in a row. Just got up this morning and decided a tan for Christmas Eve and swim at the same time; efficiency being the name of the game. I’ll have a roast chicken waiting for me to be slathered liberally with sriracha hot sauce afterwards.

All booster jab recipients have been warned not to engage in anything strenuous for 2 weeks which I protested. The lovely nurse assured me that many people would find it hard not to exercise for 2 weeks but since I know my body best, I must listen to it and stop immediately if tired and do light exercises only. That sounded reasonable to me which I accepted graciously and with gratitude but once I really gave it some thought, was not that different from the government advisory against which I protested just now. One was framed in the negative (don’t do this) and the other in the positive (do this); the psychological whip around and a how-to guide when dealing with a toddler.

whilst stubbornness is a thing too hard to scrub off my hardened back, I’m counting on discipline to keep me in check; well that rhymed, didn’t it? Now, toss me a dime 🥸

So I listened to my body alright; It demanded an activity so as to retain its conditioning — I’ve been swimming 4 to 5 days a week for 10 months now straight —I’ve also been running for years—but I estimate it to be at 60% performance capacity at best after factoring in feelings of navigating through fog and ankle-deep swamp. That means that the right balance pivots on a leisurely swim, akin to a sunset stroll hand in hand with a lover sort of thing—you don’t rush these things, do you? unless you wanted to pee or under attack by a legion of insects). This, I did, under the partly cloudy sky on which the sun peeks to blast my skin a golden brown. The heart pumps only slightly faster—I made sure of this—leaving me feeling thoroughly relaxed and refreshed in the perfectly cool water until the rain came and I had to keep my belongings from getting wet.

Inflatable swan now has an inflatable duck friend

Now, I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone who haven’t been exercising regularly for a very long time. Definitely not the time to start a new exercise regime because that will be suicide but for what it’s worth—if anyone will take seriously the words of a lunatic—to tone down an activity tenfolds or until it becomes as easy as resting, might make one fall in love with it proper or all over again.

Minuit
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Cat up your sleeves

Minuit

I thought this deserves a post like any other wondrous thing that sends me on a giggling fit and that cog in the wheel churning butter, beans and brainzzzz…

It is fitting to start, as one normally would, with appearances which I will give to you all as straight as it comes:

Looks to me like it can double up as a cast for when your cat tries to kill you, as some cats are inclined to do and whose human still regard as a perfectly normal thing from a fur-baby which is euphemism for human-child substitute for some —don’t you dare lie, Jeanine—and you fall and break your arm(s). This, in addition to regular protection against bites and scratches of a disgruntled cat forced to take a bath, gives it 1 point.

In fact, I will venture and say with the confidence of an eagle-eyed crow, that it’ll also work for regular restraining to unburden the guilty conscience, assuming there remains some, for administering oral medications such as when the cat receives expensive and star-quality dental services to its teeth: fangs, molars and such like and it needed to be put under anaesthesia—Woah, who’s jealous? 1 point.

Best buy 2 or 4 if you also want the use of your legs and thus, must protect them. Thankfully, my cat is the loveliest cat in this universe—she really is—and such expensive contraptions are unnecessary; only some wit and quick manoeuvring needed for a chonky that does not like water and travelling in confined spaces especially to the Vet’s —yes she knows and she’ll always know. Actually, if you look really closely at the cat in the picture, you might notice that it looks like it’s thinking, ‘when I get out of this thing, I am going to make you pay, Jeanine’ and by Jeanine, it meant everything within its line of sight, humans first, in the next 20 mins or so—I mean, just look at it! 1 – 1 = 0

An archetypal Jeanine is one who would pay $32 just to force-squish their cat into a cylindrical mental-institution, padded for imprisonment rather than comfort then decorated with a nonagenarian’s refashioned dish towel, all because the outcome would be so freaking and oddly satisfying to some strange minds unlike mine which is lunatic by design; but as they say, all actions have consequences, play stupid games, win stupid prizes. And so on, Oh Jeanine… a big fat 0

Anyway…The remaining fabric now lies on top of someone’s cushioned toilet seat—It just looks the sort—Jeanine will fall along with others who stood by and go ‘awwwwwww’ <insert heart emoji times 3> their exposed ankles make for good targeting. Now I know what you’re thinking, Ooooh the rambling, heaven help us… no, dear Reader(s). Heaven help Jeanine who must now choose the use of 2 limbs out of the total of 4.

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The lunatic amongst you

Well hello… guess who got banned from a group in ‘among us’?

Dragon at Flower dome, gardens by the bay

The last time I was there, I revealed to the last 3 out of 15 people—just before voting ends and after they’ve all voted—that I’m the imposter and asked who among them wants to die next, leaving virtually no time for a response. I then gleefully chased one and very openly ‘killed him’, giggled profusely when a stake went through a head and upon seeing its subsequent and most evident remnants of decapitation. I got one dude who didn’t read the preceding chat to vote out the horrified dude who did read and was upset with my “unorthodox behaviour”. That leaves me and only one other non-imposter which means I won the game that mostly kids that are of my nephew’s age play. My brother’s spawn both have a kind of magnifying effect on me; I can’t explain it any better but maybe because I shouldn’t be blaming anyone else for my own choices. Lol.

but now that much time have passed and I am suddenly remembering this funny incident, I thought it would be a fun exercise to think about this a little deeper

He said ,” you’re done, you’re done, you’re done”, and swiftly kicked me out. ummmm no, I’m not. Kicking me out does not stop me, I’ll just join another group and carry on, biding my time until I get appointed imposter again. That few minutes of break counts for little but the tweaking of some decorative feature such as from cyan to lime, a top hat to one made of bush, some headphones and writing things on the chat like ,”lol, gg” and other lies like ,” I’m 14 years old”. That ought to count as proof that I’m anything but ‘done’ unless he means that I’m done in that particular group, in which case, he is correct if indeed he wants to be pedantic about it except the benefit of specificity in this case, is limited to an ability to do just that really, be pedantic. What is the point though? Pedantic on what is likely to be nothing more than purely cosmetic.

Speaking of which, I am wondering in earnest, what is the point of pointing out that a word has been spelt incorrectly or a grammatical error has been made, as prolific social media debaters are inclined to do in the middle of a discussion, to end or ruin it, except to demonstrate that you’ve nothing with which to refute or respond to an argument? If it is to discredit your opponent in a way to demonstrate that because a mistake was made that ordinary people won’t make, therefore the argument must be wrong or can be ignored or ‘because Jeanine couldn’t do something so simple, she’s an idiot and we mustn’t believe anything she says’. This is a logical fallacy—a form of ad hominem—surely, it is plain to see that one does not necessarily follow the other.

Even the best of us can make the simplest mistake more so in this era of autocorrect or abbreviations for efficient communication (smh, ur dumb), fat fingers & small keyboard, acrylic nails etc but who in their right mind would say Einstein is wrong to say that E = mc² because his coffee-making skill is shit? The result is not that the one who made that simple mistake is the one whose argument is invalid etc but that the other one does not fundamentally realise that the focus should be on the argument, to refute, concede or anything to address the argument really—If instead Madison chooses to strut on the chessboard as though he’s scored big simply by defecating on it, at some point we must admit that we must get Madison the pigeon to fuck off.

Also, how will the minute and superficial difference between groups in a game like among us matter to a lunatic intent on making or bending the rules? that the groups comprise of individuals that singularly or in totality, differentiates them in addition to differing rules and game settings etc how does this matter to the one who seeks to upend all?

Neither the order in which they appear nor their composition matter; It does not stop or make less effective the actions of the lunatic as she carries out her intent with much exuberance. Simply put, it matters not how it (the group) is changed rather, what matters is that it (the rules) can be changed or ignored with very little consequences as long as one chooses the right time and the right way of doing it. It’s quite like certain social rules and customs though, isn’t it? Let’s call a meeting and discuss which of these rules we want changed or gone.

Mufasa

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Highlights – zoo trip

White tiger challenging lion fan girl to a duel because no actual lion could come

Vain cheetah, discovering the magic of phone’s camera and screen, requests a countdown before snapping

King Cobra striking an unlikely friendship with a human, promises not to bite through the glass

Ah-meng dealing with existential crisis in plain sight, humanises him

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Woolly Booster D2D3

Day 2

Tis I, on my bed. It is now day 2 of Pfizer booster. I just threw up half of my stomach’s contents comprised primarily of vegetarian food for which I dragged myself to Vivocity by train and some walking, half-dead to the horror of suspicious onlookers of my puffy face and droopy eyelids as one would expect the late stage of zombiefication to look like.

Meeting

My body feels like it has been beaten by medium soft trunks of banana trees yet it boldly and stubbornly—with much gusto I might add—commandeered my legs to take us food shopping, first to my favourite vegetarian stall in a food court, then to a supermarket where I purchased a bunch of unripened bananas, two cartons of pasteurised unsweetened soy milk and some dried figs that I packed into a crisp paper bag. I stopped some time in front of the dairy section letting myself get entertained by the colour of milk cartons—It was delightful.

Next, I paid a lady managing a cart outside $12 to replace my phone screen protector and watched her, with much satisfaction, polish my phone screen to the magnificence of glittering diamonds while I swayed from side to side, like overgrown seagrass in a gentle breeze to soft inaudible music. I don’t know why I’m writing this down. It feels nice to drift. My body wants to do some abdominal exercises or a light and very short run whilst my brain says, no, you fucking idiot, sit the fuck down. I don’t know what to do

Max

Day 3

10am and I’m going swimming in 2 hours. I think I feel ok though I can’t really tell. My mind is adept at switching off certain sensations or markers of physical pain, discomfort and warning signs like fever especially when it is focused on wanting to get something done which, of course, is risky and dangerous. There are advantages and disadvantages to that, stupidity and vigorousness wavering on a thin line but I won’t get into that now—Revelation of lunacy a petal at a time.

Timba, African Lion of the Singapore Zoo

My mind’s very weak at pushing out unwanted (nagging) thoughts—the bane of my existence ie my OCD and right now, all it wants to do is swim because it is bored and does not want to be sat on its arse. Nothing is standing out; no extreme pain, I don’t have a thermometer so I can’t tell if I’ve a fever. Left arm feels a little heavy particularly around injection site but it will not be prevented from floating in water, I reckon. Just go slow, just in case—Will you not listen to reason?—Damn it. It’s going to be ok. Floaty, floaty. I am not myself; my heartbeat is faster and my mind’s still cloudy. I pack my things anyway and I promise to be careful.

postscript – Back from swimming and refuelled with Fairprice’s 1/2 a creole-style roast chicken that I sprinkled with cheese on top for snowy-mountain cap effect.

The session took the usual 45 mins except that I swam at a much relaxing, dreamy pace, drifting in and out of a sleep-like state, keeping my heartbeat steady. My body knows what it needs to do in the water to keep in motion and alive so I let it do its thing—levitate and dancing, reaching and gliding. As luck would have it, half of the pool is reserved for training leaving the other half to the public. That means although usually I get a lane all to myself, this time I had to share, which I did with a predominantly breast-stroke super-chilled swimmer. Now, I am not complaining. Not at all.

This, as I’m writing, I’m recording just one of the many occasions I tell myself, in order to be more appreciative of every seemingly disadvantageous situation or sometimes to keep irritation at bay like Nietzsche’s Amor Fati translated as love of fate “That one wants nothing to be different, not forward, not backwards, not in all eternity. Not merely bear what is necessary, still less conceal it but love it.”

This is the Universe’s way of protecting me from the consequences of my hasty, foolish and risky decisions. At 50% performance capacity, even so I am pushing it, I am only delaying recovery and moving any faster spells catastrophe. I pace my swim strokes with Straw-Ber-Ry, Blue-Ber-Ry, Straw-Ber-Ry, Blue-Ber-Ry...One stroke One kick. One stroke One kick. My usual 2-beat kick but way slower.

Flower Dome at Gardens by the bay

Sidenote: As I was licking my low-sugar soft serve on the way to the bus stop, it suddenly occurred to me the reason why I sometimes say “Fuck” when I realise that I need to rush somewhere; it gives me that jolt of energy like kickstarting from the ordinary, dormant state to zippy. Also, did Mr Bean replace its cones with the low sugar version too? I can hardly detect any sugar in it or is that just the impaired sense of taste that people complain about after getting the booster shot? I don’t know. I’m going swimming again tomorrow and this time, I am going to take a picture of the soft-serve.

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Atypical Blue Pea Nasi Lemak

Let me start by helping you save time if you’ve stumbled upon this discarded piece of thing whilst wandering blindly through a digital forest in search of a proper review of Old Chang Kee’s Blue Pea Nasi Lemak—This is not going to be it. I just don’t have that in me—the ability to write it AND the sort of capacity that one would associate with, at the very least, a mediocre food reviewer/critic; My tastebuds are, simply put, substandard. Instead, all that has been written in this page is an attempt at documenting a cheat-meal and perhaps, serve as a testament to a level of bizarreness to which, I—the lunatic responsible for this page—suspect some can relate. Though our sad and under-developed tastebuds may not unburden us from a reliance on food reviews, it can assist in decision-making—whatever the criteria may be—especially on price-worthiness. It was just a little over $7 if ordered via Food Panda’s pickup—that’s ok.

In any other review, it would be reasonable to check the basis of the score and with that, here marks the official start of my rambling: On some basic level or logical sequence of things, a score is a given based on quality of its attributes notably its taste and structure as regards freshness, harmony, balance of strong and light, (expected) texture which makes more sense vis à vis a similar dish not necessarily made by the same person. In some instances, there is evident in some critics, an implied assumption of an imbued and hence necessarily, the existence of universal tastebuds and/or standards; If it’s tasty to them, it’s worth the try. That’s always stinkingly suspicious to me especially factoring in preferences that could make or break one’s enjoyment of anything and our proud and tested idiosyncrasies. A chef might elucidate if skills/know-how are present or employed to bring out the best of each ingredient and/or to create with it, alongside some clever use of complementary or unexpected ingredients and/or cooking methods to arrive at a spectacular, even unearthly, result—The sum is more than its parts in this way—-Most of us would care to take expertise and experience as basis for authority even if said chef is notably more careful and gracious towards tradition and/or respected motherly/granny/celebrity figure. Some of us are not entirely convinced.

Then there’s someone like me, just as unsophisticated as my ensuing tastebuds, making everything—if I can remember its taste and I remember only the bare minimum with the exception of chocolate—either a 7 or a 0. Brussels sprouts will always be a 0 alongside everything else inedible such as toadstool mushrooms. Everything else not 0 is a 7 including pan-fried salmon, sourdough bread, roquefort, wild mushroom soup, kewpie mayonaise, gratin etc. This is true even though I’ve been avoiding added-sugar for far too long with the result that many things I used to enjoy is now in the 0 category due to its newly-acquired or attributable cloying feature. Simply put, I only avoid food that is a 0 or that which might get stuck between my teeth in a public place.

Musings:

Chocolate is the erstwhile lover whose belongings lingered in every corner pointing to a whirlwind, unparalleled romance that one sometimes misses and wants again naively and in juvenile-fashion—which took way too long to end after the magic had gone—leaving in its wake a trail of bad habits, character flaws and unwashed things. It was never going to work, irresistible bastard, but it won’t hurt to try one last time either until one does and discovers that—damn, that was somewhat pleasant and deservedly unpleasant at the same time.

In most things, there are the good and the opposite until one side exceeds the other, neither static nor necessarily overwhelming but just enough to force an inevitable conclusion—sadly or not but only some of the time—bringing about its cruel and untimely end.

—Me

If you haven’t yet figured this out, then let me tell you, that the best way to prolong one’s enjoyment of a cheat meal is with the use of chopsticks; substandard chopstick-using skill is best, to pick up bits of joy along with every crunchy and perfectly-toasted anchovy and peanut culminating in the outmost satisfaction of munching them. This, contrasted with the tenderness of the over-medium fried egg which, in my humble opinion, is perfect for this type of dish. If you are well-versed in the fried egg vocabulary, skip over the next para. I had to google it and decided to keep it here for future reference.

Fried Egg Vocabulary

Sunny-side up: Not flipped, only whites cooked, yolk is bright, pristine and runny

Over-medium: Flipped, yolk mostly jammy, little runny

Over-easy: Flipped, runny yolk covered with white film. Possible presence of runny whites

Over-hard: Flipped, yolk completely cooked.

The Blue Pea Nasi Lemak is made by the nice people over at Old Chang Kee, OTH, taken with my iPhone that is my sole picture-taking device to which I will add, if you come here for the pictures, then you are lost, bro.

The pickled vegetables (red onion and cucumber) retains its freshness, integrity and thus its crunch along with its dignity, tasting as bright as its colour and the summer sun, sweetness tipping the scales over the vinegar’s acidity. I cannot tell what spices were used to flavour the vinegar; Sugar has the effect of drowning out many flavouring qualities to my highly-sensitive sugar sensor with hilarious but unfortunate effect upon the sambal (chilli paste). To be fair, sugar is present in most sambals to counteract the spice level of a condiment made from largely chillies but for me, it’s like trying to hear someone speak with the alarm blaring. I had to pay close attention to uncover the deliberate caramelisation of shallots/chillies evidencing the use of skill to bring out natural sweetness of every ingredient without burning it. The result is noisy, jam-like sambal that forgets to be spicy. With that said, I am the one with the problem and I am certain that the sambal will be pleasing to many out there.

The chicken curry meets Singapore’s unforgiving standard: lightly creamy to balance mild and lightly-toasted spices that not only adds nuttiness but makes for an easy assimilation of each spice into a single and harmonious whole. It is complementary to the extra-tender, falls off the bone, chicken that was cooked with enough time and attention for every bit to absorb the spices.

The blue pea rice is a star in its own right, competing in this own category. There is clear evidence of coconut milk reduction and lemongrass in its taste, encasing each grain with a sheen, gleaming in the sunlight. Some grains are tender and firm, others squishy enough for clumping and picking by chopsticks as a result of (unintended?) excess liquid. There is nothing distinctive in taste from the blue hue, neither flower nor berries but it’s just the sort of thing to eat on gloomy days and pretend like all the blue was taken away from the presently, overcast grey skies and channeled into the rice, making it and your insides, more cheery.

Haha.

and there it is, my first review of sorts. If you think this account of nasi lemak is a waste of your time, wait till you see the score:

I, hereby proclaim, with the power vested in me, by and over, the very same Blue Pea Nasi Lemak I just ate, a categorical 7.

Minuit gets breakfast in bed

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Preface

It’s therapeutic, they say, though it may mean nothing to everyone else; that’s good enough for me.

This is my first time blogging. Can you tell?

I am surprised that you have stumbled onto this piece of work some may call trash. As duly advised by some friendlies—and duly followed I might add—writing down feelings help with its management. Recently, temper has bubbled to the surface far more than I would like and guilt makes me want to fix it cheaply unlike that time I sent flowers to someone as an apology for yelling like the pitiless she-devil that she was.

And so, dear reader(s)—if I am being honest, it’ll just be me—for the longest time I’ve avoided this: both writing about it and acknowledging that feelings do better tested for quality and controlled—like pet training except better late than never—I am here now attempting to establish a rhythm of sorts to both, ground me and provide a semblance of control or evidence of the lack thereof. I’ll write whatever the wind blows at me, fart and all. Expect an occasional drop of swear words here and there; No chin-scratches go unnoticed. That’s just how I roll and intend on this very public space for the garden-variety cats.

Comments will not be enabled on this site (though we ought not to say never) for this blog is also a tool to manage symptoms of OCD ie recurring, unwanted thoughts and a creative outlet in which to write anything fantastical and everything else that lets me laugh at myself; Writing them down—though the effect be absurd and ridiculous—diminishes the irritating quality of recurrence and uninvited; like keeping a turbulent child that is my mind occupied with something it adores so it cannot devote its energy to creating havoc—with the exception of the worst of my thoughts; Those I shall avoid writing about as best I can not only because it’ll not be a fun read or that they can be terrifying but focusing on and doing what matters and good shall always be the rule—It has kept me going and alive, best of all, happy in an Aristotelian sense ie flourishing

I’ll not presume to guarantee that you’ll like anything I put on this site but take from it, I hope, whatever makes you chuckle though it be at my expense—free of charge. It may also be that you’re just as strange—I’m not complaining—in which case, kindred spirits we are, just blissfully unaware.

We’re not as alone as we think; happier, in this way though we know yet not, just like most things in life, it would have been way worse.

For the first and last time here, I’ll sign with my name you can call me by,

Ila writing as Minuit, the tuxedo

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