Friday, February 17, 2017

It's My Wedding And I'll Elope If I Want To

Wouldn't be the first bride and groom I'd have heard it from actually. Though the feeling doesn't come as naturally to me since I've always adored weddings, I can somewhat understand the preposterous urge to flee the annoyingly rigid ceremony of marriage. At least for some.

These days, I think almost everyone I know would have been involved in just such a conversation.

Bride : Gosh, it's just such a bother. I think I'll just have a destination wedding far, far away.
Groom : Yeah, a small wedding is what I'd want. 
Paul : And your parents are alright with that? You're both having the first weddings in your families right? 
Bride : Oh they don't really have say in it. 
Groom : Yeah, but why should that matter? It's our wedding.
Paul : Yeah kids, I have to correct you both there. 

No, it's not.

Perhaps I'm the only old-fashioned fuddy-duddy left around but there actually are times when you have to think less of yourself. Unlike modern Western-influenced values where there's an overemphasis on me-me-me individualism rather than the collective, I gotta say this. It's not just you. Yes, you're the ones getting married but there are certain social and familial obligations that you cannot simply dismiss.

And this I learned while observing my brother's own wedding so many years back - and several friends' weddings thereafter. Time and again I've seen folks get married with little or simply no contribution from the parents - in fact it's sometimes belligerently unwelcome.

Come on, unfilial much?

Yes, no doubt the doting mom and pop would agree it's perfectly alright to have a small wedding with a precious handful of your guests. Go ahead and fly off to some uninhabited little island miles away from anyone. Beloved child after all and they would be ecstatically happy regardless. Never you worry your lil head about their own unwieldy list of friends, they'll just cancel whatever hypothetical preparations they have been making for the past two to three decades.

Babe, remember your dream of a small intimate wedding party? Yeah, that's gonna remain just a dream. 

Don't kid yourself, they have always been planning your wedding regardless of what they've been telling you. With every random wedding dinner they are forced to attend, they've been chalking up their own obligatory guests with red packets to pay.

And then there are the close friends who tend to meander off along the way.

After all, there'll always be that sudden impromptu weekend barbecue your parents would be able to arm-twist force their friends from way back in high school to attend. Perhaps even that long-ago childhood best friend who moved to Iceland several decades back. Maybe he'd enjoy just flying several thousand miles over to have that roasted chicken wing.


Really. It is your wedding. But is it so hard to share that little piece with your parents?

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Stranger Danger

Periodically in the main headlines we have our ever-efficient authorities trying their best - and tragically failing - to convince the people that our crime rate is at an all-time low. 'It's just your perception, people,' they repeatedly proclaim while desperately waving around dubious statistics to prove their point.

Our presumptuous police officers tend to act as if the perception of crime isn't a credible problem when it really is. It's easy enough to prove how fearful our people have become of our crime-ridden streets with a simple experiment. 

Remember how I mentioned a while ago that I prefer real humans to snap pictures of us rather than utilize the ever ubiquitous selfie stick? How difficult is it to just press a button. Really. Well since I've already made up my mind long ago that Thai and Korean girls are the undisputed world champs at snapping shots on the fly, I decided to try out our own resourceful countrymen this time.

Could you help me take a picture? 

Well, guess what? Our countrymen not only shy away from being asked ( the ever idiotic paiseh syndrome anyone? ), they also literally leap five feet up into the air with a muffled shriek if you even step close enough to ask. Go on, try it. 

If that's not poor perception of crime on our streets, I don't know what is. Stranger danger really. 

Really, darlings. I'm not here to rob you. If I wanted to, you'd already be missing several items. But from the way you present yourself in public, I'd be far more afraid that you'd hurriedly scamper off with my precious cellphone instead. 

Which is far different from how we're treated in other places. Not that you should just hand over your cameras to any random strange freak to snap a shot but if they have a gleaming new Hasselblad hanging around their neck, you can be assured that they won't willingly snatch your crummy equipment. In fact you could get real lucky with some amateur photographers; for instance the ever enthusiastic Thai and Korean girls would actually take several skilful shots from different angles along with masterful suggestions on how to properly pose for that perfect selfie. Somehow they instinctively know what you surreptitiously hope to have in the background and frame it perfectly for you. 

Once we even caught a Thai girl desperately hurrying by a train station who kindly paused to help us. Ever the go-getter, the lil lass didn't even slow down her steps; indeed she barely turned her head to look at the composition before clicking twice - and yet she took the most awesome shots before handing the camera back. 

Truth! Well practiced they are!

So help a stranger today. Take pictures for people if you see them struggling with the admittedly unwieldy selfie stick. It's not that burdensome, is it? 

And let's not go into the sad tale of paiseh folks who are deathly afraid of approaching others to snap a picture. 

Thursday, February 02, 2017


It's taken a while but I think I've finally hit on the reason why there's always been a covert Anti Maid Syndrome on the part of the ladies; whether they be full-time housewives or working women. Whereas men generally don't really care one way or the other as long as the house is cleaned up, somehow many of the women find it quite a bother to have domestic help underfoot in their house, preferring to ferociously micromanage it all on their own. Just count the number of finicky females you know who trail behind their hapless maids painstakingly pointing out even the most minuscule of housekeeping mistakes.

Frequently bedeviled by the oh-so-supportive mass media these days, modern day women apparently believe they can, and should want to do it all.

Really. As if they have something to prove to the rest of the world. Which they don't. However such a heavy burden of having to do it all generally leaves them feeling overwhelmed by all their responsibilities.

Even my sister-in-law Sassy Sue has always had a beef with having domestic help around for some inexplicable reason. I'm entirely the opposite; even better if I could afford an entire coterie of servants worthy of Downton Abbey from the butler all the way down to the scullery maid.

Or maybe a hot houseboy like this.  

In our increasingly equitable world where a misplaced social conscience practically disallows the hiring of domestics, turns out I might be part of a oft-condemned minority which is why I still get pointed conversations like this every once in a while.

Paul : I don't mind being a stay-at-home dad. But I'd need a maid of course. 
Girl : But why? 
Paul : For the domestic work of course. 
Girl : But can't you cook and clean? 
Paul : I can. But why should I when I can get the maid to do it? 

Leaving them agog as usual.

I mean I can certainly cook - a quick stirfry or parboil - but I'd leave the tedious preparatory work to the maid along with the even more exacting cleaning up afterward. Chopping up onions and garlic certainly isn't what I signed up for.

Really, why should there be this desperate need to rationalize having a maid? It's time we stopped having such incomprehensibly egalitarian guilt over hiring people to take over menial jobs that we just don't want to do. Toilet cleaning, mopping and sweeping etc. Sure I can certainly make do in a pinch but there's no need for me to do so.

And if you think domestic workers like Maid Mumbles are getting the short shrift, you'd be severely underestimating them.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Unwanted Matchmaker

With the annual Spring Festival inching its way around the corner, more than a few of my singleton friends would undoubtedly be arming themselves for the relentless pellets of presumption heading their way from meddling relatives, near and far. Me, I've learned to accept it with grace as part and parcel of the entirely Chinese celebration along with the oranges and the firecrackers - but in these days of easily bruised strawberries, such intrusive interrogations seem to have become entirely taboo.

Even a simple query on the status of their marital relations or lack thereof would earn a whiny blubber. So could this be the end of the ever kaypoh matchmaker?

Which would be quite sad actually. Amongst my friends here, I've understandably earned an unfavourable reputation for being the dreaded matchmaker. In almost every social situation with someone new, the first question I would ask is the dreaded one most Asian kids would already know.

Are you married?

And if they are happily single, then the generic follow-up questions on the reasons thereafter and the ever-ready list of eligible bachelors or bachelorettes available in a ten mile radius with their contactable numbers. How the original Tindr worked before cellphones if you're wondering. Before any singletons start proclaiming their love for a single life, let me say this - there is no need to have an eternal flame in your life but that doesn't mean you have to stop searching for that weird and wonderful spark either.


Pretty sure I've stepped on more than a few toes - and horrified some of the more hypersensitive strawberries around but to that, all I gotta say is toughen up. Seriously. If such teensy inconsequential questions already leave you flailing about in agonizing suspense, you're going to have a lot more troubles in the future. The previous generation - yes those kaypoh aunts and uncles - managed to deal with such unwanted intrusion so why are you so weepy indignant over so little?

Yes, I have little patience with wimps.

But why my peculiar obsession with dating? Simple actually, because we couldn't do it for a really, really long time. All throughout high school, we sat twiddling our thumbs on the sidelines just watching while everyone else - sometimes including the boy we liked - paired off into couples on their first dates. Obviously we all have a tendency to cherish that which we never actually had.

For my single heterosexual friends out there, you really don't know how very lucky you are. No matter how many doubts and worries you might have about the frightful perils of dating, that wouldn't even come close to the mountains we have had to climb as a gay man. Not only do we have to manage all the dating demons that you have, we also have our own peculiarly gay problems to contend with.

Lovey dovey gay couples still aren't all that visible here. 

Such as the fact that despite the strides that have been made in may other places, over here we're still pretty much an ostracized community.

Yes, it's difficult to make that first move. But perhaps you have taken for granted just how easy it is to go over to a bar and slide a drink over to their latest amour. At the very worst, you get a polite rejection. There's no worry that the targeted fellow would send his balled fist across the table instead. There's no worry that the homophobic waitress would dump the tray on the both of you during a date. There's even less worry that all hell will break loose and you'd be attacked by a mob of pitch-fork wielding haters.

Monday, January 23, 2017


Like most lustful gay men out there - and more than a few heterosexual women, I tend to rabidly follow a number of insanely gorgeous Instahotties out there. Why bother with decidedly inaccessible porn these days when you have these furiously fit young men regularly disrobing for the drooling pleasure of their highly appreciative worldwide audience? Hard not to stare at these perfectly sculpted, deeply tanned, rarely shirted beautiful boys out there without feeling more than a harrowing gut-wrenching pang of envy of course.

And the occasional irrational urge to develop instant bulimia.

Damn them for being so genetically gifted of course. However not content with being absolutely breathtaking physically, these boys also hope to be noticed for more than their defined six-pack abs and their shockingly symmetrical faces! Hence the constant bombardment of seemingly profound observations that follow the prerequisite snapshot of their naked torsos.

Or what I call #Instaphilosophy.

Quick snap of them carousing half naked at the beach - followed by an inspirational quote that usually has very little or anything to do with the picture captioned. Presumably sage motivational adages that wouldn't seem out of place in a confused Confucius phrasebook.

Which I find odd. Why not just call a spade a spade?

Have a sexy pic in your underwear? Just caption it honestly! "I worked hard for this awesome body - and man, I look good today!"
Or perhaps with a little bit of tongue-in-cheek humour!

I mean, it's really true, isn't it? I would certainly give that a bold thumbs-up.

Freaking shallow some of the envious detractors might cry but I think I'd prefer the blatant candour rather than some made-up vague, philosophical captions. We already know some of these amazingly pretty boys do have personality and brains to spare - hot math professor anyone? - but that's not what we're looking for in visual-intensive Instagram, is it? Low body fat ratios and chiseled jawlines are what the people want so there's little need to dredge up some inspirational rhetoric to accompany the instapics.

Maybe keep it a little more real? Turns out I'm not the only one who agrees!