Tuesday, October 30, 2007

My Three and a Half Parties

Not sure how but I ended up with three totally different cakes this year - all of which I enjoyed thoroughly though for different reasons. Short summaries of the events of the past few days so let's start with the first.

Black Forest Gateau

You always remember the first :) And Big Bicep Barry certainly knew how to make an appearance. Dropped by my place in the evening with his cake and candles, singing the familiar song. A little exhausted since I'd just returned from my overnight trip, I actually planned to turn in early - but then Barry promised to entertain me with his awesome cherry-picking talents.

Which he performed quite memorably :)

And then there was the even larger
Banana Chocolate Cake

Orchestrated by Strapping Shane and the rest of the motley crew, they attempted to surprise me in Italiannies on a sunday afternoon. Though I don't see how I could have been taken unawares with the way he kept insisting that I make it there on time! You see, punctuality has never been one of my kid brother's shining qualities :)

A great party - that got even better when I noted a hunky Chinese waiter waiting in the wings ( possibly an escaped Myanmar monk, I believe! ). Razan with the cheekbones that could cut glass! Even managed to take a few surreptitious shots of him - though I think he might have noticed me ogling him quite unashamedly.

Hell, I almost flipped some chocolate onto his neck so that I could lick it off.

Baby, we ain't 16 no more!

Not exactly a cake but I just had to put it in...

Certainly not kids anymore and that fact hit us when my ISO and I both walked in through the doors of Qba. In our jackets ( forced on me by my ISO ), doubt anyone would mistake us for callow teenyboppers. We were finally adults. And boy, that sombre image certainly deserved a drink.

Or two.

And of course, saving the best for last...
Sugee Almond Cake

Baked to perfection and simply heavenly, my family bought this for me. It's been a family tradition to have a cake since... forever, I think. Got a shirt and cufflinks from my brother ( ever the traditionalist ) and the scrapbook items my parents already got for me earlier ( and that I plan to get done before Christmas ).

Three cakes and a mojito. Seems like it's pretty good turning 31 after all.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Shiitake Happens

Did my good deed of the week. Hopefully this manages to balance out all the evil I've done for the past few days. Hell, it's probably enough to risk a few wicked sins this weekend :)

If you recall Tearful Tony of gaycide fame, I made a return visit to check up on the boy. Call it my good samaritan act of the day. Certainly looking much more cheerful than the solemn, sad-eyed stud I brought in on the first day. I guess it's hard to look all that happy when you've just had your stomach contents forcibly pumped out.

Thoroughly wasted. That's how you feel like after a gastric lavage!

Even managed a smile for me.

Tony recognized me almost immediately, if not as his returning saviour, certainly as the doctor who shoved half a dozen unimaginable foreign objects in most of his available orifices ( and then gave him a five minute lecture on the futility of suicide ). Still Tony was friendly enough - after such wildly invasive measures it certainly loosens the inhibitions. Talked with very little prompting about his problems which I listened closely enough, his problems at work, in school, in his family... but he certainly steered safely clear of any mention of his apparent homosexuality ( and his faithful suitor on the nightly vigil ).

Certainly didn't press the issue of course - I've far more learned, experienced colleagues than me dealing in such tangled matters. But I did leave him a small message.

Paul : And what about your friends? Faithful Frank for instance.
Tony : Y-you met Frank?
Paul : It's hard not to notice, don't you think? He's here every night.
Tony : He's been really... wonderful.
Paul : We should always appreciate our friends.
Tony : But I-I'm not one of those gays! At least I think I'm not.
Paul : No one's saying that you are. Though it is that really so bad?
Tony : It's not! And I don't think I am gay...
Paul : You wouldn't be the only gay man around, you know.

Yes, it was a loaded hint. I do seem to be coming out in the oddest places these days.

Much too polite a boy, Tony didn't inquire further though I could see he was dying to ( ironically enough ). Perhaps I looked a bit too intimidating for him to ask such a searching personal question. We talked a bit more but he added very little after. Still, he seemed to be smiling to himself when I left.

So hopefully he won't swallow that next bottle of pills when he comes across them again. Shiitake happens but that doesn't mean you have to resort to making a sashimi of yourself.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Ex Communication

I'm sure some of you would have gotten the wrong idea about my purported one night stand in Singapore.

Well, if you count that as two guys spending the night at McDonald's in Orchard trash talking while gulping down endless milkshakes. Why not a jug of sangria, you say? Well since my hands tend to wander shamelessly when hot guys are near, I certainly wouldn't want to accidentally commit adultery whilst in the midst of a alcoholic haze!

We don't need another repeat of Christmas Past.

A sweet escape!
Though not on a bicycle made for two!

Far from running off down south in a fit of pique ( and we all know I'm a little old to be indulging in those childish antics :P ), what happened was actually so innocuous, so innocent that we barely realized what was happening. First we were talking about our thirty-something classmates all happily married - even one with a kid in primary now! - and the next we were both headed down to the customs between borders with matching looks of astonishment / horror / glee.

Ah. Mid-life crisis.

And it all started with an innocent bit of siew mai.

Paul : Haven't had breakfast like that in ages.
My ISO : My last time was those noodles with you.
Paul : Same here. I need a break.
My ISO : Let's go now then. I am free today.
Paul : Yeah, let's just follow our instincts, pack up and go without further thought.
My ISO : Why not? You have your passport right?
Paul : At home, yeah. Are you serious? What did you put in that tea?!
My ISO : Come on, let's be impulsive.
Paul : Aren't you here to see your sweet grandma?
My ISO : She's almost senile. She won't miss me.
Paul : Aren't you the grandson of the year? Come on, we haven't even booked a hotel room. Where would we stay?
My ISO : Like you haven't slept in some shady places lah.
Paul : Sleeping overnight in your car was an aberration. And you were the one who got semi-drunk in Genting.
My ISO : Good times.
Paul : I refuse to sleep in the backseat. I have creaky joints already.
My ISO : Old age arthritis.
Paul : For that, you are driving.

And so we left.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Fallen Red Leaves on Fragrant Hill

Yesterday I had a handsome man offer to let me lick his naked chest slathered in expensive dark chocolate.

Today I had another guy doing something illegal with his mobile tongue and a virgin cherry from the black forest gateau.

And all I can think of is Charming Calvin shivering away in his vaunted winter clothing ( thousand bucks worth, don't play play ) while viewing autumnal leaves shed on the hills around Beijing. That does sound awfully sappy-saccharine-sweet ( I blame it on the slight cold I'm nursing now ) but wait, you haven't heard it all.

Hmmm.. now how do I get out of going?

Haven't turned into complete sentimental mush yet. You'd expect my image of Calvin to be picture perfect but it isn't. :) Would I date someone angelically perfect? That'd bore me in days.

So... of course after being dragged off for a nature lovers' excursion, diplomatically Calvin would proclaim it the best day he'd had in the capital though I know inside he would complain bitterly about the cold. Muttering sotto voce to himself as he blows warm breath onto his frozen fingers.

But then hell he keeps his charming civility for the others and only mouths off with me.

Colleague : How are you enjoying the winter?
Calvin : A little biting but I like the cold. Gives me a chance to wear my new winter coat.
Coleague : Don't you think the leaves look beautiful?
Calvin : Almost like a water brush painting.

What a politician. Of course what he actually means is...

Colleague : How are you enjoying the winter?
Calvin : Are you kidding me? I'm freezing my balls off. Stupid weather!
Colleague : Don't you think the leaves look beautiful?
Calvin : Fuck the frigging leaves. Get me back to the hotel where there's a bloody heater!

Or something like that.

Friday, October 26, 2007



That's a word I gotta learn. Seriously.

You see, Scorpios take perverse pleasure in knowing. Sure I might not sketch out my future plans to the teensiest details as much as our anal-retentive Charming Calvin does but I do at least have some idea what's about to happen. Certainly not the kind to fly by the seat of my pants. Surprises ( especially unpleasant ones ) are not my favourite things in the world.

So how did I find myself in a foreign city with a handsome man naked in the shower?

Gosh. Where the heck am I!

All I had planned was a day free for my scrapbooking. Been a while since I've had the time, brought all my utensils back for the weekend all ready for an intensive day of cutting, pasting and decorating. But then I got that special call before breakfast.

My ISO : What are you doing?
Paul : Scrapbooking.
My ISO : Good God, grandma. What next? Crochet? Lawn bowling?
Paul : You know I've actually tried that.
My ISO : Fuck that. You are coming for breakfast. Get ready.

And four hours later I'm in the Lion City for lunch.

Did I ever mention that apart from being evil, handsome and charming, my ISO can be devilishly persuasive as well? A well-heeled traveller himself, my ISO's sense of distance is sadly warped. One moment we were talking about our last road trip over steaming buns and the next we're looking for chocolate leaves in Vivocity. My new word of the day is Singapore-d - my own special version of Shanghaied. Didn't plan anything, didn't call anyone ( unless you count that last hasty message to Calvin before I jumped into the car ). Hell, I barely had time to grab my passport.

Haven't done anything this spontaneous and impulsive in years - probably since that last time I recklessly jumped off a cliff in Australia. There was a harness, helmets and I closed my eyes all the while but still...

The much-talked-about ( at least in my aging workplace ) mid-life crisis has arrived early obviously. Next thing you know, I'll probably trade in my reliable car for some sporty phallic symbol.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


I think the most difficult step for a gay man is coming out to himself.

Though there are a special few who find themselves absolutely freaking fabulous and break out of the closet with a flourishing bang complete with song and dance ( and sometimes that prerequisite pink feather boa! ), the majority find themselves utterly confused with what they see in the mirror.

Of course there are a few who gaze into their reflections and find themselves utterly disgusted. Preferring a broken mirror rather than what they see inside.

What's wrong with my reflection!

Somewhere out there, there is a sad young boy who tried to end his life with a literal barrel of sedatives. A broken heart was all he said in his suicide note before downing the lot and by consensus we all believed it must have been the usual dumped-by-girlfriend scenario. Obviously my gay-dar has been disjointed with all the work lately since I never saw it coming. Embarassingly I was so preoccupied that I needed one of my plain jane colleagues to point it out.

Jane : Look! There goes his boyfriend again.
Paul : What?
Jane : Well, that has to be his boyfriend right?
Paul : Isn't that just a friend?
Jane : Isn't it obvious? A friend who comes every few hours, brings candies and flowers, sleeps outside on a nightly vigil?
Paul : Oh.

Yes. Oh.

Even had a brief entertaining ( and very odd ) lecture from Jane on gay rights :)

Gay suicides. Heavy words. Googled the fact and found that surprisingly high rates of suicide have consistently been reported among homosexuals, particularly among adolescents and young adults. Apparently, coming out isn't as easy for everyone. Most feel terribly isolated and alone with their mounting difficulties. Many face conflict, whether within their own families and workplaces, even with their religious denomations.

For me, life is precious. And to take a life for such a reason is an abomination to me. Having such a young boy just at the cusp of his promising manhood wanting to take that final plunge, I find utterly heart-breaking especially if it's for the reasons above. Because there's always someone out there to listen, someone to talk to. They are not alone. And I wish more of them would know that.

Talk. There's always someone to listen.
PT Foundation

At the risk of sounding like a sappy infomercial, yes, we are all here ready to listen as well. Even me.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Halcyon Days

No doubt my ISO is trying to turn me into a weepy sentimental mush before the end of the week ( which actually signifies the end of an era as he says ) since he keeps sending me unpredictably corny messages lately. Obviously bitten by a nostalgic bug lately.

Then again he could be rubbing it in emphasizing that the big 3-0 is already a year past.

My ISO : Damn. We gotta become responsible adults after this, don't we?
Paul : We can always lie about our age.
My ISO : Not unless you go for botox.
Paul : And dye my hair black.
My ISO : Do I have to wear fucking boring ties to work like you?
Paul : Probably. Garters too.
My ISO : You meant adult diapers, right?
Paul : Not unless you've been busy bottoming for a gang bang.

Yes. We are growing old disgracefully.

Fuck! Is that another grey hair?

Still, some of the messages he sent me were terribly evocative - and did bring a smile to my face as it was intended. Easy enough for him to do so since he has more than a decade of friendship to draw inspiration from.

Risk This in Siam

Not as wild as it sounds - certainly nothing to do with the naughtier things we did in Bangkok much later as consenting adults - but actually a reference to the strategic board game we used to play. I know I know... younger folks would be puzzled as to what's a board game but kids, way back when the prehistoric computer games were still dominated by likes of Pacman and Space Invaders, there used to be something called board games which featured lil tokens and dice! One of these board games was a megalomaniacal fantasy called Risk where we took turns slicing up the world map like mini Genghis Khans :)

Imagine a bare-bones pared-down Civilization without the nifty graphics and the smarmy, back-talking generals. Somehow or rather during the course of the game I always get landed with the Australias - and had to fight tooth and nail with incoming invaders to keep the border province Siam.

Yam Cake Tea

Not together of course. Can't imagine what that would taste like. But we actually used to have regular teas before our Maths Tuition back in school ( since the tuition was above this coffeeshop selling yam cakes ). We'd order a plate or two, smear the cake with chilli sauce and then proceed to badmouth our incompetent school teachers. By the time were done with the brief snack, our merciless tormentors would have been left hanging out to dry without a shred of reputation.

Sometimes though during his diatribes, my mind would wander leaving me to wonder whether I could get away with flicking sauce onto his white uniform and then licking my way down his bare chest as he strips down to change. Pythagoras Theorem be damned.

Thank God It's Friday Mass

Yes, we did have Mass every month on the first fridays of the month after assembly in the school chapel. Growing religious conservatism in the country hadn't caught up with us yet then. I was a bad Catholic. So was my ISO. But first friday mass meant a welcome relief from extra-dull morning classes so we usually snuck off into the back pews ( or at least behind the thicker pillars ) claiming religious devotion and spent the time napping away while the God-fearing altar boys dutifully sang their Glory Hallelujahs.

Still the mornings spent there inspired me to get stained glass in my front door.

Good God. I hope the messages from my ISO are not in lieu of a fabulously expensive birthday gift!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Mothers and Sons

Gay men and their mothers.

We all know it's a timeless cliche that has been around these parts - well ever since ancient mythological Greece when a dutiful Achilles consented to his beloved mother's wishes and turned drag to hide in the doe-eyed harem of Lycomedes. All just to escape the macho Greek warriors coming to ship him out for a year long beer-fest / bar-fight / mini-orgy over in the city state Troy. Needless to say, our Achilles' lustful need to fondle phallic weapons outed him to the rest of the keen-eyed Greeks.

For something a lil less mythical, let's not forget the legendary Alexander the Great and his domineering mother, Olympias.

Still, we all know what it's like to have mothers. Mothers who spoil and cuddle us. Mothers who nag and whine to us. That special bond between a gay man and his mother is undeniable - and has led to endless speculation on the specific origins of homosexuality from psychologists with their unproven theories on domineering mothers to budding scientists with their recent search for the gay gene amongst the maternal gene pool.

Me, I think mothers just like boys who can shop, cook and interior decorate ( some even turn into horrific mini versions of their moms! ). Saves them the chore.

Kevin Walker
Finish the toast fast dammit! I gotta go pick up my mom!

However sometimes that particular closeness leads to an almost unhealthy co-dependence. Don't know if anyone has noticed but as fathers grow older, they tend to morph into couch potatoes / homebodies quite impossible to nudge out of the apparent security of their castles. Their social life tends to end at the telly remote the minute they retire. Which leaves the mothers lacking that plus one so to speak - that dependable partner to squire to dances, dinners and dreary meetings.

A role the gay son is obviously expected to fulfil.

Accompanying my mother to boring soirees has practically become an unwritten family obligation. Like all mothers, my own mother doesn't order or command. That would be far too rude - and so forward! No, my mother merely requests politely - or what my brother and I like to call heaping a freaking shitload of guilt till you capitulate to her wishes. Not that I mind since my mother's generally a wonderfully entertaining companion ( and I adore her ) but still I'd like to have something resembling a choice rather than to have it foisted on me.

No doubt Kevin Walker can certainly commiserate since his mother does the same guilt-trip on him.

Kevin Walker and mama
God, could you just grab my golf club and bean me to death just to put me out of my misery?

Not sure if subconsciously I was trying to out myself but I let my mom tune in to Brothers and Sisters just the other day. After watching several episodes in a row ( yes, I got the series on dvd finally! ) - we arrived on an episode where Kevin has a significant row with his mother over missing out on a date to squire her around, forgoing sweaty, no-holds-barred sex for a day of golfing and an old movie. Pausing during a break, my mother smiled a little.

Mother : That's funny! Kevin reminds me a little of you.
Paul : He does a bit, doesn't he? Do I bitch like that?
Mother : Do I nag you like that?
Paul : Not really but the similarities are uncanny, right?
Mother : True. But he's gay.

You think?!

It did sound like the perfect God-given moment to leap out of the closet with an outrageous flourish ( perhaps even a song and dance number out of Hairspray ) but I found myself literally dumbfounded by her seeming obtuseness. Bloody hell, I am fucking Kevin! With a lil less IQ, much less sex appeal and zero fashion sense but still there are mind-numbingly obvious similarities.

Not that I look anywhere close to the adorably pink-cheeked Kevin. I mean, that lawyer dude works out - and fills out his preppy khakis really well! Me, I barely get by on the attractiveness stakes.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Midwifery Shenanigans

A cute midwife wannabe with surfer abs who bakes cheesecakes.

How could he get any more perfect? Sounds like a match made in heaven for me, right? Only I'd have to continue working of course but hey, I can make a little compromise for a hot six-pack.

Unfortunately the boy only goes for depressed african princesses on the rebound with a serious cake fetish. And who doesn't appreciate him. Fool. Dell, come here and I'll show you how a man like should be loved. I'll treat you like a prince.

William 'Dell' Parker works in Private Practice over at Oceanside Wellness Centre in Los Angeles with a bunch of kooks. From a distressed auburn-haired OBGYN to a perverted paediatrician who goes for call-girl nymphettes to a stalker psychiatrist with a telephone fetish to a alternative medicine specialist with a bitchy wife six feet under. And yes, not forgetting that meanie african princess on the rebound.

Don't know what the writers of the show are thinking about but it's gonna take a while for anyone to really connect with these bunch of crazed, dysfunctional LA loonies.

Except for Dell, my low-fat, zero-calorie beefcake.

I know. Cheesy segment but thank God the floppy blond bangs are gone.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Come Back to Life

Do you believe in reincarnation?

Sure, my sadly lapsed christian doctrines have incessantly drummed into me the fact that the glowing hereafter only consists of cheery, acapella-singing saints in unfashionable white frocks, shiny halos and gilded harps but something deep inside me believes differently. After all, we frequently make mistakes the first time round after all. Never actually get it right when we first start out that greay adventure so why not try it out all over again? Surely we're given a second chance to repair that karmic blunder we made in our previous lives.

Rewind. Restart. Reboot. Begin afresh.

Big Bang Love
We all deserve a second chance, don't we?

After all if no one ever comes down for that second time, all the souls from the beginning of time would be filling heaven pretty much to the brim by now wouldn't you think?

You ever get the feeling of deja vu so strong you're almost 100% positive that you've been to a certain place before? Well I have. A couple of times in the most peculiar locales. From a particular cobble-stoned alley set way behind the main streets in Edinburgh to one of the pleasure gardens hidden from view in the Forbidden Palace.

True, I could have an overactive imagination as well :)

Yet I felt that odd sense of familiarity.

Not everywhere though. Probably only in a handful of places where I lived a quiet, nondescript life, maybe a lowly peasant carving out a living on the land. I doubt I've lived that many lifetimes after all :) I must be a pretty young soul.

So what if you found out you were actually the spirit of a vanquished Japanese warlord tasked to rid the earth of vengeful spirits collecively called the Feudal Underworld for eternity? Me, I'd have gone all Way of the Samurai, slicing and dicing my bloody way across the ancient city making chopped liver of bad guys with my magical katana.

But in the anime Mirage of Blaze, the scrappy high school rebel Takaya Ohgi ( with considerably less bloodthirst than me ) finds himself in a quandary instead when he learns that he's actually the reincarnation of Lord Kagetora Uesugi, the adopted son of a noble samurai lord, Kenshin Uesugi. What more, Nobutsuna Naoe, the silent, studly hunk he initially takes as a mentor turns out to have shared a mysterious, stormy relationship with him in the past.

Not the sorta music I'd have chosen but hey, for the intense emotions blazing between the duo, I guess you do need something loud.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Bourne Again

Amazed me today when I found out that both Lanky Lex and Jaunty Jared were so hopelessly out of touch when it comes to popular cinema ( these boys only tune in to the artsy-fartsy stuff ) that I dragged them both to catch the final installment to the Bourne Trilogy.

Superspy loses his memories on a botched job only to find himself being hunted down by his erstwhile superiors? How can anyone fail to enjoy the Bourne Ultimatum?

Matt Damon
Who shall I kill today?

Hell it has what I deem one of the best spies ever, the tormented Jason Bourne. Sure he might not be the best-looking dude around unlike some of the suave double Os around. Definitely no dazzling traffic-stopper though you wouldn't casually drive on by if he raised his hand to hitchike either. Call him the thinking man's boyfriend, that vaguely cute guy no one can recall exactly what he looks like. Somehow his blandly handsome, nondescript features just blends nicely into the background, which I should think would be a worthwhile trait for most undercover assassins.

And talk about a man who doesn't sweat. Dozens of highly-trained CIA agents could be gunning for him and this audacious man walks calmly down the streets of New York without blinking an eye. Two growling bruisers reach for him and he despatches them with an almost contemptuous ease, snapping their necks with savage efficiency. Just before he takes a death-defying flying leap out of a balcony window to land on the one opposite!

Damn, I should take lessons.

Not sure how he suffers all that bodily trauma ( and then gets repeatedly mistaken for a punching bag by the baddies ) without peeing blood for weeks.

Pre-requisite femme fatale ( sort of anyway ) Nicky Parsons goggles as our ruthless superspy breaks legs, snaps necks and chokes spies to death in dirty toilets but me, I'd far from squeamish and would probably throw up a supportive cheer. If not reach out for a sturdy metal railing to help finish the job.

Imagine if I had a bo-hunk like Jason Bourne around all the time. Let my enemies beware.

Paul : Honey buns, that cater-waiter just insulted me.
Jason : Hmmm.. what happened?
Paul : He made me sad. Kill him for me, please.
Jason : But I haven't even finished reading the morning papers.
Paul : For me, please.
Jason : Fine. Waiter!
Waiter : Yes, sir?
Jason : Come here.
Waiter : Yes.. I *snap* urgk....
Jason : Satisfied, Paul? We're done with your death quota for the week. Now hand me the business section.
Paul : Here.
Jason : Damn, some blood spattered my cuff!
Paul : It'll wash.

Hey, I can't depend on my evil death-stare all the time.

Maybe Charming Calvin should be the one to take lessons.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Shanghai Savouries

In the evenings when I manage to get away from work early enough ( and there are no traffic jams ), I usually drop by this particular stall near my place for tea. Since traffic jams seem synonymous with Asian megacities, that doesn't happen all that often. Run by three mainland Chinese guys ( who are ever so eager to help despite stammering through the little bits of English that they know ), the innocuous little stall sells Shanghai Buns.

Get your shirt on, bro. We have customers waiting!

Not because I think the guys are cute. Trust me, I'm not that superficial! Though I'll admit that out of the three, two are pretty much joe average while the last brother could easily pass off as a clean-cut Korean heartthrob. Certainly wouldn't mind getting a taste of his Shanghai savoury anytime.

But that's not the reason I drop by for his buns.

Simple enough reason actually. Apart from serving cheap and delicious pastries, I've always sympathized with the boys - or more likely those who travel far and wide in search of that elusive fortune. I always imagine my grandfather almost a century back waiting in line for his passage to the relatively savage South East Asia, a naive thirteen year old no doubt imagining a wild uncivilized frontier full of unknown monsters. What sheer desperation must have driven that young boy to board that rickety old junk to sail for Malaya as it was known then.

So I always take the side of the immigrants. Ever since the descendants of Adam and Eve first packed up their bags ( full of fresh fig leaves no doubt ) to emigrate from their home in search of greener pastures, there has been growing distrust of the newly arrived. We associate them with disease, strife and social intrigues. Just the slightest whiff of a crime about town and the prejudiced townsfolk would be instantly up in arms to denounce the unsuspecting immigrants.

After all, they're the easiest to point the blame at. Fresh off the boat without friends or family, helpless and vulnerable, these immigrants frequently bear the brunt of our prejudices.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Domestic God

Some of my workmates find themselves secretly bemused when I prematurely announce my cherished ambition of settling down as a full-time househusband. Certainly not the most macho dream I'll admit and some of the more conservative fellows raised their eyebrows. A few workaholic types wonder how I can possibly turn my back on my hard-earned academic qualifications while the less ambitious half imagine that I'd be utterly bored at home within a week.

Colleague #1 : Leave work? How can you? After you've worked so hard to get where you are!
Colleague #2 : You'd grow utterly bored in a day or two! What would you find to do at home?

Trust me, I'd find lots to do. And by that, I don't mean doing the hunky jailbait gardener on the side while the hubby is at work.

My overstressed Type A colleagues would stare at the very idea of leaving the workforce for the sheer drudgery of househusbandry but I've always looked at it differently. You see, I've never thought that life was just about that endless paper chase or even that perilous, back-stabbing climb up the career ladder. Always placed more emphasis on tending to the home and hearth rather than bringing home the bacon.

And lately it seems as if Charming Calvin might bring home the larger piece of bacon so I might as well stay home. :P

Damn, the damned pipes are clogged again!

Early mornings would be spent preparing cute though elaborately decorated bento-breakfasts for the hubby - and the unappreciative tykes. After sending off my reluctant hubby to work ( no doubt full of sad whines about office politics ) and packing the screaming kids to school, I'd take a few minutes to decompress by preparing a small, easily prepared breakfast for myself - maye some waffles and maple syrup. very Nigella Lawson, I know. Then I'd grab some coffee, a portable radio and the newspaper. Work my way through the world news as I plan my dinner menu.

Maybe even write out the dishes on the chalkboard by my beautifully appointed IKEA-inspired kitchen.

Then it's laundry and housecleaning time. After an hour or two of back-breaking spring cleaning - you gotta sweep at least once a day, right? - I'd probably spend some time on the occasional DIY projects. Either reupholstering the sofa or perhaps trying out the latest scrapbooking technique. Maybe even try out some domestic experiments such as baking chocolate chip cookies ( trying out a new recipe from one of my many, many cookbooks! ).

The grossly inedible ( possibly poisonous ) batches I'd feed to the neighbour's dog. Or to that tiresome, gossipy neighbour.

Hey, I said I'd be a househusband. Never said I'd be a saint.

Then it's off for a bit of grocery shopping. Perhaps if I find a particularly tasty rack of lamb, that's be the main course that night. if not there's always the trusty chicken fillets that I can serve in a jiffy. Then I'd join the leisurely ladies who lunch as the lad who could.

How could I possibly get bored? If there is still time after arranging the items alphabetically ( and according to colour scheme ) in the ginormous refrigerator, there are plenty of afternoon classes that I'd sign up for from pottery classes to tap-dancing lessons. Even to yoga - yes, I'd certainly need to be flexible. And I'm certain Jaunty Jared wouldn't mind teaching me some kickboxing. I'd need that to fend off desperate housewives as I spirit my kid away from school just as the bell rings.

All my kiasuness has to go somewhere - and I guess my kids will benefit or suffer depending on how you look at it! Spring plays, recitals, bake sales, football games... I'm so there!

Drudgery? I think not. Sure there'd be hilarious domestic misadventures initially as I get used to the monotony of home life but I think I could grow to like the life of a househusband. Of course I'd still require a domestic maid. I don't scrub toilets and I hate oily, lard-encrusted woks.

Now go tell Calvin wouldja?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Seeing Eye to Eye

One of the most difficult chores for me is the regular follow-up with the optometrist. Frankly I'd list that particular appointment right up there with dentist drills as the prerequisite punishments visits I hate most in a year.

Not only do I dislike being subjected to examinations ( ironic that I'm a doctor, right? ) but I also hate getting stuff poked in my eye. You can imagine how my opthalmologist pal, Eye Eddie used to tease me mercilessly about my phobias! It's a deep abiding fear... newly sharpened pencils, pointy chopsticks, all are a serious no-no for me.

Which is why I usually leave that dreaded visit to the optometrist to the last minute - either when I'm already far too sight-impaired to walk a straight line ( or I get the usual dull, throbbing migraines ) or when someone inadvertently steps on my glasses. Usually the latter unfortunately.

Brandon Routh
Bet you don't know who I am without my glasses!

Received a grievous injury to my glasses the other day while I was busy on the hunt for willing prey during Raya. Quite worth it though but I knew I'd have to face the wrath of the optometrist sooner or later.

Once I half-heartedly walked into the store in search of my prescription glasses, I found myself faced with so many mind-boggling choices ( that all curiously look terrifyingly similar! ) that I was sorely tempted to back out again! Of course the obliging manager - who I know well enough outside work, our own Dreadlocks Darian - caught me just as I was about to scurry away and dragged me unwillingly over to a bevy of shiny frames yet unseen.

Like how do you choose a frame?

Don't ask me. Though I've been buying them on my own for quite a while now ( ever since I first realized that I can't read the damned blackboard back in primary ), I'll be damned if I know what suits my face. Or if anything actually suits my face in the first place.

And like I said, don't they all look distressingly similar?

Of course all that dilly-dallying while choosing my spectacles couldn't be half as traumatic an experience as that faced by Lanky Lex who dropped by to lend moral support only to get bulldozed by the rest into trying out contact lenses. You see, he shares my innate phobia of stuff getting into our eyes. Yet sheer vanity - and the promise that his luminous brown eyes will finally be truly appreciated by the world without the distraction of his horn-rims - won over his unreasonable inner fears.

Bowing to peer pressure, Lex finally acquiesced to the clamorous demands and found himself tasked with jabbing himself in the eyes with dirty nails. So you can easily imagine what torture he must have faced getting those silicone jellies into his eyes. Eeew. What if they slipped in never to be found?! What if the lenses sliced through the muscles?!

It's irrational. It's illogical. It's patently absurd. But that's a phobia for you :)

Monday, October 15, 2007

To Grandmama's House We Go

That's certainly the tune my niece Carmen sings when she drops by. No doubt Rambling Raoul would chime in a cappella if he could but he hasn't progressed beyond unintelligible coos and babbles.

For Chatty Carmen, my place must seem like a relative haven in comparison to her own home. And no wonder since over here, my parents indulge the tyke as no sane parent ever could, dosing her up with sweets and goodies, buying her gifts every now and again - and generally allowing her to make new rules all the time. Not even talking about breaking the rules, folks. She writes new ones all on her own.

I know. I know. Parents change as they grow older - they evolve, they grow more lenient, a lil more relaxed with the rules. They learn not to get so het up over the little stuff.

Hell why didn't I have that as a kid? My brother and I frequently decry the lax rules the kids live under now, bitterly comparing the present child-friendly utopia to the terrifying authoritarian regime we suffered under way back when. You know what, I shall christen my brother Tommy Tough.


On most other social issues ( and most especially on financial ones ), we might differ but on this, we certainly agree wholeheartedly.

Tommy : I can't believe Carmen just did that!
Paul : I can't believe Carmen just said that!
Tommy : I bet mom would have spanked us if we did that. The damned cane would have come out.
Paul : We wouldn't even have dared!
Tommy : Amen to that.

I swear my mother lets them get away with everything short of murder. And I bet she'd help cover up the crime as well. A total 180-degree turnabout from the strict displinarian mother that I knew as a kid!

Faced with such heinous accusations, my mother flatly denies the alleged metamorphosis of course but we know better. In her maleficent heyday, my mom on a no-holds-barred rampage would made Saddam seem like a tame pussycat. Step but an inch out of line and those scarily omniscient eyes would follow every step, narrowing with barely controlled rage as the line got closer to being crossed. Seriously, would you even think of bending the rules - much less break them?

Sure I found my canny ways of rebelling by slipping through the loopholes of familial contracts but that's something entirely different altogether.

Carmen's been given entirely too free a rein, from my point of view. Yeah, I do know doting grandparents are meant to spoil the kids ( practically written in the grandparents' guidebook ) but there has to be a line somewhere. Talking back to the elders is still a no-no in my book and when she even ventures close to doing so, I aim my own beady death stare at her.

It still works. Barely. Boy, she's tougher than the interns.

You'd be curious to know if there is a teensy bit of envy in all that? Oh yeah there is! Why the hell didn't I get some of that before? :)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Murder He Wrote

Jared : Believe me, I'm innocent! I was framed!
Nikita : Don't believe his lies, this nefarious fork-tongued demon!
Lex : Jared, you did it! I saw it with my own eyes! How could you betray me this way? You! You're the murderer!
Frank : Burn him at the stake! Kill the beast!
Paul : I suggest we hang him at sundown instead!
Jared : Noooo....

Impassioned irrational lynching certainly isn't the recommended way to spend the second day of Raya - or Eid to the rest - but it seems to be the norm for Zany Zapple and his unconventional clansmen. Over there once everyone closes their eyes to sleep, bludgeoning, disemboweling and poisoning seems to be the general order of the day ( or at least the most popular choices ) and who are we morbid guests to argue?

After all I had a bone to pick with Zapple who sent me on a wild goose chase :P

Tasked to put a period to the lives of those closest to me, I picked up the closest weapon I could find, sharpening my blades just waiting for the fateful opportunity to strike. Had a death note list to fulfil after all. Most of my erstwhile friends tried to make a final desperate plea for mercy but in the relative darkness of night, I closed my eyes and looked away even as the sword fell.

I do so hate it when blood spatters my shoes.

Wonder who's next on my list!
Maybe I'll use a pistol instead!

Yes, it was the reign of terror. And then later while the townsfolk scream outrage over the vicious, unprecedented midnight slayings, I hunt around for my next unfortunate victim amongst the fearful, apprehensive crowd, leaving incriminating clues to frame them for the crime committed the night before. The rest I only have to leave to the blood-thirsty mob law as the incensed citizens arrive to drag the slandered perpetrator to the waiting Madame La Guillotine.

Our poor wretched ( and dreadfully maligned ) Jaunty Jared rode the tumbrils twice towards the execution grounds while I sat quietly at the sidelines knitting with a secret smile hidden behind my cravat.

Jared : Save me!
Paul : Are you offering disgusting perverted sexual favours in exchange for changing my vote?
Jared : No!
Paul : I'll light a candle to pray for your immortal soul.

So he died twice. During the course of the game, I mean.

Have to agree that Mafia is such a monstrously wicked card game! A perfect combination of mysterious whodunnits, unprincipled kangaroo courts ( with a penchant for jumping to conclusions ) and sheer evil. Just the way I likes em.

A seeming innocuous card game described as more of an experiment in psychology and mass hysteria, a game between the informed minority ( usually the ones holding the dripping blade ) and the uninformed majority! Tagged as the antagonist a number of times, I'll admit I took a perverse sort of pleasure delivering that final blow to my unsuspecting compatriots. Lying in beds dreaming sweet fantasies not knowing that death awaited them.

Not sure what Zapple's octogenarian grandmother thought of us yelling death threats though. Must have shook her head while muttering dire warnings about the unprincipled youth of today.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

On My Desk

An interesting meme's about what's on the screen of your computer? Tells ya something about the owner, doesn't it? After all, someone with a Silent Hill demon staring grimly out of the screen would be a far different creature than someone with a cutesy pink Hello Kitty wallpaper.

Of course I'm too much of a technohimbo to know how to do so. Print the screen, I mean. Never actually learnt how in the first place so I experimented with various esoteric combinations on the keyboard. Suffice to say, I finally know what buttons not to press on the computer.

In science, experimentation is good. On my laptop? Not so.

Was just about ready to throw in the towel - since I admit I'm way too dumb to publish my wallpapers - when fortunately the more tech-savvy Lanky Lex came upon the scene to lend a hand. So et voila!

Goodbye Boys

One of my favourites from Goodbye Boys. A bit darker than my wont but hey, it's a coming-of-age. And did I mention one of the wandering scouts is a cutie? Turns out to be gay by the end of the movie. Wonder if he's available to give me a call.

Clark kent

Brandon Routh staring moodily into the distance as Clark Kent. Whether in glasses or in tights, he's always super hot to me.

Second Chances

Not sure where I found this gem but hey, it's a charming wallpaper. Two guys sitting on the roof of what looks like a church. And we all like Second Chances, don't we?

I know. You might have noticed a theme on my wallpapers. Oddly enough I only have guys on my wallpapers.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Studs & Stethoscopes

Swore I wouldn't post about Hairspray again but I couldn't help it! And the musical turns out to be almost incidental so it doesn't count.

A few weeks back, one of my friends Lanky Lex commented that he saw a man standing in a queue in front of him at the bank teller singing dementedly to himself. Utterly perplexed by such radical behaviour, Lex instantly branded the poor unconventional troubadour a raving lunatic recently escaped from the nearby asylum.

Not knowing that I was guilty of doing pretty much the same just hours before. Kept my silence though since I didn't want Lex to sic the straightjackets on me.

Pink gloves
I'm not really gay. I just like pink!

But how can anyone possibly resist such a crime? Seriously with your headphones on and the music playing, the sad mundane world just fades away and in fleeting moments, you're easily tapping your feet and singing along to the rhythm of a brand new beat.

Thought I was the only balmy flake around till today. After a quick morning rounds, I relaxed by spending my time going through old case notes and medical records - while the thrumming beat of my MP3 collection blasted in my ears.

It wasn't long before I'd started singing about avalances racing downhill and dancing feet. Became so utterly engrossed while bopping my head at the counter that I failed to see one of my cuter medical colleagues, Laidback Larry, watching me with growing amusement.

Paul : Watching me?
Larry : Is that Hairspray?
Paul : Well... cause you just can't stop the beat!
Larry : Ever since the whole world began, a woman found it if she shook it, she could shake up a man.
Paul : And so I'm gonna shake and shimmy it with all of my might today! OMG You know Hairspray?!
Larry : hey, doesn't everyone?

Come on. Who actually remembers by heart the lines to a musical? Could he be any more gay?

Guess the medical profession should join the hallowed ranks of stereotypical jobs for gay men such as interior designers and boys in the oil and gas industry. Though I'm not sure what draws the gay boys to medicine. The unfashionable white coat? The grime and gunk of human excrement? The unglam back-breaking work?

Seriously though since my rusty gay-dar started functioning again, I've unearthed at least a handful just in my workplace! From Physician Peter to Brash Brandon - and these are only the few I've virtually confirmed. And we haven't even counted the doctor-wannabes. Hell, I should just start a club. Studs & Stethoscopes!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Returns of the Day

Been tagged with a slew of memes so I'm gonna take them one at a time. I do so love my memes. So here's the first meme on birthdays to come. For those who hate them, take deep breaths, okay! :)

When is your birthday?

Whoa. Easy enough to find on my blog archives. It's coming up anyhow.

How old are you now?

Too old. Much too old. Can I remain 25 forever? But then again, it's nice to be over 30, fine, flirty and thriving.

Where were you born?

Simple enough to answer this! Malacca. The city where it all began - or whatever new snappy slogan they can dream up to hock the city to the gullible tourists.

When did you first celebrated your birthday?

Definitely when I was one. Though I don't remember the actual event ( my memories only stretch till primary! ), I do have the pictures to prove it. Unless my parents photoshopped it of course.

As a second child ( the one usually overlooked when it comes to endless kid cam-whoring ), of course I didn't have the copious amounts of film that my elder sib had but I did get a couple of vanity shots at my birthday. Had a party with all the neighbourhood boys and a cute cake in the shape of a whistling choo-choo train. Guess even then I had a yen for travel!

When will your next birthday be?

It's so close I can feel my aging arthritic knees aching already. Less than two weeks away actually. Diligent folks would be able to find brief mention of the day in my blog archives.

Do you remember getting birthday presents on your birthdays?

Of course I do. It's practically a family tradition. Think my first birthday gift was a baby pyjama set. Been a bibliophile since forever so I tend to get showered with books on that day - though certain choices tend to be suspect. Captain Underpants anyone? :P

What are the 3 things you want for your upcoming birthday?

3 things. Narrowing it down would be a bit more difficult. No worries, I don't morph into a vapid beauty contestant to sob and whine about world peace.

A family of my own? Yeah, I really do mean baby carriages and such. Isn't it time I got splattered with baby food, drowned in diapers and generally driven insane by my own misbehavin' kids?

A fully-furnished apartment at the Troika? Imagine an apartment in the heart of town! And right next to a shopping mall! I wouldn't even have to drive to get to Kinokuniya!

A ticket round the world? Well, maybe a fully-sponsored tour to Morocco or Italy. Hopefully with an amorous dark-eyed guide to show me the nooks and crannies of the enchanting souqs of Marrakech.

A curio shop? Why limit myself only to three wishes? Not like there's a sexy genie in a bottle around to grant them anyway.

A smaller waist Isn't that on every gay man's wishlist? Seems like we're always on a bid to lose that last all-important kilogramme! :)

What kind of presents you want for your birthday?

Now this is a bit more specific.

Books are an easy enough solution when it comes to me. A bit more difficult to choose though since I tend to purchase books frequently and at whim. DVDs are alright as well and I already have my eye on a few such as the Brothers and Sisters Series Season 1 DVD, the Hairspray Movie DVD and lately, the Mirage of Blaze Series DVD.

Leather trenchcoat? Though the Lord only knows when I'll ever wear it - with our sultry weather. Maybe on the trip I mentioned above. Or maybe I'll sweat it out every weekend in Genting then just to swank around in the coat.

Bruno Magli leather boots? You know I love my shoes.

Lacquered Tibetan sideboard table? Persian carpets? I have this empty spot just at the landing at the top of the staircase. A sideboard cabinet would look perfect there - with the Persian runner underneath. Now to find a lamp to complement.

Who would you like to celebrate your birthday with?

Family and friends of course. Though Charming Calvin is miles up north in faraway Beijing - but hey, I'm sure he'll toast my health with wine and Peking Duck.

How do you want to celebrate your birthday?

Chris sent me over... I hope I'm alright?

With Chris Evans naked except for a wicked grin and a gleaming thong, slathered in baby oil and lap-dancing. In lieu of that, maybe a mass no-holds-barred orgy with the boys here.


Well not altogether kidding but hey, a casual intimate ( non-vegetarian ) dinner would do fine. No need for fuss, frills and fancy fireworks.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Just Sheepish

You know what. I think I might get a goatee.

Certainly have the bristly beard enough to grow one. A lil lazy to shave these days as well. And as I turned to look at myself in the mirror, I found that it gave me a certain dashing panache.

Not the wily Fu Manchu sort but a brand of rakish, adventuresome musketeer charm!

Damn, I need a shave!

Probably wouldn't keep a chin beard / soul patch though! Although certain conservative religious quarters in the country find a single goatee ( without accompanying mustache ) particularly admirable since it signifies a holy man to them, I personally find it singularly terrifying.

Not only due to the fact that a single chin beard closely resembles a grazing farm animal but... you see, Scorpios are forever suspicious, and a sanctimonious guy trying that hard to look holier-than-thou has to be hiding something horrible in his closet.

So maybe a mustache and a goatee.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Far from Grace

Graceless Grace has been wondering why we haven't been meeting up that often although we're living - and working - barely a stone's throw away ( relatively speaking ) from each other.

I would have thought the answer's simple enough! But sometimes... though I do love her, I find Grace has to be one of the most obtuse and oblivious persons I've ever met. Tried gentle tactful hints to chide her on her plain-spoken speech ( that has disgusted one or two of our mutual buds ) but it's obvious that subtlety doesn't work with her.

Dammit. Are you even listening?

How do I phrase it politely? Grace is like cream, to be taken in small sweet doses with the coffee. Just a spoonful with the bitter coffee tastes heavenly but dump in an entire bucketful of saccharine sweetness and it makes you wanna puke.

No doubt it would take a literal bloody sledgehammer to hammer that particular message through to her. Though I know she honestly bears no malice towards anyone, very few people would be able to tolerate her sheer painful bluntness for long. Not even me - and my seemingly invulnerable thick hide.

Paul : Hi.
Grace : I see you look tired. Those eyebags look huge.
Paul : How have you been doing?
Grace : What's wrong with your hair? It's sticking all over the place. You should get a hairstylist.
Paul : It's the uncivilized barbarian out of bed look. Very hip, trust me. Been a while since we've had lunch.
Grace : Have you seen a dentist lately? Your teeth looks yellowed... do you smoke?
Paul : Like a freaking chimney. Thinking of trying marijuana next. It's nice to see you again by the way.

No. I don't smoke. I abhor smokers.

But then again I'd admit to butchering innocents just to get her to shut up.

Not sure why but horrifyingly she tends to be even more candid when I'm around. Perhaps it's as another friend told me, Grace foolishly assumes that our steadfast childhood friendship can withstand the brunt of her forthright outspokenness. But I can't! I'm vulnerable! If you prick me, do I not bleed? If you spend the entire hour callously pointing out my various faults ( that I already know about thank you very much ), shove them under a state-of-the-art electron microscope to dissect and examine thoroughly, do I not reach out for some sweet margarita to numb the pain?

Hence my mild hangover this morning.

Of course I could easily give as good as I got but the last time I tried that particular tough love tactic by returning her volleys with barbs of my own, she burst out crying. Guess Miz Grace can't handle her own brand of the truth.

So I can only meet Graceless Grace once every few months with well-spaced intervals in between. Give me just enough time to recover - stick on that precious band-aid or two - in between her peppering me with vicious verbal bullets that leave me bleeding superficially.

Hell if I met up with her every weekend, I'd be a raging alcoholic.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Prepare for Change

I remember clearly my first day as an intern. Every breath. Every sight. Every sound.

It's my first day as a resident ( medical officer for those of us here in the Commonwealth :) ) that has gotten a little hazy. Possibly due to the nightmarish events that followed :)

Totally oblivious, the laymen amongst us wouldn't be able to fully conceive the huge leap forward that an overworked, underpaid intern takes the day he finally graduates to a full-fledged resident. Like the staid military, we do love our hierarchy here in the hospital. Sure, a resident is still considered a relative single-celled amoeba in comparison to the rest of the respectable medical fraternity but it's certainly a small step closer to actual cognitive thinking.

Not that my primeval thought processes have progressed any. :)

Dammit. We have lives to save!

The first day as a resident, you feel like an utter failure as a physician. Almost as if the entire grueling year of internship has gone by without anything worth recalling actually sticking in the grey matter. Not even sure what happened to the facts we diligently hammered into our brains in medical school. Generally for an intern, there's always a reassuring safety net of residents and specialists around to lend a hand in times of desperate need.

But when you're the resident in charge, things are different. Sometimes there just isn't anyone to catch you when you fall. Started out as a surgical resident years back ( God, am I that old? ) and I can still remember. Somewhat. I think my mind has fortunately blocked out most of the scary parts.

Did I wear blue? Green?

Still it is with some trepidation that you take the pager that first time, staring at it like a live charge ready to erupt at the first beep. During the morning rounds ( the maiden voyage so to speak ), you find yourself staring shell-shocked as the nurses refer to you for orders, the interns turn to you for advice... and yes, the patients look to you for treatment.

Nurse : Doctor, what's the next plan?
Intern : Doctor, what do we do?
Patient : Help me, doctor.
Paul : Quick, someone page the resident!
Nurse : That's you.
Paul : Fuck. I know nothing dammit!

Trust me. It can be overwhelming. And it's all you can do not to run screaming at the top of the lungs tearing out your hair while desperately looking for help from the friendly neighbourhood resident. Unfortunately you're the only resident on-call. The time for childish hysterics is over, there is no room for nervous qualms and you have to maintain icy calm at all costs - otherwise the entire ward staff would similarly descend into chaos.

Yet it's the patient's impassioned plea that generally kickstarts that old memory drive, electrifying the nerves sending the panicked messages all over in search of the pertinent information ( and when in doubt there's always the handy mini guidebook in the pocket or for those technologically inclined, the ever-present PDA ). And that's when you realize. Hell, I'm actually a doctor.

But there's hardly any time to ponder over that sobering thought before the pager beeps.

We're adults. When did that happen? And how do we make it stop?

And that's what Meredith Grey and her colleagues have realized as they start their momentous first day in Seattle Grace as residents. Still a little unsure of their place at the moment but I'm sure they'll grow into their own feet in time.

Just wonder who's gonna morph into Resident Evil.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Mountain of Shoes

Charming Calvin goes back to good old Beijing today.

But that wasn't what I came here to say. Calvin needs to pack. And he packs reaaaaaaaaaal slow. So I dragged him back early this morning and decided to wait him out by taking a nap while the phlegmatic guy ran through his tedious inventory, checked it thrice and painstakingly filled up his suitcase.

Calvin : I need to bring four medicated soaps, three dvds, two shirts and ...
Paul : A partridge in a pear tree!

Yes, I'm not much help in packing. Used to travelling light, I tend to toss everything willy-nilly into the satchel ( takes me less than half hour to pack seriously ) and pray hard the lot survive the harrowing journey intact. And not get transported to Timbuktu by mistake.

But when I came to his apartment, I found myself literally aghast when the door flung open. Horrified. Panic-stricken. Words escaped me for a moment as I stared unflinchingly at the changes that had taken place since he left.

No, I don't mean the clingy cobwebs though there were a few here and there. Detritus I can live with.

What left me blanching in terror was the literal mountain of shoes standing in our way. An obstacle of Pradas. A barrier reef of Manolos. A pyramid of Jimmy Choos. A volcano of Kate Spades. And yes, even the run-of-the-mill pedestrian Vinccis!

My boots and I are not to be parted...

Yes, Calvin has a housemate! After years of bachelor solitude, women have finally invaded this previously sacrosanct bastion of manhood. And they have brought heels, brassieres, kitschy dolls ( Pucca! ) and a multitude of frilly feminine paraphernalia. Sure I love my shoes ( come to me my Bruno Magli leather boots! ) but her endless collection of heels has left me in sheer awe!

Since Calvin's gone from the place, he asked one of his friends - who providentially finished her apartment lease - to housesit till he returns. Steel, one of the original Calvinettes, has moved in and nothing will be the same again :)

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Fuzhou Footsteps

Fuzhous are a peculiar lot.

Let me count the ways. For those who're wondering what I'm talking about, Fuzhous are a distinctive clan hailing from the treaty port city of Fuzhou in the province of Fujian, China. Proud, clannish and insular, yet the rambling Fuzhous have travelled far and wide ( due to financial necessity ) scattering across the globe from London to New York, from Kuala Lumpur to Sydney. And that's only from the diaspora of my own relatives.

Easily recognizable with their tall, broad physiques ( the better to till the farmlands! ) and fair, high-cheekboned faces, the Fuzhous tend to gravitate to each other no matter where they go. Which is why they frequently congregate in particular cities such as Sitiawan and Sibu. The better to enjoy each other's company.

Excessively loud, expansive and boisterous when together, they speak in a curious Neanderthal-like tongue not easily recognizable by those in other clans, a rapid-fire grunt-chatter of seemingly unintelligible gobbledygook. Surprisingly spoken only within a hundred mile radius of the city itself. The rare ability to speak in their archaic dialect ( to most curious outsiders that is ) would mean an immediate conscription into their shockingly exclusive society.

Yeah. Fuzhous are cliquish. But just make an attempt to speak their tongue and you'll be greeted as a long-lost blood brother.

Hey, bro...

Which is how I found my way to a restaurant miles away from the city. Once I heard from my father that a restaurant run by a renowned Fuzhou chef has just been opened, I knew it wouldn't it be long after that we'd be having dinner there.

Yes. Just because it has a Fuzhou chef.

Hell, even if it was hosted in a lil rundown shack declared uninhabitable and condemned by the zealous authorities, the blindly loyal Fuzhous would still flock to their own I'm sure. That's if they don't hold demonstrations ( remarkably political folks too, these Fuzhous ).

Fortunately it was a reputable restaurant that resembled a hillside mansion more closely than the dump that I feared. My father couldn't have been more pleased to see one of his countrymen doing so well - was starting to half wonder whether we were all related. He even grabbed several brochures that I'm sure he's going to pass around for recommendation wherever he goes.

And what else would I have there but the Fuzhou red wine chicken and the celebrated fishballs. Though not in the overly generous portions that the people are infamous for - my own grandmother would have been horrified at their apparent stinginess.

If you haven't guessed already, I'm Fuzhou as well.

Friday, October 05, 2007

High School Meme

High school has been on my mind ever since I saw the trials and tribulations of the bubbly Tracy Turnblad back in high school oddly enough. Not only have I been wondering what's been happening back at my alma mater, I've also googled a few of my old classmates, trying to catch up with what's been happening with them since they left school more than a decade back.

So since ws was nice enough to tag me with a high school meme... finally :)

Favourite subject:

My best subject would be Chemistry since I somehow had a flair for memorizing facts, equilibrium equations and molecular structures. Plus I had a cute ( though ditzy ) lab partner.

Honestly though I loved English and Art. Nowhere better to express my morbid creativity than sketching out terrifying caricatures of the authoritarian regime ( AKA the teachers ) or killing them in a multitude of slow, painful deaths involving mutilation and decapitation during essay writings. Oh yeah, and History too. Didn't have a sexy professor stripping down each time I scored an answer though.

Favourite teacher:

Obviously from what I just mentioned, I didn't have any particular favourite teachers in school. I mean I had a few I respected but I didn't particularly like any of them. Not sure why though. I must have had a lousy bunch of teachers.

Worst subject:

Definitely Mathematics. Till now the multiplication table still eludes me. Still have to hunt for a calculator each time the bill comes around and it's time to divide. Can you believe it actually took me till Form 3 before I understood complex fractions? And even then I had to visualize imaginary cakes, slice them into 1/4 portions and so forth - and then piece them together.

Math sucks!

Sat beside a boy or girl?

Boys. Boys. Boys.

Boys. Boys. Boys.
Not that I'm complaining.

Hold any positions in school?

Monstrously active back in school so... class monitor, vice-president, treasurer and member of various committtees of the various clubs I stumbled into. Somehow or rather I always ended up being the treasurer! Guess I liked sticking my greedy lil hands into the pockets of the hot boys.... looking for loose change!

Co-ed or all-boys?

It's raining boys where I went to school. Tall, blond, dark and lean, Rough and tough and strong and mean. Should have taken advantage of that fact way back when but I was too young and naive back then.

Represent your school in any competition?

Debating clubs, history and geography quizzes... and such. Not to mention drama competitions. Don't even say I'm a drama queen.

Getting to school:

Started by taking the horrid school bus - that took a circuitous route around town before dropping us off since my brother and I were the last stop. Then my parents took pity on us straggling back every evening and chauffered us around till secondary.

Still keep in touch with your schoolmates after all these years?

As usual, annual meets for festive celebrations and wedddings. With spouses and children taking up their time, it's getting harder to get the group together. Recently hunted a few down by googling them. Came out to a few of them in the past few years, grown closer to a couple and we meet up semi-regularly every few months. One or two even surprised me by turning out to be gay as well :)

Did Form 6?

Always recommended Form 6. The best years of my school career - apart from the horrific exams in the end. Otherwise it was parties, picnics and ice-cream parlours. Time to discover yourself, make friends and grow up.

And to have sex while everything's still hanging all right and tight. :P

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

A Tale of Cautionary Lust

Out, damned spot.

Though I've washed my hands a dozen times - even with the meagre, hesitant water supply provided by the occupying force - I doubt I'd be able to get the fetid stench of death off my fingers. Would take even longer before I'd be able to forget the sight of maimed, mutilated corpses piled up in the mortuary of what used to be the Shanghai Jewish Hospital, the numbers growing suspiciously larger by the day. Foul traitors to the cause, our Japanese liberators would claim with their endless slogans and propaganda promising the vaunted return of Asian values after the overthrow of Western Imperialism.

Calvin would certainly beg to differ. Why else would he have been conscripted to the side of the underground rebellion just to write patriotic marches? Seemed like his idealistic little ditties went over real well with the fighting peasantry.

And me, seemingly standing with one foot on either side. And neither. Offering medical services at the makeshift hospital, ill-equipped and understaffed with the little that I know. A confusing hodge-podge of Eastern and Western Medicine. Dressed in a tattered woolen overcoat that I should have thrown two years back and shoes that have walked too many miles.

Ye Shanghai!

My ISO is looking at me with some concern from across the table. Since my sudden return from Beijing, he hasn't stopped with his endless questions. Why have I lost weight? Why was there a patch on my suit? Did I need anything?

Unsurprisingly allied to our so-called Asian liberators, my sly friend has slid easily from one totalitarian regime to another without losing an inch of his panache. Still slick in his elegant bespoke, he fiddled around with the diamond ring on his hand. In the total chaos of the times, somehow or rather he has become a successful businessman with three nightclubs to his name. My ISO always knew how to bend with the wind.

And here I was with a tiny poisoned needle strapped to my wrist wondering whether my erstwhile friend had actually committed the unforgivable sin by conspiring with the Japanese while offering information on the underground. Had he changed that much in the years that I'd been gone?

And yet I doubt I'd have fallen for him if it meant betraying my country, my people, my friends. Especially if that particular turncoat pal was heavily into S&M, mistook his painful Gestapo interrogation skills for foreplay and enjoyed smacking me around some for cheap thrills.

Wang Jiazhi certainly didn't have any such nervous qualms since she slid into the role of the sexy superspy easily enough despite her seeming naivete in the beginning of Lust, Caution. To summarize Lust, Caution 色,戒 in alliterations - manipulative Matahari mistresses playing mahjong with maniacal masterminds.

Arthouse movies usually bum me out. Instead of feeling wildly entertained, I always end up feeling somewhat deflated. Somehow or rather, there's an ingrained dogma that all frou frou arthouse directors ( and high-brow literary authors ) hold dear - never ever finish with a perfectly happy ending.

That hasn't changed with the much-touted Lust, Caution. Tang Wei plays the budding patriot, Wang Jiazhi, who seems to have stumbled into the role of the uneasy spy placed as a mole in the house of a Japanese collaborator. Our beloved thespian Tony Leung shows his skill in playing the perfect bad guy that you just can't help but empathize with - though it's still hard to see how could have developed feelings for him in so short a time.

Lee Hom
Why don't I take off my shirt dammit!!

With the talented duo showing off their acting chops in their considerably meatier roles, poor Wang Lee Hom has been relegated to being mere gorgeous eye candy. Though why hire the pretty boy only to keep his shirt on throughout the movie?

Who knows. Maybe he does bare some skin in the fifteen minutes removed by our scissor happy censorship board.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Hey-la Hey-la the Boyfriend's Back

Well, sort of.

But only for a short week before he returns to Beijing. So although terribly groggy and fatigued from work - after a particularly awful on-call filled with untoward mishaps, I stubbornly crawled out of bed and headed towards the bathroom for a cold shower. Worried that I'd probably drive smack into a wall with my inattentiveness but fortunately my mother came to the rescue by agreeing to keep me company during the drive.

Seeing Charming Calvin's goofy smile was reward enough though. Looks none the worse for wear though he still complains incessantly about the taxing work in Beijing.

Look who's come over for a visit!

The rest of the gang came over a little later to say hello. All swinging carefree bachelors at the table which must have left my observant mother no doubt a little puzzled. A similar reaction to the one that Jaunty Jared's equally perspicacious mama had a few months back when we adjourned to his apartment after dinner.

Mama Jared : Why is it all guys in the group?
Paul : Coincidence?
Mama Jared : And all single and eligible?
Paul : I should hope so.
Mama Jared : Aiyah, go find a few nice girls lah.
Paul : I seriously doubt these boys would know what to do with a nice girl.

Of course I said the last line sotto voce so I doubt she heard.

Still Mama Jared must have had some niggling questions in her mind about the peculiar situation. They say the mothers always know ( though a few keep paddling hopefully in that river in Egypt ). Boys of all ages, sizes and dispositions with seemingly nothing in common getting together for regular pow-wows?

Hmmm... I'd be a bit suspicious myself.

Why I Want to Eat at Friday's

Got a message today from Charming Calvin.

Calvin : Thank God It's Friday's.

Not sure why though as it's a Tuesday. At least that's what my reliable calendar tells me - I've been busy working round the clock way too often to actually notice the days passing!

But Charming Calvin knows what he wants. Tired of tasteless tofu and braised eggplant in Beijing, lately all he wants is endless platters of glorious food - towering heaps of meat and pasta drizzled with oil - with the inevitable endless flow of drinks.

Yes, Calvin would walk miles uphill just for refillable drinks. And I'll follow in his tracks for my Ultimate Mudslide :) A liberally chocolate-laced avalanche of Kahlua, vodka, Baileys Irish Cream and ice cream.

Now you suffering weight-watchers, don't even talk of diets here at Friday's! As Motormouth Maybelle would say...

No one wants a meal
That only offers the least
When girl we're servin' up
The whole damn feast

Slice off a piece
Of that hog head cheese
Then take a look inside
My book of recipes

Now, don't you sniff around
For something fluffy and light
I need a man who brings
A man-size... Appetite

Sums up the perfect reason to head over to TGI Friday's, don'tcha think?

Monday, October 01, 2007

One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest

Working in the proverbial madhouse can truly be surreal. I'm sure one of my best friends, a budding psych resident in the loonybin is gonna whack me over the head for being extremely non-PC :) Not sure how she remains utterly serene in the midst of the uncontrolled chaos in her madcap ward.

Saint Serene, we call her.

For those who haven't had the opportunity to step into the psych ward ( whether voluntarily or clapped up in a straightjacket ), especially the heavily guarded fortress-asylums, it can be quite an experience. Can even recall my first time quite clearly! Hasn't changed surprisingly enough today when I bumped into Serene in her ward!

Look who's come for a visit!

Though you do have your Silent Sams lurking around the wards, that is easily balanced by the usual Manic Mabels greeting you with a cheery song and dance - much like the intrepid heroines from your usual cheesy musicals though without the usual accompaniment of adorable forest creatures. Though I'm sure they see some chirping mynahs and dancing frogs in their heads. Watching them with some royal disdain are the Snooty Sandras - who misguidedly believe that they're all descended from a long line of high-faluting, well-pedigreed royal family somehow unfairly deposed by a betrayal most foul.

And scariest of all, you have the Leering Lecters, hiding behind every pillar and wall glaring balefully as you walk down the corridors.

Of course the most interesting ( or could I say most peculiar? ) thing about the wards are the staff. Perfectly cool and blase going about their work even as the unwary inmates swing from the ceiling fans and kick up their heels on their beds - each patient happily marching to the beat of their own drummer ( you gotta envy them sometimes :) ).

But nothing seems to faze the nurses and doctors over there! Even if the patients got together, formed a conga line and sashayed past the counter while beating african drums, I doubt they would even bat an eye. As I stood there chatting with Serene, one patient even did athletic cartwheels down the hallway while another was busy serenading the visitors who walked by the wards.

Paul : OMG.
Serene : Mabel honey. No cartwheels in the hall. You know you might injure someone.
Mabel : Yes, doctor.
Serene : Thank you. So what were you saying, Paul? Lunch?
Paul : OMG.

I'm awed. I doubt even an earthquake could shake her calm composure.