Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ni Hao! Mr Siao

Guess NTV7 has done it again.

And I'm not talking about another horrid boo-boo like the best-forgotten medical series Ampang Medikal. More in the lines of the excellent though short-lived newsroom drama Frontpage.

And this time it's in Mandarin. With a healthy smattering of Cantonese, Hokkien, Tamil, Malay, Hakka and most every dialect you'd hear walking down the market streets of our cities. Even the Queen's English. About time we celebrated the colourful hodge-podge rojak patois that's spoken in everyday life.

你好吗! If you recall a much beloved staple of television three decades back with the natty Mr Brown and the rest of his multinational students in Mind Your Language, you'd appreciate the recently revamped version showing on NTV7 titled Mr Siao's Mandarin Class. Following a local company's aspirations of breaking into the burgeoning Chinese market, a teacher is hired to offer classes in Mandarin.

Mr Siao, an enthusiastic degree holder in Chinese Literature, takes to his new calling with aplomb only to find his motley crew of students far from enthusiastic. In fact the class is already split into two warring factions - based on group affiliation in the multi-level marketing company.

Don't worry about the language. My lamentable mandarin's quite as bad as the rest of his lackadaisical students unfortunately but I still managed to struggle through some of his conversations. Hilarious seriously. Keep imagining my erstwhile mother-in-law gabbing in Hakka like the eponymous Hakka speaker in the show - an angry ex-hawker turned marketing magnet. :)

As much as I loved it though, I felt a bit irked that the hyperfeminized Brit-accented fellow with his queenish gestures was played for cheap laughs though. Isn't homophobia so very 1990s? Surprised the resident crew didn't give them flak for that. Perhaps distracted by the shocking technicolour clothes ( honestly who's the wardrobe fella! ).

Bet you'd be thinking that I'd go ga-ga for the resident Hokkien-speaking hottie played by actor/model Steve Yap but you do know my predilection for fellas with ties and glasses?

Mr Siao
Teacher teacher?

So what the hell, if I had a Mandarin teacher who looked as good as Mr Siao - played by a deliciously hunky Auguste Kwan - I might have ben a more diligent pupil, paid more attention and learnt it better. Pity I never had him for my seriously dull POL ( People's Own Language ) classes in the past. I'd have been a model student for sure.

Mr Siao : 文章可以写得再好一些,保罗。( Could have done better on your essay, Paul. )
Paul : I'll do better, sir. Maybe I need private lessons.
Mr Siao : 额外补习? ( Private lessons? )
Paul : Did I say too much? Just spank me if I'm naughty. Or even better use that hard, hard cane on me.

Hell I'd have loved polishing his apple every morning :)

Don't take my word for it. Go watch it.

Just for avid listeners to pick up a lesson or two, the producers have also added a bonus bit at the end with a quick language tutorial. Love that!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Sextiquette for Gentlemen

Say you have a fella lying beside you in bed. Single attractive fella with no strings attached. What would you do?

You can already guess my answer to that. If I were single as well, I'd be all over him in a New York minute. Or at least make a reasonable attempt.

Surprisingly though, it seems like I'm the only one around who'd do that. Therefore painting me as the irreclaimable slut since unfortunately conservative bourgeois prudishness seems to be de rigueur around here. Turns out everyone else would just turn the lights off and get some sleep. Reminds me of the time two boys went bird-watching together ( a euphemism if any! ) and claimed total celibacy.

Nothing happened? Really?

Sleeping alone?

Yet when Dashing Dan had just such an opportunity handed to him on a silver platter, he ... just said no. Seriously. Not only did he decline the open invitation from his guest, he might as well have drawn a demarcatory line across the bed with a modest silk screen stretched across.

Maybe even a glass of water delicately balanced on the border.

Dan : But I wanted to be a gentleman!
Sandy : Oh yeah, that made me feel so good. Instead of waking up totally satisfied, I feel utterly rejected, bastard.
Dan : B-but.. I didn't want to spoil our friendship!
Sandy : I missed my gymtime! I was hoping an hour of strenuous pillow-biting sex would burn some calories!
Dan : What?
Sandy : Next time when a guy gets into bed with you, fuck him dammit!

I know what they say about being a gentleman. Perhaps when it's a lady, the rules or propriety would apply of course. Sexist, I know but I can't be blamed for the rules of Miss Manners.

But what happens when it's two guys? Is there such a thing as promiscuity between fellas? Sexual identities aside, surely some touchy-feely should be expected. Or at least an attempt at trying :)

Seriously. Just think of all the benefits of good sex.

i) Sex Relieves Stress
ii) Sex Boosts Immunity
iii) Sex Reduces Pain
iv) Sex Reduces Prostate Cancer Risk
v) Sex Burns Calories

Seriously healthy, no? And that's only the tip of the proverbial sexberg, I'm sure.

Average Joe : Hey, let's fuck.
Hunk : What the hell. Bugger off, asshat.
Average Joe : Hey, I'm only doing it for your own good! You wanna get prostate cancer, it's up to ya.
Hunk : Huh?

So next time you see a cute guy, pull him aside and tell him you need a fuck. It's for your own good.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Mother Medea

My mother's certainly a complex woman.

Have to say her sneaky little mind's practically labyrinthian. Seriously doubt even the famed Jason of the Argonauts could find his way through the circuitous, complicated maze with a ball and string.

Been playing a guessing game of Does Your Mother Know for months now - and it doesn't seem as if either side's gonna give in anytime soon. On the verge of my tongue to tell her but there's never a right time to pop out of the closet. Coming out over family dinner just seems terribly impolite.

But I'm procrastinating.

Brothers and Sisters
A family wedding?

I know. Yet the clues I've left all over the place - like the ever-present boyfriend - should make it obvious enough.

And then she had to propose an idea that seemed almost preposterous.

Mother : Now that I can't make it for your cousin's wedding dinner, why don't you bring Charming Calvin?
Paul : Bring who?
Mother : Charming Calvin?
Paul : To a family wedding dinner. As what? As a plus one?
Mother : Might as well.

See. Odd.

Bringing another fella to a family wedding as a plus one? Under what pretext? Might as well hang a rainbow banner right outside the house as a sign!

Now how am I supposed to take that? As a sly hint to come clean? It would seem that way especially since my crafty mother's the one who came up with the plan. Then when I'm pretty sure she already knows the score, my mother muddles up the issue by telling me to get married.

Jedi mind tricks, I tell ya.

Monday, April 27, 2009

All the World's A Stage

Have been hitting the books in irregular spurts these days but I figured that all study and no play certainly makes me a dull boy! So I sneaked in an hour or two of October Road just to keep the blues away.

So what's October Road? It's a short-lived ( though wonderfully charming ) series about a writer who returns to his old hometown after ten years to confront the friends and family he left behind. Frankly they aren't too pleased to have him back especially after he wrote a damning semi-autobiographical account of his life. For a small town, it does have an inordinately high amount of hunks! Not only is the main protagonist played by the really fine Bryan Greenberg but he has a really hot best buddy and an adorable brother. Salacious thoughts of homosexual threesomes abound when I watch them together.

Bryan Greenberg
You're talking about me?

Unfortunately even an attractive cast, a catchy soundtrack and snappy dialogue couldn't stop it from being cancelled last year after two seasons along with Eli Stone, Dirty Sexy Money and Pushing Daisies. At this rate I'll be running out of tv series to watch. There can only be so much of reality tv I can stomach.

Fortunately we have dvd rerun marathons.

Only to have my ISO join me on one of those rerun days with some takeaway Chinese. Literally since he actually ordered staples such as chow mein and egg foo yong like we used to. Couldn't find decent pot-stickers though. Really nostalgic.

After complaining about the sad quality of programming these days, we segued into the silly game of who'd play us in a telemovie! After all, haven't we all imagined the nitty-gritty of our mundane lives being portrayed ( of course glossed up Hollywood-style ) on television? Played by better, brighter selves in glammed-up locations?

My ISO : So who'd play you in a movie?
Paul : Anyone I could pick? Obviously someone who looks way better than hideous me!
My ISO : That could be anyone.
Paul : Bitch.
My ISO : You said it.
Paul : Maybe someone not traditionally movie-star handsome. Certainly not the best-looking guy on the block. Not the traffic-stopping, jaw-dropping kinda handsome but just a sweet average fella.
My ISO : Do we kick sand in his face?
Paul : No!
My ISO : Sounds like a loser.
Paul : Maybe Bryan Greenberg?
My ISO : Yeah, right.
Paul : It's a fantasy. You asked. So who would play you on television?
My ISO : Why, me of course. Who could possibly do it better?
Paul : Asshat.

My life? Maybe a cross between Grey's Anatomy and Queer as Folk? Blame the gross exaggeration on artistic license :) Not sure who'd play the rest of my friends but I figure Tobey Maguire has a passing resemblance to Charming Calvin.

So who would play your part?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Partition

Broken hearts aren't the only casualties suffering after a break-up.

Who else gets hurt in the process? The innocent bystanders otherwise known as friends.

In the inevitable fallout of an explosive separation, friends are usually torn between two ex-lovers as well - with the dangerous demarcation lines clearly drawn on the sand leaving them stranded on either side depending on their intimacy level, prior affiliation and the events leading to the break-up. With the emotional wounds suffered on both sides, it's always difficult to share in the beginning. During the process of returning shared clothes, books and toothbrushes, friends are also bartered and exchanged during the peace talks.

Is it really over?

Think partition with the friends forced to make a hasty migration in either direction. Certainly not an easy process.

Fortunately my first break-up didn't pose any such problems since my ISO and I had both left school behind for quite some time. There was a clear delineation between my friends in medical school and his abroad with hardly any intermingling - while there was nothing much to tell our shared schoolmates since they weren't entirely sure of the intimacy of our relationship ( though I bet there were whispers ).

We had it relatively easy that way.

Unlike what my friends have recently gone through. Deciding which side of the partition to remain on can be tricky at best especially when after some time, friendships inevitably start to overlap.

Jane : Wait, she was my friend first. Then I met the boyfriend.
John : But you like the boyfriend more.
Jane : Still she was my friend first. And she was my bridesmaid.
John : But her boyfriend is your accountant. And I play pool with him on Saturdays.
Jane : Damn, hate it when you're right.

Being friends with both equally can be problematic at best - at least in the initial frosty aftermath of a break-up.

Is it any wonder that even the sitcom FRIENDS mentioned this particular quandary with a sequence where they bargained to see who belonged in which camp in the aftermath of a breakup? And that was right before Rachel and Ross started exchanging their shared items.

Of course I never thought to see such a scene played out in real life. But to have two exes ( coincidentally? ) sitting on different tables for different parties in the same restaurant?

Now that's awkward.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Let's Misbehave

Been quite a while since I've hung out with my ISO and he made mention of it today. With my ISO spending some time abroad working, our schedules haven't meshed as well. But like a bad penny, he turned up this morning just as I was struggling to keep myself awake ( after an awful call! ) over my shepherd's pie.

My ISO : I'm back.
Paul : Strike up the band. Kill the fatted calf.
My ISO : It's only 11. Hardly time for sarcasm.
Paul : Blame my alcohol level.
My ISO : Drinks in the morning. How perfectly scandalous.

So although I was groggy with sleep - and some drinks, I promised him a movie at the least. Already had Easy Virtue in the bag since my nutty legal advisor had made the suggestion. Sounds like the perfect match since I figured dry, sardonic British comedies simply aren't Charming Calvin's cup of tea.

This isn't going to end happily, is it?

So what is it all about? In the roaring 20s, a glamorous golden gal finds a younger prince charming only to find that his aristocratic English parents aren't all that pleased with her. In fact her frosty mother-in-law thinks that she's a lady of easy virtue. Sparks soon fly and a hilarious battle of wits ensues as each woman tries to outsmart the other. Definitely not a happy ending for this one. Might have turned out to be a typical weepy drama if it wasn't peppered with dry humour throughout. Most of it courtesy of the embittered father-in-law with his quietly snarky remarks.

Seriously. Hilarious.

Made even more so with the swinging jazz beats on the background. Ever heard Car Wash remade in the 1920s?

It would be easy to be carried away with the witty antics of the main protagonists but I've always had an eye for the background. What I liked was of course an inconsequential fella called Phillip - what seemed like just a daft, midly lecherous neighbour - who turned out to be more of a gentleman than anyone expected.

Paul : I actually like Phillip.
My ISO : Well, my dear, you are Phillip.
Paul : Bitch. But it's fine. I have a thousand rolling acres of good British soil, dozens of bootlicking staff and probably a fine country home.
My ISO : Probably bugger the poor stable boy in your spare time as well.
Paul : Of course.

And then we spent teatime with scones making up fake posh British accents like we did years back.

It's always fun to misbehave.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Television Taboo

Just when I thought our television had turned over a new leaf.

I should have known of course that there'll always be certain boundaries drawn, especially around supposedly sensitive issues such as homosexuality. Still, when they showed Brothers and Sisters on our cable tv more than a year back, I found myself pleasantly surprised. Whoa. A regularly recurring main character who happens to be gay on our national tv? Hell, that's progress if anything.

Maybe our idiotic censors can change.

With the heartwarming emphasis on family values, it came as no surprise that my mom loves the show. Of course I never quite expected that Kevin Walker would turn out to be my mom's favourite character.

Still when week after week they continued showing Kevin's brief dalliances with his coterie of male admirers ( at least before he settled down with Scotty ), I found myself almost applauding the seemingly enlightened censorship board.

Scotty : Awww, Look, our proposal scene is coming on!
Kevin : Where? Bloody hell. Did they just erase it?

Of course - as usual - I spoke a lil too soon in praise of the scissor-happy censors. Since I guessed that tonight would be the infamous proposal scene that Kevin makes to his partner Scotty, I figured I might as well take a look. As a measure of support if nothing else - and I'll admit I was curious to see my mother's reaction.

Came down a few minutes late so I thought I missed the part when the episode cleverly segued into a preview of the coming week's delights ( with scant mention of the proposal! ).

Paul : Hey, how was the proposal?
Mother : What proposal?
Paul : The one where Kevin proposed to Scotty?
Mother : Wow. He proposed? A gay marriage?

Doubt my mom would have missed something that significant so I figured out later that our diligent censors had been busy at work. Helpful lil buggers. Obviously talk of gay marriage turned out to far too much for them. Two men committing to each other must have blown their little minds. Shouldn't have expected much from folks who'd censor the word 'gay' from the Oscars.

So for all my fellow countrymen - at least those who aren't as blindly bigoted as our homophobic censors - just take a look at what actually happened at the end of the episode.

Makes me wonder how they're gonna play out the episode next week which centers on Kevin and Scotty's marriage. Will the overeager scissor-happy censors slice and dice again? Tune in next week.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Looking for Drugs in All the Wrong Places


All words we as doctors hate to hear. After all with our Hippocratic Oath, we are bound by our words to help the sick and the ailing. So with a battered, beaten and bruised Lissome Lorelei in our midst ( obviously enacting the pitiable role of abused entertainer Rihanna ), what else could we do but offer our help to relieve her pain?

And that we did. In multiple public locations around our fair city.

Ouch. That looks painful.

As a general rule, doctors have really lousy pain thresholds so I knew plain oral paracetamol just wasn't going to cut it.

Ever tried inserting a brannula and injecting intravenous painkillers in public? Fabulous Fiona and I have. And it's an experience we wouldn't like to repeat :)

Lorelei : I might have changed my mind.
Fiona : And suffer the pain in silence?
Lorelei : Inject it dammit.
Paul : Stop fidgeting.
Lorelei : That society matron just keeps looking at us dammit.
Paul : What did you expect? Enacting the role of drug pusher and addict is sure to gain us some notoriety.
Lorelei : How am I gonna show my face here again!
Paul : Wear a big hat.

Nothing like working out in the field to get the vaunted adrenaline moving. I think even my hands trembled a little. Talk about performance anxiety.

Lorelei squeaking audibly in distress at every juncture didn't help much either.

Surprisingly ( and much to our relief ) no one raised a public outcry as we initially feared. Paranoia making us think that we'd be summarily tossed out of popular hangouts - and clapped up in gaol, we finally settled on a quiet, dignified restaurant to go about our irregular business. Surely no starched-up, botoxed matron would lift a manicured finger in protest.

We were right. Obviously our polite society's far too blasé to bother about a banged-up babe being offered drugs by a persistent pusher.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Tampon Talk

Seriously. The Lushes and me? Sometimes when we get together the conversations we have can get downright scandalous. Enough to raise a furious blush on any of the uppity society matrons we encounter in the frou frou cafes we usually gather in.

Let's give them something to talk about.

So you can imagine what we talk about when Lissome Lorelei makes a rare appearance.

Paul : Don't you enjoy the sensation of it going in?
Lorelei : No. There's no feeling there.
Paul : No feeling there? Not even a pleasurable sensation?
Lorelei : No.
Paul : Always thought there'd be a forbidden thrill at the least.
Lorelei : No.
Fiona : Maybe you're putting it in wrong.
Lorelei : Is there a right way to put it in?
Fiona : Of course there is. Put it all the way in. As far as it can go.
Lorelei : You don't leave it hanging out?
Fiona : That would make it leak!
Paul : Umm. Eew.

Really too much information, I know. Even I found myself a lil ill at ease though I was still curious as hell.

Like who knew tampons could be so complex! Always thought all you'd have to do is shove the stuff in there and pray it hung on tight.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Miss Independents

Forget happy-ever-after dreams with a prince waiting to play rescue. Forget playing the submissive little housewife at home cooking and baking. Since revolutionary women's lib had them all busy burning their token bras in protest, feisty lil Miss Independents everywhere have been having dreams of climbing up the competitive corporate ladder.

Case in point are my friends the fabulous Lushes.

Though much battered, bruised and beaten, Lissome Lorelei has returned to our shores with a new song and an even stronger conviction to reach for that impossible dream. And like the rest of the girls, her dream doesn't involve sitting at home with a steaming pot pie waiting for her significant other to appear.

Nate and Blair
Paul : What's with the oversized hat?
Lorelei : I have a bandage on my head. Not chic.
Paul : Does that explain the large bow on your dress?
Lorelei : I'm not going to answer that... but yes.
Paul : Ouch. But I already popped some painkillers into your tea.
Lorelei : Thanks.

Only hitch is while she was away swimming in foreign waters, Lorelei had a traumatic tumble that left her with a concussion - and landed her a helpful hero in the tragedy. Every siren needs a charming rescuer after all. Not sure if she thinks the cut lip was worth the catch yet :)

With the princesses unsure of whether they need rescuing, knights in shining armour do have it hard these days!

You'd expect Lorelei to find her happily-ever-after in a fairytale apartment on a hill but finding the prince has only put our nomadic sea siren in a life-altering quandary! To be part of his world, does she have to make landfall and ground herself? Is it time to trade in her wandering fins for pots and pans?

Lorelei : I wanna be where the people are. I wanna see, wanna see 'em workin' walkin' around on those whaddya call 'em? Oh, feet. I want a career. I want job satisfaction. I want success.
Paul : Tending to sick sea slugs and ailing anemone?
Lorelei : Yes!
Paul : Seriously? What about hearth and home? A husband and family?
Lorelei : Umm. Don't think I have a song for that.
Paul : Maybe it's time you wrote one.

Okay, never say that to a Miss Independent. I might as well have told her to dye her hair green and sign a lopsided bargain with a seawitch instead. Still, Lorelei likes her prince enough to consider it.

Lorelei : You gotta be kidding me.

Really, has turning housewife become something so terribly awful? Making it sound like a crime exchanging our work briefcases for children's lunchboxes. Has our changing values actually turned a wonderful opportunity into something despicably low instead?

Had me wondering where have all the nifty lil 1950s homemakers gone? Stepford ladies in white gloves and frilly aprons who bake, sew and cook till their doting husbands return from the office? Have they all been packed up, boxed up and tossed out with things all retro?

Fortunately as it turns out these retro housewives still exist. These roles have reverted to gay men instead.

Seriously. How the roles have changed! Turns out amongst my ambitious gung-ho workmates ( quite a number who are women! ) I might be the only one willing to trade in the stethoscope for a frying pan. Going the family route has always been one of my ambitions. Oddly enough for a guy, a successful career has never really been all that high on my list of priorities.

But making a happy family is.

Friday, April 17, 2009

He's Just Not That Into You

When the book first came out, it became an instant best-selling hit with everyone talking about it. Drawn from a scene in Sex and the City when one of the girls analyzes the post-date behavior of a potential love interest with all her galpals commiserating - only to have a disgusted male friend put a stop to it with the infamous words.

He's just not that into you.
When a guy's really into you, he's coming upstairs, meeting or no meeting.

Really. I remember thinking at the time, 'bloody hell, they didn't know this?'

Don't women already know all this? Reading and analyzing confusing verbal cues from men on their first dates to confirm their attraction? Drawing assumptions from the last phrase he uses before he leaves to ascertain whether he's gonna call?

Seriously. Men are simple creatures with simple needs.

Generally WYSIWYG.

Bradley Cooper
Simple creatures but so damned fun.
Bradley Cooper anyone?

It's just like the book says. If the fella truly likes you, there won't be any doubt at all that he likes you. Certainly no need to wait by the phone for him to call since he's probably standing at your door persistently knocking ( if not worse! ) till you let him in. Stalker. Really.

But obviously the tough love offered by the book turned out to be an epiphany worthy of being turned into a movie. Hence they translated those very words into a hilarious rom-com chockful of pretty people as they try to dissct the true nature of guy-girl relationships. From a desperate singleton waiting by the phone to the newly married husband tempted into infidelity, we have all the usual relationship stereotypes played out here.

With smatterings of humour from the helpful gay sybils. Who sadly don't seem to be getting much action despite a hilarious 3..2..1.. gay hookup scene.

But to please the masses, they have the blond bombshell Scarlett Johansson with her bountiful bosom to titillate the boys while the rest of us get to ogle the likes of Ben Affleck. And Bradley Cooper. Homina homina I could tap that hot, gorgeous blond ass in a second. His serious, sober and stern stick of a wife can move aside! It takes a real man to handle that much testosterone.

Don't really blame Scarlett for wanting to dry-hump the fella - even if he was married.

Just a sobering note at the end though. In the movie, this fella proposes to his seven-year girlfriend after a lifetime of eschewing marriage.

Seriously. Short of a life-altering lobotomy, that never happens.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Techno-Himbos V : The Phantom Wifi

Seriously. Till now I simply cannot fathom how the wi-fi bit works. Little bytes of information flying across the air to be reproduced as sight and sound? Now doesn't that sound almost like magic?

Nonetheless that doesn't stop me from trying to dabble in a lil bit of techno-magic. After all despite our seeming decrepitude, we all have to keep up with the changing times. So when a wireless router thingamajig landed on my lap ( after being pestered by my shockingly modern parents ), I had no choice but to test it out.

Much against my will though. Doctors believe in the adage if it ain't broken, don't fix it.

Should we fix this?

But I tried. Though you can easily imagine the sheer amount of cursing and swear words that ensued initially ( surely enough to make a sailor blush! ). There were times I even felt like chucking the entire hostile thingamajig out the window. Seriously. I am not into reading dull boring instruction manuals! Give me something dummy-proof anytime. Wouldn't it be so easy if everything came with only simple one-touch buttons?

Press this to start wifi.

Simple. Easy.

But obviously aspiring engineers need to give us all a hard time by coming up with a series of complex instructions with dozens of confusing lil diagrams attached. Probably provides them with a sense of self-worth :) For a techno-himbo like me, it took almost half an hour to figure out the entire script before I had the wireless functioning properly. Even with the setup assistant supposedly onhand to provide help.

But it finally worked. Like magic.

So if you're close by and you see a wireless with the name Sluts Streamyx, then you know I might be staying close by. Spell supercalifragilisticexpialidocious correctly and you just might get through the network key.

Of course in my life, Murphy's Law always runs true. Nothing ever runs smoothly. Once I got the exasperating machine started though, I realized that the idiotic firewall / router / thingamajig had fucked up my peer-to-peer download with the listening ports blocked to hell.

Seriously. Frustrating head-smashing-into-wall moment.

See why I would have preferred a dummy-proof one-button method?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Bachelor Auction

Look, it's April. It's that time of year again when Cleo Magazine brings out its peculiar - though always surprising - choice of the 50 most eligible bachelors in the country.

And how do they pick from thousands of men?

Judging from their choices, possibly by pulling aside wandering fellas that saunter by their main office at this time of year. How else could they pick some of the ineligible riff raff found on the glossy pages? Though I have to admit there are a few choice specimens listed on the pages ( look really hard! ), I still think some of them should have thought twice - and hard - about having their unhandsome mugs plastered on the magazine for all to peruse.

And critique mercilessly.

Though I can't really comment on them all since I know a few personally. Can't very well toss brickbats on someone I know :)

But it does seem as if they pick a few hunks ( such as this handsome fella ) and then pepper the rest of the numbers with average joes picked up from the sidewalk.

Henry Golding
Like this handsome fella, Henry Golding! Isn't he a shoo-in?

Can never understand why the guys over here in the Klang Valley ( since the mag never sees fit to expand their man net over the rest of the country ) seem to pale besides the supertanned fit hunks down under in Singapore! Theoretically we share the same gene pool after all. Sure we used to be able to point the finger at their legally imposed National Service policy in producing buff boytoys but so many of our own fellas are joining the gym these days!

And I'll be the first to admit we have some cute bachelors about. Just take a walk down by the Marketplace and I can easily swear there are a couple of guys there who would look far better on the centrefold! Even slicked up in oil and a smile. At least looks-wise.

And if the bachelor pageant isn't a meat market relying solely on looks, what is it? Don't tell me we're choosing them solely on personality.

Could it be the bachelors actually fear being chosen? Thinking of all the nasty torture and games they'd be subject to during the bachelor event? Certainly can't be as bad as the sexually charged, sexually exploitative striptease they coerce the hapless Singaporean bachelors into doing annually. Certainly made me look at Timbaland's Fantasy differently.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Spank Me Daddy

I'm gonna be so unpopular.

At least if I turn daddy.

During weekends while the other boys are out to play at the clubs and pubs, Charming Calvin and I take to babysitting. Seriously. With my brother working half the world away and my sister-in-law closing down the house prior to leaving, the kids are left to us at the end of the week. Headaches aside, at least I've had the opportunity to see Calvin handle a lil bit of parenting.

Next year!
Children should be heard and seen!

Sweet and playful he might be with the children but just let me say, disciplinarian he ain't. My niece and nephew aren't the easiest. Left to Calvin's parenting devices, I bet the kids would probably run amuck causing havoc in the home.

The kids were squabbling over a toy and I had to step in to mediate. Though mediate would be an understatement for what I did.

So I can imagine Calvin's reaction when Kids gone Wild.

Nate : Bloody fuck. Can I leave for school early?
Paul : Watch your words, young man. Sit down and finish your breakfast first.
Nate : But the food sucks.
Paul : It's healthy. Would you rather starve?
Nate : Dad, but I want to...
Paul : This isn't a democracy. You don't get a vote.
Calvin : Come on, Nate, just take your breakfast. I'll even make you some hot cocoa.
Nate : But dad!
Paul : Nathaniel Christopher Wong Kar Wai.
Calvin : Quick, eat up, Nate.

Not that my kid would ever misbehave in that way since I'd spank him to an inch of his life.

Damn. I am gonna be the parent they so love to hate! But I guess someone has to draw the line.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Clap Your Hands

They say that each time someone stops believing in fairies, one of them falls lifeless to the ground. If that's true, Tinkerbell had better be worried since my lil niece Chatty Carmen doesn't believe in magic.

Paul : Of course Daddy can repair it. Daddy has magical spanners and screwdrivers all over the place.
Carmen : No! He doesn't!
Paul : Why not?
Carmen : Magic isn't real. It's all make-believe.
Paul : What?
Carmen : There's no magic in the world.

Seriously. Tragic pronouncement. When she said it, I almost drove the car off the road.

Harry Potter
No magic?!

Looks like the endangered fairies had better make sure their insurance premiums are paid up. Kinda disturbing to hear such a dismal announcement from the innocent mouths of babes. What next? No Santa Claus? No Tooth Fairy?

Far too much imagination in a child can be terrifying but allowing none can be quite as traumatic. Really, save the cynicism for the jaded adults! Shouldn't there be a sense of wonder and amazement as a kid? Shouldn't there always be a sense of glee of searching under every leaf and rock for a sign that fairies - and therefore magic - exists? Shouldn't there be the fun of hiding a broken tooth under the pillow in wait?

Wonder where Carmen got such an idea. Certainly not from my brother since he wouldn't consider disabusing a child of such a notion. My liberal parents certainly never set out to convince us that Santa didn't exist!

After Chatty Carmen said that shockingly punishing statement, I quickly clapped my hands. Twice. I suggest you do so too. With the cynical kids of today, hey the fairies need all the help they can get.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Confessions of A Despot

Every day we find the sly, shady shenanigans perpetrated by our far-from-wily politicians splashed out for all and sundry to see on the front pages of our local dailies. Liberally white-washed and censored no doubt but hey, we can read between the lines. So often in fact that most of us have started to look upon our supposedly elected representatives as nothing more than crooks corrupt with power and greed.

Hardly the awe and respect you'd expect for the public servants ( do they even remember that? ) some of us actually voted into parliament.

How else am I supposed to think when I have a mother of two telling her son not to join politics unless he wants to cheat people of their money! Right there in the waiting room of the hospital.

Seriously. If the nervous politicos want to know what the regular laymen on the ground think, I think that's just about spot on. With the dirty political games raging, I don't think the image of our representatives could really sink any lower. No doubt following the long upheld tradition of cronyism and money politics left by our forefathers.

As much as I'd like to point the finger at the autocratic despots we've had before, sometimes I can't say that I'd blame them. Honestly I doubt I'd do things differently if I were in their distinguished shoes. Hell, I might even be worse.

You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.

Seriously. Politics is dirty business. You want to be clean, go join the clergy. Or an NGO.

You know I worship Macchiavelli's The Prince so you can imagine how I'd be as a ruthless despot. First day in power, I'd clap up all my enemies up in prison. Probably not in one shocking sweep but in slow devastating stages. Everyone has dirty lil secrets behind closed doors and I'd make it my job to find them. From implicating my more dangerous foes in unbecoming political scandals ( and even violent crimes! ) to thrusting them into thankless public duties.

A kiss
A ruthless business...

Really. Being in charge of roadworks and drainage systems? Some things you're never gonna get it right. Bound to be a bumpy road and a blocked ditch somewhere getting bad press.

Paul : Here, you want a job? Go clean up the alien squatters. Just steamroll them out.
Enemy : What?!
Paul : Damned if you do. Damned if you don't.
Enemy : I'm not doing it.
Paul : Hmm. You know I heard your son is in trouble abroad. Some problem in school? Dealing drugs? Enterprising.
Enemy : Where are the damned squatters?

And then to consolidate my power, I'd pepper the important ministries and governmental agencies with my trusted henchmen. Desperate pawns I'd already have plenty of dirt about so I can squeeze them for a lil buck or two. Maybe even a million.

Hello. I didn't spend the rallies shaking hands with blithering idiots and kissing babies for nothing.

It won't all be for personal gain of course! I'd build schools and hospitals, bridges and highways - all for the sake of the people ( to much publicity and fanfare! ) but you'd be sure I'd pocket a few bucks from every lil tollbooth I put up. Daddy's got that lil hideaway mansion ( and an expensive mistress ) to pay for after all.

Monstrous, I know. Reason I'm staying far away from such political fields. No doubt in a past life as a maniacal despot, I must have tortured too many enemies, raped too many virgins and razed too many villages! So I must obviously repent in this life by slaving away for the greater good :)

At least I know my faults. Now, if only the bad politicians would own up for themselves! Where do we find an Atticus Finch!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Two Guys, A Girl and A Priest

Or at least a hypothetical hot priest.

Turns out Charming Calvin had his own illuminating Road to Damascus epiphany on the way home. Hard not to receive such an eye-opener squashed between a good Catholic schoolgirl ( the ultimate oxymoron - a contradiction in terms? ) at the back and an irreligious heathen at the wheel.

Recently reinvigorated after an early morning mass this Palm Sunday, Shameless Shalom returned to us eager to spread the good word. Especially after the shameless talk of sexy apostles the night before with Slim Sandy, she must have felt at least some need to regain some moral rectitude by taking her bible study on the road.

Paul : How was church? Any cute parishioners?
Shalom : No, we can't talk about that! It's Palm Sunday so we need to clean up our act!
Paul : Cleaner? Kinda like hot mormon boys on bikes? Or bathing sexy priests in holy water?
Shalom : What the frock! That's not what I meant.

Unfortunately that only led the conversation into far shakier ground with talk of hot mormons and altar boy buggery. Never did decide who was the sexiest apostle - though if the folks at National Geographic were to be believed, Judas would be a deliciously deceptive dark-eyed hunk. No wonder Jesus didn't balk at getting a kiss from him.

A kiss
A Judas kiss...

Though purists would claim he wasn't one of the original apostles ( joined a lil too late! ), out of pure sentiment of course I'd have to believe that the intrepid adventurer Paul would be the sexiest! Walking all about the Mediterranean preaching must have given the man a fit physique at the least. And since he managed to talk hundreds of disbelieving heathens into following his fledgling religion ( long before it became fashionable ), I should think he had to be a comely man at the least - if not gifted with a persuasive tongue.

You can imagine how Shalom shrieked in horror while repeatedly chanting her Hail Marys.

Obviously they both knew the fact that dirty sexy priests always get me hot under the collar! Just the thought of the thick starched-up black robes with the hint of white at the collar is enough to get me going. Something possibly indoctrinated in me ever since those halcyon days when I actually attended mass, watching those stern-eyed men at the pulpit preaching to the choir.

Otherwise I'd blame Madonna.

Despite the rumours of closeted homosexuals in the clergy, none of the elderly priests actually punished me with some good-old-fashioned buggery for my sins. As much as I might have wanted it.

Obviously I wasn't sinful enough back then.

Shalom and I drew the line at talking about sex with Jesus of course. Imagine what his sainted mama would say! So yes, surprisingly I do have boundaries.

Just amazed that the sheer blasphemy of our shocking conversation didn't get us all struck down by lightning. Then again it does explain the horrific near-apocalyptic thunderstorm tailing us all the way home.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Two Guys, A Girl and A Diva

From the cosy family afternoon with Tim, Tina and Thumbelina, we then headed for more... adult-oriented activities with another sort of family. Managing to catch Slim Sandy in between graphs, gym and guys, we coerced the poor fella into offering us a quick gay tour about the island after dinner.

It was close but we all resisted the urge to sing We Are Family by Sister Sledge.

Rather than show us the temples, monuments and museums Penang has to offer, we pestered Sandy into driving us around some of the more notorious spots in town from the seedy backlane motels to the more dubious sounding karaoke joints. Kissy Suzuki Lounge anyone? Even took a slow circle around the site where the gay Georgetown gala was purportedly held!

Certainly suited the topic of our conversation that ran the gamut from the sexiest apostle to sodomy in the classroom. Despite serial interrogation though, a modest Sandy refused to admit that he'd been involved in one of the infamous orgies before.

Paul : And you weren't caught along with the raid?
Sandy : No. No! I'm a good boy, I am!

Looking at slim, pretty Sandy, I had my doubts. Borrowing from straight-boy vernacular, like who wouldn't want to tap that ass?

Checking out the local talent.

Realizing that some of the notoriety of the local red-light districts had probably rubbed off on him ( and probably tarnished his sterling reputation! ), Sandy decided to absolve himself of sin by heading towards a more upmarket joint. It didn't take much convincing - once we saw the elegant colonial bungalow along Jalan Bagan Jermal. A bungalow lovingly refurbished into a surprisingly fine jazz bar with a fabulous diva singing up a storm.

Seated close to the roaring stage, we didn't have much chance for conversation but that seemed alright - especially since there were plenty of other local talent to admire. Really. Penang boys are still looking mighty fine. Especially one seated right across from us - a slit-eyed honey with bulging biceps barely hidden by his tight checkered shirt.

Paul : Go make a move on the hunk. Quick!
Sandy : What? No! I'd need to be way more drunk to do that!
Paul : Waiter. Keep the drinks coming.
Sandy : No!
Paul : Hey, the hunk's going to the smoking room. Follow him.
Sandy : No!

No doubt Sandy was trying to maintain some semblance of dignity as a host. After vehemently denying all rumours of licentiousness earlier, he couldn't very well go scrambling after the checkered-shirt honey at the very next moment! :)

All in all, Sandy was a wonderful host. Though I admit I was disappointed we never got to see Sandy's infamously seductive Dance of the Seven Veils.

Maybe we should have plied him with more drinks.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Two Guys, A Girl and A Baby

As much as I talk about having children one day, sometimes it's hard trying to imagine me balancing diaper bags, milk bottles and a wailing kid. Coping with it all would probably drive me insane.

Though it seems most of my peers seem to have managed that particular balancing feat surprisingly well enough.

Or at least Tiny Tim and Tina have done so.

Been almost two years since I'd seen the both of them! And since then, Tim and Tina have gotten engaged, married, relocated and produced a child. One aptly named Tiny Thumbelina.

Glad to see them both looking happy - and motherhood certainly suits Tina to a T. Despite the fact that Tim admonished his lil daughter Thumbelina as the naughtiest lil minx around - I actually thought her surprisingly well behaved! Inured to the horror of monkey-like cherubs swinging from the rafters in the paediatric wards, the sight of Thumbelina playing with the cushions seemed almost refreshingly tame in comparison.

Caught up with each other over a sumptuous meal by the sea and compared horror stories on what had been going on in our lives since! Put a couple of doctors together and yes, we do talk shop. And if the lightspeed conversation wasn't enough to gradually lull Charming Calvin to sleep, I'm sure the topic of our conversation ( from patients to ex-colleagues ) did.

Man and child
Paul : Thumbelina, you see that nice-looking fella with his shirt off? Go get me his number!

Though Calvin did perk up when a curious Tina began her mini-interrogation! Never actually told Tina and Tim I was gay though I'm sure they both had their ongoing suspicions. But since Shameless Shalom had come along for the ride, the ensuing threesome had a doubting Tina scratching her head for a logical explanation!

Tina : Oh so how do you guys all know each other? So Calvin's a special friend?
Shalom : Umm.
Paul : Umm.

Notice she never did ask who's friend he was? Despite her pointed questions ( and the way she stealthily checked out the sleeping situation in our hotel suite ), I don't think Tina ever confirmed how we were all connected! Can already imagine the wild conclusions she's already jumped to! A ménage à trois? So Calvin remained a special friend to all.

Though I was sorely tempted to spill all, I didn't think the right place to come out would be in a crowded restaurant with Thumbelina climbing all over the table! Anyway how would I begin?

Despite my complaints I wasn't exactly a monk during my internship. Not sure you recall a fella you once saw me with while we were interns but that was an ex of mine. Want to hear something funny? After you met us in the hallway, we actually did it in the dorm on my off day - several doors down from you.

Oh yeah btw I'm gay.

Somehow I don't think she'd appreciate that salacious revelation over smoked duck.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Two Guys, A Girl and A Roadtrip

Judging by the endless prose dedicated to it, the near legendary roadtrip seems almost fundamental to the longevity of a relationship. From the wild antics of a Thelma & Louise to the more sedate journeys of Phineas & Passerpartout, getting on that roadtrip together either strengthens the bonds of breaks it ultimately.

So one weekend Charming Calvin, Shameless Shalom and I decided to test out that theory. At the very last second, Statuesque Sarah was called away to serve the Médecins Sans Frontières leaving us a bereft threesome instead of a fourgy.

Shalom : We're driving? Like eeeew.
Paul : The private jet's in the shop.

But it was fine. Shalom's antics throughout the entire slow morning drive all the way up north served to beguile the tedium of the journey. Topics bantered about ranged from the unstable political situation in the state of Perak to the weepy women on Calvin's iPod playlist.

Being an amateur foodie herself, Shalom couldn't just shoot by the town of Ipoh without sampling some of its local delicacies. And since I had no complaints, we made our way into the colonial city to look for dimsum, pork satay and chicken hor fun. There was even talk of looking for the Tree of Democracy ( linked to the unstable politics in Perak I mentioned earlier ) so to speak though the scent of steamed chicken soon distracted us.

Serendipitously an uncle of mine happened to be in town so we got the deals on the cheap. As in free. Doctors are damned freeloaders, I tell ya!

Of course fate took its sweet revenge on us when we arrived in Penang.

Although I feared that I'd get hopelessly lost driving around, turns out my natural instinct ( and implanted memory! ) was quite enough to get me around the narrow bylanes of the inner city.

Mother Nature wasn't similarly impressed. Not only did it seem as if a tropical storm had hit the island, we were practically buffeted by winds approaching 50 mph. Seriously. Umbrellas were flipped around. Skirts were flying. Empty tables were drifting down New Lane and for a while it looked as if our friedkuayteow/friedoyster/currymee/muachee/hokkienmee laden table would soon follow.

Then a flying plate full of belacan decides to land on an unsuspecting Shalom. Think Three Stooges with a plate of cream pie.

And then the detoxifying effects of her dubious buah kedondong drink followed. Which didn't help when I took the both of them on a death-defying whirlwind spin up the winding cliffside of Batu Ferringhi at midnight for a view of the clubs and the pubs.

Needless to say, the afterparty consisted of the both of them - Calvin and Shalom - taking turns cleansing themselves of the detoxifying evils of kedondong while I walked the quiet beach at midnight with paperback in hand.

Friday, April 03, 2009

The Original Socialista

I think I might be one of the most antisocial fellas around.

Seriously. Though I might enjoy the company of a few choice companions for an evening, the thought of a wild rave with a strange crowd only makes me wanna head for the nearest exit. The horror! Certainly not the social butterfly that Dashing Dan's turning out to be lately! Fortunately in my line of work, I don't actually have to make nice with everyone I meet.

And even when I really have to, I can wear a face mask. That really helps. :)

Maybe it's my natural bashfulness. Maybe it's my sheer lan si snootiness. Hitting on a hunk in a bar for a personal agenda, I can understand. Just don't see the point of going up to everyone in a party of hundreds to shake hands. Hell, I probably won't see half of them ever again!

Fine. I might make an exception for these fellas. :P

But I know. I should try. I'm working on it. Maybe I need lessons on social grace from Luke.

You gotta admire Lickable Luke, not only for his pretty boy looks but also for the sheer tenacity in pursuing the sacred tenets of his calling. I call him PR boy.

And to prove his worthiness to the public relations title, Luke literally went around the party cheerfully introducing himself to dozens of guests. Surely one of the most affable fellows around - even with a gravelly deep bass courtesy of his sore throat. Now that's what I call dedication. Give him ten minutes working the sprawling crowd of a hundred and he's already gotten the names, numbers and how they are all connected.

Paul : Wow. That's the tenth introduction I've seen in two minutes. How the hell do you stand it?
Luke : But isn't it great? I like meeting people.
Paul : You do?! You actually like relations with the public?!
Luke : Yeah, you want to meet some of them?
Paul : Sorry, I already met three people. That's my quota for the day.

Luke's kinda like the living embodiment of the social application Facebook. Squared. Obviously he learnt his lessons well from Anna Leonowens.

Me, I can barely recall the name of the girl I just met two seconds ago! Much less getting to know them better.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

The Civil Ceremony

It's quite possible I'm a five year old girl.

Since like my lil niece Chatty Carmen, I've always dreamed of walking down the aisle myself. Sharing that same dream, we take particular delight in waltzing into wedding studios to soak in the bridal ambiance. Though unlike her, I don't picture myself sashaying down the aisle in a sleek Vera Wang inspired ball gown with a pearl-lined chapel length train.

Well. Maybe sometimes.

But I've always wanted the entire hoopla that comes with a wedding.

In fact the first thought I had when I came out to myself was 'Oh shit, there goes my dream wedding'. Fortunately I'm a resourceful fella and it took only a few minutes to restructure the entire traditional ceremony in my head to suit two grooms instead of one. Gotta rethink the entire frilly garter-tossing bit though ( unless Charming Calvin agrees to wear one ).

So you can imagine what I felt when Jaunty Jared told me he thought the wedding frenzy a freaking waste of money! In fact he'd rather forgo the entire circus for a quick jaunt to the city hall and then to Krabi for the honeymoon.

What?! No white wedding?

I would have keeled over in my seat if I wasn't already prepared for that practical reply! Jared isn't the first one to say so. In fact my shockingly untraditional cousin said the same thing three years back ( to the horror of his unforgiving parents ) and got the entire civil ceremony done in less than an hour.

Not a single toast. Not a single cheer. Not a single toss.

And certainly no Vera Wang.

I think it came out as a lil blurb on the family newsletter. Oh btw we are married. I might have missed it if it wasn't a slow week for family scandals.

Which was infinitely sad for me. Look, I'm no crazy Groomzilla. I know the wedding day itself is just the beginning of a long crazy journey with many bumps on the road - but I want to stand there on my wedding day and tell all the people I love that yes, this is the man I want to marry. Shouldn't the day be special? Shouldn't the day be celebrated with friends and family? Shouldn't the day deserve some pomp and ceremony?

Budget be damned. Even some chicken wings, chips and a kegger can be enough to satisfy a wedding band at the beach on the cheap. Anything's better than a hasty, impersonal run to the city hall for penned signatures, bored witnesses and a perfunctory peck on the cheek.

Bride : Oh I forgot to pay the land office bill, darling.
Groom : We might as well just stop over at the city hall and get married.
Bride : Yeah, I have ten minutes free on my schedule. Let's.
Groom : I bet the neighbour doesn't mind being a witness.
Bride : So much easier if we could just get married online.
Groom : With a click? Yeah!

Seriously. Just another item on the to-do list for the modern bride?