Monday, August 30, 2010

Natives on Treetops

Having perfect strangers come by for a few days really broadens the horizons. Though it does highlight exactly how paranoid we have become about our own personal safety, it also helps us look at the world we live in with far different eyes.

Blue and hazel ones actually. :)

Before I came over to the wild, wild east, I'll admit to having my own horrible misconceptions about the place! Little Hut in the Jungle would be the gist of it. Blame it on too many reruns of The Sleeping Dictionary. Loin-clothed headhunters, ill-equipped longhouses and lush rainforests everywhere. Didn't even expect a supply of running water! Had fearful visions of collecting rainwater from a dirty well every morning in a leaky bucket.

Quite happy to have all my ill-conceived notions overturned when I came here of course. Hell, the place is almost a city.

Which isn't exactly what the foreigners want when they come here. Glossy advertising brochures proclaim a mystical jungle paradise where intrepid tourists come seeking the elusive proud headhunter - only to have themselves confounded upon discovering a prosperous little hamlet with all the physical accoutrements of a developing city instead.

Tourist : Why, they even have cellphones!
Paul : You expected smoke signals?
Tourist : Not really. But perhaps running messengers?
Paul : Bearing parchment across crocodile-infested rivers to the nearest longhouse?
Tourist : Exactly! Too much development would have a negative impact on the local culture and lifestyle.
Paul : I think the natives would prefer electricity and running water.
Tourist : It's almost like home! Like any other cookie-cutter city back in the west!
Paul : You wouldn't want to see the local Starbucks then?
Tourist : Damned western imperialism. OMG. Is that girl holding an iPad?
Paul : Lo and behold, this is no longer the heart of darkness!
Tourist : Damned civilization!

Turns out it's far too much of a concrete jungle for their tastes! No doubt they'd been hoping I'd paddle over in my riverboat sampan to pick them up! :) You can imagine I teased them about it.

Welcome to the jungle!

While I'm of the opinion that neon-lit stripmalls should cover the earth, obviously some of the travellers would much prefer the dark-skinned natives happily frolicking in the tropical sun clad in threadbare loin-cloths sans cellphones.

But I do see their point of view. Are we changing much too fast? Moving from tropical jungles to traffic jams? Surely between the two extremes of overzealous development and maintaining the local culture, there's a nice balance to be had.

Just hope Miri finds it.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Friendship-Time Theorem

Old friends.

I've always been of the opinion that the real friends you make - even those way back in school - remain with you for the rest of your life. Though the ensuing time might strain the tenuous bonds of friendship, nothing helps to bridge the gap like a handful of dirty jokes, a couple of vodka shots and an eight-course dinner. Maybe no longer best friends but after a few drinks, certainly more than an acquaintance!

Of course not everyone believes that.

My recent guests had a theory. Which my ISO immediately corroborated from several hundred miles north of here.

Wonder how long they'll be friends?

I'm calling it the Friendship-Time Theorem. According to these jaded cynics, lifelong friendship is utter bullshit! Just a momentary flash in the pan. Ships that pass in the night. I'd have more cliched expressions ready but I might as well reveal the mathematical equation we came up with.

A X 1/B = C

A = Length of time you know someone
B = Length of time spent apart
C = Chance of remaining friends

Still a tad rough since my math sucks but there it is. Seems the longer the period of time spent apart, the less the chance of remaining as friends. Forget about those kindergarten kidmates you made!

For my new travelling buddies, it seems as if they forget about a friend the minute they leave on the next bus. No doubt they can barely recall their schoolmates!

My ISO : It's the sad truth!
Paul : Fucking hell, I haven't seen you in weeks. We're still talking.
My ISO : Well that's different.
Paul : How different?
My ISO : We do talk online so maybe that doesn't count.
Paul : Fuck. You're right. Get our your address book.
My ISO : What for?
Paul : I think it's time to have a class reunion.

So do I say adios to my classmates at the reunion?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Leap of Faith


We don't all that much of it these days. In the not too recent past, weary travellers who knocked on even the humblest of abodes would expect the doors flung open with gracious hospitality awaiting them. Few would be turned away and even the poorest of hosts would have a stale loaf ready to share with the foreigner at his door.

But with crime on the rise - murders and robberies occurring every other minute, we have become just a little less trusting. Everyone's guilty until proven innocent. And the doors have started slamming shut on the face of the tired wanderers. Rather than welcome them with open arms, we thrust them bodily into the streets branding them as bums, hobos and tramps. All the doors bolted and no word of kindness given, so wicked were the people of that land!

No doubt much to the horror of famed hosts of antiquity Baucis and Philemon.

I'll admit even I had my misgivings. But I took a leap of faith.

Wonder if my hosts are any good!

And had two couch surfers coming by my place.

FYI couch surfing is a neologism referring to the practice of moving from one friend's house to another, sleeping in whatever spare space is available - either floor or couch - generally staying a few days before moving on to the next. Usually backpacking tourists of course.

Paul : I'm having couch surfers over.
Objector : Lock up your valuables!
Paul : They seem fine!
Objector : Lock up the knives!
Paul : They seem fine!
Objector : You can say that after you're tied up, robbed and hacked up!

Almost everyone I knew had something bad to say. Obviously trust is a diminishing commodity.

With horrific visions of armed robberies and serial killers in my head, I started having second thoughts. Don't feel like getting hacked up and buried in the fetid swamps around here. In a state of mindless panic, I even thought ignobly of installing closed-circuit televisions in hidden corners around the house!

Fortunately I recalled just before picking the surfers that I actually had some faith in humanity - and a trusty version of the Louisville Slugger under the bed.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Excuse Me, Sir, But Can I Grope Your Thigh

Happening club - thumping music, grinding bodies and the occasional recreational drug slipping by. Guy's interested in you, gives you the eye, hands you a drink. Maybe two.

You'd expect Mr Interested to try for a quick grope, wouldn't you? Gotta check out the goods after all.

Well isn't this what clubs are for?

Year back, I would have said that the girls would squeal a loud no while the boys would be raring to go. I'd be wrong obviously. Turns out the sexual revolution had the girls turning into insatiable Samantha Jones wannabes while the boys turned into ascetic monks. Even my swinging bachelor pal - Rambling Robin - turns squeamish when it comes to unwarranted gropes in gay clubs.

Suitor : Hey, cute stuff.
Robin : Uhh.. hi?
Suitor : You look pretty hot tonight.
Robin : Hic. I do?
Suitor : Come over here and let papa have a feel.
Robin : Eek.

Just one hand on his thigh and our lil Robin's flying up into the boughs, modesty outraged. Hell, I'd have gone straight for the balls. Why pussy-foot around?

But like any other vestal virgin, Robin feared for his impeachable virtue. At least the one he'd apparently reclaimed after losing it in his foggy not-so-recent past. With the disconcerted squeals emanating from him, you'd think he'd been forcibly taken right on the dirty, rat-infested floor of the club.

And this from a guy! Come on, don't people go to the clubs to be groped no more? You wanna be treated like a prim little lady, head for a church social.

It's just a furtive grope. Not even a full-on sexual assault in a club. And trust me when I say even I've had worse. Ah, the insurance octopus. Hands everywhere under the table. I'll admit the blind scrabbles were unsettling but I could handle it. What I couldn't stand was the insurance sales spiel that came with it.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Change of Gay

If three's a company, would two be a date?

Ever since Fabulous Felix ditched us for the perfect suburban marriage complete with packed lunches, picket fences and pet golden retriever, I've been having my daily dinners with Piratin Patty. Yes, only the two of us. Dinner, movies, walks in the park. We're even talking of taking up ballroom dancing lessons.

Seriously. Looks like we're like a couple. Only without the obligatory sex.

Which in current heterosexual terms probably means we're married.

Okay. Maybe I don't wear suits all the time!

Even the ever-curious locals have started wondering exactly what's going on with us. Despite the fact that Patty's busybody neighbour knows all too well about my sexual inclinations, Miss Buttinsky hasn't exactly given up hope. Tried to nip her matchmaking compulsions in the bud by coming out but that obviously didn't work.

Neighbour : Out again, you two?
Paul : For the thousandth time. And it still comes as a surprise?
Neighbour : Oh you two make such a nice couple.
Patty : Except he's gay.
Paul : So very gay.
Neighbour : Eh, it's just a phase.
Paul : It's no longer an experimental phase if I'm past thirty.
Patty : And I have better taste!
Neighbour : That's what you two say now. Hee hee.

Hmm. Was it wrong that I felt like smacking Miss Buttinsky with an umbrella?

Is that how the rest of the world sees homosexuality? Just a deviant sexual itch brought forward from college that goes away with the right female antibiotic?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wo Bu Guan Attitude

Back when I first entered medicine as a lowly house officer, the first thing we were all taught was to be afraid.

Yes, very afraid.

Of the senior nurses. Dragons we called them. Prim, priggish, no-nonsense matrons in starched-up white frocks with demonic squints that don't miss a single mistake. Painstakingly meticulous these ladies were with their work, their medications and their patients. Even a near imperceptible crease on a freshly made-up bed earned their eternal ire.

But well-respected they were, even by the most senior consultants in the ward. For a newly minted house officer though, it takes a while to gain their respect. Dour as always, these veterans peer down their superior noses on the fresh physician stumbling on his way to near competence.

You know those nurses we used to have? They've all gone away!

Makes me miss these exacting dragons just a little now that they're mostly retired and gone to Dubai - sadly replaced with junior gals who fall far short of the mark. Not all of course since I know a few really great ones. But for some reason, the majority of these youthful nurses have adopted a 'can't be bothered' attitude when it comes to work. Rather than apply some thought, these sadly unseasoned nurses prefer to work like unthinking automatons. Blindly following orders to the letter in a twisted medical version of the game Simon Says.

Paul : I think the last meal isn't quite enough. We have to wait at least a few more hours before proceeding with the operation.
Nurse : Oh really ah?
Paul : Yes, really.
Nurse : But how leh? Patient eat mah eat loh.
Paul : You don't know why the patients are fasted?
Nurse : Not really. I don't really care.
Paul : And you're not in the least bit curious about why? You just follow orders?
Nurse : Well, is there a reason?
Paul : Other than pure sadism on my side?
Nurse : I'm only a nurse. What should I know?

Denigrating nursing - a profession I've always respected - makes me even more frustrated.

Don't they ever take any pride in their work? Why do they serve this particular medication? Why do they hang the broken arm in such a manner? Why do they tilt the head up thirty degrees? Seems like they don't really give a damn. Seriously. It's become such a common litany amongst these callow candystripers that I've started labelling them as such.

I don't care. 我不管. Tidak apa.

It could be their theme song. Rather than pride themselves on perpetuating the noble traditions of Florence Nightingale, these girls would prefer to wallow in mindless mediocrity. Outsourcing even the work of handing out medications to the students, they spend the day scribbling notes like insensible clerks.

No doubt if I told them to hang the patient off the side of the bed with church bells and a pinata strapped to his head, they would have done so without question. Oddly enough, not even a shred of curiousity about the work they do. I know blind obeisance is a lovely trait in an employee but a tiny bit of understanding would be nice.

Monday, August 16, 2010

That Cheating Heart

Seems my slightly off-base moral center has finally paid off in spades.

Not that I've been casually propositioned by sexy male interns willing to overlook a bit of sexual harassment. Sigh.

Instead I actually got a naughty little confession to perk my working Monday up. When it comes to sex and relationships, I've always been more than a little liberal. More unrestrained Samantha than judgy-judging Charlotte. Turns out my lack of moral rectitude has some of my old friends calling me up for the sudden heart-to-heart.

Easier to fess up to someone who doesn't play judge and jury after all.

Friend : I made a mistake. I slept with someone during the holiday.
Paul : Good grief. What about ...
Friend : My boyfriend. Yeah. What do I do now?
Paul : What do you want to do?
Friend : I need to tell him, don't I? I want to be honest with him. After all, relationships are built on trust.
Paul : I think that particular foundation already crumbled when you cheated.
Friend : So what do you think?

What's a little adultery between friends after all. Unfortunately it makes sense that she'd cheat since most of my unhappily married peers are smack dab in the seven-year itch.

Is it better not to know?

You know movies where the scattered heroine just has to tell the truth after cheating on their oblivious partner? Despite days, weeks and months of twisting the truth with tricks and lies, now she has arbitrarily decided that honesty's the best policy?

That's utter bullshit.

You know what it is? It's just transferring emotional baggage to your unwitting partner. Confessing the extramarital affair isn't exactly paying penance since the pain only lies in the ears of the beholder. Through no fault of their own, the innocent victim of the entire illicit liaison gets slammed with the painful truth.

Instead the punishment for cheating should be to carry that nagging guilt inside. Shut up and bite your tongue. When it comes to cheating, sometimes it's don't ask, don't tell. Now that's the best way of making reparations.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

It's Complicated


You're absolutely positively sure about that?

Like the omniscient Big Brother, these days social networking sites such as Facebook infiltrate every insignificant segment of our lives watching our every little move. There's a hidden yet voyeuristic need to broadcast to everyone - even an almost stranger - every intimate moment of our daily lives.

Now this is what I call complicated!

Up to and including our dating eligibility. Hence the eminently helpful Facebook relationship status announcing our availability, our commitment - or perhaps something else indefinable in between. In fact, there six relationship categories to choose from: single, in a relationship, engaged, married, it's complicated, and in an open relationship.

Even newlywed couples who rush from the altar to their iPhones just to announce to the world their brand new coupledom.

Single, in a relationship, engaged or married is simple enough to define. Pretty self-explanatory actually. Since declaring a commitment directly involves another person, there's even a space to add the other fellow's name.

But when it comes to It's Complicated, I find it gets a bit murky. Seriously. When it involves two single people, how does it actually get complicated? You're either in or you're out. He's single. You're single. There's nothing really all that complicated - short of being an indentured prisoner in a gulag, a dying patient in the oncology ward or a secretly married father of two.

Tell me, how is it complicated?

FYI I'm listed as in a committed relationship :)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Winter of Our Discontent

The world I lived in never handed me fanciful rose-tinted glasses so I've always been far from the idealist. Perhaps leaned a little close to being a jaded, world-weary cynic back in high school even. A few years back I'd have scoffed at the very idea of me holding up the banner for idealism.

But as I begin to find my footing in the world, I find myself dusting off those cherished ideals of old and finding them still worthwhile. Perhaps dulled by years of mindless drudgery at work and school - but polish them off and there's still there's a bright gleam underneath the grime.

Fuck ideals! I've got enough of this menial, low-paying job!

Irrelevant quotes from an ancient dullard I used to call the Hippocratic Oath. Especially after 48 grueling hours of mind-numbingly exhausting work as an overworked house officer. Surprisingly though as the years go by - and the work thankfully becomes easier, I've started to reassess the words I spoke so cavalierly before and finding the oath eminently compatible even in our contemporary world of medicine.

Certainly helped that I managed to keep my semi-utopian ideals throughout my working career. In some of my more difficult cases, I've found myself repeating the words primum non nocere to myself in something close to a religious mantra. Easier said than done of course especially when an exasperating handful might deserve just that little bit of harm :)

Sometimes it seems nearly impossible to hold on to such juvenile ideals once we're out in the big, wicked world. How often have I heard a colleague say that he had had enough - and that he was going to do it all for the money? Seems almost foolish to cherish such antiquated notions in the days of crass commerce and capitalism where our more fortunate colleagues zip by in slick luxury cars to shockingly brief 15-minute consultations. Even one flick of the stethoscope costs a bundle.

Yet we must always remember that physicians heal people, and the more we become businessmen and public relations representatives in rabid pursuit of the almighty dollar, the more we compromise this vital function. Medicine without ideals or ethics? I shudder at the very thought.

You'd expect such noble aspirations to hold true for other professions but you'd be wrong. A quick dialogue about our working ideals left me distressed as I found everyone else mindlessly worshipping on the altar of financial cornucopia instead. Literally screw ideals over for the big bucks. Acceptable for those of us grown jaded with work but such misanthropic cynicism coming from the mouths of relative babes! Bright young sparks the twinkling dawn of their careers!

What the hell happened to the fiery idealism of youth? Extinguished by the the Gucci heel of commerce?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Performance Reviews

I'll admit I'm a sucker for gossip.

Even when it comes to me. Let's face it, when you're sitting easy in the corner office, you can reasonably expect to get brickbats. Certainly didn't expect rave reviews all the time. After all everyone - even the laziest layabouts - are entitled to an opinion.

Even bad ones.

Probably made far worse after I gave them a long blistering lecture before I made my exit. Definitely left a painfully lasting impression! Fortunately I also have a clandestine handful of spies at my side all too willing to come tattletale to me.

Spy : I heard somrthing about you!
Paul : Do tell!
Spy : It's not very good news though. A few of them have complaints.
Paul : Even better!
Spy : You don't really care, do you?
Paul : Don't really give a damn. But hell, I'd love to hear more!

It was surprisingly milder than I thought. More idle gossip than truth.

Too forceful. Too gentle. Too harsh. Too lenient. Too fast. Too slow. Trying to conform to all their individual needs would turn me into a crazed schizophrenic with an identity disorder. Such a fine line to tread between the two extremes.

Paul : Damn. You should have informed me of such treachery earlier. I could have cut off a few more heads back then!

Rather than be everything to everyone, no wonder Miranda Priestly just resolved to be one uncaring bitch. So much easier than pandering to their endless demands!

And I used to wonder why bosses can be so inexplicably nasty sometimes. Obviously you do need to walk in another man's shoes to appreciate the difficulties of his position. Take it from me, being a boss isn't all that easy either. Trying to live up to each and everyone's expectations can be damned exhausting! After a while, it's just tempting to say fuck it and do it your own way.

After receiving such a critique, you'd expect weepy penitence from the average joe - perhaps tearful promises to change for the better. But I'm kinda monstrous. Looking back, I now wish I'd cracked the whip a bit harder! Maybe made them cry.

Perhaps during their end-year performance reviews.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Greeks Bearing Gifts

Ever since a besotted Adam offered Eve the proverbial apple, men have always sought to woo the objects of their affections with material things. From precious firewood and dinosaur meat in our distant caveman past to the more palatable branded goods of today such as Tiffanys and iPhones.

And the lucky damsel thus courted takes it all in her stride, accepting such material gifts as offerings laid on the altar of her divine self.

Despite the violent bra-burnings of women's emancipation in decades past, it's pretty much been the same ever since. Standing at the door of their beloved, Romeos still come laden with gifts of flowers, chocolates and jewellery.

Which does pose a little bit of a quandary for the gay men. Such antiquated roles tend to get a bit blurred when there's two men in the mix. Contrary to popular belief, not all homosexual relationships can be neatly defined as a dominant husband / submissive wife archetype.

Or what I call the flower-and-gardener bit.

Pardon my horticultural reference - but I certainly have no need to be tended like a hothouse flower nor do I want to spend my life as the constant gardener. Though I'm alright with the entire hoe-ing and seeding bit.

But I'll admit there are a few boys who still ascribe to such regressive notions.

Some who literally expect to be showered with gifts during a courtship. A dating rite a friend of mine - let's call him Valorous Vincent - is attempting as he pays his addresses to a certain youthful stripling. Pay seems to be the word here since Vincent forks out credit to purchase shirts, shoes and stereos for his inamorata.

Well, almost everything that a promising young man could want!

Paul : I would have bought him a leash and a leather whip for yourself.
Vincent : Don't think he would appreciate that.
Paul : Why not? He's kinda a pampered pet.

I don't blame Vincent. A man in love does what he can.

Now that's a thanks for ya!

But doesn't his boyish beau feel in the least bit... perturbed by the fact? Doesn't he feel a prick of conscience at the nagging thought that a perfect stranger's literally crowding his doorstep with expensive gifts? Look, tokens and trinkets such as flowers and chocolates I can accept - but when it comes to excessive presents that constitute a significant chunk of the average monthly salary, I think there should be a line drawn.

Especially if you don't intend to say yes to the unspoken question.

Where do you draw the line between gift-giving amongst buds and stringing along a guy for bling? Come on, be a man. Don't accept what you can't return in kind.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Wedding Titters

Is it getting uncool to be excited about a wedding?

Don't believe the dozens of wedding magazines out there with serene, smiling brides in frothy fairytale confections! These days it's nearly impossible trying to get the career-minded Miss Independents to even pick a wedding date, much less choose a dress. Somehow gushing raves over lacy veils and spring bouquets has become a thing of the past! Well, at least for the girls I know!

Paul : Planned anything for the wedding yet?
Bride : Plan? I figure I'll just book a table the month before and just get a dress.
Paul : Just book anywhere with an off-the-rack dress?
Bride : Well, maybe white.
Paul : Might as well get a white tee!
Bride : That might work.
Paul : You aren't in the least bit excited?
Bride : Nah, my mom's the one who's excited. I just want to get it over with.

The anti-bride couldn't have been more blasé about the upcoming event.

Instead you have the era of the spartan ceremony. The simpler the better; just a wham-bam-thanks-you're-married bit at the city hall with the taxi driver in attendance. And whoever happens to be free that morning to be a witness.

Hell, you don't even have to get a white dress.

Bride : OMG Somebody get me away from this crazy wedding planner!

Not the first time I've wailed over such a bride of course. Perhaps it's because they have always taken it for granted that wedding is a heterosexual right for them, hence there isn't very much of a deal to be made of it. After all, if drunken teen starlets can get married and divorced in mere seconds - why make it worth the while?

A fact that always puts me in a little snit. Seriously. What happened to wishing and hoping, and thinking and praying?

Watch Sex and the City 2 where it opens in style with a big, blowsy gay wedding. Sure it might be a little gay-over-the-top ( earning nervous titters from the mostly straight audience ) with the swans, the singing chorus and even Liza Minnelli! But you know why they went to all that trouble? Because the day is special. And for gay men, it's doubly special since it's something they probably never thought would ever happen in their lifetimes.

Which is why it just pisses me off when folks try to pass it off as something less than ordinary.

Cherish the fucking event. It's not just any other day dammit.

If not, you might as well let me have the wedding day.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

If Wishes were Horses

I never had a rich uncle.

You know one of those wealthy fairytale uncles who come by laden with exorbitant gifts on special occasions? Yeah, never had one of those. Unfortunately mine were either too grumpy, too distant or just too far away to bother with their pesky lil nephews.

Always thought it was a pity that we never actually had such a close familial bond - which is why I do try to spoil my own niece and nephew every once in a while. Lucky them I know! Not only have they a doting granny who spoils them rotten, they also have an uncle who sneaks them candy.

So when received an unexpected bonus from work, I posed a question to Chatty Carmen.

Paul : Name a place and I'll take you there next year.

Since she's been a pretty good girl this year - with an exemplary report card, I figured that's highly deserving of a reward.

Time to travel!

Didn't fear that Carmen would ask for a ticket to wild outlandish places like the Moon, Narnia or even Oz since the cynical jade simply doesn't indulge in such childish fancy. With Carmen's obsession with the globe in my home office, she must have been thinking of someplace to go.

On my side, I was pretty much hoping that she'd decide on a place in the Continent since I haven't travelled that way in a really long while. Though I couldn't tell exactly what would interest her there, I knew I'd be able to find plenty to do in London. Or even Paris. Or even Rome.

But with an open ticket to pretty much anywhere, Carmen's simple answer surprised me. Very much to the dismay of her mother as well :)

Paul : So where would you want to go?
Carmen : Go home of course. Here!
Paul : You could go anywhere in the world and you want to be here?
Carmen : Yes!
Sister-in-law : Noooo!

Highly philosophical, I'm sure. And with her evident financial frugality, definitely her father's daughter!

Monday, August 02, 2010

Under the Weather

As a kid I used to get sick pretty often.

Visited the clinic often enough that I actually thought the paediatrician was a friend of my mother's who just happened to be the kindly sort who offered sickly sweet candy paired with horrid noxious-tasting remedies. Not forgetting an odd fetish of checking out kids with his metal stethoscopes.

But a trip to the clinic usually meant a side jaunt to the mall so I was usually easily mollified.

Always makes me wonder whether my early recurrent visits - and the subsequent familiarity with doctors - had any subliminal effect in my application to medical school.

Damn. I think I'm getting a fever.

These days I find myself inured to all sorts of medications. Since I distrust most pharmaceuticals, I tend not to take any when I fall ill. Rather than dose myself up full of antihistamines and antibiotics, I usually fall back on traditional remedies like chicken soup and orange juice. Even the occasional aromatherapy.

So it obviously takes a much, much longer time to get better. Which irritates me no end during my protracted convalescence ( complete with sniffing salts and oh-woe-is-me expression ). Doctors do make the worst patients.

Still wouldn't don't mind a lollipop though.