Friday, September 25, 2009

Random Tidbits

Everyone living on their own has a few tricks up their sleeves on how to clear leftover food from the fridge.

so far, my favourite solutions are fried rice (anything and everything goes!), stir-fried noodle dishes and sandwiches.

the other day i had a box of rapidly dying mini tomatoes, some rocket lettuce leaves, frozen minced meat and a slice of cheese. so i turned it into taco rice, the okinawan take on mexican tacos. i didnt have worcestershire sauce at home, so i substituted with oyster sauce and it still works. plus it's healthy so i didnt have to feel bad about finishing the entire plate on my own.

in between daily stabs of painful torture also known as thesis-writing, i have taken comfort in trying on the new shades of nail polish that i bought from the face shop on my last trip to singapore.

cheap, fast, good and goes on easy. it actually looks like i had it professionally done if you dont look at it too close.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

War With Words

The girl in Hongkong just got her first Holga, and the other in California is going to football games and making yoghurt.

i'm just the one here with my laptop, thinking of saving the world by wielding the pen (or the keys of my computer or whatever).

i still havent used the brand new oven i bought, and i think that while i can slice carrots and other vegetables better now my cooking still sucks. and i want to take pottery and teach english to the community too. why is it that even though my days have been taken over by the massive torture of writing a thesis i am still stung by the fear of being unproductive?

i mean really, is sitting in the grad room for hours on end that meaningful to the rest of the human population? lately i realised that the so-called pursuit of knowledge is a narcissistic endeavour, an exercise to please the self. i claim that my work shall make known the conditions in okinawa and help make it a better place, but the truth of the matter is, the only people who are ever going to read my thesis are my supervisors, the teachers who have to grade it and possibly two other kind-hearted souls who share my field of research.

if i am so keen on taking on the role of mother theresa i should really just go out and get my hands dirty. this is perhaps the very reason why activism never went down well with academicism.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Pledge

One Newpaper article from Veena about the 822 Pledge Moment generated some minor controversy, most of it caused by this guy called Alvin, who said something about Veena not having the right to talk what it means to be singaporean because she just got her citizenship a year ago.

when challenged, mr. ambiguous maintained that he wasnt making a personal attack on veena, but i read his blog post over and over again and it still stinks of defamation. anyway, i dont claim to write as well as the man so i guess it's possibly the language thing marring my understanding of his views.

if mr. ambiguous is right in saying that veena doesnt understand what it means to live under the laws and requirements of singapore citizenship, then it might follow that we as singaporeans wont be able to fathom how veena feels about gaining official acceptance in the form of a pink IC after 17 long years of living as a long-term resident in this country.

naming yourself one in the "10% of the population who dares to provide an alternate view" ("the view that too many Singaporeans are too afraid, or too ignorant to have", mind you), doesnt serve as justification for having exclusionist and dismissive opinions. i would given him more credit if he had phrased it in a nicer way, but now he simply sounds as if he's pointing a finger at the rest of us and calling us a herd of sheep. in short, you dont earn the privilege of spouting disparaging remarks just by playing the "I'm so different from all you other people" card.

for all its worth, us "90% people" sometimes dont see the point of engaging in debate about issues like this because they will always be people like alvin telling us what we know and how we feel. and guess what? it's not because we dont know any better. it's really just because we dont see the need to justify the fact that we HAVE opinions.

even if i were in singapore, i wouldnt have taken part in the pledge moment because like someone already mentioned, it would just reek of campaign farcity, the kind the government is very good at creating (speak mandarin, dont spit or litter, be courteous, the whole lot). but i checked to see if i remembered the words and i found myself pleasantly surprised that i still do. not wanting to place my hand across my right breast and say the pledge come national day doesnt mean that i dont believe in its contents. the words of the pledge are not conveyed merely as a means to an ends, rather it is a reminder of all the ideals that we should strive for as a nation.

too many of us cling to the tendency of identifying our country with its government. singapore is not, and will never be all about PAP. once we fall into the trap of making that assumption, everything will seem immutable. remember that we are only 44 years into independence. democracy and all the things we think we should strive for as a people are achievable if we know that a country is really about its people. the fact that LDP lost its stronghold in the japanese cabinet this summer after 55 long years; the fact that america only saw its first black president in 2008 is enough food for thought.

i am not blind to the flaws of my country and i do not always approve of the plans adopted by my government. but i do know for a fact that people like us, those were born and bred in singapore, sometimes take our citizenship for granted. maybe even someone like alvin.