Sunday, June 20, 2010


Unbeknown to most, I have never been a fan of online shopping.

while i love to shop, i suspect i only adore it so much because i enjoy walking into a store, pregnant with anticipation of the potential finds awaiting me. i like running my hands through clothing racks, getting a feel of dress fabrics, opening and closing bag clasps, making trips to the fitting room. most of all, i relish the moment when i pay for my purchases and have my spoils handed to me in a paper bag.

so what would make me temporarily forgo the real shopping experience for a round of prosaic mouse-clicking?

say hello to etsy, an online treasure trove of handmade everythings from little sequinned bags to wooden crockery cupboards. just one try and i was charmed enough to buy these:

the former is a handstitched canary yellow clutch that i think would go very well with my forest green evening gown, while the latter is a vintage leather tote circa 1960 that looks like it's in mint condition. i took the trouble of googling the bag maker, which turned out to be a high-end department store founded in san francisco in the 1920s that went bust in 1984. which only served to pique my curiosity further, since the words "vintage", "now-defunct" and "one piece only", when strung together in a sentence, can only mean one thing: MUST BUY.
am waiting with bated breath for the box that contains my newfound possessions to reach me. if they turn out to be good, you can bet i'll be heading to etsy's for my wedding jewellery!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Just One of Dem Days

Overheard in the office toilet.

Female A (while in cubicle): eh, i think i want to go buy burger later.

Female B (preening in front of the toilet mirror): but you ate burger yesterday wat.

A: yes, but the double cheeseburger was so nice i want to eat again.

B: (laughing) the way you eat burger very funny leh.

A: (joining in with more laughter) yah, i separate the burger and eat one.

B: yah yah yah! you eat the bread first then the pickles then you lick the tomato sauce and eat the cheese-

A: (cutting B off) no lah! i dont eat the cheese separately one! all melt liao how to eat separately?

B: (chuckling)

A: shit.

B: what?

A: i think i got urine infection. drink so much water but nothing come out one.

(me in the other cubicle: ????)

B: huh? what you mean? your pee very yellow ah?

B: (coming out from cubicle) yah lor, i always drink so much water but no urine when i go toilet. then got bubbles somemore...

(women exit toilet.)

in two milliseconds we went from double cheeseburgers to urine infections. super duper.

then on my way home i saw a pair of hormonally-charged teenagers eating each other's faces out at a secluded (but still exposed) corner of the mrt station.

just one of dem days.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

The Future of Futenma

An extremely robust argument that echoes my sentiments on the issue of the Futenma relocation. Copyright laws or no, this article deserves to be reproduced in its full glory.

Futenma is undermining Japanese democracy

By DEBITO ARUDOU, The Japan Times

Times are tough for the Hatoyama Cabinet. It's had to backtrack on several campaign promises. Its approval ratings have plummeted to around 20 percent. And that old bone of contention — what to do about American military bases on Japanese soil — has resurfaced again.

The Okinawa Futenma base relocation issue is complicated, and Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has devoted too much time to a battle he simply cannot win. If the American troops stay as is, Okinawan protests will continue and rifts within the Cabinet will grow. If the troops are moved within Japan, excessive media attention will follow and generate more anti-Hatoyama and anti-American sentiment. If the troops leave Japan entirely, people will grumble about losing American money.

So let's ask the essential question: Why are U.S. bases still in Japan?

One reason is inertia. America invaded Okinawa in 1945, and the bases essentially remain as spoils of war. Even after Okinawa's return to Japan in 1972, one-sixth of Okinawa is technically still occupied, hosting 75 percent of America's military presence in Japan. We also have the knock-on effects of Okinawan dependency on the bases (I consider it a form of "economic alcoholism"), and generations of American entrenchment lending legitimacy to the status quo.

Another reason is Cold War ideology. We hear arguments about an unsinkable aircraft carrier (as if Okinawa is someplace kept shipshape for American use), a bulwark against a pugilistic North Korea or a rising China (as if the DPRK has the means or China has the interest to invade, especially given other U.S. installations in, say, South Korea or Guam). But under Cold War logic including "deterrence" and "mutually assured destruction," the wolf is always at the door; woe betide anyone who lets their guard down and jeopardizes regional security.

Then there's the American military's impressive job of preying on that insecurity. According to scholar Chalmers Johnson, as of 2005 there were 737 American military bases outside the U.S. (an actual increase since the Cold War ended) and 2.5 million U.S. military personnel serving worldwide. What happened to the "peace dividend" promised two decades ago after the fall of the Berlin Wall? Part of it sunk into places like Okinawa.

But one more reason demonstrates an underlying arrogance within the American government: "keeping the genie in the bottle" — the argument that Japan also needs to be deterred, from remilitarizing. The U.S. military's attitude seems to be that they are here as a favor to us.

Some favor. As history shows, once the Americans set up a base abroad, they don't leave. They generally have to lose a war (as in Vietnam), have no choice (as in the eruption of Pinatubo in the Philippines), or be booted out by a dictator (as in Uzbekistan). Arguments about regional balances of power are wool over the eyes. Never mind issues of national sovereignty — the demands of American empire require that military power be stationed abroad. Lump it, locals.

But in this case there's a new complication: The Futenma issue is weakening Japan's government.

Hatoyama has missed several deadlines for a resolution (while the American military has stalled negotiations for years without reprisal), enabling detractors to portray him as indecisive. He's had to visit Okinawa multiple times to listen to locals and explain. Meanwhile, the opposition Liberal Democratic Party claims Hatoyama is reneging on a promise (which is spoon-bitingly hypocritical, given the five decades the LDP completely ignored Okinawa, and the fact that Hatoyama has basically accepted an accord concluded by the LDP themselves in 2006). And now, with Mizuho Fukushima's resignation from the Cabinet, the coalition government is in jeopardy.

Futenma is taking valuable time away from other policies that concern Japan, such as corruption and unaccountability, growing domestic economic inequality, crippling public debts, and our future in the world as an aging society.

As the momentum ebbs from his administration, Hatoyama is in a no-win situation. But remember who put him there. If America really is the world's leading promoter of democracy, it should consider how it is undermining Japan's political development. After nearly 60 years of corrupt one-party rule, Japan finally has a fledgling two-party system. Yet that is withering on the vine thanks to American geopolitical manipulation.

We keep hearing how Japan's noncooperation will weaken precious U.S.-Japan ties. But those ties have long been a leash — one the U.S., aware of how susceptible risk-averse Japan is to "separation anxiety," yanks at whim. The "threatened bilateral relationship" claim is disingenuous — the U.S. is more concerned with bolstering its military-industrial complex than with Asia's regional stability.

In sum, it's less a matter of Japan wanting the U.S. bases to stay, more a matter of the U.S. bases not wanting to leave. Japan is a sovereign country, so the Japanese government has the final say. If that means U.S. forces relocating or even leaving completely, the U.S. should respectfully do so without complaint, not demand Japan find someplace else for them to go. That is not Japan's job.

Yet our politicians have worked hard for decades to represent the U.S. government's interests to the Japanese public. Why? Because they always have.

The time has come to stop being prisoners of history. World War II and the Cold War are long over.

That's why this columnist says: Never mind Futenma. All U.S. bases should be withdrawn from Japanese soil, period. Anachronisms, the bases have not only created conflicts of interest and interfered with Japan's sovereignty, they are now incapacitating our government. Japan should slip the collar of U.S. encampments and consider a future under a less dependent, more equal relationship with the U.S.

The Next Miss Popular

Hello, my name is Serinah and I am in the running to be the next Miss Popular.

i'm participating in a contest that doesnt require me to answer questions about alleviating poverty or promoting world peace. i dont even need to strut the catwalk in my national costume or parade around in a bikini.

but i do need to prove that i am interesting and loved enough to fill 120 seats in a ballroom. which doesnt really seem all that difficult, does it? i mean, other (lesser) mortals have managed, with a great degree of success i might add, to pack more people into even larger venues.

but you see, the theory of relativity presides over such situations. if you have 500 seats, you can invite every other third-tier friend or random hanako or taro you know, with very little need to think about the dynamics of your relationship with such people. the act of extending an invitation in such a situation is not loaded with meaning simply because there is no need to pass your entire social circle through a sift into its various ranks and levels so that you may filter out your inner circle from all of the rest.

when there are only 100 blanks to fill in the guest list however, things begin to take on a bigger meaning. it translates into the necessary selection of a choice few. which also hints at the shock that awaits you when the people you tagged as your "close friends" choose instead to sit on the invitation or reject coming altogether.

and so, here i am gripped with the fear of being treated as the second/third/fourth-tier/unranked friend as i send out save-the-date messages to my potential guests.

i'm really not in it to win. i'm just hoping that people will love me as much as i love them.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Ode to Single Ladies

This is probably very passe, but I chanced upon these videos and i simply HAD to make sure that more people get to see them!

beyonce is smoking hot in this performance. when i was watching it i could only think one thing: her legs. her. LEGS.

check this one out too. i think i'm having a happy overdose of single ladies.

i am so gonna be jay-z when i grow up.