Category Archives: Dailies 生活点滴

His Love Story

I was at a car wash at an off peak hour and while getting my car wiped down, one of the workers very politely came over to ask for a photo. I gladly obliged. He walked away and moments later he approached me and said, “Mam, can I ask you a question?” I replied, “Sure!” and looked at him expectantly.

He averted my gaze, lowered his head, licked his lips and looked like he was mustering the courage to ask what is now the question. He paused.

I grew increasingly curious about what it was he wanted to know that was making him so awkward.

“Mam, what does a woman look for in a man?”

I was stumped into silence. It was a simple question yet not so simple. I couldn’t answer straightaway because I knew it wasn’t about me. It was evident that he was probably hoping to find answers for himself. In other words, he must be having doubts or problems in his relationship.

Sure enough, after I blabbered something about the importance of communication, having someone who can understand me…he asked, “If you love somebody but always quarrel, does that mean it’s not the right person?”

Now it was my turn to pause. I didn’t want to respond because it wasn’t in my place to and more importantly I didn’t want to give him any (misleading) ideas.

He went on to share that he is going to get married to his ex in a month’s time, but they have been quarreling a lot. This morning before he left for work, they had a quarrel again. He is stressed up at work and he is stressed up at home. It appears that they fight over the smallest things.

I was moved by how truthful he was about his feelings and how he was hoping to improve the situation. I felt a warmth from this stranger, who was pouring his heart to me. He was reaching out to me in an effort to help himself.

I guess his wife-to-be might be feeling the same way on the other end. But he will never know and neither will she because they aren’t talking to each other about it. They probably can’t even broach the discussion without arguing about something else first.

Now is his marriage doomed before it even started? Is that why so many couples either don’t talk to each other anymore or end up in divorce?

“Do u remember what it was like when the two of you were dating?” I asked him.

He nodded, lips curved up in a faint smile, eyes searching the sky. It seemed like he was trying to recall moments, maybe specific incidents that made them both smile.

“When we are happy we laugh a lot, but now we just keep quarreling and I am so stressed. I love her, but if we always quarrel then maybe we should just be friends.”

My heart sighed.

Sometimes you just forget to be nice to each other; sometimes you become so used to being irritated with one another that even when one party tries to be nice, the other blindly reacts in a negative way; sometimes couples get caught up with daily tasks, to-do lists, family decisions, that they forget to love.

Everything in life becomes ruled by KPIs. We familiarise ourselves with “how to achieve”, “when to complete” in every aspect of our lives. But love has no must complete date. There is no end or finish to it. And because of that, it is easy to put it aside.

It’s like one morning you are in a rush and u didn’t kiss your partner goodbye. The next day your partner woke up late for work and didn’t kiss you goodbye. Each day pass with something that requires both your attention other than that kiss, then weeks, then months, and before you know it, a new habit has formed. What started off as seemingly  justifiable neglect becomes the beginning of the end of affection.

Love is not what needs to be done. It is not made up of acts. A kiss can be just as empty if there is no love. What I mean is when we focus on the practicalities of life, neglect sets in. We become careless with the way we speak, we become calculative, we become stingy with our affections. We find excuses like “it’s natural that the honeymoon period is over”, to justify the deterioration of relationships; we blame the other person for starting it.

It’s not easy for two people to get together, it is even harder to stay together. But like the saying goes, you can drag a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.  It takes both to cherish the rare union and make the effort to keep the romance alive.

When I told the stranger who asked, that I look for a man whom I can communicate with and understand me, I didn’t mean to be generic, I firmly believe that is the foundation to having a fulfilling relationship.

And it starts with listening.

Goodbye Christmas

This year is moving along so quickly. I just had to find time to take down my Christmas decorations and get ready for the Year of the Horse.

Have you taken down your Christmas tree yet?

I love the whimsical nature of my Hallmark vintage ornaments, but till the next Christmas, they shall all go into hibernation now.

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Misleading headlines

Misleading headlines are not exclusive to this generation, although social media does provide more room for distortion. Public opinion, albeit based upon exaggerated facts or inaccurate reports, remains a creative expression, unique to every individual and allows us to make sense of life. We cannot deprive one another of this need, for it will strip us bare of thoughts, thoughts that help us move forward.

Lack of clarification is not a sign of weakness, it is my respect for your need to be creative. Art needs creativity to flourish and this industry is all about that.

Prominent literary figures have written about this way before this era.

Jean Cocteau, French poet, novelist, dramatist, designer, playwright, artist and filmmaker, in his 20s.

The inaccuracies of the press, and the banner headlines by which they are trumpeted, are soothing draughts to this thirst for the unreal.

— Jean Cocteau, 5 July 1889 – 11 October 1963

The Man who made Sex on the Beach

If you’re wondering what’s the first thing I’m going to do after Star Awards tomorrow, it will be to indulge in local delights!

That’s because I will be filming a regional food programme early next morning, where I take Alvin Leung, aka Demon Chef to taste some of Singapore’s local delights.

Demon Chef Alvin Leung

He doesn’t look like your typical chef, but that’s because he really isn’t your typical chef. He’s a chef who is also a food deconstructionist. From what I’ve Googled, that means he breaks the dish down into its core ingredients, and then using those key ingredients, whip up the same dish in a different form. This is a purely theoretical explanation I derived from what I’ve read so far. I will probably get a better idea when I meet him next week.

Now take a look at one his most famous dishes:

Sex on the Beach

Alvin unveiled this dish at a prestigious culinary congress, Identita Golose in Milan.

This unique dish features a sweet edible condom, made by dipping a cigar tube into a kappa and konjac mixture. Using a pipette, Alvin then squeezed a few drops of a honey and Yunnan ham mixture. The ‘condom’ was then placed onto powdered shiitake mushrooms, made to look like sand.

At one time, Alvin also recreated this dish into a dessert at his restaurant Bo Innovation, in support of AIDS charities.

Dessert: Sex on the Beach (HK$68)

The strawberry flavoured condom constructed out of gelatin contains condensed milk, served with berry coulis, vanilla creme and biscuit beach ‘sand’.

Now Sex on the Beach seems more like an invention than a deconstruction. Which brings me to the question: When does deconstructed food become a new dish altogether?

Before I meet him, here’s my idea of deconstructed food. If you’ve been to The Cookie Musuem, you will find cookies in local flavours, such as Hainanese Chicken Rice and Hae Bee Hiam (Spicy Dried Shrimps).

Photo: The Pleasure Monger

In other words, instead of having Chicken Rice and Hae Bee Hiam consumed the usual way, all the ingredients are put into a cookie.

Am I right or am I confused? I’ll find out from Alvin soon.

Pray for Japan

Originally posted on David Gan's blog

Original post on David Gan’s blog

Grab the latest issue of iWeekly!

Just before the year ended last year, I was down at Studio 5 doing a cover shoot for iWeekly cover promoting “It’s a Great Great World”.

Actually I was shooting by myself because we couldn’t fit all our schedules in. The team did a great job stitching us together eh?

The last few pictures were really fun to do because I was allowed free play, so I pretty much did whatever I want.

To read my full interview, remember to grab a copy!

Injecting local flavour in TV serials

Please click to enlarge the image.

It’s always easier said than done, but what do we know of the limitations faced by content providers in trying to inject local flavour into local content?

I once spoke to a certain official from a particular government organisation who said he would like to see more colour in our local dramas, especially since we are a multi-racial society, so that should be reflected in our shows. But it’s excruciatingly painful for  someone whose mother tongue is not Mandarin to memorise lines based on hanyu pinyin, and have to act and react at the same time. Also I think there could be a certain rule set by MDA that limits the percentage of alternative languages that can be spoken in Chinese drama. So unlike in American dramas where you see people of different skin colour in every setting, we don’t have a common language to unify us.

But this lack of a common language is what defines us.

In fact, I think the way Singaporeans speak is very uniquely Singapore, (but I’m not sure we are exactly very proud of that). The truth is when we speak Mandarin, we inject a bit of English here, a bit of Hokkien there, and throw in a Malay adjective once in a while, and while we don’t have terrible pronunciation, we are not Beijing-accurate either. Yet we are not encouraged to speak this way on TV, which I think could be due to a certain guideline, but then again I never asked to know for sure. I think though, that even if we are allowed to do so by our directors and executive producers, it would certainly anger some disapproving viewers who think we should be setting a good example instead of perpetuating a less-than-perfect speech pattern.

From what I see, it’s a sticky situation.

It certainly doesn’t taken one person or even a panel of decision-makers to alter the status quo of our local television content. It needs a revolution (or miracle, depending on how you want to see it) that won’t take place overnight. But I think that shouldn’t deter us from recognising the need to solve the fundamental problem that is causing  lacklustre audiences’ response.

Results don’t come if you don’t start from somewhere.

我在回复这位朋友时,认为或许可以与更多人分享我的看法。

读者认为应该多制作具有本地风味的电视剧,比如《出路》和 Channel 5 目前还在播映的 “Fighting Spiders”.

我呢,则认为,不是以那种年代当背景的电视剧,并不代表它就没有本地风味。毕竟我们的国家已经成长了许多,现在的环境,人民所面对的压力和挑战都和以前不同。那我们要怎么样把这个年代给搬上电视,制作一部脍炙人口的电视剧, 才是接下来应该关注的挑战。

我认为本地电视剧就好像是一个国家的相簿,记录着不同年代的环境,也描述了国家和人民的进步和成长。80年代的代表作有《雾锁南洋》,《红头巾》等,就算不是出生在那个年代的人,看了电视剧也能对当时的新加坡大概有个概念。可是十年、二十年后,人们想知道我们这个年代的思想和环境是如何的话,如果所观赏的都是年代剧,那我们不是好像没有前进吗?

不过说来容易,我们又对制作组所面对的限制了解多少呢?

曾经听过某个政府机构的高层说,希望在我们的电视剧里看到更多色彩,既然我们是多元宗族国家,电视剧就应该凸显这一面。可是要一个母语不是华语的演员靠拼音背台词,然后又要演戏,又要作反应,真的会要了他的命! 况且听说有某个政府条规,限制在华语电视剧里能说其他语言的比例。所以我们不象美国的电视剧,能靠一个统一的语言让不同肤色的演员在同一个环境切磋。

虽然我们少了一个共同语言,但这也是我们独特的地方。

我们大部分新加坡华人的其中一个特色,就是平时的对话里常常参杂了不同语言,发音不很差,但也不是特别标准 。(这或许不是每个人愿意接受的特征。)电视剧不鼓励这么做,应该是因为要按照条规吧,我也不清楚,也从来没有人提过可以还是不可以。但是我想就算可以,播了出去也会惹来观众的批评,认为我们应该给下一代树立好榜样。

我在此又在强调的是,要让本地制作包含着本地风味,要制作杰出的电视剧不是靠一个人的努力,或是一个条规的调整,而是整个大环境的改革。这也不是一朝一夕能发生的事。

不过如果能意识到我们必需从最基本的根源下手,那已经是一个开始。