Making Light of Things

April 2005 Archives

Architects as Web Designers

Feel our pain. If architects had to work like web designers. Brilliantly put.

Rebuilding in Progress

As faithful readers have experienced on numerous occassions, Tribolum will be undergoing a live reconstruction. This does mean things will not look as pretty, but changes will be made in real time.

I know that while professionally this is never done, I embark on every redesign of Tribolum with a vague idea of where it will lead me.

Cross your fingers.

Questions for One Born Yesterday

A day after we brought Anne home I had my very first heart-to-heart with her. I asked, “What does God look like?”

It becomes apparent to me, now two weeks later, that it would probably be a question she’ll ask me in the years to come.

Winds of Change

Watched the first episode of Joey yesterday, the Tribiani spin-off from Friends. The humour isn’t as sharp, but it’s always nice to see a familiar face. I think nostalgia is one factor this sitcom has on its side. I doubt the funnies can go very far. I could be wrong, but from the first episode, more characters need to be brought in fast. Then Joey (of all people) says something profound:

(again, heavily paraphrased)

You think I like change? I was happy in New York. But people move on. They get married. They have children. If there’s anything I’ve learned, it is that change is hard.

Min’s job in Arizona is starting to get exciting, with trips to various cities in the United States.

Change is hard.

Flickr of Light

For Anne’s 0th (or is it 0nd?) birthday, I got her a Flickr account. We’ll chronicle her life, as best we can at Annegirl.

I know it sucks that you have to register to add comments, but honestly, Flickr is the coolest photo sharing site out there. You ought to have an account, as long as you take photos.

The Casino de Bait

A few moments ago, the Singapore government gave the “green light” for the building of casinos (coined as “integrated resorts” by the powers that be) in Singapore. Boiled down to its very essence, this debate pits the pragmatism of economics against the ideals and principles of the general populace.

Among some of the issues I had with the Prime Minister’s speech was his discounting of the people’s voice. He said that msot of these opinions were personal, and some were of a religious nature, and that as a government they had to remain secular and have the people’s interests at heart (if I recall correctly).

It is obvious the voice of the people is a matter of personal opinion. Many of the non-supporters have seen their own families ruined by gambling. Does this make their viewpoint any less valid? Is the emotional trauma irrelevant? Did we add a dollar value to offset the economic benefits we would gain from having not one, but two casinos in Singapore?

Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t all the religious groups oppose the building of the casino? Prime Minister Lee says that in a multi-religious setting, no one group’s values should have greater importance than another’s.

Dear Sir, capitalism is as strong as any religion. Not choosing an ideal isn’t an option.

Ok, got to run back to the telly for the continuation.

After Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan listed the safeguards that will be put into place to deal with the social ills that come with gambling. Among which is a $100/day, $2000/year admission fee.

Other (heavily paraphrased) speeches include:

“Let us put aside our differences and move on” - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong

“I was against it, but after weighing the greater good, we cannot pass the opportunity by” - Wong Kan Seng.

“I am a Muslim, but I can’t force my values on other people. Should we stop selling meat and condoms to cater to a particular group?” - Yakob Ibrahim, Minister for Muslim Affairs.

Loudest expulsion of hot air:

“When we talk about an aquarium, you’ll think about the one at the basement of Wisma Atria, or even the underwater world at Sentosa. But what if I told you we’ll have an aquarium large enough for a whale to swim freely? That’s the kind of scale we’re talking about”. - Lim Hng Kiang, Minister for Trade and Industry.

The whale comment drew laughter, especially from the two members of parliament sitting directly behind Lim Hng Kiang. The blonde guy (if someone can identify who he is) mouthed incredulously, “Whale! A whale! Blue whale!”.

Surviving Day Three

It has been ten days since Anne was born. To be honest, it’s amazing that ten whole days have passed without Faith and I disintegrating into dust. I have been wanting to write about day 3 for some time now, but while it was meant to be a short tutorial of sorts, being a full-time parent often means that you lose the mental acuity to form and elaborate on ideas. Baby-babble has become my main language, and it is sometimes a struggle to find the right adult words.

Why day 3? The first day is all about the labour. The water-breaking, the contractions, the rush to the hospital. Whether the wife should take the epidural (I see many women nodding their heads). The baby doesn’t yet figure into the equation. I’m sure you read about how fathers who hold their babies for the first time magically transform from beer-guzzling middle-aged frat boys to sensitive, new-age stockbroker types. It’s a lie - day 3 is why they head back to the office to “be responsible and bring home the bacon”.

So you spend the first two days of the baby’s life in the hospital. Nurses tend to your child’s every need, wheeling your precious one in every two hours for the feed. The child’s an angel…yadda yadda. I even said that I was lucky that Anne had a more pleasing-sounding wail than most other babies I’ve heard screaming at the top of their lungs. You start to form plans and dreams.

“Such nice hair, maybe she can be a supermodel”. “He has huge feet, he could be the swimmer our landlocked country has been looking for”. Then before you get too carried away, the baby is wheeled back to the hospital nursery, and the last image you have of the baby is one of a content, well-fed, perfect bundle of joy.

Then comes day three. Day three comes after baby makes his or her inaugural car ride home. The cot you spent three hours assembling awaits, diapers stacked neatly on the side. There are no pillows or blankets because you just read the latest “how to care for your baby” book and it recommends these things. Your bedroom looks like the meeting room of the Scarlet Pimpernel because the books say that babies under two weeks old only see red, black and white. “Bach for babies” is on auto-repeat 24/7. Day 3 passes by, and you are glad that you followed the advice of the experts, even going the extra mile to get the two way $500 baby monitor so you can talk back when you hear little precious crying.

Little precious crying. That’s all you hear the entire night of day 3. You realise that the baby has an assortment of crying sounds, and the not-so-unpleasant-sounding one you heard at the hospital was the movie trailer of what would become the NeverEnding Story.

Anne’s cries that night grew stronger and more piercing as she tested her lungs out on new frequencies that would become more grating and accusatory in nature. There actually came a point I wanted to drop her (on our bed) in the morbid hope that something would break and the crying would stop. I tucked those feelings away, guilty that I could even feel or think a thought like that.

You get so sleep-deprived and flustered that you start spilling milk, breaking glasses, putting used diapers into the fridge instead of the bin. The only background, foreground and middleground noise is the “I didn’t ask to be born!” cry. There are gaps of reprieve in between, but none barely long enough for you to lie down and stretch your vertebre, which by this time have started to smart thanks to the “ergonomically friendly” diaper changing table you spent a month’s salary on.

If you’re the mother, you only start to notice the tears that have been streaming down your face the last two hours. Fathers get to experience levels of stress higher than any shoe-shopping excursions they have been dragged through.

Somewhere in the 45 secs we had to lie down, Faith told me that she felt like shaking Anne, and that she felt horrid about it. I told her I had wanted to drop Anne from a height onto our bed so maybe her batteries would fall out and the crying would stop. I’m glad I have a fellow psychotic in my wife.

In the last 5 secs of the 45 sec reprieve you decide to blog this down, hoping that there are more psychotics out there suffering the same plight. You make a mental note to ask Loobylu how she minds her child, comes up with illustrations, moves into a new home, embarks on Web projects and get this, hand-makes toys for her daughter. I used to think she was amazing, but after day 3 I’m about to set up a loobylu altar in my house.

In the last 5 secs of the 45 sec reprieve I decide to blog about day 3. About how I wanted to murder my child. It scares me to discover I am the person I am, and the parent I turned out to be so early in Anne’s childhood. Even Claire (aka Loobylu) said, “I am not really very good at this motherhood thing”. Maybe there’s hope for me yet.

Why am I only blogging this on Day 10? It took me less than a minute to decide to be honest about it here. I was spending the rest of the time picking up spat-out pacifiers.

By Many Other Names

张惠杰. Anne. Squirmy wormy, honey bunch, sweetiepie.

We register the first two today.

Spam Lookup

Spam Lookup, by Choate. Hopefully after installing this, the word “spam” will come to mean the tinned meat, and the constant barrage I’ve been hammered with will be a memory.

The Big Reveal

Anne Girl, minutes after she was born

Anne girl, minutes after she was born. She likes to do the one eyed wink. Now she opens both eyes under optimal light conditions. She has the clearest, most reflective pupils I’ve ever seen. I want so much to illuminate them with carefully placed strobes, but it’d be really hard to carry her and operate camera equipment.

Sleeping Arrangements

You know you’re a little too tired when you find yourself putting all sorts of weird things in the fridge, and leaving what should have been put in outside.

I need some advice. Anne’s doing ok, I guess. She’s hungry almost all the time, and insists on sleeping right after feeding, pressed up against Faith. We think she just enjoys having a warm body to cozy up to. If we make this a habit, we’re kinda afraid we’ll have to have her sleeping in our bed till she’s 60. We’re not sure if we’re spoiling her and placing ourselves in a precarious position of never ever having space to ourselves.

Or would it be better to tolerate her crying and just leave her in her cot? Didn’t think we’d come to crossroads and tradeoffs so quickly, but she’s learning the rules of the game fast, and especially how to beat them.

Out in the Open

Baby Anne was born on the 8th of April 1:55pm weighting 2.9kg (6.5lbs). She wimpered a little, then settled down almost immediately. She is now finding out many, many other reasons to cry.

Less than 24 hours after her birth, we’ve a ton of photos and short video clips courtesy of my brother-in-law Ralph, who is also going to be a father in four months.

Will post when sleep (and outstanding work) are less of a priority.

God has been miraculously and wonderfully kind.

A New Beginning

Faith’s waterbag broke. We’re off to the hospital!

Freeze Frames

Dan Chia, Sharon, Dan Ng, Jaclyn, Daryl, Casandra and Vanessa in a 10 sec shutter shot

This was taken a few minutes prior to midnight, on a beach lit only by a 7-11 store about 40 meters away. In order to get enough light into the lens for a properly exposed picture, we had to have the shutter open for 10 secs, which meant that everyone had to hold perfectly (or almost perfectly) still for that duration.

Somewhere in the middle of the impromptu photoshoot session, I blurted out that this was the best waste of 20 secs (we were doing 20 second shots at that time) of my life. The laughter spoilt that picture, but it occurred to me that we had something more than a photo here.

We always talk about how photos freeze the moment. Having to physically freeze these guys while waiting for the shutter to close somehow made the photos “fuller”. If an eternity could indeed be contained in a moment, we had 10 secs worth of moments, 10 seconds worth of bonding; we had 10 secs of our lives holding still, sitting next to each other, all captured in this one picture.

Me? I’m the shadow in the foreground.


Ok, after numerous attempts to install MT-Blacklist and not succeeding, I’m going to give it up for tonight. Comment spam is flooding through the blog door and window sill even as I type.

I keep getting a “cannot open schema file” when I try to run mt-bl-load.cgi. Nothing beats the tedious task of having to sift through tons of comment spam every day, but this installation is coming a little too close it for comfort.


So I bit the bullet and propagated the domain name. There are things yet to be moved, but everything is archived and should be restored. A redesign is due, but I’m just glad that I am able to update again.

Will write. Will take photos. Will post them. Will breathe again.

« March 2005
Main Index
May 2005 »