Making Light of Things

January 2009 Archives


There’s a lot of name-calling going on in Singapore.

“Lesser mortals”. “Scholar”. “Foreign talent”. “Civil servant”. “Bacteria”.

Like Ian said, get a perspective. We need to stop dividing ourselves.

Fast Food Wars

Thank you all so much for your suggestions on where to shoot photographs in Singapore. Since we don’t own a car, I’ve been slowly experimenting with various modes of transportation to work and expanding the routes, hopefully encompassing some of the places you’ve brought up.

Here are a few shots from this morning, just downstairs from where I live.

KFC and McDonald's, Kallang Stadium

McDonald's, Kallang Stadium

KFC, Kallang Stadium

The Empress' New Clothes

Our story begins, as many stories do, with the fury of a woman scorned. It was’s first anniversary, and they held a blog awards ceremony. An up-and-coming blogger, Jayne had secured 4 of the 11 awards, a remarkable feat by any standards. However, as the ambitious are wont to do, Jayne threw a hissy fit when she didn’t win the largest award of them all.

Depending on whose account you heard, you either came away with the conclusion that people ought to learn how to lose graciously, or that the people in “power” were abusing their godlike status.

Fast-forward to present day. Jayne announces the registration of the Association of Bloggers (Singapore):

“Association of Bloggers (Singapore) is a non-profit association. It is dedicated to promoting, protecting and educating its members; supporting the development of blogging as new media. I hope eventually it can help to provide legal assistance to bloggers too. It is a professional body for bloggers in Singapore.”

This association was created, if anything, to coalesce power.

“[Singaporean bloggers were] easily manipulated and even banned for standing up against the foreign tyrant from self-proclaimed ‘community meta weblog for Singapore bloggers’.”

And if Jayne’s own blog posts are anything to go by, the association has a maniacal leader at its helm.

Personal disclaimer: I am a civil servant, a fact made publicly known numerous times in all my online discussions. I find Jayne’s broad sweeping attacks on public servants extremely hurtful and uncalled for.

I believe that a person who judges another by the place he is born (Chua Uzyn … is a ‘foreign talent’, educated in Singapore, enjoying our subsidies) should not be in a position to educate anyone.

It is my hope that the Singapore blogosphere would evolve to be an environment that fosters creativity and intellectual discourse. Starting behind a web of hypocrisy and an insatiable thirst for power is a bad place to start.

Setting New Sights

One of my personal new year resolutions was to take more photographs. So these days I leave for work at 6:40am when Faith leaves for school. I plonk myself at some spot in Singapore and shoot for an hour before heading to work. It’s been cathartic.

A home in Geylang.


Water lilies at the Singapore Botanic Gardens.


Capitol Theatre.


Do you guys have any other locations you think I should photograph? Preferably between Aljunied and Buona Vista.

The Public Servant's Straight and Narrow

There’s a dichotomy when it comes to what we expect of our public servants. We expect them to be:

  1. Competent

    I mean, no one wants stupid public servants. On an operation level, we’d like our public servants to serve us with an acceptable level of efficiency and get the job done. On a strategic level, we’d like the bigwigs to be smarter than most of us and make decisions that will help us all. So our economy will stay healthy, our children will have a bright future, we’ll all find great paying jobs that we love, we can stay out without fear of being mugged and our reservist stints don’t include real war.
  2. An average Joe

    Our public servants should be one of us. They shouldn’t be sitting on an ivory tower, aloof and cold. They shouldn’t be seen driving expensive sports cars. Most of all, they should be making a decent living at best - no over the top salaries that’ll alienate them from the struggles the rest of us face on a day to day. God forbid those that make it to the top of the public sector be paid a salary similar to those at the top of the private sector.

I’ll be honest here. If I have the chops to make it to the top of the public sector, I’ll probably want to buy a sports car. A Tesla Roadster. Wouldn’t you? If a public servant ought to emphatise with the common man, isn’t he allowed to fulfill the common dreams?

By My Side

20090109-016Dearest Faith,

Life has an unfortunate way of sucking us in and spiraling us about. It seems only a wink of an eye when we went from teenagers madly infatuated with each other to parents of two children. Ok, I was the one madly infatuated; but two children, can you imagine?

Sometimes we sit there, transfixed and watching our two kids transform before our eyes. It is literally a matter of days that they learn to turn, sit, crawl, stand, talk, walk, and before we know it, they have become their own persons.

But I’d like to take this short moment to turn away from the spectacle of kids and tell you how beautiful you look tonight. It’s been a while since I’ve written to you. It’s much more expedient to express my appreciation during our nightly regrouping - you from having to put Caleb to bed and I from having to answer the new and novel questions Anne comes up with before setting her head down. I’d like to write all this down as it has more permanence. That maybe when all the hustle and bustle of child-rearing is done with, we can sit down and reminisce this period of our lives.

Thanks for being by my side. Thanks for being my comrade through the nights that seem endlessly saturated with crying children, agitated fevers and dastardly coughs. Thanks for being by my side when we wake in the morning to discover God’s provision of a good 4 hour stretch of sleep. Those moments are every bit as awe-inspiring as a surreal sunrise and snow-capped mountains. In Singapore. Yes they are that rare.

You know what I’m most thankful for? More than your companionship, I feel most blessed to be a witness to your life - your journey from daughter, wife and mother.

You are beautiful.

Eye on the Pimpernel

I know I’m a thirty-something working professional with two children and all, but allow me this teen-inspired prepubescent outburst:


Ok, back to your regular programming.

You see, I have 2 favourite musicals of all time. Les Mis, which I have watched thrice and The Scarlet Pimpernel, which I have never ever watched. I have the CDs (both Broadway Original and Encore) which I listen to very, very often. I visit their website in the vain hope they’ll start again on Broadway. I scour eBay to see if they have t-shirts, mugs or souvenirs on sale.

I live with the regret that I will never see Douglas Sills perform as the Pimpernel. :(

Until today, thanks to the amazing godsend that is Youtube.

If you must know (and I insist you must), the Scarlet Pimpernel is the story of Percy who decides to save his fellow folks from the guillotine by forming the league of the Scarlet Pimpernel. In order to deflect any suspicion of a particularly sticky cop, he pretends to be a total fop. His wife and love of his life is also secretly trying to save her own brother from the guillotine and cooperates with the sticky cop under blackmail. Percy continues his superhero ways, keeping his identity from his own wife, whom he suspects is a traitor.

Amazing stuff.


After a week-long arduous Junior Camp, Watchnight service and Thanksgiving Service, taking care of 2 sick children and battling the flu bug ourselves, I have to take my GREs in 5 days.

Welcome, 2009. Pardon me if I don’t go gaga over your arrival.

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