21 June 2008

Shaw House

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I came home and found this little fellow lying on my bed! What!
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Sir Red Nose, The Crybaby and Big Phil

The Christiano Ronaldo transfer saga is getting interesting with him saying that Phil Scolari had asked him to leave Manure for Real Madrid! Woo!
I picked up 'A History of Reading' by Steven Roger Fischer and 'Universe: The Cosmos Explained' by Colin A. Ronan at Borders this evening. The latter is a lavishly illustrated volume explaining origins.

20 June 2008

The Neapolitan with the crystals

A moment ago, an Italian with a smattering of English walked into my office. I received his card and saw that he was from Napoli but the card had precious little information as to what his business was. He managed with some difficulty to convey that he had organised an exhibition for the Sultan of Brunei recently and he was on his way back to Italy. As it was, he had three pieces of crystals some kind that he wanted to sell off at half price rather than lug them back to Italy. He asked if I had wanted to see them, he had them in his car. I declined and he was gone. I get all kinds of curious people visiting my office these days.
A wandering fortune-teller in Bishan

Two days ago I was walking amidst the shops beneath the housing blocks in Bishan when a man with a huge beard and blue turban approached me and indicated that something pleasant about my face and asked if I knew why. I immediately steered clear of him, smiled and walked away. He must have thought that I was an easy target. This was probably the same fortune-teller that had visited my office some time earlier this year and he was attempting to sell his services again.
Trapped within a Mindset, incompetence compounded

A moment ago, I received a cold call out of the blue. A woman with a pleasant voice called and wanted to know if I had received an invitation in the mail a week ago. She was puzzled to hear that I hadn't received anything and remarked that her other 'guests' had received the mail. She introduced herself in a fast slur twice and I did not manage to catch her name or her company's name despite having her repeat herself. She spat out words like a running water hose which was not wrong but when she slurred the names of the company, it was certainly detrimental to the awareness she supposed to be creating. Deliberate or incompetence? Well... Slurring wasn't going to assist the communication of ideas when it came to marketing, was it?

She said that her company had just established itself in Singapore and would be holding an exhibition at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel this weekend to build awareness. A $50.00 gift voucher to some restaurant - she slurred again - would be given after the event. I asked her what this was about and she claimed that it was awareness-building for that mysterious company she represented and there would not be any selling involved.

My impression was that the exhibition would almost probably be that of a new condominium or resort development project either local or overseas. However, it was hard to say, it could well be a scam or some hard-sell tactic of some sort.

She finally came to the point and asked when I would be attending? I told her I would not, hence, she wanted to know why. I posed the same question back to her, 'Why would I be attending?' and she simply could not comprehend. Try as she did, she stuttered and grappled with the question. She was trapped within a mindset and was unable to comprenend that there were people who did not follow her script, people who were not sheep out there. Finally, she hung up.
Portugal 2 Germany 3

Woo hoo! Euro 2008 is proving to be exceptionally entertaining in terms of results. Petulant Christiano Ronaldo sobbing like a schoolgirl after a loss? Priceless!

I am celebrating! I am waiting for further good news! Let's hear him depart Manure for Real Madrid!

19 June 2008

I'm reading 'The Purity of Blood' having finished 'Captain Alatriste' just now. I was watching 'Paprika' on DVD earlier but I did not finish it. I will continue later.

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18 June 2008

Day Watch

'Day Watch' is an incoherent effects-laden visual feast about vampires, shape-shifters and seers in the vein of Underworld and Interview with a Vampire. This convoluted sequel to 'Night Watch' was based on Sergey Lukyanenko's novel 'The Night Watch' which was split into several parts. Set in Moscow, this dark fantasy had what I perceived to be a Russian tone, perhaps, rendering it somewhat exotic for audiences of a non-Russian culture. Worthwhile watch though tedious at times. 5/10
Lost in Translation

This overrated Oscar-winning middle-aged male fantasy written and directed by Sofia Coopola featured Bill Murray, he of the one-expression acting, though admittedly he managed more than that dourful Nicholas Cage face in this movie, he smiled, and a nubile Scarlett Johanssen. The premise was two unsympathetic characters, lost in an alien environment*. Yes, pretensions of alienation, oh dear oh dear. Yet, another fantasy of a middle-aged male and a listening sympathetic young female. How typical. With Murray's character making smart alec quips throughout, for instance, highlighting of the Japanese inability to distinguish between 'l' and 'r', and also taking the piss out of them, this movie set a condescending tone in more ways than one. Japan was depicted as an alienating environment of childlike and oblivious others, the outgroup. I would not be surprised if someone thought that this movie reeked of racism. The ugly American tourist anyone? The saving graces besides a nonexistent plot and acting? The direction, the Japanese urban landscape as an unusual backdrop, and parts of the soundtrack. 5.5/10


Lost in Translation wasn't funny, it reeked of pretentiousness and self-indulgence. Bill Murray the deadpan comic genius? He hadn't been funny since Stripes which wasn't very funny either.

Addendum II

I did a swift search of the many reviews online. Most were favourable, however, there were also charges of racism. I could not say that I was astonished.

*Yes, it is alien to me as well.

17 June 2008

I ran this evening. 9:50. I stopped. Then, I ran some more.

I was at Spinelli's at the Heeren later. I wrote my diary there. I visited HMV and then I departed for home.

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I saw a M114 howitzer and an AMX-13 light tank over the weekend. I will be posting them later this week.

16 June 2008

House at Preston Road

Old British house, probably built for the British military or lower to middle-ranking civil servants. Likely to be military due to its location.
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15 June 2008


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I swam twenty laps this morning. How refreshing!
The Brave One

An absorbing crime drama about vengenace and vigilantism in a seemingly crime-infested urban setting. This intense tale of inner conflict with Foster, in a sense, did echo the original Death Wish film and its subsequent exploitative sequels in the seventies and eighties played by Charles Bronson but it had added very little that was new except perhaps the acceptance of change in the protagonist by the protagonist. Foster was convincing in the lead role and the direction was competent but not exceptional. The Brave One had also referenced the well-known Bernhard Goetz case of 1984 in New York City. 7/10


The main protagonist was utilising a Kahr 9mm, a semi-automatic pistol from a New York-based manufacturer. The pistol model was not specified.

Addendum II

In a Wikipedia entry, apparently, Kahr Arms is Moonie owned!
I was reading 'Black and White: The Singapore House 1898-1941' by Julian Davison. I started reading this in 2005 and had read bits and pieces of it since. I finally finished it today. I saw a few of the buildings described in the Holt Road area when I was strolling at Holt Park yesterday.

I am reading 'Over Singapore 50 years ago: An aerial view in the 1950s' by Brenda Yeoh and Theresa Wong.

I recommend both the books to you.