28 September 2007

Musings - Do We Have Soul?

"...We have lost sight of the joy and excitement of public service, helping our fellow men. The joy and excitement of seeking and understanding of the joy of the miracle of the living the duty and the grandeur. We have lost taste for heroic action in the service of our people...." (see here)

I was reading the blog by DPYadav. He posted the interview he had with David Marshall. You can find out more by following the link.

I haven't got down to reading everything, yet. I came across this paragraph and another before that - questioning our soul. I have always felt that living in Singapore is Good but somehow, I also feel that something is missing. The missing link keeps nagging at me and forbidding me from rating Singapore as Great. At times, it even seems to suggest that I need to rate Singapore as Average. I can't find fault with Singapore yet I don't feel any particularly strong attachment to this country. Why is that so? So what is this missing link?

27 September 2007

Mid Autumn Festival

Mid Autumn Festival has just passed us this year. It's celebrated by Chinese on the 15th of the 8th month of the Lunar Calendar...the day when the moon is supposedly the roundest and brightest. Many people (Chinese included) who are not so into the Chinese culture may thought that this festival is called Mooncake or Lantern Festival. This is because we eat mooncakes and carry lanterns on this day.

Some relate the Mid Autumn Festival to a particular event in the Chinese History when rebels rose to topple the corrupt emperor. They pass secret messages hidden in mooncakes. So much for my knowledge of Chinese history :p However, the significance of Mid Autumn Festival is actually to have family union, sharing it with people you love - you know, round moon, round table, equality, gatherings, togetherness...

Well, on that day, had dinner with family and as usual, led some children downstairs to carry lanterns and play sparkles....and something hilarious happened... Ok, I admit that there's nothing particularly funny about this picture. What happened was my nieces (the one in pink stripes and the other in blue) were posing for the phototaking. I was preparing the lantern for my daughter. Wifey was the photographer. At the count of 3, at the precise moment when the picture was snapped, I happened to extend the lantern and covered on of the beauties.

Celebrating Mid Autumn Festival can be fun...and dangerous. Most people (adults especially, and certainly police and fireman) would have been happy by just walking around with lanterns. The children and teenagers would be more creative - they'll start lighting candles in a row, set off sparklers, throw it into the air, let it hang on trees etc ... potential killer litter or arson. Over the years, I've seen lanterns burn, tress burn, clothes burn etc because the kids lack adult supervision when playing with fire.

Do have fun, but don't let celebrations turn into tragedy. OK, this is what it should have been...

25 September 2007

Singapore Short stories - The Chengal Tree

Sometime back in Aug 2002, Habitatnews, in response to URA's invitation to the Rustic Coast Draft Concept Plan, discovered a Hopea Sangal tree in Changi. It was the tree that was believed to have given Changi it's name. The Hopea Sangal tree was believed to be extinct, so naturally, it gained a lot of excitement within the botanical community. I suppose historians were equally excited since this tree was related to the naming of Changi. Unfortunatly, it was felled by a property developer on 20 Nov 2002. Subsequently, the developer was fined and ordered to pay to the state for illegally falling the tree. Prior to the discovery of Hopea Sangal, some other types of trees were also thought to have given the name to Changi. One in particular was known as The Changi Tree and was believed to the intricately tied to the fate of Singapore during World War 2.

According to the Kin Jio Leaf, in 1942, with the threat of WW2 coming to Singapore, the British army believed that the Japanese army would use it as a marker for artillery fire at the military buildings around the Chengal Tree. (Apparently, they depended on the Monkeys for the intelligence gathering). So they decided to take down the tree, with explosives. (Wa lau! Explosives is to be used on the enemy not on trees! Don't they know what's a chainsaw, obviously, another stupid suggestion by the Monkeys Evil or Very Mad ).

We, the orangutans, objected to this move because we know that the Japanese were using GPS oreadi (Yes, Ground Peanuts System, you just sprinkle some peanuts on the ground and the artillery shells will find its way there) so they don't need the Chengal Tree as marker. More importantly, the Chengal Tree had deep roots in Singapore and it's life was intrinsically tied to that of Singapore.

Well, the British didn't believe and went ahead to take the tree down...and eventually, Singapore had fallen into the hands of the Japs. Good thing was, we managed to save a seed and planted it in Changi. It took years before we can even see the seedling sprout - it's a special tree afterall Razz and so the years passed by. The Japs surrendered, the British balik kampong, Singapore merged with Malaya, Singapore got kicked out of Malaysia and Singapore gained independence...at the same time when the seedling grew to a young tree and need not depend on our tender loving care and can survive on its own. (Makes me feel like a proud parent watching his child grown to be a man Crying or Very sad ). However, like I mentioned, since the Changi Tree is intrinsically tied to the fate of Singapore, how did Singapore flourished in a leap while the tree grew slowly?

Well, although we planted that one special seed, there were also several not-so-special seeds from the Changi Tree. By itself, those seeds would not flourish (not enough special power, ya?). So, we place them all into a single spot and let them compete naturally. If there'll be one that manages to outgrow the others, by itself, proving survival of the fittest, it will be stronger and largi more powderful than the one special seed that received our tender loving care.

Somehow, the Monkeys got wind of it and wanted to disrupt our plans. They went to psycho the gahmen and ensure that those seeds would never grow. They made an elaborate proposal to the gahmen to build an airport around there. Well, airport has many aircrafts and tall structures are not allowed except certain predefined place. That got us worried, very worried indeed. Fortunately, the Khirsah then was very smart - if the monkeys can sway the gahmen, so can we. Eventaully, he managed to convince the gahmen to build a Singapore icon, the Changi Tower, right at the spot where we planted the seeds. As luck would have it, the seeds grew into saplings, the roots tied to the foundation of the Changi Tower and grew along with it. (Some magic happen there la, don't ask me why the Changi Tower don't have leaves and branches la, it's magic ok?)

The result is more than what we had intended-not only do all the not-so-special seeds managed to grow, they grew to be much taller and faster than what they could have been. And so, Singapore's growth sprinted like the Changi Tower or Tree...whichever way you want to call it.

18 September 2007

Singapore Short Stories - Japanese Occupation

In World War II, Japan invaded China in 1937 to bolster it’s meager stock of natural resources and extend it’s colonial realm, to ease it’s population pressure. Subsequently, the Empire of Japan advanced into Southeast Asia and eventually attacked Singapore (a major British military base in SE Asia) in 7 Feb 1942.

According to The Kin Jio Leaf, the real motive behind the Japanese Imperial Army’s invasion was to find the elusive Banana Leaf Fan (芭蕉扇) owned by Princess Iron Fan (铁扇公主).
The Banana Leaf Fan, which originated from China was somehow delivered to Japan and was use to repel the Mongol invasion of Japan during 1274-1281. Storms (Divine Wind) were created using the Banana Leaf Fan to repel the Mongol’s navy.

Many years later, the Banana Leaf Fan was lost and the Japanese thought that it must have returned to China. Thus they invaded China to search for it. They found Panda and His Diaper Bears and their sacred text The Bamboo Shoots where it indicated that further south, there is a clan called Khirsah and His Hairy Apes who owns The Kin Jio Leaf. Thinking that The Kin Jio Leaf is the Banana Leaf Fan, the Japanese Imperial Army diverted south and attacked Singapore. It was due to this reason, The Kin Jio Leaf faced a shortage of banana leaves yet again. It was also during this trying period, the Khirsah then had to retreat further into the forest with his fellow orang utans and in the process, lost quite a few leaflets from The Kin Jio Leaf.

The Imperial Japanese Army had to keep this particular mission as top secret so as not to let anyone know their vulnerability. However, they also need to remind their soldiers of their primary objective thus they printed currencies with motifs of banana tree. These notes became more commonly know as banana money. The print of banana money was without serial money and uncontrolled which resulted in high inflation and severe depreciation of it’s value.

For 3 years and 8 months, the Japanese army searched frantically for The Kin Jio Leaf and hoping that it would provide some clues to locate the Banana Leaf Fan. Their secret police, Kempeitai, questioned and tortured the locals for the location of Khirsah and His Hairy Apes but no one knew. Needless to say, those who knew the real objective were executed. The Khirsah then had wanted to step out of the forest to prevent further lost of lives but he knew the Japs wanted to locate the Banana Leaf Fan but the Kin Jio Leaf do not have that information. He had contemplated sabo-ing the monkeys and tell the Japanese that the monkey's sacred text, The Coconut Husks, would have the record but like they say…Tree Fell Monkey Scram (树倒猢狲散)… all the monkeys had disappeared also. So, surrendering themselves would not help in any way but exterminate the Khirsah clan. The banana trees were not spared though…the Japs cut down every banana tree they can find, Pontianak or no Pontianak, they came, they sawed and they eat bananas.

When the Allies counter attacks became more intensive, the Japs had no choice but to create their own Divine Wind (Kamikaze) without the Banana Leaf Fan by making their pilots go on suicidal mission…with little success. Eventually, the Japanese surrendered on 15 Aug 1945.

Even now, no one knows where is the Banana Leaf Fan.…

13 September 2007

Mr Bombastic

Introduce Mr Bombastic...isn't he kind of cool? Sent to me by Frog Prince...thanks Froggie. I was told his afro can keep bags and bags of peanuts...my favourite. Alas, that's not an orang utan but a monkey...snow monkey, I think...I'm not too close to the monkey clans.
I hope everyone remembers...orang utans are not monkeys...orang utans belong to the Great Apes...like gorillas and chimpanzees :p

Singlish...Uniquely Singaporean

Saw tis girl helping out at the coffee stall and totally clueless at the way we ordered our drinks. She's an FT from China, can speak very good mandarin and fairly good in english but simply cannot understand what we ordered...I was queuing behind 3 people who happened to be an Indian, Malay and local Chinese...

"Teh susu, please...not so thick"

"Teh tarik satu, kopi kosong satu"

the order from the Indian and Malay was still quite simple and direct. It became challenging when the Chinese place his order,

"Kopi si puay, yat pui dai pui, tak kiew sua, teh kosong gao"

A language (or slang for those who prefers it that way) that we use so commonly and taken for granted can be totally alien to the uniniated. Allow me to dissect the orders placed.

The most common hot beverages we have in a typical kopitiam (coffeeshop) are coffee and tea. In Singlish, these are known as kopi and teh respectively. Even a simple "teh" can sound a bit different if spoken by a Chinese or a Malay or Indian. Now, let's take it a bit further... we can have coffee/tea with milk or without milk. Normally, if you ask for kopi/teh, you'll be served with coffee/tea with milk. If you don't want milk, you should say kopi/teh Oh... I'm not exactly certain but I guess Oh comes from hokkien Or which means black. Now, let's come back to the Indian's order "Teh susu, please...not so thick!" Susu is a Malay word for milk. The Indian could have just asked for Teh but he added susu as confirmation that he wanted tea with milk. The addition of susu is more often used by non-Chinese or ang mor educated Chinese (I'll tell you more about the usage of "ang mor" or "ang moh" in another posting).

Now, let's explore the order placed by the Malay - "Teh tarik satu, kopi kosong satu". Remember? Teh is tea...with milk, right? So what is tarik? It is a malay word for "pull". I don't know who invented teh tarik but I got the impression that it originated from Indian-Muslim sarabat stall). It is tea (with milk) with lots of foam on its surface like...cuppacino. The foam is created by pouring the tea to and fro the cup and the mug several times, thus creating the frothy top. The process of pouring requires the "pourer" to increase the distance between cup and mug, giving an impression that he is "stretching" or pulling the tea. (Good thing that the stall owners do not adopt the method from cuppacino or we might see him placing a straw into your tea and starts blowing bubbles into it :P ) Back to the topic, the Malay also mentioned satu which means one. So what she actually ordered was one tea-with-milk-with-frothy-top. Now, she also ordered kopi kosong satu. By now, you should know what is kopi and satu but what the heck is kosong? Kosong is a malay word for zero or none (correct me if I'm wrong, my friends). What she meant was she wanted black coffee without sugar...

is coffee with milk and sugar, Kopi Oh is black coffee with sugar and Kopi kosong is black coffee without milk and sugar.

Now, the real challenge came from the Chinese because his statement consists of malay, hokkien and cantonese...and some kopitiam code. It's not that he was trying to be difficult but that's how Singlish is spoken sometimes, especially when you're involved in a conversation with people from different races and backgrounds. Now, let's dissect it piece by piece...

"Kopi si puay..."
- a malay word for coffee
- hokkien for the number four. One, two, three, four - jit, neng, sa, si (hold on a second here, hokkien and teochew has many similarities yet there could be several variations of saying the same thing such as for the number one, it can be jit or yeo, or yoh...)
puay - hokkien for cup

"yat pui dai pui..."
yat pui -
is one cup in cantonese.... and dai pui is "big cup" (yes, we have regular size coffee and large size coffee like any fastfood restaurants. This time round, he had switched to cantonese because his cantonese friend had requested for a bigger cup of coffee...with milk. That distraction cause to to temporary switch to cantonese mode)

"tak kiew sua..." -
Basically this is in hokkien (although I dun know the origin of sua, perhaps comes from jit lang jit puah, kum jeng beh suay) and this is one of the many coffeeshop "codes". Tak kiew in hokkien means "kick ball". It originates from the beverage Milo because of it's TV advertisement showing footballers drinking milo! (Do you recall? "It's marvelous what milo can do for you!) and sua indicates that he wanted two cups.

"teh kosong gao
" I hope you haven't forgotten what is teh kosong? So what is "gao"? A hokkien term that means "thick"...no sugar, no milk but thick tea...like espresso, only it's tea.

Phew...I'm a bit lost myself. There's a lot more to Singlish and I've only touched on the tip of the ice-berge. At least, I hope you'll not fret should you need to get your morning cup of coffee at our local coffeeshop..."Aunty! Kopi Oh jit phuay!"

P/S Teh tarik, cappuccino and kopiccino are all different drinks....ever tried "dinosauar"?

12 September 2007

Singapore Short Stories - Bt Merah Naming

Legend has it that Bt Merah (or Redhill, or Ang Sua...depending on which dialect, formal or informal name of the place) was named because the hill was stained with the blood of boy who was wrongly murdered for saving the villagers from garfish attacks.

Actually, the legend is true according to The Kin Jio Leaf. Also, because many banana trees were transplanted, that also caused a shortages of banana leaves for us to write our sacred texts...

Many years passed and the people in olden Singapore lived in tranquility until a shoal of garfish came here and kah jiao the villagers. Many villagers were attacked and they complain to the King. The King then ordered his soldiers to get rid of the garfish but the soldiers were equally helpless because the garfish are foreign talents and can do better than the locals. "We need a scholar to solve this problem!" declared the King.

"But Sir, we have no scholars yet...we don't even have schools yet"

At this point, a young boy piped from the back,"I have a solution! Plant rows of banana trees along the coast. When the garfish leap out of the waters, they'll get stuck on the banana tree...the soldiers can move in then and kill the fish"

"But banana trees got pontianaks leh," the King's aide said.

"Well, you and all your ministers can volunteer to stand there instead...so how? you wanna get satayed or you want garfish fin soup? "challenged the boy.

And so, everyone went into the forest and start transporting the banana trees to the coast. The Khirsah then decided to let them have the trees since it was for a good cause and withdraw the guards.

The boy's plan went through and the garfish problem was resolved. But then hor, the King buay song liao. "How can we allow a peasant to offer a solution? Only scholars can have good solutions mah...must get rid of him..." and so he ordered the soldiers to kill the boy. When the boy was stabbed, his blood kept flowing and stained the hill where he lived...and thus, that hill was named Bukit Merah (Red Hill).

10 September 2007

Singapore Short Stories - Pontianaks

For those of you who are still pretty clueless about the Kin Jio Leaf (The Banana Leaf), it is actually a sacred text recording the history of Singapore by a tribe made up of Orang Utans where the head is called Khirsah (Khirsah is a hereditary name given to the elected orang utan and he will have the sole responsibility of recording the accounts and protecting the Kin Jio Leaf). The Kin Jio Leaf actually went through several trails, (resulting in some lost leaflets, thus the incompleteness of the records :P) and the earliest one is retold here...

Heard of pontianak? Legend has it that pontianaks are woman hantu (ghost) who supposedly die during/after child labour and turned into vicious spirits. They are normally seen in white/red clothes, long hair, with fangs and claws etc...much like M Jackson. Rolling Eyes During daytime, they're thought to hide in banana trees and only come out of the tree to hunt at night...they don't like to be too tanned you how...

Actually their origin relates to the Hairy Apes in Mandai Forest and The Kin Jio Leaf (KJL). Well, you see, our sacred text (KJL) had to be written on real banana leaves and it's not just any type of banana leaves. Only certain banana trees fit the criteria and we can only use the leaves of those trees.

But then hor, the locals have so much use of banana leaves like, wrap nasi lemak, otah, bah chang, tutukueh, weave baskets, for laying tables, as mattresses etc so we had to compete with them for banana leaves. (Note: Flo did point out that bah chang and several other items do not use banana leaves...but they do, in the past until banana leaves until the pontianak scare incindet so the locals use the alternatives :P)

One day, we buay tahan liao. Come one, we don't need ALL the banana leaves...we only needed those from certain trees and the humans simply don't understand and just go chop chop chop all the banana trees. So some of us stand guard at the trees, even at night to make sure that they don't touch the leaves of those trees that we need. But the stoothpick, superstitious, shortsighted humans mistaken my guards as long haired, ugly women wanting to rape them, went screaming back into the village howling that they saw hantus Rolling Eyes ....

Many moons passed since then and humans seldom disturb our trees. So we standdown our guards and things went peacefully for a period of time. One of the apes called Innu Weisen thought that it's is quite difficult to identify those banana trees that we want so he thought, "why don't we mark those trees? Just poke a needle into the tree and tie a red string into the needle so that the leaves gatherers can work faster!" It was a very innovative idea and so we adopted it. However, some young punks of the villagers wanted to hao lian their courage and impress the pretty village girls, started venturing into the forest again to dare the "banana tree ghost" Rolling Eyes . They discovered the red string and started pulling on it and one of us who happened to be there jumped out and yelled at them...and again the stoothpick, superstitious, shortsighted punks mistaken my guard as long haired, ugly women wanting to rape them, went screaming back into the village howling that they saw hantus Rolling Eyes ....

So over time, they learned to leave the banana trees alone, especially those with red strings and ignorance became legend that pontianaks live in banana trees and will haunt anyone who goes near it.
Laughing Laughing Laughing

08 September 2007

Angel and Devil In A Night

No stories today...just sidetrack a bit into REAL life events...

Went to watch a play yesterday (Friday night)...hmmm, the last time when I watch a play was like....2 decades ago?!?! Anyway, it was called Real Men, Fake Orgasm by Chong Tze Chien, starring Chua Enlai and Claudio Girardi. It's a play about gays. Before you start to have any funny ideas about me, I went to the play with my pregnant wife. I'm not one who know how to appreciate a play (but I do appreciate the importance of foreplay very much) but then hor, I think I can understand abit la...

These two guys seemed to be lock in some kind of prison and everything about them are fake, or rather, a fiction of their imagination. They drew and imagine everything about them. Then they sort of escape and went to lead a life that is as normal as they think they can be but...

In the beginning of each scene (after they escaped the prison), it always show them to be normal like casual friends but...

It even showed them trying to lead normal gay life, although not with each other but...

There is always this "but" feeling in the whole play so I don't kind of like it but...

Anyway, that's so much for the earlier part of the night. The main focus was that I met my wife for dinner, near her workplace and we took a leisurely stroll to watch the play and simply enjoy the night until about 9:30p.m. Well, it's about being able to enjoy the little niceties of life and sharing it with that someone you love. We walk leisurely, we talk about mundane topics and it was so lovely but...

I had to leave (with her permission of course) and insisted she take a cab home but she wanted to take the train instead...well, we took the train together and I alight at Outram while she continued towards home.

So what is so special that I can't bring my wife there? In fact, I bring my wife to almost anywhere but...

it was STAG NIGHT, for a friend of ours! Well, what do people do in stag night? *Hooooooowl* Well, I don't think I want to place details of the event here...people can see you know. Of course I have nothing to worry about... just not so good if my friend's fiancée reads this.

I haven't been to a pub or disco for...decades? Ok, ok...haven't been to these places for the sole purpose of letting our hair down and binge. Also, for the first time, felt what's it like to be in a smoke free disco and I like it but...

Well, you see, I'm a smoker. I really do enjoy being in disco where you don't get choked by cigarettes smokes or smoked until you dunno if that girl in short min-skirts is pretty ugly. However, I have to consistently squeeze myself all the way outside to get smoke and then squeeze myself back in to get a drink. So, all through the night, besides getting the groom-to-be to behave like a monkey, I'm squeezing in and out of the place. I certainly won't mind the squeezing part if the place is packed with babes but...

Who says there's more women than men in Singapore? Also, I had realised that I could still hold my liquor relatively well. Given the number of years I abstained from alcohol, I thought I would start practising 黯然消魂掌 after a glass or two but...

well, let's just say I managed to drink more then that. Could still manage to take a cab back after that and remembered to charge my handphone and bath after I got home...just like last time when I was younger but...

the signs of age reveals itself this morning in the form of seven monkeys marching around my bed, clashing cymbals, blowing trumpet and howling like...monkeys - I had terrible hangover...

05 September 2007

Singapore Short Stories - Governor's Grand Big Balls

In 1826, the Straits Settlement was formed as a collection of territories of the British East India Company in SE Asia. It comprises main of Sinapore, Malacca, Dinding, Penang and Province Wellesly. With this formation, the first Governor, Robert Fullerton, was appointed.

According to The Kin Jio Leaf, the governor wanted to throw a ball to celebrate his appointment and so he invited people form all the places and as far as Europe. It was said that the governor's ball was the biggest, grandest, most lavish and everybody wants to have their hands on his ball Rolling Eyes

So happen that in Europe, the Evil Step Sisters (Ah Huay and Ah Lian) of Cinderella were invited also.

"Lian eh, since we got no chance to be Princess Charming, why not we go Singapore to see the governor's ball? Can feel and have a taste of what his ball is like!"

"Ons la! BTW, I heard Raffles will be attending and he's a fine charming man...maybe we can try our luck with him"

And so, the Evil Step Sister's set off for Singapore after they'd done some research on Raffles.

At the ball, they were contemplating how to approach Raffles. "Eh, I heard that Raffles talk very little nowsadays...something to do with hypothermia and tired of talking after all the negotiations for Singapore. How ah?" asked Ah Lian.

"Stand back and see me perform!" boasted Ah Huay as she make her way to Raffles. "Hello ham som...my sister and I made a bet that I can make you say more than two words. What do you think?"

Raffles looked at her, blurted "You lose!"

Singapore Short Stories - Ah Kong's Land

After a brief survey of the Karimun Islands, Raffles discovered Singapore to be a place where there was no Dutch presence which made Singapore suitable for the British to to set-up a free trade post. Noting that the Sultanate of Johore was in bad shape at that time, Raffles took the opportunity of sign an rudimentary treaty with the local Temenggong. Few days later, a formal treaty was signed with Tengku Long, who claimed to be the lawful sovereign of this region.
Sometimes, you may hear Singaporeans retort "You think this is your Ah Kong's land/street/house etc ah!" Well, the roots of this phrase can be traced back to Raffles time...

According to The Kin Jio Leaf,
shortly after Raffles identified Singapore as the place to set up a British trading port in this region (and dried himself), he set about the administrative aspects to formalize it. During that time, the Johore Sultanate was in bad shape and no longer had control over this place which gave Raffles an opportunity. He didn't know who to approach initially so he consulted Farquhar and asked if he can just plant the Union Jack and cliam his prize!

"You think this is your Ah Kong's land ah!" yelled Farquhar but paused immediately in deep thoughts. He continued,"Actually, I think this is really Ah Kong's land...let's look for the Temenggong!"

And so, they proceeded to make the first official contact with the local authorities...and eventually managed to formalise a treaty Tengku Long, the man who had supreme nominal authority over this area at that time.

Well, you can see, the first person who used the phrase with gusto was Farquhar...

Major William Farquhar, was the British Resident of Malacca. One of his tasks was to negotiate commercial treaties with the local chiefs of the Riau Archipelego. After the founding of Singapore with Raffles, he was subsequently appointed as the first British Resident and Commandant of Singapore from 1819-1823.

Singapore Short Stories - Raffles' Statue

Having covered the ancient founding of Singapore...we'll look at the modern founding. Well, we know that Sir Stamford Raffles founded Singapore in 1819. Many years later, a statue of him was made to commemorate him. Have you wondered why the statue shows Raffles stood with his arms folded and wore knee length pants? Here's the story...

According the The Kin Jio Leaf, Raffles wanted to look for a suitable port in this region to break the Dutch monopoly. He went to several places and every time the ship reached a fairly suitable coast, he had to roll up his pants. You see, he needed to find a new an untouched coast so of cos no jetty also. They had to jump off the boat, walk in knee deep water before they can reach the beach. After a couple of times and sick of rolling up his pants, he simply cut the lower part off. He searched for several places around the Riau islands but couldn't find a suitable location. In one particular hot afternoon, hungry and tired after all the searching, he started whining like the horse.

"Wa lau! I need some chicken!"
"Got your CPF already huh? Heard that people take their CPF and go Batam for chicken...you wanna go?"
"Batam have nice chicken rice meh? How come i didn't know?"
"...oh...chicken rice ah...then we should go Singapore. A Hainanese from China serve very good chicken rice there. Best in Singapore and JB and some say Batam. Wanna try?"

So, off they sailed again, heading for Singapore. Upon reaching, Raffles thought the waters were knee deep so he just jumped in...and got himself all wet...underwear also wet wet... because the waters here was deep...so deep that he was fully immersed.

"That's it! *gulp* This is the *gasp* place! Very deep water *gulp* for a port *gasp*. Large ships can sail right in!"

When his crew fished him out, he was so cold that he had to wrap his arms around himself while they got him a blanket. Meanwhile, a budding artist saw the scene and painted his drenched, cold, arms folded, shivering in that silly knee length pants picture.

Many years later, when people wanted to make a statue of Raffles capturing the very first image when he arrived. The grandson of the artist showed them the painting.

"This cannot la...he looked so miserable and wet...but we don't have any other picture...sculptor! Can you do something about this, at least make him look smart or something"

And so...we see the smart looking version of Raffles in the statue.

CPF-Chicken Procurement Form...you see, Raffles' employer dun wan their overseas staff to anyhow leave seeds. Only under special circumstances the staff were issued with such forms...one form per visit. They had to fill it up so that they can trace any claims.

Singapore Short Stories - Origin of Merlion

The Merlion, a creature with the head of a lion and body of a fish, was designed as a symbol to represent Singapore for the Singapore Tourism Board in 1964 (so that we can tok the chai tou of tourists and sell Merlion souvenirs) . The Merlion was chosen because it relates to the ancient founding of Singapore by Sang Nila Utama (who thought he saw a lion when he first arrived, thus name this place Singapura) and Singapore's ancient name Temasek (sea port).

According to The Kin Jioa Leaf, Merlions actually do exist. However, they are not born from nature but out of the mischief of the Monkeys...

Several years passed after Sang Nila Utama named this place Singapura, the Monkeys start to become restless. Apparently, they heard something about a great Monkey King somewhere up north is creating havoc in heaven and so thought that they are the greatest primates in this world. Jealous that we the Orang Utans have a sacred text, they created their own text called The Coconut Husk and claimed that our version of Singapore naming was false. (see previous story). A great war broke out and obviously the monkeys lost...what do they know anyway beside monkeying around Twisted Evil

Sidetrack a little. We recorded this great war into the Kin Jio Leaf and sometime during the 1960s, that particular leaflet came off and was lost...the previous Khirsah never maintain properly Evil or Very Mad A couple of years later, a french by the name of Pierre Boulle published a book called Planet of the Apes...wonder where he got the ideas Rolling Eyes

Anyway, where was I Rolling Eyes Oh, ya, the great war and monkeys lost...They retreated far north in search of their Monkey King for assistance only to realise that the King was imprisoned under the Wu Zhi San (Mt 5 Fingers). Shocked Our spy reported that they kena scolding somemore "!@#$, can't you see lim peh kena lock and I'll have to be here for another 500 years and wait for someone call Tang San Zhang to free me! Scram!"

So the monkeys LL. However, one wise one thought that since they got nothing to do now, why not go Africa and bring one lion here secretly so that they can prove lions do exist in SE Asia. I dunno how they arrived in Africa but when they do, the lion bo hiew them "Wa lau! I heard the Khirsah there very fierce one leh ! Razz ".

The monkeys LL...again... but then hor, the wise one spoke again. "Lion dun go, we create one ourselves...look, I've been doing some experiments and something call DNA...clone...need to get his juice...long walk so cross with fish...can swim..."

Eh...dun ask me how they got the lion's juice...I dun know and I really dun wan to know any monkey business.

Apparently, they managed to cross breed lions with fishes and sailed back to Singapore to suan us...but then hor, you know la, lion cannot tahan the sea, even if it's a merlion, so the moment they reach shore, all start to vomit from seasickness Twisted Evil The monkeys, seeing that their newfound allies couldn't help them, fled into the jungles again, leaving the merlions to die on the beach (fish can't go on land mah). The silly humans got all excited over the merlions and tried to save them but alas, only one survived (the one that's related to Rochor Mermaid...but that's another story).

Many years later, even the last one went e-lang so the villagers made a Merlion statue near the shore where they first saw them for remembrance sake. Crying or Very sad

We of course didn't bother the merlions bcos we know they are the innocent ones Crying or Very sad and life went on...

04 September 2007

Introduction - Beginnings Of Kin Jio Leaf

In case you really wonder, what is Kin Jio Leaf? Who's the author? Where can I buy? Is it available in leading bookstore? When was it published? Who is the publisher?...

Well... it is just a blog, containing fictional stories, life account, rantings, views etc like any other blogs. If you notice any posts with the pretext Singapore Short Stories in it's title, well, it's all fictional. Although you might also note that I would normally start off with some facts. As soon as you see that According to the Kin Jio Leaf... don't use whatever that comes next to answer you school's history exams.

I have not decided on how I would eventually like the Kin Jio Leaf to be...perhaps I would like to talk about Singapore's social issues *shudder* or maybe politics *shiver* or socio-political issues *shudder and shiver* but like what a friend suggest, I think such issues is best left for coffee break talks.

Or perhaps, I might want to talk more about myself (narcissist!) or rather share my life experience as a normal, common, Singaporean growing up in Singapore.

Whatever the case, I continue to write ape stories for the time being.

P/S Singapore Short Stories are really ape stories - all fictional. Well, I think it's time to take a turn to more serious (and boring) blogging. (dtd 22 Oct 2007)

Singapore Short Stories - Ancient Discovery

Sang Nila Utama is a legendary Malay Prince who founded ancient Singapore. Legend has it that he was a prince of Sumatra. Wanting to find a suitable place for a new city, he went to the Riau island and eventually arrived in Temasak (Sea Town). Just upon arrival, he saw a beast and was told by his Chief Minister that the beast was a lion (Singa). Thus, Temasek was renamed Singapura.
According my ancestor, Khirsah I (or was it III?) and recorded in our sacred text - The Kin Jio Leaf, what actually happened was this. When Utama arrived, there was actually a small fishing village consisting of people from different races. He was curious as to the name of this place so he asked for the name. Just before that, someone actually stole the sarong of one of the village woman. The name of that person was Gurmit Singh or Ah Seng (the text was a bit hazy on the identity of the thieve, sorry there). Now, when Utama asked for the name, the malay woman shouted "Singh/Seng kah po!"...and so we have this name...Sing-gah-pore.

However, the Monkeys couldn't agree with our texts...they claim that according to their sacred text - The Coconut Husk, Utama actually saw a tiger but he claimed that to be a lion. His aides didn't want to disappoint him (after all the stormy sailing and having to loose his crown to appease the gods), agreed that it was a lion.

Of course, the monkey's version is gibberish. First, how does one write on coconut husks? Secondly, we all know that lions can only be found in Africa and zoos and surely Utama, being a prince should know this fact. Thirdly, even the humans have recorded texts to show that there were clearly signs of early settlements in Singapore and the people came from different parts of Asia.

Thus, ends the first part of my Singapore Story...more to come if you guys are interested. Razz

My First Blog

Ooh Ooh...I'm so excited about my first blog!

Well. I have been wanting to start a blog for...years? Didn't really get down to it cos I really don't know what to write. Then come late last year when I went through several life shaking experiences...the tremble is still felt now. Those are very personal matters and I really have no one to talk because those matters relates to the very people whom I can talk to...got it? Anyway, that was the time when I thought I should start a blog.

Well, I didn't cos I thought who would like to read the ravings of a miserable person.

But I do now, for very different reasons. I have been participating a certain local forum and sort of adopted a particular character there. Well, I thought I should let those friends there know about me...if they bothered in the first place :p

Anyway, I'll start off with some stories about Singapore (and let you find out where are the facts and what are the fiction) and in time I'll dedicate this blog more to matters relating to growing up and living in Singapore from a perspective of a simple Singaporean man.