Sunday 26 December 2010

Should old acquaintance be removed from Facebook 'Friends' list?

This year, I received a total of one Christmas card (as in it’s made of actual paper and you don’t need a computer to see it).

I guess that means I have only one friend.

Actually, it’s fewer than that because the card was from my insurance agent and I don’t even remember what he looks like.

More importantly, he has never been my Facebook “friend”.

Should old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind?

Well, at least Facebook lets you quietly remove that old acquaintance from your “Friends” list.

No wonder the social network’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, was named Time magazine’s Person Of The Year and had a movie made about him.

Thanks to Facebook, I’ve reconnected with the guys I worked with many years ago at my college newspaper in the US and found out that one of them, Adam Horowitz, is the co-writer of Tron: Legacy.

The only movie I wrote was Phua Chu Kang The Movie.

The Tron sequel earned more than US$44 million (S$58 million) at the US box office last weekend alone whereas PCK The Movie made less than 2 per cent of that amount in its entire theatrical run.

Yes, thank you very much, Facebook, for making me feel like a bigger loser than I already am.

One small consolation is that Tron: Legacy is getting reviews almost as nasty as the pans PCK got.

CNN said: “The 3D was terrible, the battles boring, and talk about a lame script!”

Ha! Take that, Horowitz! Now you know how it feels, you former writer of Lost the TV series, you.

Actually, even though we worked at the same paper at the same time, I don’t remember Horowitz at all. He’s just a friend of a Facebook “friend”.

Oh no, I think I’m suffering from second-hand Facebook envy.

According to Urban Dictionary, Facebook envy is the “feeling you get when you come across an old friend on Facebook and realise that their life turned out way better and is more interesting than yours”.

That’s why I don’t understand people with Facebook “friends” numbering more than two digits.

I have less than a hundred and I’m already struggling with self-esteem issues.

I mean, how meaningful can it be to get birthday wishes from people who were reminded by Facebook that it’s your birthday?

Even I have stopped posting Jeremih’s Birthday Sex music video on my friends’ walls on their birthdays.

Are they even really my friends? None of them ever sent me a Christmas card.

I’m looking forward to getting my one and only Chinese New Year card from my insurance agent next year.

I hope he never “adds” me on Facebook. That would just ruin a beautiful relationship. I might have to wish him a happy birthday.

- Published in The New Paper, 26 December 2010

Sunday 19 December 2010

Why a naked man can't get coffee at McDonald's

Talk about overexposed.

Last week, we had WikiLeaks, public nudity around Singapore and a photo of bare (possibly underaged) manga breasts on page A17 in Wednesday’s The Straits Times.

Which was why I was feeling a bit overdressed.

I was also feeling a little peckish.

Being a dedicated follower of fashion (or the absence of it) and a sucker for any food ad starring Sheikh Haikel, I wanted to strip and head for the nearest Burger King outlet to sample the new Steakhouse Burger naked.

But then I had read about the naked man who tried to order coffee at McDonald’s, but was refused service.

What if Burger King also refuses to let me have the Steakhouse Burger because of my lack of clothes? I don’t take rejection very well.

Why are naked people being discriminated against? Why are we being persecuted?

Why should fast food joints refuse to serve a customer just because he’s naked? How is that good business?

Isn’t the customer always king, even when the emperor has no clothes? Was that naked man’s money not good enough for McDonald’s?

Wait a second, I just realised something.

Naked means no pants. No pants means no wallet. No wallet means no money.

So that was why McDonald’s didn’t serve him!

Unless he kept his cash in, uh … certain parts of his anatomy. In which case, McDonald’s would be right to tell him, “Your money’s no good here.”

Hold on. It was reported that the naked man had a laptop case with him, so maybe he kept his money there.

Wait, something else just occurred to me.

We all know how hot McDonald’s coffee is. If it’s possible for a beverage to be above boiling point temperature, McDonald’s has achieved it.

And we all know how painful it is if that hot coffee is spilled on your lap. Imagine if it’s spilled on your lap when you’re naked.

“Ouch” doesn’t even begin to cover it. We're talking wrath-of-god kind of hurt.

So maybe McDonald’s refused to let the naked man have coffee for his own protection. It was a safety issue.

McDonald’s was actually doing the naked man a favour by refusing to serve him. He should be thanking McDonald’s for saving him from himself - and the hot coffee.

Unless that was what the “laptop” case was for.

But then coffee contains caffeine, which is a stimulant. You can't blame McDonald's for not wanting to get the naked man "stimulated".

Anyway, I can take a hint. I went to get my Steakhouse Burger at Burger King fully clothed.

My only complaint is that I didn’t know where to put the onion rings.

I wondered if Burger King would serve Sheikh Haikel if he showed up naked.

Suddenly, I lost my appetite.

- Published in The New Paper, 19 December 2010

Sunday 12 December 2010

Fowl scent: For me, everyday is Smelly Monday

For you classic rock fans out there, name the band that recorded this song:
“Ooh, that smell! Can't you smell that smell? Ooh, that smell! The smell of death surrounds you.”
That was what many Singaporean were probably singing (if they were Lynyrd Skynyrd fans) recently on what I will forever remember as “Smelly Monday”, thanks to a particularly pointed New Paper headline.

On that day, the National Environment Agency (NEA) received more than 100 calls about a strange chemical smell.

And it wasn’t caused by the haze. The NEA doesn’t know what the smell was. I can’t tell you because I didn’t smell anything on Smelly Monday.

But then, as my wife has pointed out, I’m not good at detecting smells. This could be due to my body odour and flatulence problem. To me, everyday is Smelly Monday.

And when everyday is Smelly Monday, Smelly Monday is just Monday. Smelly is a given and redundant.

When I first met my wife, I was living in Jurong West. When she first came to my place, she asked, “What’s that smell?”

This was after we had been going out for a while, so I didn't think she was referring to my BO and gasworks.

I said, “What smell?”

She said, “Can’t you smell that smell?”

I said, “Lynyrd Skynyrd!”

I guess because I had been living in Jurong - an industrial area since before I was born - for a few years, I no longer noticed the thickness of the air caused by the factories.

“How can you people live like this?” asked the future mother of my children.

My wife had lived in the east of Singapore all her life. I have noticed that people from the “right” side of the island tend to be a bit uppity and look down on the rest of us non-easterners.

Then last week, The Straits Times revealed the source of the stench that so offended my uppity wife.

The newspaper reported:
“For some two decades, the smell of burnt cocoa has been pervasive in Boon Lay. Part of the smell comes from the Cadbury factory located about a kilometre away from the Boon Lay MRT station.”

That’s just one MRT station from my Jurong home, where my mother still lives. So I have another excuse not to visit her.

After marrying the uppity easterner, I moved to Choa Chu Kang, relieved that we have finally escaped the stink. Or so we thought.

According to the same Straits Times report,
“Choa Chu Kang residents do not have it any better: they have had to live with the smell of chicken dung coming from the poultry farms in Sungei Tengah”.
So basically, I have upgraded from the smell of burnt cocoa to the smell of chicken shit.

Sometimes not being able to smell stuff is not such a bad thing after all.

My wife isn't so uppity anymore. Nowadays, her relatives back east look down on her.

And when the fowl smell of chicken shit hits me, I just yell out, “Free bird!”

Then after checking that it’s not my own flatulence, maybe I’ll flick my Bic as if I were at a Southern rock concert. There’s an app for that.

Skynyrd forever!

- Published in The New Paper, 12 December 2010

Sunday 5 December 2010

Curfew? I want my kids OUT of the house during school holidays

I would like to ask you something if you are a parent of children between 10 and 15 years old – although judging by the kind of comments from readers I get on Facebook, I believe you’re more likely to be between 10 and 15 years old yourself.

Anyway, I’m a parent of an 11-year-old girl and 13-year-old boy. The year-end school holidays have started.

It is the best of times because I no longer have to keep asking my kids to do their homework.

It is the worst of times because without the interruption of having to go to school, my kids now spend most of their waking hours in front of a screen of some kind.

It could be the TV, the computer, the PSP or their mobile phones – and sometimes, two of these at the same time.

My question is: Are other kids like this?

This can't be healthy.

And when I take the gadgets away from them, they turn into pumpkins. They have no other reason for being. They would lie down in bed and can't be motivated to do anything else except wait for the chance to return to their virtual worlds. Or fall asleep.

I try to get them interested in Universal Studios, Walking With Dinosaurs, Harry Potter's Hallows - deathly or otherwise - or the latest animated 3-D movie, but they won’t bite because all these things involve going out – and being separated from the home computer.

Hey, I'm grateful that their indifference to the outside world saves me a lot of money – but still.

When I do manage to get them out of the house, they would either be playing with their PSP and mobile phones or asking me when it's time to go home.

You know how the recent incidents of youth violence have prompted discussions about a curfew?

I wonder if a “reverse curfew” is a good idea.

A curfew requires young people to be home by a certain time. A “reverse curfew” would require young people to stay out of home until a certain time.

Yes, I’m that desperate to get my kids out of the house.

Once again, as my wife pointed out, it’s partly my fault. I, too, spend most of my waking hours in front of a screen of some kind. At work, it’s the computer monitor. At home, I’m doing exactly what the kids are doing.

When I chase them away from the home computer, it’s usually so that I can use it to bid for country music CDs on eBay. I’m a bad role model in more ways than one.

At least when school starts, I can tell them to do their homework so that I can have the computer to myself.

But then there’s this thing called e-Learning, which requires them to do their homework online.

How do I check the comments on my Facebook page then?

I just can't win - at least until I get another computer.

- Published in The New Paper, 5 December 2010

Friday 3 December 2010

Putting semen in someone's drink is more than just 'mischief'

It has been described as possibly "the first case of its kind".

I shall now recap this widely reported court case - interjected with the appropriate exclamations of disbelief, amazement and snark.

Consider this my early Christmas present to you, dear reader:

On Wednesday, a man was jailed for spiking a female colleague’s drinking water with his semen.

Ewww! That’s disgusting!

The colleague drank the semen-fortified water.

Choke! Did he think his colleague was Zoe “I swallow” Tay? Gag! Vomit!

He had obtained the semen by masturbating to a photograph of his female colleague.

Is this supposed to be some sort of compliment?!

He recorded himself collecting the semen in a small bottle on video with his mobile phone.

Why?! So that he can relive the moment over and over again?!

Then he waited for his colleague to leave her desk and mixed his semen into her water bottle.

Wow! Did he have to shake the bottle really hard to get the semen mixed into the water?!

The water bottle was tinted red, so the colleague did not realise the water was no longer clear.

Oh! So he didn’t have to shake the bottle that hard!

He also recorded himself doing this.

This guy is an idiot!

He struck up a conversation with his victim when she returned to her desk and then he secretly recorded her drinking the inseminated water.

Didn’t she taste anything?! What lousy water was she drinking?!

He did this to two female colleagues.

Twice?! He got away with this twice?! Champion!

He was working at the Singapore Police Force at the time.

He was with the police?! That makes us feel so much safer! Talk about the thin blue line! Or maybe it's blue balls!

He was eventually caught when he tried to shoot an upskirt video of another female colleague by squatting near her with his phone.

Aiyah! Cheap trick!

She grabbed the phone from him and found the upskirt shots.

Why didn’t he just run away with the phone?! So dumb!

The police were informed. They raided the idiot’s home and found 155 illicit videos dating back to 2005 on his computer, including those of him creating the semen mocktails for his other two colleagues.

He had been a very naughty boy!

He created separate folders on his computer for each of his colleagues with sub-folders for each incident. He labelled each video file with the date taken and the victim’s name.

Wah, for a pervert and an idiot, he’s so organised!

He was sentenced to 18 months in jail after pleading guilty to eight counts of taking underskirt videos and two counts of mischief.


Holding up two fingers behind your colleague’s head while she has her picture taken - that’s mischief.

Putting semen in her drink - that’s a whole other ball game!

I thank you for your time.

- Unpublished