Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Rain maker

Our tropical weather is just too weird. We were complaining about the heat and then suddenly we're rewarded with a heavy downpour. It was pouring when I arrived at the office this morning.

My Korean associate had an epiphany when he visited recently. We were driving in the rain when he suddenly exclaimed, "Now I know why the streets in Singapore are so clean. You have so much rain!'

Good point there. Now you know why I never bother to wash my car. All I have to do is to wash my car and the rain will come. If I wax it, I'll be rewarded with a thunderstorm like today. I forgot to tell him that I had washed my car just before he arrived.

You see, my car was shiny and gleaming when it left the workshop yesterday. I paid an extra $11 to get it washed and vacuumed. Let's just say it has never been so clean in many years. I warn my friends not to wear black when they sit in my car because they will only emerge with lots of white fur on their clothes.

The mechanic was appalled by the amount of dust accumulated in the aircon filter. He fished out a nasty looking thing from the bin and dangled it before me like a prized catch, "Look! I have never seen such a dirty filter all my life!"

I didn't quite know where to hide my face, so the easiest thing to do was to push the blame on the dog. "Must be dog's fur in there." I replied. "I bring my dog everywhere you see..."

To me, a car is a utility vehicle, not a showpiece. That's why it's called an SUV! The only mistake I made was in the colour. Black is cool but it's also very unforgiving. Dust and water marks show up too easily which reflects badly on a lazy owner like me.

When we were living at the farm, a muddy SUV fitted in perfectly against the landscape. In fact, it looked kinda cool. Now that we're living in the suburbs, a dirty car sticks out like a sore thumb in a carpark lined with shiny cars.

My neighbours give me a dirty look when they see me driving in but I'm not caving in yet. I haven't gotten used to washing my car in the tiny space called the washing bay. I find it easier to use the garden hose at the farm. For now, I'll just have to rely on the rain to do the job.

However, in case you're in need of rain, please holler. I'll wash my car and the rain will surely come.

Monday, 29 June 2009

Rusty rain suit

It's been a rainy evening yet Rusty couldn't do without his walk. We romped through the neighbourhood and stomped on puddles until he came home dripping wet. I wouldn't allow him to sleep on my bed with muddy paws and all.

The poor dog had a warm shower and blow-dry before bedtime. CH has kindly designed a special rain gear for the rainy season. We could patent it and call it the Rusty Rain Suit. That would be so neat! And oh, oh, we're going to be rich!!

Sunday, 28 June 2009

The good and the bad

The one-month school break is over. When I sent SK to school this morning, a group of masked staff armed with thermometers were checking the students' temperature.

Singapore has 599 confirmed cases of H1N1 and the numbers are set to rise further. It doesn't help that we're moving into the 'heaty' season. Though we have no seasons, the month of July is typically hot and dry. It's also the time where you see piles of 'heaty' tropical fruits like durian, rambutan and lychee at the fruit market.

Growing up in the kampung, our fruit trees would be laden with fruits. We would gorge ourselves silly, sometimes while perched on top of the shady rambutan tree. Inevitably, someone would fall sick and then mum would ban us from eating durians and rambutans for the rest of the holidays. How I love those childhood days!

YK's exams starts today. He's getting used to the hectic life in a tertiary institution. Instead of spending the past few weeks playing basketball and swimming like his younger brother, he had lots of projects and studying to do. Sad to say, it's sucking the fun out of a teenager's life.

I have a dental appointment this afternoon. It's going to be a major treatment and an expensive one. According to the dentist, the tooth underneath the crown doesn't look too good, so that calls for removal of the old crown and replacing with a new one. I'm not looking forward to it really but at this age, things start falling apart, just like my car.

My car refused to start after I had refuelled at the petrol kiosk last week. Luckily I was at the right place and got the battery replaced on the spot. If that had happened while I was on the road, it would have been troublesome. Anyway, the mechanic suggested I bring it in for service soon before something serious happens. I'm planning to send it in tomorrow.

Mum's going back for her MRI results this Wednesday and I hope for good news. She was in good spirits when I saw her yesterday. Pity we didn't have much time to chat.

I received a call from Haagen Daz a week ago saying that I had won a $100 ice cream voucher. I had entered a contest when I bought a birthday cake for YK two months ago. I never knew I could be so lucky.

I shouldn't be eating too much ice cream or I'll be back on the dentist chair again in no time. It hurts to have sweet tooth I tell ya. I should give the vouchers to the kids.

Jacuzzi pool party

Written by Rusty:

The motley crew descended upon CH's quiet abode to chill out by the pool yesterday. They wasted no time and jumped in to escape from the sweltering heat. What heat? I have fur yet I'm not complaining!

I was greeted with cheers when I arrived later. I think they must be hungry because they've had no grub all afternoon except for beer and whiskey. Thank goodness mummy brought some bruschetta and hae chor (prawn rolls). Drool.

The lovely Aunty Beverly came later with a whole load of goodies. She thinks I'm so cute. I like her too, especially the little hotdogs that she brought.

Needless to say, I quickly became the star. Everyone took turns to coax me into the pool.

Do you think I would jump into a pool with 7 people inside? All that sweat and dead skin. Urgh!

Then Aunty Patricia caught me unawares and brought me into the water. Yikes! Nobody came to my rescue. I paddled to the steps and made a quick escape. They had the cheek to laugh at me!

You can tell I wasn't a happy dog!

But she wouldn't give up so easily. She was the one who started luring me with hotdogs. She knows I can't resist a hotdog when I see one. Well, I managed to gobble a few down without even getting my paws wet!

Naturally, everyone wanted a photo with me. I'm a hot dog!

Patricia says I remind her of her jack russell that she had as a kid. She tried to relive some of her childhood memories while clinging on to me.

Though I couldn't understand German, I tried to show her "I'm all ears."

Graeme offered me whiskey. Unbelievable, that guy!

Surely he must know I don't drink. I only save lives. I'm a Wonder Dog!

And I watch over damsels. Give the ladies a Tiger!

Mummy knew I was getting restless, so she took me out for a walk.

When we came back, the pool was empty except for the rubber ducky.

It was getting cold and everyone decided to put on some clothes at last. This lovely couple wanted to bring me home to meet their notorious cat Zar Zar. They must be kidding! You should have seen the scratches on their limbs!

Hakim thinks I'm a cool dude like him.

Suddenly Aunty Patricia brought out Christaine's birthday cake and an even bigger knife. I like cheesecake, especially this kind. Mummy gave me some. I hope she buys me one for my birthday.

Thank you, Aunty Beverly, for the photos. You take great pictures of me.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Shanghai meeting

The plane touched down in the spanking new Pudong airport at 3.30pm but we were not allowed to disembark until the health officials have done their job. The authorities are serious about containing the H1N1 flu, so we had to remain seated while the masked officials went about taking temperature in a swift and efficient manner. Thank goodness we had no sick passengers onboard the plane or I could end up in quarantine.

On the way to the city, I noticed the huge amount of cars and very little bicycles on the busy streets. I was amused when the cab driver said nobody wears white in Shanghai because it turns to grey within a day. I agree something must be done about the pollution.

I arrived at the hotel weary after battling peak hour traffic. The nice lady at the conceirge must have noticed because she upgraded my room to a suite with a lounge, 2 bathrooms and 2 TV sets. It's as big as the size of my own apartment! Sweet!

I met the rest of the guys (yes, all guys) for a glass of beer before dinner. The weather was pleasantly cool in the evening when we walked to the restaurant nearby. I was told the rainy season had only ended the day before which means the temperature will keep soaring in the days to come.

It's great to have foodies amongst us who know exactly what to order at the restaurant. Food in Shanghai is relatively cheap. Of course I can say that because I wasn't the one footing the bill. Here's what we had for dinner:

Chopped spinach topped with pine nuts.

Cucumber wrapped in pork slices.

Pomelo salad.

Chicken braised in soy sauce.

A vegetable and roasted walnut stir-fry.

Braised tofu.

Peking duck.

Stir fried sweet pea.

Winter melon soup served in a huge urn.

Here's the soup.

Diced pork.

Fried fish.

Kai lan.

Of course, we didn't come all the way to Shanghai for the food (though it is a huge incentive). Our agency meeting started at 10am the next day and didn't finish until 4.30pm. Lunch was chicken burgers delivered by the good guys at KFC. The spicy chicken burger was tender and finger licking good.

If you think last night's dinner was good, wait till you see the spread on the second night. This time, we booked a VIP room at a different restaurant to accommodate more people at the dinner table.


Braised beancurd and mushroom.

Fish fillet.

Diced vegetables and beancurd, topped with pine nuts. This must be a Shanghai specialty.

Fresh prawns cooked in egg gravy.

Annie trying to make Keith look more attractive than he already is.

Shredded bean dish.

Sweet and sour fish.

Diced meat and vegetables.

Luncheon meat with pork skin and mushrooms.

An eel dish which Spencer refused to touch.

Stir fried beef.


Spicy beancurd.

Blood cubes cooked in a spicy sauce. This dish didn't go down very well with most of us.

Pork and cabbage.


Eight-treasure duck.

Annie trying to stuff food down Keith's throat. Will you guys stop playing with food!

"Say cheese!"

After a very satisfying meal, we adjourned to our 'second office'. For the clueless, I'm refering to the watering hole around the corner where the guys usually hang out for beer.

Note to self - must not ask Keith to take my photos in future.

I wonder what they were doing.

You're not shoving the cherry up your nose, are you?

A happy KFC!

In an hour, we drank enough Tiger beer to flood the streets of Shanghai.

Nigel pretending to be drunk (to avoid paying the bill).

It wasn't all play and no work. The meeting ended at noon the next day. One by one, we started flying out of Shanghai City. The office is quiet once again and I heard Annie and Jasmine are missing us already. A yearly meeting is just about right. We'll meet again!