May 2006


It is officially the start of the GSS (great singapore sale). Other than Christmas season, this is the time of the year when 23,000 retailers, not only the big boys of Orchard and Marina area, but heartland shops as well, slash prices up to 70% that’s proven to attract even tourist to this synthetically alluring place. The 8-week conspiracy, which incidentally coincides with midyear school holiday, rang in $5B and 1.6M tourist last year. They expect to better that this year. Giving a high on an already buoyed economy.

I’ve been here for a decade and yet this sale doesn’t really draw me out of my scrimping. Of course it is a different story when it comes to necessities or luxury items that I’ve been eyeing for quite some time. It’s a trap going out on a sale. The pace is dizzying and the odds are, you will end up like a mindless mink grabbing things on impulse, specially with my wife and kids in tow.

You don’t have to be liquid to really splurge. Plastic currency or credit cards are very much available. Having at least 5 seems to be a norm. Pwedeng kaskas muna, which is something we are trying to avoid as much as possible. I live with the mantra of using credit cards for convenience and not for credit. We keep track and set a reasonable cap on expenses when using plastics. Roll over payment is definitely out of the question.

Albeit there is always the fear of the unknowns and of the future, I have no qualm about growing old. I just hope that I would be given enough playing time by Almighty Coach to fullfil my destiny–whatever that is.

Not that my joints are squeaking and seem to require WD40 like a rusted hinge (nor my spare tire begins to manifest slowing down of metabolism, nor my muscles begins to sag like a laundry on a pole), in fact I never felt healthier. I can still **** like a stallion (remember Demi describing Robert in Indecent Proposal?) . It is just that gray hairs begin to unabashedly show here and there. But who cares anyway? Que sera sera !

*******

After much deliberation and lobbying, lumabas na rin ang pinakakaasam-asam at pinakakaabangan-abangan kong promotion. It’s long overdue btw, I should have had it months ago. I’m a step higher into the foodchain and much closer to pan. Resilience is one of my virtue and I know I can stand the heat. I just wish that ingrained dirt and soot in the system don’t really rub on me.

If you ardently believe that an apple a day keeps a doctor away, hear this: two glasses of beer a day promises eternal life. At least that’s what the Hoegaarden brewer from Brussel, the beer capital of the world, claims when visited by the thirsty traveller.

I’ve been drinking beer since time immemorial (in moderation that is) but only few days back that I come to know that Brussel is the place to go if you’re goddamned crazy about the beverage. Beer is literally the air that they breath in this face of the earth. Yeast is in the air and can be added to the beer by simply exposing the brew to the atmosphere. I wonder how it affects feminine hygiene?

The place boasts of 80 (brands or types?…I’m simply can’t recall)! No other country, even those with far more breweries, has among its native styles of beer such diversity, individuality, idiosyncrasy and colour. Nor does any other country present beers so beautifully. Belgian brewers often use wired and corked Champagne bottles, and serve each beer in its own shape of glass, ranging from flutes to snifters and chalices. It is something of a Belgian speciality to bottle beers with a sediment of live yeast, so that they can be laid down to mature. This technique is usually indicated on the label by the phrase “re-fermented in the bottle”.

They even have a patron saint for brewers, Saint Arnould. He was Bishop of Metz, a neighbouring place. During a cholera outbreak, he suggested drinking beer instead of water, preventing further spreading of the disease. St-Arnould’s day is July 18. Remember to tip your mug to him on that day!

I remember working in Pinas where the ability to drink seems to be a requisite, at least for the company that I worked for. We had this chauvinistic, silly toast to liven up the crowd, especially when most were tipsy. Most often than not, bottoms up follows.

To the wound that never heals!

They come in all shapes and sizes, filling up almost every available space. Almost every domestic helper here in Singapore is expected to pay homage to Lucky Plaza during Sunday. That is if they’re lucky enough to be given an off day. Most would probably hang around the place. A spillover crowd would be seen along the stretch of Orchard road. Others are probably having tryst at some place or another, most of which would probably illicit.

The whole place is a perfect pandemonium. The neverending stream of chattering blends into the air like the humming of the bees.

Everytime I visit the place at this particular day, I can’t help but scan the faces. I can’t help but think how they or their loveones are coping up with the distance. These are the mothers, wives, sisters or what-have-you of someone back home. This is their supreme sacrifice.

Finally, juvenile welfare bill is now a law. It’s long overdue anyway. Detaining minors with hardcore criminals is not a way to rehabilitate them.

This law will however embolden criminal minds to use minors as runners and hitmen. It is easier to cajole someone young and hungry to do stupid things once he or she knows that the stakes are low. I’m not sure if there is a law exponentially increasing the penalty for using minors as puppets for unlawful ways. There should be one.

Jurong East If you cannot stand the heat, stay away from the kitchen hit the waves. Which exactly what we did yesterday, albeit an artificial one. BTW, yesterday happened to be Vesak day, celebrating the birth of Buddha and the 2550th anniversary of Buddhism. Buddhist makes the majority here which naturally makes it an official holiday.

It was a day worth celebrating. Yesterday was the fiesta of Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados in Santa Ana–the place in Manila where me and my wife grew up. It was also on this day, 18 years ago, that my wife gave me her sweetest “oo na nga, sabi”.

Jurong East We really had a blast yesterday, specially the kids. Jurong Swimming pool is only a bus ride away about half an hour from our place. Entrance fee is a measly (considering the facilities) s$2 for adult and S$1 for children. Food is also not a problem as the place is just a spit away from a hawker centre. And surprise, surprise! We discovered that there is this stall selling cheap, yet damn good curry fish head and curry chicken. They are also selling Thai style fried bean curd which is heavenly!


Whoever said it’s thru the stomach should calibrate the eyesight and aim a little lower. Dahil kung talagang totoo ‘yon, matagal na siguro akong sumama sa nagtitinda ng prawn noodle na dinayo namin ni esmi kaninang lunch time.

Heto na yatang recipe ng River South (Hoe Nam) ang pinakamasap na pork rib prawn noodle na natikman ko dito sa Sg. Sa pagkakaalam ko, 1971 pa itong kainan na ito. Sekwet daw ang recipe kaya kahit na anong lakas nila, iisa lang ang branch nito na matatagpuan sa Tai Thong Cresent sa tapat ng Jackson Kopitiam sa may Machperson. They keep it within the family, ika nga.

Payo lang kapatid: kung plano mong kumain dito kapag lunchtime, agahan mo.

Mabalik tayo sa koneksyon ng puson at sikmura. Ano nga ba? Wala yata. Pero good brownie points kung masarap magluto si kumander.

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