The Brother Who Always Picks Up After His Sister

I find this story quite fitting of this blog.

So I was at my 3rd sister’s house having a family dinner in celebration of my dad’s birthday (and Father’s Day for that matter). It was drawing near the end of the night, when my 2nd sister lost her phone for some reason.

The entire family started a nationwide search for this missing phone (which incidentally 2nd Sis didn’t really like anyway but refused to admit it in public), beginning with looking in every bag, under every chair, inside every container, under every bed blanket, etc. in the house. We then proceeded to look around the swimming pool, in the carpark, in the car that was in the car park, calling multiple times and not getting connected (which led us to think the phone was stolen and switched off) before we decided to give up looking.

Having had a rather filling steamboat dinner, some of which contained half-cooked meat, I decided to visit my 3rd sis’ ivory throne before moving on home for the night. (At this point you will probably have guessed where I am going with this, but just carry on reading for the heck of it.) After about 2 or 3 efforts of concentration, I pushed down the flush button, and subsequently experienced a moment of every visiting house guest’s nightmare.

The toilet won’t flush. Not only that, it was choking; the water was rising up, with a floater threatening to jump at me.

While some of the water did go down eventually (thankfully bringing down one of my efforts of concentration down with it), I still had to contend with a floater and a wad of tissue stuck at the mouth of the bidet. Waiting a minute for the water to refill, I tried again. This time the floater managed to squeeze through the wad of tissue (?) and while the water rose up a little again, I saw something shiny peeping out from the wad of tissue.

That’s when I realised that was not so much a wad of tissue as it was a square of tissue with a mobile phone hiding behind it.

My first instinct was to pick up the phone, which I did with my left hand. Yep, reached right into the throat of my beloved seat of contemplation without a second thought… yet. It was later that I was informed my 2nd Sis had visited this common loo with the mobile phone in her back pocket in the late afternoon, and I had only found it after 9pm, during which time, my sister had cleared her bowels, the kids and cleared their bladders, and I had gloriously added to the fracas that short-circuited the mobile phone with my digested bits of the day. I endeavor to thoroughly disinfect my left hand with chlorine over the next 3 days.

As advised by my eldest sister (so we have established I have a total of 3 sisters only), I will end this with a philosophical thought.

The younger brother will always be picking up his older sister’s shit. But not without giving her some shit of his own first.

What Am I on Google?

On a very rare slow week, I have been skiving on my lappie at work and suddenly, in an idea almost as wacky as cross dressing for my wedding album, I googled my own name in Google, and here are the relevant results (relevant to my person, I mean).

  • Winston Tay | Facebook

    This is Winston Tay’s public search listing on Facebook. Winston’s friends can view photos, videos and more. Everyone can join Facebook.
    www.facebook.com/people/Winston_Tay/584789092 – 18k –
    (Who isn’t on Facebook nowadays, huh?)

  • theurbanwire.com: the 18th edition

    Friday, 18 February 2005, Citizen Girl by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus, Winston Tay, 1611. Saturday, 15 January 2005, The Family Way, Michelle Tan, 1184
    www.theurbanwire.com/stories/index.php?option=content&task=category&sectionid=1&id=76 – 54k –
    (Testament to a wannabe writer’s beginnings)

  • theurbanwire.com: the 18th edition – The Live Xperience 2: Krueger

    Written by Winston Tay. Thursday, 07 April 2005. A taxi driver once struck up a conversation with me about John Molina. Claiming he knew his parents,
    www.theurbanwire.com/stories/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=147&Itemid=68 – 41k –
    (A piece I did on John & Krueger. Overall nice guy, but can’t remember women’s names for shit.
    My wife still became a groupie though, that’s how powerful his attraction is.)

  • BIKEsutra.com: Cycling in Asia

    Singapore Mountain Bike Forum

Don?t you just hate it when?

  • … you get up to go to the toilet to take a shit, but halfway to the toilet, you lose the feeling?
  • … you wake up at 9.30pm and realise you’re frigging late for work, then you rush through brushing your teeth, taking your shower (cold water too, can’t wait for the water heater to start), dressing up, grab all your stuff, look at the clock and realise it’s a Sunday?
  • … you woke up thinking you had to work, but realising you didn’t have to work, and now you can’t go back to sleep?
  • … you know you have to go to work, but you just can’t wake up?
  • … you wake up at 8.30pm, giving you just enough time between leaving home and taking the commute to your workplace, and just as you leave the house, you realise your 3 hamsters have escaped from their cage?
  • … you are walking towards your bus stop on your way to work, and see the bus coming and start running, then suddenly realise as the bus passes you and stops a lot further than expected that they moved the bus stop about 500 metres down the road for upgrading works, thus rendering you unable to catch the bus anyway no matter how hard you’re gonna try?

These have been my mornings for the past few months, particularly after moving into the new apartment. I am sure this list will be added to, as I grow to learn more and more that I am not a morning person.

Call me Winnie (a.k.a. Eskew me, are you for real?)

This will get me on Technorati for sure…

Over the past couple of days, one question I’ve been looking forward to answering has been “How did your photoshoot go?” Thus far, I’ve answered it twice already, and both times to it’s desired effect. Here’s an example (in this case, involving my eldest sister and me) of what would transpire between a hapless victim and me when this conversation kicks off…

Susan: “So how was your photoshoot?”
Me: “Not bad. My bridal gown was very nice.”
Susan: (obligingly) “Heheheh…”

Pause.

Me: “Why does everyone think I’m joking when I say that?”
Susan: (obligingly) “Heheheh…” (followed by a slow realisation of what I just said, and subsequent widening of eyes and dropping of jaw)

I do so enjoy the element of surprise.

I’m gonna spare the rest of you that conversation (I’ve had enough fun with my siblings, best man, and his fiancee). Ladies and gentlemen, call me Winnie.

Geez, this is gonna be hard to top.

This is seriously going to be hard to top.

Update:
A few hours after this post was first put up, I put it in private mode for the discretion of my more conservative readers (Donutboy had trouble eating his dinner after seeing Winnie). It’s back up, though, because I always believe, if you’re gonna post something up on a blog, you might as well keep everything open to scrutiny and leave the “Keep this post private” checkbox for emergency use only (fine $2000 for misuse).

It’s interesting to see the reactions of people I know looking at that photo. When I first thought to do this, I thought, hey, I think this will make everyone laugh. I realise on hindsight I should have taken the cue from that family of 7 or 8, who were in the studio choosing their own bridal gowns when they saw me walk out in my plus-size chiffon-shouldered bridal gown, and promptly left the studio in a hurry.

I am quite surprised that this is really no laughing matter in some people’s eyes. Every 5 years or so I am awakened a little more by how closed a society we live in and how carefully we have to tread in our own social circles. It’s also one of the main reasons why I have so few friends in the first place.

To a friend and slightly distant neighbour who had considered doing the same thing, this thing takes more guts than you think.

My wedding shoes cost $27 (my wife?s cost $22.50)

Leaves a lot to the imagination doesn’t it?

I’m not gonna go into any more detail except this psychological analysis of spending so freaking little on the most important shoes a couple may ever wear in their lifetimes.

Just think; if a couple, both in the middle-income bracket, are about to get married, logically the most important day of their lives should deserve a more impressive shoe receipt than our grand total of $49.50. So there can only be 3 plausible explanations why they should decide to invest in 2 pair of shoes dug up from the super-bargain corner of the thrift section of the wagon sales area of the cheapskates department of the budget shopping centre of this country most people identify with as a shopper’s paradise (personally I prefer Bangkok).

Explanation 1: They ran out of money from doing up their love nest; all their wedding money went into a 42″ HD-ready plasma TV with inbuilt hard drive recording function and a Nintendo Wii.

Explanation 2: Underneath their seemingly normal spending habits are 2 middle-aged misers that bought an executive flat to eventually hoard enough old clothes, newspapers, cardboard boxes and other people’s furniture to start their own Salvation Army thrift store (but they’re never selling anything away, NEVER!).

Explanation 3: Something’s up.

Find out on 20th July. Hopefully someone has a videocam, so at least it can go up on the Net.

The Hills Are Alive with the Sound of My Wedding Jitters

Some of you may already be aware through either discussions with me over MSN, or, more controversially, gossip and talking behind people’s back, that there will be a wedding on 20th July this year. Some of you may not be aware after reading the last sentence that my wife and I are actually 2 years into our legal marriage and thus may come to the conclusion that this is a shotgun wedding.

Please lah, I say accident is CAR accident, not pre-marital accident OK? Wah lau…

Meet-the-parents session at the principal's office.The truth is, after we signed off on the big black dotted lines at the very clinical, quite unromantic Registry of Marriages (Next… , OK, do you? And do you? Right, I now pronounce, Next… OK, do you?…), my wife and I were playing with the idea of holding a wedding dinner, as well as playing with the idea of NOT holding a wedding dinner.

When I was a kid, wedding dinners meant 8- to 10-course king’s feasts where you stuff your mouth in peach bun eating competitions, then run around and get sweaty with all the other relative’s kids and generally celebrate the freedom of being a 10-year-old kid rather than the newly-found marital bliss of the wedded couple hosting the dinner (whom you barely even know anyway). As you grow up though, the concept of the wedding dinner gets a little more complicated with each passing year.

By the time you’re 30 years old and thinking about doing your own, the concept of the wedding dinner has become a monster of a task not unlike the Taiwanese government choosing its cabinet ministers (you’ve seen the fistfights, too, right?). I told a friend once who was also contemplating getting married that wedding dinners are quite basically paying homage to one’s parents for allowing the nuptials to take place, and an announcement to your immediate world that you are now ready to embark on a life that embodies legitimate sexual relations.

But above and beyond that, the true test of how far you have gone in your life socially is planning the guest list. This is where the Taiwan politics comes into play, and it becomes a real eye-opener for the soon-to-be-traditionally-married-in-Asian-culture couple. Some of the things that will affect the formation of the guest list include:

  • who to invite because they’re related to you;
  • who to invite because they know you;
  • who not to invite because they’re related to you (it happens);
  • who not to invite because they know you (too well);
  • who can come because they happen to be in the country;
  • who can’t come because they’re in jail;
  • who to put in which table so as to encourage wedding table banter, or discourage wedding dinner gang fights;
  • who not to invite because you don’t have enough seats (and they didn’t invite you to theirs, so hmph!);
  • etc. etc. etc.

Let me now qualify that in the last month or so since we started planning for this wedding dinner, we have experienced ALL the above conditions, and as funny as it seems, it really isn’t. Particularly when finding out someone’s in jail, that’s like, whoa.

In any case, for those invited to our joyous celebration, expect the unexpected (we’ve got one or two surprises lined up for the day), and rest assured we will try our best to accommodate to your tastes and social standing. As the Chinese always like to say, 如有不妥,请多多包涵 (if at any time you experience any unhappiness during the proceedings, we apologise for any inconvenience caused in advance).

For those of you who have just joined in and are wondering why you didn’t get an invite, thank you for reading this far into the post, please read the aforementioned Chinese saying (or its translation) and drop me an email or Facebook message, and I’ll get back to you ASAP.

And remember, it’s Shanghai Night, so come in your Shanghai Tang best!

It Was An Accident (don?t worry, it?s all good)

This post was first published on 4 June 2008, and has been edited because it’s been 5 years and my proofreading has improved since.

It was a dark and stormy night (no, really; there was rain, and it was already about 7.30pm, so the sun was nowhere in sight).

My wife and I were driving through the final stretch of road approaching where we stay, when we stopped at a red light. My wife was halfway through talking to me about something (don’t ask me to remember, that’s not what this story is about), when she suddenly starts screaming. One split second later, there was a huge crunching sound behind us and a spine-jolting bump in our seats.

No, she’s not psychic. Apparently she had her eye out on the rear-view, and saw this other car that had been driving erratically behind us. Next thing I knew, the car had driven erratically into our back-end.

We had gotten into our first?second accident as a couple.

Sparky wasn't neutered.As my wife came out of the car in a flying rage, screaming her head off (to the tune of “WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING?!”), the guy who banged into us (who turned out to be the same age as my wife’s dad) also stepped out of the car. Midway through those first 30 seconds, my wife’s screaming dropped to a irritated, albeit panicked, murmur (hooray for the Asian value of respecting the elderly, even though its application here may seem rather late at this point).

Later on, we brought the car to a family friend’s garage, and were told to check ourselves out at a hospital in case further medical damages needed to be claimed (my wife also started getting slightly paranoid about that spine-jolting bump jolting her spine). We first got to Thomson Medical Centre’s 24-hour outpatient clinic, but were told they didn’t do accidents and emergencies because of a hospital policy to protect patients’ information (in case it turns into a police investigation, etc.). So we trudged down for about a half-hour, jolted spine and all, to Tan Tock Seng Hospital where we registered, sat, waited and mused at the stoic, unfriendly nurses running around the A&E trying to keep hearts pumping and keep legs from kicking (midnight in Tan Tock Seng’s Emergency ward can be a bit messy).

My wife's bridal shoot was a lot more revealing than we had anticipated.1 1/2 hours later, we finally got our consult, and were told to proceed to the X-ray room for a photoshoot (forget anorexia, baby, bones are the new black, uh, and white). This is where it gets little interesting, because everyone knows when doing an X-ray, you got to remove all your jewellery and metal objects. So I told my wife, “Pass me your necklace, rings and earrings before you go in.” She starts taking off all her jewellery… then freezes with her head down for about 3 seconds, then turns to me, saying, “What about my navel ring?”

What about her navel ring? To explain, many many years ago, when she was still a young, pretty dancing lass who went to clubs as frequently as my mother goes to the wet market, my wife decided to get her pretty little belly button pierced. Said piercing involved a semi-permanent steel hook with balls covering both ends which is neither removable without the use of a pair of pliers, nor has it been removed since said piercing. About 15 years later, said piercing was starting to get nervous because both its owner and its owner’s husband were staring at it as though it was wearing pants and its zipper was undone.

And then the radiologist called my wife’s name. I told my wife calmly as she got up to go into the X-ray room, “Look, just ask the radiologist, she’ll know what to do.”

Apparently the radiologist did NOT know what to do, because 10 seconds later, the both of them were out of the X-ray room again, and the radiologist was frantically walking around the whole lab asking for a pair of pliers.

Our saving grace was when our consulting doctor suddenly appeared at the X-ray room entrance (kinda like in dramas where the father suddenly walks into his son having sex, except without the need to turn away his eyes in disgust and shame) and asked the radiologist if the X-ray was done. As it was, no beautiful photos have been taken of my wife’s inner calcium-formed structure to grace any issue of Bones Illustrated, and it was explained to the doctor the circumstances to which lead to the delay. After one look of bewilderment from the doctor, a shrug from the radiologist, two embarrassing looks from us, and a chuckle from the doctor, the doctor tells the radiologist “OK, can you cancel the X-ray? Patient needs to follow me back to the consultation room.”

Oh, that’s curious.

Taking 2 pregnancy tests and getting positive on both does not mean you have twins.The fact that the doctor had to actually fight the radiologist off from keeping us in the X-ray queue (while about 3 more people were waiting in the same lab wondering what the hell is up with these two) was not what was strange. The strange (and wonderful) thing, well, in this case 2 strange and wonderful things greeted us as the doctor arrived at his consultation room and presented to us 2 pregnancy tests, both marked positive.

It was now 2.40am on the 25th April, 2008, and my wife was suddenly pregnant.

So my wife goes, "Start a blog!"

First published in My Ivory Throne

My dear 2-month pregnant wife suggested maybe 2 nights ago that I start a blog while I was complaining about a commercial that was showing on TV.

“You should start a blog,” she said. “Put down all these comments you make about all these funny things into words for all to see.”

Or something like that.

I have thought about it for a while. Having run a blog a few years back, I realised not only do you need to sacrifice a fair amount of privacy, time and brain cells into creating a compelling read, the commitment it takes to keep it running is also very daunting a challenge for me.

I will first state here that I am not going to be one of those bloggers that will paste in song lyrics, horoscope readings and any blog equivalent of song dedications on radio that end with “Stay Kool and Funkee 4Eva”. No, this is going to be serious commentary about serious issues, like why the Ramen Ten ad lady with those irritatingly big eyes never puts any food in his mouth in trying to demonstrating how delicious the food is, and why on a Pizza Hut ad, after 1 bite of a pizza, the couple on TV would rather do anything else rather than keep eating. (Incidentally, I have since switched to Sarpino’s Pizza for my home delivery dinners.)

This blog is also documentation for the new upcoming Tay in my life (I plan to read random entries of this blog to my kid during bedtime to lull the little bugger to sleep more quickly), a record of the trials and tribulations I have had to face as the guitar-toting husband of a pregnant wife and, later, the father of a soon-to-be rebellious teenager.

I think most importantly, I will look at this as an outlet for myself to vent, as most bloggers will. But I promise to vent creatively, as I slave through my life, a hapless 18-year-old stuck in a 30-year-old body and still not willing to grow up and act my age.

And if, for any reason relating to the content of this blog, I ever lose my job, get publicly ridiculed, arrested, stabbed, poked by an old lady with an umbrella, refused service at a chicken rice stall, or disowned by my family and shunned by my friends, I have only my dear loving wife to blame for suggesting I start a blog in the first place.

This blog is dedicated to you, baby.