(And in eight years of online exhibitionism, that’s saying something!) Yup, I did the Facebook meme, because why the hell not?
2. I dress like a grandmother. For my granny’s birthday, my mum suggested I buy her a new handbag, something simple with minimal compartments to confuse her with (she is 88). After some shopping I ended up buying her the same handbag I carry to work because it seemed the most suitable candidate. At Christmas, I bought her a blouse which turned out slightly too small for her. So I kept the blouse and have been wearing it myself.
3. I am really, really good at a 90s arcade game called Tumblepop. When I used to play it in arcades, sometimes people gathered round to watch me.
4. When I was a kid, we didn’t do any gourmet eating and the only Parmesan I knew was the powdered stuff in the green Kraft canister. My mental name for it (which I possibly also announced in front of other people from time to time) was “vomit cheese”.
5. I get why some people like affirming, self-esteem boosting mantras, but they are not right for me. I need to be constantly aware of where and how I suck, or else I will always be too lazy to improve.
6. I get irrationally annoyed when people ask me whether I’ve permed my hair, even if they have the best of intentions. Because WHY WOULD I PAY MONEY TO MAKE MY HAIR LOOK LIKE THIS???!!
7. I get irrationally upset when people do nice gestures, however small, which don’t get fully appreciated for whatever reason. Once, my Chinese tuition lesson got shifted two hours earlier in the day. I didn’t tell my mum, and she brought home some snacks for us to enjoy during the tuition session, except of course that by the time she arrived the lesson was over. It was totally inconsequential to her and the snacks just got eaten some other time instead, but I felt shattered and still remember it to this day.
8. Books and moving images have almost never made me cry, but music has brought me to tears countless times.
9. Oh wait! Actually, TV quite recently brought tears to my eyes. It was Yodsaenklai and his mom on The Contender: Asia.
10. I spend the work week suppressing almost every aspect of my personality, because it would not be well received in my work environment. I accept this as part of adult life, but also think I’ve withdrawn into myself as a result, and sometimes I struggle to bring the real me back to the surface even when I’m out of work with more like-minded people. I wish I were better at finding the balance.
11. I love watching lion dancing, especially the music that accompanies it. The rhythms of the crashes and bangs give me the same happy feeling that good drum’n’bass does.
12. My most hilariously undeserved life achievement to date is my Distinction in AO’level oral Mandarin. I got an Ungraded on the first try, which was fair. Then on the second try, the conversational topic was something damn easy like “How do you spend your spare time?” so I listed whatever hobbies I could actually name in Chinese (whether I actually did them or not), and tacked on the indispensable coda of BUT OF COURSE IT’S VERY IMPORTANT TO ALSO SET ASIDE TIME FOR MY FAMILY AND AGING PARENTS.
13. To tolerate and/or fake enthusiasm (if it feels polite to do so) for babies/kids that don’t endear me, I pretend they are cats, because every cat endears me, even the ones which aren’t cute and behave badly.
14. I love temperate climates, including the darkest, shortest winter days.
15. I wish I knew which of my friends actually read my blog, not because I feel I am owed such attention, but because I don’t like the idea of boring people when we converse in person/email by recycling stuff I’ve written about there. I have other stuff to talk about, of course, but sometimes the blog stuff is fresher in my memory.
16. I eat unhealthily when I eat out, and quite healthily when I cook at home. This is because my top unhealthy loves (deep-fried stuff and rich creamy cheesy stuff) are more inconvenient/expensive to reproduce at home than simple vegetarian meals (which I often cook if I’m feeling too stingy to buy nice meat). I’m glad being cheap and lazy at least benefits me in one way.
17. I have never eaten yong tau fu in my life. It looks so totally unappetizing when other people eat it. [Edit: As a result of the rather entertaining comments that resulted from this list on Facebook, a friend has insisted that I allow her to introduce me to the joys of laksa yong tau fu, so I will be losing my yong tau fu virginity soon. This meme has CHANGED MY LIFE!!]
18. One of my happiest recent memories was when Alec threw me a surprise birthday party. I know it’s probably no big deal to other people but I’ve always had birthday angst and had secretly wanted one my whole life. It was a genuine surprise too!
19. My primary school collections included stamps, stickers, erasers, miniature metal airplane models, pencil lead (as in, if your colour pencil broke, I would ask you for the broken bit of lead and put it in my little container) and pencil sharpenings (a short-lived collection, the upkeep was messy). These days all my collections are digital, and include a Google Doc of dirty jokes.
20. I did a couple months of relief teaching in my old school to pass the time before university. For my last lesson with one of my classes, I was ahead of schedule with the lesson plan and had some spare time. So I told them dirty jokes. I acknowledge this was inappropriate.
21. Before the Internet, I used to listen to the American Top 40 every week and record each week’s list in an exercise book. I couldn’t imagine a day when I would not recognize any pop song on the radio within 10 seconds. That day has come, not because I stopped loving pop music, but because I started hating radio personalities.
22. In the early-mid 90s, there was a CD shop in Katong Shopping Centre which rented out CDs for $1 a day. They had a fairly good indie selection including Smashing Pumpkins, Sugar (can’t remember if they had Husker Du itself, but Sugar is what led me to Husker Du), Sonic Youth, Jesus And Mary Chain and the Velvet Underground, among others. I was shy at the time and barely exchanged words with the person working there (not sure if he was the owner), but if I could meet the owner today I would probably not stop thanking him/her for hours.
23. The chapel of Newman House student hall in London is a very special place to me. In a perfect world where expense and inconvenience to other people were no object, I would have wanted to get married there.
24. The day I left London to move back to Singapore was one of the most miserable days of my life and involved public sobbing at Heathrow.
25. I married my first boyfriend. Not a very 21st century thing to do, but when happiness is this easy, you hold on to it.