Monthly Archives: October 2011

Halloween

It’s Halloween!  It rained cats and dogs this afternoon, and the sky was mostly overcast.

The gloomy weather cast a pall over the day, and I feel I should share the story of my paranormal encounter back in 2006. If you are squeamish about such things, please do not continue reading.

This happened back in 2006, when I was working in a media company in the central business district of Singapore. I was usually an hour early for work, which would start at 9am, which meant I reached the office at 8am or thereabouts.

Most of the time, the office would be empty except for another colleague, who was much earlier than I, reaching the office 7-ish on most days.

It seemed like a usual morning for both of us. We exchanged greetings and got into idle chatter as I started up my computer, when both of us heard an undisputed loud sobbing and weeping. It was high-pitched, soulful and traumatic.

It did not even occur to either of us that it was anything but human. Hello – we were in the heart of town, high above bustling traffic, vehicular and human, and it was bright as day.

We looked at each other, then around us, and determined that there was no one else other than the two of us. We thought it must have come from another department nearby, though how it could be so resoundingly loud and clear if the subject was so far away from us, was beyond us.

We went to every department in the company, searching for another living soul, and there was none to be found – not even the office cleaner was sighted.

As suddenly as it started, it ended just as abruptly when we returned to our desks, more baffled than ever.

It was then that it occurred to us, maybe not at the same exact moment, but close enough I would think on hindsight, that the weeping wasn’t human.

My colleague and I looked at each other, grabbed our bags and made a quick dash out of the office for the bustling Starbucks at the basement.

We refused to go back up until the office was more filled up with HUMANS.

To this day, we are pretty convinced what we heard was a ghost’s soul-wrenching cry.

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I Don’t Want To Be Six Years Old!

My niece turned six yesterday and we had a small celebration for her at home.

It wasn’t a grand birthday party – we had a pot-luck of sorts, and her beaming parents got her a little cake.

She had a major meltdown after she blew out the candles.

Turning six was a big deal (for her, that is).

For one, she has to give up her pacifier.

Next, she has to learn how to take showers on her own, without the help of the domestic helper.

She hid in her room and refused to come back to the waiting guests, and her concerned parents went into her room to talk to her. The way she was howling, you’d have thought she was turning thirty-six, not six.

I could hear her sobbing and crying  “I don’t want to be six years old!”, “I cannot sleep without my pacifier!” and “I don’t know how to take showers myself!”

That was funny.

To her, her perfect little world was crumbling because she perceived that she would be without her pacifier once she turned six, and she probably think that she would never fall asleep again, because she had never fallen asleep without her pacifier before.

On top of that, she would be a dirty little girl, possibly the smelliest in class, because she perceived that without the help of the helper at the shower, she would probably never be clean ever again.

Her parents somehow managed to convince her that her world would not change that much upon turning six, until she is ready for the change.

She came back to the party and though embarrassed by her antics earlier, forgot about it very soon after. Kids!


The Walking Dead 2

Oh my oh, how should I even begin this post?

I have been seeing the trailers for The Walking Dead 2 over the last few weeks, and I must say Star Movies did a fantastic job hounding a lukewarm audience (like me) into a captive one.

I sat in front of the TV, propped up some pillows and made myself really comfortable just five minutes before the show started at 10pm last night.

The premiere of season two started with a scene of a huge explosion, and a quick recap of last season’s finale. The few living survivors left had to make their way out of Atlanta, which has been besieged by “walkers” (or zombies).

It was a gloomy, dreary but gripping apocalyptic plot, I must say.

The whole world, it seemed, has been overrun by these “walkers”, and the living has to scavenge, hide, and kill in order to survive.

The odds are against them, for their number is small,and all it takes is a bite to be infected, die and then resurrect as a walker whose only instinct is to hunt down any living creature (man or animal) so that it could feed.

It is also a gory show. When a child among them went missing, the protagonist Rick Grimes, a sheriff’s deputy, and co went into the woods to search for her. They came across a walker, and to ascertain that the child had not become food for it, they shot through its head with a gun arrow, and performed a dissection there and then, opening up the stomach to reveal grimy contents of its earlier meal (which happened to be a squirrel).

I was so enthralled by the plot, that I went online to read about season one. Now I can hardly wait for episode two!


A Book Review: Such A Pretty Fat

Book review: Such A Pretty Fat (Jen Lancaster)

It has been ages since I read a book that has me in stitches from cover to cover. The protagonist is Jen Lancaster herself, who is comfortable in her own fatty skin but went on a diet nonetheless, so that she could write the experience into a book.

The book has none of the stereotypical miserable, fat protagonist with low self-esteem you might be expecting to read about. On the contrary, Jen has an overbearing gait and outlook on almost everything in life that is not only believable, but very endearing too.

And who says fat people cannot be vain people? She is so in love with herself, she could look at her own reflection in the mirror for hours.

Her struggles with Atkins, exercise and food are all-too-familiar for anyone who has tried dieting, and I was inexplicably rooting for her triumph at every turn.

This is a great book for a light read, for fat and skinny girls alike!


Take a break please!

The cell group leader is in need of a much needed break.

At least, that is what I think. Yet he doesn’t seemed to think so. He is punishing pushing himself, all dried up, bitter and disappointed, and yet still making it to cell, making us all suffer that glum, negative mood of his.

I think in order to make sense of this post, let me share what happened at cell last Friday (even though I wasn’t present, as I was nursing a cold in bed, knocked out from all the meds I took).

As I was oblivious to the meltdown happening in my living room, and the stalemate thereafter, I can only replicate first-hand accounts of what I heard.

Apparently, after 9 months of doing nothing, the cell group leader kicked off a series of lessons on “What is cell group to you?”. It started well but ended in a stalemate when one of the members asked that he sped up the whole process and not dragged it on for two more weeks as she rightly observed that we have wasted a whole nine months doing nothing.

It was at this point (all first-hand accounts agree) that the cell group leader exploded emotionally, started to shout in anger and break into uncontrollable sobs, that he was very disappointed with the cell group. To him, we were not growing. We didn’t help out at church events. We complained about everything. We were not evangelizing.

Indignant at his outburst, the members answered/ argued/ shouted back. It was mayhem, a complete meltdown.

There was no conclusion. The members believed that it was not wrong to have expectations of being nurtured in cell, while the leader believed he was not wrong to want to see tangible growth among the members. In the stalemate that ensued, the leader left without a word.

And with that, we fast-forward to last night. Friday was cell-night, and the sectional leader came in. There was an ice-breaker, a worship session and sharing. He addressed issues like part of the lesson, not pinpointing what the leader or members did wrong.

The cell group leader did turn up, albeit late at 8.45pm. He came in with a glum face, and when asked to share his thoughts on the topic, his tone was negative, bordering on bitter.

When another cell group member shared her thoughts, he sang a different tune and for a while, it seemed like there was a debate. At the end of the lesson, after prayer, he left without a word. Again.

At the dinner table, I asked the sectional leader if he or the cell group leader would be conducting lessons in the subsequent weeks. His answer disappointed me.

The cell group leader would be facilitating the lessons, although the SL would be at our cell group for the next few weeks.

I honestly don’t think the cell group leader is up to it. He seems to be too raw emotionally and there was no reconciliation with the members yet.

I am afraid of what is to come for the next few Fridays. Why doesn’t he take that god-damn break now, please?


The panel of doctors

I have been feeling under weather of late, having caught the flu bug two Saturdays ago.

Since then I have been to not one, not two, but THREE doctors.

It is amazing, because while all of them could diagnose exactly what happened to me, ie I caught the flu bug, none of them (until the third doctor) could give me a prescription that worked.

The company I work for has health insurance for all its employees, and all we have to do is to show our health insurance card at any of the clinics that sit on the panel, and all we have to do is co-pay $5 after every visit, medication included.

The first doctor I went to see at Clinic A was a panel clinic that is just a stone’s throw away from my home.

After I have described my symptoms to him, he discovered I was running a low fever too. However, that did not even prompt him to ask if I needed to take a rest the next day. He prescribed some meds for me to relieve the symptoms and that was it.

What’s even bewildering is that he gave me only 60 ml of cough syrup, which I was to take three times a day, 10 ml every time. Well, simple maths would tell you that I took 30 ml per day, and in two days, my cough mixture was all gone and I was none the better.

I went back to see him at the end of the third day and again, he prescribed me two days’ worth of medication. Is it any wonder I did not get better?

When I ran out of medication (again!) and feeling worse than ever, I decided to switch to another clinic that was further away, but had long opening hours that suited my schedule.

Now, Clinic B is part of a chain of clinics that has “branches” in almost every part of Singapore.

I went to see the doctor, my second, and showed him a slew of medication that was given by the first. He had a friendlier manner, seemed more concerned but was not too experienced as he looked way too young.

He gave me MORE meds, better meds, and that alleviated my symptoms for a good five days. However, once the meds ran out, I was coughing like I had tuberculosis.

I decided to go back to Clinic B for more meds this morning, and VOILA! I struck a gold mine of a doctor.

It wasn’t the same doctor I saw five days ago, whom I know by now is a locum, and it was a lady doctor who saw me. She was careful, thorough and caring in her assessment and though she diagnosed me correctly (like the rest), her diagnosis went deeper.

I couldn’t sleep well not just because I had a cough, and it wasn’t phlegm that triggered the sensitive trickling sensation at the back of my throat that started the coughing fits. It was my flu! The runny nose – the mucus that back-dripped into the back of my throat that created that trickling, itchy sensation that pre-empt every coughing fit. And best of all, she prescribed a lot of flu meds, antibiotics included! She also gave me a day of sick leave, hooray!

It is 7.24pm now, and I have had two dosages which put me to a deep sleep today. I don’t think I could have slept so much in one day but I did, and I woke up feeling well rested like never before (in the past 9 days, at least. I was always coughing, remember?) I already feel better!


God’s Protection