29 December 2012


I took some time out with my boy Tom today. Well he is not a boy anymore but he is my son and he is twenty years old. Tom looks like a man but he mostly still acts like a baby. I have decided that this is the way of modern youth - they are not very grown up. 

It is good to see Tom though as it has been 6 months since I last laid eyes on him and that was in Nepal. I took Tom there for his first visit. I thought that it was time for him to experience the Himalay and it’s beautiful people 

Tom works as an apprentice gardener and he digs and lifts all day in the Sun and sometimes in the rain. He looks healthy and he looks happy and these are two main and most important things in life.

Health and Happiness.

Tom loves his tattoos and he is all inked up and he is much pierced too. He has many of both and I don't really mind them. I think that they are just Art and a way of self expression - even though some mutilation and pain is involved and they are permanent. I think that they are already a little passé though but what do I know?

Tom gets a lot of his tattoos done in Singapore when he visits me as they are a fraction of the cost of tats back in Oz. Tom goes to a tattoo dude in the Bugis district.

So I shot the breeze a bit with Tom. We chewed the fat on the deck after our dinner. This was a good thing for youth move fast today and they move far and wide. Teenage children are like shadows in the night - they are out there somewhere.  

Tom told me he had a new girlfriend and her name is Cassie but he calls her Cass. He told me that he now spent a lot of time with her. Most of his time in fact.

I told him that I thought this was good and I asked Tom whether she was nice and what made her special. 

Tom replied without hesitation that she was nice and that she was special. 

When I asked why she was nice and special Tom told me that they completed each other's sentences. He told me that much of the time he and Cass knew what each other was thinking. 

I thought this was nice - potentially very annoying down the track - but it was really nice never the less and I said as such to Tom.

When I asked Tom whether he thought that Cass thought the same of him said that he was unsure. Tom was a little uncertain. So I suggested that perhaps after a while Tom could tell Cass about our conversation and he could tell her that he really liked her a lot.

If she asked why he could simply say "It is because we complete ...."

If she immediately cuts in and says, ".....each other's sentences" then that would be a very good thing indeed.

Tom agreed. 

18 December 2012


Ah Home! Australia. Bewdy. Straight down to the coast to my beach house. Long walks each morning and evening with the dogs down on the Back beach. There are miles and miles of empty sand and not a another soul to be seen. The simple joy of throwing sticks for the doggies Jess and Callum who are Border Collies and can run and swim all day. 

They love it. 

Swimming and body surfing in icy water. Men and beasts. Falling into deep sleeps each night tasting salt on my lips. There is salt in the air too. I am mentally rocked into sleep by the sound of waves crashing on the shore. The sound of the sea is rhythmical and soothing and there is no traffic noise. None whatsoever.

It is so very nice. 

Sunday morning spent sprawling across the deck just basking in the morning sun. There are the Sunday Newspapers spread amongst the adults. Broadsheets. We have tall glasses of freshly squeezed orange juice. We chomp away on croissants and toast. Eggs and bacon. The bacon in Australia is the soggy sort and not the crispy stuff that we have in Singapore and in the US. There is lots of fresh black coffee. The odour of coffee beans permeates the air and it smells of waking.

There is intrusion of the adult space and peace by brown-legged children of various sizes and ages. They pick paths amongst us and over us in the sea of newspapers. 

They smell of coconut tanning lotion. 

These youth are impatiently seeking out sunscreen, wet suits, surfboards, towels. Beach gear. Summer Fun. I know this and I remember it. It is good hustle and bustle.

There are many of these restless children. Some of them I recognized others I didn’t. They are making demands in normal teenage ways. They are loudly declaring their needs for food and their wants for car and boat keys. There are enquiries about the whereabouts of mobile phones and headphones and IPods and IPads. This generation communicate electronically and instantly They do this by Facebook Messaging - even when they are in the same room. They live in the Now. 

It is insane. 

It is funny though. 

It amuses me. 

There is always Money too. Give me Money please. Is that all? They are Loud. Very Loud.

Amongst this throng and noise I was reading an article. It was by a mother and journalist who described being witness to an Act of Kindness at a school Christmas Year Concert. The article was beautifully written and the story touched me. 

It moved me. 

The Writer described attending her child's end-of-year school concert where graduations were also being celebrated. Speeches were being made and there were performances with singing and dancing and Awards. All the usual stuff that one would expect at such Graduation ceremonies. The Writer observed that the main Award for the year was the Kindness Award. The Writer liked this and so do I. When the School Principal presented the Award to a shy but beaming nine year old boy he asked the crowd of hundreds to put their hand up if they had been affected by an act of kindness from the Recipient that year. The Writer described feeling a lump in her throat at the sight of the sea of hands she observed that were raised from teachers, students and well, everyone. 

Me too. 

I wish I had been there. 

Kindness can sway masses. It can move mountains.

So I grabbed the tanned leg of the next teenager that endeavored to step over me. I made them read the article too. The first one happened to be Georgie who is my favorite niece. I made her sit next to me and read. Georgie read it and she told me that she thought that the story was nice. I suggested to Georgie that maybe she could do something nice for someone every day. It told her that I thought that we should all practice more kindness. Georgie smiled and said that she did this already and I suspect that she probably does. She's a very good girl is Georgie.

I very much like that they teach and reward kindness in Australian schools. I think that it is a very good thing. 

It is something worth doing.

It is something worth celebrating.

11 December 2012

A Break

This is probably going to be my last Post for a while. I am going to take a break. I am going back to Australia for Christmas. For a holiday. Three weeks worth. Yey. I am really looking forward to it. I live here alone. I don't mind it. Not too much anyway. Most of the time. I have a lot of good friends here in Singapore. My work colleagues are good fun. We laugh a lot at work. I carry on a bit about the English but I actually really like the ones I work with. I like them a lot. They are very good people. They are very good mates. It is probably the most fun workplace I have been in. Ever. I wouldn't tell them that though. 

They are egotistical Fuckers. 

It would go to their heads. 

I miss my family a lot though. I miss Australia too. Singapore is very small. It is a bit stayed. It is a lot weird. It drives me a tad crazy at times.

They all know that I blog. The English I work with. It was the girlfriend of one of these English that suggested it actually. She is a Kiwi. From New Zealand. Thanks Ally. You are a good sort. Ally suggested this to me when I went to a barbeque at her and Chris's house about 6 weeks ago. Chris is one of my better mates here on the Island. He is English but has been living in Singapore for a long time. Chris is a very funny geezer. Chris is a very big unit. His father was a policeman in London. 

The English refer to policeman as 'The Old Bill". I don't know why actually but I like the terminology. Chris can generally out banter me. That takes some doing. I can talk the leg off a chair. He cooked a leg of lamb on the barbie that night. He flambéed it in Old Monk. Old Monk is rum from India. It was spanking. The English use the term spanking for something really good. I have adopted it. It is spanking.

I have fun doing it. This blogging thing. It entertains me. I have always liked to write. I have always loved to read. Writing requires a bit more effort though. And I am lazy by nature. But it is better than watching TV. Singapore TV sucks. It is censored to hell. Nipples are banned in Singapore. As is beaver. You will never hear swearing on television. It is illegal.

They all give me shit about it though. About my blogging. These English at work. I am the brunt of their jokes. I don't give a fuck. I love it actually. I give as good as I get. I am a little amazed at who is reading this though. And why. My blog page has a counter thing on it. It tells me how many of my Posts have been read. And when. Tick. There goes another one. The Blog page thing tells me where these people reside. If I ask it. Four and a half thousand reads! Who would have thought? Who the hell are you? I have readers in the US. Singapore. England. Korea. Germany. France. Russia. Israel. Korea. India. The Netherlands. 

I have gone global. 

I know my mate Berty reads me. As does his wife Dana. They live in Las Vegas. In Nevada. Berty sends me emails telling me my stories make him laugh. I think even my serious ones. That is a bit of a worry. Hello Berty. Hello Dana. I miss you guys a lot. You know I love you both. Enormously. Unendingly. Unconditionally.

I write because it is sort of like a diary. It is mainly for me but I do get a bit of a buzz that other people might be interested. In my thoughts. My observations. Random as they might be. There is a bit of ego in this. I watch my counter sometimes. I don't often re-read what I have written. But I did just now. A few Posts anyway. I may sound like I am a bit of a nut but I hear my own voice in my writing. It is quite loud. It is in real life too. I am often told to tone it down a bit. And I think I would probably be poorly marked by a literature professor. 

The English at work tell me that sentences shouldn't start with a preposition. Or is it a supposition? I can't remember what either one is. And they should contain a verb. And they shouldn't start with the word 'and". I tell them it is my style. I tell them I don't give a fuck. 

It amuses me that they read them anyway. Just to critique me. 

I think I am victorious on that score.

But for the rest of you anonymous readers I thank you anyway. Just for reading. Your local TV must also suck. Even if it is not censored. Like it is here in Singapore. Regardless I am probably going to take a bit of a break. Remind myself of what life is like without a computer. I am going to do the same with my work stuff too. I will only occasionally check my Blackberry. I will take some time out with my loved ones. I will swim in the ocean. Bask in the Sun. I will mingle with the bogans. I will try and forget about work and Singapore for a while. I don't think that will be too difficult.

I might sneak the odd one in though. A Post. An Observation. A Comment. If I feel so inclined or if something stirs me. Or if I get a  little bored.

So I will be back. I will blog on. There is no doubt about it.


I love the Aunties and Uncles of Singapore. I adore the term of endearment. Aunties and Uncles are the generic term used to describe the elderly. They are gender specific. Obviously. One would call an older taxi driver "Uncle". Or the sweet old lady who makes the tea in the office "Aunty". It is compassionate. It is respectful. It is said with tenderness and a warm regard. The term is very much connected to the Chinese value of family. Family is important to the Singaporeans. Really important.

The elderly are very precious to other family members. As are the children. So too are parents. Go out any Sunday Lunch or Dinner and you will see three generations of Singaporean families eating together. They are laughing. They are enjoying each other's company. Bringing the family together is an important moment that is regularly celebrated. 

All the time. 

Not just once a year like we Westerners do.

We Westerners should take note of this. We should heed the importance of family. We should consider the significance of respect. For the elderly. Singaporean families are sustained by their love for each other. Many of these Aunties and Uncles are very old. They are very fit. They are well preserved. I am sure that love plays a great part in this. And Respect. My very good friend See Min - an Uncle himself - told me that his elderly mother started walking 5 kilometers a day when she was 78. She is 86 now and her family don't know where the fuck she is. Somewhere on the island they think. They know she is around. She calls in regularly. And Singapore is not very big.

No family is of course perfect. Not even here in Singapore. None of us should fear not acquiring a state of perfection. Heed that Singaporeans. None of us will actually obtain it. Ever. Try as we might. And there is nothing that can drive us more crazy than family. They can exasperate us. They do. Yet we can't give them back. And at the end of the day they make us secure. When the going get's tough - as it often does, they are the ones who we turn to. 

They are always there for us.

Wow. A monster storm is raging outside. It is a pleasant distraction. It is a tempest. Lightning is streaking the sky. It looks bruised. Thunder is a constant rumbling as the clouds slap together. It is dark outside. Really dark. The rain is torrential. It is bucketing down. The Big Boy upstairs isn't happy. He is letting us know. I love the storms here in Singapore. They break the calm of the place. They remind me that there is Madness in the world. There is Chaos. I find this strangely comforting.

However. Anyway. As I was saying. I think that we are most definitely formed by our desires and we are certainly shaped by our experiences. But it all begins and ends with family.

I am going home tomorrow. To my family. Back in Australia. I miss them very much. All of them. 

I can't wait to see them again.

10 December 2012

Dreams in Foreign Tongues

I went to an event the other week. It was an Art Exhibition hosted by a Russian friend of mine. It was great.



The crowd was mostly European and there were a lot of Russians, some French and at least one Italian. I was the only Australian. Fair dinkum. There were not many Singaporeans in attendance. This did not surprise me. Not at all. I have been to the Art galleries of Singapore. All of them. There is a dearth of Singaporean Art. I have sought it out but have had little success. I have none at all actually. This particular Art was Russian. It was exquisite.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself at this Exhibition. I wandered around and took in the artwork and I chatted away to people. They all spoke English. This was good and it was convenient. It was necessary in fact for I speak no Russian. Nor French. Nikto. Aucon. The sad fact is that I speak no other language than English. Albeit poorly. I am Australian.

We are uncouth. 

I believe that language exerts a hidden power. Like the effect of the moon on the tide. It sways and it pulls. To have many is very powerful. Languages that is. 

It is seductive. 

It is sweet.

Actually I can speak some animal. I know that 'meow' means 'woof' in cat and "Tweet" in bird. It is also ‘Oink' in pig. I also knew that I had to watch my language at this event. I swear a lot and I did not want people to think that I had no fucking class. Nearly every person I met at this function was multi-lingual. They spoke many languages. I asked them this and they told me.

I am fascinated by this ability to speak in another tongue. I told these people such as I expressed my admiration. I am also curious. I ask a lot of questions and I push for answers. When one speaks a language other than one's native tongue how does the brain process this? When I was conversing with these people did they in fact have to rapidly translate my words in their brain then re-translate their response? There didn't seem to be any time lag and our conversations flowed. Most had to think about this question for a while so in this there was a time lag. Some thought it was instantaneous and others thought it was very rapid.

Two or more languages in one brain? What about reading? How do you do that? I wish I could do that. Read in another language. What books I could explore. I could see for myself what may be lost in translation. To me no one can live at that speed. Yet they do.

They do.

I probed further as I am a prober by nature. I am curious. I can't help myself. Did any of these people actually dream in another language? Did they dream at all? How did this work? There was more pondering and more time lags as these questions were being contemplated. Such was the delay that I wondered whether they fully comprehended the question. Language can be a source of misunderstanding.  Most eventually said 'no'. They told me that they only dreamt in their native tongue. Some said they didn't dream at all. 

That was sad.

We should all dream. 

Van Gogh said "I dream my painting and I paint my dream" 

He likely said this in Dutch

Beautiful though huh?

In any language.