Wherein I celebrate my 27th birthday

My birthdays have become a lot weirder ever since I got to know the Banana.

We had to work on our shared birthday this year, and desperate to make something out of a ruined occasion we did something rather silly.

The Banana describes the event on her SuperBand blog, so I won’t. For those who would rather a million locusts visit them than click on a mediacorp link, we ended up asking strangers to sign on our hastily-self-bought birthday cards.

People were very nice, and I must say my flagging faith in humanity has been restored somewhat.

Thanks to the Banana’s newfound fame (though no one whom we asked for signatures recognized her), I am now featured on the SuperBand website looking like a crazed squirrel.

The Banana and I 2008 Birthday

The Banana demands that we do something even more outrageous next year. The way things are going, I fear that on our sixtieth we’ll have to skydive.

Wherein I take up chinese calligraphy

The recent months of my life seem to have slipped me by, slowly and without notice. Waking life feels a little unreal, as if I were walking around buffered by cotton wool and only allowed a dim peripheral view of the worldaround me. The hours and minutes merge into a dull, monotonous filmreel set on an endless repeating sequence, splashing shades of overexposed greynesss on a dull and dirty canvas. Sometimes, in the middle of the night, I can hear the sound of my life ticking its way past its prime and into middle-aged-staleness, and it fills me with fear and loathing for the corporate slave I have become (and also the pressing desire to get a new, less noisy clock).

So, in an effort to escape the monotony, I have decided to take up an exciting new activity–Chinese Calligraphy.

Today was lesson one for me and lesson god-knows-how-many for the rest. It turns out in a class there are students of (extremely) differing levels.

Today my teacher taught me that there are 2 types of paper used in chinese calligraphy, which side to write on and how to fold the paper so that I can get neat little squares to guide me in writing. Then I was instructed to write “?” several times, as you can see below.

Wang CalligraphyMy first character

The guy sitting beside me was churning out letters with dozens of strokes at an impressive rate. Whilst I had to refer to a dinky little photocopied instruction manual indicating how I was to write the two strokes I had learnt, he was transcribing poetry.

He took his work home, possibly to get framed and put up onn one of his walls.

Mine would be more useful in a recycling bin.

Sigh. Chinese calligraphy looks so easy when someone else is doing it.

So there’s a band named “Singapore Sling”, from Reykjavik, Iceland. They’re an indie band, but considering they they’ve managed to release three albums and have are known enough to tour internationall (info from MySpace) they can’t be that bad. Genre is moderately heavy rock with a gravel-voiced singer.

Hurray! Free publicity for us!

Except it turns out our sunny little island wasn’t the inspiration for their name–it was a 1990s B-movie named Singapore Sling by Nikos Nikolaidis (IMDB link).

The movie, according to the IMDB summary, tells the story of:

A man searching for his long-lost lover is kidnapped by her killers, an insane, mother-daughter duo, and they force him to commit various sexual atrocities with them.


Searching on IMDB reveals that this isn’t even the only movie named “Singapore Sling”. Another one, featuring a “corrupt Asian businessman” was made in 2000, and there are a plethora of television programmes featuring the term “Singapore Sling”.

Who knew people even liked it?

The Singapore SlingThe Singapore Sling

Even thinking about money makes people more individualistic

The mere reminder of money can make people behave differently, research shows. Just having someone remind you of money before an activity can reduce altruism.

How can this not be a good argument against market-driven charities?

I’m also pretty certain it works in Sales too. As any good salesperson or insurance agent will tell you, never mention the price until you’ve got the sucker hooked. People are much more likely to buy if the question of money doesn’t enter their minds first.

Of course, I never found this to be particularly useful advice–how can anyone buy anything without having money constantly floating around in his or her mind? In fact I find it incredibly annoying when people don’t talk money with me. Cost is an up-front thing for me, really.