Monday, August 31, 2009


A devastating result for the ruling coalition.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

2 X-ray Sessions in as Many Days

On Tuesday, I went to Robinson Road to pick up the in-principle EP approval letter and found a chest X-ray was required and worked almost until three of Wednesday morning. Yesterday, I visited a Ngee Ann City clinic for a X-ray session and worked until midnight… Today, my toothache, which I started having over the weekend, got worse. Chewing lunch was hard. After the interpretation work, I collected the result of the X-ray and saw two dental clinics right next to the X-ray one. I chose the second clinic and entered but immediately regretted because I found a few Japanese inside. Even one of the receptionists was a Japanese woman, which indicated higher costs. I paid S$267.50 for the first-time consultation fee and a few teeth X-rays. (X-rayed two days in a row) The dentist said he didn’t find anything abnormal dentally, only my teeth are quite unclean. The pain is mostly likely coming from my nighttime clenching and grinding. Stressed out, maybe. Work continues to come in.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Printer Saga

I took another look at the inside of the printer. There was really nothing I could do except pushing in the detached polyurethane sheet, on which the ink cartridge runs. When I extracted a sheet of paper, which had got stuck unsurprisingly, a torn fragment of paper of several days old came out along with the paper itself. It seems this fragment has been causing paper jamming. Thereafter, the printer started running fine. I hope this solved the problem. However, the thing I don’t understand is that the Service Center failed to find the fragment and left it there. And the “hot liner” I talked to was like a taxi driver who has his own destination regardless what his customer says.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Printer Breaks Down Again

My EPSON printer came back yesterday and from the first printing it was acting funny. Now no printing is possible. I decided to call the “hotline” number and the person at the other end started giving me instructions. I know it is the same hardware problem. She wouldn’t listen and continued to “instruct” me asking me to turn on the PC and open the control panel, etc. “Are you following my instruction, sir?” Shit. “I’m helping you.” I told her to send someone here to pick it up for further repair work. She wouldn’t listen.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

EP Renewal Approved & Printer Repaired

The MOM website shows that my EP renewal application has been approved. Now I wait for the approval letter to arrive at the company’s registered address. I do hope that it will arrive tomorrow. Otherwise, it will be impossible for me to set it all before another round of a 3-week interpretation that starts on 24th.

The EPSON Service Centre called to inform me that my printer had been repaired. It must have been something so easy to repair.

There are only a few pages to go with “Catfish and Mandala.” I’ll finish it later in bed.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Kieu Chinh, Actress of US Vietnamese Films

Grandma in “Journey from the Fall (Vuot Song)” looks very alike Mama-san in “Hamburger Hill.” No wonder. The same one actress, Kieu Chinh.

I brought my broken printer to the Yishun Service Centre. Taxi fare from here: S$23.20.

This morning’s dream was really weird. I, with some other people, got an assignment to create a drawing of a human face to every minuscule minute by looking at the real drawing of the face. Man or woman, I don’t remember. In addition, I was trying to draw a super-realistic drawing of a baseball field. The owner of the place, who had got acquainted with writers and artists of yesteryears, was harsh with me. She asked me if one of the names that appeared among the writers and artists was that of my mother’s. It was.

And the old workplace again: I was working with my old colleagues in Osaka as if nothing had happened. The company went broke some years ago. My mind was worse than ambivalent about being there. Why do they come back to me?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Early Evening Nightmare


Consumed a great amount, by my standard, of Indian food for lunch. Early evening nap and nightmare: I was being kept in the dark about what was going on with the family. Mother, brother and a few of his friends seemed discussing something, totally ignoring me. I stayed in my room, while curious but trying to appear nonchalant, and drinking beer. Finally, I confronted them demanding explanation. “Mother was helping African refugees” was how brother explained. (Liberia as the BBC’s program on Liberia was on TV?). They looked all Asian though I could see only their crouching backs. Brother said, “It will be explained by your father.” There were also a few dogs. One of them began attacking me. I tried to let myself loose from its claws that had good hold of my left hand. Another dog was also preventing me from moving away. I got surprised to find this dog was a Western man who was looking at me in a lewd way.

In another scene, I was walking down a nighttime downtown Kyoto, still holding a beer bottle. At a corner of the intersection, a group of clarinet player, all of them wearing formally, was practicing. When wondering how I could go back the way I had come, I found a former colleague coming my way. We greeted as old friends and I asked him where he was going. His answer was ambiguous but he didn’t object my following him. After a while, a woman joined us, or rather him. It was his ex-wife, also my former colleague and wearing a nice makeup. “Oh, you still keep seeing each other,” I thought but said nothing. I felt again I’d been kept in the dark. I swung the beer bottle and intentionally spilt beer on to her right shoulder. Their eyes were accusing me and I said words of apology. They entered a bar, leaving me behind. I wandered the area looking at the menus of noodle shops, still not knowing how to go back.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Cable Channels Come to My Place & Chicken Days

This time, the management company seemed to have responded quickly. Two nights ago, I turned on the controller for cable TV channels without expecting any positive result. Alas, I was wrong. CNN, the BBC, National Geographic, Discovery Channel, StarSports were there right on my TV screen!

Yesterday and today, it has been almost all about chickens at NUS and, to meet a lovely live chicken, a place called “Farmart Centre” in the northwestern part of the country. “Farmart Centre” is another world, a center of nowhere, very different from the rest of Singapore, and working outside under the sun really tired me.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What Were They Doing There??

It is not logical at all to assume that anyone who was caught in North Korea is innocent, only because it is North Korea. Why did those two “pardoned” Asian-American journalists, who returned to the US with Bill Clinton, get a hero’s welcome? I have not seen any material so far that questions their conduct in the country. What were they doing over there?


Tuesday, August 04, 2009



“Dat Kho: Land of Sorrows” and “Journey from the Fall” arrived today. I don’t dare to try playing these DVDs on my PC. Better to wait for the delivery of the player and TV.

Bill Clinton is visiting North Korea at this moment to secure the release of two journalists being held by the regime.

Monday, August 03, 2009

$$ Is Flying

Last night, I inserted “Inside the Vietnam War” into the CD/DVD drive of my PC. Almost as usual, I was instructed to change the regional code to play the DVD. When I tried to do so, another message informed me that I could no longer change the code as “a certain number” of attempts had been reached. So, there was no way to play the DVD with the PC. A new DVD player was necessary and I, with not altogether a happy mind, went to an appliance shop, after visiting a SingPost and a UOB in the Tanjong Pagar area, to get a player, and a small TV set, both sales items. Another instance of unexpected expenditure. Fuck!

I got Andrew X. Pham’s “Catfish and Mandala: A two-wheeled Voyage Through the Landscape and Memory of Vietnam,” which “Good Morning Hanoi” mentioned, “The Eaves of Heaven: A Life in Three Wars” by the same author, “Last Night I Dreamed Peace: The Diary of Dang Thuy Tram” translated by Pham. I also found “Burmese Days” (George Orwell) at the shelf of travelogue or something, which I’d been looking for since the beginning of the year.


Sunday, August 02, 2009

Remembering Cory Aquino

Yesterday, the death of Cory Aquino was reported. The series of political events of which she was one of the main characters provided me an invaluable lesson of how international politics could work. Those charged days in Manila, with Imelda's singing, the sickly face of Ferdinand, and the rebellion of Ramos and Enrile, simply enthralled me. She definitely changed the face of the Philippines.

Also yesterday, I attended a small, but nice, reunion lunch party of my TESOl course. The party was planed as Bunsuk was visiting here from Korea. When I was leaving the house, I found a package in the mailbox. It was National Geographic Channel’s DVD, “Inside the Vietnam War.” It took only five days to arrive.

Also yesterday, the third anniversary of Mr. F’s passing away (to be exact, today). The gathering was not like that of last year, but we still remember you.