Stalwart to the last

ACW - Stalwart to the last

I like the headline, there’s a nice ring to it.
Anyway, I am not that much of a genius to come up with this cool headline – it was conceived by my sub-editor, Danny. We celebrate mourn the last issue of our magazine due to the closure of the company. As to why the company is closing down, it is still a mystery but I’ll hedge my bets that lack of profitability has very little to do with it.

Anyway, as we sat down in the cosy confines of Cafe Brios, just chatting and laughing, it really felt like nothing has changed, that there was no closure and we were simply doing what we did everyday – having lunch and talking nonsense. But reality hit when we got back to the office and packed all our bags, while Angie the ever-efficient administrator bustled around informing us when to go down to the office tomorrow to collect our cheques. Our retrenchment cheques.

But I like to think of it as a good thing. The closure gives me, us, a time to reevaluate the path that we are taking and lets us take the chance to try something that we might not have done otherwise.

To my colleagues who always lets me know when they are reading my blog in the office (“Have you updated your blog?”), I would like to say this to you: Thanks for all the fond memories, despite the short duration of my stint. It has been an honour and a pleasure working side by side with you lot. You guys are truly the stalwarts.

Arts & Entertainment

Bye bye FA Cup

I am so devastated.

I meant to sleep Manchester United’s tragic loss of the FA Cup off, shrugging it off as soccer, but I couldn’t. My mind kept playing images of Vieira picking up that piece of silverware and in my wild thoughts, I could reach out, grab the trophy from his arms and clunk him on the head repeatedly with it.

So heck. I know this is soccer but I am just going to say it anyway: Arse totally DID NOT DESERVE TO WIN THE CUP.

I was so disgusted with their playing today. Usually, I admire them for their classy flow of soccer, giving them credit for being creative and for playing so beautifully. Today, they were choppity-chop brutes, kicking and banging into the Man U players whenever they could.

I know that most people had felt the same about Man U when the two teams played earlier in the season and I’d expected that sort of physical behaviour to come from them but no, it was Arse(o) who surprised me.

The person I was most turned off by was Jose Antonio Reyes. He was such a blardy hypocrite. He seemed to have perfected the art of grimacing and looking pained. I think he would make a good substitute for Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker, particularly in the scenes where Anakin behaved in very un-Jediish manners or was in extreme pain. EG. “Oh what have I done?” or “Ow Obi-Wan, you just mutilated me, you brute” sort of scenes. What did he do? He jumped at people, stuck his hairy legs out to trip them and generally shoved and pushed whenever he could. He must have learnt all those tricks from his teammates, also fondly referred by him as “bad people”. He deserved the red card, boo.

Another one who should have been sent out was Vieira. See, his trick was to basically ram into others while pretending that he was running at top speed and couldn’t stop in time. What a bull(shite). Lauren is another nasty piece of work, sticking his boots into Ronaldo’s shins whenever he can.

Man U, oh Man U, why did none of you score? Rooney had millions of chances, so did horse-face van Nistelrooy. And Scholesy, why did you have to shoot right into barmy Lehmann’s open arms?

It’s such a travesty, a robbery really. For Man U was the better team, they played magnificently, dominating the game throughout. They intercepted Arse(o)’s passing and made several swift breaks into the other side of the field. Rooney’s vision and shots were amazing. But the ball just did not meet the net.


I’m going to sleep now. Maybe tomorrow I will read with glee, news that tell of Vieira’s visit to the hospital due to the trophy falling onto his inviting, shiny, naked skull.

Silly things

Musical Baton

Instead of really going out to exercise, the boyfriend has done a virtual leap in cyberspace to catch hold of the phenomenon known as musical baton. After having his fill with the baton, he slyly passed it on to me (and five others) without warning. What’s a girl to do but to catch it and continue the race?

So here goes.

Total volume of music files on my computer:
11.80GB, 2461 songs and 6.9 days

The last CD I bought was:
Err….err….hmm….ah hah! Jay Chou’s Ye Hui Mei, which I think is still under the infinite custody of Popartgirl (gimme back, you tootch)

Song playing right now:
Train’s Drops of Jupiter

Five songs I listen to a lot, or that mean a lot to me:

  • If You Leave by Nada Surf from Music from the O.C Mix 2 (always reminds me of the period of time before the boyfriend and I got back together)
  • 100 Years by Five For Fighting from The Battle for Everything
  • With or Without You by U2 from The Best of 1980 – 1990
  • Let Down by Radiohead from OK Computer (my companion during those depressed days)
  • Chocolate by Snow Patrol from Final Straw

Five people to whom I’m passing the baton:
Hucks (done)
Ash (done)
Adrian (yes you, Mr Loo)
Vociferous Kitten

Arts & Entertainment

Revenge of the Sith

The dark lord has risen and boy, was it a gruesome rise to the top.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Just caught Star Wars Episode III and out of the three prequel, Episode III is easily the best. It seems that George Lucas has something to say about politics and the perceived democracy that we think we live in, the failings of Man and the faith in humanity. It was good. In fact, it was very, very good.

What I loved about the show was how it explains everything that you have always wanted to know about Star Wars. Why were Luke and Leia separated when they were babies? Why is Darth Vader breathing in such a pained and sinister manner and garbed in that plastic mask 24/7? How did Palpatine take control of the Republic? Why was Yoda in exile? How did Obi-Wan tell Luke to “use the force” when he was already, well, dead?

The fight scenes were dramatic and the music was chilling. And at certain times, you could almost hear the sound of Darth Vader’s breathing, even though he was still Anakin Skywalker. The backdrop was lush and took you right to wherever the characters were supposed to be – Coruscant, Mustaphar (however you spell it), Tattooine.

Yoda But the best thing about the show were the characters and no, I don’t mean Hayden Christensen (I think he acted like a card board cutout). Yoda was amazing, as usual, with his grammatically incorrect English (encourage it, PM Lee will not) and his acrobatics. Somehow, that lined face always exudes a sense of weariness and understanding. Samuel L Jackson was cool as always, and I swear that he has to be the most metrosexual Jedi Knight ever. Look, the dude has a purple lightsaber when the rest of the Jedis were wielding boring greens and blues. If I could have a lightsaber, I would want a purple one too. Mace Windu was a trendsetter back in those days.

Obi-Wan KenobiMy favourite has to be Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi. There is something about that crisp British accent and the wry sense of humour. But he is also manly in an oxymoronic SNAG manner, though it must not be construed in a gay fashion. He is just THE MAN. After Aragorn.

Sadly, Natalie Portman did no feature much in the show. The S^traits T^imes reporter said it well when she wrote that Padme Amidala basically comes in, gets pregnant, cries and dies. Oh, and say her famous “this is how liberty dies, with thunderous applause” line.

Anyway, the worst part of the movie was the cinema. NEVER EVER GO TO SHAW BEACH ROAD FOR MOVIES. You could get DVT (oh no, will I get sued for defamation?) and friends complained of pee smells emanating from the chairs and floors. Yucks.

The thing with most of us is that after having been disappointed with the Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, we were not really expecting a genius piece of work. Thankfully, Episode III turned out to be miles better.

In short – watch this movie, you must.

Little Miss Shopaholic

Shop ahoy in Las Vegas!

Well well well, who would have known! Little Miss Shopaholic has become an international shoplogger! It’s not enough that she tries to bring you shopping hysterics around Singapore, now she has gone on to Las Vegas to sniff out the bestest and the mostest.

As most trips to the USA go, one would be a snuffing idiot if one does not go to any factory outlet. No, darling, it’s not a factory, it’s an outlet where there are hundreds of shops selling out-of-season pieces for the fraction of their original prices. Imagine that! All the American brands that you can imagine – Guess, Levis, Coach, Fossil, Banana Republic – at cheap, cheap prices under one gigantic roof!

But ewww, out-of-season stuff, you say, doesn’t that make me unfashionable?

Honey, if you were to try being fashionable all the time, you would go maaaad, wouldn’t you? LMS’ motto has always been to buy classic pieces that will last through the years, and not buy silly frothy things that will look distasteful the season after. Thriftiness is a virtue, no?

Anyway, Sin City itself houses two factory outlets, both under the umbrella of Chelsea Premium. One is located near the airport, which is at the southern-most end of the Strip. Now, the Strip here is different from the local Strip. No waxing is involved, only tens of hotels, all with their own identities and awesome architecture. The other outlet is at Downtown, which is up north from the Strip.

So, what do you get when you go to either outlet?

Many, many shops, that’s what.

LMS spotted many bargains while charging her way through both outlets. Fossil watches were going for as low as USD19.99. Them funky doddle Philippe Starck watches were going at USD29.99!

Not convinced? Okay, how about classy Coach signature print wristlets at merely USD39? Speaking of Coach, LMS adores the range of wallets with the elegant signature print…..ahhh…..so delectable and yet so unattainable….happy 25th birthday to LMS, anyone?

The one to benefit most from her shopping exertions is Mr LMS. Being a man of huge heart and a huger frame, he often has problems buying clothes that fit him and are still affordable. LMS was kind enough to pick out the following items, lovingly, for him – a short-sleeved Banana Republic crisp striped/white shirt for a steal at USD13, a pair of Dockers dress pants for USD24.99 and a pair of Levis cargo pants (which are surprisingly too big for him *gasp *) at USD29.99. What a wonderful girlfriend LMS is!

LMS mama had it good too, as she had purchased a Nine West leather bag for a puny sum of USD19.99. LMS didn’t stinge on herself either and got a bag for herself at USD29.99. The best thing was, there was an outrageous discount of 30% for all bags! You do the math and see how much LMS paid for her bags.

Purple is the colour of royalty and as such, is the only colour that befits someone of LMS’ stature. Hence, it is of no surprise that she was wowed over by two perfectly sweet lilac tops from Guess. Her damage over there? USD40. But wait! That’s not all. At a little shop in the Strip outlet, LMS bought two cardigans for merely USD5 each! One is pink and has a sexy lace panel for a back. The other one is totally obnoxious – it’s baby blue and has a removable fur collar! Outrageous! So Ambercrombie and Fitch but oh so delightfully cheap!

Sigh….LMS is suffering from withdrawal syndrome just thinking about the shopping there. *sniffs *

LMS slept on this most comfy gigantic bed.


Las Vegas Postscript

They sound, everyday. Day and night, you’d get to hear them at least once a day. Where are they going? Are they ambulances rushing off to save a life or police cars chasing a rogue down the Interstate? How does it feel to be in the thick of action, knowing that a second’s delay or a mistake on your part might end up destroying someone’s life?

They sing and dance every night, these sirens. In my lofty 26th storey view, I can see Treasure Island burst into flames, and song and dance. They are not modestly dressed, every inch of their skin exposed tantalizingly to the entranced audience. They flirt with the renegade “pirates”, which they are supposed to seduce, as well as with the minds of the people watching them. Do they represent Vegas? Perhaps so, the sirens in their glitzy lingerie and showiness.

Everybody needs sunscreen, especially in the arid strip of desert we call Las Vegas. The sun is always high up in the impossibly blue skies, flanked by fluffy tufts of clouds. And yet, you can almost forget the heat, not quite but almost, because it is never hot. Not hot like in Singapore, where the sun and the humidity conspire to rob you of your cool senses. There is always a breeze blowing, a respite from the heat waves.

Everybody here exudes it. From the moment you step into the shop, to the time you finish your meal and leave, it is always there. A cheery “how are we doing today?” or a friendly “you enjoying your stay here?” There’s no lack of sunshine warmth drizzling down on you.

The plane remained stationary at the hangar, despite its purported departure time of 1813. I waited anxiously, willing the huge wings to start their engines. 40 minutes later, the engines finally roared into life and we were on our way. Upon landing at LAX, I rushed to the carousel and tapped my feet impatiently against the hard floor. Where was my bag? And why had I not tag it all the way to Singapore? It took a good 10 minutes before my bag materialised, bumps and slides and all. From then on, it was all about pure arm strength – pushing and pulling and cajoling the luggage to wheel speedily over the uneven ground, balancing the laptop and handbag on both shoulders. With just five minutes to spare, the bag was finally put onto the conveyor belt, securely checked and bound for home.

The queue moved rather smoothly as people came and left the check-in counters. All but one. A tall, bearded man with a Muslim name. He walked to the counter and from then on, it was hell. Where are you going? Where did you go? Why are you here? Why do you have a British passport? How much did you spend here? The words were all said with a smile but the intent was clear, post-911. A nation that is still smarting from the wounds of the attacks is not letting a second mistake get past its airport clearance once again.

Las Vegas Boulevard


Never take things for granted

The official word is out – I am currently shopping for a new job.

While I was away in Las Vegas, rumours reached me that the company would be closing down due to the lack of profitability. The editor confirmed the rumours when I got back and so, three months into the job, I am back to the elusive search again.

I’m neither shocked nor broken by the news. In a way, with all the changes that had been in the pipeline, I had an inkling that things were not going well. And in an odd way, I am blessed with a sense of optimism which tells me that things will right themselves sooner or later. Just as the company was my salvation from a life of PR drudgery, it will once again be the beacon that will bring me down the right path. Or so I truly believe.

I’m just glad that in my short time here, I had the chance to try almost everything there was to do in the magazine. I had a cover story, a column, covered everything from press conferences to one-on-one interviews with the head honchos of the various companies. I was wined and dined, shopped at Kuala Lumpur and enjoyed the breathtaking view of Las Vegas. Heck, I even had an iBook to work with.

In a way, that was all thanks to a wonderful team of editors that I had the lucky opportunity to work with, especially my very own editor. I never got the impression from anyone that since I was still a baby in the industry, there were things that I couldn’t do. The ed gave me the chance to explore and grow creatively, and made me believe that I could be just as good a writer as she is in time to come.

So what do I want to do now? I’m uncertain but I do know that I will definitely be writing again. Once you have tasted the fruit of passion, you never want to give it up and that’s how it is for me and writing. Who knows, maybe I will try out for lifestyle writing again, or remain in the tech industry. But this incident has taught me to never take things for granted, to never get lost in the ideal that something this good will always be there.

Thanks to all who called or emailed and asked about me, I’m truly appreciative. I received a call from fellow tech journo A, who was also a classmate during my university days, and I was glad that I had at least made a friend during this time.

At the same time, I just want to voice out my opinion that this is an intensely personal matter for me and I did not appreciate the fact that there were people who made available this piece of news in pseudo-public channels of communication, such as my blog and other interactions. In light of the fact that I was unfortunate enough to be out of the country when the news broke, I think that was highly insensitive. It was definitely unpleasant to have people come up to me and say “I heard that your company is closing down”.

While the road is hazy for me still, I want to have the power to believe that I can still make good this life. I want to believe that I still have the ability to chase my dreams and carve out a name for myself, doing something that I love.

I want to believe that there is still something this good for me out there.


Viva Las Vegas – Day Dunno

I’ve lost track of time.
All I know is, I will be on my way home tomorrow evening, Vegas time, and I am so glad for it.

Because, you know, despite my wanderlust, despite my love for exploring the unexplored, despite my unbriddled joy in travelling, I am tired. And I am just not cut out for solo travel. And this is definitely a business trip, not a leisure trip.

When it comes to travelling, I need a companion. Some things in life are meant to be shared and embracing new sights and sounds is one of them.

Plus, being here on business means that all the events and activites have zonked me out. I tried to go exploring last night, and while waiting for a public show to start at Treasure Island, I actully fell asleep standing up. After the crass and crappy half hour show (involving scantily clad “sirens” and renegade pirates getting it on) ended, I went straight back to the hotel and watched Desperate Housewives till I fell asleep.

Vegas is one hell of a vibrant city and I can see how strong its draw is to people. Night feels like day and the streets are never empty. New hotels just spring out from nowhere, each with its own individual identity. There’s so much to see and so little time.

Perhaps next time then. Not on business, and certainly not on foot.


Viva Las Vegas: Day 2

I managed to get some five hours of sleep. Darn, my eyebags are so huge now, I think my mum won’t be able to recognise me.

Last night, they brought us to catch the Cirque du Soleil production, Ka and boy, was it amazing! Despite having watched two previous Cirque productions and having my mind blown by both, Ka really takes the cake. The entire theatre was built for this show and the pyrotechnics and stage design was just amazing. The entire story was whimsical, mythical and fantastical all at the same time.

Okay, I fell asleep intermittently. It’s terrible, I was just so tired and the darkened theatre was just so conducive for sleeping. But it really was good, trust me. I wanted to get the soundtrack but the show is so new (having opened in February) that the soundtrack was only going to be out next year. Bugger.

Thank goodness for low-budget IDD calls. They have enabled me to make believe that the boyfriend is just a 15-minute drive away, rather than halfway across the world. It helps that he doesn’t sleep early and that by the time I get to bed, he can call and talk to me, just like we always do at home. I think we are really the “absence makes the heart grow fonder” kind of couple. Tsk.

Okay, off for a bath and a full day of events.