Archive for May, 2006


While going exploring, i chanced upon this haven for little children at King’s Park. I cannot believe i never knew about this place. It’s really quite nice. Lots of playgrounds, sausages on a sizzle and families out on picnics.

I must say, Perth seems like the ideal place to stay if i ever wanted to have children. I mean, after three years of being here, i still don’t really understand how people here have the time to enjoy such slack lifestyles. The kind of lifestyle one talks about in dreams… “if only i could just sit in cafes, sipping coffee, walk the dog and smell the wayside flowers”. These things actually happen here in Perth Australia. What a lifestyle. And the governement wonders why tons of Singaporeans are hoping to make the move.

Back in Singapore, Sunday family time includes tuition in math, ballet lessons, art classes, abacus learning or something like that. The children here really have it good you know. And so do the old folks, the regular MacDonald employee is a pubescent teenager and not some retired auntie. Shopping centres are never that jammed pack with people during sales and buses never seem to be in a hurry. In fact, even the birds here are friendlier (and well-fed).

So it has come to a point where people are asking me whether I’m considering applying for PR. And i’ve always said, “no … I’m defintely going back to Singapore.” Somehow, Singapore is home, it is chock full of hybrid cultures, good shopping and most of all, good food. I’ve always told the people around me that if there’s anything i ever miss about Singapore, it’s the food. We’re talking about $3 Char Kueh Teow and to die for chicken rice that could only ever clog the arteries. But really, it makes life such a treat!

While i’m definitely not nationalistic, i honestly think Singapore has potential artswise to do so much. We’re seeing the wave of Singaporean films, such as the likes of Eric Khoo et al. I grew up watching Malay Epics like Hung Tuah, Bollywood classics with Shah Rukh Khan, South Indian films featuring men with bloodshot eyes, Hollywood blockbusters, drama serials and Peranakan plays. I grew up reading local books like “Motherland”, “Singapore True Ghost stories”, the “Bookworm Club”, reading local novels like Catherine Tan, Asian books like “Sing to the Dawn”, simplified Shakespeare and all.

And i am just the average Singaporean, i read no more nor watch any thing out of mainstream genres. Where else can we get such an eclectic mix of things. This melting pot of cultures is uniquely Singaporean and this is the reason why i’m definitely returning. True enough, there are so many things that are just wrong in Singapore, but the culture will always be something i’m pretty proud of.

So yes, that means goodbye to happy healthy children in playgrounds and hello to mini myopic tots scuttling home in their big bags.


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Comic Books

The yearly “Free Comic Book Day” has arrived.
As there was only one shop in Perth participating in the event, i can’t say loy, sam and i were spoilt for choice. All the same, there were all the titles that we wanted, not to mention the other cool things to look at in store.
Sam grabbed a copy of transformers.
While i decided on the Batman/Superman saga.
And Loy chose Justice League.
Ah … to be a kid once again.
I bet there were loads of happy little boys and girls just sitting home, learning to read with a comic in tow.

In lieu of this comic centred entry, i thought it would only be appropriate to put something regarding my favouritest graphic novel up. Being the type to prefer sappy over convoluted plotlines, this graphic novel i have in mind is no surprise.

It could only be… Craig Thompson’s “Goodbye Chunky Rice”.
This is the story of Chunky-Rice the turtle.

who is caught between having a home all the time (since it’s on his back), but not ever having a fixed home, since “home” is mobile. Chunky-Rice has a best mousy friend by the name of Dandel. She understands that Chunky needs to go away and she lets him.

But as all goodbyes, leaving is never easy.

But courageous Chunky pushes ahead and leaves.

He meets different people (such as Livonia and Ruth above) and experience life changing situations (ie: losing all the possessions he holds dear during a shipwreck) whilst on a ship.

But he still misses Dandel dearly, and she, him.

Subplot-wise, there is the story of Merle the “toot-toot” bird and Chunky’s lonely neighbour.

It goes that Merle hurt his wings while migrating with other birds. Chunky’s neighbour rescues it and nurses it back to health. Afterwhich, Merle flies away and leaves him lonely again.

But what i so love about this story is not just the fantastic illustrations, the intricate weaving of both plots into one coherent narrative, or the lovely characters, but the fact that this is a story celebrating friendships. That is, while there may be farewells in life, these are simply “Goodbyes” and relationships are forever.

There’s just something about the simplistic way of retelling difficult situations that makes comics such a fantastic medium and body of literature. Somehow, comics have come a long way from simply Garfields and the ever witty Calvin and Hobbes. Plotlines have changed and sciencey or superhero stuff are not the only themes pervading the comic genre. The superhero is now the common man, and this is significant, because the “Everyman” is now a celebrated figure. Gone are the days of jadedness and people can now zoom in onto the ordinariness of life and enjoy the little things that come with being less than perfect.

So yes, who said comics were just mindlessly fun reads?

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