Saturday, February 25, 2012

Say It Right In Thai

E@L has a book of this title in the desk in front of him. Nothing to do with the previous post.

Without wishing to bore you with the maudlin regrets of a superficial, middle-aged, single man, he wishes to bore you with the maudlin regrets of a superficial, middle-aged, single man. Don't say you weren't warned.


Say it right? Say it RIGHT?

E@L can never say anything right to women in whatever language of love you suggest. Thai, English, Mandarin, Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog or Hindi. He is completely hopeless at preventing his hopes of love from being dashed on the rocky shores of lust whenever he opens his stupid mouth. Which is why he never gets to fuck can seduce the women (should there be any) he might wish to.

Even with all silver-tongued the advice from that super-experienced chat-up man, our Bruce, he does not succeed. Because, as when packing his bags for a trip, he gets all anxious and leaves something out, or brings the wrong item. "I find you very attractive, enjoy your company and would like to get know you (or 'your body' - optional) better," as advised by Bruce, somehow comes out of his mouth as, "Let's fuck like they do on the Discovery Channel," with gestures and body language to support the unintended effect - of a blank look of terror, followed quickly by drink over the head and either a kick to the scrotum or a standard dose of pepper-spray to the conjunctiva to finish E@L off.

When E@L approaches a lady and is feeling romantic, it's stand back and avoid the shrapnel as his improvised seductive devices explode. Lines like that might be OK when you are in midst of each of each other and unmaking the bed (or couch, or kitchen table), but in a bar at 7pm with someone you've just met? In all likelihood, nope.

Say it right? E@L? Blurt it right out, more like.

So the conversations people like E@L might prefer to implement, after having made fools of themselves time and time again in legitimate circumstances, becomes more appropriate to the expectations of their intended female companions when augmented by the alluring soft plonk of a ping-pong ball falling into a glass, to the crisp slap of a mock-truncheon on various glutei maximi, to the just-audible hiss of a body slithering up-side down on a chrome pole, to the alluring perfume of cigarette smoke and alcohol fumes.

When these things turn his thoughts to thoughts of love, out pops the perfect Thai phrase, finally. Here are words that exactly express his feelings and carry no offence, quite the opposite. As the purloined letters of Cyrano De Bergerac did for Christian and Roxanne, these words will have the lady swooning her loins into his loins...

"เท่าไหร่ดีบาร์คืออะไร? Charisma Card(tm) ok, krup?"


Getting married at 19? Don't do it if you are contemplating getting divorced 20 years later. They'll remake Swingers all about you. You've never done the dating thing as a kid, and now you'll never scale-up enough chat-up skills before it gets too late for you, you'll never shrink to the right kind of small talk, you'll never polish away the rough edges of your wannabe smooth lines.

You'll be paying someone else to do the polishing instead when and if you make it to E@L's age.


* How much is the bar fine?

* OK they weren't "stolen" as such, but purloined is a great word and needs to be used more often, though with proper syntax whenever possible.

Friday, February 24, 2012


I think I know what they're trying to say.

Sign in one of the washrooms at the Paolo Nawamin Hospital here in Bangkok.

The Bludger says they mean "exploit".

I'm hoping not.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Twist In The Naked Arse

OK, OK, so I wasn't the only person to note that the short story by Japanese writer and Nobel Prize winner Yasunari Kawabata, The House Of The Sleeping Beauties, was the basis for Sleeping Bewdy. That's the alleged fillum and story association/rip-off-thing I was going apeshit over in an earlier post.

So, I finished reading the story today. Very touching, very making of the person introspective particularly if you are an ageing gent of diminishing sexual prowess staying in a hotel not much more than 100m from Nana Plaza.

And so, moving on from the blinding self-pity of your circumlocuter, there is at least one reason why the short story is better than the movie...

Kawabata tell it from the viewpoint of an 67 year old man, Old Eguchi, (Kawabata was around 50 when he wrote it). Eguchi sleeps next to several young knocked-out beauties at night in something of a brothel (maybe they have other rooms upstairs) over a period of several months. When in the room with them, Eguchi seems always on the verge of either strangling these girls, who toss and turn and talk in their sleep (might as well be snoring - get a CPAP!) or taking an overdose himself of whatever it is they are having.

The fillum however, is told from the perspective of one girl, Lucy/Sara (Emily Browning). She is narcotised overnight for the anonymous pleasure of several impotent old farts (are YOU talking to ME?). She is completely immobile when asleep, except for a corny scene where, already drugged, she hobbles (poorly acted, patently false) across the room to place a secret camera on a shelf before her oldfartfriend arrives.

The short story's final twist - won't spoil it - is good. Let me tell you now, you don't receive the same sense of surprise when you see the movie's corresponding ending scene, primarily because of this inversion of POV, man to woman, old to young, sleeper to watcher. In fact there is no surprise at all in the movie: that person was doomed from dinner time.

Perhaps that predictability, counter to the essential strength given by the short story's final irony, is what makes it ultimately an unsatisfying movie. The unexpected doesn't happen. Well, you can say that what is unexpected in the short story is fairly expected in the movie.


House of Sleeping Beauties is a moderately (85 pages) long short story, a touching meditation on old age and death, sex and youth and with the traditional twist in the tail. (And we won't go into the blazing misogyny of both the story and the film at this time.)

"He was much taken with the thought of sleeping a deathlike sleep next to a girl put into a sleep like death.

"...It was a house frequented by old men who could no longer use women as women: but Eguchi, on his third visit, knew that to sleep with such a girl was a fleeting consolation, the pursuit of a vanished happiness in being alive. And where there among them old men who secretly asked to sleep forever beside a girl who had been put to sleep? There seemed to be a sadness in a young girl's body that called up in an old man a longing for death.

"She had been stripped of all defences, for the sake of her aged guest, of the sad old man. She was naked and she would not awaken. Eguchi felt a wave of pity for her. A thought came to him: the aged have death, the young have love, and death comes once, and love comes over and over again. It was a thought for which he was unprepared, but it calmed him - not that he had been especially overwrought.

"... 'The death of an old man is an ugly thing. I suppose you might think of it as a rebirth in heaven - but I am sure he went the other way.'"


The movie, in contrast, shows a lot of Emily Browning's naked arse.


Put it this was, the short story ends with a punch, the movie is more of a sucker.

I'll shut up now and get back to working on the novel. Sorry, E@L will.

E@L, me, E@L, whomever

Monday, February 20, 2012

Iced Green Tea Latte

"I've got no voice. I don't know how to write like me."
"Paul Kemp" (Johnny Deep doing a much better job of Hunter S. Thompson than he did in Fear and Loathing)- Rum Diary (2011)


Funnily enough this morning, before watching this movie tonight in which, serendipitously, I heard the above line and pressed pause on the laptop and opened Evernote to jot it down, I headed to Starbucks and ordered an iced green tea latte because I thought such a drink would be disgusting enough, and it was, to grant me extra time in a relatively comfy chair while I bashed away here. Because I wanted to check something out.

I had something in my head, in my bowels, somewhere, where-ever gut feelings and brilliant ideas reside. It was about my voice, my literary voice. E@L's voice, the voice I want to have when I write being me trying to write like I'm writing like E@L - yes, me too, fuck it, I get so confused trying to emulate myself that it all comes out like the shit you have after a night on the piss and curry.

And you know, advice from a whole lot of good people over the years has been perfect: Get onto it, if you want to write something, write something that E@L would write, write like you do in your blog. Obviously that is your voice, they'd say.

As they should. And I tried. I wasn't ignoring their advice, I was trying but I couldn't do it, horn blast, failed. No matter how hard I tried I didn't sound like E@L. It didn't even sound like me.

Despite nodding and saying "Yes, yes, I understand" when these well-meaning people abused me and threw rocks at my head trying to get some sense in there, I still had trouble putting E@L's tone and voice into these pieces. Perhaps I was thinking that this writing would be associated with *me* rather than E@L, that first-draft wunderkind whom we all love and know so well. Or is that meant to be other way around? Ah, I'll fix in the next draft.

Last few weeks I've glancing over some of E@L's old posts from this and the previous blog and thought, hey fuck, this guy is good, do I know him? Wish I could write the way he does.

So today, for some reason, I just said fuck all that self-conscious literary shit, I'll get E@L himself to do the writing for me. I'll let him write a blog using my imagination, let him tell the story of the story behind the story that I have been trying to write for years. Which is not, as some have been whispered to, the Bruce stuff at all (well not completely).

Trying hard hasn't worked, I'm going to try easier from now on. That is the plan.

So E@L sippped his drink, yuck, and banged out five pseudo-posts for me, a whisper over 2000 words, before the green tea latte ran out. I hope it sounds more E@L'ish than last year's NaNoWriMo stuff.

Here's one from today...




But E@L is sitting down in Satrefucks, he needs time to think about this news, needs to write it down to see what it looks like, so he can think about it better and he has an iced green tea latte on the table, next to his laptop.

A nicely horrible drink like this will allow him to sip slowly, to shudder, then write something while he waits ten minutes, and sip, shudder again. You get the idea. How long can he stretch this poison out? There is nowhere in the hotel to sit like this - he needs white noise of people doing those various things other people do in order to concentrate. He needs something, though a critical mass of someones is better, to ignore. Satrefucks, perfect for venting anger. Ice green tea latte. How horrible does tha sound? How horrible does it taste. He's got about an hour here he calculates.

Life for the gullible is always teetering on the edge of disaster thanks to the indifferent hearts of psychopathic grifters, con-men and investment brokers. Bastards left and right are out to insert a hand into the wallet pockets of the vague and upstaring, to rip out their financial guts. E@L, gullibility made flesh, is pretty fucked up at the moment in this division, as the more perspicacious reader of this blog may have assimilated by now.

Some fresh news has filtered through about The Prick's disappearance and the evaporation of E@L's investment, sigh, from one of the other poor suckers investors. It seems, according to that source who's name cannot be remembered and perhaps should not, that The Prick not only took E@L and his fellow gullible's money, he also drained his wife's bank account. Swear to god. And not under the most pleasant of circumstances. Aptly did Birdman create his cognomen.

E@L has only met the short-suffering woman (the wife) two or three times, not enough to maintain her name either in his leaky sieve underneath the dripping glue form his rotting memory banks. Fuck what is it with E@L and names? Heard she was sick, but The Prick never told E@L of what. Him? Tell E@L anything? Turns out if was freakin' breast cancer. Oh my freakin' christ. The death-worthy prick. The lump was scanned in their TST office by a friend of E@L's, he hears now, someone in his old company another source of gossip, as a favour to The Prick who apparently had charmed her at one of my parties . "Get to a freakin' real Doctor immediately!" That was fair to middling unprofessional btw, but we are in Asia.

Listen to this, those who have computer screens to hear. Story is she had gone back to Germany, she's half kraut, old Blighty's NHS not quite the ticket, for some treatment or other involving loss of hair and a small snip. Didn't lose her whole breast, it was early/small (not necessarily significant, but that's not helpful in the medium term E@L's recent casual studies have concluded - a kick in the butt for our screening machine, but sshhhh, don't tell the customers).

Wifey, victim in so many ways, had refused the well-meaning ministrations of those who peddle their varietals of soups and teas composed of a menagerie of endangered species and bits of garden clippings that is TCM. Thankfully, [You've all remember Steve Jobs? Sorry bit of editorial intervention here. E@L will be blogging about this in the far far future. OK I'm gone.] she went the Western Way.

So, scarfed and don't-touch-my-boobies sore, she gets back home to their mansion of a flat on The Peak, but The Prick is not home, the fridge empty, except for some vegetables turning to soup in the bottom drawer (good for TCM?) so she wonders where the slave hired help might be hiding, not there either, pops down to grab a bucket of Beluga and, WTF, her card is rejected. OK, the bit about the caviare E@L is offering some mere conjecture there, but the card rejection was real. She had no money in her account. Nada, zip, not a Standard and Chartered buck. You don't need E@L to explain what The Prick had done with their joint account.

This was at exactly the time we all lost contact with that massive prick, The Prick.

Sound familiar? E@L's investment account. As previously described. All the money from the sale of his post-divorce 50% of the Olde Sweete Homee. The Prick is a total cunt. I think was can all rest our joint agreement there.




Finished for today.



That will all be for this transmission. His work is tough you know and it starts again tomorrow. Around lunch time.

Finished for today.


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Sleeping Bewdy

[Do'h! See comments.]

Seduced, mesmerised, captivated, as were we all indubitably, by the gentle pace and the soft visual caresses of that recent Orstrayen fillum, Sleeping Beauty (NOT the Disney pic), E@L allows himself to drift away and lose himself in the obscure world of sex, beauty and death that lies way above our tedious day-to-day existence, into that floating world of timeless daydreaming and soft-core porn.

Sleeping Beauty from Pollen Digital on Vimeo.

Anyone seen it? No? Figured as much. Philistines.

Art? Well it would have made to the select cellar of a hundred million or so unwatched arty-farty fillums, down there with Melancholia and Tree Of Life, but it was not shot in black and white.

So not quite art, perhaps. Not at all in B&W.

But then again, it is a... pale film. There is a lot of paleness to it. Not quite a whiter shade, but it is, you know, pale. Which is not to say it is an insipid or wishy-washy movie. F'kn weird, yes.

You see (no pun intended), Emily Browning - from Sucker Punch and Lemony Snicket - is in a state of near or complete undressedness for large sections for some parts of it, and she has the palest, purest, almost translucent skin. She must have come to HK or Thailand to get some of those skin bleaching treatments which are advertised ubiquitously there/here. Many of the rooms in the flick are white, light grey, cream... such as the cold, clinical white (cliché alert!) of the research-lab where she goes to swallow a gastric tube, yuck, to have her stomach acidity read (by guy looking at a syringe it seems - where the fuck is the proper analyser?). And, um, there are other bits that are white-ish as well. Need to re-watch. Again, wasn't looking specifically for the colour scheme, was looking for breast and butts and lithe female forms.

Yep, a lot of paleness and a lot of flesh. Surely if that don't approach a goddam work of art, I don't know what does. Really, I do not know.

Recently I tried to convince Bruce that it was soft-porn (aka Art), so I re-watched it with him, and no, there's not nearly so much nudity as I thought. He told me there was bugger all nakedness in fact, and that it was a fucking weird flick and he was going to hit me several times quite hard for making him watch it when he could have gone out for a rub and tug...

Grant you that.

Plot: girl gets put into a deep sleep so that impotent old men can look at her naked in bed.

Not much to go on, you say.

Grant you that, too.

However you have to admit Browning does a terrific job of staying "asleep" (spoiler: she is just acting really, at least I hope she is) in this, like, gross-out scene where veteran Oz actor Chris Haywood does some fancy eye- and nostril-licking. Shudder. And then the big guy has a heart-attack (I think) and drops her off the bed and onto the floor... Ouch! Hope the carpet was soft. If only there was an Academy Award for not reacting!

But, getting serious again, it is the gentle pacing of the editing and/or direction (not as slow as the slow bits in Drive - Antonioni remakes Fast and Furious, guffaw) that is reminiscent of something that I can't quite place. Of course there is movement amongst all this stillness, call it action, but it is so quiet and understated that it can become a dream, a sleep-walking state... Not just Emily asleep, but the way all the people in the White House move so languorously: they are never in a hurry; and how they talk softly, in what you might call measured tones if you were fond of clichés. That stirring of the tea, with a whisk, Japanese style.1

It reminds me I think, of the way the more typical modern Japanese literature works. I have read something, somewhere, maybe from Soseki, Tanazaki or H. Murakami that has these qualities. Seriously, I *did* think this movie might have some Japanese origin... The old silence speaks volumes thing, the relaxation that creates tension (maybe it doesn't that 100% successfully here, it is not a completely satisfying film), the speed at which you stay still, the perfect emotional control in a crisis.


Now, sigh, I don't have the movie on my hard-disk because that would constitute piracy (I didn't back it up onto this HDD here with me in BKK) to check the credits so I can only look up IMDB or the website.

But I wanted to know what they say is the true source of this storyline, other than Grimm's Fairy Tales? There seems to be nothing there on the internet - the script is attributed to Julia Leigh, the director. There's no mention of it being adapted from any other source...


SSSOOOooooooo... I was in Kinokinuya in Paragon shopping centre in BKK today (oh fuck, yesterday) in search of a remaindered copy (because I was not aware of a full price copy in Singapore, and he had mentioned it the other day on his blog, and here I am in Bangkok...) of Tim from Cultural Snow's book on the so-called Noughties - so-called because they ARE so called - and of course, having found one eventually: they hid that lost copy pretty damn well, right there under my nose, I continued on browsing.

Beleive it or not, Kinokinuya have a damn fine selection Japanese literature in English, 40% or so of which are written not by Haruki Murakami (this guy has Nobel Prize written all over him, surely, at least if sales are anything to go by. ). One author who is not H. Murakumi is Yasunari Kawabata. A damn great writer whom my friend who did Japanese literature in Tokyo has never heard of, even though, speaking of which, he won the Nobel Prize for Literature, in 1968.

Many great little books by Kawabata, some terrific longer ones too (allegedly, I've only finished the short ones), and I disappointed not to be able to locate (in Geelong, well d'uh) a copy of Kawabata's semi-fictional novel, The Master Of Go. This I intended to present to No1 son during the Saturnalia period of gift-giving, to match with the Go set I did manage to find. (Hint: this is significant.2)

Anyways, here in BKK, I did find a book of Kawabata's short stories, House Of The Sleeping Beauties. It is a Kawabata I haven't read, wasn't even aware of. The Izu Dancer (the book that made him famous and loved), The Master of Go, Beauty and Sadness, and Snow Country I have read, some a few times, and this is a small book too, so I purchased it of course. (That, Tim's 0s, and a history of Bosnia [don't ask], but where the fuck am I going to find space to put them?)


The book was wrapped in plastic still, so E@L had no idea if there was any correspondence between these stories and the movie with a similar title. He had only a vague feeling of suspicion, of quiet anticipation, until he unwrapped it. It was one of those editions you only see from Japan: a paperback, with a dust-jacket! He turned it over to admire it. Mainly shiny black, with a gold Klimt image on the left side of the front - The Hydra. Admirable. He looked at the colour of the inner, true, cover. It was bright red, surprising, a hidden dangerous colour, concealed like the harsh sudden contrast of a woman's innermost secret parts, revealed. Kodansha Intl. The title story was originally published, in Japanese, in 1961. This English edition dated from 2004.

He was sitting on a broad chair of Chinese design in a the private room of a gentleman's parlour in the distinguished suburb of Nana, when he read the first sentence. His paramour de jour, a fragrant blossom of a thing whose name, Khun Ying, rang like a tiny bell to his ears, was bent over, filling the large bath and splashing soapy water onto the rubber mattress on the floor, rendering its friction minimal, surfactants releasing the mineral-hidden slipperiness of water. Her left hand was plashing in the bath, stirring up pillows of luxurious foam.

He almost laughed, almost out loud!

He was not to do anything in bad taste, the woman of the inn warned old Eguchi. He was not to put his finger into the mouth of the sleeping girl, or try anything of that sort.

"Oh ho! Oh Ho!, It is the same story, it is!" he laughed, out loud.

She turned her heart-shaped face towards him. She was naked of course, facing away from him at first. He paused his reading to admire her more attentively as she eased the shining parts of her soft female machine into a semi-profile. He could see the smooth hillock's outline where her thigh merged with her hip; he could follow the reptilian arc of her spine from its lower dimples to a small inverted triangle of fine hair at the nape of her slender neck where she had tied up the black tresses to keep them from getting too wet and pinned them secure with a white butterfly clip; he could, and did, admire the outline at the soft fall of her small, perfect breast.


"It is the movie," he said. "It is exactly the same!" 3

"Why you say, moowee, wha moowee?"

The light was glistening on her wet skin where water beaded and fell in haphazard rivulets down the dark contours of her body, like condensation on a chilled beer glass. She stood up, placed her hand on her hip and looked at him, challengingly. Still, she stayed still. He felt quite heady under the power of her undaunted gaze. Against this female energy, this independence and will, he tried to assimilate the timeless beauty of her perfect form with the prejudices against her ancient profession. She was beautiful, perfect, classic, and she defied him to say otherwise. She defied him to judge, to say it made a difference, as if anything he could say or think would ever make a difference.

But still he was entranced by the gentleness of her body as she stood there, immobile. The delicate curve of her elbow, her arm smooth and dark as polished ebony (she was from down south), her hip jutting out to hold it, her knee slightly bent in just such a way; these features gave her entire stance the coquettish form of a famous statue, one he once knew but could not quite place...

He had seen her before, in her pure form: somewhere, she was a work of art.


So I read a bit more of this story. I doesn't take long to see what is happening here, another couple of paragraphs.

Plot: a girl gets put into a deep sleep so that impotent old men can look at her naked in bed!

This is it - absolutely 100% it. The plot for Sleeping Beauty comes from this Japanese story by Yasanuri Kawabata...



1. I seem to recall (ther's a lot vagueness in this post) that there is a fairly detailed description of the tea-ceremony in The Master Of Go  (this will make sense eventually, continue reading the post.), or maybe it is in another of Kawabata's books. Green tea powder is whisked to a froth in the Japanese tea-ceremony, as Rachael Blake does with the sleeping draught she mixes for Emily Browning.


2. Browning's character is a poor university student who is doing this sleep thing as an easy way for her to make good money. One of the lectures she walks out on in order to get to another of her on-call sleeping jobs is a lecture on a particular game of Go! "Why would the Master, after spending all this time thinking, make such a bad move?" or words to that effect. I seem to recollect this sort of conundrum being close to a section of that other Kawabata book, The Master of Go where an old master loses to a dashing young challenger (we've all been there).


Ancient Japanese Go-Go girls...

3. Almost. In the movie, Emily Browning as the candidate for the Sleeping Beauty job, is told that she will not, under any circumstances, be "penetrated".


There are other points of correspondence too. The first old man holding, lifting and letting drop Browning's arm - the description of a similar incident in the story is quite mesmerizing and it almost perfectly realized, word for word as it were, in the movie. And then there is... not sure, but there must be more. I'd better read more of the story before I can say.


Anyway, it's a given.

Again, BING!


Obviously all this was no mystery to Julia Leigh: she put that Go lecture in there for a reason. I am just wondering if she duly and correctly attributed the story to Kawabata in the credits. I'll have to wait 4hrs until this new torrent downloads, I mean until I get back to Singapore to view my legit DVD.

So there you have it: E@L the literary detective solves the mystery yet again. (There was a mystery?) The movie Sleeping Beauty is, cunningly and in an attempt to divert suspicion, based on a Japanese story called House of The Sleeping Beauties. Who woulda thunk?


(I know none of you give a fuck about any of this, but it's made my pathetic, wasted-life of a day, such as it was.)

(Also, this post was originally meant to constitute "a full critical analysis" of The Noughties, to be placed "">here (i.e.: Tim's blog) first thing in the morning. With footnotes." Oops. Got distracted, again.)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Virginia Passes Law that Makes Rape Mandatory

An article in Slate today, "Virginia’s Proposed Ultrasound Law Is an Abomination", has touched a sensitive nerve. As many of you may realize (I know personally most of my readers) I was once a doyen of ultrasound scanning, world famous in Australia you might say (apologies to Mel Brooks for stealing his line). I did lots (hundreds) of scans in early pregnancy way back when and know more than a little about the technicalities of the points raised by the author of the article, Dahlia Lithwick. Be notified that I am in no way disputing her overall opinion and am a staunch supporter of women's right to choose.

She says that the requirement to perform a transvaginal ultrasound scan means that there is now a legal requirement to perform rape - state-sanctioned rape.

...that means most women will be forced to have a transvaginal procedure ... With a proposed amendment to the bill—a provision that would have had the patient consent to this bodily intrusion or allowed the physician to opt not to do the vaginal ultrasound—failed on 64-34 vote. A special ultrasound transducer is placed into the vagina in order to get a clear view of the uterus. The law provides that women seeking an abortion in Virginia will be forcibly penetrated for no medical reason. I am not the first person to note that under any other set of facts, that would constitute rape under state law.

She rightly argues that if it becomes a legal requirement to to a transvaginal scan it would be a straight forward case of rape.

(from above link)

However, I am of the professional (woah!) opinion that an abdominal ultrasound scan (probe - pushing hard - on the lower abdomen) would be perfectly adequate in many cases. And a scan might be done anyway, even without this law, to confirm the gestational age (important).

A transvaginal scan might only be required if the woman is greatly obese. (Hang on 99% of American women are, so...) Perhaps the argument that the woman is going to be penetrated unnecessarily and undoubtedly against her will, raped indeed, might not be as strong as stated in this, and the linked article. Meh.

There are all sorts of reasons for a woman to prefer not to continue a pregnancy which I don't need to go into here, but forcing her doctor to rape her, and then, by making her listen to the heartbeat and look at the screen (the "egg-as-a-person" trick), to make her feel that she is a bad person when she may not be, goes against her legal and moral rights. How could the state sanction rape?

To me, this law is the equivalent of the stoning of adulteresses and the harsh punishment of victims of rape in those regions where Sharia law is full implemented.

It also reminds me of the arguments used to justify US's forced sterilization programmes in the 1920's and 30's, as described in Edwin's Black's book (yes, I've read it - fascinating and terrifying) and discussed in the award-winning documentary War Against The Weak.


Here's a quote from Bob McDonnell, governor of Virginia and possible vice-presidential candidate: it seems a blatant attempt to grab the conservative, bible-belt vote:

“I think it gives full information,” he said this week on WTOP radio’s “Ask the Governor” program. “To be able to have that information before making what most people would say is a very important, serious, life-changing decision, I think is appropriate.”

My emphasis. I would argue that a termination is not life changing for the woman who makes this choice, but rather enables her life to continue as it was. It's a non-changing choice, thank you very much. I consider this a reasonable and essentially correct state of affairs.

Now continuing with the pregnancy, that is a life-changing situation, and I can vouch for that!


This is a separate issue to the ongoing one about insurance coverage for contraception , etc...


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

On The Prowl

Walking all the way back home from the pub quiz in Robertson Quay tonight, 4-5kms - a good hour of solid perambulation for E@L, if he can make it*. Much better shoes and sandals, lots of drugs for his bad feet and the determination to get more exercise after the shame and dishonour of wasting his recent Japan ski-trip (only one day of five on the slopes) because of his damnéd cardio-pulmonary impotence...

E@L has been pumping the asphalt (or doing c-p stuff in the gym; HR at 125bpm or so) every day, mostly, for the last two weeks. And is off the grog. It's merely a matter of willpower, of becoming the person who you have chosen for yourself to be in the power of visualizing... yada yada. He's on a diet and a get fit kick. Maybe it's the massive negative incentive of having committed to give $5k to a cause he detest (maybe some TCM university studying how best to exterminate endangered species for fun and profit when aspirin or Viagra would work just as well - sorry, I mean would work; maybe the Scientology nutters...) if he can't knock 10% off his body-weight in three (3, count 'em) months. Bruce is holding the signed cheque and will make the decision about where the money goes. Seriously, no muckin' abart...

OK, fine. But why walk so far so late at night? It's near enough to 11pm, for crying out loud. Who in their right mind would stay out this late? Get home and get to blog.

Ah. Taxi.

Or *no* taxis, more like. Never any taxis when you need them; you can wait in the queue as long as you like, hang on the phone as long as you like, send as many SMS bookings as you like. Nuh. None. Zip. Nada. Fuck it, may as well head off on shanks' pony, in civilian clothes, man-bag over shoulder, see if he can make it all the way again, as he managed last week.

But the first serious bit of effort comes quick: the small hill that comes up from Mohammed Sultan to River Valley Rd. Know it? Maybe 200m of mild incline, perhaps 5deg. Not much, but it's nearly enough to have him clutching as his chest, screaming for a Code Blue! E@L's calves are burning just a bit more now as he treads firmly, refusing to slow down (he's walking at snail's pace orredy lah!), keeping that old ticker, um, ticking over, when...


In front of one the older condos, by the driveway at the gate, are several - five, six - women. They are dressed pretty damn fancy; LBDs, CMF boots, draped in lights scarves, extremities be-ringed and be-bangled, ungulates adorned with painted-on scenery and pasted-on jewels. These ladies are not coming home from somewhere, they are heading out. Faces are made-up to show off high cheekbones, even if there aren't any high cheekbones, eyelashes and eyebrows trimmed to augment the double eye-lid, the almond eyes, the exotic mien.

E@L feels he should be impressed with the effort that they have gone to.

All are smoking. Two are talking to each other with the precise clipped tones of Beijing Mandarin (it's hard to tell if the words are friendly or not); the others are standing alone, looking away, looking for the taxis that E@L couldn't find either. They appear hard, arms folded across their chests; harsh; they look older in the streetlight than they will; dim lights and alcohol will make them appear gorgeous in the early hours in the Japanese karaoke bars (they speak fluent Japanese, can drink sake and Chivas and sperm till the sun comes up) or in the dim black-light glow downstairs in Brix (at The Hyatt). Mainly they stand apart, they see enough of each other thanks, sleeping six to a room.

E@L plods past determinedly, almost breathless. Here's another condo, here's another pride of lionesses. None of them appear to notice him. These are not girls on the prowl for expats on the street; E@L is not part of tonight's Target Demographic.

Maybe it was the way he pulled at the crotch of his sweaty underpants, new rash on the burn, phew, still going uphill, that said to them: "Not me, honey. At least not tonight."


Happy Valentines Day. Feeling romantic, obviously.


* got about halfway, road-rash settling in nicely thanks for asking, took the train at Somerset.

(Been glancing through You Bright And Risen Angels; William T "Voluble" Vollman; hence all the semi-colons.)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Need Help

... in getting a decent translation of the following. One of my many lovely friends/colleagues (see above) in BKK is unwell. At least I think she is unwell. She posted this on Facebook:

จะบอกว่า ร้านดอกไม้ร้านใหญ่ที่อยู่ใกล้ๆกัน มีความคิดสร้างสรรมาก ขนดอกหญ้ามาจัดร้าน theme valentine ประหนึ่งว่าอยู่สวนป่า อีเดนท่ามกลางธรรมชาติ โรแมนติกค่อดๆ วันดีคืนดี ลมพัดมาหอบละอองเกสรปลิวว่อนเลย เซ็ง~ ไม่รู้เลยว่าอิคนอยู่ใกล้ๆ จะตายเอา 5555 [at least I know that these numbers are a Thai emoticon for LOL. Why? Because the number five in Thai is pronounced Ha. Hahahahaha.]

... and Bing (the FB default for some reason) translated it thus:

The art of flower shop is telling me to usurp tuttu shops near the capital. There are many creative ideas to optimize your store organized grass heart valentine theme is comparable to that in the midst of a natural park Eden. Robert semantic khot propitious day. The wind blows coming en masse swiftly carry pollen. Bored ~ I don't know that the ikhon near to death removing LOL.


Also need to learn the Thai characters for WTF.


... and Google translated it thus:

It is a flower shop near the well. There are many creative ideas. Feather grass is a free theme valentine, as though the forest. Eden nature. Haddock and romantic fine wind to carry pollen carded ~ I do not know I was close to death I 5555.


... and Yahoo BabelFish doesn't do Thai.


Response from the victim herself after I assumed she was having acupuncture or something silly like that:

It's a procedure of Skin test, not a treatment. They drop 13 allergen solutions on my both arms and then prick my arms with special needles. finally, leave them for 15 minutes. if there are skin rash and itch at any position, means I got allergy them. The result is cockroach and pollen.




In BKK for 10 days, will be that is, coming up from this Thursday. Could try aversion therapy, but E@L hasn't got much of a roach.


Well I'll Be Hanged

No, not for upsetting the Singapore authorities.

However, in 1881 a judge passed the following sentence on an apparently unpleasant criminal in New Mexico:

José Manuel Miguel Xavier Gonzales, in a few short weeks it will be spring. The snows of winter will flee away, the ice will vanish, and the air will become soft and balmy. In short, José Manuel Miguel Xavier Gonzales, the annual miracle of the years will awaken and come to pass, but you won’t be here.

The rivulet will run its purring course to the sea, the timid desert flowers will put forth their tender shoots, the glorious valleys of this imperial domain will blossom as the rose. Still, you won’t be here to see.

From every tree top some wild woods songster will carol his mating song, butterflies will sport in the sunshine, the busy bee will hum happy as it pursues its accustomed vocation, the gentle breeze will tease the tassels of the wild grasses, and all nature, José Manuel Miguel Xavier Gonzales, will be glad but you. You won’t be here to enjoy it because I command the sheriff or some other officer of the country to lead you out to some remote spot, swing you by the neck from a nodding bough of some sturdy oak, and let you hang until you are dead.

And then, José Manuel Miguel Xavier Gonzales, I further command that such officer or officers retire quickly from your dangling corpse, that vultures may descend from the heavens upon your filthy body until nothing shall remain but bare, bleached bones of a cold-blooded, copper-colored, blood-thirsty, throat-cutting, chili-eating, sheep-herding, murdering son of a bitch.



Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Bloggers, Blogging, Blogged, Buggered

I tend to forget that I am in Singapore sometimes. Yes, ambiguity intended. Sometimes I am in Singapore, and sometimes I forget this.

And so I don't keep up with many Singaporean blogs. Read zero. At least since Mr Brown moved on to pod-casting, still funny and controversial but not really blogging IMHO. Xenoboy and MollyMeek have essentially disappeared. Then, of course, SPG moved into my apartment (temporarily, for a few years) and I could see what was going on in her life without having to read about it or admire the pictures of it (always a five minute warning sent when I was coming back from the airport.) Mainey quit from Kinokinuya so there was no chance of getting discount books (met her sister last week). VirginPornstar moved to Sydney after losing her virgin status and shut her blog down. Valkyrie's spider's all passed on, so I only see her when she comes to our place for D&D games (a while ago now, when Izzy was still here. Lovely lady, nice tattoos.)

However the complete absence of the bloggers I know is not the only reason I haven't kept up with all local blogs that I know, There is one blogger I refuse to communicate with because of her criminally heartless treatment of one of my close friends. No names, no pack drill, as they say, and she is a lawyer so I'd probably get ripped a new arsehole if I linked to her after that comment.


I'm not sure that there are any Singapore expat blogs I SHOULD be following, but there is nothing I need to know about bringing up babies, about local food or pet dogs or fashion or living advice for those on their first tour of duty.

I made an observation at the first/only Singapore bloggers meeting back in whenever, 2005 or so, about this, and the status hasn't changed, at least for the people I know or should know. The taxi driver guy hasn't published since April last year. Mike is now only talking about his burgeoning writing career (and you really should investigate his work - brilliant). Indy is back blogging under his Platypus moniker, but only about gaming and blowed if I can remember the link.

As a result, my blog is linked to by very few Singaporean expat bloggers. Read none. And it features on few of the lists that come up when you Google 'Expat Bloggers Singapore'. Read none.

OK, I know I have a dedicated bunch of readers, a humble hi-5 guys and gals, but the list of followers is not expanding and my hits are practically non-existent compared to one or fifteen of the local blogs here.

Mind you my blog is pretty specialised. Specialised in a negative space way, excluded, preterite, I am the dark matter and background radiation hum of Singapore blogging that no-one sees unless they use sophisticated equipment to find it.

In fact my blog is damn useless: A list of complaints about toast and coffee with the occasional sex adventure of Bruce in Orchard Towers or Bangkok. Boring, right? Specialised topics, right?



These thoughts were stimulated by a Chinese colleague - female - who says, yes, she glances at my blog every now and then but reads XiaXue every day. Every day. XiaXue gets the same hits per day as I have accumulated over the past 4 years, thanks to people like my colleague. I wish I could call her a dumb bitch, but she's not. She does the same job as I do, so she's obviously a genius.

But why the fuck do 380,000 people a week got to XiaXue's blog? I'm not going to link to it because no matter what I say, if she finds out, she is bound to rip me a new arsehole. (I have met her once, briefly, seemed nice, completely ignored me.)

OK, new arsehole coming. It is completely beyond me what the pull is to her vacuous, narcissistic, rude and abusive tripe.

Completely. Beyond. Me.

As is popularity.


(Bit fretful of further damage to my arsehole it seems.)

Snow Days

Up for a piss at 4am, the demands of the fascist prostate are fearfully compelling, E@L negotiates the dim outline of the low table in his room (banged thrice already in four nights) and sneaks a glance out from behind the double blinds, through the double-glazed windows at the snow still falling, falling on the living and the dead tired, lit orange by the streetlights. Condensation has beaded the window with inside rain. (Dumb Q: 'Is it raining outside?' Smart-arse A:- 'Wll it sure ain't raining INside!')

Piss done, "Shit," he says, as he ponders on the politics of how to hide his pleasure at this closed-in weather from his buddies.

Back to bed and up again at 8am. It is snowing even more heavily. A grader is growling through the drifts on his road. It has been snowing continually for three days now. Around the trees, the snow has banked up perhaps four metres. The powder up top must be waist high, two of three feet since Tuesday.

E@L wonders if he should return to bed? The others will be at the lift soon, ready for the first uncut powder runs when the gondola starts at 8:30. It is -8deg at the nearby town of Kutchan, according to

Same temperature as last night when they went wandering from restaurant to restaurant, bit of food here, bit of alcohol there.

Bruce is stuffed up with a head-cold, sinuses completely blocked and he wants some Sudafed for legitimate purposes this time. They find a drug-store. The sales assistant produces a laminated A4 sheet with drawings of common symptoms and their names in a variety of languages. Bruce points at 'cough' and 'runny nose'. An old man, wizened (aren't all sources of wisdom?), bad-teeth grin - the pharmacist presumably - takes us to a shelf and indicates one box of pills. Fortunately it has the drugs it contains written in English. None of the others do. E@L manages to read ????-ephedrine HCL in tiny font-size, and tells Bruce to take the pharmacist's advice.

E@L's nose is also clogged but not so severely, maybe tyhe CPAP in the dry air. He pops a Sudafed just in case.

'No alcohollo,' says the pharmacist to E@L, obviously considering him the father figure to these 40 year old kids. He swipes at his chest-length pure-white goatee, shakes his head and says again, 'no alcohollo.'

Two hours later. Bruce: 'Suntory, make it a double!' He is almost asleep, pissed, in a bed-lounge bar, (BangBang?) lying closest the wall. Only the observation from a cigarette smoker who is returning from his nicotine hit on a upstairs balcony that a group of older guys are toking on some whacky-baccie on the balcony upstairs stirs him. In fact Bruce is up to his knees instantly, rolls over two people, crushes E@L's bad feet without noticing and therefore not apologising, pulls on his new Wellington boots and rushes to the stairs.

He comes back, sheepishly avoiding E@L's sore feet again. They had finished their joint already.


Free Podcast

Related Posts with Thumbnails