Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Mouse v Super-Joyce

E@L went shopping for a specific type. Soft-soled, forgiving. He needed to minimizes this incongruous tenderness and this chronic pain.

A leather upper and an air-cushioned sole, for example, and Reebok made the ones he had found successful and that enabled him to wear them at work including the long days standing watching customers walk past to the GE booth at conferences, and not look like a software programmer, someone who's come to fix the air-con, or a jogger(!) in mufti.


(Just to remind all you faithful readers and inform all the web-robots who come looking for backdoors to spam this site, E@L has peripheral neuropathy, idiopathic, affecting both feet, and manifest in two distinct ways. The balls of feet have been aching for seven, maybe eight, maybe nine years non-stop. Non-stop. At the desk, in a taxi, in bed, in the morning. Non-fucking stop. Speaking of joggers, the feet feel like E@L has been running marathons in Florsheims. Then there are the electric shooting pains and hypersensitivity that affects mainly several toes. Gout sufferers, feel free to empathize at this point. This latter symptom is well controlled (well less and less lately) by several thousands dollars of assorted drugs, mainly anti-epileptic and minor attitude adjustment products. Hence the slightly more temperate position E@L has had in regards to his frustrations at the various perfidious experiences of culture shock he now takes on the chin in his extended tour of the Asian cultures. The pain in the balls (as it were) remain a problem and only super-supportive shoes help.)


The particular shoes in his size were not available in Tampines Mall. Well, duh. Westerner sized feet? Not up here in the heartlands. The shop assistant rang through and found a pair of size 45 at Parkway Parade shopping centre.

"Where is that?" asks E@L who has extremely limited knowledge of the wonders of the East Coast of Singapore (another part of the heartlands?).

"Um..." she replied. "It's, um, at the end of Parkway."

"And where is that exactly."

"It's hard to describe." If you are an idiot. Note that E@L did not scream at this point but merely thought of screaming, and instead he smiled and gave his name and contact for the Parkway shop people.

Thank Christ and/or Google for Google Maps, but hang on, IKYN, when E@L opens the app, his screen zapped out and flew across the pacific to centred in on some drug and criminal infested barrio in Mexico City. WTF? Shakes heads, types in Parkway Parade and the app swings back across the vast waters to Singapore. What was that all about?

Parkway Parade, of course the taxi-driver knew it well - it wasn't E@L's home address which no-one has ever heard of. Shoes were purchased. One task. Done. Oops there are secondary tasks: buy some fresh squid and prawns for the curry tonight. This Chilled Repository had no fish deli, so he turned around and headed for the taxi-stand.

A women came up the escalator and walked towards him. A short Filipina, round-faced, glasses. Intelligent, focussed expression on her face. E@L was startled. This lady looked the image of The Mouse. It wasn't her, but she had such a close resemblance that E@L could not help but wish it was her.

Last year, The Mouse had telephoned and cryptically asked if E@L would be prepared to hire her again should she come back to Singapore. The Mouse never called back. Three months later, around Christmas, E@L txt'd her and called but the automatic exchange said something in Tagalog (or Spanish, who can tell?) and disconnected. He wondered what was going on, hoped nothing bad had happened. Who knows, storms, floods, fighting; it's a crazy land. He had really no way of finding out if she was alright, save a full search-and-rescue operation, hacking through dense tropical jungles ("It's using the trees!") of the northern parts of Luzon. Or catching a 12 hour bus from Manila. [Mmm, bucket list: find The Mouse?]

But as he walked on, he wondered if the reason for her lack of contact was that she had come to Singapore after all, or maybe that she had gone back to Hong Kong, and was now employed by someone else. She would now have a local number.

Working for someone else!

E@L's heart dropped, he felt faint, his eyes almost misted. Perhaps she had found another employer, maybe a better, kinder, more generous, more understanding and supportive one than E@L. One with more books. The thought of her being here (or there) without calling to say hello and to explain hollowed him out. He felt cheated, betrayed. These are not just words, not abstract forms, these tell of physical things, measurable things, you all know this. When E@L says his stomach churned, his stomach really DID churn. When he says he felt sick, he really FELT sick, acidic and bilious. He felt pale, clammy. His pulse raced.

Snap. It was an instant.

Hey, he wanted to have The Mouse. He wanted her to be his. To be his friend again and to be his employee again. He didn't want her to have said she would come back to him and then to go with someone else, but maybe she had! But that would mean she had lied to him. Did he love her? He certainly held the most positive and caring attitude towards her. He wanted always her to be happy, he wanted himself to be happy even more, though when the trouble had come and she was forced to return, he let her needs rise above his selfishness. Of course he did, he is a nice guy. Dumb fucker. No, he didn't love her although he wants her, and not just as a maid either, but also as a friend. Was she treating him unfairly, was she being unfaithful? Was she not that good after all?

This was, da duh!, how he had felt the other week-end when Odette had stayed in the taxi and went on with her girlfriend (presumably for steamy sex). Jealous. Cheated, betrayed. LOSS OF OWNERSHIP.

[And yet with his post-modern, self-observant cynical eye, he was amused as he became even further self-informed: he is capable of being an idiot for not only love, like you, like everyone else, but also for a good employee.]

Love and ownership. Proposing, marrying, kidnapping, stalking, raping, pining, committing suicide, murdering, eloping (doing the Romeo and Juliet thing), the Dr Zhivago thing (leaving the missus for a gorgeous tart), pistols at dawn, writing poems, novels, radio dramas,screenplays and operas, attacking rivals in a pub, pillaging the neighbouring tribes for that woman you spied washing clothes by the river bank, starting a war against Troy (the piece of arse that launched a thousand ships), these are things you will to assuage this emptiness.

You know the shape that will fill the hole, and the vacuum is stronger than anything, ever. It's completely irrational. It's lower brain, it's primaeval, it's lust, it's jealousy, it's WANTING. They castrate you because you won't stop, you climb the tower to get to her, you fight the dragon, you...

E@L stands aside from his emotions and think'd: What is really happening is that you want one of your sperm to impregnate her before that from the rivals (real, imaginary, hypothetical) do. Ah, now we are getting to the point... Your selfish genes control you after all. They don't care about the pain, the hurt, the nausea; they just replicate and seek promulgation. That's what they do. It is their purpose and all else is merely the trappings. You are the support system for your sperm, for your eggs. Art, music, poetry. Pffft. Chromosomes rule your life, they are your essence.

This is where the urge comes from, the feeling that makes the world go around, spins it faster and faster... You want that person, you have no idea why or more correctly you have no idea why you want that person so desperately, why all of a sudden you've decided they're yours and you have to have them... It is the forgotten meaning of what being alive entails. We are the too smart apes ruled by dumb genes.


Yes, the snapping sensation, that eureka moment, that epiphany, that hit when he thought of The Mouse, was uncannily like the moment of realization that struck him when Odette went from becoming Izzy's sister and E@L's fun-loving, cute, tiny, way-young travel companion to - SNAP - someone else, someone he desperately wanted to screw (but knew he never would/could).

It was in the same epigastric sensation, the same emotion [E@L's repertoire of emotions is frighteningly narrow-bandwidth, like his cricket batting strokes; a no-step straight drive to mid-wicket, backward defense snicked pulled shot to third man, forward defense snick to second slip] but he reached there along a different path, from a different need. Did his genetic core get it wrong this time?

Friends have advised him, slightly less than jokingly, that he should just marry The Mouse, shut up and get it over with: have a perfect wife, a clean house, good food, a quiet voice, someone to talk about books with, no sex. Should he have done that? Should he still consider that trek to the Bay of Islands. Seriously he could not imagine having a better person as a significant other... But her phone number is lost. That was not her on the escalator.

But, no E@L never fancied The Mouse in sexual way... This was no sexual snap at all, it was an emotional snap, one of a lost friend, but also of lost possession, one of ownership.

He wonders at yet another opportunity lost. Is this his density?


Super-Joyce asked if E@L wanted her to help him with dinner? She was ironing in the spare bedroom and had heard E@L chopping up herbs for the curry paste.

"Sure, can you shell the prawns if you like."

Silently (unusual for Super-Joyce) she pulled off the shell, cut out the 'vein' and placed the prawns in a bowl. Then she picked up the squid and put it down again. E@L opened a tin of fenugreek powder for the curry paste. A small moth flew out. A web of fenugreek coloured silken strands formed a nice moth nest inside the mouth of the tin. This must be where last month's Infernal Tiny Moth Plague was sourced. It mainly affected the spare bedroom interestingly, not the kitchen.

"Oh," Super-Joyce jumped back at the tiny moth's sudden appearance.

"I'll do the squid if you like," E@L said and she laughed with some relief.

"Thank you, Mr Pilip. I don't like the smell on my hands when I am folding clothes."

"No, that's a good idea." E@L pulled the head, guts and plastic spine from the top of the small squid. He had two to prepare.

Super-Joyce was still in the kitchen, she hadn't gone back to the ironing. "Mr Pilip, I find this on the floor." She pulled out the rubbish bin [a plastic shopping bag in a bucket], moved some of the prawns shells aside and showed me a curled up black thing slightly bigger than a thumb-nail, eight legs in a clonic spasm. A dead spider. "Is poisonous, I find here, [pointing at a corner near the stove] and spray it. Now it's dead." Obviously.

"Many animals here in your kitchen Mr Pilip," Are moths and spiders animals? Arachnids. Moths are insects, right?

"You need someone to look after you more, Mr Philip." Pause. "Mr Pillip, can you help me?"

E@L looked up from pouring great quantities of coriander powder into the curry mix to make up for the lost fenugreek. "What is it, Joyce?"

"Mr Pillip," her voice was now more serious than E@L have ever heard it, strained, louder, insistent, "my employer has going back to working in Jakarta. He cannot sponsor me any longer. Can you sign for me, can you be my employer?"

E@L smiled lightly. "Well I guess I can..." Then he thought of The Mouse, and his essentially forlorn hope of finding her again. "The thing is, I promised I'd sponsor my old maid if she wanted to come back." That was nearly a year ago, who was he kidding?

"You have another maid coming?" she asked.

"Oh no, no. It's just that she called last year and asked me to... she wanted me to... Oh, that was so long ago. She's obviously not coming. Look Joyce, it shouldn't be a problem but let me think about it. I'll think about it..."

E@L picked up the bowl of prawns to mix with the now sliced calamari. Super-Joyce hadn't removed the inner heads of two of the prawns.



In unrelated news: the lady whose signs E@L had missed way back when and he never called back, has been unwell. Some surgery, some therapy and she is fine now but not yet back at work. E@L sent her a good will txt and they had a few vaguely positive (yet negative, now she can't drink any more and so is unable to come to the distributor's Sake Party at his place this week) exchanges... Who knows what will come next...

Further news associated to this illness: the lady who had been sitting at the same desk previously had developed a similar problem, but unfortunately with a sadder outcome. No-one wants to sit at that desk. It has bad luck. Ghosts. It is the 'cancer desk'. IKYN.


Friday, August 26, 2011


E@L is in a taxi and the driver goes the wrong way (i.e. the long way) and is an ancient man with serious twitching issues (sigh - E@L attracts taxi drivers with Tourettes the way Bruce attracts desperate hookers) and, as he assumes all expats require refrigeration, has the air-con set to cryonics. He seems nervous and when E@L mumbles something about turning right and not left he looks back at E@L briefly in the mirror with a expression close to fear in his copper-cornea eyes and the twitches accelerate, though the taxi does not. He seems an overly cautious driver, perhaps because of poor vision and liver disease, perhaps because he wants to give snails a chance to get out of the way.

Taxi-uncle is slowly building up speed as they approach an intersection where he has to turn right (to correct his navigational error) and as the lane breaks off from the forward lane and starts to expand into two where the median strip narrows, he drives in the invisible fourth lane (so common in Asia, but also seen in Italy and France) between all the others.

E@L says, "Uncle..."

"WHAT!?" he screams in a panic and slams on the brakes; E@L is tossed forward, well he is forced to lean a little bit forward as the car screeches to a halt and blocks both of the right turn lanes and half the forward lane...

They are lucky there are no speeding cars, heavily loaded trucks, cement mixers, emergency or military (some army place full of ancient Jeeps nearby) vehicles coming up behind them (they have all overtaken the taxi already) or E@L would not be typing this.

No-one, in fact, would be typing this: if a post-mortem hacker tried to break into one of the four (including tab) computers they'd fail as E@L's password is unbreakable. No, not "unbreakable" but, you know,like difficult to crack. No, not "difficulttocrack" but ... Oh, you get the point. No, "yougethepoint" is also NOT E@L's password.

OK admission, it is "password", the No2 most common password in the world of cybersecurity (E@L is always second best, where is the justice in that?) and the encrytped sub-directory with all the good porn is called "allthegoodporn, and the password is "unbreakable".

[In Unrelated News: Winning joke at the Headinbra comedy festival: "The computer asked for an eight character password, so I chose Snow White and The Seven Dwarves." Boom boom!]

"Um," says E@L, completely amazed by the taxi-uncle's slight overreaction, but he continues, "uncle, could you please turn the air-con down..."

Taxi-uncle nods a few times quickly and mumbles something in an apologetic tone The taxi starts to move again, slowly enough for him to turn the fan down a notch way before they reach the intersection.

E@L slowly shakes head, puts his thumb and forefinger to the bridge of nose, sighs, etc...



Monday, August 22, 2011


The bright lights and big... um, bright lights of Soi Cowboy wash over Bruce now, like some much water off so much duck. Bangkok, OMG not again. Way skinny girls wearing not enough (if anything at all) given the settings of the air-con. They have to cuddle their bronzed bodies, so unforgivingly hard and unforgivably toned, they have push themselves right up against Bruce to borrow some of his body's substantial calorific storage.

Ah, dear. The breasts on these girls are so small and sitting up way too high, their nipples too prominent and stiff. And what the hell is wrong with that girl's KNEES? So knobbly, eh?

Jaded. Sigh. Shrug. Meh.

So hard to be impressed these days, so hard to be moved, so hard to be bothered. Same same, only more-so. Really, shouldn't there be more than just ... this?

Bruce is listening...? No?

Well, no-one has come up up with a good answer yet so Bruce will just have to shrug and bare bear it, and buy the not-quite naked girl sitting next to him (knee-high boots are clothes, right?) another 'tequila' before she "go dance now" and he'll pretend to watch the TV while she pretends that what she her and her two colleagues are doing on stage could, in anyone's vocabulary, be called 'dancing'.


Monday, August 15, 2011


E@L has been in two, three, any number of minds of late - and going out of his own. Should he do this, should he do that, what's to happen if, how can he help here, how can he limit the damage there... a lot of this is family, in fact most, but there are other issues as well, as you might have gathered from earlier posts, that are occupying large parts of his tiny mind.


[Pre-reading: Tolstoy, 'Anna Karenina' - at least the first paragraph. T.S Eliot, 'The Waste Land'. Marcel Proust, Swann's Way (Vol1 of 'In Search of Lost Time'). Richard Mason, 'The World Of Suzie Wong'. Richard Bernstein, 'The East, The West and Sex']


Hollow man, lost man.

E@L has been single and loving it for many years now. He has been in Asia over 13 years. It's usually terrific, you all know that. But swings and dips and high and lows and near-misses and bullets dodged and living alone and sharing apartments and never having even been *offered* a blow-job, let alone a pity-fuck, from our ex-SPG (E@L did get a massage, pajama type, no happy ending) in over three years... all of this demands some contemplation, some life-examination, every so often, as the cleaner's schedule in a public toilet needs a tick bi-hourly. And the question of whether or not the toilet has actually been cleaned corresponds nicely with whether E@L's soul-searching provides a good psychological service and cleans anything at all.


As you are aware, recently E@L had fallen somewhat into a lustful, nauseating monomania and watched himself develop a ridiculous attachment to someone who couldn't, literally, give a fuck (must be a family trait), and came to the point of turning himself into the sort of fool he so regularly lampoons. He'll call her Odette. Previously, he has been a bastion of common-sense, warning others and himself of what can happen when the blood flows south. He has tried to make his blog a vaccination centre against such feverish idiocy...



Ah, Odette, moans E@L, light of my life, fire of my loins, little brown fuck machine of my dreams.

The mystique of the Asian, the strange and foreign Orient, the exotic East (sorry, that's tautological - exotic means foreign and orient means East): The girls that the expat man finds are inevitably so cute, so sweet, so quiet, so acquiescent. And for these females, the expat is so rich and so clean (according to some survey or other E@L read about [in the Bernstein book] many Asian women said that they preferred foreign men because they had better hygiene than their countrymen!!!).

Sure, such selfish superficiality is a part of it, but it's also because the expat man in Asia is, well, in Asia. He is going to met many Asian girls, single ones, pretty one, some on the prowl (on the internet of course as well as the clubs and bars) and their ineluctable charm (specious though it may be - women remain women wherever they find us) will draw him in.

Is it the same for expat women? E@L hates to be controversial [cough, cough, hack, spit] but expat women tend, or have tended in the past, to be expats by default, arriving off the boat in their long frocks and holding hats and parasols, as partners in a relationship - wives, E@L means. The majority of expat women E@L has met in Asia are trailing on the steps of their husbands' career paths. Sure there are many single females who have come over as expats. Talented, determined and gorgeous they may be, but E@L does not apologize for considering them the minority.

And when the married man runs off with the LBFM of his dreams, he leaves the 50ft Zombie Divorcee with gin-blanked eyes, sun-leathered skin, mind emptied of all except the need for affirmation that can only be assuaged by fucking yet another opportunistic male (any race will do) who cares nothing for the encounter.

E@L doesn't want to go into to this Yellow Fever thing too much here, but he needs to provide a little explanation as to why the object of his affliction, oops, affection, is an Asian girl.


But is it because of E@L's long-term single-man, bachelor, man-alone lifestyle that there has been an arguably inevitable hollowing out of his emotion core, that those superficial, ephemeral and economic relationships seem to encourage, that the shell that remains can be so quickly and easily filled with such a stupid and futile set of obsessions?

It happened so suddenly, so unexpectedly - he has only known Odette slightly, but for years - that E@L wonders why it happened at all. Mere proximity? Merely seeing the evidence that she was bi-sexual and she liked to fuck?

And it was strange to see how it affected his perception of her. At first they were merely traveling companions and then becoming more friendly and closer, the girls and E@L telling jokes and secrets, laughing hysterically as they knocked off the last of the Maker's Mark. (That night of laughter was brilliant fun now E@L thinks back on it. It was that night, after they were tucked up in their separate beds in the lounge room, before his face disappeared into the mesh of his CPAP, that E@L told her, in confused circumlocutions, that he wanted to fuck her. She looked at him, said "Oh, that's nice," and turned her head away and went to sleep. He is still not certain that she understood at all what he had been mumbling so drunkenly.)

But then (no, it was well before the night of the laughter) over the days of sun-lounging and partying that suddenly Odette became to E@L, as did Proust's original Odette to M. Swann, someone to be both desired and loathed, a thing of love and of pain. She was someone else all of a sudden, or she was two people - the friendly niece to his nice-guy avuncular persona getting and giving buddy cuddles and platonic kisses, and then, somehow, a distant creature, untouchable, an unknown mind. Was she torturing him, teasing him on purpose, or was the knife churning in his guts all in his head? Did she know what she was doing to him, or did she think it was still as it was that night of drinking Makers Mark, that the situation hadn't somehow, mysteriously, morphed into a monster - a green-eyed giant of inexplicable possessiveness and crazy jealousy.

As he watches her attention flit elsewhere throughout a long night and morning (from OT to Clarke Quay, a curious inverse of the usual direction, but that is what happens when you run with females) from a Baron de Charlus or two here, to another girl or two there, he feels absent, he feels nauseous, he feels peripheral. Lust unrequited.

At least E@L is not married to the bitch.


- Dude, you don't know Brittany Spears!
- Yes I do!
- Well, she's never heard of you!
- Really? Well who's signature is that on the bottom of this restraining order?!


And it doesn't help as E@L watches as his friends, one by one, disappear into so called 'healthy' relationships. Not all are happy (at least they are unhappy in their own way), but in his social life recently, E@L has become a third or fifth wheel as these couples do weird couplish things like feed sushi to each other across tables while their dusty toes grope underneath same for sweaty, palpitating crotches. And then they go home and have sex. With each other, or so one gathers from the FB videos and photos.

It has been a long long long long long time but once again, a spark has shot off where a flint has cracked across his stony heart. E@L really has no expectation of anything except being ever more cock-teased interminably here, but at least this game won't damage him any further, won't burn him as have the flames from previous flinty times have done (we are talking decades of non-healing wounds here) as he doesn't take it seriously enough. He has retained a modicum of sense and reality, and the fire of this one-sided attachment to Odette has essentially expired.

But it is a symptom.

E@L wonders if he might start to fall in love much too easily, that the vacuum in his (for want of a less value-laden word) soul is sucking furiously. Unlike the girls in his life.


Ends with a whimper. Not a bang in sight.

The tick-box must be checked - is it cathartic to write about this or not?


(hat tip to Scott in HK for that brilliant photo - been hanging on to it for ages to get a suitable opportunity)

Mum Pt 3

My mum managed to avoid the Rehab stay and went straight home (to my sister's). Eating well, feeling bright. Doing well.

Oh, and all results from histology, etc... were clear. 100% cured.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mum Pt 2

For those of you worried - my mum has progressed amazingly well since I arrived in town. Must be my influence. They are even saying she might be able skip Rehab and go straight home. An abdominal operation for of those of you wondering.


Sunday, August 07, 2011


I'm in Australia at the moment in mixed mode: I was working in Adelaide last week and will be in Brisbane next week, but as a) some work in Canberra has been postponed and *more importantly* b) my mother had a moderately tough operation 10 days ago, I'm going to be at home for the moment.

Maybe she'll be transferred to a rehab centre tomorrow, maybe later, but doesn't look like she'll be discharged home all that soon. We'll get some more information tomorrow, and I'll be talking to the surgeon about the complete findings (nodes, etc...).

And if yes, then what? And if no, then what?

She does not look strong enough yet, and her appetite has not rebounded. She's 86.


The sight of my sister sitting by the bed filing mum's nails stopped me - a deja-vu of mum doing the exact thing to her mother when I was what? eleven, as grandma lay in her hospital bed in Colac.

Wispy hair suddenly seems much more gray, the parchment pale skin spotted and loose, her drawn face over newly prominent cheek-bones, her lips catching on dry teeth as she speaks (something cheeky no doubt), a warm cardigan over her shoulder, she strains across to hear, the touch of her warm hand...

The past. The present.

The future.


Probably even lighter blogging than usual for the moment.


Friday, August 05, 2011

More is Less

Fuck - this post still tells it better than E@L could tonight.

~ Delete revision "Bruce In Clarke Quay" #456 ~

E@L is just saying the same things over, different incidents, same story, just not as well.

Did *I* write that post? E@L asks. He is quite impressed actually, though as he is two bottle of Port Philip Estate Pinot Noir down, anything would sound good. Adelaide - great food, who woulda thunk?


"What, is he a lust-sick juvenile? Is he M. Swann, that tragic character, unprepared to accept such behaviour in principle but unable stop himself from loving the bisexual, flirtatious Odette in reality. Is he von Aschenbach on a Venice beach-chair dying a bit more each minute as young Tadzio bathes, tantalizing and untouched? Is he Humbert Humbert, never restful, still chasing even after having caught the not-as-innocent-as-he-fantasizes Lolita?"


"No matter how cynical the man, how adamantine the heart, how cool the blood, how experienced the player, how weary of the world and aware that up between the legs of each female is, as Charles Bukowski explains quite lucidly, just another cunt, and that deep in the dark hollows of that cynic's chest is a flicker of light, a dim glow under a bushell of scar tissue that is the possibility, impossibly, of something close to... something like... love. "



Is there really any need for more on this topic? E@L knows that the person who figures obliquely in it has read the previous post, she has been out partying with him and told him as much, and still she has managed not to have sex with him, despite a 5:30 am finish, so why should E@L persist, either in writing on this topic or thinking further on this person, why bother continuing along this disastrous and sad, oh oh oh oh lookatthefireworksMilly oh oh oh endintears oh oh so sad, route? Why?


Maybe the off-chance of a pity-fuck? A four-stroke relationship? But would this kill or merely enrage the demon?

Neither of us will ever know.



Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Tuesday, August 02, 2011


There are have several (if not more) posts in draft form here, and E@L can't decide which one to finish and post first.

Which would you like?

Both are funny, well, E@L thinks they are funny. Both are tragic, well, E@L thinks they are tragic. Bathetic (superficially deep) may be the term E@L is looking for.


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