Vaccinated with Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine!

First shot on March 11th; second shot on April 1st.

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Being Grateful

In February, both my wife and I celebrated our birthdays. (We were born in the same month.)

We were blessed with many gifts from friends and relatives.

Our daughter is married and lives not far away with her hubby and two kids.

Our two sons, 27 and 25, still live with us.

My wife, while keeping a full-time job as a dental surgeon, still ensures, on a daily basis, that our two adult sons have their lunches and dinners provided for them. This she does every single day, in addition to her job and her responsibility in making sure that the house is kept clean, laundry washed and ironed, etc.

Of course, being the filial sons that they are, each Christmas and every year on her birthday, my sons – like their sister – would lavish their mother with gifts. They are not necessarily expensive gifts, but I know my children spend time picking gifts to lift the spirits of their mother, whom they adore. (I too, get my share of gifts.)

My children are mature enough to know that physical gifts are not the only way to express their sentiments, indeed physical gifts are often inadequate, nevertheless they realize their symbolic value and significance. They are also cognizant of the fact that most people – their mum and dad included – are delighted to receive gifts that are tangible. Everyone can say “I love you” but to say those three words accompanied with a little gift that articulates that thought, that is truly priceless. Words without action is just mental masturbation.

Some people say giving is for the giver, that by bestowing gifts on others, you are boosting your own ego, or trying to send a message. (Think donors to political parties or gift hampers to your customers.) But I believe my kids give to their parents to show them their love and appreciation. I also believe that some people are naturally generous, have a giving heart and just love to share.

I have an ex-colleague who is also in her 60’s and is still working. Her husband is a semi-retired artist specializing in Chinese calligraphy, such as the specimen in the picture above. They too have two unmarried adult sons living with them – not an uncommon phenomenon here as you would have guess by now (they usually leave to set up their own nests once they get married) – and although the two boys never lack everything (they too stay rent-free, eat almost 100% of their meals at home and even have their Wi-Fi and mobile phone subscriptions paid for by their parents), both boys have never lifted a finger to help with the family in any way. (My friend even washes her sons’ toilet!) And even when the boys’ girlfriends join the family for meals, the girls will not even pretend to want to help wash the dishes after meals. Both boys have never given a Christmas or birthday gift to their parents though my friend and her hubby never failed to spoil them silly with expensive gifts on those occasions, year in and year out, in fact, since they were born. And to rub salt to the wound, both sons are rather rude to their parents and would snap at them. (I’ve witnessed that myself during my visits. “Rudeness is the weak person’s imitation of strength.” — Eric Hoffer.) Both boys chainsmoke smelly Indonesian clove cigarettes and drink beer from morning till night; the pandemic means they now work from home and they’ve turned the home into a pigsty which they leave to my friend and her hubby to clean.

I am sure, being human, my friend is hurt, though she tries to be stoic about it.

I told her I wouldn’t give my sons any birthday or Christmas gifts if they haven’t given me anything on my birthday or on Christmas and she said: “I won’t let their behavior determine my own behavior. I will continue to be a mother, a giver, a provider as long as I am alive and able. My love is unconditional. ”

I think she should slap the fuck out of those ingrates; yes, slap them back into oblivion. But in keeping with a recent vow I have made to myself, I try my utmost nowadays not to give unsolicited advice, so I held my tongue and kept my mouth shut. (Yes, in case you haven’t heard, my new mantra is, if you don’t ask for help, I’ll let you rot in your own pus.)

Ungrateful kids probably have no conscience. As parents, if we kill our expectations, we will suffer no disappointment. Then, there is no need to murder the kids or to wish that had we known, we would have throttled them to death at birth.

The Chinese have a saying “yin shui si yuan” – think of the source of water when drinking water. That’s what the calligraphy shown above says. (It’s in traditional Chinese, so please read from right to left.)

This saying should hang on the wall of every child’s bedroom.

If not, the Bible verse Ephesians 6:2 will do as well.

Also, it behooves us all to remember that parents still supporting children who are above 21 years of age is performing a sacrificial act of supererogation – providing commendably above and beyond what moral duty requires.

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Asians Attacked

Not every Asian can fight like Bruce Lee.

Since the advent of COVID-19, Asians have been attacked in Australia, Europe and the USA.

Cases in the US are especially appalling.

In January, an 84-year-old Asian man was walking in the Anza Vista neighborhood of San Francisco when a 19-year-old asswipe slammed into him, knocking him down and killing him.

In the same month, a 91-year-old man was shoved from behind by a scumbag while he was walking down a street in Okland’s Chinatown. He fell on his face, but survived. And in New York City, a 61-year-old Asian man’s face was slashed from ear to ear. An Asian woman was set on fire…

Earlier this month, an Asian American woman was spat on three times and called “Chinese virus” while out with her baby in Queens, New York.

Also this month a 75-year-old Asian man in California died from a traumatic brain injury and brain damage after being knocked to the sidewalk from a single punch by a robber who has a history of targeting older Asians. Plus, six Asian women were gunned down in Atlanta just last week, only to have a retarded sheriff’s captain downplaying the murder and explaining away the killer’s action by saying “he was really having a bad day.” When I have a bad day, I binge on chocolates but when this shitbag had a bad day, he went around shooting Asian women. (Well, he actually killed eight women in total, six of whom were Asian.)

Since March last year, nearly 4,000 hate crimes targetting Asian-Americans have occurred in all 50 states.

Based on 2018 data, the Census Bureau estimates that there are 22.6 million people of Asian descent living in the United States, representing 7% of the country’s total population, with the largest communities coming from China, India and the Philippines.

Trump’s calling COVID-19 the “China virus” and “kung flu” in addition to racism and the resentment and incomprehension of a small yet aggressive segment of the population refusing to accept that the US is changing have perhaps contributed to this. The fact that only 40% of Americans have passports and one in ten have never traveled out of their home states only make them more bigoted.

I’ve just been told that my hip pain is the result of degenerative wear and tear. The official diagnosis is “loss of joint space in both hip joints, with subchondral sclerotic changes, more apparent on the left than right, compatible with osteoarthritic changes.”

The excruciating pain causes me to hobble and I have to use a walking stick now.

Basically, my situation can be summed up in three words: “I am fucked.”

My American buddy Phil is planning a road trip across the United States this summer and he has invited me to join him, if not for the entire journey, at least for part of it. I’ve said “yes” to him because indeed, if international travel ever drops her pretty panties, I’ll hightail out of Singapore, though no amount of international living and traveling experience in the past can protect me from the anxiety of having a Chinese face in a country that has seen a surge in hate crimes against Asians.

There have been reports that the Singapore government plans to discuss the creation of a “digital vaccine passport” system that would enable a “travel bubble” between Singapore and other countries with low COVID-19 cases. But so far, it has been just talk. If those overpaid bum fodders in the government would just pull their collective pinheads out of their hemorrhoidally swollen rectums, we might actually see that happening before the Elon Musk Mars landing.

Anyway, if infection numbers go down significantly in the US, and enough people there are vaccinated, there’s a good chance that a “travel bubble” between the US and Singapore will become a reality. When that happens, I will definitely join Phil this summer. And I hope he carries a gun with him at all times, at least a S&W 500. And I also hope that stashed away in his car is something that packs even greater firepower.

If not, if one of those anti-Asian douche bags decide to attack me, I will be more than just fucked. I’ll be dead.

I just turned 64, I don’t want to die so young.

No sir, I don’t want to come back home in a box.

Meanwhile, I’m applauding this: Last week, a 75-year-old Asian grandma in San Francisco was punched in the eye by a white asshole, age 39. The plucky old lady picked up a stick and beat the shit out of the white guy, who ended up bleeding in the mouth and had to be wheeled away in a stretcher. Nearly US$900,000/- have been donated to this grandma for her medical treatment, but she has donated the entire amount back to support the minority community. Isn’t that amazing! Anyway, and unfortunately, even if I had the balls of that old lady, I would lose my balance if I try to fight back in a similar situation; so it’s absolutely essential that Phil must carry a gun.

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Two Cheers for Jael

In chapters four and five of the book of Judges, we read of the defeat of the Canaanites by Deborah and Barak.

Deborah’s courage and faith in persuading Barak, discerning the activity of God, and stirring others to accept their responsibilities were instrumental in the victory.

The book of Judges also introduces us to another great woman, by the name of Jael.

A bit of background: Jabin, King of Hazor, oppressed the Israelites for twenty years. His general was Sisera. He was eventually beaten by Barak.

Sisera, realizing he has lost, fled to the tent of Heber the Kenite (related to Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law) for sanctuary. (At that time, there was peace between Jabin king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite.)

Heber’s wife Jael brought Sisera into her tent with apparent hospitality and gave him milk. At Sisera’s request, Jael promised to hide Sisera and covered him with a rug; but after he fell asleep, she drove a tent peg through his temple with a mallet, her blow being so forceful that the peg pinned his head to the ground. The painting above shows Renaissance artist Lambert Lombard’s depiction of the account, though the book of Judges said that the killing actually took place in a tent.

I believe I am married to a great woman, a protective and caring wife, who will not hesitate to drive a tent peg – such as the one in the picture above – into the temple of my enemy. I am blessed. Praise the Lord!

However, some men are not so lucky.

Some men’s wives – the moment they open their mouths – destroy every shred of good deeds their husbands have spent years doing.

Some wives are more concerned about their egos: they retaliate at the remotest hint of being criticized; for example, they may give their husbands the silent treatment and they may sulk for days. Never mind if their husbands are not well and need care.

Some wives can never be wrong, believing that they come from families of know-it-alls, that everyone else is an idiot, that only they and their families are the smartest people on planet earth, that their families have the monopoly on wisdom.

Some wives are just alpha bitches and control freaks and their husbands can’t even fart without their permission.

Some wives are just plain toxic – Jezebels who are pathological liars, are cunning, manipulative and conniving and cannot be trusted at all. After a fiery altercation, because of their way with words, twisting and turning them, they can still come out smelling like roses, leaving their victims looking like bullies.

All these diabolical wives can never succeed in marriages; they drive their husbands to suicide, if not to an early grave via myocardial infarction or brain aneurism.

Proverbs 31 should be mandatory reading for all women.

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Please! Control Yourself!

There seems to be lots of sex crimes lately. Women being molested in the MRT, a father raping his teenage daughter, teachers groping students, masseuses asked to perform sex acts on their clients, perverts stealing women’s underwear and taking upskirt videos, a father sexually assaulting his four-year-old daughter, blah, blah, blah, ad nauseam.

It’s sickening! One doctor was even jailed for taking 3,260 upskirt videos! A British teacher based here – a real sicko – was convicted of molesting a three-year-old girl! One retard, when arrested, was found with 2,500 pieces of women’s underwear he has stolen!

The sex drive is a powerful force and if you are of a certain age, raging hormones add to the equation.

Blame it on testosterone?

In some men, testosterone levels remain high throughout life, but in most they begin to decline at about age 40. Unlike the precipitous drop in hormones that women experience at menopause, however, the decline in men is gradual, averaging just over 1% a year. This drop is imperceptible at first, but by age 70, the average man’s testosterone production is 30% below its peak. Still, testosterone levels remain within the normal range in at least 75% of older men, which is why many men can father children in their 80s and beyond.

And older men who worry about declining testosterone may be reassured by a study that found no link between low testosterone levels and the risk of erectile dysfunction, as well as by another that found no relationship between an older man’s testosterone level and his mortality rate.

Whatever the case may be, you shouldn’t wait till you are in your 70’s to deal with your horniness, because, right from day one, you as a man, are the owner of your own body and you can control and conquer your urges and master your impulses. You are not a feral animal or a wild beast.

The brain is the most powerful sex organ. Use it!

And it’s not all about hormones; it’s about having a moral compass, it’s about honoring and being protective of women (and girls), it’s about knowing what is right and what is immoral and wrong!

I am gratified to learn that the government has increased the punishment for sex crimes.

Franky, it’s about time!

Yesterday was International Women’s Day but everyday should be International Women’s Day! Men, it’s time you man up and really respect women.

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Under the Parks and Trees Act, felling of a tree larger than one meter in girth carries a penalty of up to S$50,000/- and any breaches under the Wildlife Act has the same hefty penalty plus a jail term of six months.

The public became aware recently that 4.5 hectares of forest were cleared by mistake. The fact was kept under wraps by officials initially. If someone didn’t raise the alarm, the public would never have known.

My amateurish research shows that as many as 2,500 trees can be planted in a hectare. So how many trees in that 4.5 hectares? You do your math and please don’t forget that logging also means the destruction of wildlife habitats.

Satellite images of the area have revealed that forest-clearing activity started as early as March last year.

JTC has the overall responsibility for the site; its spokesman said the mistake was discovered only last month.

Fantastic, right?

Minister for National Development Desmond Lee said while investigations are being carried out, everyone should refrain from speculating about what happened “until the facts are clearer.”

The most prominent local newspaper, long known as the government’s mouthpiece, did an article on the subject. While the tone was disguised as educational, many readers felt that it was designed to downplay the catastrophe.

In the meantime, Lee declared: “We will not hesitate to take the necessary actions should any party be responsible.”

Good, does that mean you will assume accountability, get fired and go to jail?

If you do, I’ll salute you, because you will be breaking new ground as the first minister of the PAP government to personally assume accountability for the fuckups of his ministry. (Not like that other minister, that much-loathed shortass, who seemed to have seized this fiasco as an opportunity to practice his oratory and to milk it for political capital, resulting in some people asking “Cui bono?”)

NOTE: JTC stands for Jolly Tree Cutters, er I mean, Jurong Town Corporation.

Fucktards falling asleep at the wheel.

Long story short, that was basically what happened.

Nuff said.

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Lovely Birthday Gift

Very blessed to be lavished with so many lovely gifts from family members and thoughtful friends.

A Castello from David stands out!

Read about Castello here, here and here.

Read about David here and here.

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Holy Cow! I’m 64 Now!

I turned 64 yesterday, and my mind immediately thought of a song by The Beatles that was popular in the late 60’s:

When I’m Sixty-Four

When I get older losing my hair
Many years from now
Will you still be sending me a Valentine
Birthday greetings, bottle of wine?
If I’d been out till quarter to three
Would you lock the door?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I’m sixty-four?

You’ll be older too
And if you say the word
I could stay with you

I could be handy, mending a fuse
When your lights have gone
You can knit a sweater by the fireside
Sunday mornings go for a ride
Doing the garden, digging the weeds
Who could ask for more?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I’m sixty-four?

Every summer we can rent a cottage in the Isle of Wight
If it’s not too dear
We shall scrimp and save
Grandchildren on your knee
Vera, Chuck and Dave

Send me a postcard, drop me a line
Stating point of view
Indicate precisely what you mean to say
Yours sincerely, wasting away
Give me your answer, fill in a form
Mine forevermore
Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I’m sixty-four?

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Please Stick to Stroking Pussies

Some MPs (Members of Parliament) are clearly retarded. Without gerrymandering and the harebrained GRC (Group Representation Constituency) concept, many of those retards will never get elected into Parliament.

And don’t get me started on NMPs (Nominated Members of Parliament)! The NMP scheme was cooked up by the government to give the impression that contrary views are being heard. This was politically useful during those days when there were no opposition members of Parliament. Every year, a new batch of NMPs will be put into Parliament. (Ordinary citizens can nominate themselves.) Every year when this happens, it is worth remembering the Dunning-Kruger Effect.

The Dunning-Kruger Effect is a cognitive bias in which people with low ability at a given task are prone to overestimate their ability at that task.

Put simply, humans are notoriously incapable of objective evaluation of their competency levels.

The cognitive bias was first identified by psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger in a 1999 study.

With politicians, intellectual humility is an aberration, not the norm. Many of their “solutions” then lead to the Cobra Effect, a term used to describe a situation where the solution to a given problem makes the problem worse.

I looked at the nine NMPs just sworn in last month and when I saw a couple of names, I shook my head. (I have worked with one before, and I know people who have had unpleasant experiences with a couple of others.)

I also shook my head when I heard an MP – a real MP, not an NMP – some time ago, asking for smoking near windows or in balconies of homes to be banned.

(Yes, many Singaporeans still harbor the spastic mentality that if they dislike something, the government should just ban it.)

Sure, the government must constantly be seen to have the interests of citizens at heart. A Government Parliamentary Committee’s call for a ban on residents smoking at windows or balconies of their homes – to lessen the effects of second-hand smoke on neighbors – is purportedly, a recent example. It shows that the government cares. Hallelujah! Pwaise the Lward!

However, decisions pertaining to health matters should and must be science-based.

Despite all its supposedly noble intentions, government officials have to support and substantiate the numbers they arrive at when establishing the harmfulness of second-hand smoke. MP Louis Ng, (shown stroking a pussy in the photo above) chairman of the GPC for Sustainability and the Environment, said 383 people in Singapore died due to second-hand smoke in 2016. “That is about one person dying every day. We must do something,” he said. Was he previously the headline writer of tabloids, I wonder? These numbers are said to be obtained from the WHO study Global Estimate of the Burden of Disease from Secondhand Smoke 2016.

I have looked and found difficulties locating the numbers cited. The understanding is that this study is based largely on estimates using data provided by the countries themselves. Why does Singapore appear not to have our own research showing the same numbers, since all the data used in the WHO study is supposedly provided by the Singapore authorities.

Data integrity is in question here.

It is also important to delve into the emotive, if not, practical reasons, why people smoke at windows or balconies.

They do so because they want the smoke to be blown outdoors. I don’t believe there are people who do so because they intend to deliberately blow smoke into their neighbors’ homes. This is also why people choose to barbeque at their balconies, not in their living rooms with all windows closed.

Banning smoking at windows and balconies to prevent smoke from drifting to neighboring houses forces smokers to smoke indoors with windows closed. This would result in family members suffering from increased exposure to indoor second-hand smoke.

(Research done on second-hand smoke exposure has always defined it as living at home with a smoker or smokers.)

Several official websites, including that of the American Center for Disease Control, states that long term exposure to second-hand smoke at home increases the risk of lung cancer by 20% to 30%. Common sense tells us that if this was remnant smoke that has travelled a distance from a neighbor’s home, the risk would probably drop to an insignificant level. (That is likely why no research has been done on the increased risk of exposure to second-hand smoke outdoors.)

Long-term exposure to second-hand smoke indoors would by far be more harmful than exposure to second-hand smoke outdoors or from smoke wandering in from a neighbor’s house.

In any case, Ng seems to be trying to smoke us as he embarked on a crusade to be an anti-tobacco Nazi, never mind infringing on the rights of people.

In Parliament, he said that while a ban on smoking at windows and in balconies might seem intrusive, there were already laws in place to police (italics/emphasis in bold mine) people’s behavior at home, such as Section 27A of the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act, where one cannot walk around nude, even in private while exposed to public view. He wrote “Being naked in your own home doesn’t kill your neighbor but second-hand smokes could.” Sensationalism at its best. Ng has missed his true calling. The National Enquirer and UK tabloids beckon!

Given the current technology, and the privacy laws of the country, it would be challenging to track down smokers who deliberately blow smoke into their neighbors’ homes without deploying rather draconian or intrusive methods. Does Ng prefer to live in a police state? Does he expect police SWAT teams and elite crack teams from our armed forces to break down doors and raid homes in surprise attacks? Also, ill intent must be proven in a court of law. And of course, such blitzkriegs and lightning raids and storming of people’s homes would affect the privacy of innocent neighbors and must be taken into consideration. Of course, Ng doesn’t seem to care about these things. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, right?

Smoking is already prohibited in more than 32,000 locations, including covered common areas right up to the doorstep of homes.

What more does Ng want?

Yes, whiffs of smoke emanating from a neighbor’s house are unpleasant, smelly and annoying indeed. But what’s unpleasant, smelly and annoying is no less unpleasant, smelly and annoying than fumes from motor vehicles, the widespread public burning of incense during the Chinese seventh or “ghost” month, or a neighbor cooking curry or frying pungent belachan, or loud music from a Malay wedding or creepy sounds of religious rituals performed at wakes and funerals. Banning the source of such unpleasantness is hardly a move that is science-based, nor does it foster the cultivation of a society that should be tolerant and understand the idea of “live and let live” which is the glue that has held Singapore together thus far.

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The Kiseru

A woodblock print believed to be from around 1785 and 1790.

Tobacco entered Japan in the Momoyama Period (1568-1600) through the Portuguese.

It was smoked using a bamboo pipe with a fine metal fitting on either end. It is called a “kiseru” which literally means “smoking tube.”

A typical kiseru.

The kiseru is traditionally used for smoking a tiny serving (about 25 mg) of kizami, a finely shredded tobacco resembling hair.

My friend Kyozaburo Tsuge smoking a kiseru.

It is said that the bowl is tiny because tobacco used to be an expensive luxury in Japan. Production of kizami ceased in 1979 but limited production restarted as there was still a market for the traditional tobacco. (In recent years, there is a renewed interest in smoking and collecting kiseru pipes.) Currently, kizami is being made by only one company in Japan. Interestingly enough, the other company making kizami is a Belgian one.

Because each kiseru is basically a rod with metal ends, extremely long kiseru could be carried as weapons, especially by the gangster-like Kabukimono samurai of the Edo period.

These pipes were known as Kenka Kiseru, meaning “fight pipes” and are parts of Shikomibuki or “hidden/trick weapons.”

On every first Sunday of September, since 1954, a Kiseru Festival is being held on Mount Kaba-san, in a place called Ishioka of the Ibaraki region. During this event, managed by the Kabayama Shrine, a large kiseru 2.5 meters long and weighing 60 kilograms is being carried from the worship hall on the mountain to the main Yamagami hall where Shinto rites are then performed.

Men hauling a huge kiseru.

The giant kiseru is filled with smoking kizami.

I hope to participate in this Festival one day. It’s on my bucket list!

And I will bring along my favorite kiseru, which is a very unique pipe made with some kind of peach kernel and a twisted bamboo stem. The mouthpiece is made of horn.

I have many kiseru pipes, but this is my favorite.

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