Annus Horribilis 2020: Superlatives

Between the COVID pandemic and the intense political climate (US elections, China versus US, China versus Australia, China saber-rattling in Taiwan, China trying to position itself as the most altruistic anti-COVID hero of the world, hoping against hope that everyone will forget the virus’ origin, China encroaching on other countries’ territories and claiming them as its own, China buying up Sri Lanka and Africa, China behaving like a world-class fuck-face diabolical dick, etc) many have experienced a very trying, bruising, agonizing and exhausting 2020 – physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

I looked back. If I say “took stock” it would be too serious a term, and not angry and curmudgeonly enough for this blog. This blog – especially this post – must be packed with incandescent rage and vim and vigor! I blog for catharsis. I want this post to be an exorcism of my repressed emotions. Leave now and forever bite your tongue if you can’t take this rant.

Best trip: It was my only trip anyway; 2020 being a shit year of the worst kind. It was in January when I flew to Berlin, Cologne and Munich. Helmut and Ernst traveled to Cologne to meet me. As always, had a great time with Joerg. (Joerg is all about what money can do. He has built, on his property, the best Japanese garden outside Japan.) But unlike other ultra-wealthy individuals who strut around thinking they are big shots, Joerg is also extremely generous, generous to a fault indeed.) After visiting with Joerg, Heinz traveled with me to Munich, where we fellowshipped with the two Bodos and the rest of the pipe enthusiasts there. January was also the last time I met with the late Heinz Schwarzkopf, whom the good and loving God snatched home in August, depriving the world of a great gentleman.

Greatest surprise: the over 500 emails I received in response to this blog. The majority are from people I do not know, yet they managed to reach me. (So much for anonymity.) All emails expressed support for my rage-infused, expletive-laden rants. “You put into words what I struggle to express” is a common theme of those emails. I’ve always been receiving feedback, but 2020 would hold the record for the most emails received in response to my posts.

Weirdest gift received: candies made with gelatin from donkey hide. But the stories perpetuated by shit-stirrers like PETA, Greenpeace and their ilk about donkeys being stolen – how do you steal a donkey? – and then bashed to death for their hide make me feel guilt-ridden about eating this Chinese medicinal candy.

Strangest deed: actually went to a dance studio to look at the premises and to enquire about their dance courses. Seriously contemplated signing up for lessons. Er, no, eventually I did not take up dancing when I realized that I struggle with even basic things like keeping my balance. Plus, how do you dance while wincing from back pain? Nope, not going to happen any time soon!

Best books read: The Mountains Sing by Nguyen Phan Que Mai, (I contacted the author and told her that parts of her book brought me to tears and she replied “I cried a lot writing it and I am thankful for your tears.”) Second Sister by Chan Ho-Kei, The Seed and the Sower by Laurens van der Post and The Girl in Room 105 by Chetan Bhagat. (I still voraciously consume Jonathan Kellerman, Michael Connelly, Faye Kellerman, Ian Hamilton, Linwood Barclay and John Grisham whenever their books come out. Pulp fiction, guilty pleasure.)

Worst book read: The Discomfort of the Evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld. Rijneveld identifies as both male and female, and insists that she be referred to as “they/them.” Among other nauseating crap, her book talks about how her father shafted soap into her anus, etc. This should give you an idea of what to expect. It would also give you an idea that the retards who made this Booker Prize winner for 2020 are even more deranged than her. If I have money, I will buy up every single copy of this crap out there and pulp the whole lot or burn them in a bonfire. Come on, crap is crap. It’s time people become more discerning.

Utterly bewildering books: The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa and Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk. Some literary agents and publishers ought to go to the gallows for plugging incomprehensible tomes. I have two earned PhDs and have authored and co-authored at least eight books myself, and I still can’t enjoy these two books. So, sure, go ahead and call me a retard. Knock yourself out.

Books that didn’t do shit for me: De-Escalate: How to Calm an ANGRY Person in 90 Seconds or Less by Douglas E Noll – guaranteed NOT to work if Chan Chun Sing, enraged over the fact that he is not going to be the next prime minister, comes charging towards me with a machete because it’ll take more than 90 seconds to dig the damn book out from my immense library. Next, Managing Chronic Pain by Siang-Yang Tan, PhD and Pain Free by Pete Egoscue, obviously written by retards with good intentions but who have never experienced real pain, chronic pain. These books, though relatively well written, will never pass the sniff test for anyone truly in pain. Their authors are as good as unmarried marriage counselors. Reminded me of retards who expect a demi-god in Rome (who walks around in a white dress) to admonish child-molesting priests. What’s worse than a wolf in sheep’s clothing? Answer: a wolf in shepherd’s clothing.

Best non-fiction book: A Promised Land by a pensive Barack Obama – lots of introspection and humility, no trumpet-blowing and chest-beating plus great writing to boot. Not an attempt at excuse-making or rewriting of history. Obama was a fly on the wall unto himself. Also, there is a genius to his use of garden-variety language. Write more, Mr Obama, I’m looking forward to volume two! (A Promised Land covers only the first two years of his presidency. Syria, red line and drone strikes will be in volume two.) One more: The Spy and the Traitor by Ben Macintyre, insightful peep into the murky world of Kim Philby’s Russian equivalent.

A book that didn’t need to see the light of day: When Cooking was a Crime by Sheere Ng. Illustrates how prisoners used funny stuff like pee pots to cook – and blankets as fuel – after lights out. Why? However, I must give Ng credit for creativity and balls though – her book was deliberately done in French fold to “hide” some of the contents, as the inmates did with the dishes they cooked.

A book I can’t wait to see: the memoirs of Orange Man, if it ever gets published. Would make a good standby when toilet papers run out.

Most boring movie watched: Seven Samurais, Japanese black and white Akira Kurosawa epic, three hours 27 minutes of pinching myself to stay awake. Critics may hail it as a masterpiece, gaining cult status, etc. I call it “large Japanese sleeping pill.” Well, at least one more item on my Bucket List got re-ticked.

Most anticlimactic movie watched: Das Boot, old German flick about a submarine; fucking long too (three hours 29 minutes); apparently the Japs and the Krauts are still collaborating to make people keel over. And trying to outdo each other in the cruelty department.

Crooks of the year: Terence and Nelson Loh; disgraced the “Loh” (“Luo” in Hanyu Pinyin) surname. One is on the run, accused by the other of stealing millions (what irony!) while the other is left to perform fellatio on himself. Both deserved to be caned, jailed and hanged upside down permanently. Their uncle, the late Luo Haochai, a senior Chinese Communist Party leader who had been vice chair of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, a top political advisory group, must be turning in his grave. (Luo, born in Singapore, was deported to China by the British in 1952 for being involved in the anti-colonial movement.)

Best medical moment: my ophthalmologist telling me my eyes have not deteriorated, that my next appointment won’t be till year-end of 2021. By the way, I don’t believe him. I now only read large-print books. (Gave up on the Kindle, as it sucks in quite a number of ways.)

Best medical news: no new ailment, unlike 2019 when I had to repair a retina tear, undergo surgery for hernia and got conned into going for a laminectomy (which didn’t work). No new ailment means excruciating back pain (with increasing intensity, I might add) continues to rile and rule me.

Memorable accident: slipped in the toilet and sprained my ankle. For a moment I thought the wife was trying to commit the perfect murder. This led to a frenzied replacement of bathmats that won’t slip when stepped on.

Significant “parent” moment: my elder son was officially engaged to a great girl he loves dearly. They are both Catholics and we can expect lots of grandkids after they get married later this year.

Most gratifying “grandpa” moment: solo piano recital (three songs) by my seven-year-old granddaughter. Had this proud grandpa grinning from molar to molar.

A sad moment: my dear mother-in-law asking me “How do I address you?” when I went to visit her and asking my wife “Who is this man?” Poor woman is a year older than my own father but while my dad is still as sharp as a tack, my mum-in-law suffers from dementia.

Watched a lot of: cowboy movies, all the spaghetti westerns with music by Ennio Morricone. Re-living a childhood love. These movies are definitely for lowbrows like me.

Most nauseous moment: when I found out that some absolute retards are now associate or even full professors, my puke meter shot sky high! What the blazes is going on here? Everyone is a professor now.

Most amazing: my 90-year-old dad acquiring and using a smartphone with aplomb; me teaching him how to use WhatsApp; then, him using WhatsApp – complete with emoticons – to admonish me for being rude to my wife. What?!

Grossest behavior seen: a woman using a chopstick as toothpick. Nutty as a fruitcake. Go see a dentist, cow! For all you know, she’s on the Peak Power List [of Retards], (lots of unsavory characters there) a list as useless as a condom on an eunuch, as irrelevant as the increasingly senile Tommy Koh in this day and age.

Bought a lot of: baseball caps, after books and movies on blu-rays, that is. Why baseball caps? Stopped shaving my head (too lazy to) so needed something to manage my glorious locks/crowning glory. Baseball caps in different colors – to match my shirts – and spouting different messages are perfect for the job. Favorite message: “Don’t be a Richard.” Will wear that next time that pundaa mavanea crawls from his shithole in Brickfields to snag another expensive free dinner off me.

Worst online merchant: Only You Gifts – took my money, never received the goods. No reply whatsoever to email. Scammers, please die!

Worst products bought online: Amazing Graze peanut butter, utter rubbish, nothing amazing. Some people are so brave as to believe that people will actually buy their shit. Next, Wanting Kimchi; not kimchi at all, (trust me, I know kimchi, I spent a year in Korea before) and no, I don’t want it no more. A warning to all: beware sellers who advertise on social media. Any retard with a low budget can go on Instagram to plug their crap and to ply their trade. Problem is suckers bite.

Bargain of the year: a 65” smart 4K UHD HDR Android TV for less than 900 bucks. The one that conked was smaller and set me back couple thousand bucks when I bought it some years back.

Worst customer service: Dimbulah Coffee staff at South Beach Tower. Not happy to work go and get fucked lah. Show a shit face to customers for what? Don’t you know that we pay your salary? Consider yourselves lucky you still have a job; you’re not just retards but spastics too.

Totally brainless customer service team: the team from Shopee. Prepare to vomit buckets of blood when dealing with them.

Non-existent customer service: Grab; they don’t care about your feedback. All indications are that they don’t even read feedback sent to them.

Worst customer care: Philips – they don’t stock spares of the products they sell. Even had to write to the CEO – some fat cow who obviously considered it beneath her dignity to respond. Never buy Philips again. Ever. Only after much pressure was persistently pressures applied did I get a call from some angmoh-sounding (Dutch?) guy. Took six months to get a replacement filter for my coffee machine. And they call it customer care. Care my ass! Okay, to be fair, they sent two free eventually as a peace offering, but it was too late, I’ve dumped the coffee machine to some garang guni man already.

Longest wait before one can get any attention: Canton Paradise at JEM – you stand in line but the spastics who work there pretend they don’t see you and when you finally get seated, the food takes an eternity to arrive. I’m boycotting it. All my friends are boycotting it. Hope the restaurant bites the dust. That’ll be paradise for all of us.

Unfortunate: my last conversation with Patrick Star – whom I’ve known for at least four decades – didn’t go well. In December 2018, he wanted to meet and asked me to suggest a restaurant which I did. He then disagreed with my choice. I counter proposed and he suddenly threw a temper tantrum and called me names. (He’s probably related to Trump.) Then on the last day of 2018, when I was in the middle of a client year-end dinner, he again pressed me to name an eatery which he “may” agree to. I told him I was in the middle of an important dinner and would get back to him later. He threw another angry tantrum and called me more names. Extremely irritated, I then told him to fuck off. He died about a year later due to cancer or some shit. No one cared to tell me. Yup, some friends I have indeed, one of the worst being the basket case of a scumbag, Sammo Hung. (He hides his house number from the postman. Sick, right?) Heard about Patrick’s demise from another friend, who lives in Chiang Rai.

Happy meeting: A re-union dinner I organized with my team members who worked with me for a year on the telco project in Korea decades ago.

Best new discovery: a private private secret secret lounge that will remain private private and secret secret. Pricey place; a bottle of Yamazaki 12-year-old sells for S$900/-. The place is priced high to keep out the riff-raff. I can only afford Coke Light here. And I don’t invite anyone there. No exceptions. Not for hoi polloi. And definitely not for burpers and farters who talk rot.

Timely reminder: free-loaders still proliferate, they know where the free whiskies, free cigars, free oysters, free pussies, free steaks, free whatever are. These shitbags flock there. I refuse to continue to be a sucker providing “cigar buffets” for the ungrateful, who, after benefitting from my largesse, then turned around and sleep with my nemeses.

Greatest pain-in-the-ass: Ariba. I did a couple of lectures, and the Uni uses Ariba to deal with “suppliers” when it comes to invoicing, billing and payment. Ariba is a platform that sucks. Period. Those retards behind Ariba ought to be machine-gunned or sent to the ovens in Dachau.

Most ridiculous: the authorities continue to build miles and miles of covered walkways because Singaporeans, all being so fragile, tend to melt in the sun, or faint from the heat, yeah, right! Some covered walkways lead to nowhere, literally. Example: the one at block 661A, Pasir-Ris Punggol. It was two years before anyone noticed the screw-up. And then the excuses and blame started.

Most time-wasting: Barney Rubble requested for a list of pipe tobacco suppliers and also asked for an inventory of pipe tobacco he could purchase from me to get a kickstart in his soon-to-be-launched pipe tobacco business. Tobacco in my cellar are strictly not for sale, they are for my own consumption but he almost went down on his knees and begged me to sell him some so that he could start his business without much delay. I spent hours on it, then he changed his mind. Decided to sell roasted peanuts instead. Losers and deadbeats like that should get a lobotomy, courtesy of yours truly, I’ll be happy to pay for it. If possible, I’ll perform the surgery myself.

Most audacious: that someone regrets falling out with me but thought perhaps I should make the first move to reconcile. Go fuck yourself already, meathead! Better still, pack your bags and fuck off.

Most thick-skinned: Invited a spastic for dinner and he suggested I invite a friend of his along, someone I haven’t met. What the fuck! You’ll be pleased to know that this time, I was wise enough to make sure that my dinner invitation to him was rescinded. He’ll never get another invitation from me again. Ever.

Sudden realization: that I had to pay to make this blog display “Connection is secure, blah, blah, blah” at the top left of your browser. What a rip-off!

Finally done: a first-aid kit and a tool kit, assembled with great care. Delegated the task to someone over a year ago but it was not done. Finally, yours truly had to do it himself. Story of my life. Years ago, I delegated the task of cataloging my library of books and movies and till today, I’m still waiting for the job to be done.

The hardest fall: World-famous Christian apologist, the super-articulate, hyper-eloquent Ravi Zacharias turned out to be another devious sex fiend whose entire life was a lie. Made me want to burn away the last copy of my Bible. The higher up they are, the most perverted and depraved they are. On hearing the torrid details, my first reaction was shock, then it quickly became “Why am I not surprised?” Asking to be masturbated because serving God was stressful? Come on!!! Burn in hell, frauds and parasites like you.

Worst bullshit: Ministry of Manpower bragging about job numbers like “There are more than 12,000 available roles in ICT…” Then, why is the unemployment number so high? Why are there so many Grab drivers? Why are there so many poor souls working in food delivery? These people like the freedom, they like the exercise, they like not having CPF?

MOM brags on a frequent basis, throwing big numbers but who are they kidding? Questions: what is MOM doing to make sure that employers are hiring? What is MOM doing to make sure that the unemployed are hireable?

One organization that must wake the fuck up: M1, four outages in a year. Twice in the month of December. Inexcusable for a telco. Heads must roll! Yeah, fat hope, I know. Cronyism is the name of the game among government-related organizations in Singapore where incestuous relationships flourish and assholes at the top are protected with Teflon coatings and bullet-proof vests. No head honcho is ever known to apologize and resign for his failings. We are not baying for blood. You don’t need to commit hara-kiri; just don’t hide in your ivory towers with not a pip squeak from you. Yet the powers-that-be preach about accountability and governance and sprinkle their speeches with all the right buzz words, basically spewing forth textbook phrases to placate doormats they think most Singaporeans are.

Stupidest move: someone who paid thousands of US dollars to unscrupulous labor agents so that she could move to Singapore from an impoverished Southeast Asian country to work and get out of the poverty trap but decided to return home after about a year because of “homesickness.”

Most dangerous move: taking your family for a cruise. Expert medical opinion – including from the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – unambiguously warns against settings such as embarking on cruises. Ventilation system in ships interconnect all cabins, despite claims to the contrary; it’s the same in hotels, where all rooms share the same air, which renders staycations another dangerous idea.

More pointedly, the CDC categorically stated that cruise ships pose a greater risk of Covid-19 transmission than other settings. Yeah, I know a lot of people have a lot of money but what’s wrong with chilling at home?

Worst cigar of the year: Trinidad Reyes, July 2020 production. Might as well snort soiled tampons. Should have been sold after being aged for at least another year. Never trust commies, Cuban or otherwise. S$450/- for a box of unsmokeable shit.

Surprise of the year: Newton Food Center. Packed to the gills, but it was on a “wintry” and breezy, cool December night when I went and I was nicely surprised at how pleasant the experience turned out to be, though what I ate was nothing spectacular, after all, it’s still a tourist trap.

Most premature: the inscription of Singapore’s hawker culture on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Why? The Public Hygiene Council of Singapore “comprising representatives from multiple sectors” whose raison d’état is to “work to strengthen and coordinate community efforts to improve the cleanliness and hygiene standards in Singapore” has clearly failed, and failed miserably.

Among the council members is the chairman of the Foochow Coffee Restaurant and Bar Merchants Association. I wonder what’s the condition of the toilet in his own home? It staggers the imagination. (FYI, the Foochows used to operate most of the coffee shops in the country. Didn’t do shit for the toilets though. Pun not intended.)

The Council’s failure plus horrendous consumer behavior is the reason why I think we are not ready for this UNESCO honor. Read this.

Let’s also not forget that the hawkers whose food many rave about are users of the toilets at these places too. They are probably the most frequent and largest group of users. Still want your bak chor mee, with added spice?

Worse meal of the year: click to read about it here.

Best meals: Wolfgang’s Steakhouse by Wolfgang Zwiener; similar to Peter Luger of New York. Zwiener worked at Peter Luger and knows the ropes. I visited several times this year (and last year) always excellent, always a winner. I like my beef the way it is done here – hearty steaks of US beef (US prime), not thin, oily, heavily-marbled Japanese wagyu slices. I eat like a man, not like a bird or a pondant. Eating pricey authentic Japanese A5 wagyu may win you bragging rights but to me, that’s not steak. So, please. Enough nonsense!

New discovery: Ho Kee Seafood, a mom-and-pop stall at Hong Lim Food Center, steamed squid a clear winner. Other dishes bleh. The mom is generous with her portions, the pop can never remember what you have ordered. The very reasonable prices make up for the exasperation.

Stopped going: Kyoaji at 111 Somerset. Seriously cannot make it, in my humble opinion. Local posers cooking Japanese food should seriously do a re-think and self-proclaimed Japan cognoscenti should know better. I have friends who think the world of this place but I beg to disagree. In stentorian tones, they promote this place aggressively but I don’t like the place and the food. Yeah, the chef is a nice fellow and all, not like crude and vulgar Ah Beng sushi chefs (think Gary Ng of Hakumai and Edwin Tan of Yoyogi), but seriously, this place falls short of any standard of Japanese cuisine. Tip: avoid Japanese restaurants where the Japanese avoid like the plague. Kyoaji is as overrated as that eatery at Robertson Quay touting itself as “Singapore’s only authentic Texas barbecue, boasting the only A N Bewley smoker in Asia.” But if you have a Lexus and your driver only knows how to ride a bicycle, what’s the use? Also, worth mentioning as a fail is an eatery at The Grandstand, a wannabe Peter Luger. The joker who started this eatery visited Peter Luger in 2015 and now he tries to do a Peter Luger here, even has a dish called “The PL – 800g Non-Aged.” Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery? But non-aged? The tragedy is that it is such a terribly poor imitation. The good news is that Peter Luger hasn’t sued yet. Come on, becoming a chef is not about watching YouTube and thinking you can be one.

Greatest pity: news received in late December, due to COVID-19’s fourth wave, a survey says about 70% of restaurants in Hong Kong face closure in the next quarter. I know a few of my favorite restaurants there have already closed.

Reconciliation: reconnected with the alcoholic-in-denial Kwan Tak Hin and hence, heralding the return of incredibly ridiculous and ludicrous tales. Example: A sticker on your shirt that creates an anti-COVID shield. Me thinks our friend probably watches too many Star Trek re-runs. Borg shields huh? I’ve known this comedian since he was in his 20’s and he’s now in his late 50’s. Same old bullshitter. His post-graduate degree from The University of Hyperbole with a major in Bovine Scatology has no expiration date, obviously.

Bane of my life: year after year, retards who can’t wait to pounce on me and accuse me of not doing things right – “you’re making coffee the wrong way” or “you’ve posted in the wrong chat group” or “if I were you, I would say this” and worse; these spastics should join the Gestapo. Why does everyone assume he is better at doing shit than others? Why does everyone relish in playing parent – parent-child transactional analysis ala Eric Berne, remember? – and acting like wiseasses? Fucking control freaks, that’s what they are. Read this.

Made my hair stand, again and again: heavily-botoxed wrinkled socialites/tai-tais, mothers of adult children, prancing around in tasteless, gaudy clothes, using Instagram and even LinkedIn to show off photos taken with celebrities. Puke-inducing. My nausea meter hits the roof whenever I see those pictures. Grow up, bitches, get a life! Those in Hong Kong are among the worse of the lot. Posing with a pink Rolls Royce? Oh my! Disgusting! Bet the Rolls Royce was made in Shenzhen.

No headspace for: B Chai and P Ng. Ingrates! Have vowed never to entertain these two. Ever. May they never ever need my shoulder to cry on.

Most uncomfortable, cringe-worthy moments: Not once, but throughout the year – people cursing at other drivers, as if they themselves are the best drivers in the world (I had to absorb all their angst while I was in their cars), people talking about Buddhism – Lama this and Rinpoche that, (hey, I’m a card-carrying Methodist, for Christ’s sake! Please REMEMBER!!!) people telling nobody who was interested what a nice movie they have watched the night before on Netflix or YouTube, (the movie is about Buddhism, of course, and please, the TV programs you watched the night before shouldn’t be your conversational topic the next day), people discussing their truffle purchases, about buying fancy watches and verbalizing their thoughts about renovating their houses, meeting interior designers, etc. Each time you sit down with these retards, the same shit comes up. All this incessant bragging all the time when I was struggling with decisions like which is the cheapest cup noodle to eat for my meals. Point: not that I have to subsist on cup noodles, but the zero conversational skills of some retards in my life.

New Year Resolution for 2021: not to make any and to continue – and if possible – to increase social distancing. The world is still a great place, but not all its’ inhabitants.

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