Thursday, January 27, 2011


I have a new blog now :) ......of a slightly different nature.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


I've stopped blogging, mainly because I felt I wasn’t leading a blog-worthy life any longer. Life in Egypt was totally blog worthy. I was seeing, doing, consuming a life I liked to write about, which I thought people would find mildly interesting enough to read because it wasn't a typical existence. Egypt was my muse, it inspired me.

Singapore, unfortunately, is not much of a muse. When is 'home', the country you grew up in, ever much of one? Nothing is new, nothing is breathtakingly fresh (although to be honest, the Singapore i left behind 8 years ago is loooong gone). And as much as I love love love my job, and as much ‘fun’ as I'm having here in Singapore, and whiling the hours and days away with whatever comes in my way, its all very … normal. I go to work. I look forward to the weekend. I see my friends, we plan fun things to do. I plan holidays and look forward to them......

And so it goes.

I only realised much later, this wasn't boredom. This is life....for most people.

And who would want to read about my very normal life? And why would I want to document it? I hate those blogs where the writer thinks I actually care about where she went clubbing, and how they’re upset with their boss. Like unless, he or she is in the Mauritanian desert working as a goat herder and doesn’t like how his boss makes him get too friendly with the mammals. Then, for sure, a little office politics becomes fascinating.

And up till now, I thought you know what, its ok. I have had my fair share of extraordinary, more than most people in the world ever get. Perhaps, at some point, we must all slow down, for the sake of doing the things we need to do (read: family, career) and its just okay to be normal for awhile.

It just doesn’t feel right though.

Sometimes I wonder what I'd be doing if I lived a life where I truly didn’t have to think of ANYBODY else other than myself…….I like to imagine myself freelancing in Jerusalem (in fact THAT offer from THAT guy still stands). But sometimes, other things, other people are more important than adventure. I’m not sure how long we can keep this free spirit locked in a box though.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

standing still

"About the harsher side of living a glamorous, globetrotting life of adventure. About what happens once you stand still for a few minutes. About the "Um, now what" moment, where the easiest answer is to just keep moving, to fill every waking hour to avoid the harder questions about identity and displacement. If I'm busy, I won't notice that I'm glossing over the tough issues. Nothing hurts if you hurry. Questions aren't answered, much less asked when there's no time to dwell or wallow."

-- Extract from

A book I definitely want to read when it's out.

Sunday, June 08, 2008


My friends call me a tube-light (you know, the fluorescent lights that take a few seconds to flicker on). I'm the girl who wakes up the following morning and finally gets the joke. I like to call it a delayed reaction.

This is all the more acute when I'm molested (yes, unfortunately it has occurred enough times in my life to describe it as a regular event). The shock kicks in and my physical and mental recoiling occurs a solid 60 seconds after I've gotten over what just happened.

That time we were walking through a crowded fair in Dhaka, Bangladesh (now that I think about it, why in God's name were we walking through said-crowd? That's the equivalent of walking into pervert-zone suicide.) Somebody grabbed my ass, and before I could register what had happened followed by turning around to confront the menace, he was loooong gone. In fact, I think I remember him scampering away watching me with a delighted grin. I shall refrain from swearing in a highly unlady-like manner on this blog. I have a job now.

That other time, (age 12?) some guy slapped my ass as I was entering a shopping mall. Now this one's a classic. I literally froze in shock — my sister, walking ahead of me, looked back to find me rooted on the spot. Soon as I pointed out the guy, she charged — literally charged towards the guy and grabbed him by the collar, "You touched my sister, you little son of a *****, you touched my sister!" Obviously the dude, very smooth, denied it. So then I was summoned — at this point, still, by the way, rooted to aforementioned 'spot'. I walked over, to the slowly forming crowd surrounding my sister and this shameless perpretator. I was horrified. I wasn't expecting such valiance on the part of my sis. "Tell him, go on, tell him he touched your ass," she urged me. And all I, ladies and gentlemen, could muster?

"Yes!" I fixed him with the steeliest look I could put up, followed by a VERY threatening finger wagging, much like a cross teacher afflicts on a tardy student.

Can't remember much of what happened next, but I vaguely recall a lot of anti-climax and collar-releasing.....

Then recently, in Cairo, Megan got pawed and before I had registered what had happened, she was half a mile away, chasing after the guy. That had me in awe. I couldn't stop going on about Megan's successfully catching her molestor and kah-POWING him with sweet revenge. SCORE for the hundreds of girls molested on Cairo's streets and trains. The little bastard would think twice before he ever touched another petite blond foreign chick.

Why am I telling you all this now? Why? Because today I was once again given the privilege of getting 'tapped' on the ass on the bus home. The bus was full — it was a Sunday and all the construction workers were going home from their weekend partying at Serangoon apparently. I thought twice before getting on the bus, but did so anyway, figuring we could squeeze past the 600 men crowding the door. And whaddya know! As I'm squeezing past them, rather than them moving away and giving me space to get past, I feel a tap on my ass, amidst illegible foreign gabbeldy-gook and much laughter. Vimal later said she could smell the beer emanating from their pores.

I don't know what did it. Maybe it was because I had just watched Sex & The City — The Movie and felt renewed I'm-50-and-I-don't-need-a-boyfriend empowerment? Who knows. But the formerly-finger-wagger-Nancy swiftly turned around and threw a tight slap on his face. The drastic change on his face — from that gleeful leer, laughing along with his friends to that of shock, mouth wide open, eyes startled — was satisfaction enough. I didn't wait to give him an earful or cause more of a scene.

But the whole thing has left a unpleasant taste in my mouth. I still cringe thinking of the contact my hand made with his slightly damp, open mouthed, moustached face. The first thing I did upon getting home was scrub my hand with soap. Mixed in with the disgust, was my elitist guilt. Did I slap the right guy? I honestly don't know. When I turned around he was the closest face laughing at me. Was it an innocent tap on the ass? Could I have misread innocent movement around a crowded bus entrance just because my paranoia and senses were at a peak because of the clear bias and prejudice I hold against these workers? Had I just betrayed people, who quite possibly could have been from my country, Bangladesh? People who come to work and earn hard earned money, most of which is sent back home month after month to feed a family they don't even get to see at the end of the work day?

It didn't feel like I'd scored any points today.

But hey, I suppose the tube-light situation is improving.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

(Only my dad.......

"There! See? Cheshire Road is written in Bengali!" Driving down Bricklane in London, my dad was (a little too enthusiastically) trying to point out the Bengali nature of this infamous street to my little sister, Sam.

"And then here....Bacon Street! B-A-K-O-N. " We silently contemplated the irony of this one.

After the first 2-3 signs, I think most of us in the car tuned my dad out.....until he excitedly yelped:

"Now look HERE! Hot Bengali's ALL NIGHT!"

That definitely didn't sound right. Four heads immediately swiveled around to look at what he was pointing at:

"Hot Bagels — All Night"

Continuation from post title:
................manages to turn a 24-hour Jewish eaterie into a disturbing South Asian porn joint)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I've only been burgled once in my life. It was in my second year of uni, living with my sister in an apartment building in Russell Square. I was sleeping over at Amrita's house that night, when I got a call in the morning. It was my sister.

"Girlay, I have some bad news. Don't freak out."


"We got burgled last night, and your laptop's gone."

Ok. Not that bad. Laptops get stolen all the time. I would recover. I would be just fine.

I hurried back home anyway. We sat down and called the police, as I inspected the damage. It seemed the burglar had crawled in through my window. We lived on the ground floor.

Then it occurred to me that he had stolen my second mobile that I had left in the room before going out. Oh bother. Now I'd have to go through the hassle of calling the phone company and disconnecting the line.

Then I realised he had taken my little purse where I kept my credit cards. Double damn. Call HSBC, cancel cards, report them stolen.

It was all really more a pain in the arse. No scars emotionally, nope. I was a tough one.

Then, I realised he had taken my little handbag in which I kept all my makeup. My makeup! Why did he have to go do that? What meanie takes a girl's makeup (even though I admit housing it in a handbag didn't make it any less tempting for a thief under pressure)?

I believe that was when the line got crossed. I exploded in a flood of traumatized tears, rang my mother up who happened to be in Australia visiting my aunt, and had to speak to my aunt first before she passed on the phone to mum, alarmed.

The things that set us off. Crying for a bit of makeup. Sigh.

Friday, March 14, 2008

guantanamo garden

We did a report about a new product by Lush today, an all-natural soap and beauty products company. They are running a campaign, together with Reprieve to highlight the illegal detainment of Guantanamo Bay prisoners.

Lush does all these gorgeous soaps, bath products, face masks, shampoos made from completely natural products – you can smell this store from half a mile away.

The product we were focusing on was a Bath Ballistic –those balls you drop into the bathtub that start fizzing about madly while releasing gorgeous scents and oils into the water. This one was called Guantanamo Garden, named after a small garden detainees grew using plastic spoons and seeds from their pathetic excuses for meals at the center.

Release the ball which has a picture of a sugar dove engraved on the top, into your bath, and it turns the water bright orange (the colour of the prison uniforms) and at the very end a little picture of one of the detainees is revealed.

More pics from this lovely store....

Jelly like shower gel. It's so fun to tap the jelly slab lightly with a finger and watch it shake and giggle like your cute fat baby cousin.
More ball ballistics...for your bathtub

Our camera set up in the store