Another human face on the Israel-Palestine conflict

An Israeli Jew falls in love and marries a Palestinian Muslim: “I feel like a refugee. The moment I decided not to be part of the mainstream I was told that I was not a part of my country anymore.” — Star-crossed lovers quit West Bank

The Palestinian husband has not yet been given permission to leave and join his wife in Europe. This is rather sad. These people just want to live a normal life, but because they are from opposing sides, they are outcasts in both their communities.

Harry Potter’s all growed up

Daniel RadcliffeOh.

Wow.

Slurp.

I’ve seen the photo of him butt-naked (with the NSFW bits censored) somewhere else. But this photo is much more flattering.

Hubba hubba.

I don’t really have anything of value to say, I just wanted to save this picture so I can look at his torso at my leisure any time in the future.

Helloooooooooo, nurse!

I never said I was consistent

So. Barring my application or the response going astray in the post, I’ve signed up for a 6K charity run supporting St Andrew’s Hospice in Lanarkshire. I could set up a page soliciting further donations, but I think I’ll be getting one in hard copy, and there are a few causes I really want to support as well, so my online efforts are going toward Alzheimer’s Research Trust.


Donate and support my tortoiseness

I know, I know, six kilometres isn’t much (especially if you consider this). However! However! I have decided to attempt joining a short-distance (sub-10K) run every single calendar month from March*, and at the moment, I’m sorted till June. So that’s loads of low-level fundraising opportunities. And ongoing motivation to keep me training. Assuming my hip doesn’t give out on me — my knees haven’t given me problems (fingers crossed) since I started taking glucosamine supplements and wearing my braces.

* There is, However! A ten-kilometre run in May.

Oh boo bloody hoo

Inmates in Barlinnie prison are sometimes issued ill-fitting (and stained) underpants.

The overcrowded Glasgow jail is the only one in Scotland to ban prisoners from wearing their own clothing.

Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with inmates taking responsibility for their own underpants, unless there’s some sort of suicide or security risk attached to elastic and cotton / nylon. I was listening to BBC Radio Scotland this morning, and I agree that those who aren’t serious offenders (the ones who are jailed for failing to pay fines amounting to under £300) shouldn’t really be incarcerated. I say put them to work, at an hourly rate to pay off said fine. Nothing a little Corrective Work Order can’t fix.

You’ve gotta read the last line of the article:

Barlinnie governor Bill McKinlay said a working group had been set up to consider complaints over prison underwear.

AKA, how to waste yet more time in justifying one’s jobs. Or, is there a risk of riot over unsuitable pants? Are the prisoners in Barlinnie such big girls’ blouses that underpants are such a major concern? HA!

Surely going commando is the sign of epic hardness.

Don’t buy from pet stores — rescue an animal instead

I thought the practice only occurred in China, but ‘puppy farms’ in Ireland (North and Republic of) breed dogs in poor conditions, leading to sick puppies who may have to be put down soon after purchase. Apparently there is a rising demand for pedigree canines, which is leading to more people buying puppies from disreputable dealers.

There are so many unwanted animals; maybe it’s not as bad in Scotland as it is in Singapore, but the number of animals in shelters just about makes my heart break. I do not see a need to buy a bred animal from a pet store when you could adopt one from a shelter.

A run down on the holiday where I got loads done in only six days

Yes. It’s been pretty quiet round these parts, hasn’t it?

If I’ve been on holiday and haven’t bothered to update, it means I HAVE HAD A GREAT TIME.

Food

Prawn noodles from Adam Road Food Centre were ordered the night I arrived as the BBQ seafood stall wasn’t open. Mum had also bought loads of chwee kueh (steamed rice cakes with preserved turnip garnish) for breakfast, and myself and the cats enjoyed the ba kwa (barbecued pork slices) very much. My aunt was cool and cooked kiam chye ar (duck and salted vegetable soup) for the annual Reunion Dinner (also starring were fried Hokkien noodles, fish my aunt and uncle had caught off Bedok jetty the night before, rojak, and the inevitable raw fish salad).

Michel contemplates his good fortune

I got another of my food requests at my grandfather’s house during Chinese New Year — steamed pomfret, Teochew-style. There was something I didn’t ‘order’ as I’d completely forgotten about it, but the ba kueh (stubby rice noodle cakes) was fan-fucking-tastic.

Then, of course, there’s the food I like and Neil loves and I ate and took pictures to piss him off. Barbecue stingray with sambal, plus baby kai lan with garlic at Newton. We even got some fried rice to go with it.

stingray and kai lan

On my last day, we grabbed breakfast at Farrer Court hawker centre, Neil’s favourite place for roti prata. I got two plain pratas and the requisite vegetable curry.

prata with curry

I ate loads of other stuff, but these were the highlights.

Sights

On Chinese New Year’s Eve, I reverted to my childhood behaviour (i.e. going to my mother every five minutes with proclamations of extreme boredom) and persuaded my mum to take me to the River Hongbao, as nothing else was open. Chinese New Year is probably the only time you’ll see Chinese Singaporeans THROWING MONEY AT A TREE.

Money tree

I also finally watched I Not Stupid (not bad) and I Not Stupid 2 (bad). Mum had wanted to watch Just Follow Law, Jack Neo’s satire on the Singaporean civil service. It wasn’t a satire at all, it kinda sucked. It was like a weak channel 8 sitcom that’s been stretched to feature-length. The acting wasn’t bad, but the story was shite.

We did also see Miss Potter (and I could hear my aunt whispering to my mum regarding its historical accuracy — we checked Wikipedia afterward), a light and pleasing flick. And my aunt was not at all keen on Notes on a Scandal (although she used my grandfather as an excuse — not his type of film at all, apparently). ‘Twas good.

I managed to run so many errands, because being a grown-up means you get up early, go out and do stuff in the morning, inhale lunch, take a NAP in the arvo, then head out for a feast at dinnertime. Bussorah Street was visited TWICE, and I got most of my pressies there. Brian has already used the slingshot I bought him and I hereby apologise to his neighbours for his behaviour on Saturday night / Sunday morning, although I wasn’t there.

Finally, here’s a picture of Doug and Ruthven.

Doug Monkey and Ruthven

Ruthven’s a present for Baby G. If Doug had fingers, you would see that he’s doing the bunny ears thing behind Ruthven’s head.

Varieties R Us

It’s kind of a running joke with me and Neil — whenever anyone asks about the weather in Singapore, we repeat the forecast you hear practically every day:

“Cloudy, with showers in the late morning and early afternoon. Temperature will range between 25 and 32 degrees Celsius. Humidity will be 96 – 99%.”

(Well, he just says it never changes while I bore all with my delight at citing the weather forecast.)

Scots envy the constant warmth and complete lack of variation in the climate. We are one degree above the Equator, after all. The sun rises at about seven and sets at about seven. No Daylight Savings, no midnight sun.

Boring!

Scotland’s climate is so much more interesting (despite Shauna’s faithful reporting of dullness and dampness), especially if you go with the weather reports. Just look at the adjectives used!

  1. Feeling raw (RAWR! Okay, the RAWR is me)
  2. Gale force winds
  3. Sharp frost
  4. Freezing fog

And that’s just the few I remember from this winter. Singapore’s weather people don’t even bother, it’s hot and humid all year round.

On vacation

Afternoon nap

Because I booked my ticket before I got my visa, and my budget dictated I got a ticket that would rather crash the plane (haha, don’t arrest me in a dawn raid Home Office man) than let me change my flights.

So it’s short vacation time for me. I’M NOT BRINGING MY LAPTOP (how will I survive), but I will have access to one — it remains to be seen if I will write any posts while eating (top of the list, as always), sleeping, and seeing family and friends. And eating some more. And snacking on Chinese New Year junk food. And the ice cream my aunt always buys for Chinese New Year visitors. And the ba kwa (barbecued pork slices) Mum has ordered.

And cuddling and scaring the shit out of the cats! I miss the kitties. Not the kitties that piss and poop on the beds, the other ones.

I’ve said this before: knowing my luck, it’ll snow like mad and much childlike snow day activities will ensue while I’m away, and it’ll go back to rainy and dull when I get back. And I’ll get heatstroke back home.

I didn’t realise Scots were a different race from the English

Theatre votes no on Scots charge:

The move comes after SNP MSP Christine Grahame contacted the Commission for Racial Equality in Scotland who advised that the theatre could be in breach of the Race Relations Act if it went ahead with the proposal.

However Maurice Ward, a board director of the Maltings, denied allegations that the proposal had been in any way racist.

Har? Race Relations? Wouldn’t it be much easier to just offer discounted season tickets, irrespective of where you live? That is, if rewarding regular attendance is really the goal of differential ticket pricing.