Monday, May 16, 2011

Le Chat Noir - In Loving Memory of Tom

My name is Tom.

I never really knew which family breed of cats I came from, but that didn't really matter to me much as long as I was still popular with the lady felines. Le Chat Noir they would call me. Of course my family doesn't know this. They think I'm a house cat. Technically I am. But hey, le chat noir has to keep the ladies happy. In my younger days of course. So don't judge. See, I'm 21 years old now. That's maybe a century for a human. If there were a cat Guiness Book of World Records for the longest living cat, I would definitely qualify.

Right now, I'm in a really bright room. It smells of chemicals here. I can't move. More because of the pain in my body. I see Michel through the window. He looks nostalgic, and sad. I may be just a cat, but I kind of sense that this will be the last of my nine lives. I want to get up and reassure him like I always do. Tell him it's going to be okay. But I can't move. Damn this pain! Maybe this is for the better. Am I ready?

Lying here gives me time to think. I do that a lot now at my age. It doesn't hurt as much when I'm not moving about. All I can think about are memories of my life with my family.

When I was younger, I loved to climb about and explore. The house seemed like a treasure trove to me! There were corners, and little spaces behind doors, under the beds, between the covers - countless places I found that made a good hiding place. Ideal for a kitten like me back in my days. There was a huge balcony filled with fresh flowers, and birds would perch themselves on the balcony rail. Another one of my favourite places. I think I was born with a fascination for these creatures of the air. They walk funny, they talk funny, they even look funny. The fat ones are the easiest to chase. They're so clumsy it must be hard and tiring for them to carry that fat body around with those tiny flappers. Chasing them off the balcony rail has become somewhat of a hobby and pleasant pass time for me. I could do that all day and before you know it, it's lunch time!

Lunches are great! So are dinners. There's salmon, ham, and sometimes leftovers from the table when Julien comes for dinner. I don't know when, but it was probably during this period that I developed an indescribable liking for PIZZA. Ah, pizza, the small of bread, tomato, bacon, cheese, and the occasional egg. All these individual ingredients are great alone. But combine them together and I'm whisked into a world of wonderous ecstasy.

I like Julien. He's a nice kid. We grew up together in the same house and spent a lot of time together in our childhood. I like being around him. When he was sad about something, or angry, I'd go up to him and tell him it was going to be alright. No one usually comes round him when he's upset. He doesn't allow anyone around him, except me. I think he understands me. We have some sort of affinity with one another. Then one day, he went off and never came home for a long time. I thought I'd never see him again. Now I'm blind and deaf, but my nose never takes a holiday. I could smell Julien in the house last Christmas. Could he really be home? I asked myself. Then he stroked me with his big warm hands, and I knew he was. He's back! Now I'd spend the rest of my life with him like old times. Truly the best day of my life, and one of the many great memories I would take with me.

Everytime I'm with my family, I don't feel like a cat. I did everything they did. I ate what they ate. I slept on their beds, sometimes I'd go under the covers when it's cold. When I feel like reflecting, I'd sit on the couch. They made me feel like I was one of them. Like family. And that, to me, is what we are. Still. Sure there were times when I misbehaved in my youth. Like any teenage cat, I once peed into Julien's school bag just because it was fun. Also because I was all alone at home that day and I didn't like that. I felt bad afterwards, and tried to tell him. But he wouldn't listen. He carried that bag to school that day. Wonder how his day went. Other times, I get grouchy, especially when I'm hungry. Sometimes, I'd claw Elizabeth just to show my displeasure. I like Liz. She's a very harmonious lady of the house, who seems to always know what I want. That's why I am only comfortable to show my displeasure to her. A really good cook too - I've tasted her salmons.

Another one of my favourite pass-times, is to sit on the leather couch in the living room. It's a huge place - the living room. Sometimes Michel reads there, and I love to sit by him while he's reading, listening to the clock tick. It calms me. I like calm, quiet places. Which is maybe why I enjoyed going to the countryside so much when I was a wee kitten. I do remember a big field of flowers and the smell of fresh grass was everywhere. What a complex, yet delicious mix of smells. I was so engrossed with my new environment and new smells that my nose was detecting with every step I took; a flower, some grass, another flower, the moist scent of dew, the earth beneath my paws. It wasn't too long that my nose had caught on this foreign scent. I sniffed harder, and searched the ground with more vigour. Suddenly, the sky went dark. The air grew warm, and a bad smell started to linger. I slowly looked up, curious to know where the sun had gone, and came face to face with a huge ugly creature. It was massive and it smelt really awful. I didn't know what it was, but I do know I didn't want to be someone else's food. So I cautiously back tracked, my gaze firmly locked onto the towering figure before me. One step, two steps, three steps back. When I was far enough, I turned and bolted! My heart beating so hard against my chest I thought it was going to punch itself out of my body. Never again. I told myself.

Right now, I'm in a lot of pain and I can't move. There's this cold wave flushing through my body. Funny enough, I don't feel scared. I feel calm, and at peace, almost relieved. And tired. Yes. I feel tired. Like I haven't slept in ages. Ironic for a cat, since I sleep most of the time. I think I should close my eyes and rest. Yet I don't want to. Somehow, I know that if I fall asleep now, I may never wake up. I want to call out to Michel. I see him by the window, looking at me with such a longing gaze. Almost as if he was saying goodbye. Is this really goodbye? I want to call out to Michel, but I'm too weak to speak. I hope he'll know. I hope they'll all know - my family......

That it's going to be alright. That I have lived a full, good life. Yes. I am ready. I may not wake up from this sleep, but what I can leave this family with - my family, is my honest love and my eternal gratitude. I am the happiest cat alive.



Oh Putain!

Monday was the start of the great move, and we’ve been poking our heads into one box after another, reorganising and repacking some stuff. This continued all through to Thursday. Phew!! Who decides to do a surprise welcome for us in our bedroom, but the mother of all cockroaches we have seen by far. It’s gigantic, and very well fed, and it FLIES. I don’t know how it got into our bedroom or when, but we only took notice of it because the cats were trying to get to it.

This one was a runner too. We didn’t know what to do at first because we were kind of intimidated by its size, so we just stared at it blankly for a good 5 mins or so. Then it moved!!!!

“AAAAHHH........!!!! JULIEN........!!!! DO SOMETHING!!!!!”

“I’m thinking!!!”

“Just DO something!!! Take some tissue or something!”

“Did you see the SIZE of that thing???!!!”

“Yes I did, Take 3 or 4 sheets then!”

So I was instructed to keep an eye on it while he came back with maybe about 5 sheets of kitchen paper. We tried the good old method of catch. But this bugger was fast! He was SO fast Julien just wasn’t able to catch him by hand! It went behind the shelves, along the walls, on the floor.... and then... it FLEW!!!!!

This sent the both of us running out of the room screaming into the living room. (Gross!!!!!!!!) At some point it flew onto Julien’s T-shirt and crawled around a little before flying off again!!!! (Double Gross!!!!!!!!!) It took us some time to calm down, but we went back in to look for it again. We weren’t going to be sleeping with it in our room. Found it by the stereo. This time, Julien decides to try something else..

“I’m going to burn it.”

“What?! How???! It’s on your stereo. Won’t that catch fire too?”

“I’m just going to burn it.”

He takes his deodorant spray and his lighter, and sparks up a mini burst of flame. NOTHING. It’s still there by the side of the stereo and it didn’t even flinch. Maybe it’s burnt and dead? We took a while to look to see if it moved. It moved again! Then comes another mini burst of flames. It survived it still and it’s probably getting tired of us. So it makes a sudden dash, towards the door in our direction, which sends me screaming off into the living room again. This time my brave Julien stayed in the room. He was determined to catch it tonight!

From the living room, I thought Julien was dancing at first, but then I realised he was hopping because the cockroach was running about at his feet!!! The next few moments happened in a flash. I heard more feet shuffling, and a loud “OOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!”, and then I heard “THOUGHT I COULDN’T CATCH YOU, HUH???!!!!” and then, FLUSH goes the toilet. Then silence.

“You can come in now. It’s safe.” Julien, with his deep voice of chivalry. So different from the one when he was screaming.

MY HERO!!!!!!!!!!!! Hahahahahahaha!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Our New “Home”

I actually wrote a full blog and had published it, but just as I clicked “publish”, something happened and I lost my post. So I’m typing this again.

Hmmm, how should I start (again)? We’ve moved into our new flat and already we want to move out. There were a series of happenings that led up to our eventual moving, and it’s been tough. We just didn’t say it. But now I will.

When the maid came over to the new flat, she couldn’t stop about how old, run down and dingy this new place was. And that she couldn’t believe we were paying this amount of rent for such a place. What she didn’t know was: 1. That rental prices have shot up since, and 2: The previous few flats that we saw were a lot worse than this. This place that we’ve moved into is very similar to the first flat we rented when Julien came to Singapore, but we had paid rent for this first flat at a lot lower a price compared to the market rate. Our first landlord or landlady I should say is nice. She was a retiree and she and her husband were going to stay with their kids in a bigger home. She was really attached to this flat, and couldn’t bear to sell it, so even after she moved, she regularly came back to clean the flat. When I met the landlady, she told me that she wasn’t really renting the flat for the money, which explains why we got that flat at below market rate. She just really wanted someone to look after and take care of the place while she was “away”. So why did we not rent the same flat from our first landlady? Well, because she’s already found a tenant.

We had signed a 1 year lease with this landlady to be renewed yearly until we found a place of our own. She knew we were just married and looking for a place to buy. We’ve stayed there about 2 years, and our lease was almost up for the 2nd year. I guess perhaps Julien prefers variety and did mention loosely that maybe we should look for a new place to rent. If we did find a place we liked, good. If not, the rent will be renewed anyway at the end of that year, so we were not too bothered.

Lesson 1: If it’s too good to be true, then it’s not good.

I received a call from a relative one day, proposing us to rent his parent’s place. His situation was pretty similar to the land lady’s – he had bought a bigger place and the plan was for his parents to live with him. Hence, we could occupy his parent’s flat. A bigger flat for the same rental price as our first flat. That sounds pretty good. We were told that we could stay until we found a place of our own. The deal was on! We told our landlady that we found a bigger place and we didn’t need to renew the rent for the following year.

Lesson two: Pay attention to your spouse. They pick up things you may not.

When we went over to my relative’s parent’s place to collect the keys before the move, Julien had somehow picked up some vibe that his parents were not too keen on moving. I wasn’t feeling it, so I didn’t think too much about it. Looking back now, I do wonder if they wanted to move in the first place and what were they told about our lease at the first flat? Because I have an inkling that this could have been the cause of a huge misunderstanding. Now, it seems that they had the impression all along that they were doing us a favour by renting us the flat since our lease was going to be up. That’s not the case here. We broke our renewal with the landlady. The infamous line to us before we left, was “Anything can be discussed in the future since we’re all family”. That would be lesson 5 for me.

Lesson 3: Always, Always, Always draw up a contract, because it could be the only thing that could protect you, even from family.

So we broke our renewal and moved into the bigger flat. About 2 – 3 weeks after moving into the flat, we were told that my relative’s dad wanted to move back! What a situation to be caught in! What was funny about this, was that this news didn’t come directly from my relative or his dad. We had to hear it from other relatives who would call me up and volunteer the information. Apparently the news was passed around till it reached me – his dad would stress out his wife, his wife would call my aunt and stress her out, my aunt would call my parents and stress them out, then my parents would call me. I don’t like this merry go round system, so I called this relative direct to check if the rumours were true and they were. We even offered to move out, since we had time to move back into the first flat as the landlady had not rented it out yet, but we were told that it’s alright, and that he could be over reacting.

Lesson 4: It’s easy to let someone in your home, but never as easy to get them out.

Over the course of about 6 months, things changed from, it’s alright, to yeah he’s a depressed but it’s ok, to I think you may need to start looking for a flat. And look for a flat we did! We looked hard. Most of our time, including our weekends, was spent either visiting flats, or looking through websites for property rental. Unfortunately, most of the flats we viewed we could not LIVE in literally. There was hardly any renovation done, no new paint, the paint was falling from the ceilings and the walls, the toilets were old and the squat type which are not ideal for our cats, some of them did not include any furniture at all. This went on for months! We got sick of looking at rotten flats we couldn’t see ourselves living in. So we asked for help. Our relative did help forward some links for property rental, but some were already rented out, others the agents did not even bother calling us back, and one or two, Julien was honest about our cats and we were rejected.

I don’t know when we decided this, but we were so sick of living at someone else’s mercy, and maybe also sick of looking at rotten rented flats, we changed our minds and decided to look for a place to buy. And we did view many flats. Even shortlisted 3 to buy. But for various reasons, we didn’t in the end. I was spent. I remember sitting at Holland Village after a viewing and I started to tear uncontrollably. I just felt helpless, lost, and homeless.

Lesson 5: At crunch time, there may never be room for discussion, even as family.

Another few weeks after, I received an sms from this relative asking me if we could let them know when we would be able to find a flat to buy so they can inform their dad, because he’s started to ask them everyday now when we are moving out. I think that was probably the biting point for us. I don’t know about others, but for me personally, I don’t know how to answer to a question like that. How long would I take to find a place I like to buy? I don’t know. When we see it we will know it. I didn’t want a situation where we committed a time frame and come that time, we still haven’t found anything suitable. What then? Are we to blame then?

One quick phone discussion with the Yeti and it was decided that we would move out immediately. This stress was just not worth it. Never mind that the rental prices have gone up. Never mind that the next flat is not even what we would like. Never mind that it’s far and inconvenient. We just want out. So the next day we just arranged for as many viewings as we could in that one day and picked the least lousy flat to rent.

Lesson 6: It’s always better to just be honest, even if it seems like it’s the hardest thing to do.

I’m pro honesty. Tell me the truth even if it hurts. That’s me. Perhaps for the longest time this relative has been trying to buy time for us (I don’t know that for a fact), by telling his dad that we’re moving soon, but at the same time telling us that things are ok and that his dad’s just over reacting. I don’t know this for a fact but I’m quite sure something along those lines happened. That the situation presented to me was not as it was completely. And probably more so for the father.

Lesson 7: Accept, Deal, Adapt, Forgive, Let go.

I also don’t know what had transpired between my relative and his parents, but it seems like they have the impression that they have “given us a lot of time to move but we didn’t do anything about it.” And I don’t appreciate their sentiments one bit. We were stressed, frustrated and spent just trying our best to find what was ideal. The maid complains about our current place, but she doesn’t know how bad the other places we had viewed prior to this place were. Given a choice, we wouldn’t even choose this place! We just did plainly because we had no choice.

We tried to think of alternatives for my relative’s father to move back in as soon as possible because that’s all he seems to be able to think about. It doesn’t matter that we don’t have a place to go to. It doesn’t matter that we need time to find an ideal place that’s liveable. It doesn’t matter that rental prices has gone up. It doesn’t matter that the lease was broken even before it was finished. It just doesn’t matter. All that matters is how much he wants his flat back. We proposed for him to move back and we take the guest room while he stays in the master bedroom, and we look for another place from there. But that was declined. Also, I’m just realising that had we really signed a contract with them, they would have to compensate us for the rest of the year since we moved out before the year was up.

So I’ll just say this. Stop the speculation/gossip. If you really want to find out what happened, then speak to me directly. There’s this great invention called the telephone. There’s no need to call up people who are not involved to stress them out unnecessarily, and there’s definitely no need to sift out information from the maid either, especially after we’ve moved.

I’m upset and disappointed, but I guess my next step would be learning to accept, deal, adapt, forgive and finally, to let it go.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

It's half past midnight and I can't sleep. I'm all excited since I should be up in the next 5 hours to be able to get to the airport on time to pick my Yeti up. YAY! My mind's racing at the moment so I thought I'd come on and write a post.

I had a really busy work day packed with appointments back to back sometime earlier in the week, and by the time I had settled my last appointment for the day, I was exhausted and starving. So I head to the nearest cafe I could get to for lunch at 5pm Singapore time. Finally! I thought to myself some good time to myself to unwind. I could take my time over my meal and then maybe dessert and then have a nice cup of tea to finish it off. My seafood aglio olio arrived shortly and I was starting on it when I don't know for what reason, I looked up at the entrance that I was sitting right in front of, and there who decides to walk in then but my ex boyfriend. So I wave hello, and go back to wolfing down my overdue lunch. Within minutes I had finished my main, and was looking through the menu for desserts, when I hear "HEY YOU!!".

Who decides to drop by my table, but the ex. Let's call him C. C invites himself to sit down and then asks how I am, what I'm doing now, etc etc. I tell him I'm in the same job in insurance, it's been about 4 years now, and I'm pretty happy where I am at the moment, etc etc. I don't really remember clearly what we were talking about really. What was going on in my head at that moment was how loud I thought he was speaking. He was talking so loud that the people on the other side could hear me. I know that for a fact (and I'm not exaggerating here) because when he moved to where he came from, which was right at the other end of the cafe, I could hear him loud and clear too from where I was. So he made me feel pretty uncomfortable. Somehow, I felt like everyone could hear what he was telling me. And within a short span of 10mins everyone knew I was in insurance for 4 years, and that it's something that he thinks suits my character and personality well. So that was the first thing. The second thing about him I noticed straight away, was how high pitched his voice was. It's like he never hit puberty. OK, now i'm exaggerating, but you get my drift.

So my mind kept wandering while he kept talking, and he did talk for a while. I didn't really know what to say most of the time. I guess I wasn't really in the mood to socialise to begin with. I was pretty tired already from my last appointment and all I really wanted to do was to have some time alone and relax; take my mind off work. De-stress.

He probably noticed that my mind was elsewhere and decided to say goodbye. He had to go for another meeting anyway, but just decided to come by and say hello. Which was nice. He got off the seat and disappeared under the table. Oh yes, I remember now. He's really short too for a guy ; 1.65m.

I know I'm exaggerating to some extent here, but honestly, there was a part where all I could think of in my head, was "what about this guy did you like then?". It's weird how just a few years back, I was crazy about this guy. And now I meet him again years later and realise there was nothing attractive about him. It's not like he had changed. He's still the same. He looks the same, he wears the same haircut, he talks the same, he sounds the same. Was it me that changed then? One thing's for sure though, we were totally incompatible even back then. That's why it didn't work out in the end. I was just too emotionally attached then to see it as clearly as I do now. Even his personality and character's the same. C was trying to impose some of his views on me about what he thinks about something, and in the past, I allowed that. Thank GOD I married the right person, because with Julien, he respects my opinions and never forcefully imposes his views on me. And since I've gotten used to that, I find what C was doing very off putting. Maybe that's why I wasn't really chatty too.

Someone once told me that marrying the right person's like days of Heaven on Earth, and marrying the wrong person's like days of Hell on Earth. To a certain extent, I do agree with this statement. I don't think I would have enjoyed my time with C as much as I do with Julien now if I had married C, and that was on the cards then. It just didn't work out somehow, and looking back now, I'm so glad it didn't.

C, I wish you well, and happiness with the right person, as I have found with Julien.

Okay off to bed!!! 4 hours of sleep! Yikes!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Crazy (Tissue) Love

So this is a continuation about Panda's love for my facial tissue. It's been a looooong time since I took it out of the drawer, but the moment he heard it (yes he can differentiate sounds), he ran in with a desperate look of anticipation in his eyes! He saw it and did not hesitate one moment. And this time he didn't care if I was watching!!! Crazy cat.

Zooming in on his target...

Got it...

And off he goes!!!

Tossing it in the air..

Clawing it....

Tossing it again... all this going on while Mouse (and I) looks on in bewilderment.

I try to take a close up shot of this facial tissue pack just to show how torn and tattered Panda has made it, but look at him!!! He wouldn't let me!!! He was literally wrestling with me for the pack because he thinks I was going to banish his love into the drawer of darkness again until he tries to rescue her from my clutches. Look at the determination on his face!
Panda fighting (hard) for his love

Check out the other beer holder pack I made him just to distract him from attacking my facial tissue years back. It's all torn and scratched!!! I was trying to distract him so I could keep the facial tissue, but he caught my bluff in the end. So I let him at it. What he doesn't know is that it's going to be a really short reunion.

You crazy little cat you.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Baby Talk

Was at an event where I met my cousin and her son Marcus. Marcus's starting to talk now and Talk he does!!! He just rattles on a lot and repeats sentences and then laughs at himself after. What most kids do? But be patient with them and you'll be able to understand what they say. Else, you end up in situations like what just happened to me:

Marcus: Ahhhhhhrrr you bheeeeet eeeeeee bhhhoooooood??? (repeated 3-4 times in a row, getting more and more anxious by the minute, pitch getting higher and higher).

Here's the part where I look over at his mother (my cousin) and she's not paying attention to him. She's actually in another conversation with my aunt. Until I can't take it and I go:

Me: Aye! He asks if you're Betty Boop!!!!!!
My cousin: NO!!! He's asking if I'm going to feed him food la!!! Where on earth did you hear Betty Boop??!!!

........................... (speechless). Of course then we both burst out laughing out loud... while we were at a funeral...... classy.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Nosey Parker.

I detest opinionated nosey parkers. They don't really care what goes on in your life, they're not genuinely concerned about you. All they really want to do is poke their nose into your business just so they satisfy their own curiosity and maybe have some topic to gossip about after.

L is somewhat like that, and honestly she is starting to really get under my skin. And it's also one of the many reasons why I've stopped sharing or to really want to even converse with her because I really think it's none of her business, what I do with my life and the decisions I take for my family.

For example, as you probably know by now, we're moving again, and quite soon too, so Julien and I are trying our best to sort out issues with the movers, and it doesn't help that our intended moving date 7 May 2011 happens to fall on election day. Which means we have to postpone the moving. 7 May 2011 falls on a Saturday, which would have been ideal for us, if voting wasn't compulsory, and the movers are closed on that day. It also does not make sense to move on the 7th since Julien will be arriving from Paris on that day itself. Anyways, Sunday could've been the next best option, but the movers charge double, and so we decided to take the day off on Monday just to organise the moving.

L has no idea about the organisation or what really happened, or how we had intended for the 7th initially before it was announced that same day to be election day. Still, that doesn't stop her from sharing her dim witted comments and opinions with me. First she tells me that if we really tried, there are movers who may still be open for business on election day itself. Yes madame, there might be some. So do you know any? If you do, why not just forward me the contacts instead? Also, since it is election day and effectively a public holiday, the movers may charge double rate just like Sunday. I don't think that was taken into consideration before you ignorantly gave me your opinions, did you? Guess not.

So thank you for your kind "concern", but go poke your nose and paddle your gossip/"updates" somewhere else. Frankly, I'm not interested in your current affairs.

The Funniest Sales Person I Know

I just bought my virgin pair of Ray Bans from Paris Miki and met the funniest sales person (who is not commissioned based), with the best service. He's funny (to me) not because he's humorous or witty, but more because he says the most blatantly honest things with a really straight face. He looks more like someone who's been photographed and framed as scientist of the year, than a paris miki representative for sunglasses.

To begin with, I had tried on the sunglasses with my hair tied up in a loose bun at first and was trying to see if the proportions of the glasses fit the frame of my face. This guy, just leans over and whispers to me ' it's a bit big on your face' - and shattered my initial thought to purchase this pair that I've been thinking over for about 2 weeks now. Naturally, I asked why, and this started my whole journey of sunglass 101 education programme for about an hour and a half with this guy.

He excused himself and came back with two other different sunglasses (both in shocking pink), and asked me to try them both on, explaining to me the respective shapes and how it makes a difference on my face. In short, he felt that the shocking pink dior sunglasses with a huge chuncky zipper design at the sides looked 'elegant' on me as compared to the ray bans that looked 'very casual'. All this said while keeping the best poker face I've come across. I was trying so hard not to laugh. He even offered to put on the ray bans sunglasses on his own face so I could see how opague the lenses were and how they looked generally, explaining to me about the different ray ban designs in the past years and shapes of the rims.

I really really liked that pair I had eventually purchased, but was starting to hesitate on buying it initially just because he said it looked a bit big on my face. I mean, this is going to cost me like SGD200 ++ so I was choosing to be careful with my purchase. I kept putting them on, and taking them off, looking at myself at the left and then the right, just to see if I looked okay in them. Then I got frustrated and let my bun loose so my hair fell around my shoulders and around my face. He was talking to me all this while, doing his duty in Raybans 101, but he immediately stopped and went 'Ah!!! You look different with the glasses when you let down your hair!!!' All this with that same poker face. Then without me having to ask why this time, he went on to explain about the proportions of having my hair tied up, and having my hair down which covered slightly the sides of the frames so it looks proportionate on my face. Too complicated. All I knew was, I like the way it looks. So I decided to purchase it. I thought it was over. I was wrong.

He sat me down and educated me for another 30mins on how to clean and maintain my glasses. Intermittently he would link his guidelines with examples of his life experiences. For example, I should always wipe and clean my glasses. This is when he whips out his own iphone to tell me show me how good it's condition is even though he has no cover for it. And this is the result of 'wiping it with a clean cloth regularly'. I should also take note of where I go with my sunglasses. If it's to the beach in Singapore, the water's not that salty and hence I should just rinse it and clean it with a dry cloth right away. But if I'm in places like Australia, where the sea water is a lot saltier, then I should regularly rinse it often and wipe dry immediately. He adds. This pair should be able to last me a long time if I maintain it well. It's not like some other sunglasses, like the tag heur ones with the rubber sides marketed as rubber from the 'F1 tyres' which are still recycled materials at the end of the day (in his opinion) that would melt and end up being quite a hassle and costing quite a bit just to maintain in the future. All this said, while showing me how to wipe my sunglasses correctly.

At the end of my lesson, I was a pro with sunglasses now, and was even given an instruction manual on how to wipe my sunglasses 'just in case I forgot'. He even tipped me that at any one point in time, I could come back to any Paris Miki branch, locally or overseas, and present my receipt and they would wash my glasses free of charge for me as their value added service. But what if I lost my receipt I asked. Then I should make a photocopy of it and keep it. But if I don't take it out with me, which I most likely would not, he also gave me a company card with the specifications and model number and purchase reference number written on it. And if I lost that card, then I can just bring along this sunglass cloth that I would most likely carry with my sunglass case, and produce it at the shops as proof that I had bought it here and they'd still be able to wash my glasses for me. And if this sunglass cloth is subject to wear and tear over time and the company name printed on it has faded, then I can use the other back up cloth he had provided for me. And if all else fails, I can call him (he gave me his name card). Awesome! He actually thought of every other possible thing that could happen and provided me for it!!! LOL! Very specific but very cute at the same time.

And then just as I am about to pay for it, he tells me that I'm lucky because usually he's inside handling the optical lenses and is hardly outside. Today just happens to be one of those days where he has some free time. LOL! Last but not least just before I stepped out of the shop, 'Thank you for shopping at Paris Miki, if you have any complaints please feel free to write in to us. We are unlike other big companies - I won't mention who but I'm sure we all know - who are not open to feedback. We generally welcome feedback and so feel free to let us know if there are any areas of improvements." - This guy totally made my day!!!! I left with a HUGE grin on my face. He's literally seriously funny! It's great he takes his job seriously. I like that!

So anyways, I bought this pair in tortoise shell colour.

The Build Up to the GE

Great read. You'll probably only understand this better if you're Singaporean but there are some parts which you could probably infer on what had happened. And if not, just ask me.

Which maid to choose?

by Ming Lee Lim on Monday, 25 April 2011 at 18:16

I need your urgent advice about employing a maid. As a busy mother, I need someone reliable to help out at home.

My maid is from Profits Agency Pte (PAP) and she has worked for me for a long time. Her mother worked for my parents and did an excellent job, so I had faith in her. For several years her performance has been very good, but recently she has become arrogant and insensitive, and is making lots of mistakes.

For example:

1) She flooded my kitchen – she told me that the drain pipe has blocked (she was supposed to clear it once a month but didn’t). Then she assured me that it is very rare and won’t happen again in the near future. Guess what? It flooded again within a year!

2) She didn’t close a window and my terrier dog escaped. I was so worried cos he is dangerous and could bite lots of people. After the incident, she didn’t apologise and just shrugged her shoulders saying “What to do, it has happened.” Fortunately my neighbor found the dog and we locked it up again.

3) Without consulting me, she has been bringing in strangers for my house's maintenance work. She says they charge low wages and keep costs down, but they eat my food, make a lot of noise and rest on my bed. I think they even tried to seduce my husband. It stopped feeling like my home, more like a cheap hotel, and I don’t always want to come back at the end of the day.

4) When she first came to work for me, I instructed her to clean the different parts of the house at least once a week. But for some time she has stopped taking care of the bedrooms of PP and H; they are now dirty and messy. I asked why and she told me that the kids had been disobedient, so she was neglecting their bedrooms as a punishment (she has forgotten that she is paid to clean all the rooms).

Even though my maid has worked for me for many years and I value what she has done in the past, I think she is now getting complacent. Her attitude is imperious and dismissive. She ignores my comments and basically treats my feedback as "noise". I wrote to the agency about her behavior; they assured me that they are the best agency around and all their maids are “Commited to Serve” – but I think it is just rhetoric and I don’t see that in her actions. Her salary is much higher than maids in other countries, but the agency say this is to keep her honest and stop her moving to another employer. They say there is a limited supply of maids, and Singapore isn’t big enough for more than one good maid agency, so I should not trust their competitors.

I have to decide whether to renew my maid’s 5-year employment contract. When we discussed this she said that she is now part of a team, and if I want her I must also accept her friends doing part-time work for me. One friend is very inexperienced, can't do basic tasks or explain what she intends to do. I suspect that she is actually underage. When interviewed, she only seemed interested in her days-off and visiting Universal Studios. When she couldn't answer my questions she stomped her foot and exclaimed, "I don't know what to say!" But I am still expected to pay her a high salary.

Now there happen to be a few other maid agencies - Workhard Pte (WP), New Solutions Pte (NSP), Super Personnel Pte (SPP) and Star Domestica Pte (SDP) - that offered me some helpers who seem sincere, genuine and intelligent. They are keen to work, willing to assist me and have a good attitude. I know that they may take a bit of time to learn how everything works, but frankly I am inclined to give them a chance.

People say that the devil you know is better than one you don’t. But I feel that I can’t tahan (stand) my current maid anymore. Do you think I should sack my current maid and try out a new one? Appreciate your advice.

Footnote: I live in Tanjong Pagar GRC and it seems like I have no choice about my maid agency afterall - I will have to stick with my current maid. For those of you who are fortunate enough to have a choice, celebrate your blessed privilege and exercise your choice wisely. My best wishes to you.