The brilliance of Rico

Mr 271. 2nd in the cohort. (But like Croatia, it’s not his name that’s going into the records. Cruel but thats the way it is.) Anyhow we are here to talk about his brilliant strategy, which of course came as a revelation only after the day we sent Henry off to Australia. Pretty surprising considering we knew each other since Primary 5, and this hasn’t been brought up until now. It started off with me sharing how chinese movie lines, song lyrics and proverbs/idioms were used as jokes in my “ole ole” group, and somehow flowed to Rico saying that he suspected the marks his essay got was proportionate to the number of 成语 he included. (Says a lot about our education system but lets not get into that now). It is still etched in his mind our classmate LWZ would always gets first, but in the prelims he managed to write 22 成语 and completed it with time to spare, and was so proud that his essay scored the highest and was presented to the class (anonymously)

Back in those days, (not that I can remember), part of the chinese paper was an essay question, either a 继续文 (continuation of a scenario) or a 命题 (topic), and Rico devised a brilliant strategy to tackle this part of the examination. He would always pick the 继续文, and regardless of the scenario could always fit in his plot template. Since half of the marks of the essay was based on “language”, something to do with vocabulary, flow of sentences and not making any mistakes in writing the characters, Rico thought of a brilliant way to ensure consistency – preparing 2/3 pre-planned plots which was structured around several 成语 and 俗语, the order of which was pre planned. The gist of the pre-planned plot would be an issue arising, (which was usually already the case in the examination question, not something completely out of the blue since we were just primary six) and the protagonist being accused of being the culprit when he was innocent and it was in fact a side character that was guilty. A person of authority would then admonish the protagonist without first investigating clearly, and the protagonist would then triumphantly prove his innocence and everyone learnt a valuable lesson. (As I pointed out to him it’s so obvious that this is an idealistic version of his life but that’s an inside joke for us)

As demonstrated above, all he needed to do was craft two-three sentences which would ensure that the given scenario would fit into his template, which I thought was amazing. Then again I couldn’t remember how I tackled it myself so perhaps my method was even more brilliant but would forever be lost in the sands of time. Anyhow, here’s an example of the template and the flow of his “佳句”.

Scenario: Whether it’s a a scream in the supermarket, an injured bird, something missing etc.

Side character 1 (小林)胡作非为/ 得意忘形
Protagonist (小明)觉得是司空见惯的事 (if applicable)
小明发觉事情不对劲,认为不能再袖手旁观
(Action taken depending on exam question)
妈妈心里七上八下急得像热锅上的蚂蚁
妈妈以为是小明惹的祸, 一看到他就不分青红皂白地责骂他
小明理直气壮地陈述了事情的经过,为自己讨个清白
老师/警察/保安 称赞小明见义勇为的精神事
水落石出
虽然妈妈错怪了他,但小明了解她只不过是为他好,关心他的安危,所谓良药苦口利于病,忠言逆耳利于行
妈妈的劝告深深的刻在小明的脑海里
小林执迷不悟,不可救药 if he wants the side character to stay bad
OR 改过自新,重新做人
一石二鸟/一举两得 if 小明 gets an ice cream etc (As Rico admits himself, a bit forced)

How do I usually end these? I don’t know…

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Stream of consciousness 4

(The intro and ending of every stream of consciousness post will be a tribute to dailygrace)

“Hey guys, you know what day it is – Sexy Friday, Sexy Friday, Sexy Friday, SEXY FRIIDAY!!”

Note to self: This needs to be published in less than 3 hours so the DailyGrace intro makes sense. Edit: WOW you just solved the time issue by taking out many subjects and reorganizing them into individual posts. Thank God I don’t do this for a living.

1. This past week or so two facebook posts caught my attention. The first was A’s who shared in my primary school class facebook group.

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and the other was by JPC, a schoolmate notorious for both good and bad deeds, with a notable one being him touching the posterior of an attractive music teacher.

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In both cases, ostensibly the writers intended to convey a message addressing a larger point, but I just cannot help but feel that their intention has been marred by making the post more about themselves than the larger issue. Admittedly especially for the first post, perhaps my view has been clouded by my personal opinion of him, but I do think that there are still visible traces of this “making the post about me but disguising it as not”. But the second one is really fucking obvious. Unquestionably he has done a good deed by stepping in to stop an incident which he disagreed with, but I think it would be hard to argue that the most effective way of spreading the message of stopping sexual harrassment would be to share a post giving yourself a pat on the back for being a hero. (Perhaps his intention of doing so was that if he could do it then anyone can, but I would say that it is highly unlikely) It is my sincere belief that writers seeking to put forth a larger point should put themselves in the background and put the message and/or experiences of the victims in the foreground. If that is truly their intention. It pains me that self serving individuals capitalize on such opportunities for likes, and pains me even more that people seem to buy it. But maybe I am being cynical, as my teacher puts it. Regardless it is a good sign that articles like Ellie Taylor’s Topless Selfies and Chinese Takeaways are still being written. Thank you

2. Yesterday’s JB trip was quite fun. Dim Sum at Canton-I was quite horrible, special mentions go to the custard in the 流沙包 for being almost completely solid and inedible. The only acceptable (based on a restaurant dim sum standard) dishes seemed to be the 皮蛋瘦肉粥 which is always enjoyable when it is well seasoned and the stir fried beef kway teow. Ant man 2 was brilliant! (Review in another post after I watch Ant man 1) Quite a nice warm fuzzy feeling (I sound like the Grinch) when Rico (Interestingly the only name of a personal friend I have not made it more difficult to identify), Zea and the Wong brothers all really enjoyed the banana cake I bought (and delivered!) to them. It is quite weird though how Rico’s family don’t seem to have much planning when dividing food, the first time his sister didn’t get to eat it and the second time he didn’t get it. But the most amusing reaction was probably Zea texting me 5 minutes after she got the cake that it was all gone. And it hadn’t really crossed my mind until yesterday that being awake at 1am is quite a hassle especially for those who already start working. (I think this complete lack of organization is really in the style of Grace Helbig’s Stream of Consciousness videos, so that’s a good thing). And of course it’s always funny to watch Jon gorge himself on two plates of noodles at Ho Seng Kee (nothing in that place was my cup of tea). Also will there ever be a time when we visit City Square and NOT buy Lavender’s kaya and rum and raisin pastry?

3. Ok let’s with a more meaningful anecdote about the importance of employer-maid communication. Recently my paternal cousin Y had to sack her maid because she borrowed money from loansharks who went to harrass her. Of course the maid was at fault, but my cousin should have known communicated more. Anyway the main point of the story is how differently my maternal aunt M handled the situation. Her maid confided in her that she faced monetary issues because natural disasters (which villages the Philippines seems to be prone to) meant that her house needed to be rebuilt. And so she willingly lent the maid money, and deducted a portion of the loan from her monthly salary. In addition, she also helped the maid open an account to save $100 every month, so that she can bring back a significant amount of money for her children when she eventually returns home. Blind proponents of individual freedoms will argue about how the mandatory saving account takes away the maid’s liberty yada yada, but this looking out for others and wanting the best for them is the sort of  interpersonal relationship and management that I want to see and implement in future.

What’s up fuc-

My mum’s basket

WhatsApp Image 2018-05-29 at 20.48.33

Two years ago, my mum made a straw basket and hung it at where the doorbell used to be (yeah our house has no doorbell, probably for the better). She was tired of salesmen stuffing fliers/ notices in any nook or crevice they could find, and came up with this solution. She began by placing two fliers in the basket, and subsequently all fliers and notices were neatly placed inside as the “path of least resistance” theory predicted. By leaving fliers inside the basket, it is a subtle and elegant way of informing salesmen of the basket’s purpose without the hassle of an explicit notice. Needless to say I, like many of her friends, found the basket a simple yet excellent yet innovation.

Unhappiness

Today was miserable. I have never felt this miserable during an outing. With my friends. And God knows an open blog (which of course is quite hidden) isn’t the best channel to express my frustrations, but it is probably the most cathartic experience. If one of them is reading this, do it with an open mind. It’s not going to be pleasant reading

Rushing to finish the research stuff at 330am when we were meeting at 730am was probably a bad start. And it got worse.

Breakfast was dim sum at this Chinese restaurant. It looked respectable, but fuck me the food was terrible. Dim sum restaurants are supposed to be fantastic experiences, but maybe it’s because since I was young dim sum with the extended family was always at top quality restaurants (Jumbo, Crystal Jade, Wah Lok etc) so that molded and shaped my view. Regardless, no self-respecting restaurant serves har kow that falls apart or puts pieces of radish with the prawns, or a cheap mooncake paste in banana pastry, or…this would take forever if I listed out all the faults with the food so lets continue.

(Side note: Ever since I took an obsessive keen interest in food, one of my biggest disagreements with family, relatives and friends has always been about seasoning. From how I see it, food needs to be heavily seasoned in order to taste good, WHICH IS WHY YOU NEED MORE DARK SOYA SAUCE FOR A GOLDEN MUSHROOM STIR FRY. Ok I needed to get that out of my system ARGH. Anyhow, it just strikes me as something quite peculiar that my aunts were so insistent that they never used MSG in their cooking, which makes their dishes horrendously underseasoned and bland, or how my mum/friends are so worried about the “burnt” bits.)

I think the most frustrating thing about the trip is the conversations. Good Lord hearing young men talk about watches and shoes and t-shirts at length and with such self-importance is annoying. And this already dreadful thing is exacerbated by hearing how some of their other schoolmates are immature, childish and always “chasing money” to quote them. “You can dress a pig up in a suit, but you can’t stop it from grunting” As far as I recall, I don’t think I am snobbish or picky about conversations. I enjoyed the deeper discussions with YX and Jon over topics like racism and ethics as much as the conversations about movies and university life with K and KS. But I guess the obsession people have with the fashion industry is something that will always irk me, partially because during my most formative years the idols/media figures/academics/chefs that influenced me the most, along with what I actually absorbed from my parents, were never too concerned about fashion and most actually criticized it. (George Carlin and Marco Pierre White, amongst others) Then again, perhaps my willingness to spend freely on food is as puzzling to those who spend freely on clothes?

I might have more points to make, but I cant really recall/ too tired to continue. Anyhow, this has been REALLY cathartic…WOW.

I don’t know (Think I’m going to steal this perfect way to end from Grace Helbig)