[May 15, 2007]
It has been a month of my existence here in Singapore and weeks since I last posted anything on my blogs. I even said to myself that I’ll post again after landing a job. Well this is one of those false alarms. I heard that so much has been going on back home. I don’t quite want to be really informed of all the parties and events going on, but news are just news and in this world that has grown so small because of advancements in communications and leaps in terms of connectivity. It’s like an information overload just waiting to explode, if you get my drift, plus the bullshit that G-8 has been peddling that globalization is the wave of the future, I can never really stay disconnected from information. Talk about globalization, well globalize my ass! Third world countries will eventually be at the losing end when everything else ends or when those in the third world choose not to realize the clear and present danger that globalization brings forth. So much about that, I’ll post in the near future why I am against and aghast to globalize.
I was informed that Kaskade went back to Manila during my first week here. Damn! My fave and I didn’t even get to party to his ‘Everything’ the second time around. (Immediately plays Everything on WMP: …I see it’s changing everything, don’t you know the way you move me, it’s so right, it’s better than anything) I also heard Puerto Galera is still teeming with henna and beach bums, well, that’s on account of what Ivan said, Bonnie Bailey also good-vibed and spread the love at Boracay and I’ve been constantly being ‘e-mail bombarded’ by this convergence party at Warehouse 135 sponsored by CTA happening sometime later this weekend.
Oh and the elections, still looking very Filipino with all the cheating and violence. We have GMA being duped and embracing in all her stupidity globalization yet she cannot and will not automate and computerize the elections. If jumping into the bandwagon of globalization is the future then why the hell can she not know that computerized elections is the wave of honesty decades ago. She knows, you know, I know, everyone knows! It just won’t be ‘dagdag-bawas-friendly’ to Team Unity. So no matter how primitive, they let it be, we let it be. Which brings me to share with you and let you ponder on what Mark Twain said and hope that we all agree and take action that we take no more crap from the present administration, it goes like “what gets us into trouble is not what we don’t know, it’s what we know for sure but just ain’t so”
Now getting back on track or tact, these past few weeks has been really interesting for me. I learned that those ‘food stalls’ that I was telling you about was actually called ‘hawker centres.’ We ate at one at Newton circus and that’s where my palate first got laid with a dish called Grilled Stingray. It is what it’s called and it’s so delectable. At first I’m thinking it’s an acquired taste but after I’ve scooped spoonfuls and spoonfuls of it, nah it isn’t acquired, it’s perfectly yummy! My cousin actually ordered a feast literally and figuratively for my taste buds. There was a dish called Cereal Prawn which was, well, prawns (obvious ba?) deep-fried with oats. You could bite into it with its shell covered with oats, scrumptiously crunchy! Oh and you should try the Satay, Singapore’s version of the Pinoy BBQ and Japan’s Yakitori. It is served with a peanut sauce or so I guess. Hmm…It’s like grilled Kare-Kare on a stick. There’s also this mouth-watering Black Pepper Crab! And the Chicken BBQ which would have tasted like all BBQ had it not been for the calamansi which you have to squeeze over it before eating, sarap! I remember Xay having the same secret ingredient. I went home that night so full as if I’ll be strapped to the electric chair the following day. I have to really revisit Newton Circus! BURP!
A few days later we went to Marina Bay where the ‘Steamboat’ is. Now this is neither a boat nor a ship thought there is steam and lots of it. If you’ve been to Tongyang, ‘steamboat’ is the version here. All you have to do is bring with you the trusty Knorr Tamarind Soup Base Mix and some Sprite and sweet chilli sauce or ketchup and you can cook you and your friends Sinigang and Chilli Shrimps fit for a sumo-wrestler’s appetite. It only costs 12SGD/head and you eat all you can. But “all you can” is all you can only. If they catch you with leftovers then that’s additional 5SGD per 100 grams. I really enjoyed steamboat that I even asked Chel and Coy to accompany me there again last Saturday. BURP!
Last Sunday we met at Tanjong Pagar and I was introduced to another Pinoy resto—Kamayan. In a wild presumption, this is in no way a franchise of what’s back home but the food there sure is great, well except for the Beef Steak which was just Beef made into a dish that suppose to be called and taste like Beef Steak. Not! What really smacked me is the Sinigang na Spare Ribs. I never had the chance to cook Sinigang here, because the Kangkong eludes me in supermarkets that I hunt it. So you could just imagine the supercalifragilisticexpialidocious feeling in me when I finally tasted Sinigang here. BURP!
Now out of a record breaking 250++ applications that I’ve sent only a handful replied and set interviews. Well that 250++ is the gross actually because I even sent out applications to those that said “Singaporeans and PR ONLY.” I never did quite keep track of how many carried that ONLY tag but I’m guessing that 70% of my applications would account for that. Yahoo didn’t quite make me say YAHOO! But I sure hope that Google ogles and notices. Your ideal job really does not exist the first time. Or what is destined for you. Here you might say, why the talk about pre-determined fate when the very author has been a harsh opponent of the notion of destiny. Am I contradicting myself? Maybe, but not that I am, but to say the least or the most, actually, it is not contradictory, let’s say I’m learning or to serve both worlds, a pre-destined fate which you get to choose like a ‘pre-pre-determined’[sic] path was already known beforehand and you had ample time to prep for it. It is like a pre-determined path which you have to determine thru hard work. On the contrary, it wouldn’t be then destiny if you have to work for it right? (There is something quite not right with this paragraph)
Hmm…I get it! We are all destined to die and it says in the Bible that this world would eventually end. Now that is destiny. But we can choose how we die or how we end this world. I can choke myself with cigarettes and die of lung cancer when I’m 40 or I can choose to stop smoking (during my stay here, my alcohol consumption has been drastically reduced by 98% and I eventually managed to cut my smoke intake by half, I now consume only a pack/day) and die of old age. We can also deny the fact that the Earth as we speak or read right now is getting hotter and that global warming is not something that we should take for granted or not bat an eyelash and set the countdown for doomsday 50 years from now or we extend exponentially Gaea’s life stream for the future generation by lessening if not totally wiping out our dependency on carbon. “We choose how to acquire our destiny,” now both you and I would agree, that sounds right.
Now let me tell you the real reason that I posted. I moved in to a new house here at Clementi. Now this is very different because I now live with a family of four. The walk from the bus stop is more than double the distance and I’m not even allowed to smoke when I crap. Shit talaga! Potah! Plus the bus passes by in half hour and 45-minute intervals, unlike when I was billeted in Century Mansions; the bus has 15-minute intervals. And I’ve grown fond of the church there. And since it was a Saturday when I moved in, I will have to hear my first Sunday mass in a church near where I live. I logged on to www.streetdirectory.com, its Singapore’s online ‘how to go anywhere’ website. It’s like your online GPS. I even jotted down what buses to take and what bus stops do I wait. The first time I looked for the church I spent 1 ½ hours of walking around the National University of Singapore (NUS) I had clearly pictured in my mind the map where it is located and it’s just around NUS. To my dismay, I couldn’t find it and I was very tired so I just took any bus that is passing by Jurong East Interchange. The next day I was even more determined to find the church. I checked on streetdirectory.com again and made sure I now get things right. So off I went to NUS again. This time it took me two hours and still the church is nowhere to be found. I’m getting the feeling that I’m being taunted by the devil himself ala ‘agony in the garden.’ So my second day of locating the church was another big disappointment and I decided that I’ll just hear mass at St. Joseph Church near my previous house this coming Sunday.
Yesterday my cousin accompanied me to ICA to get my visa extended. She even took time off from work so she could meet me there. Unfortunately we didn’t know that I can have it extended online. So that’s just what we did and she went back to work and I was very thankful for her being very accommodating and helpful. I went to Barrio Fiesta and had my dinuguan-bliss again, had my haircut for 20SGD and went back home. There was an immediate e-mail response that my extension application was approved just in principle and I have to pay thru credit card to know the real status. I immediately PM’ed my cousin and she was more than willing to pay for it using her card (another act I’ll be forever grateful) I took a quick puff outside and then she called me and said I was approved. Now I planned to go to St. Joseph Church because I make it to a point that I pray not only in times of need but also thank Him in times of grace.
I don’t know what made me check thru streetdirctory.com again. But in just a few clicks and a couple of map enlargements, I saw what went wrong. NUS actually has two campuses, the one where I thought the church is on the other side of the expressway—the University campus. The church is near the High school campus! They are actually on the extreme opposites of the expressway! How could I miss those details when I was very meticulous the second time I tried to search for the church? Not wanting to pre-empt success and the “careful king of kings, first you need the victory” phrase being directed by Achilles to Agamemnon whose bragging that Troy will fall even before Troy fell is constantly drumming a beat in my head, I immediately took my route back to NUS. This time I didn’t cross over to the other side and just followed the curve around NUS HS. And then there was that feeling again that I made a mistake. In my head I said to myself “strike three! You’re out!” but something made me walk on.
And as I glanced to the left just after the curve, I saw a building undergoing construction but no sign of the church. I know you’ve already felt the sensation when you’ve found something that you’ve been desperate to find and the disappointing numbness when you can’t get hold of something you’ve always wanted to achieve. So I know you have an idea how I felt last night. I continued to walk a few more paces and began to turn around to make my way back home. A quick glance at the building undergoing repairs and there I saw… a cross on its facade. I finally found the Church of the Holy Cross.