Thursday, 11 June 2015

Love Is A Fallacy


Cool was I and logical.

Keen, calculating, perspicacious, acute, and astute — I was all of these. My brain was as powerful as a dynamo, as precise as a chemist’s scales, as penetrating as a scalpel. And — think of it! I was only eighteen.

It is not often that one so young has such a giant intellect. Take, for example, Petey Bellows, my roommate at the university. Same age, same background, but dumb as an ox. A nice enough fellow, you understand, but nothing upstairs. Emotional type. Unstable. impressionable. Worst of all, a faddist. Fads, I submit, are the very negation of reason. To be swept up in every new craze that comes along, to surrender yourself to idiocy just because everybody else is doing it -- this, to me, is the acme of mindlessness. Not, however, to Petey.

One afternoon I found Petey lying on his bed with an expression of such distress on his face that I immediately diagnosed appendicitis

“Don’t move,” I said. “Don’t take a laxative. I’ll get a doctor.-”

“Raccoon,” he mumbled thickly.

“Raccoon?” I said, pausing in my flight.

“I want a raccoon coat,” he wailed.

I perceived that his trouble was not physical, but mental.

“Why do you want a raccoon coat?”

“I should have known it,” he cried, pounding his temples. “I should have known they’d come back when the Charleston came back. Like a fool I spent all my money for textbooks, and now I can’t get a raccoon coat.”

“Can you mean,” I said incredulously, “that people are actually wearing raccoon coats again?”

“All the Big Men on Campus are wearing them. Where’ve you been?”

“In the library,” I said, naming a place not frequented by Big Men on Campus.

I leaped from the bed and paced the room.

“I’ve got to have a raccoon coat,” he said passionately. “I’ve got to!”

“Petey, why? Look at it rationally. Raccoon coats are unsanitary. They shed. They smell bad. They weigh too much. They’re unsightly. They —”

“You don’t understand,” he interrupted impatiently. “It's the thing to do. Don't you want to be in the swim?”

“No,” I said truthfully.

“Well, I do," he declared. “I’d give anything for a raccoon coat. Anything!”

My brain, that precision instrument, slipped into high gear.

“Anything?” I asked, looking at him narrowly.

“Anything,” he affirmed in ringing tones.

I stroked my chin thoughtfully. It so happened that I knew where to get my hands on a raccoon coat. My father had had one in his undergraduate days; it lay now in a trunk in the attic back home. It also happened that Petey had something I wanted. I didn't have it exactly, but at least he had first rights on it.

I refer to his girl, Polly Espy. I had long coveted Polly Espy. Let me emphasize that my desire for this young woman was not emotional in nature. She was, to be sure, a girl who excited the emotion, but I was not one to let my heart rule my head. I wanted Polly ‘for a shrewdly calculated, entirely cerebral reason. I was a freshman in law school. In a few years I would be out in practice. I was well aware of the importance of the right kind of wife in furthering a lawyer’s career. The successful lawyers I had observed were, almost without exception, married to beautiful, gracious, intelligent women. With one omission, Polly fitted these specifications perfectly.

Beautiful she was. She was not yet of pin-up proportions, but I felt sure that time would supply the lack. She already had the makings.

Gracious she was. By gracious I mean full of graces. She had an erectness of carriage, an ease of bearing, a poise that clearly indicated the best of breeding. At table her manners were exquisite. I had seen her at the Kozy Kampus Korner eating the specialty of the house — a sandwich that contained scraps of pot roast, gravy, chopped nuts, and a dipper of sauerkraut — without even getting her fingers moist. Intelligent she was not. In fact, she veered in the opposite direction. But I believed that under my guidance she would smarten up. At any rate, it was worth a try. It is, after all, easier to make a beautiful dumb girl smart than to make an ugly smart girl beautiful.

“Petey,” I said, “are you in love with Polly Espy?"

“I think she’s a keen kid,” he replied, “but I don’t know if you’d call it love. Why?”

“Do you," I asked, “have any kind of formal arrangement with her? I mean are you going steady or anything like that?”

“No. We see each other quite a bit, but we both have other dates. Why?”

“Is there,” I asked, “any other man for whom she has a particular fondness?”

“Not that I know of. Why?”

I nodded with satisfaction.

“In other words,if you were out of the picture, the field would
be open. Is that right?”

“I guess so. What are you getting at?”

“Nothing, nothing,” I said innocently, and took my suitcase out of the closet.

“Where you going?" asked Petey.

“Home for the weekend.” I threw a few things into the bag.

“Listen,” he said, clutching my arm eagerly, “while you’re home, you couldn't get some money from your old man, could you, and lend it to me so I can buy a raccoon coat?”

“I may do better than that,” I said with a mysterious wink and closed my bag and left.

“Look,” I said to Petey when I got back Monday morning. I threw open the suitcase and revealed the huge, hairy, gamy object that my father had worn in his Stutz Bearcat in 1925.

"Holy Toledo!” said Petey reverently. He plunged his hands into the raccoon coat and then his face. “Holy Toledo!" he repeated fifteen or twenty times.

“Would you like it?” I asked.

“Oh, yes!” he cried, clutching the greasy pelt to him. Then a canny look came into his eyes. “What do you want for it?”

“Your girl,” I said, mincing no words.

“Polly?” he said in a horrified whisper. “You want Polly?”


“That’s right.”

He flung the coat from him. “Never,” he said stoutly.

I shrugged. “Okay. If you don't want to be in the swim, I guess it’s your business.”

I sat down in a chair and pretended to read a book, but out of the comer of my eye I kept watching Petey. He was a tom man. First he looked at the coat with the expression of a waif at a bakery window. Then he tumed away and set his jaw resolutely. Then he looked back at the coat, with even more longing in his face. Then he turned away, but not so much resolution this time. Back and forth his head swiveled, desire waxing, resolution waning.

Finally he didn’t tum away at all; he just stood and stared with mad lust at the coat.

“It isn’t as though I was in love with Polly,” he said thickly. “Or going steady or anything like that."

“That’s right," I murmured.

“What’s Polly to me, or me to Polly?”

“Not a thing,” said I.

“It's just been a casual kick — just a few laughs, that’s all.”

“Try on the coat,” said I.

He complied. The coat bunched high over his ears and dropped all the way down to his shoe tops. He looked like a mound of dead raccoons.

“Fits fine,” he said happily.

I rose from my chair. “Is it a deal?” I asked, extending my hand.

He swallowed. “It’s a deal,” he said and shook my hand.

I had my first date with Polly the following evening. This was in the nature of a survey; I wanted to find out just how much work I had to do to get her mind up to the standard I required. I took her first to dinner.

“Gee, that was a delish dinner,” she said as we left the restaurant. Then I took her to a movie. “Gee, that was a marvy movie,” she said as we left the theater. And then I took her home .“Gee, I had a sensaysh time,” she said as she bade me good night.

I went back to my room with a heavy heart. I had gravely underestimated the size of my task.

This girl's lack of information was terrifying. Nor would it be enough merely to supply her with information. First she had to be taught to think.

This loomed as a project of no small dimensions, and at first I was tempted to give her back to Petey. But then I got to thinking about her abundant physical charms and about the way she entered a room and the way she handled a knife and fork, and I decided to make an effort.

I went about it, as in all things, systematically.

I gave her a course in logic. It happened that I, as a law student, was taking a course in logic myself, so I had all the facts at my finger-tips.

“Polly,” I said to her when I picked her up on our next date, “tonight we are going over the Knoll and talk.”

“Oo, terrif," she replied. One thing I will say for this girl: you would go far to find another so agreeable.

We went to the Knoll, the campus trysting place, and we sat down under an old oak, and she looked at me expectantly.

“What are we going to talk about?” she asked.

“Logic.”

She thought this over for a minute and decided she liked it.

“Magnif,” she said.

“Logic,” I said, clearing my throat, “is the science of thinking. Before we can think correctly, we must first learn to recognize the common fallacies of logic. These we will take up tonight.”

“Wow-dow!” she cried, clapping her hands delightedly.

I winced but went bravely on. “First let us examine the fallacy called Dicto Simpliciter.”

“By all means,” she urged, batting her lashes eagerly.

“Dicto Simpliciter means an argument based on an unqualified generalization. For example: Exercise is good. Therefore everybody should exercise.”

“I agree,” said Polly earnestly. “I mean exercise is wonderful. I mean it builds the body and everything.”

“Polly,” I said gently, “the argument is a fallacy. Exercise is good is an unqualified generalization. For instance, if you have heart disease, exercise is bad, not good. Many people are ordered by their doctors not to exercise. You must qualify the generalization. You must say exercise is usually good, or exercise is good for most people. Otherwise you have committed a Dicto Simpliciter. Do you see?"

“No,” she confessed. “But this is marvy. Do more! Do more!”

“It will be better if you stop tugging at my sleeve,” I told her, and when she desisted, I continued. “Next we take up a fallacy called Hasty Generalization. Listen carefully: You can’t speak French. I can’t speak French. Petey Bellows can’t speak French. I must therefore conclude that nobody at the University of Minnesota can speak French.”

“Really?” said Polly, amazed. “Nobody?”

I hid my exasperation. “Polly, it’s a fallacy. The generalization is reached too hastily. There are too few instances to support such a conclusion.

“Know any more fallacies?” she asked breathlessly. “This is more fun than dancing even."

I fought off a wave of despair. I was getting nowhere with this girl, absolutely nowhere.

Still, I am nothing if not persistent. I continued. “Next comes Post Hoc. Listen to this: Let's not take Bill on our picnic. Every time we take him out with us, it rains.”

“I know somebody just like that,” she exclaimed. “A girl back home -- Eula Becker, her name is. It never fails. Every single time we take her on a picnic —"

“Polly,” I said sharply, “it’s a fallacy. Eula Becker doesn’t cause the rain. She has no connection with the rain. You are guilty of Post Hoc if you blame Eula Becker.

“I'll never do it again," she promised contritely. “Are you mad at me?”

I sighed. “No, Polly, I’m not mad.” “Then tell me some more fallacies.” I consulted my watch. “I think we'd better call it a night. I’ll take you home now, and you go over all the things you’ve learned. We'll have another session tomorrow night.”

I deposited her at the girls’ dormitory, where she assured me that she had had a perfectly terrif evening, and I went glumly home to my room. Petey lay snoring in his bed, the raccoon coat huddled like a great hairy beast at his feet.

For a moment I considered waking him and telling him that he could have his girl back. It seemed clear that my project was doomed to failure. The girl simply had a logic-proof head. But then I reconsidered. I had wasted one evening; I might as well waste another. Who knew? Maybe somewhere in the extinct crater of her mind a few embers still smoldered.

Maybe somehow I could fan them into a flame. Admittedly, it was not a prospect fraught with hope, but I decided to give it one more try.

Seated under the oak the next evening, I said, “Our first fallacy tonight is called Ad Misericordiam.”

She quivered with delight.

“Listen closely,” I said. “A man applies for a job. When the boss asks him what his qualifications are, he replies that he has a wife and six children at home, the wife is a helpless cripple, the children have nothing to eat, no clothes to wear, no shoes on their feet, there are no beds in the house, no coal in the cellar, and winter is coming.”

A tear rolled down each of Polly’s pink cheeks. “Oh, this is awful, awful,” she sobbed.

“Yes, it’s awful,” I agreed, “but it’s no argument. The man never answered the boss’s question about his qualifications. Instead he appealed to the boss’s sympathy. He committed the fallacy of Ad Misericordiam.

Do you understand?” '

“Have you got a handkerchief?” she blubbered.

I handed her a handkerchief and tried to keep from screaming while she wiped her eyes.

“Next,” l said in a carefully controlled tone, “we will discuss False Analogy. Here is an example: Students should be allowed to look at their textbooks during examinations. After all, surgeons have X-rays to guide them during an operation, lawyers have briefs to guide them during a trial, carpenters have blueprints to guide them when they are building a house. Why, then, shouldn’t students be allowed to look at their textbooks during an examination?"

“There now,” she said enthusiastically, “is the most marvy idea I’ve heard in years.”

“Polly,” I said testily, “the argument is all wrong. Doctors, lawyers, and carpenters aren’t taking a test to see how much they have learned, but students are. The situations are altogether different, and you can’t make an analogy between them.”

“I still think it’s a good idea," said Polly.

"Nuts," I muttered. Doggedly I pressed on.

“Next we’ll try Hypothesis Contrary to Fact.”

“Sounds yummy,” was Polly’s reaction.

“Listen: If Madam Curie had not happened to leave a photographic plate in a drawer with a chunk of pitchblende, the world today would not know about radium.”

“True, true.” said Polly, nodding her head. “Did you see the movie? Oh, it just knocked me out. That Walter Pidgeon is so dreamy. l mean he fractures me.”

“If you can forget Mr. Pidgeon for a moment,” I said coldly, “l would like to point out that the statement is a fallacy. Maybe Madam Curie would have discovered radium at some later date. Maybe somebody else would have discovered it. Maybe any number of things would have happened. You can’t start with a hypothesis that is not true and then draw any supportable conclusions from it.”

“They ought to put Walter Pidgeon in more pictures,” said Polly. “I hardly ever see him any more.”

One more chance, I decided. But just one more. There is a limit to what flesh and blood can bear. “The next fallacy is called Poisoning the Well.”

“How cute!" she gurgled.

“Two men are having a debate. The first one goes up and says, ‘My opponent is a notorious liar. You can’t believe a word that he is going to say: Now, Polly, think. Think hard. What's wrong?”

I watched her closely as she knit her creamy brow in concentration. Suddenly a glimmer of intelligence — the first I had seen — came into her eyes.

“It’s not fair,” she said with indignation. “It’s not a bit fair. What chance has the second man got if the first man calls him a liar before he even begins talking?”

“Right!” I cried exultantly. “One hundred per cent right. It’s not fair. The first man has poisoned the well before anybody could drink from it. He has hamstrung his opponent before he could even start...Polly, I’m proud of you.”

“Pshaw,” she murmured, blushing with pleasure.

“You see, my dear, these things aren't so hard. All you have to do is concentrate. Think — examine — evaluate. Come now, let's review everything we have learned.”

“Fire away,” she said with an airy wave of her hand.

Heartened by the knowledge that Polly was not altogether a cretin, I began a long, patient review of all I had told her. Over and over and over again I cited instances, pointed out flaws, kept hammering away without letup. It was like digging a tunnel. At first everything was work, sweat, and darkness. I had no idea when I would reach the light, or even if I would. But I persisted.

I pounded and clawed and scraped, and finally I was rewarded. I saw a chink of light. And then the chink got bigger and the sun came pouring in and all was bright.

Five grueling nights this took, but it was worth it. I had made a logician out of Polly; I had taught her to think. My job was done. She was worthy of me at last. She was a fit wife for me, a proper hostess for my many mansions, a suitable mother for my well- heeled children.

It must not be thought that I was without love for this girl. Quite the contrary.

Just as Pygmalion loved the perfect women he had fashioned, so I loved mine. I decided to acquaint her with my feelings at our very next meeting. The time had come to change our relationship from academic to romantic.

“Polly,” I said when next we sat beneath our oak, “tonight we will not discuss fallacies.”

“Aw, gee,” she said, disappointed.

“My dear," I said, favouring her with a smile, “we have now spent five evenings together. We have gotten along splendidly. It is clear that we are well matched.”

“Hasty Generalization,” said Polly brightly.

“I beg your pardon," said I.

“Hasty Generalization,” she repeated.

“How mn you say that we are well matched on the basis of only five dates?”

I chuckled with amusement. The dear child had leamed her lessons well.

“My dear,” I said, patting her hand in a tolerant manner, “five dates is plenty. After all, you don't have to eat a whole cake to know that it's good."

“False Analogy,” said Polly promptly. “I’m not a cake. I'm a girl."

I chuckled with somewhat less amusement. The dear child had learned her lessons perhaps too well. I decided to change tactics. Obviously the best approach was a simple, strong, direct declaration of love. I paused for a moment while my massive brain chose the proper words. Then I began:

"Polly, I love you. You are the whole world to me, and the moon and the stars and the constellations of outer space. Please, my darling, say that you will go steady with me, for if you will not, life will be meaningless. I will languish. I will refuse my meals. I will wander the earth, a shambling, hollow-eyed hulk.”

There, I thought that ought to do it.

“Ad Misericordiam," said Polly.

I ground my teeth. I was not Pygmalion; I was Frankenstein, and my monster had me by the throat. Frantically, I fought back the tide of panic surging through me. At all costs I had to keep cool.

“Well, Polly,” I said, forcing a smile, “you certainly have learned your fallacies.”

"You're dam right,” she said with a vigorous nod.

“And who taught them to you, Polly?”

“You did.”

“That's right. So you do owe me something, don't you, my dear? If I hadn't come along you never would have learned about fallacies."

“Hypothesis Contrary to Fact,” she said instantly.

I dashed perspiration from my brow.

“Polly,” I croaked, “you mustn't take all these things so literally. I mean this is just class room stuff. You know that the things you learn in school don't have anything to do with life.”

“Dicto Sirnpliciter,” she said, wagging her finger at me playfully.

That did it. I leaped to my feet, bellowing like a bull. “Will you or will you not go steady with me?"

“I will not," she replied.

“Why not?" I demanded. "

“Because this afternoon I promised Petey Bellows that I would go steady with him.

I reeled back, overcome with the infamy of it. After he promised, after he made a deal, after he shook my hand!

“The rat!" I shrieked, kicking up great chunks of turf.

“You can’t go with him, Polly. He’s a liar. He's a cheat. He's a rat."

“Poisoning the Well," said Polly, “and stop shouting. I think shouting must be a fallacy too.”

With an immense effort of will, I modulated my voice.

“All right," I said. “You're a logician. Let's look at this thing logically. How could you" choose Petey Bellows over me? Look at me —- a brilliant student, a tremendous intellectual, a man with an assured future. Look at Petey — a knothead, a jitterbug, a guy who'll neyer know where his next meal is coming from. Can you give me one logical reason why you should go steady with Petey Bellows?”

“I certainly can,” declared Polly. “He’s got a raccoon coat.”

The end.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Types of Singapore Rain



They say Eskimos have 50 words for snow. Perhaps we in Sg, who see a lot of rain in a year, should have a large vocab for rain. And since it is SG50, we might build on it and have 50 words for our national wetness experience (NWP).
Light misty rain - Powder Rain
Big drop rain - Birdshit Rain
Really big drop rain - Kenna-wallop Rain
Long sleet rain - Chopstick Rain
Got sun also rain - Kenna-sai Rain
Just-washed-car rain - *&%$# Rain
No-more--dry-clothes-to-wear rain - Sibeh-sian Rain
Got thunder no rain - Opposition Party Rain
Got sound got water rain - PAP Rain
Got downpour got flood rain - PAP-panic Rain
Got downpour no umbrella rain - Kenna-stuck Rain
Heavy downpour got pail rain - Kampung Rain
Heavy downpour got soap rain - Kiasu-bathday Rain
Sudden downpour and stop rain - Vending Machine Rain
Street wet but no downpour rain - Buat-gu-you (Butter Bread) Rain
Street half-dry-half wet rain - Sure-get-headache Rain
Can't-see-neighbor-house rain - Monsoon Rain
Can-see-neighbor-a-bit rain - Bath-curtain Rain
Can-see-neighbor-waving rain - You-forgot-to-bring-in-your-clothes Rain
Orchard Road flooding rain - LV-freebie Rain
Bird-flying-in-the-rain rain - Sibeh-sudden Rain
Children-playing-in-the-rain rain - Happy-like-bird Rain
Many thunder-small rain rain - OMG Rain
Car alarm go-off rain - Wah-piang-I-don't-want-to-die Rain
Like pour water rain - Pour Water Rain
Big-small-big-small rain - 4-D Rain
Rain-on-your-funeral rain - You-die-too-early Rain
Rain-at-your-doorstep rain - Sibeh-suay Rain
Rain outside MRT rain - Shud-have-brought-umbrella Rain
Whole Sg sky dark-piffle rain - Long-life Rain
Piffle rain with wind rain - Feel-shiok Rain
Piffle rain with strong wind rain - Shampoo Girl Rain
Wild wind-wild rain rain - Tree-fall-down Rain
Howling rain - Woo-woo Rain
Window slamming rain - Bang-bang Rain
Dog-scared rain - Got-ghost-meh Rain
Got rainbow rain - Rainbow Rain (better than Kenna-sai Rain)
Whistling rain - Time-to-dig-your-ear Rain
Sticky rain - Time-to-bathe Rain
White rain - Code-10 aka Brylcreem Rain
300-dot per inch rain - Inkjet Rain
600-dot per inch rain - Laserjet Rain
1200-dot per inch rain - Bio-Hazard Cleansing Rain
3200-dot per inch rain - Scuba Gear Rain
NDP rain - LKY Challenge Rain
Share umbrella rain - Precious Moment Rain
Raindrops-keep-falling-on-your-head rain - Musical Rain
Swirling, dancing rain - Chinese 7-month Rain
In labour-screaming in pain rain - Cantonese 60s-drama Rain
Cool weather rain - Time-to-koonz Rain
....
...
...
...
Note: Other notable rains familiar to National Service boys:
Morning sun-afternoon rain rain - Brunei Rain (also known as World-is-changing Rain to locals)
A few days of Brunei Rain - No Underwear Rain
Piffle rain - Shiok Refreshing Rain
Sudden downpour - WTF Everything-all-wet Rain
Night thunderstorm rain - No Morning 5BX Rain (aka Chance-to-sleep-in Rain) 
Got thunder no rain rain - Cat-1- or Cat-2-huh? Rain
Got thunder got rain - Back-to-Training Shed Rain
Downpour rain - Training Cancelled Rain
Middleweight rain - Time-to-scrub-armour-tank Rain
Lightweight rain - You-are-all-bloody-guniang Rain
...
...
...

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Chee Mah Hoy - an Ali Baba & 40 Thieves retelling...

A retelling of the famous tale quickly inspired by this pix of belacan shrimp paste. ;-)


Chee Mah Hoy! - an Ali Baba tale
- by TC Lai, 20 May 2015

Ali Baba was a lad who had a thing for curly toed shoes. He was also fond of dark eyeliners the kind wore by Jack Sparrow, a famous pirate. Of these customs, Ali Baba's father was most upset. "Why is my son so fae that he dresses and makes up like a girl," he would lament. Being a traditionalist, he couldn't understand the trendy habits of the young nor their need for identity. In the old days, kids just yearned to own their own camel; these days, they want to win Arabian Idol and be popular with the girls, just like that crosstown boy whose name Beiber (Berber) denoted a noble mixed-race of Arabian nomads, not a sun-scared skinny white dude with the perpetual droopy hair-do and love-lorn look.

One day, Ali Baba went to his favourite man-cave to practise his vocals. The cave had a hole at one end allowing echos to naturally fade. This suited Ali Baba very well as he loved to sing songs of a vibrating and emotive timbre, not unlike a guy named Elvis whose influence traveled farther than his own passport ever did. In this manner his sandals never caught the sands of Arabia, only the petshit on the lawns of Graceland.

Suddenly, during a lengthy pause between notes, Ali Baba heard some noises emanating from an adjoining cave. At first he thought it was a pair of wayward lovers engaging in some pre-nup bedroom rehearsals, but it turned out to be forty guys having a post-mission pow-wow. They had jugs of wine and plates of meat. "No-see-sky pork!" "Wu jia pi jiu!" Ali Baba had no idea what those blokes were saying. 

No see sky pork???

Maybe they had been keeping pigs in the cave (a Muslim, afer all, was forbidden to eat such meats, not to mention the drinking of liquor). In Arabian, wujiapijiu sounded like a fierce swear word, and so Ali Baba decided that these guys weren't exactly school teachers on a retreat.

Creeping closer, he counted 40 brigands standing in front of 40 jars. What those jars were for he didn't have a clue, only that some of these brigands were either standing in them or without.

"Tonight we celebrate," the chief brigand said. "We have managed to ship 40 jars of The Stuff to Singapore, with no one the wiser!" 

'The Stuff' as it turned out was "belacan shrimp" - a potent spice swooned over by ladies in sarong kebayas in Singapore and Malacca, and some say Penang.

But in actual fact, no BS was ever transacted. It's all a ruse to launder money, and to fence off robbed goods. It's one reason why the sarong keabaya-clad ladies in Singapore and Malacca (and some say Penang) were often so well decked in pearls, silver and gold all the time.

Now, as the night wore deep, punctuated by the hoots of three insomniac owls, the 40 brigands slowly drank themselves to stupor and unconsciousness. If an earthquake and tsunami were to happen, they would surely drown.

Ali Baba surveyed the scene before him and caught sight of the gold and silver (and pearl) valuables and decided they were better off on him than whomever they were destined for. Also, such accoutrements would be a plus on his Arabian Idol run-up. No one will suspect they are real given the flourish of costume jewellery on very episode of AI.  He'll just tell any inquisitive sod that it's all costume jewelery anyways! The rest of the treasures he'd use to produce his very own album and on the hiring of ghost songwriters. That will pay better in the long run!

As he was dreaming away, out of the shadows stepped Morgiana, Ali Baba's maid. "My, my, that's some treasure," she said, not without greed. In her mind, she's already envisioning a life free of domestic duties, perhaps setting up a chain of food joints selling authentic Cantonese soups: a skill she had picked up from working as an "oy yung" or FDH in HK for over 10 years.

Of course, she also picked up skills squirreling away employer valuables and how charcoal could be useful outside of cooking. And of course, the ancient Chinese art of pickling.

"Let's dump them in the jars and seal them up," she said, not without glee this time, the gleam in her eyes deadly with intent.

Ali Baba, accustomed to deferring to his maid almost daily, duly obliged.

When all the jars were sealed, Morgiana made sure the cave was airtight and heaped a pile of charcoal ready to burn. That would doubly ensure that the 40 brigands would suffocate and die.

At last, when the fire was roaring, she stood at the cave entrance and uttered "Close Sesame!" Miraculously, a boulder rolled into place leaving the cave behind shut tight. A huge (and probably indentured) Arabian Ghost Crab scuttered away, knowing its days of rock rolling finally over. Morgiana and Ali Baba could only stand in awe at its size. That will make many bowls of crab porridge, thought the soon-to-be 'former' foreign domestic helper.

With the riches moved to Ali Baba's man-cave, Morgiana and Ali Baba set about plotting their futures. One - an entertainer with his voice; the other - an entertainer with her soup spoon. As last heard, Morgiana is still calling the shots on Ali's career. And as an inside joke, she made Ali call his first album "Chee-Mah-Hoy!" to the annoyance of an AI guy named Simon.

The end.

Note: Chee Mah Hoy is Cantonese for "Open Sesame!"; oy yung is Cantonese for "outisde help", i.e. foreign domestic helper (FDH); wujiapijiu is a Chinese table wine.

Steamboat-Steamship

I said this empty steamboat pot reminded me of River Valley swimming pool during its end days. Someone asked me to satirize it and this is the result.



Wednesday, 29 April 2015

No-See-Sky Charsiew

Gorgeous charsiew, isn't it? Made from bujiantian (不见天 ,
 'see no sky' meat, i.e. armpit of a pig where there's
a layer of glassy fat over the lean meat.)