Cultures Collide

On today’s lazy sunny Sunday afternoon, we decided to try the newly opened Thai Massage place in the city. It felt like were we indeed walking into Thailand from the shop’s entrance. The receptionist and masseur are native Thais, and the shop’s decor was inspired by Thai Buddhism statues and artworks. I noticed an orchid sitting on the pillow of the massage chair and wondered for a moment when was the last time I saw such colourful flowers in cold, gloomy Melbourne. The temporal exoticism of paradise recalled my memories of tropical islands and crystal clear blue waters, batik silk and wooden canoe boats. A shock came over my senses when the female Thai masseur greeted us in a subservient and demure tone, which was very unexpected of a female in an equal western society. Or maybe, I myself as a woman had been transformed to be assertive in my speech to be taken as seriously, that being demure is a sign of weakness.

J and I went hunting for mooncakes in Chinatown and found the most gorgerous colourful looking mooncakes in white almond, purple yam and green tea flavours. We feasted our eyes in the asian grocery store carrying a range of japanese snacks, chinese dumplings, malaysian coconut cream and vietnamese paste. J settled for Kimchi soup for dinner, while I preferred australian wine with cheese, and fresh strawberries with melted dark chocolate on the side. I cuddled contentedly on my bed from the feast to dream of my lullabies.

I Kissed Philip Thiel

I kissed Philip Theil, and was part of his quest to kiss a different person each day for 365 days. We met at the Emerging Writer’s Festival opening night and went to his place for dinner. We had a friendly kiss at the door and had a delicious french cooked meal by his partner.

Apparently, there is a safe in their apartment that was sealed when they moved in. We came up with lots of theories on what could be behind the door, including gold bars or yucky corpses. I am in the process of constructing a poem based on “The Safe” and it will be uploaded soon!  :)

Summer in Autumn

Melbourne has a funny way of expressing herself. Her mood is unpredictable, be it hail in the middle of summer or 30 degrees in winter, I would say, to live with her, you got to prepare for her “swings”.

During the last two weeks, it was an average of 16 degrees as the season approaches the winter months. Daylight savings resumed as days become shorter and nights become longer. All of a sudden, Melbourne decides to go into her freakish mood swings again and its now 27 degrees like the old days of summer. And yes, it is supposedly a week towards winter!

Picking up a university newspaper in caulfield monash, I examined our future geologists explanation to his unnatural weather phenomenon. They say, nature is leashing its fury back at us, and we got our grandparents, parents, and probably – industrial revolution to blame for causing weather calamities by polluting the environment, making it inhospitable and unsustainable for us, our children and grandchildren – so on.

I remembered my previous landlady paranoia that one day Australia will dry up of water (as it is the driest continent on earth) and that they would have to revert back to the olden days of retrieving water from wells. “I will migrate to Canada when that happens” I eavesdropped while she was talking over the phone. “Canada has lots of snow, so there will be no water shortage!” She laughed, as I looked at the pigmentation on her dimples caused by the sunny tropical malaysian climate she used to come from. “Don’t use too much water!” she hissed as I was washing the dishes. I jumped in shock and nodded my head. Reminding myself to take a 4 minute shower with a timer to cool her paranoia.

Back to my current apartment, I folded my winter clothes back into my cupboard and took out my summer dresses (again). In glee, I consoled myself that I looked better in tiny dresses anyway. And reminded myself not to buy anymore dresses when back in Singapore, for it would be too bloody cold to wear them till November.

As usual, I went to the local cafe. Andy (the cafe owner) saw me walking towards him and he greeted me warmly.

“Here for coffee?”

“No, I can’t. I have sleep disturbances. I have to stay off caffeine for a while.”

“We could arrange for a decaffeinated coffee for you. Not to worry.”

“Really? That’s great. Its quite sunny today isn’t it?”

“Its strange, it might be the weather you know, and your body is not attuned to the weather changes and thus mixing your body rhythm up. I do not think it is the caffeine.”

“Interesting. That might be true.”

I pondered over his theory over a cup of large decaffeinated latte, as my mind became messed at the taste of latte without the usual caffeine hit, confusing my “body signals” further. Feeling messed from decaffeinated coffee, lethargic from waking up 1pm, and being burnt by summer rays in autumn, I returned home to write this senseless article.

I don’t write about butterflies.

After a heavy lunch, I crawled lazily into an Italian cafe to order a usual cup of latte. It took me quite a while to start writing, and my pen spilled 10 pages magically. I gave a sigh of relief as I had found an ideal place to do my writings without paying $6 per day to travel on the train.

The cafe owner was rather friendly, and noticing my feverish attempt to scrawl pages on my notebook, he curiously asked,

“Are you writing a book?”

“Yes I am, I have been falling asleep every time I do so at home.”

“What kind of novel are you writing?”

“Dark. Horror fiction.”

I saw his expression change a little as he probably expected a little girl to write about butterflies.

“Read this. It is by my favourite author,” he placed a book on my table. The title was One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

“Thank you!” to be honest, I was surprised that the Melburnians courtesy extended this far, I guess I must have made quite an impression.

“Keep me updated with your progress,” He winked.

I might be in some sort of writer’s heaven or something. Never did it come across my mind that I could be in a place so supportive and encouraging. Upon further inspection into the writing community, almost every university or tafe offers creative writing courses. There is Victorian Writers Center, Australian Poetry Center, numerous writing groups… and a literary culture with the highest density of writers and bookstores in Australia.

There is a program on becoming an in-house “cafe poet”. The poet alliances the cafe and does his poetry writing there in exchange for free coffee. The poet offers his services by writing about the cafe, writing for patrons in the cafe and so on. I was rather tempted to take up such an offer but I realised I have not been actively writing poetry.

Size 8 Going On Size 10

After since I came to Australia, being fed rich and tasty food in huge portions, going out with friends and eating all those sins…

I think my days of modeling is numbered.

As much as I like to be in front of the camera and edit images, being in this country is going to just make me gain more and more weight till I become undesirable and unattractive.

That kind of sucks.

Let me show you why I can’t lose weight here.

My favourite mushroom pasta at la porchetta.

Sophia gigantic portions that can feed a family.

The very enjoyable cafe/pub culture outdoors

And of course, the lack of exercise because its simply too cold or too hot to do so.
Now i am on a sushi diet, as it seems to be the only thing here that is small in size for girls who want to remain attractive. Gosh.