Archive for the ‘Sights from Singapore’ Category

Two is the new One

September 30, 2007

Episode 2 of The Inglorious Slackers is out. The theme this week is films, but we manage to drift in and out of the main topic. Thanks to everyone who’s taken the time to listen to us and offer their feedback 🙂

We really appreciate it.

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Taxi-nomic Irony

August 21, 2007

It’s ten at night, and as if a long day isn’t bad enough, frantic hand-waving (which would put a teenage girl who just saw Hrithik Roshan to shame) results in a taxi driver pulling over, brusquely asking ‘where ah?’ and after realizing that you are pleading with him to take you to a destination not on his preferred route, waves you away and speeds off into the darkness.

What is ironic is that a lot of taxi drivers complain that their trade is not a profitable one, that they are victims of a cruel capitalistic economy; and yet their passenger-screening criterion is more stringent than that of the American Consulate. I always thought that public transport should not have private players – a case in point being my hometown, where cut-throat competition forces bus and rickshaw drivers to ignore traffic rules and the value of the human life, in order to squeeze that last rupee out of a single trip. The upside however is that you never have to wait more than five minutes to get any kind of public transport.

My point with this long-winded rant is that the public transport here is slipping into mediocrity, and probably what is needed to awaken it from its siesta is a potent cocktail of private bus companies, three-wheeler rickshaws and road-rash.

Our 15 seconds

June 26, 2007

<ShamelessPlug>

<What>Bezurk was featured on national television</What>

<When>Couple of weeks ago</When>

<WhereCanISee>YouTube, of course</WhereCanISee>

<AlsoCoveredBy>

<Blog>CodeFront</Blog>

<Blog>Bezurk Blog</Blog>

</AlsoCoveredBy>

<PostScript>I always thought this morning show was a little lame, but I guess I was wrong – they do know what they are talking about ;)</PostScript>

</ShamelessPlug>

Let the good times roll…

June 24, 2007

There was a time in 2002 when we used to play soccer every day. This was the time when everyone was doing their scheduled dose of summer internships, and since my internship involved sleeping with my hands on the keyboard in between sporadic periods of coding, midnight soccer used to be the only solace to an otherwise dreary day. So hooked were we on futbol (it wasn’t helping that the World Cup was going on at the same time), that we used to play in the feeble light of street lamps. The chemistry we shared on the football pitch (or ermm hard courts) evolved into enduring friendships (not to mention a kick-ass Lagaan-esque team which won a hard-court soccer tournament the same year. Granted, the tournament was only open to a few teams, with many participants not having touched a soccer ball in their lives…but what the heck, it was still something to be proud of.)

(more…)

World of Strangers

March 14, 2006

A weather-beaten face, moist eyes, breath smelling alcohol and a salt-and-pepper beard – you would mistake him for Devdas himself. As he wobbled around, unsure of his bearings, you could almost see the albatross perched on his shoulders, refusing to fly away. With a bottle of water in one hand and a cigarette in the other, he sat himself on the ground. Mutterings interspersed with faint sobs. The need to waste away could have arisen from infinite possibilities.

A complete stranger and yet so familiar.

Close Encounters of the Fishy Kind

March 2, 2006

The words Astro-Palmistry should have been sufficiently forewarning. But no…I was sucked into a whirlpool of curiosity, intrigue and hype (zealously whipped up by a fellow victim of palmist-fraud) and after two failed attempts at meeting someone whom testimonials described as possessing ‘beautiful energy’ – I finally got my future laid out to me.

It’s hard to take a palmist seriously when he addresses himself as Master. More so, when he barely looks at your palm and instead makes all his predictions by staring directly at you. Nonetheless, life apparently will be very good to me – all the luck I can get, few or no failures and complete job security. The only negative (and creepy) prophecy made, was that my future wife is either someone who is not even born yet, or is eligible for pension.

After seeing the last of the 10-dollar bill as it slid into the Master’s pocket…I walked away…and my eyes were opened. But heck, it was still fun while it lasted 🙂

Singabore Blues

February 24, 2006

“What seems to be the problem, officer?” It was a typical sultry morning in suburban Singapore and my brain was screaming out loud for caffeine. The junior policeman seemed perturbed about trouble brewing in the distance. “Dunno leh, but experts coming over”.

Experts? I thought to myself. This must be something – I guess I can afford to spend a few minutes, hang around, be part of the impending excitement. The possibilities were infinite – the utterance of the word expert itself led me to derive my own wild conclusions. Bomb Squad? Anti-Terrorist Unit? Bio-Hazard Detection Team? As I waited impatiently, more police cars pulled over; the harsh sun glinting off their windshields; the red-and-blue flashing lights creating an aura of intrigue. More crackling sounds from wireless handsets. Tense drops of sweat were trickling down my forehead and as I looked around, the profuse sweating seemed to have gripped my policeman-friend too.

Finally the expert arrived. After heated consultations with a few portly law-enforcers on the other side of the road, he moved cautiously towards the apparent scene-of-the-crime. A negotiator perhaps? The suspense was killing me. Two armed (with batons) policemen moved in behind him, in the process showing funny hand-signals to their peers (probably picked up from watching too much NYPD Blue). What were they walking towards? Each step seemed to take an eternity. Finally the trio approached a harmless looking tree adjacent to the side-walk. What kind of message does it convey to the rest of the young, restless extremists when a tree in Singapore catches fire?

As the plain-clothes expert knelt over by the side of the tree, a strange sense of deja-vu struck me. I’d always felt that a Singaporean policeman had it easy – the rare freakish murder apart, life for him was a walk in the park. And I have in the past fallen for false-positives in very similar situations. This time, it promised to be different..but I was wrong yet again.

The expert peered into the grass and quickly grabbed at a mysterious object, which turned out to be the slippery tail of a smallish snake. I won’t be surprised if this makes the cover page of Straits Times tomorrow.

God help Singapore.

Disclaimer: All characters and events (though dramatized) described in this post are real and any resemblance to any person living or dead is not coincidental.