Wednesday, June 30, 2010

June in pictures

The month of June came and went, and in many ways, was characterised by the World Cup. We got our living room up to scratch progressively so that by the time the knockout stages had come along, all our new lights were beaming from the ceilings. June also saw the arrival of some key appliances - some whose stories are told here, others whom we'll talk about another day. Here is our June in pictures.

The big box came in just before the World Cup, which we watched on projector all month!

Every good tournament needs its corresponding decorations!

Our pick of toilet-inspired Penguin postcards! You haven't seen the last of this yet!

A poster of Italian cities on postcards. It was from a Singaporean shop and we must return for more!

Our collection of retro glasses, half of which were picked up from flea markets. Spot the Ikea ones!

Athalia's Pixar lamp, illuminating our study room for the first time.

My cell members gave me like a billion dollars worth of Ikea vouchers for my birthday - and it went into this!

Say goodbye to the dobi - here's my jeans hanging out after its first domestic wash. Bliss...

Friday, June 25, 2010

Hitler reacts to Germany vs England

This is a video I made to commemorate England's survival in the World Cup - the one where they ran directly into the warpath of age-old rivals Germany. These Hitler videos have been remixed to no end on Youtube, but it's always still a lot of fun. So here's my contribution to that scene. Hehe.

Enjoy the video, and if you like it, help us send it out to all your friends!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

These glorious birthdays

We are sensationally late in posting these up, but late has it's charm and late is better than never.

Athalia turned 27 on May 20th. We had quite a lot of fun that day, careening with abandon down the smorgasbord of Tenji's lunch buffet. I had six coconut drinks (yes, out of the coconut) and something like five slices of durian cheesecake. Athalia made the most of the sashimi, sushi, maki, more coconuts and ice cream. Too bad their octopus wasn't that hot (and by that, I mean it was hot, in a weird spicy way), and too bad we only discovered the crouching Häagen hidden Dazs stand after we had finished.

The partying continued for a few days after, with a surprise dinner with her cell the next night ending up with more overeating at Italiannies, Empire Gallery. The next morning saw breakfast with her family at Dome, where Athalia cracked open her gift to reveal ... a Pixar lamp!

I turned thirty on June 13th. I know, spelling it out doesn't make me seem so old but the truth is, I love being thirty, and as such, I shall use numbers instead. I am 30!

Had lunch at Bavarian Bierhaus with Athalia's parents, and that was followed up with a return to Empire Gallery's Italiannies (can you tell we like it there?) with my siblings for dinner. We then adjourned to my sister's to catch the remnants of Serbia vs Ghana cut the cake and rip into all the gifts. In keeping with the correlation, I also got (among other things) Ikea lamps!

The days and nights of binge gluttony culminated in a surprise party Athalia organised for me, attended by my cell, the Dengkil Squad and my Large Door Pictures buddies-for-life. I've always been nervous about my different groups of friends coming together but it was as memorable a birthday as they come. Special does not begin to describe it.

Oh yes. And The Netherlands snuffed out the Danes 2-0 that night. See the orange connection in the photos? If turning 30 was so fun, being 30 can't be that bad.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Buying dish-washing liquid with Athalia kicks ass

Grocery shopping with Athalia's gonna be fun.

A few nights ago, we hit Carrefour and what began as a simple stopover to pick up some cleaning products turned out more like a dress rehearsal for a lifetime of supermarket shopping. I'll drop you in just as we began bickering about what dish-washing liquid to get.

Fergus: I know your mum uses Sunlight, but do we really have to buy it as well?
Athalia: But why? I like Sunlight.
Fergus: Yes, but it's like, twice the price of the other brands.
Athalia: It's not twice.
Fergus: It is. Look, it's RM5.50. That's twice the price of Labour.
Athalia: No it's not. That's 3 something.
Fergus: No. Look, RM2.60.
Athalia: But my skin is sensitive. You don't want my skin to be hurt do you?
Fergus: No, that's why, we can get Glo. See, Glo is a good brand and it's like, 4 something.
Athalia: No Glo.
Fergus: We can't walk down these aisles and pick up all the premium products.
Athalia: But we're not doing that. I gave in on the Scotch Brite.
Fergus: True. Still, why can't we just get Labour?
Athalia: Because I support the Tories.


Fergus: Ok, you convinced me.

(30 seconds later)

Fergus: I love that you can make these kind of jokes.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Ring V: Inscriptions

As the date approaches for us to collect our rings from Sofia our jeweler, the entire narrative draws to an exciting climax. And one of the finishing touches we've had to consider has been inscriptions on the rings.

Most people inscribe something on the inside of their wedding rings - usually the wedding date or a short message or the couple's initials or a combination of them. We've decided to go with a short message, or what turns out to be not-short-enough message. See, it's not easy to get inscriptions done with more than 12-14 characters. That's pretty much the standard limit for I dare say all jewelers here in Malaysia. But there is a solution. We can bring them to Singapore, where we've located one or two folks who inscribe up to 20-odd characters. And so, we figured, we'd collect the rings first, get married first and then get the inscriptions done later. When we make a trip to Singapore. (And I might add, not have to stay in backpacker dorms no more.)

So what are these inscriptions that require this extra trip out of the country to get done? Well, Athalia's is the longer of the two, namely FAITHFUL TILL THE END. I like it, and she loves it. Maybe she should explain why she chose it for herself in the comments. For me, I'm gonna go with LEST WE FORGET. If this reminds you of visiting a military memorial shrine, it's because it's used in those places, but I really connect with the meaning of it. On the surface, it's a reminder of the marriage covenant - lest we forget, Fergus, we're married, so behave accordingly. (Incidentally, I talk to myself often in plural form - no, I'm not schizophrenic. It's more like: "Come on Fergus. Let's do this. Come on!" - which explains why I've decided to keep the original WE pronoun.)

But underneath that lies a second meaning that's more important to me. Marriage on earth, as I've come to believe, is but a dress rehearsal for the divine marriage between Jesus and his church when this whole creation thing gets rolled up. The Bible calls husbands to love their wives as Jesus loves his church. LEST WE FORGET for me is a reminder that my marriage to Athalia is to be a mirror and a representation of Jesus' eventual union with his family of believers. And because this higher union is for those who remain faithful till the end, the LEST WE FORGET requires the FAITHFUL TILL THE END. They complement each other.

Of course, it could also just be a war memorial tagline - which would give my bachelor days the glint of militant heroic sparkle that it actually never had. But ssshh... let's imagine for now that it did!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Before we marry, our books will marry

Okay, so getting Athalia to move in with me two months before the wedding is about as kosher as char siew at a Passover table. But I'll tell you what can move in. Her books.

And in fact, they have. A few nights ago, I lugged home one box of her books and began the task of consolidating her collection with mine. It's the kind of thing that makes me happy in the pits of my stomach.

I mean, it's not just a practical act of putting belongings in the same place. No, it's a quasi-union of the works that shaped our minds. It's a marriage of two families of thinkers and authors - hers, from her shelf, with mine, on mine.

The books on my shelf are divided into genres and filed alphabetically from left to right. I've got Fiction on the top shelf and General Christianity on the second shelf. The third shelf houses a mix of Philosophy, History and Christian reference while the fourth has the artier categories: Music, Films, Theater, Poetry, Travel and Football. The fifth shelf has General Reference and Language.

From among the first few of her books, I'm confronted by the need to create new categories. I had pulled out from her box a book that can only be classified as Inspirational. I swear, I've never owned an "inspirational" book in my life. Where does it go? In terms of mood, it'll find the most friends on the Christianity shelf, but it's not a Christianity book. It's just good old-fashioned Inspirational. Okay, create a new one-book category.

Next comes a bunch of fictions and suddenly I meet another pair of books for which there is no existing grouping: a book by writers about writing, and the journal of a writer's jottings. I guess I could put them with the languages but they're not really about language but about ideas and writing. Hmmm... ok, another new category. Nice - now we've increased in breadth.

But it's not just the new genres that matter. It's the enrichment of the existing ones too. My fiction shelf is all the more cultured for it. Now, somewhere between my fixations for Calvino and Eco is a Roald Dahl. One shelf below, between the church-enforced purchase of Rick Warren and a Ravi Zacharias now quaintly sits a Yancey number. (More Yanceys will follow when the other boxes arrive!)

One more shelf below, right next to my copy of Plato's Republik is ... her copy of Plato's Republik. Yes, what do we do with the repeat titles? Leave them both there? Hide one? Give one away? What if both have sentimental value? Mine's a birthday gift from Ernest. Hers, she bought with me when we had just started dating and was not presumptuous enough to imagine this day would come. Elsewhere, Jewel's anthology of poetry is also repeated, uncorroborated, as are the first two books of the Narnia series (I have the first two, she has the whole set).

Mind you, this is just the first box. There are many more boxes. I've had to move Travel and Football down to the fifth shelf to make space for the rest. Once the other boxes come in, I'll need two rows for Fiction alone and that's gonna send the Christianity books into a diaspora so extensive, they'd think the Babylonians had returned.

Of course, all of this is a good problem to have. And as I add more of her books into my shelf, the metaphor becomes clearer and clearer - marriage is gonna absolutely kickass, not because it's addition but because it's amalgamation. So, for now, books. Yes, just books. Keep it kosher.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Hullo, second half of 2010

It's the first day of June. At least it was when I started writing this and left it sitting incomplete in the drafts till now. But anyway. This marks the first day of the second half of the year. Which got me thinking.

1. I counted and there are exactly 10 weekends left before The Wedding Happens. Across 4 of those weekends, The World Cup Happens. Meaning, there will be less time to think about The Wedding That Is Happening. Btw, I came up with this month's tagline. Surprised?

2. I can't really imagine what married life would be like. At this point, it doesn't feel like anything will change, other than when I wake up I wouldn't be alone in my room anymore. To be honest, it sometimes feels like I've been married to Fergus for a while now. Mainly because how we interact is hardly inwardly-orientated and exclusive or "couple-in-love" anymore. Instead, it's evolved into running around carrying out other relational obligations together - my family, his family, my church, his church, his cell, my cell, friends, countrymen, lend me your ears. Add to that: facing all the chores and duties and errands of being adults - servicing cars, paying bills, budgeting and buying household supplies (more on that coming up!). See, don't we sound like a married couple already?

3. I've always known I wanted to get married. Some people are in the "It'll be nice if it happens at some point but I'm not too fussed about it either way" or "I don't think so right now, maybe when I'm older?" camps, but I never was. There never was a question about it, but right now asI get nearer and nearer to changing my single status permanently, I'm thinking about how I don't want being married to define me in big way. Or maybe, I don't want it to redefine me in a big way. It's like I imagine that after the 14th of August, I'll have a big label stuck on me that says MARRIED WOMAN that I can't take off or cover up and everyone will stare and point.

Hmm. Maybe I'm feeling self-conscious among our mostly unmarried friends and cell members.

Anyway, those are my muddled thoughts so far. And now I'm gonna throw this out there. Tell me, how do you think being married re-defines someone?

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