Garfieldhug's Blog

This & That Including What Ails

When Is A Lie “Useful”?


Grapes of wrath is the theme here.

If you knew Gregory House, his infamous tagline is “Everybody Lies”!

I take the cynical approach and tend to agree with House. Most times people lie, be it “white” lies or an exaggerated truth. It is to these people, a means to an end; usually of economic gain or physical mind or bodily control.

So when is a lie a good or a bad?

I suppose to protect loved ones say for example if someone has an incurable disease and the need to maintain secrecy for the sake of a positive mindset to up defences. Perhaps this is acceptable. But inwardly most patients know. Hence should it be a course of aggressive therapy or palliative care to enjoy quality of life in end times, closing chapters and loose ends to leave without remorse, regret or baggages? This is the conundrum our society faces. When is it ever a “right” choice or it gives you a “right” to “lie”?

Most, if not all, businessmen lie! If they do not wheel or deal, how do they stay ahead of the pack in a dog eat dog world?

I sometimes feel that their persona in lying is carried through to their personal lives. Lying becomes second nature and they can lie without batting an eyelid.

It is a shame to adopt this lifestyle choice. No truth nor trust exists as lies follow more lies such that they get lost in the web of deceit.

Without any element of truths or half truths how can one ever extend a helping hand to aid such people if they persist in this quagmire of lies?

I know of such colorful personalities and I cannot help but smile inwardly when I catch their lie. Unfortunately I have a gift. It is a gift that is both a boon and a curse. The gift of hearing, listening and remembering. I do not forget things I hear. Unless it is wiped out from anaesthesia.

One gent stands out as he takes me as his personal fool. He piles on his lies like sloppy joe on a bun and I watch as I listen. I reflect and wonder why he is so desperate to win my trust through such conscientious lies?

I suupose it could be this person’s lack of confidence, inferiority complex and an urgent need to make millions overnight!

Wealth takes time to grow and accumulate. It is augmented by frugal or careful spending traits. It is useless if you spend as fast as you earn. No mathematical equation can help equate this.

The morale of this story is….”paper cannot wrap fire”. Lies are usually caught out. The intricate thing is; if or will the person you lie to, will continue to be patiently understanding and continue to trust you to help you stop voracious lying?

Trust, faith and belief or I quote Bird, ” Me, Myself and I” mentality rules or honesty is the best policy presides?

I am patiently waiting for this man to stop taking me for a fool and return with an apology and a deep intent to want to stop lying.

There is nothing to be gained from plying more lies on me. I appreciate the truth always.

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Colorful Personalities (Part 2)


This pair of twins came from Bird who found them in BKK too!!

Sam always hung out with my sister and I felt he was a “bad” influence as he made my sister a fashionista.

Flamboyant and rrogant best describes Sam and from him, I learnt Kenzo, Bruno Magli, Cartier, Gucci and Prada as these became my sister’s only idea of clothing apparel down to jewellery.

Clothes without labels are not clothes! Illogical!! My sister only knew people who had similiar traits. I did not fit in. Sports cars, bling blings etc favored high on her list.

Bimbo is Beng’s beloved. I only have one word to describe this personality – speechless”. Bimbo’s woofies are absolutely spoilt rotten.

Bird is interesting. She has the largest collection of hankies and akins her hair do to “bird nest”. I call my mane “dog hair”.

Rojak Uncle at Dover Market made the perfect rojak but a tad salty. He and my brother got on famously and he often ribbed my brother as his shi fu to teach him the art of good rojak. Sadly Rojak Uncle loves to gamble!

Faridah is hardworking. She owns a malay food stall at Changi market and has great tasting ayam soto, pisang goreng, mee rebus and tahu goreng. I used to tutor Faridah and her brother.

There are colorful personalities amongst us if you bother to look and remember them.

Some are good friends. Some are false friends.

Today S Man looked very stunned when I retorted that I had no friends. If I die and I can count two friends, I would be lucky.

What is friendship? Does it mean if you help someone then you are their friend?

I have gone out of my way to help people. I do not expect anything in turn. Neither do I expect them to keep in touch or care. Frankly, they don’t most times.

Occasionally I get a call and being reminded of what I did to help them. Honestly, I do not remember. But they did. I felt happy to have left a good deed done.

So what is a friend? What makes a friend? Expectations or unconditional love? The latter is never true. Not even amongst family or siblings or husbands or wives…wake up and smell the coffee as deep down therein lies a certain element of expectations.

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Latest Adoptee From BKK & Colorful Personalities (Part 1)

Latest Adoptee From BKK & Colorful Personalities (Part 1)

Isn’t Garfield just adorable?!

Besides being directionally challenged, I must admit I am unable to paint, draw much less, draw a straight line or write in a straight line.

By now my writing is absolutely hieroglyphic and other than my trusty PA making sense of it, I am pretty much self deciphering my own handwriting.

With this inability to draw, I forced self to embark on a minor in Art History at University of Oregon, forming my undergraduate studies.

I learnt Rembrant, Goya, Picasso, Manet, Monet and the list goes on. I understood how oils, water colors or Coptic art is distinct. The colourful history behind each painter, their thoughts and lives as they paint to reflect their lives in the world of art.

One colourful personality that I could look up to and discuss art and architecture was Max. Max was introduced to me through a mutual friend when I was based in HK for two years.

Max was doing his MBA in architecture and chose HK as it was the gateway to China. Max is extremely talented and creative. I admired his design and concepts and walked through his buildings when completed.

Max today is doing well in Shanghai and has upcoming projects in Tibet and other exotic locations. For inspiration, Max travels a lot and when I first knew Max, he was a gentleman of fine cuisine, wine and togs. Always in his Hugo Boss suit with Armani shoes to match and ties including a fine time piece, I learnt from Max to be genuinely humble and kind.

Herman is one I also met in HK as a colleague. A young lad, he joined the company I was in, as an “all rounder” – from sales, to logistics to delivery.

Herman is nice, polite and funny. Today, more than 20 years since I have left HK, I am still able to keep in touch with Herman through Whats App. He is doing his own small business and happily enjoying life. Herman is best remembered for always saying hello or being concerned about my well being.

Next is Prof Zaninovich – my Russian Political Scientist whom I called a deep philosophical thinker in Russian ideology. I always rushed to sign up for his classes as he loves to drone on and on about the Tsars, Berlin Wall and fascinating Russian culture. I was particularly sad when I found out during my senior year that he was suffering from Alzheimers. A brilliant thinker but alas, he is stricken with the worst to affect his brilliant mind.

Dr Robert Smith, my Econ Prof whom I mastered the art of Economics in the Wine Industry. He always appeared in class in his suit and colourful bow ties. From him I learnt to put an entire term of course work on an A4 sheet of paper. You see…he had allowed us to bring in a cheat sheet of an A4 size paper. Being Asian, I copied the entire term’s work of notes on it. The moral of the story is – I learnt everything after copying it and did not have to refer to it during the exam. I got an A+
I have more personalities to write on and who have influenced me in my adult life. Through these colourful personalities I am who I am today.

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Cindy, My Part Time Housekeeper

Cindy worked for me for a while before returning to her country, China.

There is a stigma on China ladies but Cindy eliminated all that as she was pleasant, helpful and very kind. She would fuss over me when I was unwell and her standard of cleanliness was at hospital standards.

I remember when she told me she had to go back. I was very sad as I took her to Tony Roma’s for her farewell dinner.

I tried to find her full time employment but it was tough as foreign workers were sent home by droves given the clamp down on number of work permits allowed.

I approached Beng for assistance to hire her as he had then owned a thriving business and would have the headcount for it. Sadly, Beng had an unpleasant stigma on China nationals and said that she would probably moonlight in other trades!

I felt hurt for Cindy as she had good moral values and worked hard for her money.

I gave up trying to convince Beng to hire her for an office tea lady’s position. I often wondered why Beng was so unwilling to help me help her. I will never know.

Cindy would make the effort to make “Jiao zhi” for me, filled with pork and “jiu chai” or pork with white cabbage. Before she left, she made me 100 pcs to freeze. I stingily ate 10 pcs a time till stocks ran out.

Cindy also had her husband buy me Garfield items from China when he went home. I keep these at heart with me.

I miss Cindy and would have loved to have been able to employ her as she had a kind heart, great moral and ethics, making her a proud Chinese national.

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Typhoon Utor In HK

Herman as well as my brother both live in HK. Whenever there is a typhoon a brewing, I get a “live” broadcast through Whats App.

I really love the live commentary and applaud a quiet update – kudos to smart devices that is fun to punch alphabets in and in real time!

Today by 1pm Typhoon 8 was lowered to signal Typhoon 3. Utor thought to wreak havoc left with a whimper. I am glad as it meant the safety of Hong Kongers or Southern Chinese nationals.

I remember when I lived in HK for almost 3 yrs and went through an average of 2 typhoons a year at signal 8. Once I was out in a private boat with colleagues when Typhoon 8 was hoisted. I did not like that experience as the boatman sped back to shore.

Another time, I was making my way home and had to brave winds and rain as I walked back to Chi Fu Fa Yuen.

I lost my umbrella that day and realised the usefulness of a raincoat.

Well my brother had to rush home to secure his flat and remove his potted plants from the balcony. I remembered that I had to tape the windows of my 3 bedroom apartment then.

There is always an aura of silence whenever typhoons hit as I sat holed up in my tiny apartment, hearing the howling winds and rain lashing the windows.

During those times, I looked forward to Beng calling me long distance to keep me company as I was not used to typhoons.

Natural elements such a typhoons or hurricanes can cause much damage to life and property.

It is a blessing living in Singapore as we get rain, sun, water pondings and at most a water spout phenomena or a few seconds of referred earthquake movements from Indonesia.

I marvel at people living in Americas or HK who have to deal with natural calamaties and admire their resilience.

Take care Bro and Herman!

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I have driven about 8 cars over my life time and am at car number 9 now. I started humbly with my Suzuki Swift 1 litre. It was economical and served me well till I was in a 7 car pile up that left me with little of the car and an almost near death experience. I did not see the light as most would claim, instead I had a vision. Since then, my antenna with the God has been severed and I am now in spiritual limbo. But that is another story!
My next car was then a Mitsubushi Lancer, going next to Toyota Corona, Toyota Camry and then in popped my brother who suggested why bother replacing another Camry when I should walk to the showroom next to Toyota and look at the Lexus ES 300. Off I bought the Lexus ES300 and soon after moved onto the GS300.
I thought I would happily replace my GS300 with another GS 300 when in popped by brother (he is a car buff as you can see and also I trusted his engineering skills). This time he wants me to look at the Mercedes series. He felt it would give me room to grow and buy new models.
I settled on the humble E200. It was really a bad performing car as I was used to the gadgets in a Japanese car and the silence of the Lexus and speed. E200 was sluggish and within 3 months I was smacked in the front trying to move from point A to point B. I swore off the Mercedes and sold it. But the sales person at Mercedes was good and showed me the E240. I tried it and felt it was a better power packed car than the E200. I bought it and drove it till the new Efficiency E series came out.
Today I am settled in E250 though I had a look at the E300 in the same body and size but felt the size and cost not efficient to consider. My brother tried to convince me to buy the S300. I have a problem parking the S300 series (my brother felt I should have bought that instead. I hesitated as I felt I could not handle it, given its size and length).
Well, the cost of cars have sky rocketed and I am now told the S300 series may be in the S$500,000 bracket or more. Sigh…maybe I should have listened to my brother and bought the S300 then!
Still I am excited to try the Mercedes sports utlility version as its height and size is big and no one would bully me on the road! More importantly, I would be safe!

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Pebble Beach Brighton, UK October 7 2011 (Another Throwback To Days Of Yore)

Pebble Beach Brighton, UK October 7 2011

Beaches were usually sand based. I was amazed that Brighton’s Pebble Beach was exactly as the name suggests – comprising pebbles. Prettily colored pebbles that were painful to walk on but delightfully pretty. Part of the English Channel, I was with Mr Hello Hello and his Side Kick, named after a month of the year.

Brighton was interesting as we could find foods from Japan, India, Hong Kong etc.

We walked on the new pier that replaced the one burnt down and it reminded me of my old school days in Oregon where we could see these only at the fairgrounds.

Loads of slot machines (these did not need licensing and was freely available for anyone wanting to have a go at Lady Luck!

Cotton candy – an extinct treat was available too!

Everyone we knew and met said that in Brighton we must try the famous English fudge. I did not like it as I felt English toffees tasted creamier and nicer.

Mr Hello Hello got lost in time looking at the old quaint shops in town as he sampled finely aged whiskies, old collectible watches etc.

Brighton is a good place to visit but if you think the Hilton Hotel there is a swanky one, do not be disappointed as it is quite runned down, though it retains its old charm and chances are no two rooms have the same items of basic amenities.

We had a good laugh as there is no air conditioning just coolers, missing ironing boards, side tables, lamps or the infamous Elsa Safe.

These items were hit and misses in each of our three rooms and oh as for views, we had either a choice of garage view, scaffolding view or brick wall views. Perhaps the English felt we would not be staying much in our rooms!

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My Host Parents


Meet the McKenzies! Lucile and Dean taught me the Oregonian experience along with American Slang 101.
I had my first Thanksgiving with them, tasting pecan and coconut pies complete with yams and roasted turkey.
Christmas was not Christmas without a Douglas Fir tree they gave me.
Trekking up Spencer’s Butte, joining me in my Spring Bash we Singaporeans hosted our many host parents from Baptist Church.
I remember fondly Dean teaching me Iconic columns, Doric columns and Corinthian columns. His love for iconoclastic art is amazing and the art gallery in their petite chateau in Lincoln Street is amazing!
Because of Prof A Dean Mckenzie, I had to take on a minor in Art History with interests in western art and architecture. Yes, Manet, Monet, Ruben, Picasso or Andy Warhol all made sense! I never regretted studying in USA. It taught me respect, understanding apartheid and knowing that America is a melting pot of culture.
It showed how A Texan is different from one in North Carolina, California or Hawaii!
Studying overseas opened my eyes on how others lived outside our little red dot. Without this experience I doubt I would be adept in working in a global MNC. Go Ducks go!!

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Missing Soul Mate


“The person attempting to travel two roads at once will get no where”- Xun Zhi

Beng claimed we were soul mates and that our minds connected.

It is the 7th Lunar Month so I guess Beng’s soul has wandered off and got lost or went in search of a new soul mate. I lost my usefulness.

Beng uses cryptic language and lived a “secretive” “colorful” life. Meetings are equivalent to kopi tiam a tete a tete sessions and each “war” is when he has to kow tow to a “bigger life force” – his ball and chain called Bimbo.

If Beng wants solitude, he would cite “wars” he has to be in and or he is in “big trouble”.

Beng is the best fictional writer, editor and producer of daily soaps. Nothing is real and what you think is real is surreal or half truths.

His best scripts are on a bed of great fiction. From Wall Street type plots to looming debts rendering kidnapping, money laundering, underworld connections of his Bimbo and the imagination goes on and on like an Eveready battery!

I salute Beng’s fantastic ability to weave an intricate tale and convince the audience he lives in it. Wow factor!!

Clap, clap and more claps to a thunderous applause!

Beng wins best actor, producer and narrator awards hands down beating Scorcese, Spielberg or Jerry Bruckheimer any time in plot, script and finding the right supporting cast.

I congratulate Beng on his igenuity, creative talent and wonderful ability to spin a good yarn!

Pity…..this soul is now lost during the 7th Lunar Month.

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Scarecrow is a great Otolarynologist. I first met him at a hospital. He was different as he was artistically inclined and had a great singing voice.
I remember him teaching me to avoid eating chicken as it caused my sinuses to act up. He also taught me to keep a food diary.
I fell very ill one day and was admitted through A&E as I could not stop coughing and could not breathe. I was immediately sent to CCU.
I remember Scarecrow being frantic. He told me he could not leave for his medical conference in KL. I told him to go as I was in good hands under the care of his medical team.
Still, I learnt from the nurses, he called every hour on the hour to find out my condition.
I could not continue having Scarecrow as my doctor as things got complicated as he was emotional and as a doctor, it did not bode well with me.
I last met Scarecrow recently. Today Scarecrow is an accomplished surgeon in private practice, reknowned for mercy mission work and a great painter.

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