Serendipity, Aurora Borealis, Parenthood, Loy Krathong, Duck Master, and what Life presents

My sister and brother-in-law caught the Northern Lights.

My brother in Canada has caught/seen it several times.

PL was commenting on it. She said that having seen photos of it, she doesn’t think it’s something that she would want to make an effort to go see.

She’s a very practical person and I suspect she does not see how seeing the Aurora Borealis would change her life in any substantive manner.

I agree with her.

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Duty, Courage, and Responsibility

In the last week or so, there were two stories that evoke a response from me.

One was the story of Scott Peterson, the Deputy Sheriff at Florida Parkland school shooting who took cover while the gunman was shooting and killing 17 people – students and teachers – in the school.

One sympathetic comment was that he was armed with a handgun, while the gunman was armed with an AR-15.

The fact that the Deputy was 54 years old was particularly relevant to me. He was about my age.

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A Dance of Dragons

Z is still fascinated, enthralled by Lion Dances, and all it takes is the rumbling beat and staccato backbeat of the Lion Dancers drums to draw her attention.

This evening, she was napping in my bed, when the lion dance drums called to her (there was a performance not far away), and she woke.

But earlier in the afternoon, when we were shopping at Toa Payoh Central, she heard the drums.

PL took her to catch the performance while I paid for the “French Loaf” I was buying.

I followed the sound, and thought, this drum beat sounded different. It was “funkier”. There was a rolling beat, with sharper cymbals.

Then I saw the Dragon.

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Dancing Lions 2018

I have a personal grading system for Lion Dancers and their performances.

We just watch a performance at Novena Square, with a Lion Dance Troupe hired to perform on columns and and they are at least a Level 3.

With the highest level requiring or demonstrating greater skills and athleticism.

Level 1 is the lowest starting level and basically requires one to put on the costume and prance around a bit. There would be little or not acrobatics or display of athleticism.

These “dancers” would have been familiarised with the basic moves (cocking the head of the lion, working the mouth, eyes and ears, and the basic steps or choreography and synchronisation with the drum beat. It is more difficult that it looks.

At level 1, the Lion Dancers can do VIP greetings (they wait to receive the VIP at some celebratory function, then prance around joyfully when the VIP arrives), New Year greetings and wishes door to door or stall to stall at shops and businesses. The cramp confines proscribes any acrobatic feats anyway.

Level 2 would be slightly more advanced. Here the Lion Dancer would need to have some acrobatic skills. Standing on the hind legs (the front dancer has to be carried by the back dancer, or has to rest or step on the back dancer.) There would also be jumps, rolls, and other complicated actions requiring skills and coordination. Such a skilled team would be suitable to lead or headline a commissioned performance for auspicious wishes for a business. We saw one last year when there was 9 Lions. But only one lion was a level two, doing all the “hard work”. The other 8 were Level 1 back-up dancers providing numbers, and adding to the sense of auspiciousness.

But at Novena Square that evening Z (and we) caught a Level 3 Lion performance.

There is skill, coordination, courage, trust, and teamwork for two men to walk on 2 m high columns that are only about the size of a dinner plate, and DANCE bent over in a Lion costume. Add in jumps and leaps and contortions on the columns, and you have to realise that there are hours of practice behind that level of confidence and expertise.

Of course to my jaded eye (seen other performance on Youtube), I am sure there are higher levels of lion dancing skills.

But that was spectacular.

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On dying of old age.

I was telling Z to be careful about something (I forget what) or she might die.

“What’s ‘die’?”

“It’s like going to sleep and never waking up. You can’t move, you can’t see, you can’t hear, you can’t eat, you can’t drink, you can’t laugh, you can’t cry, and you can’t smile. You’re dead.”

She repeats some of it back. She doesn’t seem quite sure of my explanation. I try again.

“Do you remember Aunt Sylvia? She’s dead.”


Well, she had a stroke, and then there were complications, and then there was septicaemia, and then she died. But that was probably too… complicated for a 3 year old.

“Because she’s old,” I answered, hoping to keep things simple.

Fat hope.

“Why is she old?” Z asks.

“Because she was born a long time ago.”

PL snickers.

“What? It’s true! Bring born 80, 90 years ago is a leading cause of being 80, 90 years old today!”

(The other leading cause of old age is celebrating too many birthdays.)

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Feng Shui Master of the Titanic

Apparently, there is going to be a re-org at my office.

Which doesn’t concern me because I realise that re-orgs are just a way for people who do not know what to do, to appear to be doing something, and appear to know what they are doing.

Most of the time, after re-orgs, I end up doing exactly the same thing – if I am doing the right thing – though sometimes for a new boss.

In this instance, it REALLY doesn’t concern me because I’m no affected by the re-org.

Re-orgs are like re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

After it has hit the iceberg.

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Cheap (a.k.a. Cheapskate)

ZooMoov is the kiddie ride you find at various shopping malls in Singapore where the cartoon characters (currently Paw Patrol. If you don’t know what “Paw Patrol” is, you obviously are not a toddler, nor do you own one) can zip around the mall for a price.

The “usual” price is $5 a ride and if you are paying that, you are either incredibly disciplined, or incredibly oblivious.

Because, at various times, ZooMoov will offer discounted packages – 5 rides for $15, or currently 8 rides for $24. Both of which works out to $3 a ride.

And if you buy the $24 package at this time, you get a complementary (or is this complimentary?), well, free pack of 4 ZooMoov ang pows.

And if you looked at the ang pows carefully, you will find that the flaps of the ang pows can be detached, and will give you a ZooMoov ride.

When I discovered it, I told PL and we were happy that with the 4 flaps to the 8 rides, we would have 12 rides for $24 or $2 a ride!

Great deal.

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