Truth be told, I haven't been much of a jeans person for a long time. Between cycling to work and traveling, jeans are usually too hot to wear in Singapore, or too heavy to fit into my ultralight packing ways.
So when Uniqlo asked me to try their jeans, I thought, why not? I bought the jeans before my Germany trip last month (only $59.90! Way less than I pay for my branded jeans in factory outlet stores!).
I noticed right away that the material is lighter and stretchier. Wearing them felt comfy and soft, and not warm. What manner of of quality jeans fabric were these?
I read the label and it said it was Kaihara Denim, and it was lovely. It stretched at the right places (there is a touch of spandex in there) and I could wear it all day without feeling discomfort, whether in hot and humid Singapore or the cold mountains of the Bavarian Alps.
I showed the jeans to my wife and she said, ya, she has a few Uniqlo jeans. They are very comfortable and are among her faves, she told me. I didn't even know she owned one, let alone a few pairs.
So far, I have worn the jeans to work, walked the streets of Berlin and Munich, hiked the Untersberg mountain in Austria (it is part of the Berchtesgaden Alps) and even did a few air guitar jumps for fun.
I washed them a few times in the 15 days I was away last month and each time, the jeans dried way faster than my usual all-cotton jeans.
And I don't always get so happy about pants but I liked them so much, I got myself another pair in grey.
I didn't expect the #ReturnMyCPF Protesters/YMCA Hong Lim blog post to generate that many comments. In case you don't feel like fading through the more than 240 comments on my blog (and elsewhere), I thought I'd share some of the classy ones I got.
This one is from "Chloe", who writes: "You absolutely lost it. Just because you are unfortunate to give birth to a "special needs child" doesn't give you the right to blaspheme our brave freedom fighters. Get the context right - unless you also have special needs."
I like how Chloe uses the word "unfortunate" to describe our family situation. I assure you, we don't feel unfortunate. We are very happy and blessed to have all our children in our lives. I also like the use of the word "blaspheme". I didn't know I was dealing with messiahs.
Here is another one from "selamat": "…We don't care if your daughter is autistic or why you are suddenly sucking up to the pigs. We do care about your brazen attack on our champions. Bring it on, stop using your children as a shield. You are pathetic."
While hiding behind the shield of internet anonymity, the commenter accuses me of using my children as a shield. It amuses me.
This final one is from Singapore’s very own brave anonymous crusaders, Occupy Singapore. Yes, the ones who same fellows who declared "Occupy Raffles Place" and then didn't turn up. They throw in their 2 cents on my Hong Lim post. It made a small tinkling sound on the pavement.
Update: A PUB gentleman called me up a few days later and told me his guys found a blockage in the sewers along the street and cleared it. And gave me his mobile to directly call him if any more blockages or smells happen again. Cool.
Me to LTA hotline, 29th September, Monday, 10.22pm: "Hello, I want to report a nasty smell along Upper Serangoon Road, at the junction of Simon Road. I think it may be sewage. I can see a trail of water on the side of the road running for quite far. Maybe a sewage truck spilled it or a pipe burst somewhere. It is very smelly."
LTA hotline: "Thank you for the feedback. We will inform PUB."
The next day…
PUB hotline calls me, 30th September, Tuesday, 1.21pm: "Hello, you reported a smell at Upper Serangoon Road? Did you see any water flowing out of somewhere?"
Me: "Er, yes, I reported it. No, I did not see any source, just the smell. And a trail of water along the road side."
PUB hotline: "Ok, I will send my man down to investigate now."
Me: "I made this report last night. I think the water dry up already."
Maybe I was two days too early for the new Municipal Services Office hotline.
I am going to come right out and say this. If my daughter, Faith, who has autism, or any of my kids, had been on stage performing that day at the YMCA event, and Roy Ngerng, Han Hui Hui and gang came over to disrupt the proceedings, I would have taken their signs and placards and shoved the lot up their collective arses.
I don't care what your cause is. You can protest in your own time and your own space. In fact, NParks gave you your own space, the other lawn, at another part of the park. But noooooo, you wanted to target the minister who was attending the event as a guest of honour.
Was Minister of State Teo Ser Luck speaking at a CPF symposium at Hong Lim Park? No, it was a charity carnival for special needs kids by an organization that has absolutely nothing to do with the Gahmen.
Well, you mess with a bunch of special needs kids performing at a charity event, and it will get personal. I am making it personal.
You are not crusaders. You are not freedom fighters. You are not defenders of the downtrodden, Roy and Hui Hui.
As of now, you are a bunch of insensitive wankers who will do anything to get attention, even if it means scaring special needs kids with your antics.
I will leave you with a comment made by a YMCA volunteer about the debacle. I hope you are proud of yourselves, Roy & Co.
Roy Ngerng, on your blog, you even called your farcical event "The Most Groundbreaking Protest in Singapore since 1965".
Buddy, you flatter yourself. People in Hong Kong are getting tear-gassed fighting for democracy. You merely went to a charity carnival and upset some special needs kids.
Caption: Shi Hao is annoyed his wife Yuhau didn't let him upgrade his mini-compo stereo hifi. #夜市人生
In the process, I learned that you can add punctuation by saying 句号 (jù hào) for period, 逗号 (dòu hào) for comma, and 问号 (wènhào) for question mark. And did you know that the Chinese term for hashtag is 井号 (jǐng hào)? I thought it was cool that the word 井 looks like # too.
In other news, I serenaded my wife when we drove home from the in-laws, and sang Sixteen Going on Seventeen, from The Sound of Music, to her, to the amusement of my kids.
That's something I had to do myself, with my own voice, no Siri could help me with that. The Wife seemed to like it.
"It's been a wet Summer in Austria," our host said. And she was right. We expected clear skies here in Reith bei Seefeld but it was not to be. We woke up to rain. Even the mountains in front of our terrace were covered with clouds and mist.
Still, we thought, we should see the Austrian Alps somehow. That's what we came for. So we drove to nearby Bergbahnen Rosshütte and took a cable car up.
The ride up to the summit was fun. It took two different cable cars, the first to the middle station, then a second one to the top. In winter, you would also be taking ski lifts to ski down the slopes but this was still the summer season and most folks came to hike.
Because of the rain, the place was a little empty. So we were the only cable car passengers. I'm sure this place is teeming in the winter. Or when it doesn't rain in the summer.
We are glad we went up there. Rain or not, the view was awesome.
After standing in the sheltered part of the summit, we decided to hike down to the middle station instead of taking the cable car down.
The rain was not as heavy anymore and it was too beautiful to not try walking down the mountain. I learned quickly that I was no longer that young strapping soldier in National Service. Good thing I wasn't carrying a full pack and weapon on this hike.
Nothing like a huge mountain to make you feel small eh? We are puny humans just taking a short walk in the vastness of creation.
After the satisfying walk down the mountain, we made our way home and Ryan cooked again.
And we were greeted by this sunset from our living room.