Sunday, August 18, 2002

Met up with a group of friends last night for dinner and some catching up. Had a great meal at mezza9, and though I've been there 5 times in the past few years, this is one place where the food and wine is exceptional and the standard meticulously maintained. Their best dishes have got to be those from their Japanese and Thai menus. The sashimi platter is a must, and we sampled their padthai noodles from this fortnight's special selection -- a delicious mix of spicy sauce, giant juicy prawns and other seafood.

Thereafter, we adjourned to Blu, a famous jazz bar at the Shangri-La Hotel here in Singapore. It features live jazz music in the form of a trio -- an African-American female singer, a pianist and a cellist. It wasn't particularly crowded last night, which was unusual, but we didn't mind as we ended up being the only ones in the entire restaurant after midnight -- the majority of patrons was parked at the bar next door. The repetoire consisted of old favourites like Fever, Hit The Road, Jack, and L-O-V-E, and were crooned to perfection. The liquor wasn't too bad either -- the Oasis Blu cocktails were refreshing -- but the margaritas were smeared with salt around the rims of our glasses and a tad too, er, salty. But it's a great place to go to after dinner. Better still if you're with a large group, especially since you can make requests for your own jazz favourites.

Also had the opportunity to have a drink and a chat with Dr. Wong Ting Hway, whom I met a year ago when we worked at the Singapore General Hospital A&E department. At that time, I knew very little about her, but did hear that she'd graduated from Cambridge and had an adventurous spirit. We used to converse with each other over hurried lunches in the staff pantry or during lulls in the usually busy ER, and soon after, she left for Angola, Africa for a stint with Doctors Without Borders. She returned a few months ago and is currently working for the Dover Park Hospice, making house calls, doing rounds, etc. This coming Friday, she will fly off -- yet again! -- to Iraq, on a year-long trip with the International Red Cross organization, ensuring that POWs get adequate medical attention, as well as treating other victims of war crimes.
She just appeared in today's edition of The Straits Times, as she's the first Singaporean ever to work full-time for the Red Cross.
The reason I mention her is because she's one of the most humble, unassuming people I know, despite her great accomplishments ( being only 2 years older than myself ). If you've read the article, believe what she says, 'cos that's the unadulterated truth. I can't think of anyone else more deserving of this honour, or more suited for the job. I thank her for taking the time from her busy schedule to join us at Blu yesterday, and wish her all the best in the year ahead. I'm certain she's destined for even greater things in the near future!

On a lighter note, I recently caught a few episodes of The Osbournes -- yes, that vulgar MTV reality show about that dysfunctional (ie. white trash with money) family, the head of which is Ozzy Osbourne ( how he can sell any CDs with a voice like that is beyond me ). Anyhow, the fact that this series has become phenomenally successful is plain sad. The first time I saw it, more than 50% of the dialogue was bleeped out because of the "F" word, 25% of it involved various forms of swearing over dog excrement ( there're maybe 5 yappy dogs running around the place, all of which aren't toilet-trained, believe it or not ), and the last 25% consisted of inane remarks about really dumb topics.
Friday night, while battling a bout of insomnia, I stumbled upon yet another episode while channel-surfing. And guess what? This one was 90% identical to the last one! The 10% difference was 1) a blonde dog psychiatrist/therapist/trainer with tight buns and a super-thick European accent, 2) a special in-depth focus on Lola, the female bulldog responsible for most of the soiling of the house -- the cameraman particularly enjoys doing close-ups of her when she's doing it, which is awful, yet painfully addictive, and
3) an unexpected visit from Elijah Wood, whose sister is the friend of Ozzy's daughter Kelly.
This family is really off its rocker. And I can only imagine what the mansion smells like -- if it isn't dog poo, then it's really strong carpet cleaner. And here's a novel idea: Want to make a quick buck? Try being the sole supplier of monochromed towels for the Osbournes. They clean up the canine messes with brand new towels each and every time, throwing them in the trash instead of washing them I reckon, so they probably go through 10 of these a day.
So will I catch the next episode? If I'm unable to sleep and need to lose some weight, then yeah!

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