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Permanent Link: Angry, angsty week

Posted Jun 12 2010 12:00am

PHEW it’s been a busy week. Anyway my parents came on Monday and left early yesterday. I am very sad now, and I feel lonely all over again. Sigh.

On Monday, I brought them to Chinatown and we ate at this vegetarian place there called Happy Veggie.

I read the reviews about it on a blog (and by the way, that highly suspicious blog had only ONE FOOD REVIEW. No more blog entries after that. Might it have been written by the owner himself?!?!? HMMM!) We tried the much raved about (at least, on that blog itself) mushroom with sesame sauce or something.

The mushrooms were coated in some starchy ingredient. They looked like rubber, tasted like rubber, and smelled like rubber. Thinking back, they probably were rubber. Then we had dumplings which had very thick tasteless skin and stinky fillings. Everything we ordered was either unexceptional, or just plain bad. I imagine that’s the kind of food they serve at prisons to punish criminals for their crime. I felt very sorry for all the customers there, including us, of course.

After the stomach-churning lunch, we went to Qiuapo Church, where there were lots of fortune tellers and palm readers around. I got myself a palm-reading session at $3 with an old woman with bright red painted cheeks, and whose wet fingers circled my wrist tightly while she looked at me earnestly for twenty minutes.

She couldn’t speak English, and I couldn’t speak Tagalog, so it was very exasperating. As nessa would’ve put it, she might as well have been talking in Wingding or igloo-speak. Finally, some kind passerby offered to translate, and told me that I’ll live a long life, be successful in business, have three husbands and five children, including two sons, and I’ll spend whatever money I earn, so I won’t be rich. I looked at my palm-reader with great doubt.

First, I don’t intend to get married, let alone three times. Please lor, my parents will kill me, assuming I’m not first killed by shame and embarrassment. Second, I don’t intend to give birth. Maybe she’s talking about adopted kids. Maybe I’ll have two boys from Zimbabwe and three girls from Korea?

So I tested my fortune teller and said, “Do I like pork? Do I like fish? Am I marrying a girl?” and she said “YES”, AND THAT WAS WHEN I KNEW SHE WAS A FRAUD. But then…… maybe she just didn’t understand my English. I left feeling kinda unsettled. Then we walked around the area and bought touristy stuff like handicrafts and crap. Haha. There was a shop selling wooden snakes that looked and moved like real ones. SUPER COOL!!! I haggled very hard over the price with the girl there.

Haha it took me about five minutes to realise that the girl actually is a transgendered boy. He had painted lips and plucked eyebrows. I was like, “Please lah, give me a discount, you are very pretty!! Discount, please!!!” And he was very flattered. Hehe. Check out his coquettish pose and come-hither look. So sexy~

I wanted to bring the snake back and scare Benazir with it. Haha. I was entertaining fantasies of how she would run screaming frantically from the apartment, never to return again. Then peace and cleanliness would reign and I would be a happy person… BUT I FORGOT TO BRING THE SNAKE BACK TO MY PLACE. Sobsob.

Anyway, I was SUPER SUPER pissed with her on Thursday. I woke up and went to the kitchen and saw my PRECIOUS, BELOVED blender lying on the rack and I knew she had used it cos normally it’s on the table. I was going to put it back on the table when I saw pieces of mango still inside, and an entire colony of ants swarming over it. OMG. I was hopping mad. Firstly, she didn’t even ask me if she could use it, and secondly, at least have the decency to wash it instead of dirtying it and leaving it there overnight!!!!! I felt really sick and angry. ANTS ARE GROSS. Yeah, I know I’m in P3TA, but I don’t love animals to death, or go all weak-kneed when I see a cute, endearing cockroach.

I wrote her a furious, scathing letter stating that I’m not her cleaning servant, that we both share this house and can she please wash all utensils well before sleeping every night. She leaves dishes in the sink for DAYS and all the knives and forks she uses are encrusted with some dubious brown shit. Also, she never thanks me for washing her utensils, taking out the garbage and mopping the house. Luckily my dear parents brought me my own knife, fork and spoon and bowl.

Benazir wrote me back a note which I found at night, saying she didn’t know the blender was mine and that she didn’t ask me to clean her stuff. OMGGGGGGGG. She enclosed me a packet of MSG-laden maggi mee as a peace offering, and I wrote back with a short and terse “Thanks”. As you can see, the communication between us two room-mates is very good indeed. No need for verbal exchange at all.

GRRR!! I was so pissed, I took out my anger on cab drivers that night. By the way, I really really really HATE the manila cab drivers. They all have an IQ of approximately -5, do not know where they are going, and also move very slowly. Seriously. It’s like any Dicky, Toby or Harry here can be a cab driver. It’s not like in Sg where you have to have a license and pass an exam and know all the main streets and roads well. The people here don’t know ANY street or road.

Thursday after work, I dashed out and waited in the pouring rain (cos I still haven’t bought an umbrella) for half an hour for a cab. When one finally deigned to stop for me, I got in hurriedly and the asshole turned off the taxi meter and said “No meter.” I ordered him to turn on the meter, and he kept refusing cos he saw that I was a soaking wet female foreigner who looked like she had deep pockets for him to rob. Finally, he ordered me to get out and I was damnnn pissed cos I didn’t know when the next cab would come. And really, why does he wanna cheat me? I’m just as poor as he is!

So I scrambled out and told him “PUTANG YI NAMO” before I slammed the door. Which means “Die, you sonofabitch!” (Vera’s maid taught me this four years ago, and it’s the only Tagalog phrase I know. Haha. Good thing it came in handy that night!) He flew into a fury and asked me to go F myself, and I was half-afraid he’d come out and beat me to a pulp, but he drove away. PHEW.

The next cab driver was just as bad. He didn’t know where Jupiter St was and asked me to look out for it while he drove around. WTH?!?!?! He drove in circles for about fifty years, during which I aged and grew white hair and whiskers. Finally, he stopped (in the middle of the road with cars honking behind him) and asked me to spell out the cafe’s name to him. He said, very slowly, at a pace of one syllable per minute, “C-O-R-N-E-R, T-R-E-E- Cafe?” Wah lao eh, I was bursting at that moment cos my parents were already waiting 40minutes for me. And you know what the next best thing he did was?

The cafe was just about 50metres away when he decided that it was the most perfect, ideal time to get a refuel at a petrol station while the taxi meter ticked away. I said as calmly as I could, “I’m in a rush!!!!!!!!!!!” and pulled out my hair. He gazed at me placidly as though I was a mild, irritating fly whom he had to endure. I glared at him with great hatred. Finally, I reached the cafe full of angst and anger against my disgusting room-mate and cab drivers in Manila. I normally don’t lose my cool at anyone, but I was in a FREAKING rotten mood that day.

But well, the food cheered me up immensely! I love Corner Tree Cafe!! It’s vegetarian and very vegan-friendly. You can opt to have no cheese in your meals, and to have your smoothie in soymilk, not cow’s  milk. LOVE THEM TO BITS!!!!!!!!! And it’s very cosy inside, too. I had a peanut butter banana smoothie. Oh my mama, it was so rich and thick and creamy, and sweet and salty at the same time. Freaking GOOD. PLEASE GO AND TRY BLENDING A BANANA, A TABLESPOON OF PEANUT BUTTER AND SOYMILK. NOW!! NOW!!

"We deliver TWO anyone"?!?!?!?!?! What kinda English is that?!?!!

Anyway, every dish was perfect. The sweet potato fries were thick, fresh and crisp. My father had a tofu walnut burger which my P3TA boss loves like hell, but I didn’t see what the big deal was about it. It was just all right.

My mom had fried lumpia (spring rolls), and the best thing about the lumpia other than its taste was that it had a strand of hair in it. HAHA. I pounced on it immediately in delight and cried, “GIVE US A DISCOUNT!!!” (But no, they didn’t. They just didn’t charge us for the lumpia. Oh well. At least we saved S$3.)

white bean hummus with chunks of toasted whole wheat bread and vegetable sticks

It was our last meal together, so we ate till we nearly burst at the seams. We ate till food flowed out of our ears and noses and then we staggered into the night air, clutching our swollen bellies and moaning never to eat again.

Oh yes, we had kare-kare too, which is a traditional Filipino dish, but our veganized version was vegetables stewed in peanut sauce, served with a bowl of red rice. It was good! And we had spaghetti, with toasted almonds, broccoli, olive oil and some lemon. (No pics cos we finished them before I remembered.) And their banana toffee pie was simply SUBLIME. I think that place has the best food in Manila, hands down (not like I”ve been to many places here, but whatever.) Not only does is the food fabulous, it’s also healthy!!!

It was a great meal. :) I’ll never say anymore that my parents dont love me. I realised they really do…. even if they always criticise me and scold me for being dirty and untidy and stuff (HA! WAIT TILL THEY GET BENAZIR AS THEIR DAUGHTER!!!)

I hadn’t realised how bad Daddy’s back was until Tuesday, when he had to stop and rest every few steps, and in the end Mummy and I walked around the shopping centre while he sat and waited alone cos his back hurt too much for him to walk. And when he got back, he was in terrible pain and couldn’t move. On Wed and Thurs, they didn’t even go out of their hotel the whole day so that Daddy could rest and have enough energy to meet me for dinner…. :( so truly, they came to Philippines only to see me and spend time with me, not to sightsee or enjoy themselves… sigh I feel so bad.

I’m missing them a lot now. Oh, yesterday a girl from Hongkong called 4gnes moved into Benazir’s room and she told me that she was kept up all night by Benazir talking loudly on the phone in the room (inconsiderate biatch), walking in and out and playing music loudly till 5am. 4gnes was unable to sleep and was very tired today. I really don’t know why Benazir has no manners and no sense of hygiene. Where’s my toy snake when I need it?!?!?

June 6, 2010, 5:13 am

Hiii I’m back from my favourite Sunday market at L3gaspi! Took pics with my phone this time.








some stall selling quiche or cheese thingy
some stall selling quiche or cheese thingy

Chinese lumpia
Chinese lumpia


crispy, syrup-drenched, nut-filled pastry
crispy, syrup-drenched, nut-filled pastry

More eyes watching you
More eyes watching you

"EYES is watching you" as my superior with bad English at Duckt0ur5 once exclaimed.
“EYES is watching you” as my superior with bad English at Duckt0ur5 once exclaimed.
stinky seafood
stinky seafood

ok starting from the top, that’s a plate of disgusting cooked pig flesh. There are bits of samples with toothpicks poking out of them. The stall-owner said, “Mum, would you like one?” to which I recoiled instantly and shouted, “NO, YUCKS!” (By the way, the people here all call me “Ma’am” which they pronounce as “Mum”, so everywhere I go, it’s “Good morning, Mum.” “Have a good day, Mum”, “Thank you, Mum” and I feel like I suddenly have a whole country of polite sons and daughters. Shiok.

The radiant woman in red was tending a booth selling coffee. See the roasted coffee beans nestled in a green bag. Her booth smelled awesome. I took pictures of the stall owners because I think the people selling the food are just as interesting as the food. These are native Filipinos with Spanish blood in them, so they look angmoh-ish but they’re every bit as Filipino-ish as… er… Vera’s maid. Haha sorry, couldn’t think of a better comparison. They’re really good looking right?!?!

That family of three sold some Filipino sticky rice dessert thing (forgot what it’s called.) Basically it’s sticky rice with fillings such as banana, cassava, mango, yam, etc. I tried the purple yam sticky rice last week and it had bits of chewy coconut flesh inside. SUPER GOOD. Today I had the chocolate sticky rice one, and it was reaaally nice. Just sweet enough, and chewy and sticky.

The baklava with walnut is some Middle Eastern dessert thing. It’s drenched in olive oil and filled with walnuts/ pistachios/ hazelnuts and soaked in some sweet syrup. It was sweet and crispy, I LOVED it but I had only one cos like, ONE SMALL TINY PIECE THE SIZE OF MY EYE IS ONE SINGAPORE DOLLAR. WTH RIGHT. THAT IS TOTALY DAYLIGHT ROBBERY.

By the way, I bargain like crazy with all the shop owners here, because I’ve a feeling that they’re all out to rip money off me cos I’m a foreigner. So I always scream in disbelief, “WHAT?! SO EXPENSIVE?!” at everything and pretend that I’m going to go off, hoping that they’ll call me back. (But they don’t.) So in the end I slink back like a loser and go, “okay la, give me those five mangoes at an exorbitant price of $4 and just burn a hole in my pocket, why don’t you.”

The man in yellow is a native Chinese Filipino, and he speaks Hokkien and lives in the Chinatown of Manila (which I’m going tomorrow with my parents! :) )Anyway, he sold spinach noodles (choice of boiled or fried). I was with Ben4zir (the other Indian girl. Kriti left on Thursday already.) and we shared a bowl of fried spinach noodles. The noodles were flat, thick and chewy, with lots of bite, and yummy peanut and soy sauce. Ben4zir enjoyed them very much but she didn’t know how to use chopsticks so she’d use her fingers to pinch off the strands of noodles with every bite, WHICH IS DAMN UNHYGIENIC BY THE WAY!!!! I kept thinking about where her fingers went this morning – the toilet door knob, lacing on her wet muddy sandals, etc.

Oh yes by the way, since it’s a farmers’ market, I’m buying directly from the people who harvested, plucked and transported the veggies and fruits themselves, and last week I bought a bittergourd from this angsty dark farmer’s son, who had a pimple the size of a house on his forehead. It glowed an angry red and stuck out like a lighthouse. He rubbed the pimple on his forehead and proceeded to molest my entire bittergourd with his pimple-stained fingers and then, satisfied with having spread his pimple germs all over my bittergourd, handed it to me at a price which could buy two donkeys. WHAT THE HELL RIGHT.

NO WONDER I HAVE BEEN HAVING DIARRHOEA THE PAST TWO WEEKS. In Singapore, fruits and veggies are all packed in plastic bags and arranged nicely at the supermarket, and you just buy them and don’t think twice about the sweaty, smelly, acne-ridden farmer who harvested it and touched it all over, before passing it to his worker who dug his two nostrils vigorously and enthusiastically, wiped the spinach on his ass and then drove the truck to the nearest wherever where other dirty people then pack it and fly it to you. Food for thought, eh?

Anyway, my parents are coming to visit me from Mon to Fri! I’m taking tomorrow and tuesday off so we can go gallivanting… I wanted them to stay at my condo flat, but to my horror and dismay, Ben4zir was made to stay back for one more week, and I can’t have the flat all to myself like I thought I could. Bleagh. So they are staying in some motel somewhere which is really inconvenient for me and them.

June 5, 2010, 3:29 am

Rainy season in Philippines has started. I haven’t bought an umbrella yet cos I’m Miss El Cheapo, so I do a lot of walking in the rain these days. Rain and dark skies make me feel melancholy.

My sister told me that daddy”s going for a back operation soon, and the cost is super high. I felt really terrible. I really must start work soon… which means I’ve to start applying for REAL jobs like NOW, and graduate by end of this year so that I can earn money and pay back my sch fees and so that daddy can retire for good… The only reason he’s still working now is cos of my sister and me, and he has aches and pains everywhere all the time, but he still has to slog on at the construction site beause that’s the only thing he knows.

Sigh. But all the jobs that I’m interested in pay freaking peanuts. (P3TA’s pay is good for just scraping by in life, which I wouldn’t mind – but I need more than that because I’ve to pay off my school loan which i just realised is BLOODY EXPENSIVE. WHY THE HELL DID I CHOOSE SMU JUST COS IT WAS NEAR MY HOUSE.)

I really dont know what I can do.  My degree is quite rubbishy. And that night, suddenly, I felt angry with myself… for wasting the past few years in school, for not really studying and concentrating hard in school, for taking fewer modules per sem so that I could spend more time training, for wasting my time and spending precious thousands on cycling. If I didnt cycle, I would be at least 8k richer now. If I didnt cycle, I would be able to save up so much from tuition instead of having my bank account deplete faster than I can replenish it…

My sister told me about how fast the four girls did at the world uni tri race, and I felt a pang at first… but that lasted a grand total of five seconds. Then I didn’t care anymore, because my priority is totally different now. Who am I to want to race and represent the country when my family situation is like shit, and money and landing a well-paying job is the most important consideration? I’ve got to move on to the real world, and address more pressing concerns… I’ve been rather selfish the past few years, living in my own dream world, spending whatever I earned on my bike and my sport and not caring about anything else, not bothering about anything else. I used to get resentful when mummy scolded me for spending on my bike, but it’s true…that our family’s financial situation isn’t like other families’, and I’ve to stop behaving and spending as though we are.

hmmm. money money money……..where can I get it from? Suddenly, all my dreams and passions seem wild and frivolous and dumb, because just how am I going to make money from it?

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