mental indigestion

Fuzzy Feeling October 23, 2008

Filed under: Life in general — mel @ 11:48 am
The Guries' House at Umkomas

The Guries

What struck me during the wedding was how nice everyone seemed to be.

“Nice” has become an extremely loaded word to me over the years. When I was younger, I might have strived to be a nice person because that is what a proper Protestant female is supposed to be, and my idealistic self would strive to be nice because it made people happy and a world a better place (or so I hoped). Lately, I’ve started to see nice as a rather negative term, it connotates being boring, two-faced, slightly repressed, getting bullied, having boundaries being stepped upon. Oh yeah, I have my issues with nice.

But in general, the people I met at the South African wedding were just a nice nice- in the sense of being open and loving  to non-Indian/African/Australian/American strangers like me and of laughing and hugging even during tense, conflicty moments (and boy was there a lot of chaos and uncertainty, let’s just say punctuality and organisation were compromised at certain points). This type of niceness makes me want to be nice nice too.

In particular, the warmth of Vanessa’s parents, Ronnie and Selvam makes my heart say a silent “Awwwww”. I usually have to really brace myself whenever I am with friends’ parents. If I forget to greet or thank or grovel accordingly/appropriately, I usually am in the black books of these elders for life (not respectful enough, brought up badly tsk tsk). But the first time I met this couple in Melbourne, even before I did any substantial respectful stuff, they were already inviting me over to their place where Uncle Ronnie will catch a fish for us to eat.

So when we went to the Guries’ house at Umkomas on the last day of the wedding to witness them giving Vanessa away, there were aunties cuddling us and stuffing us with curries, her brothers and cousins were hugging me even though I barely knew them, the uncles kept trying to “lure” Darren and the other “foreign” men to the brandy corner to male-bond and it was just all a very happy and warm gathering.

(Similarly, the Sabella side was just as embracing and got us involved in the “stripping” ceremony of Marcus which involved eating lots of yummy Indian sweets, flower garlands, singing/boogying again  and of course, stripping.)

I felt very welcome indeed.


Bollywood Wedding October 18, 2008

Filed under: Whee! — mel @ 3:37 pm


With the radiant couple Vanessa & Marcus

With the radiant couple Vanessa & Marcus

Last night was the Sangeet ceremony and I almost felt like it was almost like clubbing except that there were plenty of  touching moments and there were 70 and 80 year olds boogying the house down. The cousins on both sides did a whole musical dance extravaganza  – one of them is a West End professional dancer who was a Bombay Magic cast member so it was all choreographed with plenty of pizzazz.

Durban curries taste very good. 

We both have backaches now even though we only bobbed rather stiffly.

(I also feel….now why can’t our Chinese parents be like that during weddings instead of trying to appear regal and respectable?)


TIA October 17, 2008

Filed under: Life in general — mel @ 1:33 pm

I feel like we are a pair of red-neck swagus (country bumpkins) in a continent that we’ve never been to before, and of course, that means getting ripped off by a “porter” at the Johannesburg Airport and D. having a very bad bout of hay fever (something in the African soil) for the first two days until someone gave him some super antihistamine called Neo Citran. 

Safety seems to be a very major issue so Vanessa seems reluctant to let us roam about on our own, and even when her chauffeur brought us around Durban city he kept telling us to please try not to get robbed and regaled us with tales of him getting attacked. 

I’m still trying to make sense and digest things as the culture is here is so different from anything I’ve experienced before. But one thing is for sure, D. and I really love the animals here. We went to a kick-ass aquarium here that beats every other aquarium I’ve been to hands down (even the Chicago one) and yesterday, we went for our first African Safari at Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Park and had a  blast animal-spotting and riding on an open top game vehicle. It’s such a beautiful country. And finally, I knew what I had written about when doing this book project last year (where I had to pretend that South African Luxury Safari Lodges were my second home). 

Meet my two favourite animals, Mr Elephant and Mr Rhino. They are so cute.

Mr White Rhino   Mr Hungry Elephant


Reunion October 12, 2008

Filed under: Whee! — mel @ 11:40 pm
2001 (Columbia, Missouri)

2001 (Columbia, Missouri)

Ah, the iconic “friendship” picture I have of Vanessa Gurie and I.

When she first met me, she thought I was this cold, unfriendly bitch (shy lah).

When I first met Vanessa, I thought she was waaaay too friendly and seemed to be talking all the time.

In the end, we ended up being roommates at Stafford Hall for six months. Her Disney-like optimism rubbed off me which is why I think that was probably one of the happiest periods of my life. In turn, I think I gave her a fair share of good ol’ Singaporean angsty-ness to make her just a little more balanced. (There are only so many ‘awesomes’ you can say in a day.)

Later, we became global buddies.

In 2004, she came over for a visit to Singapore en route London to Adelaide for a few days.

In 2005, she came over to visit me in Melbourne from Adelaide. Twice.

In 2006, we had a quick coffee at Changi Airport while she was on on transit  (Adelaide – Durban).

And finally, in 2008, it’s my turn (about time) to visit her in her beloved South Africa (a pact we made in 2001) for her wedding no less.

I can’t wait!


Bread and butter October 10, 2008

Filed under: Life in general — mel @ 6:46 pm

Oh my, what a lot has happened since I last blogged.

The world’s economy is in turmoil, and my financial advisor came bearing grim news regarding a certain hefty “low-risk” investment I had made a few years ago. And also the usual stuff about how I am so far off from my retirement target blah blah blah.

I am not good with numbers. But when she crunched those numbers, I felt my heart sink.

And then I started to get all bread and buttery about things.

Especially since the day my mum chooses to downgrade her hospital plan (to save on premiums), she almost coincidentally gets warded (but she’s ok now) and I felt awful seeing her not cope well in a 6-bedder ward. She’s a tai-tai. She needs her air-conditioning, individual toilet and utter silence (light sleeper). I want to be able to help chip in for that.

I generally don’t like shopping that much but I also realise that I don’t track my finances carefully enough. So now I will. And I will not waste good money on frivolous things anymore. For example, getting eyelash extensions (because I don’t know how to put on mascara) and having most of the lashes fall out by the end of the week.