Wednesday, December 27, 2006
I took leave from the army on Friday to sort out the party logistics. First stop was to buy the alcohol. As you can imagine, if you are throwing a house party and you buy the alcohol off the shelf, it's going to cost you a bomb. Years ago, right before the 10 Joan Road party, me and stanley chanced upon a wholesaler in a run down house on Bukit Timah Road.
That was the first stop for our "milk round". When we got there, we were dissapointed to discover that the place had closed down! We panicked a little bit ... our only source of affordable alcohol was gone! How many future house parties were doomed!!?? I got out of the car and inspected the premises closely. There was a worn and faded sign but I just managed to make out that it was directions to their new location. I've been forbidden by stanley to reveal the location or name of our fountain of youth, but if you reallly really want it, drop me a message, and I'll tell you where it is.
Behind a simple metal door in an industrial complex lay the beloved joy juice that would make this party a party. Tadaaa!!!
We got what we needed, and left. There wasn't any time to lose, as it was already 2pm and we needed to get stuff from Ikea and groceries. Plus ... we had to pick Gen up. I had agreed to shop at the New mega sized Ikea at her request, so off we went. It wasn't very hard to find.
Check it out ... it is gargantuan!!! Two Ikeas in Singapore! And one of this size ... do we even need that much furniture?
I've always loved Ikea. It probably rubbed off my dad to be honest. His two favourite shopping places in Singapore are Ikea and Mustafa. Ever the handy man, he loves coming home with a new shelf, cabinet, bed, or toilet seat. I was quite excited about checking out this new branch, and I wasn't dissapointed.
Besides the sheer scale of the place, which I hope you can gather from this picture ...
There were also lots of cool displays like this
and this (displays which were supposed to demonstrate the durability of Ikea products ... very inovative)
But the most important section in Ikea, is the cafeteria! AHHHHHH ...heavenly meatballs and chicken wings! The cafeteria over at Tampines is at least twice the size of the one in Alexandra, and even then, it was packed to the max. After enduring the que, me, stanley and gen ruthlessly decimated a couple of swedish cows and chickens (YUMMY! All that stuff in the picture is just my share by the way! YESS I SINNED! But boy ... did that feel gooood!)
After our stomachs had been satisfied we went about our shopping. We got about 80+ champagne glasses, plastic bins (Very useful with drunk people around), and some cute lighting fixtures we thought would add that little touch, among other things. The bill was painful, so Gen bought me a hotdog to ease some of it ... after the lunch, it seemed to make it worse though ... but like they say, its the thought that counts!
What would I do without these two?
Monday, December 18, 2006
With stanley back, and eager to have a party too, we decided one afternoon to take the first step! Print out invitation cards! There is a funny story here. When we organised the 10 Joan Road party almost 3 years ago, we went to a printer at Park Lane shopping centre, and designed what we thought (or according to stanley, what I thought) was the epitome of coolness. Our calling card .... in my defence, I've got to say was created under joint consensus! This is it ...
Ok, so the font looks like a 12 year old's BBQ party, hey nobody disagreed when we were shown the proof copy, and there were three of us there! Plus shedloads of people attended, so to me, its all semantics.
Anyway, determined not to make the same mistake, I took FULL responsibility for the printing out of invites for my party. Having decided on the theme of a champagne party, yeah, we thought being older it was time to be a little more mature (no beer), I envisioned a simple calling card. Something you might recieve for a charity gala dinner.
I'm a sentimental fuddy duddy, so I insisted we went back to the very same printer we had gone to those years back. The son was now running the place, and din't really have an impression of us (which I felt slightly dissapointed at). Anyway, under my direction, and with what limited resources we had (i.e., no graphics and lower budget), this was our answer.
If you like it, great! If you don't, talk to the hand ... cause the face don't want to hear it bitch! Hahaha, that last bit, "From the organisers of the 10 Joan Road party" ... we thought it would be a laugh for all those who knew us and had actually been for that party. For those who hadn't been, we thought it might pique their curiousity, just a bit more.
After printing out the cards, we sat in Mr Bean Cafe plotting and planning. We set about furiously calling our friends and looking through our friendster accounts to call up long lost acquaintances. We were all hyped up and ready to go. Over the next two weeks, I was to continually push my friends to promote the event, and also gather commitments and contributions.
When you organize an event of this scale, it is very often a thankless task. On the flipside, it can prove to be an opportunity to test your friendships. A party of this scale required resources ... and resources would need to be activated. I was determined this party would be a success, and something we could look back to and smile at.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
I have been back in Singapore for about half a year now, and whilst I've tried to keep every day as different from the one before, it becomes an uphill struggle after a while. My core group's activities (as I call the group of friends that hang out the most together), was starting to get a tad predictable. BBQs at denkas (meaning countless chicken wings and cheese hotdogs followed by KTV) ... chill out sessions at a wine bar ... Don't get me wrong, the reason why we hang out so much with one another is because we're all chill out homebodies. We like doing this stuff. We like familiarity and making fun of ray all the time. But I had decided it was time to mix it up a little. We needed a fresh shot of adrenaline. We needed new blood.
The arrival home for the holidays of one of my best friends, Stanley(from Sydney where he is studying)marked a turning point. Stanley is a crazzzzyyyy guy. We're both extremists to some extent, but he has always lived life on the edge, and having a friend like him is both a challenge and a joy. Below is a file photo. He's put on some weight in Sydney (the result of eating and drinking beer non stop).
Back in the day, we used to be party animals. "Social butterflies" you might call it. We would walk into zouk like we owned the ground before us, and be acknowledged all the way from the entrance to member's bar. We were never under the illusion that these people who waved hi or passed the casual "How's it going" were our friends, but we enjoyed it nonetheless. After arriving at zouk in a convoy of cars, stanley would drink himself silly and I would sit there with my Coca Cola looking all cool and making sure my dear friend did not get into a fight. Trust me, it was a job somebody needed to do. I did not mind it at all, and it taught me one of my most important lessons. If you're sober in a club, you get to see alot more of what's going on. I mean alot moree.
Besides hitting the clubs three times a week, we were also big fans of house parties. This was more of my thing. I've always liked a good house party. It presents a much better opportunity of meeting new people and actually getting to know somebody. I mean seriously, I can't stand the incessant banging of the bass, and having to shout like a bitch to be heard. And the whole supper trick is hardly any better.
Anyway, we threw our share of house parties. Alternating between mine, stanleys, jivesh's and darren's. It was good fun. But the most legendary of them all has got to be the 10 Joan Road party at Stanley's. That was the bomb.
Just like a magic trick, there are three distinct phases of planning a house party.
The first is known as the Inspiration
. This is that single moment, it comes to you and you say, I want to throw a house party.
The second is known as the Doing
. This is where you first overcome the inertia and actually commit to the party by making all necessary purchases and mobilising your friends, exciting them for the cause.
The third is known as the Appreciation
. The appreciation is a two fold affair. During and after the party. Unfortunately, traditionally, the host does not get to enjoy during the party.
I remember vividly the moment we were inspired to throw the 10 joan road party. Me and stanley were doing water point duty (in the army) for a marathon at macritchie reservoir. Stanley's 21st birthday was coming up, and we were thinking what to do what to do? His mother had promised him a significant ang pow that he could use to do anything he wanted with. Probably one of those tests. His mum would have loved for him to deposit it into his savings a/c ... but hey we were young ... 450 people turned up ... 3/4s we did not know at all ... and the host stanley? Asleep like a baby after a trip to the dentist ... at 1 ... just as it picked up ... at least he got to catch the action on a DVD we had produced.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
I write this open letter to you because I feel our conversations were ended too abruptly by nature. It seems like yesterday, when I moved into apartment 205, westcliffe, and I recieved a friendly drop in from my new neighbour. A firm handshake, and a warm smile welcomed me to the new home I would come to love so much.
It's only been 6 months since I was last in my apartment in tempremental london. I remember rather childishly picking up my hand and waving goodbye to it. For some reason, I felt compelled to say to myself I would be back. I wanted to be back. As usual, I put my keys into an envelope, wrote you a note and dropped it off in your mail slot.
I thought nothing of the fact you were out, and was actually rather thankful you called a little later to see if I had left yet. That goodbye was, to me then, a formality that would be reversed when I next visited you, and it has now taken on a value one cannot put a price on.
Thank you for being a great neighbour, friend and helper! Thank you for fixing my tap, my exhaust fan, cleaning out my fridge, taking care of my flat while I was on vacation. More than anything, thank you for being the warm caring neighbour you always were.
I never asked you how you got your knighthood, perhaps one day I will ask Victor. It might have been for the simple but rare kind of open warmness you demonstrated to me as you must have to others.
I believe you measure a man's worth by how many people remember him fondly when he has started on the next lap on his journey. If you are to be measured by those standards, you would fare better than most I know.
Rest in peace Sir William.
p.s. We never had a picture together. A picture of my apartment where we spent some afternoons catching up and your coat of arms (on your namecard) was all I could muster ......