26 April 2006

Cut losses

What a rational concept. One that has been imbued in me since my first economics lesson. Darn, I myself have often echoed it. When making a decision, don't consider sunk cost; just cut losses.

But when doing as mundane a thing as watching Korean drama serial with my mum two days ago, I realized for the first time how frightening the concept of cut losses is when applied to human beings. When in an epidemic, cut losses. Forget about the people who are sick. Forget about the few accidentally left behind. Cut losses. Don't create more losses.

How easy it is, for the slogan of cut losses to becomes an excuse for cowardice, for an easy way out.

So what of those who are left behind? Those unfortunate remnants of a very rational economic strategy?

(Un?)fortunately, human beings are not widgets. That is probably why it is so hard for people to cut losses in bad relationships, especially where inertia and hope feed on each other. Cutting losses is all very well when you rebalance your investment portfolio*, but when you can put a face to inanimate decision trees, cut losses just doesn't quite cut it.

Better for people to remain widgets huh?

*Yet, to take this one step deeper, rebalancing a portoflio is not so harmless a decision if you consider that you are cutting off a poor startup of fresh funds, possibly causing the young idealist boss to sink into despair.

Stirring up a storm of wine

______227 Apr 2006 with Ms T at Wine Garage...


13 April 2006

Nightlife.sg at Club Momo

Ms L and Ms M, thank you for a great night in a long time!

The child in Japan

13 Apr 2006 - I have something embarrassing to confess.

I bought an irresistably adorable little soot ball in Japan:

I also have a soft spot for 隣のトットロ but try as I might, I couldn't find the Tottoro scarf hanger that Ms K had.

But while I have a soft spot for some Japanese cartoon creatures, it is still strange to me how much Japan loves its anime, manga and Final Fantasy humanoids. This trip too, I noticed and was baffled by just how often cutesy cartoons feature in the presentation of perfectly serious subjects like hospital ads and investment treaties.

Is this the Japanese society's way of reducing seriousness so as to reach out to the masses? Or is it just a matter of the society condoning the adult who doesn't want to grow up?

Perhaps Japan is just more tolerant about letting the child in adults show through, the way some cultures are more tolerant towards deviants.


When walking around the hip Harajuku on my last day in Japan, I was taken aback by what I saw in one of the shops. Clothes that are normally found in the kids section have now expanded thrice in size to fit the child trapped in an adult body.

The two Japanese attendants, 1.65 metres tall with very blond hair, were decked head to toe in Barbie costumes.

It felt very surreal to be looking at them, as if I was in Barbie Land or something. Yet there are the » maid cafes who specifically dress their waitresses like that to wait on the otakus hand and foot, even to address them as "Master".

Feminist sentiments aside, now that is bordering on strangeness...

12 April 2006

Quintessentially Japan

三年ぶりの日本。It is always a treat to be in Japan, especially after 3 long years. It was nostalgic and refreshing to observe many quintessential Japanese traits / objects / phenomena. In particular, 3 years had almost made me forget...

  • How polite Japanese service is. When at the airport, the luggage attendants along the stretch of road ALL bowed in appreciation for your patronage as the limousine bus left. When in the train, people take very seriously the sign that says "Please refrain from using cellphone as they disturb other passengers". When shopping, every shop attendant greets you with an enthusiastic, genki-na "Irasshaimase!".

  • How beautifully delicate Japanese cuisine is. I love warabi mochi and sakura mochi. Drool... I wonder if Meidi-ya here in Singapore has any? Did I also mention the sashimi which is pretending to be sushi? The portion is so generous that you can't see the rice:

    sushi tappuri

    sushi tappuri

    ...Or the tofu feast we had where the soya milk shabu shabu had me almost drinking from the pot and the tofu siew mai was so incredibly meat-like that I wouldn't have minded turning vegetarian... Slurp again.

  • How fun Japanese English is! You've gotta love "Breastopia" (name of a mobile clinic to encourage women to have their first mammogram) and the sign on top of my tap that says "Good to drink" :)

  • How omnipotent Japanese vending machines are. They even dispenses hot coffee in cans now! Oh, and I also like how you get little nubs of half-and-half with your coffee rather than bleh weak milk.

  • How exciting it is to shop in Japan. Heater-equipped eyelash curler, charcoal-infused pore pack, blotters where the oil doesn't transfer to the other side of the paper, long wallets for men...

  • How space-tight Japan is. My Tokyo hotel room is surely the tiiiniest one I have ever been in... It is even smaller than the Parisian hostel I was in! (Actually, only the bathroom that was tiny in that place; the rest of it was actually spacious.) But in their typical space-efficient fashion, the Japanese have managed to squeeze a fridge, a double bed and even a bathtub. Whoa.

  • How pampering Japan is. A heated toilet seat is the BEST thing ever invented for sub-10 degree temperatures. Absolutely no argument about this.

11 April 2006

O-hanami お花見



______sakura street

______sakura tree__sakura branch

______sakura closeup

______sakura jinja__sakura branch

______________sakura jo

09 April 2006

What is it about children that gives us hope?

Hope is a strange thing.

They say that of faith, hope and love, love is the greatest.

I say hope is the greatest. Hope is the undying belief that good things - like faith, like love - will come. Truly, what would life be without hope?

Seeing a park full of happy children on a day of blooming sakura, one cannot help but feel Hope.

Hope with a capital H!

______ hope and children
____________Hayato niko