Monthly Archives: September 2009

Prata and ice cream;

I love S and R. I really do. Suddenly after our conversation tonight over the weirdest combination of things – prata with ice cream, root beer, kang kong and sambal, chicken curry (?!) – there came such honest, earnest recounts from over the table, that I realized maybe I am trying a faint attempt to write even though it does not even paint the faintest shadow of things.

The way these two love, write, live –

This night will somehow linger in my mind.



The old world and the new;

Today, ran into BP at the train station. BP is an ex-colleague at Business Times, and from those days it has been almost three years since we last met. Now, he covers the forex desk and hedge funds, which is an exciting place to be in these times.

I had plenty of fun at Business Times in my six months there, and the motley crew was memorable and very talented. Since then however, much have changed, and almost everyone I knew then has moved on to somewhere else.

N has became a forex trader (but we always knew, for she was our secret stellar trader hiding behind Tuesday company releases),  MP is now at an asset management firm (probably a big shot fund manager!), DB has moved on to management, LY went to Goldman Sachs, but recently moved again to become a fund manager in Hong Kong, Li-en moved to finance etc. My favourite eddie-tor, the wonderful and charismatic Eddie Toh, also sadly passed away in the recent three years. Only Conrad and BP are still faithfully holding on to the ranks.

I still remember a little bit of myself, a wide eyed pre-university girl, learning about markets for the same time, being taken through balance sheets by MP and the whole world of investment markets. It is pretty much the same way I felt when, passing by Lehman Brothers in Canary Wharf for the first time in Dec 07 (on the way to a law interview at CC, no less!), I remember stopping for awhile to stare at the great big building and the enigmatic green Lehman signature, and finding myself wishing that I could work there one day.

When I eventually did (after an interesting eight months in which my friends and I were grilled with all sorts of useful and redundant financial facts for the purposes of copious interviews), the feeling was once again different. University, internships, the starting of a new job – when you pass the post, suddenly the feeling is a little different at the start of each new venture.

But I think it is such little secret yearnings and naive conceptualizations, which actually aid the next step of making it a reality.  I hope I will never quite lose the feeling of having these secret yearnings, because they are in a way always a little indicator of what we need and are looking towards…


“I have tried to be as eclectic as I possibly can with my professional life, and so far it’s been pretty fun.” – Roland Barthes

Much of the morning was spent dreaming about lavender…

Well, baby, what I couldn’t do
With plenty of money and you.
In spite of the worry that money brings.
Just a little filthy looker buys a lot of things.
And I could take you to places that you would like to go.
But outside of that, I’ve no use for dough.
It’s the root of all evil,
Of strife and upheaval.
But I’m certain, honey, that life would be sunny
With plenty of money and you.


A call last night brightened me so much, I fell asleep with a little smile of wonder on my lips and a dream so sweet I could not remember. Sweet lavender.

I only knew that when I woke up, the weekend and the depression was gone and I begun thinking about looking forward again. About changing things from the way they are. About trying harder. About that new inquiry report. About dreams and favourite people and scones with clotted cream.

Even reading reports in the train seemed like a lighter task.

And today’s talk by Shane Tregellis on market conduct thrilled me so much, I think it is simply my favourite topic and he’s one of my favourite speakers on the financial regulation course so far (besides Ser Jin). Somehow I get excited when he talks about the legal roots of market conduct and the case study on infrastructure funds (what I had initially thought was a boring and dry topic) turned out to be simply fascinating and had been running to download prospectuses to try to do the skeletal analysis he demonstrated with ease. The way he broke down the topic, discussed his thoughts in a macro unique fashion, gave me some little epiphanies like Mokal’s insolvency law classes (though Mokal is more brilliant, who can ever surpass Mokal!) Yes, he made me terribly proud to be in market conduct!

In many ways, admitably market conduct was instinctively an area I have always been drawn to. Regulation with Rick Rawlings (especially his brilliant, brilliant inaugural lecture) was one of those unforgettable topics where his crazy spaggetthi organization diagrams still inspire me today. I feel sorry that I did not appreciate his tutorials initially and that I came to realize his true brilliance so late, but he is one of those lecturers I really grew to respect and appreciate.

Each time I heard Shane mention familiar phrases like ‘Braithwaite’s pyramid’ and quotes I know by heart, I had a little happy leap of recognization and it gave me so many new perspectives about the role of Enforcement. The issues which the various teams in Market Conduct deal with have so many layers and implications it does make for meaningful work and structured analysis.

Perhaps, if I later get disillusioned and bored with my inquiry reports, give me a little jab, and remind me of the Barthes quote. I will remember then, that the issues go deeper then I always think. “WWMD?” ==> What would Mokal do? Or “WWDD?” ==> What would Donald (my previous boss at the financial newsletter) do?

Tomorrow S, R and I have something exciting planned — Converse Day Out! In junior college, we were always dedicated Converse shoe wearers, and I actually had five pairs all in different shades of blue haha…

Since then, I have only heels in the cupboard…which means I can only fit into S’s sz 9s….and I refuse to wear his sz 9s…

S and R are amongst two of my favourite old theatre studies’ pals, and they have fed some of the most beautiful memories that I have of junior college. They are my eclectic dreamers, and the sort you think of in the midst of a wild, reckless impulse in a secret hour of the morning.

Cross fingers…for I don’t know how much I have changed to return to the past impulsive but beautiful conversations…

Kitten facts I learnt today;

Why does a cat go to the visitor who doesn’t like cats?
When one cat is threatening another, it stares boldly, sometimes hisses, and frequently moves in toward the other cat.  Usually, the person who doesn’t like cats avoids looking at it, doesn’t talk to it, and sits quietly, hoping to be ignored by the cat.  The cat, therefore, sees the person’s behavior as “cat-friendly” and practically inviting.

(My cat will thus like Beansprouts!!)

Why does your cat rub up against you?
Cats have scent glands along the tail, on each side of their head, on their lips, base of their tail, chin, near their sex organs, and between their  front paws. They use these glands to scent mark their territory. When the cat rubs you, he is marking you with his scent, claiming you as “his.”  Too, he is picking up your scent. Cats rub up against furniture or doorways for the same reason – to mark the item as “his”.  (Urine spraying is also a territorial marking, by the way.)

I belong to Tempura, for she marks me every day (especially in the morning)

Why does a cat sometimes wash its fur immediately after being petted?
There are two theories on this behavior.  One theory proposes that the cat is getting rid of the human smell.  The other is that the cat is furthering the pleasure of his association with you by tasting your scent.

Why does your cat turn his/her back on you after a scolding, or if you’ve been gone for a while?
Typically, a person’s body language when reprimanding a pet includes staring or other overtly “aggressive” behavior.  The cat usually responds in a submissive fashion.  In a sense, it is telling you he has surrendered to you, as a fellow cat, and is discouraging attack.   (By the way, you will get better results from a cat if you enforce his positive behavior instead of reprimanding any negative behavior.)

Why does your cat bring you dead or dying creatures?
There are at least four differing theories on this behavior: 
– Your cat is bringing you a present, in appreciation for you feeding it or as a sign of affection.
– Your cat realizes you are a totally incompetent mouser and is trying to educate you.
– The cat is bringing her prey home to where it is safe, where she usually eats.
– The cat is simply trying to make sure you have fresh food.

Rare gem philosophy;

Yesterday night, I was feeling rather depressed over several matters, work, family and otherwise. The feeling that I was well and truly alone, treading each step home with only the squeaking sound of the trolley to accompany. The feeling and knowing that for the next few years I would constantly be fighting an uphill battle, and being unsure at the same time whether it was a battle worth fighting. Spoke with K on the way home in the taxi (we had a work gathering), and he told me that I would be alone in the matter, that it was separate from the organization, and that if I persisted in qualifying in law, I might find myself back in the organization without any place left for me. For I was unimportant in the overall scheme of things, and there were always other group concerns to think about (yes, the social contract theory which by now, a lawyer would fully instinctively understand).

(I hate it the way people perceive the way I can always take things lightly in my life, that they so easily refer to breaking the bond even in a joking sense, that I am taking the organisation and what I do lightly just because I have a better financial situation. That qualifying and becoming a lawyer is just an afterthought matter to me. That finding my place and meaning in the organization is something that will merely come to be. That the unhappy relationship I have with my parents is easily resolvable. That the things I love and the causes I care about are just an afterthought hobby. That the relationship is a current temporal desirable situation. I do everything with a secret careful consideration some do not realize).

Suddenly I had that feeling and perspective, of feeling ancillary to lately everything in my life, despite fighting to be a stable and desired part. Which woman desires to hear that she is ancillary, both in love and work? Or that I would belong in the realm of ‘good memories’, and not be perceived as part of a common future, is a quiet aching feeling in my heart.

J analyzed it for me, that I was too used to winning, too used to fighting alone, too used to wanting to be outstanding, and gradually I would be fighting alone in the future of my battles. It is suddenly a place where suddenly what was once outstanding is now redundant, something to be battered down, the things I care for are meant to be hidden, the causes I care for are naive and belong to a childish part of nature, like memories of an old lemonade stand play memory.

But these things are important to me, and these are things I care for, but I constantly feel alone in fighting for all these (and the fatal nature of the battle). In a way, this is why I have always had a soft spot for Joseph Conrad’s Lord Jim.

Still, tired and depressed, I came home and immediately called Beansprouts.

“Helloo…”, said Beansprouts in sleepy voice.

Suddenly it meant everything in the world to me.

When all is down, I suppose I can always remember Peanuts ‘rare gem’ philosophy, and the feeling of having a best friend in the world, to make tiramisus out of depressions, and who understands my 42nd street jokes. Where knowledge about road directions do not matter, and hearing him sing Amelie’s dominant tune suddenly brings a little sprinkle of happiness, that ‘hunny feeling’ in your stomach that Pooh sings about. Remembering that we are going to be full lawyers together, master financial assistance with pride and one day write a company or jurisprudence law book together (complete with kitchen recipes!)

The secret knowledge that Beansprouts will be a forever TH and best friend.

Yes, Beansprouts deserves a grape juice badge of his own.

Boyfriend blazer;

One of those flighty entries.

Some months back (incidentally before our final year law exam in April), I had a sudden longing to own a boyfriend blazer.

I quote the Urban Dictionary, a boyfriend blazer is “a jacket/coat a girl wears that belongs to her boyfriend. she’ll make up any excuse (the most common, ‘i’m cold!’) to get her boy to give her his jacket, so she can wear it everywhere and sleep with it, therefore being surrounded by his scent where-ever she goes. then it starts smelling like her and she gives it back for a while.”

I knew the boy would never surrender his Givenchy blazer, but at least I tried (admitably, it was too huge anyway). And after five months, I’ve found the perfect, perfect white boyfriend blazer with the structured shoulders and the lanky dress length I love. Best of all, it is a fitting throw-on with my work outfits and white ballet flats.

I also celebrated salad week by buying the gorgeous cream/black tulle dress I have been eyeing for months – but only managed to fit in – today. I had been adoring the ballet silhouette of the dress since I returned but law school has ruined me (though best friend Beansprouts remains svelte). I love cream and black, I think it is my favourite colour combination for outfits, besides the conventional black/white.

Someone throw a book at me and remind me to study tomorrow.

Whisky ran away;

Dreadfully tired this afternoon and I have been craving for some shopping therapy, but due to a strict work schedule the former rests unfulfilled, pity!

I learnt the truth about Tempura’s brother, Whisky! Whisky, a white arrogant but lovable male, is Tempura’s brother. (Tempura, if you have not noticed, is my beloved kitten and the furriest and most affectionate member in my family).

Whisky ran away some weeks back, from my friend’s house due to ‘natural urges’ (he has not been spayed). I spent the night worrying about my dear little feline kitten too and hugged her a few times to ensure that she understood that leaving home should never be an option.

But how do you explain such things to a cat who probably feels the whole world looks like a splendid big salmon adventure!