Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

I would be willing to chop off my nuts for this car.  You can be sure I’ll be screaming like a 16 yr old girl if you deliver this to my parking spot.

Yours truly,

The nutless Matt

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They Knew

It had been an interesting evening with the medium.  She opened my eyes to possibilities beyond the physical world.

As the session wound down, I said  “I never told my parents that I’m gay.”  She told me she knew I was gay and added “Your parents knew.  They knew.”

I had a hunch my mom knew.  But I was never sure about dad.  They were hardworking, conservative parents steeped in Chinese culture.  Dad had a more western education.  They never asked me about girl friends or marriage.  I played the role of the filial son while they were the dutiful parents.  It was our unspoken pact.

For many years, I’ve struggled with this guilt.  I also feel that I’m letting down the broader gay community by not being fully out.  It’s an odd and illogical way of thinking.  A gay friend told me each of us have our own journey.  What worked for him and others doesn’t apply to me.  Yet, when I meet gay men who are out, I just have this feeling of inadequacy.  I didn’t have your courage.  I wonder where my journey will lead me.  But it seems a bit lighter now.

 

Back to Regular Programming

Well, I think I finally got over the jetlag.  I’ve had 2 nights of sleep.  I’m getting the usual stuff like installing winter tires, flu shot, groceries etc… done.  I’ve caught up on some TV shows like Walking Dead (why did they kill Glenn?) and Designated Survivor.  I’m trying to avoid news stories about the President Elect.  But it’s like walking by an accident.  You don’t want to look but you look anyways.

The long dark hours of winter is here and I’m contemplating getting one of those lamps for light therapy.  I’m back to attending my weekly meetings with the job counseling firm and a bunch of webinars that they are giving.  There’s a ton of reading and exercises that I need to catch up on too.  My mind is not on job hunting though.  I rather just write and do more photography.

One more thing.  Thank you to all of you for following me and being part of my life.

Missing: “Sleep”

Missing Person:  “Sleep” – he is described as very stubborn, does not respond when called and was last seen with his friend “Jet Lag”.   He might be seen in the early hours of the morning but slips away before the sun comes up.  In the past few days, he has not been sighted.  If you find him, please contact the owner of this blog who misses him a lot.  They have an odd love / hate relationship that is likely inspired by a Korean drama series.

There will be a non monetary reward for anyone who finds him.

It’s Ok – just have fun

I wrote about my late blogger friend, Kelvin, a couple of times.  Prior to my trip, I wanted to find out where his ashes were interred in Singapore. A few years ago, I saw a partial death notice. It only had a few lines and but you had to go to Singapore’s main library archives to get the full printout.  Or you could pay them to retrieve it and have them send it to you.  I found some address of columbariums but none of them had email addresses.  After awhile I gave up.

Once my trip was finalized, I decided to check again but got the same results.  I wrote a letter to the agency to see if they might have information.  I told them I was traveling and to respond by email.  I was already in Taiwan for a week and didn’t hear anything.  One morning, I got an email back from them.  They provided me with the date of the cremation and confirmed the ashes wasn’t in any of the public columbariums.

I was a bit sad and I didn’t want to spend time in Singapore calling cemeteries. That afternoon, I was at a temple in Kaohsiung, I thought about Kelvin and hoped he would understand.  Then I felt a sense of calm.  I looked at the various figurines and statues and then I noticed something moving to my right. It was a gecko (lizard) on the window.  I know they are common in Asia but that was the only time I saw one on my trip.  Kelvin had a tattoo of a gecko.  I smiled and nodded.  I knew I could just enjoy my time in Singapore.

 

Singapore summary

My final stop of my vacation was Singapore. I thought Kaohsiung (Taiwan) was humid but Singapore was something else.   My t-shirt would be soaked within minutes of walking outside.  But my sweaty t-shirt got me lots of room on the MRT.  One of my goals of this visit was to try the interesting hawker food.  This black pepper crab was pretty good.  We got plastic gloves which helped keep my hands clean.

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I got this noodle soup from Chinatown for $4 CDN.  It contained an egg, some meatballs, a couple of strands of veggies and home made noodles.  The stock was a bit thin though.

J and I also ate at 8 Cafe & Bar.  I had the onion soup, chicken wings (not pictured here), meatballs, dessert and a glass of wine.  The owner, Bill Ho (you can find his picture in his restaurant’s instagram) came over and chatted with us for some time.  The food and service was pretty good.  I took a picture if Bill and J.  For the rest of the evening, J just kept staring at the picture and forgot that I existed.

The area around the Marina Bay Sands was quite interesting. I wish I had a lotus pond like this in my condo.  It was gorgeous.img_0358The water and light show at night was interesting.  I had no idea what to expect and I kept wanting to take pictures of the show instead of enjoying it.  You can see the Fullerton Hotel in the background and if you look closely enough, you can also see the Merlion.

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The view of where we were for the light and water show from the other side of the water.

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We walked around Chinatown one day to check out a temple.  It was a nice area for people watching.

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The next 2 pictures are from the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum.  It’s a stunning temple and they have an orchid garden at the rooftop.

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Finally, my visit to Singapore was also to meet up with 3 Xangans – Nick, who lives in Singapore, Gene who flew in from Manila and Rudy who flew in from Indonesia.  We were suppose to meet up for dinner at Din Tai Fung but I came down with a case of stomach flu the previous night.  I took some immodium but that didn’t help.  The morning of our meetup (Saturday), I went to get medical help.  The hotel recommended a clinic and Nick confirmed it was reputable.

When it became apparent that I couldn’t make it to dinner, the gang came by the hotel and we chatted for about an hour.  I felt bad especially for Gene and Rudy who flew in to meet me.  But I was glad to meet with all of them even briefly and got a chance to know them a bit better.  I had no idea what they thought I would be like but none of them ran away when I greeted them.  Thank you Nick, Gene and Rudy – it was really nice to meet with you and I hope we can do it again.

Here’s a picture of all of us in my hotel room.  In the weeks leading up to the meet up, we would joke that I would be wearing a paper bag to protect my anonymity.  From left to right, Gene, Nick, yours truly and Rudy.  I had no idea Nick actually got us paper bags.

img_0792I made it back home without further incident.  I took the last of the antibiotics and some more tummy pills at a layover in Taipei.  It took a few more days before my digestive system recovered.

Taipei update #2

After I got back from Bangkok, we did a bit more touring in Taipei and mostly ate.

Tamsui – we actually had a decent dinner and then we stumbled on this seafood place after taking the ferry to go back to the MRT.  So we decided to eat some more.  I don’t know why the kitchen staff don’t wear long sleeve white uniforms.  But I guess this is ok for them.

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Shifen:  We saw a lot of people writing “wishes” on paper balloons that were later lit and sent to the skies.  They do this on right on the railroad track and when a train comes, everybody gets out of the way.  It’s an interesting area, we got there late in the day and didn’t get a chance to see the small waterfalls.  There’s also a rail pass that allows you to take travel to the different rail stations on the railway line and explore.  If you’re going to do that, it’s best to start early in the day.

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Eating – there’s no end to the variety of foods.  We didn’t eat at fancy restaurants.  Maybe we’ll save that for the next trip.  We did eat at Din Tai Fung again (2nd and 3rd picture below).

img_4693img_4964img_4965Soy milk ice cream with redbean and jelly.  I was already stuffed from my meal but I had to try this.  J finished it for me.  *burp*

img_4981One of the things I like about Taipei are the small streets and lanes.  People just eat at the street stalls (or restaurants) on their way home from work.

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We also watched Taipei Pride.  According to the news reports, about 80,000 plus attended the parade.  It’s small compared to US, Canada or Europe.  But I’m told it’s one of the largest in Asia.  It has a more community feel to this than the one in Toronto (e.g., less corporate floats).

We also went to a club.  These 2 guys were uhm… wrestling in lube for something in each other’s trunks.  Unless you were in the front row, you couldn’t really see anythingVersion 2

Singapore was my next stop.  I flew a Hello Kitty EVA.  (I wish they would let us get closer to the windows and they would clean the windows too!).  It’s cute  but not exactly my taste.  Even the cutlery reflected the theme.  The curry pork was fine and the taste held up.

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Singapore entry is next.