My new Pinterest

Every so often I would think of how this site needs pictures of some gorgeous hunks to liven it up a bit, or sometimes I want to share some images of some interior design that I like. But to write a post around a photograph that’s not even mine (by the way, the three photos below were taken by me), well I guess it’s okay once in a while, but I think it’s better to just use another platform such as Pinterest and just put the address of the site at the sidebar here if anyone is interested.

I should mention it now so as not to waste anyone’s time: To view the things on Pinterest, you have to join it by creating an account by providing your email address and creating a password. Anyway, my site is at: www.pinterest.com/simplehal

DSCN8769_01

Thistle Hotel, Johor Bahru, Malaysia

Pinterest is a photo sharing website. It had proved to be useful for my work but I mainly use it as a way to relax. It’s like being sprawled on the sofa lazily leafing through a glossy magazine, but even lazier that that. Because if you come across something nice and you want to file it for whatever reason for later, it just takes a few clicks as opposed to ripping out a page or scanning it.

DSCN0582_01

Park Royal Hotel, Singapore

I enjoy using it as I get to file ideas, or just images that just strike me as interesting, in neat little folders. They call these folders ‘pinboards’ over there, and the images are the ‘pins’. The first time I used it was a few years ago when a friend asked me to design a shop he’s setting up. I was busy with work commitments, but still wanted to help in some way. I got the idea to start a Pinterest website to compile lots of ideas I thought would be relevant to him, and e-mailed him the address of the site so he could have a look anytime.

And then some time later when we were proposing the supply and installation of terracotta floor tiles for a client, she didn’t quite fancy what she saw in the few catalogues I had in the office. So again I turned to Pinterest to gather images to better relay to her what I think would work for her. The ideas were neatly divided into different pinboards like finish, layout, and pattern. Pinterest is useful and convenient like that.

DSC_0028_01

Rati Lanna Riverside Spa Resort, Chiang Mai, Thailand

You can also pin images you come across on other platforms, including Tumblr, which I’ve also used on and off for some time as a way to compile images. I used to have 2 or 3 Tumblr sites at any one time. One would be for work, for example design ideas and solutions. Another would be fitness-related for example fitness tips and motivational quotes. Another would serve as inspirational eye candy (let’s just call it that). Also for things like, you know, recipes, things like that. Then it got tedious, having so many sites. I barely use my Facebook as it is.

When I started this latest Pinterest, I thought I would painstakingly bring over all the images that I had collected on my Tumblr sites and previous Pinterest sites, but I decided that would be boring and tedious (read: I’m too lazy to do it). I’d rather just spend the hours idly looking at new images and ideas.

 *

Related:

  • sheknows.com – Pinterest: What it is, how to use it and why you’ll be addicted

Advertisements

Depressing signs

I’m putting here pictures of three that I came across and snapped in the past few weeks.

***

The first one below was taken at Ikea, and it just cracked me up when I saw it.

DSCN4262_01

DSCN4261_01

Probably laughed way more than I should, but I was just so tickled by it. I was thinking, why the hell is such a sign necessary? Why would anyone think that a toilet bowl in a showroom is a functioning one, and why would anyone there want to use one in the open in the first place?

Then I thought, ahh okay, it’s for those crazy parents/grandparents of young kids who I’ve seen before letting the kids relieve themselves in public, like into a drain. And hey, these days, even in Singapore it’s not just the kids anymore, going by the stories in the links below.

So, yes, that sign (complete with acrylic sheet covering the whole toilet opening so nobody can insist on peeing or shitting into it! haha!) in Ikea is sensible, I guess. I shudder to think if such signs were originally brought on by any smelly messy incidents, whether in Singapore or in any of their hundreds of stores elsewhere in the world. Eeww. Poor cleaner.

***

DSCN4350_01

A blogger I follow, Laura of Texas on Thames, who is an expat in Singapore, featured a similar Crime Alert sign in a post just recently where she wrote about staying attentive in Singapore even though we have a low crime rate. I was just commenting on her post about how such signs seem to be appearing with more frequency, which is worrying.

So when I came across this yet another new one just last week or so, it’s such a bummer. I mean, these signs themselves are great because they serve such an important purpose, but at the same time when they start to seem more common to me, it does seem to point to an increase in crime, generally. And, ugh, ‘obscene act‘. What is that, like a flasher? How rude. My sympathies to the victim, and I hope the authorities apprehend the offender soon. I think usually I see the alert for ‘shoplifting‘ or ‘housebreaking‘ or something like that.

By the way, this Crime Alert sign was placed outside Botanic Gardens MRT Station, Exit A. (for if by any chance anyone reading this was at the time and place and saw something,)

***

The third sign I snapped made me sad too. It was captured on a public bus.

“No assault on bus captain.”

(Perhaps for another post on another day, but by the way why are bus drivers in Singapore called bus captains? To give the occupation a fancy name? If so, why? And would that mean we look down on bus drivers, so much that we need to give them a fancier sounding name, to make the job look better? I just think that would be friggin’ ridiculous. Driving a bus is not just an honest and decent living, but honorable. The safety and lives of hundreds of passengers are in your hands every single day.)

DSCN4278_01

There must have been some ugly incidents for the bus company to deem such a sign necessary, and the thought is just depressing.

Just a couple of weeks after I saw the sign above and wondered about it, I read about how in Penang, Malaysia last week, a bus driver was stabbed by a female passenger, for not acceding to her request to stop by the roadside. Please be warned that the photo of the victim contained in the following linked article is graphic, showing blood: Rapid Penang bus driver stabbed by a passenger.

Damn. Imagine being attacked and injured so seriously, but as the driver you still need to think for everyone’s safety, so you have to struggle to stop the bus safely even as you’re struggling to fight off your assailant.

Looks like Malaysia should follow Singapore’s example and put up “No assault on bus driver” signs to remind passengers to control their temper if riled up by the drivers, if they haven’t put up such signs already. How bloody screwed up, that all these signs are necessary.

***

Update 17 October 2014: Related: Unemployed man jailed for punching bus driver (Stomp.com.sg – 15 October 2014)

Hello beautiful

As a gay man, as any man really, I’ve never given a serious thought to raising a kid. My partner feels the same way. I don’t like children, actually, haha. I mean I don’t dislike them or anything (except when they continuously misbehave in public, in which case I blame the parents who should be controlling them, not the kids themselves as kids don’t know better) but I just don’t care for them, and I definitely never wished to be a parent. When I’m around babies or kids of friends and family, I can stand maybe five minutes of them before thinking, “Okay, I’ve politely acknowledged your kid by smiling and waving at it like I think it’s adorable or something, now, uhhmm get it out of my face, please?

But damn, I just melted looking at these pictures and reading the story on Buzzfeed. I can’t relate to the parenthood urges of these people, who I don’t even know, but I’m just so happy for this couple. Them, and the kid with dads who obviously love her very very much. And the generous surrogate lady (who is married with two kids of her own) who helped to give them such a precious gift. Frankly I would be nervous if I were one of the dads that she would suddenly decide she’s too attached to the kid to let it go.

The special moments were captured by Canadian photographer Lindsay Foster and the dads are BJ Barone and Frank Nelson from Toronto.

According to the Buzzfeed article:

BJ and Frankie were shirtless when they held Milo for the first time because skin-to-skin contact is said to be beneficial to newborn babies.

I’ve never heard of that, and I think it’s just beautiful.

A couple of lovely Saudi princesses with their lovely dogs

jawaher-l-sahar-picture-released-media-20140531-171003-895

Princess Jawaher, 38,  on the left, and Princess Sahar, 42. Credit: IB Times Photo by Tom Porter. Click image to go to source.

I love this photo from an International Business Times article written by Tom Porter, which I came across via Yahoo! Singapore. The story itself is sad. According to the article, the two princesses claim that they have been kept imprisoned in mansions in a royal compound in Jeddah, along with two of their sisters who are held in another mansion. The women said this has been going on for thirteen years, and that they had been placed under gradually closer confinement after criticising the country’s inequality. They were seeking help by relaying their situation to the media via Skype. I hope they get the help they need, their family issues resolved, and the freedom that must be entitled to all.

***

I’m fascinated by the photograph. It would make an arresting painting as well. Except that the baseball cap worn by Princess Jawaher spoils it a bit. Nah, just kidding, the red cap actually makes it even more interesting.

And those gorgeous dogs! Muslims with dogs! Rare to find such instances, in my view. And my opinion is that it’s because of the prejudice and discrimination of some Muslims against other Muslims who like dogs. We used to have a dog, Ras, a German Shepherd, for almost a decade until he died from sickness in 2003.

This also reminds me of two articles I came across a few months ago, which I wanted to note here but I was too busy. The first was a heartbreaking story of an elderly Muslim couple in Malaysia who have been valiantly battling prejudice for years as they run a shelter for stray dogs, and the second was of a young Muslim lady who I think was also doing the same, also in Malaysia. I can’t help but feel so proud of these three people. Continuing to do what is right despite the harrowing challenges.

I’m also proud of one of my elder brothers and his wife, who live in Malaysia. They once told me how there are some stray dogs roaming in packs outside their house, and how skinny and hungry these poor creatures look. So what do they do? Keep a supply of dog food they buy from the supermarket. They offer this and a bowl of water for the dogs when they pass by, from behind the safety of their gate. My heart was bursting with pride for my brother and sister-in-law when I heard this.

There’s a related post that’s a good read from a site called IslamicConcern.com: Link here. The site is sponsored by PETA, by the way, which is the ‘People for Ethical Treatment of Animals’.

***

Anyway, back to the photo. A few things capture my attention:

  1. The easy affection and obvious fondness the princesses have for their pets.
  2. Vice versa. In this photo, the dog beside Princess Sahar looks very fond of her.
  3. The bust sculpture on the side table. I wonder who it depicts.
  4. The terracotta floor. Indoors! I love terracotta tiles, especially indoors. Most people like it only outdoors. I’d love its warm and rustic look inside the house as well.
  5. The beauty of the princesses. Princess Jawaher is really pretty. So is Princess Sahar, but in this photo Jawaher reminds me of Italian actress Monica Bellucci.

 

Rain!

Oh finally it’s raining, Alhamdulillah, after weeks of an extreme dry spell since January. Sure there were bits of rain before on a few days, but it was always just a sprinkle lasting mere minutes. And yesterday it rained a bit more than that, but still just a lightweight shower. Finally two hours ago we’ve had our real proper downpour. And though it’s just a drizzle now, at least it’s still raining. Nice.

I’m indoors, having woken up late and just relaxing on my sofa looking out at the rain. Bert had left earlier and was caught on his way walking to church for Sunday mass. But he’s all smiles when he returned even though he’s almost soaking wet. He would have loved to really walk in the rain if it wasn’t for the handphone in his pocket. I should have ran out to meet him on his way back, bearing a ziplock bag for our phones so we could walk in the rain together, haha.

A bit sucky, I imagine, for the people out enjoying their Sunday in parks and other outdoor spaces. They would be thinking, “Damn, of all the days…“, but oh well beggars can’t be choosers. We really need this rain. The photos below were taken mid last month, and the dry weather had gotten steadily worse ever since.

DSCN2421_reduced

DSCN2423_reduced

DSCN2426_reduced

Another bonus of rain is that it will wash away some of the haze which has returned since a week or so ago. I’m so sick of the disgusting burning smell that greets me when I leave the house, especially in the evening.

Anyway, here’s hoping I won’t be whining in a post soon about all the floods we’re having again because now it’s raining too much, haha. Cheers.

Related:

  • BBC News – February was Singapore’s driest month since 1869.

***

Day 52

Didi

DSCN1916_01

Like Blackie, who was featured in the previous post, Didi came into our lives suddenly. A lone ranger of a kitten who had somehow separated from the litter he had been born into. He came three years earlier than Blackie did, in 2004. A scrawny, ghostly, timid creature we only caught glimpses of at first among the other lodgers (a lovely term Steven, a blogger I follow, uses for them) we were feeding outside the house.

It took weeks for him to build the confidence to linger after he had eaten, instead of dashing back into the bushes. And slowly he allowed us to get closer and closer until finally we were allowed to pet him. A few months later, one of the lodgers got run over by a car. Upset, we herded the others into the house, including Didi, but only he and Suzy (to be featured next time) wanted to stay. The others were just not used to staying indoors.

At the time we had not adopted any cat yet, we were just feeding them outside. So it was with Didi and Suzy in 2004 that our pet ownership with cats began. Wow, ten years now. I can’t believe we’ve had them this long and that he and Suzy are now ten years old.

DSCN0207_01

DSCN9885_01

DSCN9916_01

Didi has a beautiful temperament, very gentle and quiet. Shy with strangers, but friendly once he has spent some time warming up to them.

030_02

Getting along very well with Blackie. In the beginning in 2007 when Blackie had been brought into the household as a kitten, Didi had welcomed him and was gentle with him. Today as adults, their play/fight can be boisterous with even fur flying, but for the most part they’re peaceful and snuggling against each other like this.

***

Day 45 of ‘100 Happy Days‘.

Blackie

DSCN1680_01

He just waltzed into our lives in 2007, as a hyper-active and hyper-affectionate kitten, from God knows where. Just showed up and hung around the front door, refusing to leave, rubbing himself against my legs and going round and round in circles, and gazing at me so intently with those big round kitteh eyes, so intently like he was trying to tell me something. (which was probably “give it up, sucker, I’m melting your heart and you know it.“) I was really enamoured when he came running to me when I called him, which is so unlike cats to do so.

I was also worried about him on his own, being black. Stray cats don’t always get love and sympathy, especially when they’re black as some people think they’re bad luck or something

Today my sweet Blackie is still full of personality and charisma. The only thing is that he’s a bit neurotic where he would pee on anything plastic, so I can’t leave anything plastic or synthetic lying around, like my backpack. And he would still leave his mark on some corner in the living room, so I keep having to check. But as troublesome as that is when it happens, I’m glad he came into our lives. He hates it when I hug and cuddle him, but loves being stroked, and pretty much demands his daily dose. I think he knows how much he’s loved.

DSCN0684_01

DSCN0677_01

DSCN2315_blackie_reduced_01

***

Day 44 of ‘100 Happy Days‘.

I love our wheelchair-accessible buses

I’m not a wheelchair user, and neither do I have family or friends who use one, but it makes me happy to no end that there are buses in Singapore that cater to wheelchair users. It moves me and fills me with pride, frankly.

Sometimes I take the bus (I take the train most of the time) and when at the bus-stop I witness this particular function of the bus being used by someone who needs it, it just makes me feel all light and happy, every single time.

DSCN2043_reduced

When a wheelchair user wants to get on or off the bus, the driver leaves his seat to unfold the ramp at the door located at the middle of the bus. He keeps the other door at the front of the bus shut first to attend to the wheelchair user, and I guess also so that no one gets in without paying :-)

DSCN2041_reduced

Then he personally makes sure the wheelchair user gets in or out safely. Inside the bus there is a special area near the door designed to accomodate wheelchairs securely.

DSCN2042_reduced

The height of the bus stop’s kerb works with the ramp function of the bus.

DSCN2050_reduced

Viewed from inside the bus, this is what the ramp looks like folded back in.

DSCN2113_reduced

A blue square sign on the lower right side of the windshield indicates a bus is wheelchair-accessible.

***

This post is Day 1 of ‘100 Happy Days‘.

Happy meter: beaming with pride

***

Update 25 Jan 2014: Oh my God, this post was kindly shared on the Disabled People’s Association Singapore’s Facebook, thanks to Alvan the admin of the page. I’m so flattered, and it puts another big smile on my face. What a a great way to start this ‘100 Happy Days‘ project!

Many thanks too to the people behind The Singapore Daily, for featuring a link to this post to share it with their other readers!

Police officers in Pune offered roses to Gay Pride parade participants

Someone needs to make this a winner in some Photo of the Year competition somewhere. It’s amazingly beautiful. I have John Lennon’s ‘Imagine‘ going on in my head now. I’ve never come across anything that did that to me before.

Pune Police 1483296_560621710682585_175786681_n

Photo by Deepak Kashyap, via gaylaxymag.com. Click to go there

It is one of two photographs from an article on Gaylaxy Magazine (love the name) by Dhrubo Jyoti, where I was led to by Gaybros.

Pune, India’s eighth largest city and situated in the western state of Maharashtra, celebrated its third Gay Pride parade last Sunday the 24th. The parade had more than 150 participants and gays joining the march was not just from the city but from other remote districts as well. Dhrubo wrote that:

… the highlight of the event was the support extended by the city police, in particular the cops at the Faraskhana police station. The police officers under Inspector Bhanupratap Barge distributed roses to the queer pride, signaling an offer of friendly cooperation with the queer population.

How brilliantly gorgeous is that.

I was trying my luck on YouTube to see if I could catch a video of the parade in Pune, and came across another heart-warming thing below. By the way, the beautiful human being Inspector Barge mentioned in the quote above is also featured in the video, at 0:53.

According to Wikipedia, when it comes to Gay Pride events in India, Kolkata (also known as Calcutta) held the first one in 1999. On 29 June 2008, it also held coordinated events with the Indian capital New Delhi and two other cities, Bangalore and Pondicherry, with the city of Chennai having its event the very next day. Later that year Mumbai held its first ever formal pride parade, to demand that India’s anti-gay laws be amended. A high court in Delhi ruled on 2 July 2009 that homosexual intercourse between consenting adults was not a criminal act. Attendance at the Pride parades has been increasing significantly over the years.

Ain’t love grand 2

tumblr_m9643cbIhI1qjbzeqo1_250

All images in this post are from the tumblr site Queer Men Of Color In Love. Click any of them to go there.

tumblr_mbsq6vfANA1qb3vsno1_1280

I joined the subreddit Gaybros, in fact Reddit itself, about two months ago and I’m so glad I did. It has turned out to be a great source to find gay-related stuff. In music, for example. So far Gaybros has led to the introduction of a lot of great music. And humour stuff. And eye candy. People I’ve never heard of before.

tumblr_mqijg1xHer1qkaoj3o1_r1_1280

And now it has introduced me to this. THIS. This beautiful, glorious tumblr of images of gay men in love. I have to say I’m not crazy about the word ‘queer‘. Why oh why do some people like to use that word when it also means ‘strange‘, especially since we already have ‘gay‘ which is great enough.

tumblr_mq653xqxUD1qk3o6xo1_1280

But the images are lovely. They’re just so damn sweet, although I think we should consider that just maybe, a few of them may just be straight guys goofing around. I certainly hope every single one of these guys know their photos are online and are cool with it. Having said that, if anyone reading this happens to own the copyright to any of these photos I’ve put here and do not want it here, please let me know in the comments and I’ll remove it.

tumblr_msp8di4GOr1sxkpqno1_1280

I love this tumblr not only because I’m a hopeless romantic and these expressions of love and affection caught on camera makes me go ‘awwww’, but also because they feature ‘men of colour‘. I think a great majority of images of men on gay (and I suppose straight as well) photo blogs like those on tumblr are of white men. Caucasian. I love gorgeous images of men (and women!) of any race, but it has struck me before that, yes, most are white.

tumblr_ma720rcJYL1qlsj9yo1_400

Another reason I love Queer Men of Color In Love is because they feature mostly regular-looking guys, and just a sprinkling of Adonises. Which is the opposite of many other photo blogs I came across.

tumblr_mk4obuKpMT1r5jhdmo1_1280

Related: