Higher Res. version available here.
Recently I was commissioned by an arts society to teach HDB heartlanders to draw shite. The idea was to take all their completed drawings, scan them, and put them into this huge-ass installation in their residential area.
Ok fine, reasonable.
So I got to talk to many different residents and help them along, and got to teach lil' kids to draw. Tiring, but fun shit. So then, this RC Chairman sat next to me with his secretary, while I was amidst the kids, with the intent to observe. TO OBSERVE! HAH! I knew then, in my heart, that I was go for troll. This is a record of the following conversation:
Me: OK KIDS! We're going to draw really exciting things today. Girls, do you want to draw HELLO KITTYCAT?! THE BEST KITTY?
Girls: *smile, nod heads*
Me: And BOYS! We're gonna draw T-REX SAURUS YEARRGH! It's going to be very fierce and has VERY SHARP TEETH!
Boys: *Laugh, grabs pencils*
So, after teaching them how to draw their respective anthromorphic entities, they started colouring the drawings and I talked to Suresh, a 7 year old kid sitting opposite me.
Me: Suresh, you like your dinosaur?
Suresh: *nods head*
Me: Suresh, you want to draw hello kittycat?
Me: Is it ok if guys draw hello kittycat and girls draw t-rex saurus?
Suresh: *laughs* No!
Me: Why Suresh? Why boys cannot draw hello kittycat?
Suresh: Because boy have boy things and girl have girl things.
Me: Ok. Who says that? Mommy? Teacher? Tell me who?
Suresh: *does that cute kid thing where he smiles and covers half his face* Dunno..
Me: Is it because EVERYONE says?
Suresh: *nods* Yes.
Me: Ok Suresh, now I tell you that it's ok for boys to draw hello kittycat and play with hello kitty toys. So how? Now not everyone says so.
Suresh:............... I confuse.
Then I glanced to my left where the RC Chairman was sitting, and true enough, he was side-eyeing me. GREAT SUCCESS! HAH! THAT"LL TEACH HIM. HE CAME TO OBSERVE! ALL HE GOT WAS TROLL LOLZ trololololololol.. This little anecdote has a happy ending, with me making a lot of little friends, and pissing off a government stoogie.
After hearing Kwok's mad story about Bario ramen, I had to try it for myself before the voices in my head overwhelmed me. Now, Bario ramen differs from your typical japanese springy goodness in a couple of ways.
Firstly, the kanji for this particular dish includes "男", or "Man", as part of its name. I do not deny there is a part of me that fantasizes about gaining instant manliness from consuming a bowl of ramen, impossible as that may be.
Secondly, the moment you step in front of the counter, a challenge is issued to you. A challenge! By ramen! Great Scott! A large signboard dictates that should you choose to add a spoonful of garlic and chili to your ramen, you would have earned the rank of "Nice guy". If you added two spoonfuls of the beautiful poison to your bowl, people on the streets would know you as the "SUPER Nice guy". But three's the charm! Add three spoonfuls of raw chopped garlic and ruby red chili flakes into your ramen and the world will hail you as "BARIO"!
BARIO. Say it with a gutteral growl at the last syllable. The true, unadulterated essence of manliness. Potent, virile and radiating in every single manly stereotype you can think of.
Of course, I added four spoonfuls of everything. In front of the counter staff. I swore that space and time warped gently around my bowl. After I sat down at the table, I couldn't really remember what happened next. You don't eat ramen that's this momentous, it eats YOU. I likened the experience to snorting coke (not that I would know), if coke was hot, salty and had a tyrannosaurus bite.
Before I left Iluma, I posed a bit in front of the toilet mirror, and was disappointed to learn that I had not become any manlier, in girth, stature or bearing. I had, however, eaten a damn fucking good bowl of ramen.