Live the Dream

So, in preparation for our upcoming wedding, the Boobook and I have been househunting up in the area North of Sydney.  The price of houses in that area has fallen greatly recently, so we’re looking to snag ourselves a bargain!

Both the Boobook and I have things we’re looking for in a house.  I’m really interested in having a nice big yard so that I can plant all sorts of fruit and veggies.  The Boobook wants ample interior space so that we can not only raise a family, but also have room for our personal projects – sewing, knitting and cooking for me, and plastic and woodworking for him.  Both of us want big shared family space for leisure and studies.  We’ll also be looking at houses with double garages, since it’s likely that we will have to commute separately.

Househunting has in this area has proven to be a bit… interesting.  A lot of the houses here are at least 10 years old and many of them have been built up to accommodate growing families.  Interiors are a bit like rabbit-warrens as a result!  Three weeks ago, we found a house that we both completely fell in love, only to find that it was snapped up the very next day by an investor for waaaaay more than we could possibly afford.

Of the remaining houses we’ve been to see, there’ve been some interesting ones.  It was raining on the same day that we found the pretty house we wanted and we actually visited a house that was raining as hard on the inside as it was on the outside, despite having a roof!  The real estate agent for that place was very embarrassed!  She kept repeating, “It’s a nice house, it just needs some work…” over and over again like a mantra!

Another house we went to was a perfectly lovely house, except for the fact that it was listed online as having four bedrooms, but we could only find three.  When we asked the real estate agent about the fourth bedroom, she said, “Oh, that’s downstairs!  Let me show you!”

She led us to the top of the stairs to the basement and the Boobook went down to look.  As he descended the stairs, she hastily added, “Oh!  You can do lots of things with that room and completely change the look.”

When the Boobook came back up, his face was flushed red and he said, “Well, if we wanted to build a sex dungeon in our new house, I guess we don’t have to anymore!”

I was curious, so I went to look.  It was a very explicit sex dungeon.  I didn’t take pictures (it would probably have made our readers blind).

When I relayed this tale of woe to my friend, she said, “Just buy all the houses, even the one with the dungeon.  Then you can become a slum lord!  Live the DREAM!”

Still, we haven’t let the strangeness of the houses that get to us yet.  There’s still just one more house on the market that’s liveable, so we’re going to put an offer on it.  It’s a little out of the way but it’s got a nice yard and it’s close to all the good schools in town.

Fingers crossed that our offer will be taken!


The Joye of Work

Yesterday, I didn’t go to work because I was too sick to go to work. When I say too sick to go to work, I really mean dribbling from the nose and mouth, coughing and wheezing, fevers so high I’m hallucinating too sick to go to work.

“Why did you let your sickness get so bad?!”,  I hear your doctor-self cry.

Well, like many other University graduates my age, I’m a contractor.  Instead of being employed directly by the company I work for, I’m technically working for an employment agency.  This means that I don’t have a direct contract with the company I’m working with and am as expendable, if not more expendable than your average red shirt.

Redshirts going to die.  Taken from Roberts Space Industries forums.

Redshirts going to die. Taken from Roberts Space Industries forums.

Working for an employment agency does have its perks.  The hours are more flexible because most agencies that handle accountants and personal assistants also specialise in hiring temps, meaning more part-time jobs than you can shake a stick at.  Plus, a lot of entry level jobs in Australia go straight to agencies and unions rather than to the papers or the online job searches.

That being said, there are downsides to working for an employment agency.  Most employment agencies skim off the top of the hourly rate of my pay, which means that my paycheque is a lot lower than it should be.  Also, I don’t get annual or sick leave; or any overtime pay.  So, if I don’t work, I don’t get to eat.  Plus, I’m required to provide a medical certificate for every time I’m actually sick in order to keep my job.

Too tired for you.  Go away and leave me alone!  Taken from Seanan McGuire's Tumblr.

Too tired for you. Go away and leave me alone! Taken from Seanan McGuire’s Tumblr.

Keeping my job is, incidentally, is both the carrot AND the stick where it comes to my work.  A permanent part-time or full-time position is often the carrot dangled in front of me to keep working.  However, a lot of the companies that I’ve worked for also emphasize the fact that they’re more than willing to cut me loose if I don’t pull my weight. So, there’s a lot of pressure for me to work longer hours, take shorter lunch breaks and generally not take sick leave if I can help it.  Going to the doctor costs money, which I don’t have in a lot of abundance.

So, anyway, there you have it, the reason why I’m in bed today, instead of at work.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’m gonna go take these two panadol and go sleep.

The Good, The Bad and The Variable of Boarding School

A while back, I wrote about my childhood experiences with the Singaporean educational system.  I compared my experiences somewhat unfavorably with my experience living and studying in an Australian boarding school.  I have since been inundated with questions about boarding school and thought it prudent to write a little about my experiences.

I’ve noticed that many people tend to have romanticised view of boarding schools as structured and wholesome environments in which children are encouraged to learn independence.  Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers, for instance, gives a portrayal of boarders as supportive of each other, helping to grow and hone the personalities of their peers.  The famous Harry Potter series has a slightly different take on the whole situation, but Hogwarts still sounds like a pretty fun (albeit slightly dangerous) place to stay.  These books are not wholly inaccurate, boarding school can be a fun and supportive environment.  It can also be like this:

Before you pack your child off to a boarding school, watch St Trinians or Summer Heights High.  St Trinians has a ridiculously over-the-top heist plot, but does touch a little on the kinds of things that go on behind closed doors in boarding school.  Summer Heights High may be a complete mockumentary, but is still an accurate, if only slightly exaggerated representation of the attitudes and the culture of the disaffected youth of Australia.

Here are some things to think about, based on my personal experiences.  Please bear in mind that I studied in one of the most prestigious Christian-affiliated All Girls’ school in Australia.

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Dear Mr Special Snowflake: An Angry Rant

So, a fortnight ago, Droo and I attended the Singapore Day event held in the Domain, which I had booked tickets for a while back.  The event was pretty fun and I had originally planned to film a follow up vlog about the whole thing, until I read about the controversy surrounding the day.

Your tears are delicious.

Somebody needs a WAAAAAH-mbulance.

Apparently, some “terribly unfortunate” Australian named James Poder didn’t prebook tickets online for the day and was turned away at the gate.  Outraged by his ejection from the grounds, he called 2GB radio to cry racism!  Obviously, he was being turned away for being white!  How truly terrible for him!

Seriously. Singapore Day was pretty well attended.  Obviously, the number of Singaporeans outnumbered the number of non-Singaporeans attending the event.  Droo and I did make a sort of game counting all the clearly non-Singaporean people invited by their friends to attend.  We counted about a dozen each.  So, we know for a fact that at least 24 non-Singaporeans attended the event (not including Droo).

So here’s a letter to Mr Poder and his oversized sense of entitlement.

Dear Mr Special Snowflake,

How dare the Singaporean Government pay the Royal Botanic Gardens oodles of money to use your property for a private event, hire an Australian security firm and event staff, and ship a whole bunch of hawkers and entertainers to Sydney without feeding your sense of entitlement?  How dare we use our own money to organise and plan an event in a public space without allowing the white people, the rightful owners of the land, to just waltz in without a ticket and poke things?  Truly, I weep with shame at our clearly brazen waste of Australian taxpayer money that we didn’t use to begin with.  Boo hoo hoo.  Waaaah.

The organisers were checking people for tickets, IDs or hand stamps all day long.  Did the mean Ms Event Organiser turn you away at the gate because you didn’t bring one of these things?  Did you go and wail to the nearest other Caucasian couple you saw because you didn’t get into an exclusive event?  Awww, did ickle bubbykins get a booboo on his substantial ego?  Poor precious.  We are terribly racist against people who don’t have tickets!

Look look look!  I have an Asian Friend!  He's SO Asian!

Look look look! I have an Asian Friend! He’s SO Asian!

I mean it’s not like YOU’RE racist, right?  Some of your best friends are Singaporean!  You’ve even been to Singapore a few times!  That totally entitles you to some special treatment that allows you to get into exclusive events without a ticket.

Let’s be serious now.

You didn’t get into the event because you didn’t book a ticket in advance.  Oh, you wanted to buy a ticket at the gate?  Tickets were sold out long ago, whiny boy.  I had to get mine two months in advance of the event and even then I couldn’t get enough for all my friends because guess what?  THEY HAD RUN OUT.

Maybe it’s time to put on your big boy pants and ‘fess up to your own stupidity.  You didn’t get a ticket, so you didn’t get in.  Don’t go crying racist when your whiny sense of white person entitlement makes your head bigger than it should be.

While you’re putting on your pants, why not watch this video of my best friend, Droo, enjoying an Old Chang Kee curry puff while totally ignoring your plight.  Droo is not only officially white, but also isn’t a Singaporean citizen.  But he somehow managed to get in.  So did all the other white people who are clearly milling about in the background.  I wonder how he did it. (HINT: He had a ticket.)


A Becky Lee

PS.  Don’t worry, you’re not alone in receiving a Special Snowflake Trophy.  A Second Place Special Snowflake Trophy has also been given to the very racist Singaporean “gentleman” who wrote about being happy that there weren’t any “PRCs, India Indians, Bangla or Pinoys to annoy us“.  Shame on you, sir!  SHAME!

PPS.  Third place Special Snowflake Trophy goes to the folks at Newscorp for being lazy journalists, not doing their research properly, and giving this guy time of day.