Packing is a bitch.

19 03 2009

I finally got down to packing -most- of my peripherals and gadgets into 2 bags, consisting mostly of chargers, camera accessories and other stuff.

I’ll probably be handcarrying them on the plane because I don’t want my portable HDDs to be shaken around too much, and laptops/netbooks can’t be checked in, if I’m not wrong.

This time, I’m trying to travel as light as I can, and buy what I need in Japan. Afterall, the clothes there are more suited to the weather, and not to mention, prettier as well 😀 Will probably bring a couple of sets of clothes which can be worn in school, one set of formal attire, and other clothes that look nice enough to go out in. I’m also trying to keep footwear to a bare minimum, but found that I needed 6 pairs – sneakers, heels, court shoes, sandals, slippers, dress shoes.

As for books, I’m bringing along a few maths drill books in Japanese, as well as Japanese novels, and around 5 non-fiction books in English to maintain my sanity.

Also, for some reason, my parents decided to bring a few bottles of sauces and seasonings in case these aren’t available in Japan. 

Sigh. I have tomorrow to try and fit most of my current life into a suitcase..


On backyard breeding

8 02 2009

A neighbour of mine, also a Chihuahua owner, has approached my dad and maid on several occasions, asking if we want to breed our male dog with hers. Apparently she wanted to have some puppies from her dog.

While I do understand her sentiments, allowing my dog to mate with hers is something I can’t do. As the stud owner, actually I don’t stand to lose anything, even if I do it for free.

I don’t even want puppies. Anyone who knows my dog will be aware of the fact that he’s already a handful, and I don’t need more puppies to complicate my life especially if they end up taking after their father.

Most importantly, Chihuahua births are risky occasions. The breed is small, with a tendency to large, apple-shaped heads. Oftentimes expensive caesarean sections are required to deliver the puppies. Heck mating itself is a complicated enough process, considering how Chihuahuas are finicky about mating. Breeders have to step in sometimes to inseminate the bitch -.-

What all this means, is that a Chihuahua bitch has a pretty high chance of not making it through the birth. Some of the puppies may not survive, particularly when said breeder is inexperienced and underinformed. A lot of time and dedication is required to breed a dog, and one needs to be prepared for the worst at all times. Gestation can last up to 3 months, and in the week leading up to the birth, the bitch cannot be left alone for more than an hour each time.

Before all this happens, a vet’s opinion on whether the dogs are suited for breeding and delivery is required, and the bitch needs to be at least a few years old but under a certain age. Breeding a comparatively smaller bitch with a bigger male also results in larger puppies, which don’t help in making the birth any easier.

What professional breeders do before even considering mating 2 dogs together is to study the bloodlines of said dogs, to look for genetic defects and traits that do not adhere to the breed standard, which may be passed down to the puppies. Of course breeding pet dogs requires less stringent background checks, but a perfunctory scanning of the bloodline for serious defects is a must. My dog has a congenital heart defect which causes him to be born with an enlarged heart. So far no problems detected, but he -may- need to be on medication later in life. His temperament is another story altogether.

Personally I cannot condone breeding dogs just for the puppies, especially with toy breeds such as the Chihuahua. The best way to get a puppy is to buy one from a reputable pet shop. If you value your dog so much that you’d want to keep its puppies, I don’t see any point in risking its life (and that of the puppies) just to obtain puppies.

No prizes for guessing why I’m not keen about breeding -.- Also, chances are that my overenthusiastic dog will probably cause some irreversible damage to the bitch.

The Civilian-Military Divide

27 01 2009

Since most people are booking in today after the Chinese New Year break, it seems like an appropriate time to rant about the rather undesirable consequences of military conscription in Singapore.

A common complaint I hear from my conscripted friends is how regimented life in National Service has affected their civilian lives. While many have made an effort to keep their civilian and military lives separate, some mixing between the two is inevitable. Most people have reported waking up at unnatural hours even after booking out, as a result of becoming accustomed to the early waking hours in camp. A few others have felt the impact of conditioning and drills in NS, relying more and more on trained reflexes and less on independent thought and feeling. An amusing point to note would be the sudden increase in pushup proficiency and the subtle encroachment of NS terms into normal conversation.

In situations involving NS guys and other non-inhabitants of the Tekong Chalet, both sides have noticed a growing divergence in terms of conversation topics and the tendency for the former group to revert to talking about NS, leaving the latter lost and disgruntled. I foresee a widening of this gap in time to come, as people settle into the mind-numbing rhythms of NS life. For now, most are still wistfully comparing pre-NS days with dreary (and sometimes interesting) in-camp life. In a way there is still a common ground, something to talk about, in the form of anticipated gatherings and nostalgia for bygone days before half the world lost their hair. There is also a certain degree of novelty that NS holds yet for the non-inhabitants of the Tekong Chalet.

As for the mainland side, who has not felt a slight sense of inadequacy when their friend/boyfriend/brother/cousin/etc complains about the hardships that they have had to endure (whether made-up or not) because of NS? And then there is the sexual frustration of not being able to understand anything; the feeling of being completely foreign to this overwhelming thing that is eating 18-year-old boys: NS. It’s the exclusivity of this experience that results in a divide between the civilian and military spheres, and leaves us on the mainland feeling like we have been cut out of approximately 2 years of our male counterparts’ lives.

It’s been unsettling to get adjusted to 10% of my MSN contact list being online at any one point of time during weekdays, to the sparkling bald heads of individuals formerly sporting full crops of hair, to having to say everything and more in a single weekend, to getting used to the idea that more than 50% of our cohort (statistically speaking) is collectively engaging in something that we will never be able to experience first-hand. *

This is why I continue to say that I dislike NS despite its obvious fulfilment of certain social engineering goals of the Singapore Government (which I shall not mention here.)

*While some people sign up for voluntary BMT, it is worlds away from the sharerd experience of alternately dreading and looking forward to one’s enlistment and what follows it.