Sunday, 26 June 2016

Of Dead Leaves and Gummy Leaches

This is an interesting dream. And like most of my dreams, they seem to come from left field with no ties to my present state of mind or what some dreamiesters would attribute to "stress" in my life. Really, if you are not in my shoes, I feel you will have a hard time trying to solve the puzzle that are my dreams.

Ok, this dream came after watching three Euro matches two of which went to extra time, one that even began at 3 am and ended close to 6 am. Did fatigue have something to do with this particular dream?

I must admit. To avoid feeling like a zombie in the morning, I actually sleep-watched my football games, napping when my eyes are tired and waking (usually) later in the match. Amazingly, I did not miss any crucial parts of the matches, nor any goals (or replays of them, haha).

The dream started with some kind of fun chase. We were running along a narrow boardwalk that lined a beach front that had folks sitting down for evening coffee or light meals. Above them were strung the usual ambient light bulbs giving the place a bit of a festive air.

Why were we running? I think an earlier part of the dream had us accosted by some person or dog at a kampung area (a 'kampung' is an Asian rural area of wooden houses with thatched or zinc roofs) where I believe someone was  thrusted against a wooden wall. I know, it sounds kind of violent. Maybe it was. I would have to recall more.

In any case, as we ran, in a presumably joyful mood, I then climbed a ringed staircase, you know, the sort found on antenna towers for service folks, I bumped into a drain gutter and roof. I was then showered with all kinds of detritus - dead leaves, dust, soil bits, etc. I was totally plastered, as if I had rolled in the stuff itself.

Getting back on the ground, I tried to get the stuff off. But to no avail. The more I tried to shake it off, the more the stuff would come back. Imagine ants crawling all over you and the more you brush them off, the more would come back.

However, what's coming back is not ants but soil-like dust. Or dark, wet Chinese tea-leaf bits, you get my drift. Or black volcanic sand, the kind that's found on the southern beaches of Bali. The ones that will stick to your wet body.

Then there were also the gummy-like patches in the color of tanned skin. At first I thought I was suffering from some form of measles, but as the patches grew darker (and raised) I picked up courage to peel them off. And glad they came off without tearing my skin. I would do the same with the other drier, scab-like patches.

In the end, I was finally free from this horrific skin condition and sat down for tea with someone who felt like my mom (or an actress playing the part of my mom). We sat outside a kampung house and had teh-C orleng, my kind of teh-C beverage. The scene reminded me of the Chinese kampung along Jalan Cheng Hwa or even the one in present day Pulau Ubin kampung.

There were scenes of an earlier conflict, maybe a gang fight even, but the memory is foggy. And sitting there enjoying the tea, we seemed to be watching a rally of some sort.

The end.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Batik Shirt

I am in a meeting with a couple. They are Thai, skinny and youngish looking. Why, I am surprised when they tell me they are both 27 and 33 respectively. I had thought they were just in their late teens or early 20s.

We are in a cafe in a shopping mall, the kind with a large atrium. A few floors up and sitting at a cubicle table along the corridor. It is day, and very bright. The shopping centre feels familiar, like the one I had visited in a dream before. It has three high-rise circular sections, each with its own atrium and information counter.

The meeting starts. The couple are concerned. At this point I learn who I am. I am their English tutor and they are about to go overseas for studies. They wonder if they are making the right decision. I tell them it is never too late to study and it is always good to have a degree - for reason of career and personal advancement.

I ask if they are engaged; they both nod. I said "Really?" and they both nod again. I am not sure why I have to affirm this bit of info. There seems to be some kind of family values involved. 

I then recall being at their family home and being with their family members. It was a happy, casual occasion.

After this first meeting I return to Singapore. I remember going via the Causeway so I must have landed in JB and taken the land road home. I did, after all, lived in nearby Marsiling before.

I also remember leaving the cafe and browsing over some clothing shop. The shirts there had patterns similar to Indonesian batik. I checked my wallet and realised I had a few notes left and just enough foreign currency to get home.

We are now at our second meeting. It's at the same location. Everything is cheery, and it appears that much have been decided upon. The couple are happy and give me a brown batik shirt as a gift. It is not cotton but one made of polyester and cotton mixed. Maybe rayon. But it fits me nicely. My shoulders and chest look buff.

Later, I meet MH and Set on the taxi home and they compliemented on my shirt. I told them I was on work assignment in Thailand.

At the shopping centre after my meeting with the couple I leave. But there seems to be a commotion downstairs at the atrium. People are fleeing and I am being swept along. We run to the back of the building and find ourselves in some back maintenance/loading area with big pipes running along the walls. They are painted in a dirty mustard yellow color. The whole place looks a bit grungy.

I escape to the outside and walk along a kampung road. It is a dirt road with a grassy stream running beside it. Ahead are padi feilds and coconut trees. The scene reminds me of a kampung from my godma's condo on the outskirts of Malacca.

I get into a taxi and meet MH and Set. Not long after they compliment me on my batik patterned shirt. I again look into my wallet and find few notes there.

The end.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Spiderman and a Demon

This dream is rather unusual flying one. It starts off at the screening of two Spider-man movies in a gym (the old tall secondary school type) and the teacher - a pretty one looking businesslike in shirt and tight skirt, colors actually looking like a casino croupier - grilling us on the differences between the two.

The movies were about a good and bad Spider-man. It was also about the abilities of the superhero. I somehow feel indignant and think I could do a better job at 'flying' (Spider-man was more about swinging). I suddenly begin to float like I often do in such 'flying dreams' of mine - this time floating in a gentle but uncontrollable way like a drone ascending uncertainly.

Weirdly, the teacher doesn't seem to notice and I do more calisthenics in the air before exiting the hall and floating outside.

We are in a small godown area by the sea, all very Greece-like in sparsity, colors (sea blue) and sea.

Or in some deserted seaside industrial part of Malaysian town such as Pontian.

The dream then changes focus and we are suddenly haunted and hunted down by a possessed being which is both male and fierce.

I am running through this unruly field next to an industrial part of town and ushering a young girl along. n my arms a baby. We appear afraid of what might be following us. That it might catch up and take over our spirit and body.

We reach two old but tall blocks of HDB flats. Those built in 70s with shops below. A rather old and familiar scene. Provision shops with tarps extending to shade sundry goods spilling out from the corridor.

I go for the lift. An old man on a grandfather bike approaches and appear ready to fight the demon.

I tell him we need to go to the hall.

The baby, girl and I reach the hall, but the old man cannot be found. His bike lay sprawled in a stairwell. Has he been battling the demon?

The girl and I wonder if we can tell if the demon has possessed someone. Just then the old man appears, his demeanor now changed and looking like he could eat us up.

We retreat as we consider our options as to what to do. The room grows dark and menacing.

The end.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

A Bike Light

An old dream revisited. Recurring dreams haven't happened to me in a while, so I was rather surprised by this one in the dawn hours of the morning.

The dream starts of with me fixing a small bike light that's a clip-on (belt) the size of a cigarette lighter pouch (i.e. the Dupont GI lighter kind), than a full-sized head lamp. It is quite flat and rectangular and newsy with its blue LED light. I am trying to fit two wires into their respective wire posts (a technical term such things); I am trying to fix it with one hand, the other hand not quite sure why not free.

There are three wire posts and I've gotten one wire in; I'm struggling with the other two and trying to twist them thin to fit, not so easy with just one hand. The blue LED light works but I have to get the other two wires in to have the white light come on.

All this while, I am walking to a gathering area that seems to be a small cultural plaza with a raised modern art area (at where some students are sitting and in discussion). I think a movie of sorts is being screened as well. My god-sister Carmen is there (she's not in the original dream though) and she asks about my well-being. We then chit-chat a bit.

I continue to fiddle with the bike light on my belt.

I sit with my god-sister for a while. The next scene see me getting up and walking the corridor at the edge of the plaza that is leading to a supermarket. It is night and the s-mart is closed. I reach the end and enter what appears to be a small theater. My friend CK is there seated at the back. He gives me his typical smiley hello. He is wearing a yellow headscarf over his bald pate, not something I've seen him with before. It looks like a kind of temple scarf with red Taoist rune letterings.

I sit down and wonder about what's going on on the movie screen.

Again I fidget with the bike light to try to get the wires in.

Watching the movie, I am transported back to my NS days. I see myself in a new green field uniform, of a camouflage pattern I have never seen or worn before. In the old days, we wore the old patchy "camo-pattern" ones, not these new pixelated ones that's common to most modern armies now.

In the next scene, I am climbing down from a tank. Must have been a tank on show as everything looked clean and posey. I am reminded of the night I had spent at the local officer cadet academy grounds in Jurong enjoying the midnight quiet and starry sky, and wondering what I would have become if I had signed-on (i.e. joined professionally) to the army. The academy grounds did once have a display tank there.

In the next scene, I am returned to the plaza and back to wearing the same windbreaker as before. Again I fidget with the bike light to get the wires in. Again, without much success.

The end.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

A Tent Dinner

This dream is a follow-up to the one I had before.

A big outdoor tent dinner has been planned and I am now going there to check if things are running smoothly. 

Buntings have been hung up from nearby street lamps. The whole place reminds me a well-landscaped industrial park with gentle grass knolls and quiet streets.

For this assignment, I have been given a nearby and smallish studio flat to stay in. It has some kind of water issue at the place.

The shower with shower head is in the living room (that shows how small the place) and so I move the mattress I sleep on to a raised platform to avoid getting it wet. 

I also take care not to wet a pile of my everyday clothes nearby, especially my underwear which appears to be of an expensive brand (haha).

(This 'do-not-wet' theme was in my original dream too!)

Outside it has just rained and now the streets are rather cold, wet-shiny.

Next, I am on my way back from checking the dinner event site. Across the road is a nondescript office building. The office on the ground floor has glass walls all round. Inside is a state-of-the-art photocopier. 

I then take the lift up upstairs and end up in an office where people are preparing to print the dinner reservations. An older woman appears to be in charge and giving orders. She peers out from a pair of reading glasses perched on her nose. We exchange an acknowlegdement and that's that. All around, tables are littered with cut paper sheets and such.

I look for an empty space at one of the long tables and sit down for a while. A while later I exit this workroom to go to the rooftop. The walls all round appears to be really grey and boring.

Back on the street I notice a black MPV parked by the road. Inside is a father and his kids.

I approach to invite them to the aforementioned dinner as they appear to be tourists and I wanted to do the hospitable thing. But half way there, I change my mind. Meanwhile, their car has started up at the same time and making a u-turn to get back onto the main road.

So be it, I say to myself.

It has been a wet day but I am confident that by evening everything would be dry. The sky, though grey, appear to be clearing. It feels like dusk at about 6 pm.

I meet some older members of the Association at the dinner and we chat. An assistant arrives - a big chap who reminds me of an NPCC (cadet corp) schoolmate I once knew. Can it be that we have organised some big event in school before and this is what this dream is all about?

The End

A Sandwich Shop

I have never dreamed myself in a sandwich shop before, which is kind of unusual. It is not as if I've never been in one before. But in Sg we  never had a "make it yourself" sandwich shop. I think people here are too "kiasu" for such a concept to succeed. Folks would simply waste food (stuffing their sandwich) to make their money's worth.

That notwithstanding, I would love to see the kind of falafel sandwich stalls one sees in Amsterdam. Man, those pita pockets are delicious! And you get to fill them up yourself. More greens? No prob. More falafel balls? Well, on certain days you can. 

Despite all that, I do remember a sandwich place in the business district of Shenton Way. I am not sure if they are still here. It was a two-joint establishment: one side a small morning-coffee cafe for standing customers only; the other, a shop space with see-thru fridges filled with a variety of prepacked sandwiches like those sold by 7-Eleven convenience store. Great for "grab and go" hungry office folks. The idea works well during lunch time too where folks could eat a sandwich, have a cuppa and catch up with some reading at a huddle cocktail table.

The sandwich shop I was in in my dream last night is a small one. It reminds me of a similarly tight-spaced Japanese noodle stall I once patronised in Tokyo. There is room enough only for a single-line queue. There's no way anyone can overtake to move faster or jump queue. Everybody filled their sandwich as if they shuffled along like in a slow-moving conveyor queue!

You start with toast bread and top it up with food bits along the queue. The food bits (i.e. fillings for the sandwich) are all contained in small stainless steel bins hanging off the wall rails like some Ikea concept. There are two rows of food: the hanging small food bins and below, the bigger stainless trays with the messier stuff such as baked beans. I note that the beans are warm and steamy. As often is in such a buffet place, the counter top is messy with spilled bits of food everywhere. Otherwise the stainless steel rails and bins do look very clean.

I proceed to top up my toast with beans and lettuce and other stuff.

In the next scene, I am done buying my sandwich and seem glad to stagger out of the shop. A late afternoon sun blinds me and I shield my eyes from it. I am also trying to balance my baked bean drenched sandwich in one hand and and a stainless steel cup of coffee in the other. The cup seems to be clothed in some heat-resistant black polyurethane material. The coffee does not spill as the cup has a screw-on lid.

Like everybody else, I start to look for a place to sit to eat my sandwich.

There is none. And as I am in a side street, I simply sit in the middle and proceed to munch my sandwich. No sooner have I sat down, a car comes and I have to get up. I place my sandwich on top of my coffee cup and put it aside. Baked beans drip down from its sides. That's the lingering image I have of that scene: Coffee cup on the tarmac with some baked beans dripping down the side of a sandwich. Hmm...

After the car passes, I pick up my coffee and kick whatever spilled beans on the road to one side, trying to tidy up. I then join a crowd that's also looking for a place to eat their sandwich. Someone from the shop suggested a nearby place and we all head in that direction.

This new place is quite 'jazzy' and on its walls are life-sized Art Deco-style charcoal sketches of popular figures. There's even one of Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore's first prime minister. He is smiling and dressed in a club-like kind of suit (a white one which I think I've seen him wear before).

We all look around the place some more and eventually find some 1960s sofa chairs to sit in. They have vinyl seats and slim rounded legs that taper, very classic designs from that era. The coffee tables come with matching formica tops too.

The End

Monday, 29 September 2014

Street Market in Kuala Lumpur

In this dream, I am sitting in the lotus position and floating over a street market in KL. (Not for the first time, mind you; I've "lotus-floated" over quite a few places in my dreams before.) I seem to be in an old part of town, maybe "she cheong gai" street market (i.e. Petaling Street Market).

This time I  start slow and cannot get enough height. I bobble up and down trying to gain lift.

A shopkeeper stares at me. I try again to gain height but fail and knock over a leather luggage bag from a high shelf in the street. He goes to pick it up but doesn't seem annoyed; he was more amused than anything, almost as if he has seen me do this before. Still, I am embarrassed by my mistake and apologise profusely and try again to gain lift again. I fly pass another big stall that juts out into the street. It sells tee-shirts. I can read the ones hung at the top. I am that low, still trying to float above 'em stalls. 

Finally, with some added will, I am able to rise and fly at normal height which is about three storeys high. I reach the end of the street market and come to a road river bridge where I see Ah Keong. He is a neighbour from my teenage years.

We great each other. Ah Keong's looks and build reminds me of a 90s HK TV actor who always acted in eager and entrepreneurial young men roles. Like him, Ah Keong too has a bit of a squint eye.

We walk along a five-foot way and reach a turn; a short flight of stairs lead to another cluster of quaint-looking shops. Their merchandise  goods spilling out into the sidewalk.

Ah Keong seems to know the bosses there and acts like a Member of Parliament on his rounds greeting and handing out his name cards. I have this feeling that his actions may be a bit over-the-top.

He turns to tell me that he knows a friend who owns an eyewear shop nearby.

We look for a place to sit and chat. Eventually we arrive at a cafe with 50s-style modern interior, one I have seen in an old HK movie starring Cheong Ying, Wu Fong and pretty Lam Fung... all popular stars from the 60s.

I realise I do not have any ringgit (Malaysian currency) with me, only Sg dollars. The lady boss at the cashier station is kind and says "no problem".

Ah Keong and I settle down to chat.

I ask Ah Keong his occupation and he tells me that he is into application software. He says he is also into a few other things. I didn't ask him to elaborate suspecting that not all are legitimate activities.

He asks me what I think of the software industry and I share my opinion as I've covered that field as a journalist for many years attending conferences and interviewing industry players.

He is impressed. He decides to call more friends to listen to me. I am surprised but not displeased.

At the next table I meet an old friend, a lady who was  a director in a publishing company I had worked in before.

I introduce her to Ah Keong. They exchange name cards. Embarrassingly, it takes me a moment to remember her name. She was called Suan or something like that. We have had a very professional friendship in the past. She still likes me and I am glad to see her again. She is a wonderful combination of smarts and lady-like grace.

More people begin to stream into the cafe.

I step out to take a breather, feeling good but somewhat overwhelmed by the large number of people Ah Keong has called to listen to my talk. They fill about two long tables.

Outside, an Indian executive with greying hair squats down next to a chalkboard to try to explain something. He draws a curvy graph relating knowledge with age. Mine seems more to the right, signalling that my knowledge may not be as in-job as it should be. I tell him that my knowledge is that of a journalist's: more worldly than scholarly. I also mention that the graph does not indicate a person's analytic ability (where my value lies). I tell myself these graphs don't matter as my insights are uniquely my own.

I go back into the cafe to begin my talk.

In the very next dream sequence, I am back with Ah Keong in a somewhat deserted street lined with old shoprow houses. 

I learn more about him. Physically, he is a strapping chap and quite tough. He appears to be married with wife and young daughter.

We walk and talk some more. Eventually, I tell him I have to get going. Ah Keong then reminds me of the direction to take to get to the street market in case I come visit again. 

It starts to rain. I quickly increase my pace and reach a corner road junction that is recognised for its giant baobab tree. It reminds of a similar road junction in Malacca. I turn to make my way home feeling glad to have the rain beat down on me. It is both exhilarating and a release. My one regret has always been not keeping in touch with Ah Keong. We both played badminton for our constituency during our younger days and had some adventures motorbiking around in JB.

The end.