Monday, 10 December 2012

Chinatown and A Coded Bra

I am in a sort of old Chinatown made up of wooden storeyed buildings. Connecting these mishmash of houses are covered wooden walkways that are narrow, squarish and high up. Very tube-like. You would have to stoop to walk through them. And in each walkway were small square windows.

In this dream, I seem to be running away from gangsters. I am in a car and driving about. In one scene, I arrive at the courtyard of a couple of ladies. To get to them, I had to navigate through backalleys not unlike those found in the lorongs of Geylang and Sims Avenue.

The ladies have some very minute (size) digital information that the gangsters want. In my mind, I imagine them to be miniaturised computer chips. But they were not. The information was contained in their bras which had some sort of black elastic netting. When expanded a little - like pushing up from underneath with a thumb - one could see what the closed elastic band was hiding. What I saw was some paint colors of which reminded me of a painting of Vincent van Gogh.

I then catch a couple of gangsters spying from underneath a bench in the garden. I pull them out. One I keep inside a wooden box and try to squash him to death. He struggles and a leg pops out. I try to break that by twisting his ankle but it does not work. I try the same with his head but it just wouldn't snap. In the end I just sat on him and let him be. I am thinking how uncomfortable I am with the violence and all that.

With the gangsters disposed off, I take the girls by car to find their agent. Apparently he would know what to do with the information in their bras. I looked at one of the girls and admired her large breasts. My, that girl could hold a trillion bytes was what I thought! Nerd. Am I really that nerdy?

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Rear Ended

In this dream, I am driving. My car is a large '70s saloon like those found in America. I have a few passengers inside and we are making merry. At a traffic light, we stop. As we were talking, we didn't notice that the car was rolling back. But only just. However, it nudged the car behind.

As it was slight, I didn't think it warranted getting out of the car. However, I noticed through the rear mirror that the other driver was giving livid and getting out of his. So I decided to do the courteous thing and get out as well.

The other driver was really livid and gesticulated loudly at the spot on his car where I had seemingly hit him. I see dents and scratches, as if on a stainless steel surface. It runs the length of his car. Dents like raised ribbons of scars and scratches looking like buffed aluminium. Ok, I get the idea, the side of his car was like a battleground. But I remember thinking, hey I only so slightly bumped you, what has these other scars got to do with me? If anything, it showed that you were the worse driver.

Just then, I realised he was my ex-classmate BH. He's usually very calm and reserved. But now, he is getting all worked up and livid. In fact, in the next moment, he rolled on the floor demanding that I make amends. He rolled back and forth, arms crossed against his chest, throwing his tantrum at the same time. "You were wrong! You should apologise!" I couldn't take it and stuck out a leg to stop him.

I woke up thinking how funny that was, me sticking out a leg and stepping on him to stop him from rolling, like someone stopping a runaway log (small one).

I next drive away into the next town.

Afternote: I try to understand this dream and determine its triggers, but unlike my previous ones, I cannot find any. For the car side scratches, that I get. It resembles the opening sequence of James Bind's 007 Quantum of Solace which was recently shown on prime time TV. Why my usually calm classmate would roll on the floor like that, I haven't a clue. It's not normal even for anybody!

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Forgotten Giant Prawn

It's funny, don't you think, to remember in a dream something you have caught in another dream and forgotten all about?

I had dreamt of a lobster prawn (which looked incidentally like a giant cooked prawn all pink and whitish, see pix on left) a week ago. Today, I dreamt about opening the same bag (the side pocket of a haversack) and remembering that I had caught it sometime ago. I had forgotten all about it during all this time. I even reprimanded myself about it, and for not having fed it and if it was still alive. It was. And hungry probably, judging by the aggressive way it reacted when I opened the pouch. Who can blame the poor creature!

The reason I remember today is that I dreamt I had caught another giant prawn. This one is dead though. I was putting it in the side pouch when I discovered the another one inside. At the time, I was in a bus driving some school kids to a seaside excursion and had caught the prawn in the sea. I don't know why this one is dead and the other one alive.

So I put the dead prawn in together with the live prawn. Immediately it pulled its dead companion further inside. I was worried that it would cannibalise it. But for some strange reason, hungry as it was, it didn't.

Back home, I decided to put the live prawn in a basin to feed it properly. The basin was blue and plastic, same one as I have in my non-dream home. I then looked for a flat piece of gauze wire to cover over it. I wondered about what I should feed the prawn now crawling in my basin. Could I feed it with small prawns like I did with my dead and gone turtle? Wouldn't that be cannibalism? How about bits of sotong?

The next day, I told the kids in the bus that they could no longer swim in the sea. They did not sound too disappointed when I told them about the giant prawn. A few want to go to my place to look at it. In any case, some of the kids put their diving masks on and stuck their heads out of the moving bus. Their hair flew back as it caught the wind.

To engage them in another matter, I told them to organise themselves into groups of four. This they did, getting up in the bus and exchanging seats. I remember thinking, 'What an obedient bunch!'

Thursday, 25 October 2012

An Egg-Shaped Car

Someone has invited me to shop at the village. I go there and see a popular eating place. It's crowded and I make my way in to see what the fuss was all about. It is some cold noodles the proprietor is selling. The eatery is made of bamboo and with mats as walls like some waystation tea-stand in some Ancient China.

I see movement of people and follow them along a corridor. I make a few turns and end up in a room. A group of boys are trying to clean themselves up with water. I notice they are without shoes. I ask why they are muddy and they tell me they have been playing in a river further up.

They point out of a window and I follow their directions. I find the river and understands the fun the boys had. It reminds me of a trip I've made to Malaysia once.

Other folk walk by carrying prayer incense things. There are trees all round as if in a kampong and that a temple is somewhere ahead.

I get the feeling that my female friend is coming and return to the roadside by the eatery. I see her walking down towards me from a distance. When we up we go inside and have a meal.

After our makan, we say our goodbyes and I meet my army buddy Richard. I am soon at his house. I stay over and the next thing I know, I am awake in the morning and am. getting ready to leave.

For some reason Richard is busy in his room. His dad feels it is rude and calls him to come join me.

The phone rings and Richard's father picks it up. "It's your army camp," he says.

Richard talks into the phone and gets angry. It seems the camp is not willing to let him skip a training in-camp. Profanities are exchanged. He switches off the phone and throws it on the sofa.

I get dressed to leave. I notice I am dressed in a funny way. A loose sheer blouse, a very short pair of skin-tight shorts that is made of red and yellow shiny polyester and printed with images of people from ancient China. I think the scene is a snippet from that famous Song painting of a market on a river bridge that was recently turned into a kind of animated installation artwork. This pair of shorts is so short it's like a band. Stranger still is that lacy underwear is sneaking out from behind and after some comments made by Richard's mom, I try to tuck them back in.

I look as if I am wearing transvestite fashion but I don't feel it. Even the high heels I'm wearing don't engender that feeling.

Next, I am back at the eatery and bump into Allen, a secondary schoolmate and fellow badminton team member. We sit down somewhere for coffee and to chat. Once done, we head back to his 'car' that was parked in an alley. It has an unusual shape, almost like a luge machine with cover. Allen seems proud of it and suggests we go for a drive.

We remove the top cover, which is made of unvarnished fibreglass. It has the color and texture of polished shell like those commonly used by Filipinos to make lampshades, coasters and other stuff. The rest of the car seems to be made of canvas, wood and aluminium struts. Together they give the impression that the vehicle is egg-shaped and aerodynamic.

Allen gets in, followed by me. I ease myself carefully down on the seat (it's a tight fit) and proceed to lift my leg one at a time into a small place holder. As mentioned, this vehicle is more luge machine than car. Or some leftover contraption from an energy-efficient driving contest.

I need to sneak my leg between two pieces of wood planks and I succeed. Sitting with my legs clamped around the structure, we replace the cover and set off.

To move the machine, we have to shove-chuck two thin rods that run along the top edges of the vehicle. The faster we work, the faster the vehicle went. Allen and I have to be coordinated. So we time ourselves to left-right left-right rhythm. it works. Our action is no different from holding on to two overhead bars in a bus and shoving them along. Pretty soon, we speed along at a very good pace.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

The Thing Cat

I am in a quaint neighbourhood, the sort with low housing and 50s architecture. It's a little cul de sac and the neighbours are shop owners and apartment dwellers. There's an air of emptiness not unlike that of a movie set where few people walk by.

In view is a long apartment unit with a roundish end. A corridor runs the lenghth of the entire second level (not unlike HDB design). I am in a shop unit below. The proprietors seem to be dealing in hardware stuff. I am inside and talking to a lady, someone I recognise from my past. She used to sell weapons and was the only woman I ever knew who did that.

She is asking me to fix a remote trigger transmitter, the countless types we see in the movies: a small little black box with flip switch, a flashing red light and a retractable antenna at the end. Only in this case, the light is LED yellow-green and obviously wonky. It is sometimes on, sometimes off.

A cafe is next door and this friend and I decide to have cuppa. We order and sit back to relax. I look out a window, at the neighbourhood around. I seem to like the place a lot. It's middle class, lush with leafy, multi-coloured autumn trees and the folks are friendly. A young man and a woman dresed in '50s tennis gear walk by, making the scene even more reminiscent of a bygone era.

The cafe is almost full, with folks animated in conversation. I have an egg tart and a char siew so (a pastry filled with char siew meat).

After our coffees, we leave. A white cat is lying on a small round side table by the door, looking sleepy and content.

There is news, something about a war and unrest. We head to a hall, which is dim and showing a newsreel. At the end, folks in viewing balconies emerge and demands more freedom for the press. I suspect, like me, they are journalists. It gets rather vocal, with the wife of the prime minister joining in. For added emphasis, she grabs a gun (which looks like a Mauser C96) from her bodyguard and fires into the air. Three shots in rapid succession.

"Aye, aye, aye," she shouts and looks down on us below, her eyes smiling and yet a little wild. Is she serious or just joining a popular cause?

My friend and I look at each other unbelieving. That the prime minister's wife herself would call for greater press freedom.

After this, we head back to the cafe to discuss the issue some more. As I leave the second time round, I say hello to the cat and playfully pulls at its paw. It and everything else of the cat slips apart! Her arm, her torso, her head... as easy as some well-cooked bak kut teh meat on a bone. The heads drops clean off with no gash and no blood. It's was all rather odd. I remember thinking if there has to be some significance to this macabre incident. (There is. Before this dream a few nights ago, I was watching The Thing (2012). A scene in there is quite similar.)

Sunday, 7 October 2012

A Stream and a Tiger

I dreamt I was walking along a trunk road just outside a small Malaysian town. Beside me is a little forested area and I step in. A short walk later, I encounter Tony, my secondary school badminton coach. He invites me into his shop. It's a kind of wooden cabin and on its walls are hung all manner of sports equipment. From badminton racquets to mountain climbing gear. The best part is that his shop is cleft by a stream, right down the middle. To get over the other side, you'd have to step on rocks. The stream is bubbling and a-brooking and I find it all very enchanting and excellent for a shop engaged in the business of sports and adventure.

Tony and I chat and recount the good old days when we were but a ragtag bunch badminton players. Our school was small, only a single session, but we had quite a bit of talent. However, it was always just short of the very good playing schools. Still, dressed in our non-uniform gear - we didn't even have school jerseys - we did beat some fancy teams dressed in Yonex from head to toe, especially that memorable match against St Andrews. Like what some people say, looks can be deceiving.

In the next scene, I am in a factory warehouse office. It is open plan and I am working hard at my high stool desk on some handbook and it's already past 5pm. Set and MH, both colleagues from Thomson, are getting ready to leave. We make plans to meet at a pub.

I do meet them at a pub later but there's a commotion. A tiger seems to have gotten loose. We run to hide and get away.

I am in a room and perched on a window ledge. I look into the corridor to see if the tiger is there. Nothing. Then a stripey mat-like piece of raw paper slides down the hall way towards me. I sense that it is the tiger. For some reason it is invisible. the mat wobbles to beckon me to follow and so I do. 'We' arrive at a storeroom near the end of the corridor. Inside, there is a litter of pups; they seem hungry.

I go to the pub next door and get some raw steaks and feed it to them.

Later, when MH, Set and I are settled down for our beers, the tiger mom - looking emaciated - comes and thanks me. It doesn't say a word nor makes a sound... just gives me a grateful look. It then turns and returns to its pups.

MH and I wonder what a strange night it has been and continue to drink our beers.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Salt and an Airship

The beach has been broken up into different pieces like a biscuit cracked. At the far end is a restaurant. I am in there eating a steak, and the owner comes and speaks with me. We discuss how the simplest dish can be best tasting. The topic veers to salt as an essential condiment - how it draws flavors out. Or how perhaps we humans are conditioned to like its flavor. Can we live without it? Can there ever be a healthier substitute? I say sure, at the present moment, there's sea salt. It's both natural and healthy.

The owner tells me that Changi used to have a natural salt mine. He brings me out and shows me a spot. It is one side of a hill by the beach at a cul de sac. A slurry of salt still lies there. Goats in strange white fur loiter and graze. Their coat appears to be 'saltified'. Just like how snow changes the look of creatures in winter, this salt has done the same.

I am wary because goats can be aggressive. Just then, one turns and stares. Is it going to charge? The restaurant owner is nowhere to be seen. Oh, right, he's climbed to the top of the hill. He's safe.

I start to think how best to avoid this rattled goat but before I know it, it has started to charge at me.

In normal circumstances, I would pick up a branch and whack the attacking creature. But today, I decide to just treat it like play. Like how a matador might treat his bull. So I wait for it to charge and at the last critical moment, sidestep it to allow it to slip past. Only just. Ole.

The goat rushes by me; it tries to charge again. The same result. In the end, knowing that it cannot win, the goat stops and decides to graze instead. Still, it did not let its eyes wonder and looks at me one last time as if to say "This ain't over yet!" I climb the hill and rejoin the restaurant owner - exhausted but relieved.

An airship is arriving; it's no Hindenburg  No big fans at the sides. Instead, cowled engines like those on jumbo jets can be seen affixed to the sides of a large cabin. The cabin looks sleek and its windows have glass that's been treated to transition with the intensity of sunlight. When the airship passes under a cloud cover, the cabin windows visibly lighten. I can now see inside. A launch party is in progress. Someone who looks like Steve Jobs is hosting the party and holding up an iPhone. The guests inside gather round him to listen as he begins to speak. The iPhone he's holding appears much longer than previous models. It's like a wand. 'Steve Jobs' waves it about and laments, "Apple has lost its magic."

Just then, I hear a loud yawing sound - the same kind that tells me metal has been stressed and stretched. Beyond the airship, in the background, a range of mountains has slid down as if melted. The same phenomena is repeated all round like a domino effect. Haha, I laugh. So iOS6 Apple Maps is accurate after all! The landscape around looks like that Paris scene in Inception where streets have been warped and melded. Only this time, the slopes of mountains have been melted like stripy travertine caramel ice-cream gone soft.

My attention returns to the airship. It looks unlike anything I have seen. For one, it is not WWII bomb shaped; no finny things behind for balance and manoeuvring  Instead, the airship looks exactly like a ray fish, its leading edges rolled and folded in an aerodynamic way.

The restaurant owner, still standing beside me, explains that the airship design is new. Instead of using fans to control altitude, a compressed air ballast is deployed to control buoyancy. It works better this way, he says. There is no need to drop ropes and have workers pull the ship and secure it to a set of mooring towers. In this way, such an airship could travel and park anywhere.

Ingenious, I say.

I return to the restaurant with the owner and discuss some more how such an airship could be deployed to explore a place like the planet Mars. Certainly even if the air there is too thin, a self-contained airship with volumetric buoyancy control could launch itself airborne and explore the place even more. No more crawling around at snail's pace like NASA's Curiosity.

An order of food arrives. It is BBQed stingray in sambal belachan. Sweet! I remember thinking before tucking right into a bowl of white rice in hand.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Of Tennis, Toys and An Old Classmate

This dream I dreamt during a second phase of sleep, which is interesting because it was a short nap.

I am asked to play tennis by this tall chap who appears to be named Matt. He also seems to be a student of a design school at which I am teaching. We are in a tennis court and I am telling him, in response to a question, that tennis isn't a difficult game. "You just have to hold your racquet firm and let the ball bounce off it," I tell him. (Note to reader: I am actually a very good tennis player in waking life.)

We play and stroke for a while. Eventually time is up and we leave. But we want to play some more and walk around to look for a free court. We move through a dark gymnasium and lift a large canvas shade at the end. It reveals strong sunlight and young folks busy playing tennis on the other side.

Most of them are girls in colorful tees and shorts bobbing and whacking balls left, right and centre. No one seems to be in tennis white.

Each court is fenced in and as we stroll by looking through the metallic fence links, the girls look back. They are neither hostile nor friendly. Just curious.

Matt and I settle our things on a concrete bench (one of those old-style Chinese ones with a decorated curved back found in Chinatown or outside some hui guan (clan association)). The court is clay-red and green outside the tramlines and the fence at the back is covered with an aged canvas to prevent balls from squeezing through the chain-links.

We wonder how long we could play before we get chased off, seeing that we have not paid for the use of the court. Again we stroke the ball awhile and I noticed that we are at the last court of the tennis centre. Beside it is a playground with an obvious metal slide. Beyond this, the beach. I seem to have seen this scene before. But the game involved then was golf.

The next scene moves indoors and I am in an empty activity centre, the kind found in most community colleges in the U.S., the sort with glass paneled doors and colored metal frames. I am inside a room that has three trapezoid-shaped low tables - the conjoined sort ideal for group work. The tables are red and yellow and on them are toys in various stages of design and assemblage.

I ask a student there where Matt is. He says he has gone out to get something. I exit and enter into a darkened hall. At the end are some unused tables and chairs stacked against a wall. I continue to look for Matt.

Moving away from tennis, I am now in a block of old flats looking for my ex-primary school classmate Rambli. I come across two flats, each with their doors opened. Large families of Malay folks are gathered around tables enjoying good food. I pass one family and they ask if I am looking for Rambli. I say yes and they point me to the flat next door. A plumpish lady there excuses herself from a large feasting group of people and welcomes me. "Ah, Rambli's friend," she says. She adds that Rambli is not there and then ushers me to an exit on the left. It's a darkwood verandah eaved in the traditional Malay style. I walk down the few steps leading out.

I find myself standing in a sandy patch that's part road and part unused ground. In front of me is a towering indoor car park. The building reminds me of Sim Lim Tower, the same 12-15 stories high. According to the Malay lady, Rambli is in a village down the road behind this imposing building.

I start to walk but is hailed by a lady who is an ex-classmate as well. She asks if I have found Rambli. I say no and go sit with her on her swing. We chat and I remember wondering about that that car park building (which is just in front of us) all the time. That and the sandy patch that would be occasionally stirred by a passing breeze.

After a time, I get up and walk towards Rambli's village. I cross the sandy patch and come to the edge of a metal road. It slopes down and is shaded greatly on both sides by large trees. It looks cool. I move forward and side-step three metal dustbins in the way to begin my journey. It feels like something I will enjoy and relish and not look back.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

A White Powder

In this dream, I am helping to run a kind of Games' Day in a school. Is it my old school? I cannot tell.

The games are at stations all over the school compound. And we go round in a large container truck to set them up.

One game involves a trick ring set. The rings are in concentric arrangement and the aim of the game is to knock them so that they each turn a certain angle. My dream eye sees a set turned at slight 15 degrees from one another. Somehow, they remind me of the '@' sign.

Another game involves a mat of fat spikes. The mat is orange and made of flexible silicon. It is placed on the  floor. I am not sure how this is played though. It was never explained.

The third game I recall involves a pencil case with some white plastic powder, the sort used for injection molding and such. It is not unlike salt in texture but shinier and reflected light in a lively manner.

These three games are played side by side, like a 3-in-1 station similar to the Army's IPPT set up.

There is a lady who is helping me, a tall athletic one in track suit and with a whistle round her neck. Each of us carried a pen-on-a-string too. This lady tells me at one stage to remember to return the pen. I wonder why is that important. The lady has straight hair and is Asian but she somehow reminds me of Jane Lynch from Glee!

The games have run late, the sun has set and it is night. We worry about a group girl students somewhere who has yet to return. I set off to look for them. I arrive at their game station but cannot find them. I instruct some other girls to help pack up, and then drive around some more. I eventually come to a road that has broken off. I screech to a halt at the edge and get off to walk the rest of the way.

I next find a group of teachers and students in an open yard packing stuff up. They seem very organised and are making sure everything has been returned. The situation feels like the time when my guys and I had to pack up after a reservist ICT stint. The speed, the attention to detail.

A pen in that pencil case and powder set is missing. I find it on me and give it back. I scoop up the white powder and wonder how that was used. The rest is then packed into a box and loaded up the container truck. There seems to be some urgency in getting everything packed up. Is there a storm coming? I still worry about the missing students and go look for them some more.

A game, they are playing a game. The tossing of three coins to see who lands nearest a to a white tape. That kind of tape similar to those used in the Army. We used white tape a lot didn't we? White tape to mark out minefields; white tape to mark out our barang-barang; white tape to mark out a 'cleared' track.

Etc, etc.

The girls run off the moment they see me, giggling. They are playing truant and I shake my head. Incredible!

A lady who had played a game with me at the beginning of the dream appears. In that game we each had to spin a short stick. They both had to line up a certain way. It's like a version of Lom, Chiam, Pass - the local version of Scissor, Paper, Stone, but different. It's more casual and players could sit and talk and spin the sticks in an idle way. There were various tokens to keep score.

I won one time and she got amorous with me. She's buxomy, tight in her white blouse-shirt. I could see the buttons straining in their job as she moved and heaved. The buttons finally popped and fell to the ground in a slow-mo clatter. Noooo!!! I silent screamed.

The lady is now standing here with her hands cradling and shielding her breasts. Her hands are small and delicate but her breasts are full and ample - they spill over. A wicked smile grows on her face. That settles it then, she says. And falls onto me. We roll into a dark corner and bump right next to three pairs of eager eyes. The girls!

They laugh and throw sparkly things on us. It's that same powder we have been using in the games. They run off leaving the two of us on our elbows shimmering like fish out of water and wondering how to proceed. Her breasts are starring at me and wondering the same thing too. They are sparkly and perky and I find myself drawn to them. I lean forward and in a poof, the lady turns into a mermaid looking very much like Sofia Vergara in her simmering gown in a recent red-carpet Emmy event. I recall saying "Oh my god!" in a nasally way and wake up.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Rural Village

I woke up this morning redreaming an old dream I had four years ago. But because it's a time traveller's journey, the ending changed a little. Like in the Inception movie, a revisit to a place can sometimes cause small changes to familiar details.

The place I am 'sent' to is a rural village of wood and stone structures. It is situated on a mountain top. I begin by knocking on a pair of big wooden doors. A bent old man in a white dhoti and headband (Indian?) on the other side gets up to answer. He slides a wood beam away to open the doors. It's the same mechanism found on ancient Chinese wooden doors.

I walk in and continue to cross the room. I see wooden pillars of a strange grain quite similar to old pine. The floor is cement and familiar; it is worn smooth and looks cool. I turn to look back through the doorway from which I had come and can clearly see a green mountain range riding on the horizon. The range slopes down to a valley of terrace fields in various shades of green, red and yellow. It reminds me of a place I have seen in Bali.

In a few paces, I am out of the hall and walking along a sandy dirt track into the village. On the left is a row of stalls and shops all made of bamboo and mat. I see ethnic goods on display. Ahead, I could see a temple-like wall structure made of what I surmised correctly to be raw coconut shells. It has that same milk-beige colour. Must be new, I remember thinking. Around it are open grass spaces and coconut trees.

I then run ahead in happy anticipation. Sure enough, a little further up the road is the more impressive temple made out of the same but seasoned material and darker. I am happy to see it again, the same sort of happiness that comes from recognizing a familiar landmark after many years of absence. It looks like an Indian temple but with short two Moorish towers. It think I have seen them on a computer disc cover before.

For some reason, I do not venture further forward but turn back. There's a wooden portal on my right, just after the temple. It's a step-over entrance to a Chinese village. The same scene replays from my first visit many years ago: A dirt track leading into a village centre that is a hub of activity. A wayang stage. A row of mothers in samfoo with their toddler kids in tow queuing up for something. I look at the last mom and and find her familiar. She is pretty and acknowledges me with a smile. She seems to say, "Welcome back."

I get the feeling the mothers are lining up their kids for vaccination shots like before.

I do not enter the village but continue on. I next turn left and come upon a family home. It's not rustic like the rest but feels more like a flat. The flat is fronted by a pair of cream-colored doors that are metal frames and vinyl and very 50s in design.  An aged couple with greying white hair welcomes me. Their daughter, young and about my age, is in there too and they introduce me to her. She looks a little abashed, a mixture of surprise and coyness.

We sit down for a meal and talk. The topic seems to revolve around voting and the coming election. We get all animated. I look at their faces closely and try to form an opinion. They are nice folks, these.

Soon it is time to leave. The daughter is going to bring me to a terminus building to take a coach bus. We walk past a row of simple concrete buildings the likes of which I could find in less developed areas. They seem to be selling a all manners of stuff including phone cards. The terminus building is a Chinese-style bungalow with wide staircases and fat balustrades. It somehow reminds me of the interior of Singapore's National Museum.

I descend one such staircase and find myself at the rear of the building in a sandy compound. It is fenced in by a low concrete wall the shade of which retreating grass patches have found refuge. The wall has an opening but is not gated. I can see a coach bus waiting for me right across the kampung road. Its engine is running and grayish smoke is puffing out from its rear exhaust.

The bus is full. The daughter and I say goodbye. She cries, sad at my departure. There is a longing in both our hearts. I don't want to leave but know my time as a Traveller is up. I tell myself that I cannot trip up the universe's space-time continuum, that I must return, or so that is how I feel. For some reason, I do not nor can share this with her.

In my last dream, I did get on the bus and leave, heart heavy. This time, however, a friend has volunteered to take my place. Not just this friend but a group of them, actually. As the bus leaves, they bunch up behind to wave me a final good luck in a rather enthusiastic fashion. I wave back at them grateful for their intervention.

As the bus disappears leaving behind a cloud of dust, I am left standing in the dirt track. I turn to look back at my girlfriend who has gotten up from her bench seat, just outside the compound. She looks happy, demure in her samfoo and holding a handkerchief. I am happy too that this time, I am able to stay behind. I smile a broad smile and walk up to her. We hold each other in a long embrace.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

A Crying Child

I am at the fairground with Wendy (let's just call her that. As happens with females in my dream, their faces are at times not clear. Or they could change mid-dream. It's always a 'feeling' with them. Last night, it felt as if this woman in my dream was 'Wendy'.)

Wendy is bubbly and happy today. She seems to have just gotten off work as she is still wearing her office power suit. The color is nothing flamboyant but the usual dark, safe color senior management typically encourage. Wendy is laughing and skipping along with her boyfriend. The scene looks like some Canon camera TV-ad featuring happy folk out to have a good time and capturing their moments in sun-drenched snapshots.

We pass a stall offering a fun-fair game. Players shoot water cannons from behind plexiglass portholes. The cannons have big round tubes that could fire tennis balls. We run into a room behind the stall and can see the people manning it. They throw water at us playfully and and we duck, laugh, and giggle some more.

We scamper out of the game tent to emerge by the edge of a cliff. The ground is grassy, the cliffs rocky and the ocean beyond blue and cleft with fleeting whitewash. It's all very windy and Wendy's curly, busy locks is blown about. Her bouncy hair reminds me of Keri Russell, that actress from the hit show, Felicity.

We stand by the cliff and think dreams.

I am building a mansion and has sketched the plan using diesel oil on a wall, not thick opaque paint. The wall itself has lines and huge squares which help make the drawing look symmetrical. I paint along the outline of these squares but prefer curved arches over the doorways. A young lady on my right does not agree and paints her own version with straighter lines to match.

We are now in a room. Somewhere outside, a play is going on. A child is crying and the sound gets worse. The cry is not that of hunger but one that is sad, very sad. -The desperate sort that tugs at the heartstrings and causes animals to flee.

My mom wanders in and asks what is going on. She gives me the impression that we are on vacation. I tell her to not worry and to get some rest. She's old and has a problem with her leg. Both of us are in a white room with a large bed. Strangely, the bed has no covers.

Some Arab men come in and speak with my mom. She hands over their neatly pressed laundry and accepts payment. The Arabs are happy and leaves a calling card. It is just a small leather tag shaped like an olive. On it is the name 'Shoob'. My mom surprises me with a name chop of her own and she stamps it on the tag and returns it to the Arab gentleman. Job done, it seems to imply.

I bring the gentlemen outside and notice that the house is a white beach-front unit. We have a drink on the patio deck and I then approach someone lounging in a deck chair on the beach. That woman is dressed in a one-piece bathing suit: dark with three colorful lines striping the side. I seem to remember her from a previous pool visit and offer her a drink. Her actions are languid and reminds me of a GP teacher from my JC days. Like that teacher, she also has her sunglasses on.

A loud noise makes our heads turn and we all look up towards the sky. Before I can see what it is, I wake.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Sheep, Witch, Rabbits and A Nurse

In this dream, I am in a classroom learning geometry. I am not in my former secondary school but a school where the uniform is a mix of grey and checks (similar to the school not far from my home). The class is rowdy, the girls more so. A couple of them are fighting over a misplaced diary. One looks murderous, face red and also on the verge of crying. I seem to think it's a recurring argument and look away out of the window.

A lamb in sunglasses hops by. It has a thick gold chain round its neck. The large pendant hanging from it looks like a stylised letter 'C' with two vertical strokes turning it into some kind of dollar sign. It gives me a salute and swaggles on. It hops beyond a small knoll and enters into a scrum with some other waiting sheep. I notice that some of them are actually wearing tuxedos. Their beige white wool is very stark, as are their shiny black hoofs. These sheep reminds me of those in Wallace and Gromit.

There is a flash and the whole scene toggles between real and x-ray. The lines of the landscape jars from smooth to jagged, polygon-like, reminiscent of some wire-frame CAD drawing on a computer. The shapes connect and make sense. As I roll over the landscape, numbers appear. First '3', then a dot. Next, it is '1', '4' and then '2'. I realise that the numbers represent the pi sequence. More numbers turn up as I fly ever faster over the digital landscape. It does not last as eventually the tension snaps. I am back at my window looking at the sheep and meadow.

Everything is back to normal. In the distance, lightning appears from a grey cloud. A storm looks to be on its way. I gather my books to leave, ignoring the commotion around me. A girl tugs at my shirt and motions a friendship band towards me. It has the letter 'D' on it. I am not interested and tells her to keep it. She is disappointed and the floor of the classroom gives way. She slides, I slide. We all fall in.

I find myself in a cavern that is semi dark. A blinking tablet calls out from a corner. I pick it up. It's a smallish smartphone not unlike an LG Optimus. On it, a blinking dot on a digital map. It seems to represent where I am. I unpinch the screen to zoom out. A bounce but nothing else happens. The map remains the same. I pocket the phone and walk towards the path I see in front of me. All around, the cavern twinkles with light from black liquid crystals.

Not far in, I come across a crystalline mirror. Inside, someone is furiously scribbling away. The figure reminds me of a hunched witch - same garb, same troubled hair. All over the floor around her are crumbled pieces of paper. She seems to be frustrated by what she is trying to write. A few violent scribbles and another ball of paper gets crumpled and tossed. The 'witch' turns and looks at me. Her eyes are red and pained. I realise she is the same girl from the class before, the one who tried to give me the friendship band.

I want to ask her what's egging her but I do not. I seem to think that if one must write, one SHOULD JUST WRITE. Write for one's pleasure, that is. Nothing else matters.

I ignore the Writing Witch and move on.

I next walk into a hall dripping with bead curtains. The beads are made of pink crystals and matches the black liquid cavern walls very well. Kind of goth. A disco ball spins from somewhere throwing sequined light all over. A dance looks set to begin.

Across the room sits the four members of KISS, the heavy metal band. I know it is them because the white letters on their tee-shirts together spell K-I-S-S. As I watch, more KISS members step up from the shadows bearing more letters. Eventually the message reads "KISS & MAKE UP" I am astounded and wonder how they knew.

In my shock, I don't realise that I am holding on to a bunch of pink beads. I instinctively pull on these and they break, spilling rounded hopping things all over. The beads turn into pink bunnies and I laugh. And like the beads/bunnies, I slip and roll into a burrow.

Bunched up, I am now looking over my ass and could see a man-made pond in front. As I swing my ass a jet stream of water shoots out. I move from side to side, the spray follows. It seems as if my ass is directing a jet of water, not that it was actually issuing forth anything.

I decide to stop cycling on my back and roll myself to an upright normal position.

A nurse bearing the Khoo Teck Phuat hospital tag walks by. She is a sweet young thing - probably a resident doctor instead of a nurse. At the bike stand she unlocks a bike and rides away. I quickly follow her, wondering what happened to my nurse-friend Karen from years ago. She was a nurse turned writer.

In the distant, lightning again announced itself from behind a grey cloud. Small drops of rain fall at first, then bigger ones. In no time, a torrent. By now the nurse has become a speck and no more. I battle to go on as  the track beneath me become muddy and owning. Stuck like that, I call out to Karen. But I know it is useless. She is gone.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Mrs Clinton

A girlfriend and I get into a taxi. We notice a familiar woman driving. She has blond-chestnut curvy hair and a roundish face. We realise then that it is Mrs Clinton. Why is she driving a cab, we wonder. Shouldn't she be busy being Secretary of State?

"That's the best way to get feedback from the man in the street," she says. We find it quite incredible and still cannot believe our luck. We ride on in silence, observing her. After a while, we get worried as Mrs Clinton is looking rather disassociated, 'spaced out' if you like. I think she is about to faint. We ask her if she is alright but there is no reply. She then slumps in her seat. Ahead of us is a blue wall. We scream as we crash into it.

The taxi lands in a public park accordians into a tree. The front part is a mess and steam and smoke are everywhere.

Mrs Clinton is now lying on the floor. She is wearing a kind of granny dress and she is lying face-up separated inches from her wig. He own hair is a thinning light-brown mess. My  girlfriend and I have been thrown out too but we are not hurt. I half-drag and pull myself up to where Mrs Clinton is and try to feel her pulse. It is weak. Still lying by her side, I try to palm her chest to get it beating, careful to avoid her breasts. In any case, they are lying quite low but I can feel a lump above. All the while, I am pleading: "Mrs Clinton, you are going to be alright, please fight, please hold on!"

The first time doesn't work. I try again.

At the second attempt, she stirs. We sit her upright. An older couple in blue dapper suits is not far away. The man picks up Mrs Clinton's wig and hands it to us. We try to make her look as presentable as possible. An ambulance arrives and takes her away.

It's the next day. The accident is all over the anchor news.

We find ourselves at an awards ceremony. Mrs Clinton is presenting us a kind of 'life-saving' award for having rescued her. We receive it from her and are grateful. A roomful of guests and journalists clap. For some reason, the old couple also got an award. I don't seem very happy about that as they did not do much at the scene of the accident. But I decide not to mind; it's a small matter.

A news anchor asks Mrs Clinton if she would continue to drive a taxi. She says yes to much applause from the audience.

An Overstay

I am at the home of Wendy, a cute 90s want-it-all sort of chick, - you know, the sort who speaks well, dresses well, has a career and is forever looking for that Mr Right? Well, in this dream, she and a friend are getting ready to take part in some sort of outdoor photography contest (felt like the sort of photomarathon Canon would organise) and are getting their gear together. She is rummaging in her room looking for something. I seem to have stayed there overnight, judging from my groggy and maybe even inebriated state. I seldom drink, so maybe I just had a late night. Did we do something naughty together?

I pick up certain things and head for the toilet at the rear of the house. It looks like an old one with green painted window sills and horizontal bars for grills. A guy in singlet and towel emerges and heads to his own room there. A pile of something green lies next to the squat toilet; it looks like vegetables. Was the guy washing veggies right by a squat toilet? I find that incredible. Getting closer, I discover it's just a bunch of clothes. White clothes with a patch of bright green. Is there a significance?

The guy re-emerges. He is fair, has nice cheek bones and neatly cut black hair. He reminds of some Hong Kong star from the 60s. He asks me if I was interested in Wendy. I don't answer him at first not sure why he is asking me that question. Wendy and I have always been platonic in our relationship. And I'm not the kind of guy who sleeps with women I hardly know.

The guy is suspicious and annoyed that I did not answer him. Just then, Chan, an artist friend, appears. He wants me to help him with an art project. Chan and I have done a moving head sculpture together before - he the art, me the electronics. Well, with the both of us, it doesn't really matter; we could easily switch roles. Chan seems to be working on an electronic mixed-media piece. I recall thinking how timely, what with so many of us these days staring at either smart phone screens or tablet ones; even the large screens of LED TVs. And super large displays are now the norm in shopping centres throughout the world's tourist belts.

Wendy returns and tells me that she has found what she has been looking for. A camera tripod kept in a white bag. She asks if I would be back for dinner. I say yes, but she doesn't commit. She grabs her tripod and leaves. A female companion follows. She looks kind of butch, and I wonder about their relationship.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Computer School-Kelong

I start the dream in a kind tertiary institution, an admin area. There are shelves in the background but a level up. A student stands by the shelf looking at open book in his hand, flipping a page. I am standing in front of a circular counter, an information desk. It is littered with files and folders. A neglected pot of artificial flowers sits at one end. The scene reminds of a student admin counter of a local foreign uni. Monash, I think.

A few paces away from where I stand, some students are sitting in front of computers accessing the Internet. One comes over and asks me about a change in her schedule. I say "Fine" and she returns to her place, happy.

I worry about a hacker's module I'm about to introduce. Will it attract students. How much skill should I impart? To hacking a phone or computer? I reason that hacking is not about breaking into secured devices; it's about the fine art of programming.

In the next scene, I am talking with Carmen. She is wondering what computer course she should take. She's trying to do something that will help in her work. I offer some comments and asks what sort of work she is doing or hope to advance to next. We talk and continue to look at some brochures.

Carmen's mom appear next. She is deciding what to cook. We are in a wet market and looking at a few yong tau foo items on a large stainless steel tray. The items seem to have been pre-fried. I'm OK with her choices as I happen to like tau foo. Or more precisely, tau kua.

On the dining table, a pizza is served. It is large, almost twice the normal size. On it is sprinkled generously tau kua bits mixed with minced pork. It's as if a tau kua pau has been chopped up and used as pizza topping. In any case, I seem to approve. Someone stands from his seat and sprinkles tobasco sauce all over the pizza.

Prawns, we must have prawns. I am at an off-shore prawn farm looking at how the critters are raised. They are as big as lobsters with two long spiny claws. They remind me of those found in Butterworth, Malaysia. Carmen's mom is there to show me around. She's the owner.

I enter a room and some colleagues from a factory are there. They are busy enjoying karaoke. A Grasshopper band plays. Jessy, a Grasshopper fan, approaches me and says, "Huh? Why like that want?" I look to where she is pointing. There are grasshoppers in the fishing nets. They kinda look like prawns.

Birds fly down and feast on those grasshoppers. We catch one and had it is steamed with cut red chilli. It's always freshest at the kelong! It looks like a black chicken, and is cooked in familial herbal sauce.

After the meal, I sit by the edge of what is now a kelong and enjoy the sunset. I fall asleep and wake.

Cause and effect:

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Up and Down A Hill

The scene is a large slash of track that has been bulldozed through a verdant jungle. The track is uneven, scrawled into uneven rivulets by rain and water. Nonetheless, we endeavour to make our way up to the top.

The top of the slope ends abruptly in a mess of creepers. We clear it to reveal a hole. A borehole that's big enough to swallow a small elephant.

I stumble to the edge and falls in.

I emerge wedged in-between two tables. My chest is pinned and I cannot move my arms. On the table in front of me is a plate of roast pork. The skin looks crispy and inviting. Thus taunted, I try to wriggle free. It is useless. The pork remains out of reach.

Someone behind me pulls at my hair with a pair of chopsticks. I see myself eating some black seaweed. Am I the main course? Hmm....

The table is pulled apart. I fall and is tossed into a car. Am I kidnapped? 

The car careens about as if to escape a pursuer. Or police. I cannot be sure. It crashes into a barrier and onto a racetrack. A Mercedes safety car rolls to avoid crashing into us. We are in the middle of an F1 race. The drivers all looked stunned. I try to sit up and manage to catch a glimpse of Sebastian Vettel. he gives me the thumbs up. I take that as cue and kicks the car door open. Like James Bond, I roll myself out and ricochet on the road like a stone skimming a pond. I then crash into a hoarding that says: "A seat belt. Even the best wears them." Sebastian Vettel holds his up with one hand and gives his thumbs up with the other.

I remember saying, "Yeah, too late."

Someone is trying to squeeze me into a can like some Jack-in-the-Box. I try to resist but the pressure is great. My legs give way and crack and crumble below me. I don't feel pain. Somehow, I expect that to happen. The next thing I know, I'm on my knees on a large skateboard careening down a mountain slope.
Vettel is next to me and so is David Coultard. Both have crazy expressions on their faces. What are they high on? Adderall?

Someone shouts "Olympic gold!" and all three of us try to win the race.

Para-Olympic glory comes to mind and in that moment, I fly off the side of a cliff as we approach a bend. I grab my board as if doing a skateboard off-ram ollie. I land inside a dark tunnel and swings around inside. I then fly out into daylight again and lands. The rivulet-surface catches my board and I roll and tumble away. I slam into a tree and sends a nesting flock of parrots flying away. "Asshole, asshole, they say." I wake.

Cause and effect:

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

A Strange Race

I am shopping with a girlfriend and child. We have been looking for something, a toy most likely. I am tired and decides to look for a place to sit down.

I find a nice Spanish-style wooden table and rests my head on it.

I sense someone walking towards me and open my eyes, head still down. A woman in a green leotard is standing next to me. It is one of muted color, not the sort that's stretchy and bright. She has long curvy legs and a slight poochie tummy. Can it be Cheryl? I had taught her tennis many years ago and she has always considered me her 'sifu'. But she's one clingy friend and so I kept my distance.

I wait a while and hope she goes away; she doesn't.

I get up and try to put on a smile. "Hey Cheryl!" I exclaimed. She smiles. The next thing I know, I am waking up from another table. A dining one in her apartment.

A fancy dinner is going on with her, her husband Guna and some friends. A large silver fruit bowl catches my eye. Guna has just gotten his food and is settling into his seat at the table. I can tell he's having some sort of lemony custard dessert.

Cheryl calls. I get up to go fetch my food. The house looks positively expensive with pink marble tiles, etc. It has a bit of a Grecian-look about it. The kitchen has a cutaway and I approach it.

Two dogs come bouncing along. I hold my hand out for them to sniff as is the proper way to greet a dog. I then notice that their fur is like wool. They are blue and purple with twirls of yellow and red. It reminds me of the Wobbles, characters from a children's program; odd but beautiful all the same. The dogs are very friendly and licks me non-stop.

I wonder about the girlfriend in the mall. I should call her and let her know that I am safe. But I am enjoying the dogs and decides to postpone the call till later.

Cheryl tells the dogs to calm down. I get my food and  return to the table. Guna is speaking. "You have to join us, TC..." And with that, I am now in the next scene.

Guna is all togged up in his winter gear. We're in some sort of  snow-covered avenue between warehouse buildings. His pal is tuning up their racing sleighs. The sleighs look like they belonged to Santa but are huge and tall as a farm tractor. His pal then passes him a pair of googles and teaches him how to put it on. It has a kind of skull-strap.

The two sleighs line up and race off. Strangely, the speed crank is behind and has three speeds. They will have to race with one arm on the steering wheel and the other twisted behind to control the speed crank. Odd.

The sleighs speed down the track and take off on their individual rams, breaking through thin styrofoam walls for effect. Both sleighs land OK and disappear into the distance in a spray of snow.

On their return journey, the sleigh riders are now armed with broad swords. They are slashing at the Christmas decorations and the painted foam pieces are breaking and flying every which way. In the end, they reach the finishing line and Guna wins.

Next, it's my turn to tog up. Guna's pal, an ang-mo, wants to put the helmut on me. I hesitate and tell him I need to pee (which is true). I trudge away to the back of a warehouse, behind some crates to relieve myself. I worry about being seen. A young girl's laughter filters in from somewhere. A glass bottle drops and clatters about. I quickly relief myself and return to the sleighs.

Take the stuff out of your pockets or they are going to fall out, advised Guna.

I'm wearing cargo pants and so reach into my side pockets. There's are a few DVDs (still in their plastic jackets), a few game discs, a paperback book, a chain and pendant, etc. Quite a pile now sit on top of a crate. I am amazed. The last thing I dig out is a handphone. It is a shortened version of my regular phone. I cry out in horror. "Hey, this not my phone, it's Kate's!" I realise now I cannot call my girlfriend in the mall.

Cause and effect: This dream has quite a few recent catalyst elements. Gags for Laughs sketches, an Ericsson P900 phone in a movie, Guna and Cheryl's taste for expensive things - my perception. Their first HDB flat was normal but they paid overly much for its renovation ($90k for a $40k job?). A recent encounter with a toy poodle dog. Some psychedelic batik prints. A new and funny fast-action animated cartoon (that reminded me of Warner Brother's Road Runner and Coyote series), etc, etc.

A Race

It's a flattened jungle. Stripped logs are everywhere. I am racing over a dirt track. I seem to be elevated, as if I'm riding one of those hover bikes from a Star Wars story. It feels like dusk and the weather wet. I seem to have come across the place before NS training in Brunei or Taiwan.

I am now sitting on a bench sofa inside a room; it seems to be a resting place. I am wearing a race suit, white with red disc logos and other signs all over. My collar is unzipped. I seem exhausted and am holding a can drink in one hand and making small talk with a model beside me. A projector screen is showing action at a pit lane.

A red F1 car pulls up. It is picked up and crushed into strip of metal in a quick instant. The metal is dropped into our room, still smoking. It clatters on the floor. Another F1 car suffers the same treatment. Yet another strip of flattened smoking metal. A giant of a man is responsible. He growls with satisfaction at his handiwork.

The race picks up again. This time we race to an airbase. Gleaming rockets stand on the tarmac. We arrive, jump out of our cars and race towards our rocket ships. It feels like a triathlon. I strap myself in and barks orders to the control tower. I am informing them that I am ready for take off.

In a moment, other rocket ships start blasting off, one after another. They look like tiny but fat missiles being popped off the ground.

I am now flying over a forest of fallen trees. Naked timbers lay exposed over one another in a somewhat unnatural fashion. I realise now I am in the same rocket ship as I was in the earlier part of the dream. Where am I heading? Back to that pit action? I wonder. Before I get an answer, I wake.

Cause and Effect:

Friday, 17 August 2012

Getting Ready

I am with a sister I've not seen in a long while. She and I are standing next to a small jet plane. It looks like a novelty with its pointy rod in front and rather fat and short fuselage. She is telling me the construct of the plane. I get the sense that she is trying to tell me that nothing gets built without aforeplanning and thought, and meticulous planning.

I am now with a group of people I think are my secondary school friends but they seem older and appear (by intuition) more like my army buddies. Dreams tend to blur their timelines like that sometimes.

I rush to a hall. A meeting is taking place. We are being briefed on the organisation of an outing for the school. I meet Mr Wilfred James and Mr Tan Hong San, my sec sch principal and NPCC teacher-in-charge (1 of 3) respectively. The hall appears large like an aircraft hangar. We sit in rows of metal chairs. The whole scene reminds me of how aviators are typically briefed in the movies before a mission. I seem to be the student leader in charge.

We are doing a trip by hovercraft boat. There are logistics to prepare. I'm given a list and go through it. I feel confident and exhilarated at the same time. I look out. The sea and sky are clouded but there is a strong wind. I feel encouraged and think what a great adventure!

We are stacking stores to bring in a boat shed. Everything is packed and labelled neatly in a most military fashion. On one side, long green tubular bags containing tentage poles. In another corner, crates painted black. An ex-classmate Ser Yang comes up to me to confirm that the store list is complete and that all is in order.

Night falls, it's the eve of departure. Many of us are asleep in our sleeping bags in a hangar. I am trying to get to sleep but is unable. I get up to take a warm shower hoping that will do the trick. It's one of those half-stalls. As I bathe a sudden bright light shines on me. A huge plane has just parked outside.

The next morning, everybody is at the briefing hangar again. I am late and worry what the teachers might say. They don't say anything and is understanding. Along the way, I meet Mrs De Vaz, who asks me if everything is alright. I smile and reply in the affirmative, and hurry on. 

But it is just a dream, it is still night. Someone comments why I am still in a towel. The voices don't mean anything as I find myself floating up to the ceiling, bobbing to avoid the strong ceiling fans. I am floating as if on water and am surprised the towel holds. I then wake.

Cause and Effect:

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

A Long Party

I am at a cross-junction on my bicycle. It is wide and appears to be on a hill-top. The roads curl downwards into palm oil plantations and villages in the four directions. It's just like the one I've seen before in Johor, Malaysia.

I take the road on my right and follow its descent, free-wheeling. I can see a village centre down below, more so of wooden buildings than concrete. There's red earth all around. Tall coconut trees sway.

I pass the village and arrive at its outskirts. I stop beside a small concrete building of simple '50s design. My ex-colleagues from Thomson are there. There's MH sitting outside at a high table nursing a drink. At the side, in a cloth swing seat is Marc. I enter the building, there's a home theatre to the left. It is dark. I can make out Set and the rest lying down asleep. Amidst them a girl. I think her name is Kris. They must have done an all-nighter karaoke session again.

Noon comes and everybody leaves. We are back at the high cross-junction again. I can see Set and Marc walking along a five-foot way outside some attap shops, talking animatedly. MH is leaving too. He's struggling to carry a mattress off.

I continue to cycle and pass by the vacation house again. I'm hailed by KC, a chap I've yet to feel comfortable with. I think it is because we are quite alike. I accept the offer to sit and drink. We chat. We seem to be talking about the others but it's only idle chatter.

In the next scene, we are at a long water pipe with taps. We are refreshing ourselves and drinking from it. "Maria is here," he says, matter-of-factly.

I get up to go inside the building once more. A bigger party is going on. It appears that the buildings are connected and it is someone's home. I arrive in time to hear the hostess announce the start of a new game. A party goer has accepted the challenge and will try to outrun some dogs. Not just any dogs but a few dozens of fierce, angry dogs. I can see a cartoon graphic showing a bunch of fierce, snapping dogs. The kind of graphic that's color-penciled and set to stop-motion.

The contestant fails miserably and is torn to shreds. Everybody winces, drink in hand. I seem to think it a cruel sport to play at a party where children are present too. A few children are upset and turn to hide their faces. I enquire about the next game but get no answers.

I explore the party a bit and comes to the kitchen. Maria is baking something and tending to her child as well. She asks me this question, "Really, TC. Why did you come to look for me?" I want to tell her the real reason but hold back. I go into the bathroom to dye my hair.

I am now beside a day sofa bed which is also by a wash point. I am trying to rinse my hair out but there's no water. The tap and pipe is loose and needs adjustment. I move the cushions and underlying mattress away to prevent them from getting wet. But the tap, which I can see now is behind the sofa is not cooperating. I leave that and return to be with Maria in the kitchen. She smiles knowingly at me but does not say anything.

I'm outside. The floor is covered with a rust-colored thick metal plate, the sort found outside car-body workshops. A hose with running water lay close by. I pick it up to rinse my hair with. A young man comes by. He is wearing skinny black pants and shiny capped shoes. He hands me a rear view mirror to clean. I notice it has a few tough stains. I run water over it and rub the stains off with my thumbnail. They come off. I hand the mirror back to the young man. He is grateful. All the while, I am squatting and trying to rinse my hair with the hose. I look back. I am indeed in front of some auto yards. Everywhere is rust colored. I look at a blackened glass door and wonder about the party inside. Should I go back in?

Nah, I seem to say, and continue to rinse my hair in the bright sunshine.

An Old Chinese School

I am standing on a footpath beside a tall tour bus near the Golden Mile Food Centre, that place that sells military gear. I board the bus and finds a seat near the back. I look at the seats in front. They are beige and trimmed in yellow. I smile, surprised that such a color scheme works. But mostly, I find myself feeling vulnerable. Stabbed in the back?

I am in an alley, typical of those found in Geylang. I am standing just inside what seems to be the backdoor of a restaurant. Everything is in slow motion. A rather portly guy in one of those ah pek (old man) cotton white shirts, probably the cook, walks in brushing past me. He mutters something. But as it is all in slow-mo, I cannot make out what he is saying. A helper then brushes past me with an aluminium basin. I see that flash of metal clearly.

Wooden tables and chairs are placed in the alley, food is served. The same men now sit and eat, chopsticks moving from dish to mouth, rice to mouth. They talk between mouthfuls. Not far are hung bird cages.

I am in a small field looking at a wall and through a doorway, one of those old ones with a rounded top and wooden door that opens to the back alley. I can still see the men eating.

I seem to be in a compound  of a school. By its architecture, it looks like a Chinese school, the sort with simple lines. The ground floor is a void space filled with tables and benches. A canteen? But the 'stalls' are closed and shuttered. The shutters are the old accordion type, metal and painted silver. From a distance I can see that the shutters are also painted with the Taoist deity images of the God of Heaven and Heaven's Emperor - figures normally found on joss paper and hell money.

I turn and see the other side of the field. It is not smooth. Earth has been churned up, turning the landscape into a series of cracks and gulleys. One false step and an ankle would sprain. It all goes down a mezzanine slope. Two kids, girls, are playing catching on a bald flat patch. A group is approaching; they had climbed through a sorry gap in the chain-link fence that bounds the field. They need help climbing up that broken slope. The group consists of ang mo tourists. The women are mature and all dressed in 50s fashion, including wearing those pointed spectacles. They ask for directions and I tell them.

I am now walking along a shophouse five-foot way. Shopnames in red relief Chinese characters on cream-colored pillars flash past. The place looks old and dated. Light is low; it must be dusk. Again, everything is in slow-mo. I look up. Ahead swing some bird cages. Bird noise mixed with traffic noise into a sort of busy emotion. It's soundless though. With that I wake.

Friday, 10 August 2012

A Christmas Mug

I am dressed in a 30s outfit of pin-striped suit and Panama hat. We have just arrived at a dusty town. Around us are wooden buildings. It feels like a cowboy town. We enter a simple white concrete building. It reminds me of those I've seen in Hengchun, Taiwan - dusty, paint peeling.

We climb the stairs and enter an office, it seems to be having a Christmas party. On a table next to a decorated Christmas tree by the entrance is stacked white mugs printed with a cartoon dancing bear in Santa costume. The bear looks like the mommy bear in Brave, Pixar's recent movie. There are words like 'The World's Greatest Dad'. I am reminded of a mug given by an ex-gf now deceased. The mug she gave me had a cartoon of a loopy girl portrait with the words 'Only Someone Out Of Their Mind Would Fall In With Love You'. I still have that mug.

The cars outside rev. I can tell from the sound that they have been souped up. The sound of superchargers with hundreds of angry horses reined inside. I finish a fruit punch and return to the car.

We drive through a city, streaks of orange and red lights (like some timelapsed night photo) weave in and out in front. The whole place is bathed in out-of-focus neon light. Is this HK? Taipei? A scene from Inception? I can't say.

I am on a ship and travelling. I lift a lid and emerge topside by a gangway. The weather is bright and clear and the wind is strong, caused in part by the boat's high speed. A sandy island looms, we slow down. Someone is putting finishing touches to a sand sculpture. It's a pair of woman legs in the birthing position. Kids emerge laughing, patting themselves free of sand. One looks like Elijah Wood, the other looks like Martin Freeman. I cannot tell who the third person is. A man nearby is videographing the whole scene.

I am back in the village once more sitting on an upturned bucket in what looks like a car workshop. A car is jacked up three feet up in the air, bonnet opened. And I am wondering why it is taking so long. I then wake up.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Fugitive in China

In this dream, I am working in China. First as an English language teacher and then a writer at a publishing house.

The scene opens with me by the side of a building looking through a dirty four-paned window. Children on the other side are singing. My heart is heavy as I contemplate leaving town.

There had been a misunderstanding. My place was raided by the police. They were looking for something. I am uneasy and distrust the police and China's judicial system. A TV hangs from a corner in the alley, it is showing someone aiming and firing a gun in a supermarket. Goods on shelves fly off. Did I do that? Questions.

I move on and am now walking. The road is dusty and a truck rumbles by.

I am in an office. I seem to be close to this new girl, an intern. The office has a few desks all arranged in neat rows front-to-back. It's still using CRT computer monitors. By the side a large sliding cupboard. Inside are things that belong to that girl. Each morning, before stepping out, she would put things into her sling bag. There's a notebook and disc. A thing that worries me is the gun. The girl seems to be using the gun to protect herself. She comes across as a revolutionary or government provocateur. The gun is a large one like a Colt 45.

One day, she fails to return. Her boyfriend, who works in the office, comes looking for her. In a conspiratorial tone, I open the cupboard and take out the gun. I seem to tell him to hide it and not let anyone know. It would be BIG trouble.

I am on the road again. I am in a spa town. A plump lady all wrapped up in towels is asking me for English lessons and seem impatient.

The scene switches and I am back in China on the run. I'm in a room, an empty one with cement floor. It seems to be a spacious lavatory and the cubicles have no doors. A cheap faded blue bag lies on the floor. I unzip it to find stationery items inside. I seem to think there are just too many items, so I repack the bag. I use pages taken from a magazine to wrap the items into a block. It is now a nice rectangular block that fits nicely into the bag. A man calls out. He asks me to take a look at the toilet. Above the squatting bowl where the pipe leads up to the cistern is cement. It's in the shape of Singapore. I don't say anything. But the man says: "How come got ants?"

Monday, 6 August 2012

A Fitful Sleep

I am talking to man; his face is not clear. He assures me that everything is alright. Behind him, a town. One of the many small towns in Malaysia I've been to. It's not clear where I am. The scene is busy though. The man is dressed in white singlet and shorts. He is neat.

I am comforted by his words as I try to assure myself that it alright to go back to sleep. The man seems wary and looks often over his shoulder. It's ok, he continues to say. I am suspicious but I try to sleep some more. An eye opens.

I am now behind a woman. An 'ah soh' (Chinese aunty) type of woman in a colorful short sleeve blouse so typical of women in the 70s. Her upper arms are large, like a middle-aged housewife's. She is carrying a child. The child looks back at me. The woman tells the child as she pats her back, "It's okay, kwai." Be good.

The woman has just exited a street market and is entering a  low office building. She is heading up the stairs. The child turns and stares back at me.

In the next scene, I am crossing a road. It could be Orchard, where Yen San building used to be. I am not sure as daylight is dim like dusk. I dart across out from behind a street-side shrub. The same child is there, in a stroller across the street. I tell her is it ok as I follow her down the street. A crowd seems to be doing the same in front of us. I feel protective towards the kid.

On my bed, my eyes open. I am still in fuzzy sleep mode. Bright light filters in from an uncurtained window; it's still daylight. I close my eyes and return to sleep.

I am now approaching a small yellow Cessna plane parked beside a hedge. It has no door and its propeller is churning. I climb in. It's alright, the pilot says. You are in safe hands.

We are up high in the clouds. I look at the plane's instrument panel and at the looming clouds in front. We zoom in.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

A Tuscany Rabbit Hole

I am inside the bedroom of a Tuscany country-house of sorts. You know, square-plinthed pillars with dangly vines and deep grained darkwood beams. A woman my wife whom I sense to be Jo, a gf I'd once been intimate with and loved, and I are about to make love. The bed is large, covered with white on country-green sheets and comforters. We're in a bit of a rush, as if stealing time for a passionate moment. She's in tight pants and sweat shirt kneeling over me. I am half naked in the covers, waiting.

A knock on the door. Jo reacts. In that instant, a switch. She becomes Julia Dreyfus, that often gobsmacked girl from Seinfeld. Not again! was the expression on her face as she rolls off the bed. An air of exasperation.  Jo and Julia have the same body type, the same kind of niceness and acquiescence. Girls who knew what they liked but were not sure how to get it - why I think my Unconscious did the body switch.

At the door is an old woman. White haired, wizened but not decrepit. She looks like Lagarde the head of the IMF but much older. We straightened ourselves as she walked in, uttering her bonjours (are we in France then?) and asking when we are going to pick up her stuff from the market.

The scene changes. I am in a field by a dirt road waiting for Jo/Julia to turn up. She does.

She's driving a strange cart. It's on a 3x4 feet board and on it a closed-up sewing machine; the Singer kind. She's sitting behind and steering it like a tractor, arms stretched out. There's a big smile on her face. I don't see wheels. The board/craft moves, bending the tall grass underneath.

Behind her a neighbour draws up. She's driving a somewhat similar contraption. But instead of a sewing machine, she's driving a shortened metal post-bed with bed springs. They dangle and jostle as she swerves away.

In another scene, I see the same neighbour in her patio, one that is shaded by vines and leaves. She's laying out some Summer treats on her thick and rustic wooden garden table. She making small talk but I cannot make out what she says.

The scene changes back to the house. The old woman (mother-in-law?) is very thankful as she receives her produce. We leave her and reenter our bedroom. We flop back onto that big country bed, me on my back holding Jo/Julia as she again kneels over me. I hold her waist and am now sure she is Jo. She lowers her lips as we seem to begin to make love. But I wake before that happens.


The next subsequent dream (after a short interrupted sleep):

I am cycling quite fast down a dark path. It is only illuminated by my bicycle light. With each push of the pedal, my light eats up the darkness in front. The narrow tarmac path rushes up to greet me to disappear underneath my pedalling feet. My bike light reflects off the zinc drain gratings that run alongside.

I seem to be riding along an embankment of some sort; a concrete slope is on my right. Images of a small dog greets me. Its disembodied head mouthing a bark. Next, a bigger dog appears, doing the same thing.
I am not perturbed as I feel disconnected by their silent animations. So what? Barking dogs don't bite; mouthing ones even less so.

I keep riding and my dream slowly dissolves into the distant darkness.