31 August 2009


Aquarius has so often been associated with knowledge, innovation, future technology and in recent times, computer science. For me the icon that comes to mind when I think of Aquarius is that fantastic figure, Astroboy. Quirky... Yes. That's another thing you can say about Aquarians!

My version of Aquarius may be more feminine than Astroboy but there are similarities between the two. I've placed her in a foreign planetary landscape denoting space travel and given her fiery red leather boots that even Astroboy would covet in lieu of his jet-propelled shoes.

This hot lady's boots are like the seven mile boots owned by the giant in Jack and the Beanstalk. Aquarius can use them to leap up into space or travel wherever she chooses, leaping seven miles (or seven hundred miles!) with every step. There's really nowhere this pioneer will not go which is just as well because Aquarians enjoy travel and expanding their minds.

Aquarius has just landed and is holding a pack of cards and a knife. Whatever for?

Well it's worth looking at other aspects of this sign. Aquarius is linked with anything new and avant-garde. Natives can be eccentric because they are true visionaries who are not limited by standards and commonalities. They can seem out of touch or aloof to others and their humour is sometimes offbeat. So that explains the knife and the cards which are an odd combination.

Yet there is another explanation...the Aquarian ability to see far into the future well before others can and to implement the new, denote their inherent clairvoyance. Aquarians can see trends before others can and are always one step ahead. This Aquarian lady is in fact a space travelling gypsy. Her fortune telling cards are symbolic of her clairvoyant qualities. Continuing with the gypsy theme, I've given Aquarius dark Iberian features and equipped her with a stabbing knife à la Carmen.

Notice she holds the knife high and points it away, towards the ground. Will she drop it like she does with the cards? Probably. Aquarians are true humanitarians. They usually show tolerance for others and have a deep understanding of the variety in human nature and cultures. I couldn't see my Aquarian lady using that knife.

My lovely gypsy is equipped to roam independently wherever she chooses. She likes to try anything new so I've dressed her up in an unusual fawn cowhide corset and miniskirt with dark red leather straps. That outfit is worthy of a Sergio Leone western don't you think? Overall it ties in perfectly with the Spanish gypsy theme since most of those Spaghetti westerns were filmed in Spain. But I digress...

25 August 2009

Generation Gap

I'm turning 34 this year. According to the Australian female life expectancy I have about 50 more years to go. I wonder what those 50 years have in store for me. I hope it's as exciting as what I've had so far!

I've just realised two things.

The first one is this. When my grandmother turned 34 in 1957, she would have been pregnant with her sixth child. What an incredible feat. Right now, I can hardly imagine myself having one child, let alone six of them! As it turned out, my grandmother had seven children.

My mum (5 years) and uncle (3) - Cambodia, 1954

The second thing I've realised is that when my father was 34, meaning I would have been about a year old, I believe he served a six months jail sentence in Dakar (Senegal). Judging from the appalling conditions in those African cells, this means he was in hell for 6 months. I understand also, that the reason I was sent to France as a baby was that my mum could not cope during this demanding period and my grandmother had to take care of me (for about two years) instead. It was a very difficult time for my parents. They never talk about it. I've been probing them with questions and there is an evasiveness which you can probably imagine. Personally, I think it's a remarkable story and that it deserves a blog post at some stage.

With my pending 34th year, I can not unfortunately claim to have had the experiences that my close relatives had. A Dakar prison cell is worlds away from my stable, secure existence. And my carefree lifestyle is miles apart from the responsibility that my grandmother inherited when she was so much younger than me.

This generation gap has me feeling a tad superficial.

20 August 2009


It's strange being a woman and realising you haven't been to the hairdresser for 10 months and knowing that this 2008 hairdresser visit was also one year since the previous one...

I also took note that the one and only professional facial I've had in my entire life was a couple of years ago. It was a gift too...I wouldn't have thought of it.
That's not all, I don't do pedicures and manicures.

After applying SPF 15 moisturiser, I take less than 15 minutes to apply the little cosmetics I know of: primer, make-up, blush, lipgloss and very rarely, mascara. Truth is, I've only just learnt about primer this year.

And now I have reached a middle age crisis.
You see, this month, after years of shunning it, I've discovered eyeliner.
Yes, you read right. Eyeliner.
Being a regular contact lens wearer is one of the reason I avoided putting anything on my eyes.
So this eyeliner is quite a revolution for me!

Besides I think it's time I stop relying on my genes and actually start to groom myself.

I want to be made up to look like the gorgeous (and talented) Violet Vex. She recently completed a photo shoot with Mark Greenmantle to advertise for clothing store Voodoo Lulu in Fortitude Valley. Love the make up. Oh, and the clothes!

11 August 2009

August Reckonings

It appears that my July break during which I had planned so many activities has reached an unanticipated end. My Sydney trip was no sooner over that I was suddenly back at uni. How I would have liked to drag the July days and not sleep more than 4 hours per night in order to have more time for personal projects.

Time time time! WHO'S GOT THE TIME????

Disney's Mad Hatter - Try to beat that, Johnny!

In case you are wondering about this magic quote, it is ejaculated by the Mad Hatter in Disney's Alice in Wonderland. I always enjoy that part. For me, it's one of the highlights of surrealistic cinema. Anyway, the next thing you know, Mad Hatter grabs the White rabbit's clock which he promptly diagnoses as being out of tune and attempts to revive it with a healthy dose of condiments, spreading butter, jam and everything else that appears on the non-anniversary party table, well, everything except, and it must be clearly enunciated in case one should ever make that mistake: mustard!! So just remember that.

The report on the novel is that it's going splendidly. That is, I hate it. I've been reassured by a close writer/director/producer friend that this healthy hatred for a manuscript still in its early draft version is actually a very good sign.

Well let's be fair, I do enjoy reading the individual chapters but remain concerned about the momentum (or lack of) between each section. I also feel as though some sentences are far too long to convey action and build up interest. It's not complete and stands now at about 155000 words. I have, however, completed most of the research.

During the last bout of research, I found myself browsing through the Muslim architecture of Southern India during the 1400s. Meanwhile, the last chapter I completed related to the Tea Horse Trade at its peak, in particular, the trade route that linked the tea plantations of Pu'er (Yunnan, China) with Lhasa in Tibet, or Tubo as the Ming called it. As you can probably imagine, I've been around!

My plan is to write a little each week while I complete the last semester of my let's-call-it-what-it-really-is, Psychology degree.

So what else, have I been doing while my blog lay idle? Well the Tran Tien Genealogy is now complete and I'm also halfway through Aquarius. She is the fourth star chick from my Zodiac Girls series. This Mexican looking Gimp vamp shall be posted shortly. Please do not expect a woman carrying a pitcher. Aquarius is an AIR sign for heaven's sake. So no water thank you.

May I squeeze in an irrelevant-revelation?
I'm loving my current university subjects. One of them relates to the design of Psychometric Assessments. I'm learning how to design questionnaires to ensure that they are empirically valid in measuring the construct (e.g. introversion, risk-taking) that they purport to measure and that they are also reliable, that is, yielding consistent results for each participants over time. It follows that one of my great friends this semester is a Statistics application called SPSS. It's a lot of fun!

It must be said, SPSS is almost as fun as Matlab. I remember feeling a surge of excitement whenever I plugged in a formula on the Matlab command line while analysing the trajectory of a ballistic missile for one of my engineering assignments. Back then I really believed that I'd join Nasa and dabble in secret weapons. Little did I know that I actually had a conscience.

Anyway, that's my current SPSS passion. Many psychology students hate it, as much as they hate the Psychological Methodology aspect of the degree. Hang on, have you figured it out? Psychology is not at all about intuition is it? You have to use... wait for it...take a deep breath: maths! In fact, psychological findings are often very counter-intuitive so that without mathematical analysis it would not be possible to demonstrate that what we believe is "common sense" is actually wrong. Tell that to the next person who assures you that "human behavior is common sense and you don't need a scientist to figure it out."
Ahum, ok. Well having snubbed my nose at the infidels, and regained my integrity as a psychology student, I'd now like to re-align this post to what it was originally about...

What was it about?

Well, it's just this. Let's pretend my name is Mrs Smith.

I got a phone call from a Debbie from the Heart Foundation.
I picked up the phone and said hello.

Debbie: Mrs Smith??? Is that you??
Me: Yes. Speaking.
Debbie: Is that you Mrs Smith? (she says, in an alarmed voice bordering on rudeness) You sound really really young...you sound like one of those kids from the...
Me: Err...ok...(gee, why am I not surprised?)

etc... until I apologetically told her that I didn't have enough time to go fundraising in September and hung up.

Let's just say that I had a similar encounter almost 18 months ago when a police officer called to discuss the Police Youth Club. He was much more to the point. He asked to speak with my mother.

Yes, I know, I've already ranted about how young I look for a 33 year old. But this is much worse: I sound young too. Joy!

I'm not going to feign exasperation for having good genes but this voice thing better not work against me at job interviews! Imagine, it's like walking around with a "Don't Take Me Seriously" sign on my forehead. Debbie was sooooooo relaxed talking to me, I bet she'd have put on her best professional voice and donned on white gloves had she been speaking to a deep-throated gentleman on the phone.

Why are people so fake? If you change your speech mannerisms while talking to different people based on their age (social background?), one day you are bound to find embarrassment because of incorrect assumptions. Personally, I much prefer to be humble and respectful as often as I can rather than adopt a power stance based on who I talk to.
You never know who that stranger is. And actually, regardless of who that stranger is, it ought not to determine how respectfully you treat them.