TV shows I’m watching (March 2022)

TV shows I’m watching (March 2022)

I mentioned earlier that Singapore has been recording over 10,000 cases per day in the past few weeks. It’s also greatly discouraged me from leaving the house to socialise with friends. I’ve been at home trying my best to cope.

Being stuck at home is not good for my mental wellness. But that said, there’s actually a long list of things that I can do while at home. Make videos, write, read, play video games, record a podcast episode, call family, or watch TV shows.

Here’s a list of the TV shows I’m watching this month:

  • The Gilded Age (HBO Go)
  • Severance (Apple TV)
  • The Amazing Race 33
  • RuPaul’s Drag Race: UK vs the World (WOW Presents Plus)
  • RuPaul’s Drag Race 14 (WOW Presents Plus)
  • The Walking Dead 11 (Disney+)
  • Star Trek: Discovery 4
  • Downton Abbey 1 to 6 (Netflix)

The current favourite is The Gilded Age which is Julian Fellowes’ (Downton Abbey) take on old vs new money in 1880s New York. It stars Christine Baranski (The Good Wife), Cynthia Nixon (Sex and the City / And Just Like That), Louisa Jacobson (who I just learned is Meryl Streep’s daughter), and Carrie Coon (The Leftovers / Fargo) who plays “new money” Bertha Russell. I’m obsessed with the way Carrie speaks. What do I love about it? It’s 1880s New York… brownstones that house elegant families, horses and carriages on the streets of New York… history, greed, costumes, the quick banter that fans loved from Downton Abbey.

Severance is cut temporarily short since I don’t have an active Apple TV subscription. I was watching the free preview. It has Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation) in it. The premise is wack. It’s about people who sign up to work in an office on a floor where your memories are “severed” from that of your personal life. It’s work-life SPLIT instead of balance. It’s kind of disturbing and I only got to episode 2.

Two editions of RPDR ran side-by-side in the past two weeks. The flagship RPDR in the states which is on its fourteenth season… Willow Pill pulling in as my favorite. Then there’s the aptly titled UK vs the World which finished last week and had Pangina Heals and Jujubee in it. It was a “lipstick” season – or in the “all stars” format where the queens vote themselves out… to RuPaul’s amusement.

The Walking Dead is back for its final walk. The 2nd half of its final season started. I’m watching it “for the sake” to see what happens. It’s a show I enjoyed in its first five seasons. And then I skipped everything until this 11th season… using YouTube to recap everything I missed. Sorry to TWD fans but it’s like I didn’t miss anything. It’s back-and-forth tribal warfare. TWD was always about humans, not zombies. I am excited to see how it’ll end. And what other shows are being developed in this TWD universe.

Question: What TV shows are you watching?

My topic for this week’s Saturday Uncut is how more than half of my career was about getting paid to watch TV shows. I’ve worked with five companies in the past 15 years and three of those were in the business of writing promo More about that below.

Planning a staycation for my mental health

Planning a staycation for my mental health

I need a mental break. I’ve served two back-to-back Health Risk Notices (I’m a close contact of a few positive cases) and I’ve had enough of staying at home. While each notice is 5-7 days and you can technically leave the house as long as you test negative on your antigen rapid test (ART), I felt a strong need to be socially responsible and just cancel any or all social engagements. Plus, the local case count remains above 15,000 daily. We’re a small country for 15,000 daily.

But I’ve reached my stay-home limit. Cabin fever is taking a toll on my mental health. I’ve noticed I feel down every morning, afternoon, and evening. It’s like a grey cloud that follows you everywhere.

I’ve decided to book another staycation. Previous ones were tied to birthdays, anniversaries, or Valentine’s. But this time I’ve booked a staycation which is purely for improving my mental wellness. I enjoyed staying at Heritage Collection Boat Quay last month. I remember how happy I was to be a few steps away from everything. Good food, great views, museums to explore… and it costs a fraction of staying at the pricier hotels in the vicinity. I don’t have the runway to spend much these days… so I have to choose carefully what fits my budget.

Here’s a soft checklist of what I want to do for my mental health staycation:

  • Do nothing. 🙂

But me being me, there has to be an actual checklist so I don’t end up paralysed over being indecisive once I’m in the hotel. Here’s a better list.

  • Cafe hopping. No Instagram photos needed. Enjoy coffee and aim to finish more chapters in books I’m reading (Ikigai, Sex and Vanity, The Bees).
  • Run the Singapore River route I originally planned for last month. I only got to do the Marina Bay portion. It would be nice to complete the quays this time. Boat Quay. Clarke Quay. Robertson Quay. Grabbing kopi C on the way back to the hotel. That would be niiiice.
  • Revisit that Vietnamese restaurant around the corner. Sorry I forgot the name but it brought me back to Ho Chi Minh City with the seating out front. They have set meals and… Vietnamese coffee.
  • Check out the new basement concourse area at the National Gallery. Check the gallery if I missed any exhibits since my last visit. More importantly is to do this on my own. Museums and galleries are great when done at your own pace, right?
  • Have a few skewers at an Izakaya nearby. Also forgot the name… but spotted it last month along Boat Quay.
  • Hike up Fort Canning – if I could squeeze this in. This sounds like a stretch but who knows where the feet will lead us.
  • In the hotel room it would be nice to cozy up by putting on any of the Oscar-nominated films this year. I’d like to see CODA.
  • Speaking of films, maybe it would be worth checking out The Projector X at Riverside Point – during an off peak time since my staycation is on a weekday. Maybe I could get an early show where there are less people?
  • Absolutely disconnect – no work laptops, no checking work emails!
  • Spend time writing and blogging from another cafe or from the hotel. It would be nice to reconnect with writing…

Putting it out there. Let’s hope I could do at least a third of these things.

What do you suggest I do?

“You speak English quite well.”

“You speak English quite well.”

I won’t say I’ve been frequently on the receiving end of insults. But when it does happen, it becomes instantly memorable. I remember I was in Dublin a few years ago and someone made that comment: “You speak English quite well.”

I didn’t know how to feel at that moment. I remember I smiled. Lol. Was I flattered? Or was I somehow being put “into my place” in this person’s experience of the world? The other person meant no harm. But that line did stick with me.

A few years further back I was sitting at a table with my friends outside of a restaurant near the Botanic Gardens. I remember we weren’t even loud or anything. But my friends and I spoke a mix of English and Tagalog. What’s memorable here? It was the adjacent table and what appeared to be a Caucasian family staring at us. Like, lol, just staring. Being the introvert I was a few years ago, it made me uncomfortable but I didn’t bother to ask them what was their problem. But I remember that stare. I looked around my own group and nothing looked off. Unless perhaps, it was we spoke English together with our Tagalog. It might be peculiar to those uninitiated.

I don’t know, have you ever felt what a racist stare could look like?

I’m ashamed to admit that I fear I’m privileged as I tend to blend in with the majority race in this country (until I speak… lol). Why I say this? It’s not the same for my partner who looks like he’s not from here. My partner shares that he often gets stopped for a bag check at the MRT stations. Yes, he’s unfortunately handpicked more often than not. Because he looks like he’s not from here? It doesn’t bother him. But I think would it be different if we were walking together side-by-side?

(Recently my partner had my favourite stuffed animal in his bag en route to our staycation hotel room, and feared that in an event of a sudden MRT bag inspection, the stuffed toy would be cut in half during some time of inspection!)

As for “you speak English quite well” I can let it slide because it makes the other person look very, very silly.

This week’s uncut video:

Ten years in the Lion City

Ten years in the Lion City

March 1, 2022

It was love at first flight with Changi Airport. I hadn’t seen anything like it before. I didn’t know an airport could be so clean and efficient that it would make visiting most other airports feel offensive. Changi Airport was delightful and it planted a seed in my mind during a family holiday in 2005. “If an airport can be this good, it must mean something great is happening here. I want to live and work in this city one day.”

I started that journey on March 1, 2012 when I deplaned from a Cebu Pacifc A320 and entered Singapore’s budget terminal. For some reason I remember the music that accompanied this triumphant moment. It was Lana Del Rey’s Born to Die. 😛

Stamp! 90 days social visit pass. 90 days to find a job. 90 days on a tight budget. All I had was a large red luggage and a backpack as I made my way to a hostel in Joo Chiat.

The city felt massive back then. And my heart would race at the thought of exploring every corner — from hawker stalls to the gardens, from the five-foot ways to pontoons and park connectors — the idea of meeting new people with diverse backgrounds and cultures. Excuse the romance of it, if it hasn’t been obvious in the thousands of stories and imagery I’ve shared with you these years. I’ve enjoyed every single bit.

Taken today, March 1, 2022 – ten years to the day I moved to Singapore

Thank you for being my love and my home. What started as a seed has grown beyond anything I’d have ever imagined.

I’ve been issued a Health Risk Warning (HRW)

I’ve been issued a Health Risk Warning (HRW)

(…and hopefully the last of its type, as CNA reported today they’re changing it to a shorter 5-day “Health Risk Notice” or HRN from next week)

Two years into the pandemic and I’ve received my first SMS isolation notice from the government. As a close contact of c-19 case, I’m to monitor for symptoms over the next week. I can leave the house as long as I do an ART (Antigen Rapid Test) self-test each day. I’ve had two ARTs already and both are negative. Let’s hope it stays that way!

I’ve cancelled all social engagements for the next week. By all, that only means postponing a trip to the Jurong Bird Park which we had planned for Saturday.

Anyway, I’ll monitor my health closely over the next seven days. I feel fine right now. It’s more like the paranoia of this first 48-72 hour period. PJ and my flatmates are doing fine and are testing regularly.

How are the protocols in your part of the world?

Why I quit drinking alcohol

Why I quit drinking alcohol

Two months ago I made the decision to quit drinking alcohol. While I’m not exactly what would be described as an alcoholic, I felt it was the right thing to do.

Drinking alcohol is expensive. Getting a drink in Singapore is NOT cheap. If you want to drink at a decent bar or restaurant, half a pint can already cost you about SGD 12.00 (non-happy hour). There’s high taxation and they even have a curfew after 10:30 PM at public bars and restaurants.

Consuming alcohol has also made me feel very counterproductive. Since the pandemic began, my tolerance for alcohol has weakened. I can enjoy a drink for one night and then end up feeling lethargic for up to two days.

I’ve also connected alcohol to all of the worst experiences in my life the past few years. I give more details about that in this week’s Saturday Uncut.


So far I like the satisfaction of saying no to alcohol. Imagine I got through the Christmas and New Year festive seasons without a single drop of beer, wine, or gin. Specifically during NYE countdown, everyone in the room was holding a glass of wine. I was holding a glass of vibrant Sanpellegrino Aranciata Rossa (Sparkling Blood Orange) and… though it felt odd in the beginning… it was empowering.

Empowering because I’m no longer “going with the flow” from those college days of Red Horse and Emperador whiskey. Empowering because you can have a perfectly good time without the need to “feel buzzed”. My thoughts are clearer.

How is your relationship with alcohol? Let me know in the comments.

Song of the year (2021)

Song of the year (2021)

At the end of each year I think about which song I liked the most. The past two years were dominated by Korean pop music (SUNMI, Chungha, BTS). Chungha topped my Spotify lists in 2021 with songs like Bicycle, X, and Masquerade. I think it’s because I love listening to upbeat music to get my mind off the stress of these dark times.

I pick a song that I think will remind me of what that particular year felt like.

Here are my previous picks for “song of the year”:

  • 2020 – 3-way tie: Play (Chungha), Stay Tonight (Chungha), and On (BTS)
  • 2019 – LALALAY – SUNMI
  • 2018 – All the Stars – Kendrick Lamar ft. SZA
  • 2017 – Flame – Tinashe
  • 2016 – The Life – Fifth Harmony
  • 2015 – Talking Body – Tove Lo

TBH there is no clear personal frontrunner for a “song of the year” in 2021. I liked Billie Eilish’ “Happier Than Ever” because it starts off slow and endearing… before lightning and thunder. That would be a favourite this year. But I don’t think I was that “angry” in 2021. (That’s good news.) Also on my playlist would be Olivia Rodrigo. I loved “good 4 u” and “traitor”. I think she’s someone to watch at the Grammys. Anyway, I’m sure I’m not the only millennial listening to all this Gen Z music.

Keeping with my blog tradition, I have to make a choice! This year’s song is not entirely in English. It’s not Korean too. The lyrics are about a love that needed to come to an end. The melody is perfect – it’s like you’re boarding a train and heading off to a faraway place. Since the lyrics are in both Japanese and English, I think it goes well with this past year. I started learning Japanese.

My song for 2021 is Utada Hikaru’s “One Last Kiss“, a song for the last Evangelion movie:

“I love you more than you’ll ever know” – one of her English lyrics.

And the translation of the last part of the song:

No one really knows what’s been consuming my mind the past few years. I don’t talk about it at all on my other social platforms. I can say that I feel better now. But the thoughts that took over my mind in December 2017 scare me sometimes. I think about multiverses. Maybe this, maybe that. But that’s something for Doctor Strange. This is the one timeline we get to work with. So let’s get to work. 🙂