The entertainer

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So every December we go to India. But before that we have the kids’ birthdays. Technically Mimi’s birthday is in Jan. But I can’t imagine doing a party when I’m in India recovery.

Actually I can’t imagine doing a party at all, and in eight years I’ve done … two (I thought it was three, but I think this is actually the second).

I’m not a bad mother. But I’m fairly lazy and a product of my own experience. No I’m not one of those who didn’t have a party growing up. I had one, every year (thank you mum). Looking back, I realised I didn’t actually enjoy most of those. I twigged this looking at the stressed of expression on my face in photographs and then recognizing that same expression on Nene’s face at his first party. In fact, the kids haven’t shown much interest in a party, preferring the idea of Disneyland or a special treat with family instead.

This year, however, both said they wanted to celebrate with friends. Nene wanted to go go-karting but I was ambivalent. While Nene is adept at those things, I’m not sure every kid would be and I would horrified if there were an accident.

So I started trying to dissuade Nene from that idea because his bestie was the one I was most concerned about. Then Mimi said she wanted her own party with a balloon twister and an entertainer.

The thing is – one party is bad enough, but two?

Okay, here’s when I started to become Bad Mother. Not only did I convince Nene not to have a karting party, but Mimi to combine her party with Nene. The latter was harder than the former because Nene is my cooperative kid, and Mimi is not.

And then I morphed into Libran mom because no sooner had they agreed than I started feeling guilty. I started secretly looking into the go-karting party, talked to bestie’s mum and figured I could do it. Only when I went back to Nene with a yes, he said he didn’t want to have a karting party but a normal one. Ouff.

Luckily I had started this process a couple of months in advance – too early to book the room even. But I realise that’s what I need – enough time to agonise.

In fact, this time it was easier than my past attempts.

I had the entertainer down pat – Mini wanted a clown/magician and I knew where to get one that didn’t cost the earth.

Food was basically going to be pizza and chips, with a few things made at home. I did stress about sourcing fried rice for the Asian palate, but I basically delegated that to V.

I figured out giveaways and stuck to them.

I organised three games despite V’s exhortation that I should just leave those kids alone, Pink Floyd style. But no, every party I have seen that does not have some organised entertainment ends up in kids beating each other with balloons. Okay, so I did have a clown.

Anyway, in the end, the first two games were successful – the last, a treasure hunt descended into chaos. But later Nene said he would rather have games than not and one kid even asked if we could repeat the first game, so I feel vindicated.

The thing that nearly did me in – mentally – was the cake. So I do have a friend who makes gorgeous looking cakes, but V is not a fan of their taste. And these fondant confections are expensive. So he convinced me to just order from the local bakeries where at least if you compromise on look and taste, you are paying accordingly. And our observation is that kids don’t care very much about taste. I however felt totally guilty about not letting my kids have the exact shape of cake their heart desired.

V said he could not bring himself to feel sorry for kids who were having a rather expensive party with a hired entertainer.

I do see his point. In the end, Mimi had a unicorn cake that tasted better than expected and Nene had a poop emoji cake that everyone wanted a slice of. These were small so we supplemented with a large tiramisu that was not amazing.

All in all, it was a successful party. The room wasn’t overly packed as I had feared. The kids were largely entertained. I was not as hyper stressed as I could have been. I even wore a rather pretty white dress and didn’t get one stain on it.

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Eight

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Once, I interviewed a professor who specialized in communications and she pointed out that the tween category was basically invented for marketing purposes. I’m not sure if marketing has played a role, but Nene is exhibiting tween characteristics.

He has the body and mind of a child but like an adolescent we are seeing him less and less. Every waking minute that he is not in school – and I suspect a fair amount of time in school – is spent basically running off to play football with someone or other. On a weekend, his schedule is – wake up at 6.30 am, finish breakfast and general time pass by 8 am maximum and then start bugging us to let him go downstairs. Which we eventually cave into because it seems churlish to imprison a boy who just wants to run at home.

Even if we have something planned, we find ourselves having to convince him to spend time with us over Friend A, B or C who he sees every day. He does enjoy himself when he comes out with us, but it astonishes me that at age 8, I have to even have this conversation.

The problem is that he is popular and obsessed with football. I try, but it’s hard for me to drum up enthusiasm for football. V volunteers to play with him but if there’s a pal around, daddy is relegated to the sidelines.

V says he was exactly like this as a kid. He left home in the morning and was only seen in the evening, stopping back hole maybe for lunch. At least we know where he is – his mother didn’t.

Thankfully, he is otherwise amenable to our directions. There are just a few things that he will insist forcefully on – the regulated time we allow him to watch TV/ play video games, and recently wearing his football shoes to school every day (in order to do this, he learnt to tie his own laces in record time).

Still, when shouts back “noooo!” I have intimations of things to come. This is a kid who we are used to cooperating with us and who is used to us cooperating with him. He is used to being the “good kid” so he takes a ticking off very hard. This is something we have to work on.

In other signs of growing up too soon, he got his first love letter. A girl in his class passed him a note with the words and I summarise: “Do you like me I like you. Tick yes if you want to be my boyfriend” He had ticked yes and returned the note before he showed it to us. So my son, aged seven, had acquired a girlfriend.

This provoked a conversation on what this relationship means and lines that must not be crossed: “No kissing!” “Eww!” Turns out being someone’s boyfriend means sitting with them on the bus, sometimes holding hands, not even playing with each other (I wanted to make sure that other friends would not be neglected). They are now not even in the same class and seem to have largely forgotten that they are “engaged”.

Apart from football, his obsessions are F1 (career choices are between football star and F1 driver) and gold and it’s variants. Also inserting poop, fart etc into every other sentence and perfecting armpit and (the latest innovation) thigh farts.

I still read to him almost every night, and he cuddles up to me (and is generally okay with being cuddled) so I haven’t entirely lost my little boy yet.

Yesterday, Mimi reported that he had been looking up “bad words” in the dictionary. Namely, the D-words (dumb!) and the I-word (idiot!). Okay then.

Gender wars

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I bought three things for the kids from a woman who was selling stuff for charity. Two Smiggle things and one science kit. I wanted to use one of them to bribe Mimi to get her teeth pulled.

Nene who had already succumbed to his tooth being yanked got to choose one. I had got the science kit with him in mind but he picked the Smiggle mood watch.

I asked him if he would wear it to school and he said no. I asked why. He did “because it’s girly.” “But it’s blue,” I said before I could stop myself. Apparently it’s the wrong blue – boy blue is dark, girl blue is light. Moreover, it’s contaminated by the odd pink button.

“But you like it, right?” I pressed and he nodded. “And you’re a boy so how come this is a girl’s the thing?”

“It just is,” he said.

“Do girls like to play football?” I asked.

“No because it’s a boys game.”

“But there are girls in your school like Z who is such a fast runner.”

“Yeah but she won’t play football. Maybe tag.” These are eight year olds.

“Just like you like the mood watch but won’t wear it to school because you’re scared of people making fun of you, don’t you think there might be girls who love football but are scared to play at school. Isn’t that silly?”

“Hmph.”

But you know, boys will be boys, gender is fixed and natural, this is The Way Things Are.

Another year

Beach or mountain?

Beach.

But Hong Kong doesn’t make you choose.

Long ago, when a grey cloud seemed to be taking over Broom’s life, I commented on her blog that she needs a patronus. And she said her patronus would be an island, I forget where. But I remember thinking, a patronus should be animal, not a place.

But now I know a patronus can be a place. It can be a stretch of beach not that far from home, nothing fancy, the water temperature just right, the waves not too choppy, the sound of the wind and the squeals of your children, with a buffalo strolling by for good measure to show you how it’s done. It’s a place that can literally wash your worries away.

My patronus is Lower Cheung Sha Beach, Lantau.

This has been the year – dare I say it – when things settled down.

The job.

The marriage.

The sex.

The job is no longer in the honeymoon period. People get on my nerves, my boss gets on my nerves sometimes. But I like the job. I enjoy it. The people I can deal with, even if they make me roll my eyes. They’re not the worst.

The wisdom these days is that you need to learn to cope with situations. True, you can’t run at the first boo. But sometimes, you need to get out. Cut your losses and run.

That’s what I did with the teaching gigs. My principle with work is that I don’t get out before I have something else lined up. Which can take time and is stressful, but I need an escape route not a new situation to fester in.

And yes, I was lucky. But also, I kept at it. Sometimes applying to jobs was so painful, I eased off, and sometimes V edged me back in and I hated him for it, but it had to be done.

But I do feel like I have the job that is the best fit for me. And I thank my stars for that second chance every day. Okay, every other day.

The job helped me calm the eff down and the extra money helped V calm the eff down and that helped our overall situation. Ironically, I work longer hours, I work public holidays, I have less time with my kids and it’s not ideal. But the time I have, I’m not in a mindfuck and that matters.

One of the girls I met on the first academic conference I ever went to wrote a post about how regardless of whether she ends up working at a make-up counter after her PhD, she did a PhD because she wants to be a philosopher, and that’s what she will be regardless of her actual job. That’s the way I’m coming to feel too. I know people in academia won’t see it like that – that you can’t be a thinker unless you’re surrounded by people who are paid to think. And I get it, academia is different, I don’t deny it. Different good and different bad. Too much for me, I guess.

I have been told that 40 is the best age. My colleague told me that 40 is the year you stop giving a fuck. The fucks I give have been slowing to a trickle – literally, ha! – but I still get riled up by people and situations. There’s definitely an element of ‘this is me, take it or leave it’, not quite the full on aunty quality of saying the first thing that comes out of your mouth not shits given, which I don’t necessarily want to be, but there’s only so far I’m going to change. I can also spot people’s defensive BS a mile off and it just makes me shake my head that people older that me still have stupid hang-ups, still trying to be too cool for school by being a bitch.

I’m not quite 40, so I have some way to go, but I’ve stopped caring. I have more grey hair and I’m pretty sure I’m not going to dye it, though I still occasionally want to get some cray hair colour, so I’ve not grown up enitrely.

I think I’m better at staying alone. I look forward to being alone. Because I’m not.

Milestone – age 7

Once your child hits primary school, you stop counting milestones. Yes, the annual birthday, but not much in between. Now it’s more about personality unfolding than firsts.

Then you realise that not only is your boy definitively no longer a baby, tall enough to show serious signs of overtaking you in a couple of years, but that it is now time for him to spend a night away from you on a school camp.

Now, I’m not a fan of this concept. I’m not one of those parents who are hysterical about sleepovers, but I don’t see them as a rite of passage that needs to be done with aged five. It’s possible that I stayed away from my parents quite young – I definitely had nights, even a week, at my cousin’s house and vice versa, but I’m not sure at what age. Family is different though, you have ages to build comfort with not just the children, but the adults.

These days children talk about sleepovers at friend’s houses aged four or five. I’m like whut. I’m just going to say it – it seems like a Western thing. It actually makes no sense because kids get sleepy super early; it’s not like being teenagers and talking through the night.

Nene actually had his first sleepover last year (or a couple of years ago) at his kindergarten friend’s house. I was skeptical because he is the kind of kid who does not want to sleep alone, and I see no reason to force him. In the end, I sent my helper along, just in case. The other option was going to be basically, a no. I do trust the parent involved though – I knew my son would be safe in her hands, even if I wasn’t sure he would be comfortable around her to tell her if he was really uncomfortable. I frankly don’t think kids need to feel that kind of stranded – unless they are forced to – aged five.

There was a post I read which I cannot now seem to find in which a girl talked about how her mother taught her to have boundaries. She was told that if she was in any situation she was uncomfortable in, she could come to call her and her mother would come to get her, no questions asked. And this is what she did, several times. It allowed her to draw the line at people being mean to her, something that is hard to do at sleepovers where one is essentially trapped in someone’s space. While there is something to be said for resilience, there is also something to be said for young children knowing that they don’t have to face the world alone or stay in situations that are too hard to bear.

It never occurred to me to say “no” to Nene, though I can understand why a parent would. Thirty kids with 3 known adults (the camp would have staff but we were not informed how many) is not a reassuring adult-child ratio to me for an overnight event. It was at the seaside. Basically, if something happened to my kid, I would give the school hell, but it would be my guilt talking. Because this was never a fool-proof situation.

On the couple of days before the camp, I was edgier than usual. It could have been something else – PMS, work – or it could have been me being latently worried. Apart from not being conceptually 100% on board with any overnight camp, there were the masses of things they had to pack.

Not just Nene’s bag but Mimi’s for day camp too. The instructions for each were blurring into each other and I did not want to be the mother that forgot to send her kid sunscreen or god forbid, lunch.

On the morning of the camp, V told me he had only seen me look like this when Nene was a baby and had colic. I pointed out that I wasn’t the only one stressed out. My helper E had the same tense expression and cat-who-just-littered expression. She wasn’t thrilled about this too.

Once again, it was brought home to me who my children are privileged to have two mothers each. Two women who are deeply attuned to their innermost thoughts and feelings, who will do what it takes to ensure their welfare on instinct.

It went as well as it could – they actually eventually fell asleep – so at least I knew he could handle camp. He is also pretty popular which always eases stuff like this. In Mimi’s case, I’m more wary – she has never slept away from home or without an adult, and I don’t foresee any opportunities for her to do so. Moreover, she doesn’t seem to have close friends at school so a whole day-and-a-half of people she doesn’t particularly like is going to be a lot. But fortunately, we have another year to go for that.

Nene came home exhausted but mostly happy. When V asked him whether he wanted to go again next year, he said: “Yeah … but could I not stay the night?

 

 

Three books on groups of ‘cool kids’

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Reading Tana French’s The Likeness reminded me of two other books which deal with groups of precocious youngsters – Donna Tart’s The Secret History and Muriel Spark’s The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.

Let’s talk about The Likeness. The most obvious parallel is Donna Tart’s The Secret History which I really did not think was all that. If the main point of that novel was “the secret”, it was a let down. If the main point was the group, which I suspect it was, then meh. Maybe because I’m always slightly impatient with those “too cool for school” kids.

I think it is the deliberate crafting that goes into their individual and collective existences that puts me off. I tend to admire the illusion of effortlessness and I can respect the Kim Kardashian/Paris Hilton extreme artifice but with these “cool kids”, their stylishness is always showing. It’s like they try as hard as your average Kim Kardasian just in a relentlessly counter-cultural sort of way. The problem is that somewhere along the way, the counter part is lost in the conformity. Do I sound like I have a massive chip on my shoulder about “cool kids”? I’ll own it.

In both novels it’s not exactly clear to me what is so special about the groups involved. Okay in The Secret History, it’s that they are obsessed with Ancient Greece, but I dunno, they seemed to be to so closely role playing that it comes across as more odd than charming. I vaguely remember that they’re supposed to be beautiful, but the only one that sticks in the mind is the female twin, just as in The Likeness Rafe stands out for his looks. And then they’re mainly defined by being “chosen” by this one difficult teacher, which for me is a turn-off. Being a groupie/teacher’s pet does not a cool kid make in my book.

Thankfully, in The Likeness the group is not beholden to any particular teacher. They are wrapped up in each other and the whimsical desire to live some kind of communal life in the house one of them inherited. They are all Lit postgrads – thankfully not Classics majors again – and they seem to reject the trappings of modernity – the internet, texting and the pursuit of money.

The problem though is that although each of them has a different research interest which is spelled out, they don’t seem to talk about it or literature at all. Rather, they all blur into one amorphous lump of people lying around idylically stroking one another’s hair, repairing odd knickknacks that they find in the attic and occasionally painting the walls. Okay.

The Likeness is an improvement over The Secret History, both in terms of the fleshing out the individual,  making them somewhat likeable and also in the actual mystery at the heart of it all. But the novel that I think does ‘cool kids’ the best is The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.

This classic by Muriel Spark is about a group of chosen one’s by a schoolteacher in Scotland. Each of the girls is special in her own way, even if one of them is special for being mediocre and basically the runt that gets picked on. Miss Brodie stands among them as a towering figure – one that we can admire even as her flaws become increasingly apparent.

Miss Brodie reminded me of our revered English Lit professor in college. She too had an aura about her, was a rebel who flouted authority and who edged us towards rebellion ourselves, whose life was a slap in the face of conventional morality that she saw herself as superior to. She also had her chosen ones – and the casual but cruel way that Miss Brodie goes about her choice reminded me retrospectively about this teacher too. If you were not in her inner circle you always felt slightly like a fish out of water. I wonder if she sneered at us like Miss Brodie did. I hope she was kinder, but Miss Brodie makes me suspicious.

I liked how each of the girls were allowed to grow up and outgrow Miss Brodie even though she remains the most profound influence on their lives. I loved how even as children, some of them defied her and how each of them had a personality, even though the whole thing is narrated through one surprising perspective. These girls too were defined by their choice of Latin in senior school – what is it with these classical languages – but somehow they are more interesting than the “too cool for school” types of The Likeness and The Secret History.

It just struck me – the only “cool kids” I can bear are the ones in Clueless who are such over-the-top parodies they are genuinely funny.

So, were you one of the “cool kids” in school or college? Did you want to be? Did you like The Secret History?

 

 

Dr Christine Blasey Ford and #metoo

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I did not listen to Dr Christine Blasey Ford testify before a senate judiciary committee about being sexually assaulted by the man set to sit in judgement of and hold the fate of countless women in his hands.

I did not need to. The main parts of Dr Ford’s statement had been public knowledge before she was compelled to out herself and face the judgement of the whole world. I did not need to hear her speak her pain and trauma out loud, I did not need to hear her voice crack or to witness her keeping her composure so that she could be a model witness, the only kind that has any hope of garnering belief if you’re a woman.

I believed Dr Ford from the start. I tend to believe women. What part of her story was unbelievable anyway?

Then two other women stepped forward and it was clear to me that this is going to be another Bill Cosby situation if it was given enough time.

Dr Ford wants an FBI investigation because she knows that only with time and persistent digging will the truth she has lived with so long be confirmed in the eyes of the public. Her opponents want to rush this through – why?

As always we hear cries of due process – but Dr Ford is the one in fact arguing for process. If she had whispered her story softly and let the wheels of bureaucracy turn, she would have been ignored. So she kickstarted due process by going public. Her voice could then not be stifled or ignored even if she herself did not want the limelight. That is the essence of #metoo – not the disavowal of due process but the forcing of it so that “troublesome” women are seen and heard, not smothered. In coming forward, these women – even in our current climate of disclosure – stand to lose a lot. Contrary to popular belief, these women are judged too, to stick their necks out is a risk.

My belief in Dr Ford is not the only reason I walked out when V started listening to her testimony. I was triggered. How many of us, I wonder, have had the privilege of not knowing what it feels like to have the dead weight of a man grinding on top of us while we try to push him off. Maybe we struggled in vain, maybe at some point we switched off, maybe we were confused and didn’t know what to do until it was too late. Maybe we were very young.

The word triggered is associated with the word snowflake. I’m not sure where I stand on trigger warnings. I don’t see how they could be harmful, though I wonder if it’s ever possible to cover the whole range of triggers.

I do find it is a useful description for ow I feel these days when I hear details of sexual harassment in the news. There is a disjuncture between the horror of it and the normalisation of life going on around the television set not to mention the detachment of the talking heads.

It does not help that V watches Fox News because ‘entertainment.” I can get on board with the value of not living in an echo chamber but sometimes the misogyny and racism is too much to hear.

Dr Ford’s trauma is personal.

And what of the accused – the man who quipped, then cried, then professed his love of beer? I can only say that no woman fighting for her career could have gotten away with the way he handled that hearing.

Would he barefaced lie to the public? Yes, he would. He has more to lose than Dr Ford. Lying is his only recourse at this point. And he didn’t even do it very well.

Besides, remember Bill Clinton?

I am convinced Brett Kavanaugh will get the job he wants and that in a few months it will be life as usual. Because isn’t that what normally happens – men getting away with it is so normal that what’s one more?

On Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad series

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This post contains spoilers so stop reading if you would like to get to these books at some point. Because of course you should.

If you have read the series, please join the discussion because that is the point of this post.

So far I’ve read In The Woods and The Likeness and I loved them but also I.Have.Thoughts:

1. In the Woods was the better book and is it terrible to say that I liked Cassie better in the context of Rob’s narrative than in the book in which she is the protagonist?

2. I have no problem with the end of In the Woods. Throughout this series (I reckon, because I’m still on book 2), French is playing with the conventions of the detective novel and the idea of fixed, knowable truth.

3. The writing is beautiful especially in In the Woods

4. My problem is with her characters’ motivations. Rob’s volte face with respect to Cassie was especially strange – it just did not ring true. It was such cliched boy behaviour that his past trauma could not explain it unless all boys have similar skeletons in their closet. Frank’s decision to throw Cassie into the mix is not convincing – would a police department go through all this effort for one murder? Cassie’s decision to keep the diary and the developments with N under wraps from Frank also did not make sense.

5. There’s a bit in In the Woods in which Rob says to the reader: “she fooled you too.” Er no, she didn’t. It was obvious there was something off with her from her second airing. The only twist would have been if Cassie or Sam turned out to be the villain.

Similarly in The Likeness, the reader would have guessed pretty quick that the killer was in the house, no matter how much French tried to throw one off course. And the killer(s) did not come as a big surprise, nor how it went down.

So French’s mystery crafting skills are somewhat lacking. It is possible she is purposely doing this because the mystery is not the point, but I dunno. She seems to take a fair bit of trouble to set up and lay out the murder trail.

6. Other character inconsistencies: Cassie does not lie, we are told, but then she does. How is being an undercover detective possible without lying?

Also the idea that not one but two women could just slip into a PhD programme at a prestigious uni made me a bit mad. So it’s English Lit, so just anyone can do it? It would have been more convincing if Lexie had stayed home after her stabbing and not gone to tutorials not to mention a meeting with her advisor because you know been there done that. Or maybe the lesson here is that I was putting too much effort in.

7. As for the group of kids in The Likeness, I have so many thoughts that it turned into a mini rant. So that will be a separate post.

8. There’s a classic line at the end of In the Woods when Rob goes out with Sophie, the forensics head, and she tells him “she was old enough to know the difference between intriguiing and fucked up. ‘You should go for younger women,’ she advised me. ‘They can’t always tell.'” He took this on the nose, which makes me like him, post-coital ghosting notwithstanding (which I put down French’s flawed writing rather than Rob himself.) I want to see more of Rob.

Have you read this series? What did you think?

 

Medical fails

Things that have been wrong with me in the past months:

  1. Weight gain
  2. Itchiness in weird spots
  3. Weird sunburn thing on my back
  4. Teeth falling apart
  5. Digestive system shot

I decided to fix 3. and 4. since I had been living with them for a while. Bad idea.

After much hoing and humming, I got a tooth extracted. It was fine – well as fine as a tooth that was deeply rooted, although infected, can be – until it was not. Had crazy pain for two days, before I saw the dentist who was like – how are you cleaning it? I was like: erm, maybe you should have given me some instructions on what to do instead of letting me leave with a mouthful of blood? Anyway, he sent me off with a stronger painkiller and instructions to brush (!), then chided me again when I went back to remove the stitches, as if the fact that I have an infected gum is my fault for not dreaming that I should have brushed an open wound.

Consider the irony, I got a tooth extracted because my gum was infected, now I have lost a tooth and my gum is still infected.

Dentist asks me what I want to do with the other tooth. Nothing, I think. I will live with my dodgy tooth and infected gum, thank you.

***

After generally living with on and off diarrhoea for oh five (10?) years, I decided I should get my bowels checked out. Scheduled a colonoscopy, then regretted it when I saw the prep involved laxatives and near-starvation.

I fail to understand why a person who has regular diarrhoea needs a laxative. To add to it, I got my period during that time so I was cramping and running to the loo anyway. But no, instructions must be followed.

The instructions were only carbs and protein for two days, which I could do, and avoided spicy food for good measure, and then laxative at night. I had severe runs the next night, so the nurse caved and asked me to skip the laxative one night.

Then one day of only liquid diet – with 3 to 4 pieces of white bread allowed if starving. When I told my mum this is, she said: “what nonsense, how can you only eat white bread with nothing.”

Turns out you can.

See, I have never fasted. My family’s version of fasting is eating vegetarian food on Friday’s in Lent, and skipping tea and dessert on Good Friday.

But it turns out, it is entirely possible to spend 24 hours on water, soup and three pieces of toast. Maybe having the runs helps.

Honestly, I was astonished. A colleague had planned to do a 48-hour fast subsisting on only  lemon water and had said that hunger comes in waves and it’s a mental thing that can be ignored. I scoffed. Honestly, if I don’t eat regularly, I get gas and acidity – not to mention a very bad mood.

But it turns out, it is actually possible to go a day without proper food and even be productive. I had arranged to work from home in case I fainted, but it turns out I finished work in short order – maybe because my lunch break consisted of downing a bowl of soup while trying to switch on the Apple TV and then giving up.

Then, I spent four hours that night pissing through my ass, had my last sip of water at 4.55 am and then didn’t drink another sip till a good 11 am. Which is again astounding. I am constantly sipping water, so not being allowed to drink water from 5 am onwards worried be. I’m now convinced I drink too much water in addition to eating too much food.

Anyway, it turns out my large intestine is fine. So back to square one.

Then again, I did lose 3 kg over the 3 days. Which is a pretty good result I think.

I am now trying to eat only soup noodles for lunch – luckily living in Hong Kong means bland food is never lacking – and skipping the tea-time snack (gasp!). It’s been two days, and the bland food is getting old.

While it lasts, I’ve dug out the shirts that were a little too snug in my cupboard.

My plan was to clinch the deal with exercise, but unfortunately, I’m too hungry to run.