-cell phones-

   I find the phenomenon of cell phones in Singapore fascinating. When I left Singapore for Berkeley, Singapore was at the brink of a mobile phone invasion. No,handphone. I never used a mobile when I'm in Cal, I use a screwed up answering machine in the apartment I share with Jack and the guys. In three years, I've only touched a mobile perhaps less than twenty times.

    My mother handed me a mobile phone during dinner. It was a Startac V. She said I could use it to keep contact with her during my three weeks in Singapore.

    The rice came first followed shortly by the sharks fin soup. "How are you?" she asked. "I was so busy helping with aunty Lai Ying's business that I didn't have time to talk to you."

    "I'm fine," I replied. "I'm taking a couple of Econ classes and a film class next year so I'm happy. What do you guys deal with anyway?"


&nnsp;   Explains the mobile she gave then.

    "How's the business doing?"

    "Good, very good," my mother said, beaming. It was one of the most genuine smiles she had ever flashed. "Making a lot of money. You have only one more year of school right?"

    "Yeah, I'm a senior this year," I replied.

    "Good. Ma will go for your graduation and then you can come back," she said. "Get a good job."

    "Mom, I was thinking of spending a year travelling around after I graduate," I said. "You know, see the world. Write my screenplay, go to Hollywood, see if anyone wants to pick it up."

    My mother gave me a strange convulsed look. "Screenplay?"

    "Yeah, as in the movies," I said.

    "I didn't send you over to get an Economics degree-"

    " It's PEIS, mom. There's Political Science as well," I interrupted.

    "-to write movies in Hollywood you know," she finished her sentence firmly without skipping a beat. "You come back, you get job. If you can't get job, aunty Lai Ying will give you good job."

    I said nothing. The waitress came and served the dish of braised fish. I stared at it, the fish drowning in black sauce, its eyes staring at me dully and its mouth gaping open. My mother bent over and cut its smooth body, scraping off some flesh.

    "Eat," she barked. "Watch out for the bones."