Sunday, December 11, 2011

On saving up for a Ferrari

Browsing through Facebook, I saw on Lim Guan Eng's page photos of the opening of a Super Car Club. At first, I thought, 'Supercar? Do they fly and are they allergic to kryptonite? Do they wear their engines inside out?'

Then I saw a photo of a fleet of Ferraris, and I realized that 'Super Car' actually meant super expensive cars, not cars with super powers. Silly me.

I saw a photo with a group of middle-aged men, presumably the owners of the super cars. I said to myself, 'I need to bag me one of those.'

As I rolled about in bed, I scolded myself for my shallowness. Bag me a rich man just so that I'll have my own Ferrari? Christ, I don't want to do that. I'll just buy me a goddamn Ferrari with my own money. Much more gratifying.

I'll just have to take on about ten jobs, work 24 hours seven days a week, not eat, and camp in a cave. I guess I could eat, I could trap pigeons and stuff. I might even grow my own tobacco to smoke. Ferrari, you will be mine one day!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A bit of a rant

If you must know, the irony was that when I was in Penang, I could not write above three pages. Now that I am here, I cannot write below three pages. Half of it might be drivel, but one stays hopeful nonetheless.

I am only halfway through my assignment story, which has a quota of 4,500 words, and I'm already at 5,210 words. Damn. Much editing to do. Snip snip.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

My glasses and I

I'm not used to wearing glasses, although I think I might need them all the time (and friends tell me that I need them every time I say I see a cute guy). Granted, when I was a child, I begged my mum to buy me glasses because they somehow had this cool factor to them. So we went to the optometrist, where I lied a bit during the eye test, and got me my first pair of glasses. I think I was nine. The frames were reddish-pink. I wore them a few times and forgot about them.

I turned twelve. Same story, same ruse, and I got me a pair of silver-framed glasses. Wore them a few times, then forgot about them.

Might have used the same ruse in secondary school.

Then I started work three years ago, and realized that all that staring at the computer screen couldn't be too good for my eyes. So I got me a pair of computer-screen glasses. I wore them at work every day.

I suppose it's all that screen-staring, or perhaps I'm just getting old. I started noticing that my eyesight wasn't too good at night, especially whilst driving. Not to the point of entirely missing the tree in front of me or anything, just distorted lights. So I went and got me a more powerful pair of glasses.

Which I'm wearing now, at this very moment. When I take them off, I tend to squint a bit. Glasses make life somewhat easier, but I always forget to wear them out. Guess I'm just self-conscious, but maybe I should start wearing them all the time. I'd probably say, 'Oh look, cute guy!' less often, if I started to, but self-delusion can be fun. Keeps ones hopes up.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Now, why don't I speak Chinese again?

I started work last Monday at a Chinese noodle bar. They were amused when they knew that I didn't speak Chinese. Embarrassing much. My protest that I spoke Hokkien was futile when they introduced me to a chef from Fujian. I had to quickly explain that Penang Hokkien is different from the Mainland variety. Bummer.

Then they asked me, which part of China was I from? I said I'm from Malaysia. They said, yeah, but which part of China did my family come from? I said I... didn't know.

They were shell-shocked. Didn't know? DIDN'T KNOW?

I said, yeah, it's been a while since my ancestors came from China... I don't think we have any records, but we guess it's Xiamen or somewhere near that vicinity.

They shook their heads slightly, I could tell they pitied me. Not knowing where your roots were in the great middle kingdom, I suppose, was like cutting your queue off. Oh wait, we already did that during the turn of the previous century. Anyhow, I gleaned that it was really important to know which part of China you were from.

In conclusion, I maintain that I'm not a banana. I speak Hokkien, which is a form of Chinese. AND I'm Malaysian. But if you want to call me a banana, I'm fine with it, although I don't particularly fancy the fruit. Too sweet.

And one day I'll save up enough money to get my DNA tested to find out which damn part of China I'm from, OK? Blame faulty records, don't blame me! Tch.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

On waitressing

After five years, I find myself busing tables again. Previously, I worked as a waitress for ten long days in a quaint English-style cafe in Penang. Of course I didn't take it seriously, I didn't really need the money. Plus it was World Cup season, and in the end I decided to quit the job to sit down in the pub next door to watch football instead. World Cup > Waitressing.

I wasn't a very good waitress, I must admit. I lacked the dedication. Not to say I was unenthusiastic for work or anything -- I received an RM15 tip once. Unfortunately it had to go to the tip pot. I just got lazy, decided it wasn't worth it, and quit. 22 men chasing after a ball, hey.

This time around, I actually need to money? So I really need to go to work even if I just feel like experimenting with growing fungi on my head in the darkness of my room. I need to walk the half hour trek to work even if it's -10 degrees Celsius.

And waitressing here is a whole different ball game from Penang. Back home, you give the customer the menu, wait for them to signal to you (sometimes they have to signal manically, especially if they are dining at Dome), take their orders, don't bother repeating it, send it to the kitchen, bring the food out, and if they're seated outdoors, bring them the bill as well. When they're ready to pay, they will begin the signalling process again, and will be lucky if they get their bill before the second coming of Christ.

And if you get a Bangla or Indon waiter, be ready to perform some hand signals. 'No spring onions' would be a tough one.

Monday, October 31, 2011

On daylight savings

Let me write in detail about my second experience of bizzare, Twilight Zone-ish daylight savings time change. My first experience was in Ireland four years ago, but I was mighty prepared for it. I can't remember why, I'd probably heard about it already. All I remember was, instead of the sun setting at 6pm, it was still bright at 7pm (March, turning the clock forward an hour). But the time change yesterday? Absolutely uninformed. Left me feeling like I was in a different dimension, like I was still dreaming.

Saturday night, I had a late night. I set the alarm on my smart phone (thank god it's smart) to wake me up at 10am. So I went to bed at 4am. My last few thoughts before I totally comatosed was that I'd only have a miserable 6 hours of sleep.

I woke up, rolled around a bit, turned on my PC, and went into the shower. After that, fully awake, properly dressed, all doll-ed up, I turned on Skype, hoping to call my mum. I looked at the time on my PC. 7:18pm. I looked at it again. 7:18pm. Local time in Malaysia. I got a bit confused. It must be 12:18 noon, English time. But... I woke up at 10-ish. Had I actually spent almost two hours getting ready? It didn't feel that long. I looked at my watch on my study table, it said 12:18. Impossible. I counted the hours. Insane.

I grabbed my phone, it said 11:18am. I grabbed my watch. It said 12:18pm. Why the hell was there a one-hour difference? My watch seemed to be working, it was ticking smugly. Did I happen to wake up in the middle of the night and subconsciously changed the time on my phone?

At that moment, 11:19am, I felt like a lunatic. I felt like I must have done something over the night to my phone.

Then, slow enlightenment swept over me. Daylight savings. Must be. Must.

So I Googled the time. I keyed in, "Time in England." It said 11:20am. After confirming the time, I Googled "Daylight savings change 2011 England." I held my breath as the results displayed. 30 October. I almost giggled with relief. My sanity was intact!

Elementary, dear Watson. My magnificent smart phone had changed the time by itself. And instead of a miserable 6 hours of sleep, I had in fact gained an hour and had 7 wonderful hours of sleep instead. Totally recharged, I trekked half an hour to the city center, pelted by blissful autumn rain.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

On Chinese Odyssey 2002

Almost ten years ago, I went to the cinema with my girlfriend, one of my best friends back then, to watch Chinese Odyssey 2002. And I'll never forget it.

The movie was really good, no doubt. Tony Leung and Faye Wong as the leads again, after Chungking Express. Lots of references to Wong Kar Wai's work. Simply delightful.

But what made this movie even more memorable was that we went to watch it during Valentine's Day. Two single date-less girls. When we were buying the movie tickets, the box-office cashier asked us if we wanted to buy a couple teddy bear. What the fuck. As if our Valentine's wasn't miserable enough, he had to rub it in. I'll never forget that incident. Nor the movie.

One of my favourite scenes: Tony Leung, Zhao Wei, and their gang of good-for-nothings staring agape as Ro-Man-Ti-Que introduces himself

"The most painful experience in life, however, is waiting."

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Stay (Faraway, So Close)

Ten years ago, I could play this song on the guitar:



Granted I could only play the chords (it wasn't that difficult, I think there were only five chords involved). Back then, I was really, really, really into U2. I wanted to marry Bono. I was a bit dejected to find out that he was already married with four kids, but I was young, and I hoped to meet and seduce the man who was The Fly.

Plus, there was a camp at the end of the year, and I wanted to impress random strangers with my five chord guitar skills. Also, my neighbour was into guitar playing as well during that stage of our lives, and we happily swapped five-chord guitar stories.

I developed callouses on my fingers, I practiced that much. I refused to ask my parents to enroll me for guitar lessons because I thought, 'Hey, Hendrix didn't go for lessons, did he?'

Then, as with most teenagers, I grew out of it. The end of the year came by, camp ended without me showing off my tragic guitar skills, and The Lord of the Rings debuted. My neighbour and I rushed out to buy the trilogy, and we swapped LOTR stories instead, heaping praise on Peter Jackson and bitching about how Tom Bombadil had been left out. Bono became a distant memory, replaced by the beautiful Orlando Bloom instead.

The guitar collected dust, and the strings fell apart. It's actually still there in my old room, ten years later, the relic of a more carefree past.

Monday, October 24, 2011

On rice

"Master or worker, in China or Malaya, a Chinese needs his rice. Fortified with a bellyful of rice, he is prepared for any contingency."
-Yeap Joo Kim, Moon Over Malaya

How true is that, we southern people of the rice culture. We see a person who is weak, unable to perform their duties, and we say "Aiyah, never eat rice meh."

Although nutritionists and know-it-alls would say that energy comes not from rice (which is actually just grain after grain of carb) but from meats and fruits and whatnot, deprive me of rice and I WILL turn into a skeleton. You know why?

Because without rice, I am unable to eat the accompanying dishes, e.g. sweet and sour chicken, pork ribs cooked in sweet sauce, steamed herbal chicken, baby kailan sauteed with oyster sauce, waxed duck, and etc. Fact.

Also, I used to be able to down four bowls of rice in one sitting, and I actually still am able to; however, all that food goes straight to my happy belly and ends up being stored as bouncing, delightful fat. Fact.

Friday, October 21, 2011

If only farts were as minimally embarrassing as burps

Yes, this might be disgusting.

I had a flatulent day yesterday, and because it was a full day of classes, what could one do but to keep it in? I have yet to master the skill of farting silently, see, and I was afraid of miscalculating and letting it out loudly instead. I was afraid of being the butt (no pun intended) of all jokes for the rest of the year. So I kept it in. For roughly 7 hours, I kept it in. We only had very short breaks every hour or so, and I took those opportunities to 'go for a walk' to try to relieve myself. Nothing came out. Not a squeak. Maybe I was over-pressuring myself.

So by the time classes were done, because of all that gas inside, I had developed a tummy ache as well. Plus the cold walk back home, suffice to say, it felt like an eternity in hell.

Over dinner, I had a thought. If farts were like burps, and strangers would just maybe glance at you if you burped out loud in public as opposed to holding their bellies from all the laughter, I suppose I would be a much happier person.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Alright, I need to buy me a donkey

"Hee-haw, I'm your friendly grocery-carrying mule"

When you don't have a car, you're living alone, you're buying a shit load of groceries, and you don't exactly live around the corner of Sainsbury's or the city centre, you've got a bit of a problem.

I don't know how people do it. Probably they're not as ambitious as me as to carry 40kg worth of food and amenities. My wrists are still shaking from the trauma earlier this afternoon, me lugging five bags full of heavy groceries, trying to catch a bus home, being told by the driver that I'm on the wrong damn side of the road (I waited at that exact same bus stop two weeks ago dammit!), getting off the bus sheepishly and running across the street to the right bus stop. People here probably make several trips to the grocer's. Probably they're fit, they have muscular, hairy arms. Perhaps they have a partner willing enough to be their mule.

More often than not, I see parents hand in hand with their reluctant toddlers, while their prams are cunningly laden with their grocery bags. Maybe I need to get me a pram, but a donkey's much more fun. You get to prod it with a stick. It would probably sound like Eddie Murphy, and it could sing me lullabies to sleep. Maybe in time I'll turn into a big, green ogre. My tummy's halfway there already anyhow.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Minor observations

(Regarding the title: Yeah I went through The Oatmeal again today)

Most people already know this, but I'm still fascinated. You know how we shuffle cards, we do it with the deck facing down in our hands, and we take the bottom and stack it on top, really quickly and very pro-like (unless you're a child playing cards for the first time). People here, they do it with the cards sideways, and sort of just jumble it all up. Pretty strange. A bit inconvenient for me, I tend to spray cards everywhere when I try it their way.

Another thing is (it's rather hard for me to get over this), is that Europeans tend to eat their rice with their forks. How do they get everything onto a fork? They do like to make things difficult. Here have you a spoon, which scoops up your rice like a pelicang does a fish, yet you pick the fork. It's like cutting a steak with your spoon, for me. Works, with 6x the effort.

My second week was more exciting than the first. On Monday, my shower got clogged up so I couldn't shower the entire day. I basically donned a cap whenever I went around because my hair was monstrous. On Tuesday, my flatmate had some friends over and we drank and smoked the night away. I retired early, at 4am. They were up till 5:30. Oh, and by the way, if ever you visit me, steer clear of the kitchen sofa. A boy puked all over it. Nasty stuff.

Yesterday, because of the late night before, I woke up at noon and decided to just chill the day away, with a lot of writing done at night. Today, we had a guest speaker during class who totally sold her books to me. I'm on the brink of going to amazon.com and just look for them. I will do that if W.H. Smith doesn't have her.

I took the bus home after class, which made things 70% less scary. There's still a relatively dark area I have to traverse before I get to the bright lights of the entrance, but I guess I could always run through it. It'd take me 30 seconds as opposed to the 5-minute run the week before. Through the woods. I guess it was what one of the boys told me about last Tuesday, about a serial rapist going around campus. The rapist is an Albanian guy, by the way. At least that was what the boy told me. Wonder how he knew.

So tomorrow, I shall take the 12:15 train to Reading to visit my sister and enjoy her bathroom, which, unlike mine, you don't have to bump your elbows on the wall with every move. Also looking forward to the nice 46" TV.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Weekend!

I spent the weekend in Reading with my sister and her husband, and I tell you, there's something in the water because I just felt like sleeping the entire time I was there. I really wanted to finish watching Eddie Izzard, but goddamn I fell asleep in front of the TV. The same goes for my dad and my mum when they're there too, apparently. We all just pig out. Maybe it was the jetlag, but I feel extremely rested now after all that good sleep.

Sis and brother-in-law (BIL) took me shopping for my necessities, and now I'm equipped with a water filter. Don't have to worry about kidney stones anymore from all that tap water.

I also ate a damn lot of rice (because the rice I cooked last Wednesday turned into porridge). Now, I'm also equipped with a rice cooker, so no more worries about that. I also have enough toilet paper to last me till the end of the month, or longer, I hope.

Well-fed and well-rested, I'm ready to begin the week. Time to catch up on all those assignments and readings!

Day 04.2

I heard my flatmate at the kitchen, so I decided to pop out and tell her that I'd be away for the weekend. After some conversation, I asked her if she wanted a beer, and she did, good girl. I found out that she's actually Bulgarian who studied in Paris. Then, because we aren't allowed to smoke in the dining area, she invited me over to her room for a smoke. There, we chit-chatted a bit, me, her and her boyfriend.

And I tell you, for a room inhabited by two, it was pretty damn clean. Compared to this:


Bless my mess. Then, they came over to my room where we talked a bit more, and we went back to their room to talk even more. I had lost track of the time, and rather stoned, I retired back to my blissfully messy cell and slept.

I'm glad I made good friends with her and her boyfriend, they're pretty neat.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Day 04.1

And I had the shitass scariest walk back home from class.

Class took up the entire afternoon and evening. It was very enjoyable, I had to write my imagination off. And imagine me trying to read out loud with an English accent so that everybody else could understand. That's one thing to work on.

Anyhow, we had an established writer give us a workshop in the evening. Her name is Bernadine Evaristo, and from the sound of it (I didn't get a chance to read her works because I arrived late and had no time to source for her books), she's incredible. And I learnt a lot about writing characters.

By the time we were done, it was 9pm. I managed to make a few acquaintances, but me being too shy, I didn't ask if anyone was going back to my hall. So, I took the 10 minute trek back home.

I'd been on the path several times now, but all the time during the day. On that narrow path, one side is a high wall which separates the houses, and on the other is a sort of organic-y vegetable farm. It's really lovely during the daytime, the air is fresh and there's the sound of rustling leaves. Many students use that path as well. But at night, it's the perfect scene for a horror movie. It's disturbingly quiet, nobody uses it, it's lit with dim, orange lights, and the goddamn streetlights are the energy-saving ones. The sort that turn off by themselves if nobody is nearby.

And I ran all the way back home, this little piggy did. All the time, I kept on turning back, half-expecting the hound of the Baskervilles to be on my heels.

I stopped running once I saw another person, and by the time I reached my hall, I was half out of breath and my mind was a circus. There was this guy waiting outside the door, and he was asking me if I could scan him in. The problem was, he looked exactly like an Italian guy I knew, which sort scared more bejesus out of me. My first thought was, would that Italian guy stalk me all the way here? Then, at a closer look, he was slightly different, more Arabian than Mediterranean.

So here I am, same and sound, typing away. Next week, I will either use the bus, or the long route home.

Edit:

Well, day four didn't quite end that way. Let's continue to day 04.2

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Day 03

Well I finally met my housemate, during what could be one of the worst first impressions ever. I was cooking Bak Kut Teh. To those who aren't familiar with this dish, it's one of the heaviest herbal-smelling dishes I know. In a nutshell, it stinks. It stinks like a Chinese medicinal shop rolled into one small pot of blackish stew.

So there I was, trying to ensure that my rice doesn't turn into broth, one hand stirring the pot and one eye on the evil looking stew. She walks in with her boyfriend and I damn near peed my pants. See, I thought that I would be staying alone, despite the stalk of dried-up celery in the fridge and other miscellaneous foodstuff. I had been having suspicions that my housemate was actually decomposing in her room, due to the undone dishes in the sink (as though the killer left in a hurry). And here she was, walking in the front door. I hope that the stench of my stew didn't scare her off too much.

She's French, she smokes, and she drinks. Good girl.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Day 02

So far, I've met more nice people than not-so-nice people. I went to open my bank account today and the bank manager was a Malaysian lady who promised to invite me over when she made sambal. I'll hold her on to that, and if she doesn't call me up, I'll know where to find her,

Then, I went to the library, after three years. Libraries are pretty much the same everywhere. Pretend silence, droning of turning pages, stilted footsteps, and the regular annoying loud person on the phone somewhere far off. I wanted to check out two books, but because it was my first time there, an elderly lady helped me to use the self-check-out counter. Same damn thing they used in USM. It was nice of her anyway.

Which makes the count of people I spoke to at length today (minus cashiers, bus drivers, and mum via Skype) at two. And so, I begin my hermithood. Till Friday, anyhow. Then, I think I will make my sister's ears vomit from all the suppressed talk.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Day 01

Twice I've flown alone long haul, twice I've sat next to pleasant elderly couples. God bless pleasant elderly couples, they make travelling... rather like being mothered. The previous elderly couple back during my 2007 escapade kept those MAS peanuts for me. Very sweet.

This time round, I was sat next to an elderly Australian couple, en-route to visit their daughter in London. Elderly lady and I spoke of our favourite writers (she spoke a bit about a book called The Slap, which from her summary had very interesting content albeit a rather boring cover). Then, due to the flight delay and my worrying over the taxi service actually picking me up, they volunteered to stay behind to ensure that I got transported to Oxford. For a couple of strangers, they really impressed me.

Not only that, elderly lady (I really, really, really suck at remembering names) helped save me from the muck called customs. The customs officer was gearing up to dismantle my carefully taped box when she, with all her elderly lady power, stood up for me, saying that I was a student, and I was under her temporary supervision. Customs officer meekly backed down from that awesomeness.

I managed to call my taxi driver, and he said that had almost arrived to get me, so I told the elderly couple that they didn't need to bother with me anymore, when elderly lady told me the most touching thing of the day. She said, "No! Of course we'll wait with you. I would have done the same if you were my daughter!" This, from total strangers. God bless sweet, pleasant elderly couples.

Then, I befriended my taxi driver. He was an Indian-Muslim who had spent, I quote, 'A great many years in the country.' He loved cricket, football (only international matches), and recently, snooker and pool. He used to be a bouncer but decided to venture into the ferrying business. Had not stepped into a gym for more than 10 years. I gauged his age to be about 36. Lovely fellow.

Next, thank god for sisters and their husbands to be there for you. Despite jetlag, they drove to see me, a good hour away from them, just to help me find my way about town, helping me to buy my groceries, and then treating me to a nice Chinese dinner. The life.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

On a weird dream

Yesterday I dreamt that it was the end of the world. There would be a great flood. I lead an immense group of people to an island sanctuary, and there we took shelter for some time. And on my bed, there were woodworms, and someone I can't recognize helped me to get rid of them. It was a sort of resort island, with enough food to go around, but after a while, I knew that we had to get moving, so me and my group of trackers went a-galavanting to look for a new place where we could settle. There might have been zombies.

Too weird a dream not to write down. Anxiety maketh my subconscious wander.

Friday, September 2, 2011

On the last day at work

Here I am, in my cubicle. The next 3-4 hours will be my last here. No more braving the immensely insane and kiasu Bayan Lepas traffic. No more traversing the car park on tip toes and with heart jumping out of throat because of my fear of my many-legged friends. No more riding the slowest lift in the world. No more walking four steps to the left and 45 to the right to head to the pantry for my morning drink. No more waving my cigarette box at my colleagues through their peep hole to invite them for a smoke. No more FrameMaker (for the time, anyway). No more trying to avoid being seen after returning late from lunch.

I've had a great time working at A company. I honestly do feel like I've been spoilt. Although three years hasn't been that very long, for a person who not-too-recently realized that she actually quite loves routine and of late (or many all along) has been having problems accepting change, I'm actually feeling pretty sad. The older I get...

But life must go on. I believe I'll always remember my first job. The click-clacking of keyboards. Chatter in Mandarin from afar. And colleagues who became friends.

Monday, August 8, 2011

On a random childhood memory

I remember when we were younger, whenever my dad was fixing something, be it the sink, the car, the garden, the pond, pretty much everything, my mum, my sister and myself would try to make ourselves scarce. Really scarce. It wasn't a terribly big house, and yet we managed it. For a while. Till we'd hear him holler blue murder and be forced to come out of our hidey holes.

Why'd we hide? Because the moment he sees you, he'd instruct you. Bring me hammer. Bring me screwdriver. No, not this one, the smaller one. No, no, the flat one. Hold this up.

Then you'd end up standing there, holding a pipe or a wire or the chair he was standing on for a good half an hour before he'd say OK, let go, only to be asked to hold another inane object for the next half hour.

Which is why god gave us women and men who aren't very handy at home repairmen. If he wanted us to fix something ourselves, he'd have given us three arms and the patience of Hiroo Onoda.

Hiroo Onoda, the Jap soldier who didn't receive the memo that WWII was over till 1975. Epitome of sheer discipline and patience.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

On nicknames

I think most of us have childhood nicknames we'd rather forget, till we meet that childhood friend or obnoxious relative (like me!) who would rather die than to let you forget it. Especially us Chinese, who seem to lack ALL political correctness and give each other insulting nicknames.

I have a cousin, he has a proper name and all, and he's all grown up now, but everytime I see him, I never fail to embarrass him by calling him "Ah Boy". It pretty much sends him back to being 12 and covered in snot. Best thing is, we went to the same university, so imagine him walking along the foyer, all popular and hip, girlfriend in hand, surrounded by groupies. Then somewhere from far behind him, someone shouts, "AH BOY!!!!!" Oh I truly enjoyed the pure embarrassment on his face as he turned to acknowledge me. If I were him, I would have just ignored me and ran the hell out of there, but he's a nice guy and all, and he wouldn't bully his cousin this way. I think this is the mildest nickname of all, albeit a little childish.

Then there's my neighbour, Kevin. We grew up together, buddies and all, and we used to call him "Ang Tua". It's Hainanese for leader or something, except that somehow, the term brings to my mind the image of a turtle. I blame him for it. A more degrading nickname for him was "Mong Kang", which meant something like fool in Hainanese. I still occasionally call him that. Why all the Hainanese nicknames? Because he's Hainanese.

One of the best nicknames for another childhood friend would be "Or Too", which means Black Pig. Why? Because he used to be chubby (think he still is), and he has a very dark complexion. Until today, I still think of him as Or Too, although I have since discovered that his real name is Kenny. He's getting married too, I think. Wonder what his wife would think if she found out his husband used to go by the name Or Too.

And my list of childhood nicknames: "Kau Ka Cheng," which sorta means little destroyer. Then there's "Ito Tan," 'ito" meaning to play, because I didn't really like going to school and all, preferring to play with Ang Tua and my toys. "Junior," which Ang Tua used to call me because I think he had a problem pronouncing his Ls. And, probably the most embarrasing one, "Ah Gu," which means cow, because I was born in the year of the ox. Sometimes accompanied by a low moo-ing. Most used by Or Too, I suspect in revenge for calling him a pig. A black one, at that.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

On Su Tong

The moment I open Raise the Red Lantern, I feel like crying and slitting my wrists. That's what it does to me. I ought to stay away from Su Tong.

Just for the sake of updating my blog.

Anyway, if you feel like falling into a fit of depression, try Su Tong's Raise the Red Lantern. My god, it sure as hell puts me into a mood.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

On being awkward with people I hardly know

I am quite a shy person, really. Refer to below post about making the first move. It doesn't have to be a romantic first move, even friendly first moves have me tongue-tied and unable to make coherent sentences.

Here's an example. Earlier today, I was waiting for the lift with a colleague in the same department. I have never said more than a sporadic 'Hi' to him. The lift arrives. We enter. There is the silence no grave can match. Best thing is, our office lift takes a millenia to move. We wait. I give no inkling that I acknowledge his existence. I stare at the panel that indicates the floor number with the interest one would give when watching George Clooney doing karma sutra position #14 with Scarlet Johanssen. Then suddenly, Colleague decides to make a chirpy first move, despite the fact that more than three minutes have elapsed from the time we waited for the lift to the time we actually entered it.

Colleague: Hi, Julia!

Julia: Ohai.

Julia looks at the floor and shifts her feet in embarrassment.

Colleague: How are you?

Julia: Fine, thanks.

A second passes by painfully.

Julia: (mumbling) The weather... haze. (Points at the ceiling of the lift)

Colleague: (Didn't catch the last bit about haze because Julia was swallowing her tongue) Oh yes, very hot.

Julia: (Very uncertain about what to do now) Yes, also got haze... (Points at the ceiling of the lift again)

Colleague: Ya, today very bad.

Julia: Ya, today is the worst.

Finally, sweet finally, the doors open and we walk out, both hurriedly. I suppose my awkwardness is infectious. As we part, I half-turn to him and say at an audible level suitable for a mole, 'See ya', and walk to my cube where I proceeded to dig a hole and die inside.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

On piano classes

I hated piano classes. My parents forced me to take them, and for 12 years, I endured it. My piano teacher hated my guts, swear to god. I, to her, was a fork in her eye. She, to me, was a toadstool growing from my anus.

And I still don't know why my parents forced me to it. I threw tantrums, I cried, I tried to murder the piano, and yet they prevailed. They said, once you start something, you have to finish it. I took the exam for Grade 8 twice. I failed twice. Only then did they say, 'Fine, enough.'

They didn't get the idea that I just wasn't any good at it. My left hand and my right hand were at war with each other. They just weren't synchronized when it came to those ivory and ebony keys. Scales? More like Prelude to the Apocalypse. I had no rhythm, I was very bad at memorizing notes, and I tended to play Fortissimo even when the piano sheet screamed Pianissimo.

It didn't help that my piano teacher, a spinster in her forties (at that time) truly loathed me. She'd hit me with a ruler she kept on her side of the piano. She'd hit me right at the knuckles, the loathsome bitch. She whack my back if my posture wasn't straight enough. She'd air her armpits and flap them with one hand, making phap-ing noises (honest to goodness, she'd do that). She'd shout at me in front of everyone, and she once commented that I was turning into a boy because I cut my hair really short. What did that have to do with playing the piano? Political correctness, some? Lost on her. She, too, endured me for 12 years, a student with absolutely no interest in what she was teaching. Perhaps that was why she hated me. Blame my parents!

Looking back, I'm thankful that I'm able to read notes. I've forgotten a lot of what was taught, especially those alto clefs and whatnot, but I'm still able to read a sheet when I see one. During my heydays, I was able to play Richard Clayderman's Ballade Pour Adeline by heart, and I'm still able to play the intro to Beethoven's Sonata Quasi Una Fantasia (aka Moonlight Sonata) without looking at the sheet. I'm bragging now, I know. So yes, I'm thankful to be able to read notes, but am I thankful for 12 years of agony? Hell no.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

On making the first move

It's not that I don't want to make the first move when I see a cute guy, it's just that I'm not goddamn bold enough. I'm actually quite bashful, even more so when I meet people for the first time.

(Disclaimer: Only when I'm sober. When I've had some to drink, I can talk Chong's head off and meet the randomest strangers)

So last Saturday, I had dinner with my mum and my aunt. We walked to a nearby kopitiam, and on the way back, we decided to stop by at 7-11 because my mum wanted to buy some drinks.

Lo and behold, there was a cute guy paying at the counter. He was tall, a bit Japper-looking, complete with a biker hat and man-boots. Sexy. Boy, could he pull it off.

And by jove, he was looking at me. I don't know if this was because I'm naturally hot, or because of the outfit I was wearing. I had on my bright red singlet which I use to go to the gym with, and my blue and red Hawaiian bermudas which I use to go to sleep with. (Refer to an earlier post in which I mentioned that I am able to go out in my pajamas. Here is one occasion I absolutely regret having done so). I kid you not. That was what I was wearing.

I suppose I should have attempted to smile, but I was afraid he might mistake me for a panda (I had absolutely no make-up on, zilch). And so, he walked out after paying, leaving me staring longingly whilst he zipped past in a black Honda City.

Yes, yes, I know I should have smiled. Making the first move shouldn't be equated to skinning oneself with a rusty spoon or taping one's eyes open for 78 hours.

So I did, today. I saw a cute guy at Borders (an intelligent hottie, how exquisite!). Although he smiled first, at least I didn't immediately turn away and ask to be excused while I run to the nearest toilet to barf out of anxiety. I smiled back :)

Monday, June 13, 2011

SPAT

I'm thinking of starting a Single People Alone Together club (a rip-off of About A Boy's Single Parents Alone Together club). It's where we single people come together and drink and smoke and socialize (so if you don't drink and you're anal about smokers, fuck off and start your own SPAT).

We'll meet up every weekend and try out pubs and clubs and bistros and cafes, and have witty, slap-stick, funny, and sometimes intelligent conversations, and basically have a good time (minus the emo-ness, you can join an emo single people club for that). What say you? Are you in?

Oh, by the way, the chances of getting laid are very minimal. For that, you probably have to start your own We Only Want Sex (WOWS) club.

Friday, June 10, 2011

How addicted are you to Angry Birds?

Do you actually feel like staying home on weekends just to play Angry Birds? This means forgoing your miserable social life just so that you can launch birds on little green pigs.

Do you feel like pulling your hair out, throwing your phone on the floor, and stomping on it whenever someone texts you whilst you are playing Angry Birds (especially when you've just launched a bird that has the ability to shit a bomb or split into three useless tinier versions of itself)? Not to mention an intense urge to go to the person who texted you to kick him/her in the shin.

Either I'm very addicted to Angry Birds, or I've got anti-social & anger issues.

Men and hardware shops

Disclaimer: I'm speaking in general. One broom sweeps all.

When men enter hardware shops, their eyes light up as though they see Megan Fox naked. Honestly. Like how I am drawn to a nail bar or a shoe shop, there's this magnetic pull which draws my dad (I go window-shopping with him every week) into the hardware shop in Queensbay Mall. I try to avoid the wing with the damn shop. If unavoidable, I follow him in equipped with enough yawns to last me a year. Yes, he can stay in the place, enraptured, for hours.

Drills, paint, screws, nuts, bolts, hammers, brushes, and a plethora of hoses and watchamacallits. I view these objects with the disdain a cat shows bowl of salad. If I could, I'd pay someone to change my goddamn lightbulb. Leaking tap? Put a bucket underneath. Shaky chair? Buy a goddamn new one. I'm practical that way.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Now, if I were a man for a day...

First thing I'd do, I'd fondle my genitals, naturally. I mean, come on. It would be impossible to resist the urge to stick my hands down my pants to check if the plumbing works. You know, spank the monkey, stroke the dolphin, tickle the gorilla, and whatever else animal associated with self-appeasement.

Next thing I'd do, I'd walk into the gent's. It's always fascinated me, how men can pee next to each other in the open. Yeah sure there's this itsy bitsy little urinal sidepiece, which serves as much purpose as Paris Hilton's panties.

Back to the topic. I'd take a piss. Next to another guy. And peep at him. Good god. I suppose I'd have to prepare to run like hell if he decides to be offended.

Oh wait, now that I'm a guy, I can get into fights because my physique (I'm imagining being turned into a fit, 6'2" male with badass facial hair) would allow me to better take hits. I'd probably get into a fight, just for the fun of it. I always tell my mum anyway that if I were born a guy, I'd probably be covered with battle scars.

Then I'd go to the nearest KTV lounge and pick a companion. I'd like to know how it feels to be served hand and foot by an illegal sex worker. Apparently they'd even feed you, how nice. After the party is over, I'd pay her extra to fornicate.

Ooh, I'd also like to know how it would feel like to sit with my legs crossed, you know, testicles and all.

This post is rather vulgar, isn't it? I think I should post warnings at the beginning.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

More about hair

My hair has always been stuck at shoulder-length or collar-bone length. It takes a millennia for it to grow any longer, so I get bored eventually, and chop it all off. However, lately I've been very patient. Mayhaps it's because of the whole waiting for life to begin thing I'm telling myself. Life has yet to begin, so be patient.

And so my hair grows, super-micro-millimeter by super-micro-millimeter. It's finally reached below my armpits. I'm not used to long hair, which is rather paradoxical because my hair didn't just suddenly become long with a snap. I should be accustomed to it being stuck to the straps of my bag, or clamped between my armpits (somehow it happens) by now, but I'm not. The last time my hair was this long was when I was ten -- a lifetime ago.

I'd like to see how long it would be before I get bored again. I'm trying to see if they'd reach my waist or something. It's a bit of a bother to keep, especially when it's wet. I also get a bit worried when I stand near a fan. I believe it was Final Destination part something or other, in which the girl gets her hair stuck in a blender and she is horribly, most horribly, sliced to death? Or was it some other teenage horror movie? Well, the image has been stuck in my mind ever since.

Oh, and last week as my mum was helping me color my hair, she noticed strands and strands of white hair. Woe.

A bit of a continuation from the previous post: I don't care if my uber-hot perfectly hairy guy is poor as balls, I will support him. He can eat my food and I can survive on dust and something that rhymes with mex. So if you see any guy resembling this:

Do let him know.

Monday, May 30, 2011

We can all dream...

I've decided to create a point system for when I choose a man, just for funs.

Height: 10 points for each 5cm taller than me. So, if he's 170cm, he gets 10 points. 175cm, he gets 20. And so on.

Body: 20 points if he is lean and mean, with a hint of body building. 10 points if he's just lean and mean. 5 points if he's skinny. -10 points if he's anorexic. -20 if he's got Arnie's hey-day body (over-the-top much). -50 if he's got a huge belly and much excess fat.

Hair: 20 points if he's got long-ish hair (which must suit him, of course). 10 points if he's got a mop on his head (which, again, must suit him). -20 points for a crew cut. They remind me of my neighbor.

Facial hair: 20 points if he's got a nice, well-trimmed set of mustache and goatee. 0 points if he hasn't got any. -20 points for chin beard or six strands of hair on his chin.

Hairiness on limbs: 10 points if he's evenly covered with hair. 5 points if it's only his arms and legs. 0 points if he's got even less body hair than what I've got.

Back hair: -5 points

Chest hair: 20 points for a comfortable carpet. 5 points for a meager covering. 0 points if none. -5 points if he's got six strands there which he refuses to a) cultivate more or b) shave off. -20 points if he's covered like King Kong.

Arse hair: -50 points. I know, I know, you can't help it and it's hard to shave there. But it's my point system and I'll rate it as I wish.

Use of facial products: 20 points for nice, sexy, musky aftershave. 0 points if none.

Self hygiene: 20 points if he showers twice or more times a day. -100 points if he showers only once in two days.

Drinking: 20 points if he drinks wine, brandy, whisky, or any of those, you know, manly drinks. 15 if he only drinks beer. 0 if he doesn't drink at all.

Smoking: 10 points. Period.

Tattoo(s): 50 points per tattoo (if nicely done). -100 points for tattoo of an ex girlfriend's name. -500 points if he's got Winnie the Pooh or some other cartoon character on his skin (especially on area above butt).

Personality: He can be a total airhead for all I care if he fulfills all those points. I've got brains enough for the both of us. However, I'll give him 100 points if he actually reads (Dan Brown not included. I don't know why, but I've got something against that guy) and listens to good old rock music (Hoobastank and Nickelback NOT inclusive).

You know, at the end of the day, the chances of me meeting someone who can score highly is pretty much non-existent. And yes, I've got a thing for hair.

Oh hot, cultured men, where art thou hiding?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

On facial hair

See, I'm watching a show right now in which the main actor has the sexiest, sexiest facial hair growth. I wasn't really a big fan of facial hair before this. I guess it's because Chinese men who try to grow facial hair usually end up with six strands of hair on the chin. Very disturbing. Also, many of my friends who have graduated from six strands to twelve, tend to grow what I have found out to be a chin beard:

Chin beard, a.k.a. facial pubes

Looks embarrasingly like pubic hair, yes.

Men who have just the moustache tend to
a) Look like old men
b) BE old men
c) Look like pompous bourgeois asses

This example portrays all three options combined

So I've decided that my idea of perfect facial hair has to be not over the top, you know, and proportionate. Not too heavy on top, not too heavy on the bottom either. Keep it clean at the sides. Like this:

Bad boys so rock my world

Or this:

Boho-chic

The only exception to bottom heavy is:

Not unless you're Brad Pitt you don't

And, well, if you can't seem to grow any facial hair, do shave off those six strands because they kinda spell M-E-A-S-L-Y.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Power outage Julia outrage

In the span of just one month, my house has been hit by power outages three times. It used to be once a year, but three times within a month is just too much. It made me feel as though I were truly living in a third world country where I had to carry water from a well and light candles at night as a source of light (well... it is still true for certain parts of the country methinks, e.g. Sabah and Sarawak, poor natives). I swear, one more power outage anytime soon would see me calling up the Tanzanian embassy asking them if it would be possible for me to migrate there. I'd just need a flint, a gun and an endless supply of bullets (for lions and hyenas and whatever else that wants to eat me alive), and toilet paper. Hard to imagine life without toilet paper. Since the electric supply is so erratic, what the heck, Tanzania sounds plausible. You don't need electricity in the savannah. When I get bored of running for my life, I'll just head to nearby Zanzibar. Perfect. Screw you, TNB.

After years of living in the savannah, I predict I would have devolved to this.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

It's been raining the whole day...

I wish I was on a (clean) beach under clear blue skies, dipping my feet in the (clean) ocean. This week really flew by, but that's because I've been so terribly busy.

Yesterday, I had back-to-back meetings from 7am till 9am. Too lethargic, I went to the games room to take a power nap at 10-something. It was too quiet for my liking, just the erratic buzz of the central air-conditioning, so I put on some Sergei Rachmaninoff and I fell asleep. The piano's fortissimo (I believe it was Prelude in C Sharp Minor) woke me up an hour later, and had me wondering where the hell I was. That power nap also gave me strange dreams -- that was the extent of my lethargy.

So, the conclusion of this post is, if you want to sleep, and you want some instrumental music playing in the background, Rachmaninoff is NOT the way to go.

Now, back to (a coupla hundred pages of edits) work.

Monday, May 9, 2011

I swear one of these days I'm gonna quit reading the news

The whole "We're gonna turn Malaysia into a Christian state!" bullshit had me spitting in anger. It's like people are purposely trying to be stupid. Those who believe what Utusan wrote are even stupider. And you know who are the stupidest? Those who believe what Utusan wrote and threaten to take action, giving warnings that they will breach our national security. Man... there goes like a couple of investors? I don't know. All I can say is, I can't wait for the elections.

And then I go the The Star Metro, and I see this:

Forced to cough up RM50 parking fee

THIS is a real case which happened in Penang. We went for dinner in Tanjung Tokong but as the restaurant’s parking lot was full, we parked our car at a nearby food court.

The car park staff took us to the food court’s parking space and as he did not ask for any parking fee, we walked to the other restaurant.

Upon returning to the parking lot, we were stopped by a group of men. One of them told us to pay RM50 parking fee since we did not eat in his food court.

We were shocked over the RM50 parking fee. The man then told us that it was written clearly in the banners that those who refused to pay would have their car wheel chained up.

One of the men then started to ‘lock’ our car wheel with a thick chain.

My friend tried to stop them, asking why they did not inform us earlier since they knew we were going to the restaurant next door. Now, you are just waiting for us to come back to pay the high fee.

The man replied that he had no time to see where the customers were going and scolded us for not seeing the notice.

But since he said the parking space was for the food court customers, we wanted to avoid paying the RM50 fee by going to the place to buy some drinks.

However, he did not want to accept it and ordered his staff to lock up our car.

He also shouted: “I am not scared if you ask state legislators, journalists or even a lawyer for help. You still have to pay!”

In such a helpless situation, my friend surrendered and paid up. This amounts to bullying but what can we do?

I believe we are not the only victims. It could have happened to your friends or relatives but they might not know where to channel their grievances. Please help to publicise this incident.

XINZ,

Penang.

I mean, after going through the superlative of 'stupid', I'm out of words to describe this person! It's not like she went to Tanjung Bungah and got bullied into paying RM5 to some bum in order for her to park by the roadside because she wanted to go the beach. That, my friend, is retarded. No, she parked her car at a private property (for over an hour, mind you) and skipped off to the restaurant next door.

To me, that is equivalent to going to visit your friend, realizing that there is no place to park in front of your friend's house, and parking your car in front of some hapless stranger's house instead. I will publicize this incident alright. I will publicize her stupidity. Why am I so angry? This is because I have been the hapless stranger before. Idiots who want to frequent an eatery nearby sometimes park their car in front of my house, thus leaving me with no place to park my car. Even if I didn't want to park my car there and then, I still don't bloody like it if you park in front of my house! Idiotic.

That's not all. A few weeks ago, I read in The Star online that a woman was slapped because she double-parked her car in KL. Be it woman or man, whoever double-parks and is not attentive to whether the car inside wants to get out, should be slapped. Twice. Again, I had another personal experience with double-parkers. I'm really fine if you double-park, as long as you are there to move your car when I honk or whatever. I parked inside the compound of a shoplot near Queensbay and went for lunch. Lo and behold, when I got back, there was this white car in front of my car. I honked. Nobody came. I honked the shoplot down, and still, nobody came. In the end, I had to maneuver my car out of that parking space with skills my dad would be proud of. I tried to scratch the white car with my keys but didn't have the knowhow to leave any marks.

I don't know why I bother reading the news these days. Everything I read pisses me off.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Gnossienne No. 1

There were dreams we had when we were young, ambitions. When I was a child, I wanted to be a Paleontologist, I was obsessed about dinosaurs. I used to watch The Land Before Time every single damn day, till the VHS wore out. When Jurassic Park came out, it was like the event of the century for me. Top of my head, I still remember the name of the dinosaur with the longest neck (at that time, circa 1995), Mamenchisaurus. My favourite dinosaur was Triceratops, because it looked so badass with those horns.

Then I grew up a little, and I decided I wanted to be an Egyptologist. I was in absolute awe of a culture carved into the eternal rocks of history, so ancient and enduring. Also, reading The Mask of Ra by Paul Doherty influenced me further. However, home is pretty far from Egypt, and after a while, the sands of this dream blew out of my eyes.

After that, I wanted to be a historian, till I realized that there wasn't much to be made out of being one. So I did more growing up, and decided I wanted to go into journalism. I wanted to pursue a degree in Mass Communication. My mom hated the idea. She didn't think you really needed a degree to be a journalist. I suppose she's right, in a way.

After Form 6, I applied for local universities, and amongst my choices was English Literature. I've always loved reading, and literature was fun for me. And thankfully, it was the course that I got. I breezed through it, although the linguistics part was a pain in the ass.

But in all, what I'm trying to say is, it's a far cry from paleontology, literature is. And at this age, I don't know if I have any dreams left, because I've realized that dreams involve a gratuitous amount of money.

Listening to Satie's Gnossienne No. 1 just makes me so damn depressed. Actually, I believe all the Gnossiennes are depressing.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Recently, my colleague sent me a booking confirmation for our room for our Borneo trip. The content said bla bla bla, and it ended with a (bold) font size 12 We Look Forward To Welcoming You!! (in Verdana, no less), which gave me an unpleasant flash of Psycho and The Shining. It was too happy. It read like something from a Stephen King book. I would be slightly unhappy if the innkeeper looked like an Asian version Jack Nicholson.


Friday, April 22, 2011

Straits Chinese v Mainland Chinese

Is there a major difference? I don't know, I've only been to China once, and just a small part of it at that (actually just Zhu Hai and Macau, I went to Hong Kong when it was still part of Britain so I don't think it counts), but I sure didn't like it there. People were pushy, rude, and boy were they loud. I even gave a small girl a back-kick because she was pushing me to go into the lift. Honest to god. Did I feel bad about it? No, on the contrary, I felt smug. Yes I'm a big bully, but she was bloody pushing me! They spoke at the top of their voices, and woe be your ears if you were to pass between two talking people. Stereo surround. Ouch.

I'd like to think that we Straits Chinese, who have been here for generations, have adopted Malay gentleness and English courtesy. My view is that we are more soft-spoken than our mainland counterparts (except when there's alcohol involved, or when my aunts and my mom converse in Cantonese). We queue, goddamit. We say 'excuse me' (or just 'excuse') when we want to walk past you. We only spit when we are at the wet market, or if we're old men, or if there's a drain nearby, or if we've got a really, really bad case of the phlegm. We try not to litter. We've stopped eating dogs, bear gall, tiger penis, pangolin, monkey brain, although animal parts like shark's fin and miscellaneous pig, chicken, cow, and goat parts (bishop's nose and bull penis come to mind) are still part of the select menu. We look at goods made in China with caution (melamine comes to mind).

I'm pretty sure I'm biased, I'm damn sure that what I've written is not entirely true, I've not sampled enough of the population to know, and I sure as hell know that there are exceptions to the rule, but I'm Straits Chinese, and I'm also Malaysian, so I'll stand by my points. Also, I have this nagging thought that I feel so because I can't speak Mandarin.

I know they have the Great Wall and a three-thousand-year-old civilization, but do they have Nyonya kuih in China?

Also totally contradicted my previous post on driving. Heh.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Driving in Penang...

... is a total bitch. We are selfish, inconsiderate, retarded drivers. Most of us only got our licenses by giving coffee money anyhow. So here's a tip when driving on the island's only highway. Keep left. It gets you to point B faster. Let me explain in Figure 1 below.

Figure 1: Usage of a three-lane highway
As you can see, the right-most lane ought to be the fast lane, but in Penang, it tends to be the slowest. This is because everyone wants to go fast. Everyone thinks that they're going fast, from beat-up old rust sacks to 60-wheel timber trucks. They drive at 60 km/h and their adrenaline's a-pumping, their hearts a-racing. Oftentimes, I see one tiny little Kancil doing 60 km/h on the fast lane, with a loooooong almighty long line of cars following (seemingly) patiently behind. This lane is also for cars who want to overtake the really slow cars moving on the middle lane. However, they overtake by doing 2.5 km/h faster than the middle-lane cars. Not very efficient.

The middle lane is arguably the slowest. The mentality of drivers doing the middle lane is that they're going moderately fast. I mean, 40 km/h on a highway IS moderately fast, innit? They sneer at the ones going really slow on the left-most lane, and they sneer at the ones going really fast (remember, 60 km/h) on the right-most lane, thinking they're such speed demons they'll crash and burn someday. The middle lane however is the most efficient when you are weaving in and out of traffic to overtake retardedly slow drivers. Middle-lane drivers are at least constant, you can cut between them with a space of less than two meters and rest assured, there will still be enough space for you to do that trick.

Then there's the left-most lane, which is the fastest. This is because nobody likes to think they're moving slowly, and the left-most lane is after all the slow lane. Therefore, nobody uses it, except for considerate garbage truckers, good bus drivers, and occasionally the old granny drivers. This is by far the best lane to drive on, because even if you do encounter those really slow cars, you can still cut to the middle lane (remember, middle-lane drivers although slow are constant drivers) and then cut back.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Why I watch football

Okay, some matches can be thrilling to watch--the excitement, the intensity, the strategy. The thrill is one of the reasons. But the bigger picture is, you have 22 very fit men on the field, running after a ball, groping at each other, testosterone-charged and antsy for a fight.

I repeat. 22 very fit men. Some with very, very tight shirts. And I so love that thing where sometimes they take their kit off after a goal. Awesome. You're wishing that Maria Sharapova did that too, huh. Too bad. Don't mind me whilst I wipe the drool off my chin.

Granted, some of them might look like Tevez. One of them might actually be Tevez, but the probability is that there'd be at least one cute guy out there running in the green. Kaka, Ronaldo, Torres, Muslera, Pique, Fagbregas (oops did I spell it wrong?), Higuain, Forlan, Suarez, Ibrahimovich, Heinze, Robin van Persie, Messi, Casillas, amongst many others.

And anyhow, what's wrong with Tevez? He exudes this raw... caveman aura. Very primitive, very animalistic. Hence, very sexy. Yes, I like them that way too. Puyol, Ozil, Ronaldo (the ugly one), Ronaldinho, Gattuso. Oy, when Gattuso's shorts came off after he slid forward on the grass to tackle a player... that was a sight to behold. Also, youtube football bulge. Nosebleed.

It's like getting all the contestants of America's Next Top Model to play beach volleyball in their tiny bikinis. I get the thrill of a football match, including 90 minutes of pure ogling to boot. Life can be sweet.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The process of forgetting

First, you forget what you used to say to each other in the silence of a car, over a meal, over a cigarette. You forget the topics that ran through your tropical mind, you forget the random things he used to say. You forget how you used to talk to him, and you soon forget how to talk to him that when you encounter him again, you are at a loss for words and he would think that you've changed. You haven't. Only your memory has.

Then you forget his voice, and even though technology has made things so much easier, you still won't pick up the phone to call him, because you can't. You forget what he sounded like, his tones and thrills, how his voice would be at a higher pitch when he was excited, and short and curt when he was annoyed. You forget how sad he sounded when he called you late one night when things were still good between the both of you, you forget how depressed he always sounds anyhow.

Slowly, you forget how he looks like. You forget how he looked at you with an irresistible melancholy, you forget how many moles he has, you forget which direction he parts his hair, you forget how surprisingly soft his hair was, you forget how rough his stubble was against your lips, how it made your mouth red like you just smeared wine all over your jaw. You still remember the sort of clothes he used to wear because it's always the same damn thing, you remember details down to the color of his laces, but you can't remember how tall he was.

Lastly, you forget those little things, the sound of his footsteps, his stupid idiosyncrasies, his dreams, his favorite food. You forget thinking about how things could have been if you had handled it differently. You forget to miss him, and you forget to regret, but on bad days, you wonder if you've even forgotten anything at all.

How he smells like, you'll always remember. Stale cigarette breath and a scent like comfort.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Wordsworth under the stars

Oliver and I tried out best to wipe the deck chairs dry (it had drizzled earlier during dinner but the stars were out now) and laid down to just look at the sky. He had studied literature as well, and I was enthralled by being quoted Wordsworth under the stars, absolutely enthralled. I counted four shooting stars, and made more wishes.

We couldn't stay out too late because we had to wake up early to check in at the immigration hut the next morning, so after goodbye hugs, Mann Chyun and I went back to our room and slept. With the light on. Because I was too scared to turn it off.

(On a side note, at night, the hotel's CCTV looked like the eye of Sauron, all red and burning with eagerness)

The next morning, we checked in, had breakfast, took our showers, and checked out. I dipped my feet in the clear waters of Lipe for one last time, and climbed in the boat. I'm a sucker for clear waters and meeting travelers who can quote poetry. I loved Lipe in 2011.


So long, farewell, it's time to say good-bye

In which we make a new friend and discover that politics and alcohol don't gel

Our new friend was German, and had been making nearly annual pilgrimages to Koh Lipe. He had been on the island for two weeks, and said that we were absolutely lucky because it had been raining all the while. We settled on a beachside bar, lying down on Thai mats with a beer in one hand and the stars in the other. That was when I vomited the bile of Malaysian politics to a foreigner in a foreign land, entrenched in alcohol and uninhibited. The morning after, I felt that I had talked too much cock, and felt abashed.

We decided to go on an island hopping tour the next day, if the weather permitted. It did. It was drizzling on Koh Lipe when we boarded our private longtail boat, but by the time we arrived on the designated snorkeling spot, the sun was shining albeit weakly through the clouds. We snorkeled, and discovered that there were invisible organisms nipping at us all over our bodies. Fellow male traveler and I were stung, whereas fellow female traveler claimed that because she's a bit darker-skinned than us, she wasn't affected. It's a rather creepy feeling, you start to get paranoid because you're getting stung all over by things you can't see. Later on, German friend would explain that he had no idea what it was either, but the more splashes you made in the water, the likelier you are to be stung. I made a fucklot of splashes whilst clinging on to male traveler out of fear of sharks, which might explain why we both got stung.

We spent two hours on Koh Ravi because there were so many fishes and we had too much fun playing with them to leave. By then, we were tired of swimming, and decided to skip the next snorkeling spot to head back to Lipe.

Male traveler and I had another massage, while female traveler pigged out in the room.

After taking a nice, long shower, we all took a nap from which male traveler and I woke up realizing that we were both sunburnt (fellow female traveler said that she was too dark to be sunburnt, lucky her).

We went for dinner at a family restaurant where we sort of said that we'd rendez-vous with German friend, and pleasantly enough, there he was, having some pla-muk (I can't get over that word, it means squid).

After dinner, we invited German friend over to our hotel because we bought beer from Langkawi and couldn't possibly finish it all by ourselves. We passed by a lady selling paper lanterns usually used for Tet, and decided to buy one and release it for a wish.

Oliver and lantern

I wished for luck, Oliver wouldn't tell me what he wished for

We then decided to settle on the deck chairs by the beach, whilst Mann Chyun decided to hunt for souvenirs and Kevin went back to our room to grab the beer.

End of part two.

How anyone can get lost on a tiny island such as Koh Lipe is beyond me

The immigration office is a hut

But that was what happened to us anyway. Upon arriving and checking in at Koh Lipe, we decided to go for a dip in the sea. But genius Tan here decided that the beach in front of our hotel might not be good enough, and suggested that we look for the other two beaches: Sunrise Beach and Sunset Beach. So, we took a walk past Walking Street, on the advice of a friendly traveler who said that everything is goddam nearby. You just walk to the end of Walking Street and voila, you will hit the next beach. Bullshit.

Guy with his back turned to us, partially hidden. He said 'Just walk straight and you'll reach the other side of the island.'

We got to the end of the street alright, where we were met by a fork in the road. One side said Sunrise Beach, the other Sunset. Seeing that it was already late afternoon and we had good weather, I decided on Sunset Beach, with hopes that we might catch the sunset there. So we walked. And walked. And walked.

Still no beach. And it's a tiny island, mind you.

The sun was beating us down, we had to climb uphill and downhill past tsunami evacuation points (at least we got that covered). After some time, I saw that the ground was filled with the dead bodies of my many-legged nemeses. I started to panic a little. Then, further inland, we started seeing live ones. Big, huge, motherfucking live ones. Screams came naturally, as well as digging my nails into a fellow male traveller.

Finally, the path ended at a construction site. No more path to walk on. Asking for directions in minimal Thai, the lady pointed to somewhere down the road, so we decided that was where we were going to go. Retrace our steps, surely there'd be a sign somewhere (road signs are non-existent, all you get are scribbles on wood). We passed by a village which we had ignored earlier on, and decided to take a turn into it, walking past the stilted houses of the Chao Ley, hoping and praying that they won't machete us for trespassing.

Then we found the beach. And it was a sorry sight. Mayhaps it was due to the rain, but rubbish littered the coastline. Planks with nasty nails from a misconstrued BDSM nightmare glared at us from the sand. A few weary travellers asked us if we knew any nice hotels, they must have hiked here to be disappointed as well. So, we trudged back, over hill and dale and nemeses galore, till we finally reached our beach and plopped on the deck chair and died.


Pattaya beach, our beach

And revived and went for a dip and then a beautiful oil massage.

We had two beers (male traveler and I; the other female traveler wisely avoided drinking on an empty stomach), then proceeded for dinner where male traveler and I had another big bottle of beer. After dinner, we stopped at a pub because I needed to pee, and we had yet another mug of beer. By then, I was properly tipsy, and walking back to the beach (we wanted to look at stars, by god they were beautiful), on a street nearly devoid of tourists, we bumped into this nice looking guy, and because I was properly tipsy, I asked him to join us for a beer by the beach.

Slightly desolated at night

End of part one.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Nedjma



I was surprised to have found The Almond, by Nedjma at a popular bookstore's annual sale (it was also very cheaply priced). I had no clue what it was about - the cover was what caught my eye. That, and the title. The synopsis said something about it being erotic and written by a female Muslim author. Naturally, I bought it. Now, after doing some Googling, I find that the author was afraid to use her real name because she feared being stoned for writing such a book. Some write it off as mere pornography, others sing praises of her prose. I'm already enchanted. Pornography and prose, how poetic. I'm also bringing it along with me to Koh Lipe tomorrow, to pass the time and to be inspired to stare lustily at other backpackers.
Asking my colleague to heat up some food he was about to eat in the microwave, I am reminded that not everybody needs their food to be piping hot. I am one of those who needs my food to be hot to the point of scalding, merely so that I can salivate at it for a few minutes before furiously blowing at it to cool it down.

Yes, I was spoilt by my grandma. She'd wait till you got to her house, then only fry everything so that the food would be hot (not to mention crispy, too). She'd reboil the soup, so that she can serve you it while it's still steaming. Everything had to be HOT. Cold food? Blasphemy. Only fit for the spirits to eat.

So now, I can't eat cold food (unless it's meant to be cold, like roti canai and nasi lemak). Well, not that I can't, but it would take some difficulty holding back the nausea.

We only recently got a microwave, so my poor mom had to reheat everything with the wok because I'd ask her to. If she didn't, I'd throw a tantrum and spray soya sauce everywhere through my nostrils.

I feel inexorably loved.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

I just tried to read a book by Dean Koontz; a colleague who heard that I was a big fan of Stephen King's (although I've yet to read the Dark Tower series) lent me a book by Koontz called 'Key to Midnight'.

I tried. I got till page three when I realized that what King could do at page one was to get me feeling close to the characters, like I knew them personally (so quick like hares across the prairie), Koontz just didn't cut it for me.

I'm sorry, I tried, it's just not to my liking. And I will read the Dark Tower series one day.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

How the fuck did I write this?

I must have been drinking a lot back then.


She had always wanted to touch the space between his eyelids. His eyelids were so deep and pronounced, so incredibly sexy in her eyes. She had always wanted to do that, but when they were alone, something else distracted her, or she plainly forgot this strange desire to run the tips of her fingers over his eyelids. She only remembered when they were out with friends. They rarely went out alone together, anyhow. It was weird, walking with him, talking with him without the company of friends. They started out from that group of friends, it was only natural to them to stick to that group of friends even though their friendship had evolved to another blissful, useful level. Yet, his eyelids remain out of reach to her - always there, always when she never remembered and hiding in obscurity when she did.
She was crazy about him - she thought of him even when he didn't think about her. In the shower, in her books, in her dreams, in her sleep she thought of him. She thought of his light brown eyes, his hair overgrown like bramble bush he always smoothed it back and would not allow her near his crowning glory. She was deeply infatuated with him. Infatuated, because she did not believe in love although she told him 'I love you' many times over and over. A lie comes in handy, was her principle. A lie makes people happy.
God knew he lied to her too. She knew. She knew when he told her that he'd wait for her, that he'd never fool around. She never trusted anyone, no matter how deeply infatuated she was with anybody. There was a part of her reserved, break glass in case of emergency, that sort of thing. She never trusts. No. She'd pretend she did, and when she did get disappointed or let down, she'd comfort herself by saying she never let herself fall so truly and deeply till she trusted the fella. No, she did not trust him when he said he loved her, when he said he'd gotten over his past loves whom he talks about with lights shining from his eyes. She didn't trust him when he said he won't fool around when he went away, when he said he'd be true. True's as true as a cat in heat, calling for any Tom passing by. True's as true as that. She was a cynic hoping to be uncynicsiced, if there's such a word. She invented her own words all the time. She felt she was going schizo.
He, on the other hand. He had not truly gotten over his past, one thing's for sure. He talked about them with a sickly zest, like a victory, not as humans who felt and hurt and knew what pain was. He talked about them as if they were nothing but flowers by the roadside, awaiting death swaying with every breeze a passing tyre breathes. Sure, he felt this really, strong, inexplicable attraction for this girl. He felt this strong, physical need to be with her, to bed her whenever she came over to his bachelor pad. Other than that, he did not know of what to talk to her about. She was strange, she had strange principles. She did not like to be held on the shoulder, although he never asked why. She did not like to be called 'darling' or 'babe' because of some unknown reason he did not bother to find out. Yet, there was a strong attraction he could not deny. Yes, call it love, lust, whichever moniker you'd prefer. He felt a strong attraction to her, and that was that. He acted on that attraction, he got the girl, he got the pleasure, he did not want to end it. Yet, anyway. Everybody knew that things like these, without substance or any substantial connection, things like these they do not last. No, he'd leave her soon, and they'd fall apart then. But for now, they were together. For now he was happy with things. He was happy being with her for the moment. Strange.
Perchance he did not want to admit that what they felt together, shared together, went deeper than just animal attraction. Perhaps he was scarred from those exes he did not, could not forget. Perhaps that was why he, too, was afraid to hope, to believe in her. So these two people who were so afraid of each other, they got together and did not try to change the way they saw the world. She was albeit a little more idealistic than him. He was a cynic through and through. No love for the handicapped, says he. He was blinded to the truth because he did not want to believe. He could not, for the love of God, see that there was a sliver of lining behind dark clouds.
That was all she could hope for. That there was something beyond lust, for him anyway. She knew what she felt. She just didn't want to fall too deep, that's all. Dear God, she already had.
It wasn't very nice. It wasn't very nice would be putting it in a very mild way. She got lung cancer which was initially liver cancer because she drunk so fucking much but it spread to her lungs because she smoked, for writers are known to smoke and to take drugs. She was on her deathbed. She did not know she had that killing disease till it was too late. He stood by her deathbed. He was ready for anything, but not this.
She said "Let me go. Let me go without tears and strife. Find a new life, all of you. Find someone who can fulfill you, a better daughter, a better lover. Thank gods I'm not yet a mother. Be merry and be happy." That was all she said before she got stuffed with morphine and died the following day. Dreadful, but yes, she died. And she never did get to touch the space between his eyelids.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

So, it does seem that smoking has a positive aspect!

http://www.21stcenturydental.com/smith/education/ulcers.htm

"The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of nicotine, in the form of Nicorette tablets, on aphthous ulcers in nonsmoking patients. The study was prompted by the observations that smokers are less likely to suffer from mouth ulcers, that some smokers on quitting develop them, and that patients on nicotine replacement therapy are less likely to develop ulcers than those having other types of smoking cessation therapy. CLINICAL FEATURES: The three nonsmoking patients who were selected for the study each had a long history of recurrent aphthous ulcers with no remissions. INTERVENTION AND OUTCOME: Each patient was given up to four 2 mg Nicorette chewing tablets per day. After one month of this regimen each patient was weaned off the tablets. In each case the ulcers healed and new ulcers did not appear during Nicorette therapy. Two of the patients relapsed when weaned off the tablets. CONCLUSIONS: This preliminary trial shows that nicotine may have a beneficial effect on aphthous ulcers. Further studies are necessary to elucidate the mechanism."
The word 'bitch' should be officially made to apply to both sexes, and not confined exclusively as a derogatory term for females. This insult should describe people who are stuck up, rude, problematic, angry, catty, vain, conceited, selfish, full of oneself, and etc., regardless of sex.

'Bitch', if used on males, should not only apply to men in prison who are subordinate and subject to soap-picking in the showers.

For example, I can say, 'That bitch thinks he's so damn hot he makes me want to puke sandwiches.'

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Are you an Index Finger or a Pinky?

According to Dr. Julia Tan, Ph.D. (quack) in Human Behaviour and fellow researcher in Meritocratic University of Malaysia, the finger you use to dig your nose tells a lot about your character.

People who use their index fingers tend to be domineering, impulsive, and rebellious. They cast caution in the air when their mothers tell them that their nostrils will expand if they use their index fingers to dig shit from their noses. Index finger diggers are practical, they know that the best way to reach that piece of shit embedded on the roof of their nostrils is to use their pointers. They also don't really care what you think about them. Coincidentally, they are also the sort who ingloriously seek gold in their nasal cavities whilst they are driving, oblivious to the fact that they are surrounded by see-through windows. 60% of the population in Malaysia use their index fingers. The same behavior also applies to approximately 3% of the population of Antartica and a number of penguins.

On the other hand, people who use their pinkies are dainty, sensitive, and conformists. They actually listened to their mothers when they were young. They are industrious and creative, but can be manipulative. They are very conscious of themselves. It is amazing how they can manage to use the weak little finger to reach and extract pieces of shit from their nostrils. They are also the sort who flick nose booger from the end of their pinkies to fuckall direction (doesn't matter where or at whom they are flicking at). 39% of Malaysians use their pinkies. No Antarticans use their pinkies because they don't have any (result of prevalent frostbite in their genes), while penguins simply do not have pinkies.

1% of Malaysians use their middle fingers. You should report them to the police. They are aggresive, likely to be murderers, pedophiles, and rapists.