Thursday, December 31, 2009

Something New

The next year, yes, but that's not what this post is about...

My guitar has lots of things - chips, discolouration, dust hidden in unreachable crevices - and recently, new strings! Bright, brilliant, beautiful new strings, courtesy of Mr Guitarist Extraordinaire. The set they replaced had been there since Y2k, when they replaced the inferior ones the guitar came with. Though I can't say I am so glad to get rid of the faithful nearly-ten-years-old strings, for they had really been with me that long, but the new ones befit my guitar really well! Just look:

Lovely, aren't they? I'll try not to make them last me another ten years by playing more, and more often...

Friday, December 25, 2009

A Feast on Christmas Eve

Ever since I got my bestfriend's call, inviting me to a dinner at her place on Christmas Eve and informing me that they're preparing a turkey, I'd been over my head with excitement. I made very little, or no, effort in concealing my eager anticipation of the feast; I have to admit - I shamelessly boasted and gloated for a whole week. This extreme behaviour would probably be easier to comprehend if I reveal the fact that this was the very first time in my life that I'd have turkey for Christmas (well, the eve, but close enough), and a home-roasted one for that matter! Enough of words - a picture paints a thousand words, and I have several here:

This was absolutely the smallest turkey they could get, I was told, but it was huge all the same. Roasted to perfection and stuffed full of minced onions, mushrooms and a host of other ingredients I didn't catch when the Chef was explaining them, it was every bit as yummy as I expected it to be.

Here, it sat pretty and mouth-watering on a bed of edible garnish. There were greens, sausages, mushrooms (mushrooms! mushrooms!) and cherry tomatoes. The photo is not properly focused but I guess I didn't realise it at the time of taking it, probably because all I could only think about was how good it smelled and how great it'll taste. I thought I wrote "enough of words" earlier but here I am, still writing incessantly! I can't help it - I guess the roasted turkey rush hasn't exactly worn off just yet. I'll try, though.

The turkey was the main course, and just as any proper dinner would have, we were also treated to starters - freshly-baked bread, mashed potato, gravy and salad - and homemade cranberry sauce! Pardon the hand with a pointing finger, though; not part of the spread, but part of the means of shoving food into the hungry mouth.

Just how much did we love the turkey, you wonder? Here's the "aftermath", as when we're all so full we attained the mobility of a beached whale:

When we finally could move our heavy selves away from the dinner table, we gathered in the living area and sung some Christmas carols. I don't know if singing actually increases metabolism rates or burns more calories, but after the singing, we're ready to eat some more. It was really convenient, for we had a great dessert awaiting:

Reader, you probably know I don't usually write about food; firstly, I don't describe them well enough and secondly, so many people blog about nothing but food the world doesn't need another one. Still, I must make this an exception, for I still want to gloat about this incredibly scrumptious dinner I had the honour to partake... Do bear with me!

Have a wonderful and blessed Christmas, you (you - as in you who are reading this right now); may your home and life be full of love and laughter always.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Not Always the Elephant

Those who'd known me a long time, I imagine, would, sometimes, marvel at my memory. It isn't unusual that I would remember the tiniest, the most insignificant things and events that took place years ago. I remember, for instance, the lecture in my Psychology 101 course, in which the lecturer delivered a lesson on short-term memory. The average person's short-term memory, she said, stores 7 items. She presented an example (yes, I remember the example she used) of a person who goes to a party and has people he didn't know introduced to him. He could easily remember the first 7 people he met, but when he is told the name of the 8th new friend, he would likely forget the name of the first. I wonder if it works the same for faces, and if it does, why it won't apply to me. Here's the story:

I was freshly enrolled at college, and as each new student was, was assigned a mentor, who was a lecturer I'd never heard of. Though I wasn't exactly sure what a mentor was really meant for, or if I actually needed one, I knew I had to meet him at least once, for I was given a slip of paper on which I had to have his signature. After a round of asking seniors, I found out where his faculty room was, and made my way there. I walked into a quiet office where several well-dressed gentlemen, presumably lecturers, sat at work. I must had looked really small and lost, for within moments, one of them approached me and asked me who I was looking for. I said my mentor's name. The nice gentleman then told me, "He's not here at the moment. Maybe you could come back in a while?" I thanked him and left the office. I took my time, wandered around for an hour or so, and went back to the faculty room. More courageous this time around, I approached the first lecturer I set my eyes on and asked for my mentor. Once more, I was told he wasn't there. Being suddenly in a conversational mood, I rambled on about how I was there earlier, and someone told me to come back in a while. He looked at me curiously, and said "Well... yes, I was that someone who told you that." Being overwhelmed by embarrassment must be a condition during which nothing registers in the long-term memory, because I simply cannot remember what ensued.

Perhaps it would make sense to say I remember better people and/or things that actually matter. This is because there had been numerous times, in my college and university days, where I'd met "strangers" on sidewalks, stairways, anywhere, and had them smile at or greet me in ways that suggest they were not really strangers, but were surely not friends either. After a while, I got really good at pretending I know them too - or so I thought. Here's another story:

I was in a washroom on campus, washing my hands, and noticed in the mirror a girl I don't recognise, at the next wash basin, smiling at me. I smiled warmly back. She started some small talk and I played along. I was starting to take pride in how well I was doing, when she stopped abruptly and stared at me, a mix of bewilderment and amusement clearly in her eyes. Her friendly smile turned teasing, "You don't remember me, do you?" Once again, I have no recollection of what ensued.

Just today, I discovered my memory also has blind spots, if you could call them that. I came across a friend of a friend with a very familiar pseudonym. I know it because he used the exact same for his ICQ account TEN years ago, when we were still in touch. I met him at a camp organized by our college's student representative council. We were in the same team, along with the girl from Christian Fellowship. Each team had to present a short sketch, and for ours, we prepared a "medley" of scenes from Evita, where the guys did all the acting and the girls did all the singing. We were a hit because everyone nearly laughed till they rolled on the beach when 'Evita' (a guy wrapped in sarong) appeared for the 'balcony' (a guy with arms extended on either side, draped over entirely by a white bedsheet) scene, and we sang Don't Cry For Me Argentina; and laughed even harder when 'Evita' died, and we sang You Must Love Me. I remember it all - and yet I can't, if my life depended on it, remember this guy's name.

No, I don't think I deserve to be known as one who has the memory of an elephant. The matriarch of a herd of elephants is said to be able to remember and to locate a place abundant in food and water, even after having not been there for several decades. I have been known to be unable to locate my car after leaving it in the shopping complex's carpark for several hours.

Friday, December 11, 2009


That, he couldn't help. It is past midnight, afterall, on a still night. I am reading my email, and bursting into seemingly random, unprovoked, unexplained peals of laughter:

Sixth grade research projects...

1. Ancient Egypt was inhabited by mummies and they all wrote in hydraulics. They lived in the Sarah Dessert. the climate of the Sarah is such that the inhabitants have to live elsewhere.

2. Solomon had three hundred wives and seven porcupines.

3. The Greeks were a highly sculptured people and without them we wouldn't have history. The Greeks also had myths. A myth is a female moth.

4. In the Olympic games, Greeks ran races, jumped, hurled biscuits, and threw the java.

5. Queen Elizabeth was the Virgin Queen. As a queen she was a success. When she exposed herself before her troops they all shouted hurrah.

6. The greatest writer of the Renaissance was William Shakespeare. He was born in the year 1564, supposedly on his birthday. He never made much money and is famous only because of his plays. He wrote tragedies, comedies, and hysterectomies, all in Islamic pentameter. Romeo and Juliet is an example of a heroic couple. Romeo's last wish was to be laid by Juliet.

7. Abraham Lincoln became America's greatest Precedent. Lincoln's mother died in infancy, and he was born in a log cabin which he built with his own hands. Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves by signing the Emasculation Proclamation. On the night of April 14, 1865, Lincoln went to the theater and got shot in his seat by one of the actors in a moving picture show. They believe the assinator was John Wilkes Booth, a supposingly insane actor. This ruined Booth's career.

8. Johann Bach wrote a great many musical compositions and had a large number of children. In between he practiced on an old spinster which he kept up in his attic. Bach died from 1750 to present. Bach was the most famous composer in the world and so was Handel. Handel was half German, half Italian and half English. He was very large.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

For the Mind and the Soul

The KL Children's Choir's Triple Bill

The great thing about children's singing is that it never sounds bad. Throughout my years I've heard a lot - none was really good, technically speaking, but none awful either. Factor in the sheer slight age, the (generally) angelic faces and voices reeking of purity and innocence, no song sung by a child would be called anything but wonderful. Thus, I went for this children's choir production knowing I wouldn't be disappointed with whatever they presented.

I was right. The children were simply delightful, and the music entertaining. It amazed me that children as young as 4 years could be so calm and poised on stage, singing their hearts out, some dancing at the same time. This was my first time at a musical production presented wholly by children and young teens, and although not vocally incredible, it was still a great feat. Looking at the very young decked out in colourful costumes, with smiles on their faces, listening to them - what cares do I have in the world? It was a truly enjoyable performance and if I actually paid for the tickets, I would say it was worth the money.

Alexander! featuring some of the youngest members of KLCC

OKU Convoy 2009 Volunteers' Training

Training is necessary for non-experienced volunteers for this event which I wrote about earlier, so, one was organized today, at the Pasar Seni Putra LRT station. The event briefing and wheelchair-handling demonstration were enlightening, to say the least. I'd long known and seen with my own eyes that the disabled can be very independent should they choose to be, but seeing so many on wheelchairs making their way around as easily as those who could walk, and talking about their disabilities in heartbreaking light-heartedness was something totally new to me. Impressive and touching as they were, the strong determination of our disabled friends and the profound compassion of the veteran volunteers, I mean to write about something else I observed.

Sprawled on the floor at the foot of the stairs and elevator leading to the train platform was a middle-aged beggar. He looked mildy disabled - one leg was shorter and shrivelled - but otherwise, fine. I didn't notice him at first, but I suppose he was there, watching us the whole time when the briefing and demos took place. When the entire group, including our enabled disabled friends, moved towards to escalator to demonstrate how a wheelchair-bound person could travel up it, he found himself in the way. The most amazing thing happened then - the supposedly unable-to-walk beggar got up on his one good leg, and supported by his less-good leg, limped rather nimbly to the side. Apart from the obvious limp, he was a physically able as any of the volunteers present.

One just needs to take a look from the almost-fully-abled beggar to the wheelchair-bound, some limp from various forms of palsy, muscular or nervous (I am not so knowledgeable in this matter, as yet), moving about independently, playing active roles and taking on leadership in an event meant in part to raise awareness to their potential independence, to make one think. So, what's his excuse?

It'll probably be a question I'll ask myself from time to time: What's my excuse? What's yours?

Saturday, November 28, 2009


It is not customary for me to write about a movie unless I feel really strongly about it, favourably or otherwise. It's the otherwise for this one, unfortunately.

I hadn't planned to catch this one in the cinema, really. What I really want to watch is New Moon (yes, Reader, I know you probably have 1001 rotten things to say about New Moon etc.; I have read the book and read this post, but I still want to watch the movie). However, my mother asked to be taken for 2012. Somehow, a group of her friends got really caught up in it, kept talking about it, and she didn't want to be left ignorant. So, I arranged the movie outing.

No doubt, the CGIs, special effects etc. were impressive. I had expected those elements to be spectacular and I wasn't disappointed. In fact, the crumbling buildings and volcanic eruptions were so grandly portrayed they made me sick. Sick as in feeling nauseous - the kind I get when vast, realistic images move too much and too quickly in my sight. That's the great part, really.

The not so great one: Right from the first chain of disasters, you'd know he's the superhero in human form who will to make close call after close call, survive near-death after near-death incidents to single-handedly save the day at the end. Oops.

Other not so great things: Well, there are a few things I find not credible in the least - but one spoiler per post should be enough now. I should stop writing now.


OK, I will.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

OKU Convoy 2009

Somewhere, somewhat out the sight of the general public, there is a group of golden-hearted people dedicated to make lives better for those they care about. Given the pace at which most of us live, it is too easy to overlook and ignore the less physically-fortunate. Do not be one of those selfish and apathetic.

In a gist, the OKU (Orang Kurang Upaya) Convoy 2009 aims to:

1. Raise public awareness on the important of barrier-free environment and inclusive society
2. Encourage disabled people to live an independent life
3. Raise funds to purchase disability assistive devices

Date : 6th December 2009
Time : 7.45am to 4.30pm
Venue : Berjaya Times Square

They welcome anyone who wish to join them as volunteer workers, or contribute funds to the cause. Take a minute to visit this site, and to understand the importance of the work these awesome people are doing for the disabled members of our society.

I have signed up to be a volunteer. Will you consider to do the same?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Guitarist

He is the kind of guitarist I am unworthy of, and ought to feel abashed to have accompany my mediocre vocals. Meticulous in technique and technical accuracy, particular in equipment standard and quality, he stubbornly believes playing accompaniment to singing is plain child's play. In his league are classic solo pieces, his favourite being jazz. His guitar is bought and shipped from America, apparently not being sold locally. His guitar strings are all imported as well - this must be, for how can anyone imagine the average strings on an exquisite instrument? There are others - his electronic guitar tuner for instance - shipped directly from makers in America because the ones sold locally simply cannot live up to his expectations.

The tuning fork works, he said in response to something (stupid) I suggested, but the human ear cannot differentiate more than 1/4 of a semitone. Dumbstruck, dumbfounded, taken by shock, I agreed. Furthermore, he continued explaining, when all the strings are in perfect tune, they resonate as one, and the result - heavenly. No doubt!

Now reader, you may think I am mocking this man's enthusiasm and strive for perfection but I am not. If anyone can appreciate seemingly senseless passion, it is I. I, as a person who cradles the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary on her lap while writing a post for a blog, who would have proof-read this piece several times before publishing and several times after publishing, to edit and re-edit it until it is perfect in her definition of perfect. Indeed, as it is, I admire the young self-taught musician's spirit and determination. Of course, I am not being flattering just because he or his lovely girlfriend might be reading this. I am shocked that thought even crossed your (my) mind. I mean - people who sing-along to audio tracks are commonplace; people who play-along to the tracks' instrumental arrangements are not, if justification is wanted.

All that said, and I have to risk being the one to ruin the ensemble, and to bring everyone's baseless high hopes crashing down. Bummer.

Reader, you must be sick of these weird and totally incomprehensible anti-climaxes I end my posts with. I sort of like that, so I guess I am not apologising. Good night.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Feathered Fiend

The morning was calm, quiet and cold. I had just returned from more than an hour of presentations, and was in the midst of going through the emails whilst having my morning coffee when the first sounds of the frantic flappings broke through. It came from the window, and all I could see was a dark shape moving behind the white blinds. It took me a while to realise that a not so little black bird had somehow flown into my office and was panicky because he couldn't get back out.

My office window is usually shut tight, but there was a thunderstorm yesterday evening and I suspect the strong winds somehow blew it open several inches.

I wanted to open the window wider to let the little fella out, but he got even more anxious when I approached. He flew out of the blinds into my office, and circled the room wildly once or twice. At this point, I had gotten panicky myself. I couldn't get near the window enough to open it, and I was terrified because I thought the black bird might swoop down and peck me. For a few seconds, I stood frozen and watched him fly right into the ceiling lights, circled the room again, and into the lights again, crying his high-pitched pain-stricken chirps. Then, I decided maybe if I held the door open, he would go through it.

So I did - I reached for the door and held it wide open. The little guy seemed a little settled by the distance I put between us. He perched on the blinds railing and paced left and right. I don't know if he would had responded had I whistled - I'd never know because I can't whistle. Damn. I tried to call out to him as best I could. I don't think he understood "Here, here, little bird!" or "This way out! (with exaggerated arm gestures)" because he totally ignored me.

Perhaps, I thought, I could get someone to usher my guest towards the door while I held it open. I took a look around, and miraculously, the corridor, usually bustling with noisy staff and students, was perfectly empty. It was so still I could probably hear the echoes of my breathing if I had better ears.

Well, fine, I thought, if I can't find help, I could probably place a chair at the doorway to keep it open while I myself do the ushering. I took a step towards the nearest chair, and the moment I moved, the unwelcome winged-intruder imagined impending danger and got instantly agitated. He flapped his wings, let out a few more of his tortured chirps and looked as if he would start flying madly around again. I retreated back to my position at the doorway and stared at him. He stared back at me.

We both stared at each other, at loss. I cannot recall many other occassions during which I felt more helpless than I did then. Just as I was wondering how long I had to be stuck with my feathered "friend", he had an enlightenment. I didn't exactly see it - it happened rather quickly - he flew behind the blinds, and somehow managed to escape the way he came in.

Once ascertained that he'd indeed left, I rushed to the window with the intention to shut it securely, lest more winged creatures decide to drop in. That was when I realised there were droppings on my window sill, and on my cabinet closest to the window!

Too much, Mr Yellow-Beak, too much! I have nothing against you, but you know I really don't like you when you scare the crap out of yourself in my office! Don't come back if you can help it.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Stage Debut

It was the stage debut for Rhythmic Roots, but hardly for any of those who were on stage. There were more audience that I'd expected in the theatre - it was, after all, a week night. Given a choice, I myself wouldn't had gone for a Thursday night anything if I had to work on Friday. The turnout was a pleasant surprise, though I suppose many of those there were friends and relatives of the performers. Still, it was grand.

The performers on stage were exuding vibrant energy like I'd never experienced in any of the many, many rehearsals we'd had. It might had something to do with the show being the first, and the actual presence of an audience. I don't personally know how nervous anyone might had been, because no one really sounded like he/she was nervous. Excited, yes, but otherwise, just like their normal selves.

I myself had a couple of friends in the audience. I wouldn't had spotted them from stage, if not for the fact that I had bought the tickets on their behalf, and therefore, roughly knew where to look, and the fact that one of them is a HUGE fella. I'd anticipated the joy and gratitude I'd feel at meeting them after the show, but what rushed over me was much more than I'd imagined. My friend, whom I hadn't met in more than ten years, said she was shocked - she hadn't expected a show quite so awesome. I would had interpreted the comment as her being really generous and polite, had not for her looking utterly awe-struck (I mean, if she could really had faked that look on her face so perfectly, Mr Director would love to meet her!) I would had gladly be thankful as long as she didn't find it boring - but that she found the show awesome? Awesome!

So, one down, four more to go!

11.34pm edit:
Two down, three more to go!

14th Nov, 11.59pm edit:
Four down, one more to go!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Papa Can You Hear Me?

May the light
Illuminate the night,
The way your spirit
Illuminates my soul.

Papa, can you hear me?
Papa, can you see me?
Papa can you find me in the night?
Papa are you near me?
Papa, can you hear me?
Papa, can you help me not be frightened?

Looking at the skies I seem to see
A million eyes which ones are yours?
Where are you now that yesterday

Has waved goodbye
And closed its doors?

The night is so much darker;
The wind is so much colder;
The world I see is so much bigger
Now that I'm alone.

Papa, please forgive me.
Try to understand me;
Papa, don’t you know I had no choice?
Can you hear me praying,
Anything I'm saying
Even though the night is filled with voices?

I remember everything you taught me
Every book I've ever read...
Can all the words in all the books
Help me to face what lies ahead?

The trees are so much taller
And I feel so much smaller;
The moon is twice as lonely
And the stars are half as bright...

Papa, how I love you...
Papa, how I need you.
Papa, how I miss you
Kissing me good night...

Song by Michel Legrand, Lyrics by Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Art of Performing

We are talking about choir, so it's just about the singing, right? Wrong.

There is the singing - singing nicely, singing in sync, and singing with mouth opened widely enough. There are also the radiant smiles that must come sincerely from the heart - unless one can be so good as to fake smiles that Mr Director couldn't see through. And there are the beautifully choreographed steps and movement, which mustn't look as if executed by zombies, elephants or storks. To the untrained being, the combination of all of that alone is overwhelming enough - but being in a choir means everything has to be done as a group, in total sync and harmony. If just one person doesn't get it, everyone repeats the whole routine, or section, until that person gets it. Calling it tedious is an understatement.

Sure, we do share lots of laughs - because we all laugh at our friends when they received death threats from Mr Director, or seriously sarcastic scoldings from Mr Choreographer, or when two guys knock their heads on each other's because they can't remember which direction to sway towards. But, no matter how much fun we usually have rehearsing, braving rush-hour KL jam to get to rehearsals 4 times a week and staying there up till 11pm at times hardly define 'enjoyable'.

Oh, did I mention none of the members are paid to do this? That's right, we don't get paid to sing; in fact, we pay - we pay so our music directors who are full-time musicians can earn a living, so that the academy we practice at can pay its rent every month.

Reader, you may be thinking that we must be out of our minds. You are not the first - that would be my mother (she can't understand why I'm willing, and of course, I'm grateful that she's willing to put up with choices of mine she can't really understand)

The art revolves, in short, around one thing: PASSION.

It drives, motivates and keeps everyone going even when things become unfavourable. It's crazy, but of course, also an experience I will forever be grateful for. A senior member told me that I should appreciate this opportunity to be in an actual production, because it isn't something that everyone can and/or will have. I agree. I don't know anyone, outside the production cast, who'd had received death threats from directors. Come to think of it, I haven't either - maybe I should deliberately provoke him the next rehearsal, so I can say that I have!

Oh, and this I am obliged to include:
12th Nov (Thu) 9pm, 13th Nov (Fri) 9pm, 14th Nov (Sat) 9pm, and 15th Nov (Sun) 3pm

The Actors Studio @ Lot 10

RM43 (centre seat); RM 33 (side seat)
call/walk in: TAS@Lot 10 box office - 03 2142 2009 03 22143 2009
walk in only: klpac box office@Sentul Park, Axcess@Head Office(Jln Semangat), 1 Utama, Alamanda Putrajaya

This, especially, I must include:
THANK YOU, Great Eastern for supporting our production!
(No, I'm not writing this for the sake of writing it or because Ms Producer told us we'd have to any chance we get, although she did tell us that; I really appreciate you guys appreciating and supporting local performing arts. I do! Too many people don't give a damn, and it's simply great that you do!)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Milestone Review

It ought to be a significant day - a day I think about what I have achieved and not achieved, whether where I am today is where I wanted to be the last time I thought about it, whether who I am today is who I planned to be. It ought to be a day I thought about the roads I have travelled, the things I have accumulated, the road I want to continue on and the destination I want to reach. Much as I wish to gloat over all that I am proud of, and to wistfully sigh at those I am not, I will not do it today.

Furthermore, the more I thought about it, the more I feel life is not about milestones really. I am simply in too good a mood to be serious. I am simply thankful that I am truly happy at this moment. There! :)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

On the Road

... with the Anus, the Hogger and the Bully.

The Anus
It was a bright and beautiful morning, and I was on my way to work. I was on this long, straight road, and a little way ahead was a right turn I needed to take. I turned the right indicator on, checked the side mirror and even turned my head to the right to make sure I don't miss any blind spots, and decided I could ease into the right lane as there were no cars within risky distances. There was a car behind me on the fast lane, though it was so far away I couldn't even make out the shape of its driver inside. Just as I started to swerve into the right lane, though, the driver of the aforesaid car decided to increase its speed exponentially. He (yes, later I saw that it was a male Anus) sped all the way right to the rear of my car just as I had comfortably completed my lane-change, and honked me! It was so totally unnecessary! Did he really need to speed up? Did he have to come so near so quickly, and did he need to honk?!

The Hogger
I needed bread in the stead of the dinner which I had no time to take, so I drove to a petrol station. There, I parked at the designated area, and went about my errand. After I was done, I got back into my car and reversed out of my parking space. Just as I was about to drive away, I noticed a huge 4WD blocking the way. It wasn't immediately clear what the driver intended to do. The car went forward a little, reversed a little, went forward a little more, then reversed again, seemingly oblivious to the fact that he (as before, I noticed later that the driver was a male Hogger) was in my way. In fact, he seemed oblivious to the fact that the area was very cramp, and he could very easily had knocked into my car. After a few moments of waiting for the Hogger to make up his mind on where he really wanted to go, I noticed that the owner of the car parked beside me had reversed her car to leave as well. Of course she was unable to go, because my car was in her way, and I couldn't get out of her way, because the Hogger was still in mine, wriggling forwards and backwards with no apparent reason. If that wasn't enough, very quickly I noticed yet another car on the other end of the Hogger trying to leave the parking area, and couldn't, because it was obstructed as well. The 4WD was really huge. After what seemed like infinite numbers of minute forwards and reverse moves, it became clear that the logical thinking-impaired and common sense-lacking Hogger was actually trying to reverse into the parking space which I had recently, very recently, vacated! Couldn't he had waited until I had actually left first? Did he have to be so selfish as to obstruct and inconvenience THREE (3) other vehicles while he took 5 minutes to park?!

The Bully
I was reaching a traffic light, with a long line of cars in front of me, so I slowed down. From the corner of my eye, I saw something white and bright swerving sharply from the left to the right lane of the road, then almost screeching to a halt. It was as if the driver of the white car lost control. Then, abruptly the car reversed several meters, and jerked forward, weaving through the line of cars approaching the traffic light, and again almost screeched to a halt at the leftmost lane. I noticed the driver at that moment - yes, the Bully is another male. It took me just a moment longer to realise that he was deliberately stopping his car in front of another car, a silver one, driven by a lady, with another girl in the front passenger seat. For the next few seconds it was actually scary to watch - at first, the lady tried to reverse out of the way, but the man in his white car followed suit and blocked her way out. Then, she went forward, and he did the same. I don't know how she did it, but she did - she reversed again (which he did as well, just so he could stop her from getting away) and managed to change gear and accelerate forward so quickly that he couldn't do the same in time to block her path in front. She sped past the traffic light just as it was turning from yellow to red, and as one would expect, he ran the red just so he could chase after the silver car which got away. It was one of the rarest times that I was thankful that it was then red light, so I'd be stuck at the junction for a while, while the white and silver cars went on their ways. But no, that wasn't the end - passing the junction a minute or two later, I turned into the highway, normally with very smooth-flowing traffic, and found that it was congested. All the cars moved slowly and cautiously. I saw the reason a little way ahead - the same white car, in front of the silver one, moving at the speed of a snail. Somehow, he must've managed to catch up with her and overtook her, and was now simply stopping her in whichever direction she tried to go. He was so deliberate at it, it made me sick. I don't know what he could had gained from doing that sort of bullying on the road. Did he imagine that he'd be thought of as a great driver, a stud, a real manly man?

If you are a girl, reader, would you even consider dating any one of those male specimens I wrote about? Do you seriously think they are very masculine, oozing testosterone and reeking of excitement and adventure? Like, seriously?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Rhythmic Roots

This show is going to be great. Of course, I haven't (nobody has, in fact) seen it in its entirety, but I know it is going to be great. I know because we are going to make it great (or die trying). Besides, we have no choice - we can't risk incurring the wrath of our mighty Mr Director by putting up a sloppy show.

Therefore, get your tickets quickly before all the good seats run out.

happening at:
The Actors Studio@Lot 10
12 - 14 Nov@9pm
Charity Matinée: 14 Nov@3pm
15 Nov@3pm

rm43 (centre seat) rm 33 (side seat)
call/walk in: TAS@Lot 10 box office - 03 2142 2009 03 22143 2009
walk in only: klpac box office@Sentul Park, Axcess@Head Office(Jln Semangat), 1 Utama, Alamanda Putrajaya

More information here.

The charity matinee is reserved for under privileged children, and the production team is looking for generous individuals or companies to sponsor the seats. So if you are one, or know of some... :)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Mid-Autumn Festival

You may read about it here.

When I was 9 or 10, I wrote short essays on the origins and legends of the Mid-Autumn Festival and the Duan Wu Festival, as soon as I heard them from my mom. I felt that I needed to write them down while I still remembered. What if, as time passed by, I were to forget? What if everyone else forgot as well, or never knew them in the first place?

Had I knew then that there would be Google and Wikipedia in my future, I needn't had bothered! Seriously.

Happy Mid-Autumn to everyone, and Happy Birthday to Ah Pek K, who was born on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month, thirty-something years ago.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Evil One's Wife

The night was calm. There were the low, quiet whirring of the fan, and the continuous drone of the TV. At my laptop, I was relaxed and content to be spending the evening so casually. Yes, casual and uneventful the evening was - until at one point, something showing on TV caught my attention. I turned towards the TV and back-faced my laptop for quite a while.

"Hey, look!"

Before I actually turned back, I could see, out of the corner of my eye, a searing glare from the most menacing creature. Its strong, evil aura, thick and enveloping sent tingles down my spine. Once I was face-to-face with her - for it was a she - and fully perceived her horrifying countenance and being, I did not wonder at the hairs on the back of my neck standing up.

Upon my laptop she stood, with the most cruel smile upon her emaciated face. She had a mass of red hair, a billowing cloak which hung about her shoulders, and glowing red eyes that pierced right into mine. Her evident vicious ferocity sent chills into my heart.

There on my laptop she stood still, maintaining her intense stare upon me. I sat, frozen, and marvelling at how one so tiny could reek of as much wickedness as she did. I'd wanted to resume the use of my laptop, but she stood firm, unwilling to relinquish her hold of it.

Staff directed towards me, she seemed to warn me to stay away, that what was mine was now hers, and I wasn't to attempt to regain it. All the time throughout, her son sat on one side, a cynical smirk on his face, as if daring me to defy his mother.

"Who is that?"
"The Evil One's Wife."

The Evil One, pictured here atop the tower, whose Dragon is attacking the King's castle.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


These are some interesting sights from various places, taken with my humble mobile phone.

My friends say it is because of signs like this that women make better sales than men. You can say it is gender discrimination, but you must also admit that not many can say "No" to a pretty lady.

For a while, I considered censoring the number depicted in this ad, seen posted on a lamp-post, but it wouldn't be fair to show people what they could have possessed, and then deny them the means to securing it, would it?

Please don't jump. This place isn't for jumping. If you must jump, find another more suitable location. Not here, please. Thank you.

I suppose the owner of the place in which this notice is found wanted to make sure that his outlet wouldn't be labelled as the regular haunt of school-going (or school-skipping) teenagers. Of course, as long as they're not in their uniforms...

Jason Mraz crossing! Well, of course it is! See a hat, think Jason Mraz! I have made it a point to drive past this sign at least once or twice a day, every day - who knows, I might actually bump into him crossing the road!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Hardest Thing

... about surprises is keeping them. I don't know about people in general, but I find it terribly hard to keep it quietly to myself once I had, say, purchased a really extraordinary birthday present, or started making something as a gift to someone. The moment the idea is conceived, nevermind whether or not it has materialised, the excitement starts building. It is most of the time impossible to contain - that crazy, overwhelming, unbearably strong urge to just tell it!

Some may, though most won't, recall the very slight allusion to something pink some months ago. That was somewhere near the moment the idea of a pink unicorn dawned upon me. It is unbelieveable how much effort it took to kept it a secret from the birthday girl I wanted to surprise with it. In a way, I risked failing because somewhen along the way, I did tell her I was going to give her two presents - one I bought, and one I made. Thank goodness the handmade item was something so unexpected, that even though I dropped a hint of its being, it still managed to surprise her into a screaming state:

One of the reasons I get so excited when I knew just how surprising the surprise would be, is this:

This million-dollar smile on a loved-one's face, which definitely is worth more than a million dollars (right, you don't have to try to make sense of this nonsensical statement). Note: photos taken from here.

The risk of spoiling the surprise is only one of the disadvantages of leaking surprises-in-the-making out. Another is that sometimes, the project never gets completed. Well, it happens to me rather often. I have lost count, or rather, lost the courage to keep count of how many abandoned projects I have with me. The oldest is a half-finished piece of cross-stitch design, which I received as a birthday present when I was 20 or so. It was of a baby Minnie Mouse, and due to extreme lack of skills and/or inability to count stitches, and/or innate carelessness, its nose turned out skewed to one side. It looked awful and would not do at all - but I was too lazy and/or apathetic and/or bored with the piece by then to undo the stitches and correct the mistakes. And I couldn't go on because it looked simply... awful. So it remained, thereafter, half-completed, skew-nosed. As usual, I digressed.

Lastly, if someone were planning something for me, and I was given a hint of the surprise in the making, yet was not of the finer details, I am quite certain the suspense alone would drive me out of my wits. The anticipation would build to such a level that my expectations may become unrealistically high - and then...? It might not be, but I'd rather not even the slightest possibility of my loved-one being disappointed by the result of my effort, simply because of over-expectation.

By now, are you wondering where I am heading with this post? You might have guessed it, but I musn't tell! I mustn't say it, mustn't breathe a word, musn't allow these reckless typing fingers to reveal the remotest hint! Musn't, musn't, mustn't! Argh!

Monday, September 14, 2009


There was once I couldn't fall asleep, not just because I wasn't as tired-out as I'd usually be by bed-time. The hamsters were running on their wheels, the squeaking and creaking soft, but very audible. The rabbits, though mute, contributed to the breaking of the silence of the night by gnawing on goodness-knows-what, and hopping noisily around in their cages. The fishes' repeated attempts to leap out of their watery home included distinctive splashing in the symphony of sounds. Add to that the dogs' occassional barking and howling, and the incessant ticking of the clock, I did not wonder why I couldn't fall asleep. It wasn't always that I had to sleep surrounded by so many nocturnal creatures, so until then, I had never fully appreciated just how active they get at night.

It did strike me as odd, that I had never felt so disturbed by nocturnal pets, though at one time in university, we had a rabbit and a hamster in our room. I never remembered them having ever disrupted my sleep at all. Chip Chip, the rabbit, only made noise whenever her food ran out - she would take her food bowl between her teeth and scrape it against the metal cage. Baby, the hamster, slept all day and well, ate all night. And it wasn't just me - I had never heard any of my roomees complain of having their sleep disrupted by our nocturnal pets. Thinking it further though, with all the Sims-playing, last-minute studying and assignment deadlines chasing, we ourselves were nocturnal most of the times.

Well, that was then. Now is now. Good night.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Obnoxious

I refer to those who are so proud of talents or achievements they may, or imagined, they have, that they go about engorged in conceit and self-importance; those who think so highly of themselves that they place the whole world below them, who would not be seen walking around without their mighty noses in the air, who deem it beneath them to even spare a glance for someone not up to their station in life, which is practically everyone else; those who take it that they ought to be unconditionally worshipped for their beauty or intelligence.

I refer to such. These are people who do not understand that the likes of me - that is, the general population sufficiently sensible - much prefer humility and genuine niceness to unparalleled gorgeousness or genius. I do not care a whit for arrogance, neither do I appreciate snobbery. They may be of all the qualities they, or they think, are, but if they have not basic manners, politeness and courtesy, they are not worthy of my respect. If in mood, I would perhaps strive a little to hide my contempt, but otherwise...

If reading this makes you feel that I have written it because I am jealous of them I wrote about, kindly take a moment to think about what makes you assume that I don't measure up to them. I hope you are not one of them.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Traffic Jam

I came up with a list of things I can do while stuck in super-congested KL traffic, going at 0.05km/hr. All input are welcome.

1. Practice singing (when speed is reduced to 0km/hr, can even refer to the scores)
2. Dry-clean my face (with facial tissues)
3. Apply lip-balm (can't drink too much water, while stuck in the middle of nowhere without toilet)
4. Have dinner (limited to sandwiches only)
5. Exercise my eyeballs (roll up, roll down, roll left etc.)
6. Think about what next I will post on Ahem!
7. ... ... ... (will add if I think of another)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Story of The Old Woman

There was a family of a man, his wife, three children and an old woman. They moved to a new neighbourhood and the family next door consisted of a both-working couple and their two little girls. Knowing that the two little girls were sent to day-care while their parents were at work, the old woman approached their mother.

She offered to babysit the girls, for a little income for herself.

The little girls' mother was surprised, for why would a grandmother of three want work? Shouldn't she be sufficiently occupied and contented taking care of her own grandchildren?

The three children were not her grandchildren, she explained. The family she was living with was not her own. She began her story.

She was a Ma Jie - a maiden maid, sworn to celibacy, who lived a life of servitude. Since she'd never married, she never had any real family. She, however, adopted a little baby girl whom she loved, clothed, fed and educated. Her adopted daughter was the only family she had in the world. In her effort to provide a comfortable home and life for herself and her daughter, she spent her entire life-savings on a house. She had then, both family and home - she thought she would be happy till the end of her life.

The girl grew to be an independent young woman. The independent young woman soon had herself a high-flying career and a husband. She informed her mother that she wanted to relocate, and asked her mother to come with her. Let her sell the house, she told her mother, and they can all move away together.

The old woman, with no reason to doubt the girl she had nurtured since infancy, gave authority to her daughter to sell her only property, and resigned to look forward to the care-free life she expected to soon enjoy. It would never come. The young woman, having obtained the money from the sale of her mother's house, went away with her husband, leaving the old woman behind, alone and destitute.

Alone and destitute she was, until a kind family with three children took pity on her and took her in. They treated her with so much kindness, like she was one of their own, for nothing, she felt quite overwhelmed. She wished to be a little less dependent, financially, in the least, which was the reason she asked to babysit the neighbour's little girls.

She had tears in her eyes as she concluded her story.

What you have read isn't fiction, though I am wholly unable to account for the accuracy of the details. I simply know this story, and happen to be in the mood for telling it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Favourite Pastime

In the darkened room, on the floor, my legs folded upon each other, I close my eyes. I bring my attention and focus onto my breathing. In. Out. In. Out.

"Inhale... 1, 2, 3, pause. Exhale... 3, 2, 1, pause."

The teacher's voice is quiet and steady, and I let it guide my breathing. The soothing music playing in the background is soft and lulling. I focus on the breathing and the teacher's voice.

"Exhale... 3, 2, 1, pause. Inhale... 1, 2, 3, pause. Exhale... 3, 2... *zzzzz* ...2, 3, pause. Exhale... 3, 2, 1, pause. Inhale... *zzzzz* ... to your normal breathing..."

Oh dear. We're done with the breathing exercise. I open my eyes. We get to our feet, and start the Sun Salutation sequence of poses. We do our Warriors and a handful of other upright poses.

"Now, lie down on your mats. Fold your right leg..."

I am on my mat, I follow closely the verbal instructions of my teacher, and move into the pose. I feel tolerably comfortable, though folded and twisted like a pretzel.

"Stay, and take a few long and deep breaths..."


"... to your right, push yourselves up with both hands..."

Wait, what about folding the left leg? Gosh, they've done it already?

I sit up with the rest of the classes, and proceed to half a dozen more poses.

"Lie down to your Savasana. Relax your whole body, drop your feet......"


"Hey, wake up!"

I hear Big Eye's voice, and feel her nudge my shoulder. I open my eyes, and look around. I see all my classmates sitting upright, in Lotus.

People say Yoga is great for relaxation. I agree whole-heartedly.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Old Joke

I believe these have been around for some time. However, being old don't make them less funny.

This is a list of comments from test papers, essays, etc., submitted to science and health teachers by elementary, junior high, high school, and college students: It is truly astonishing what weird science our young scholars can create under the pressures of time and grades. The spellings are the original ones.

1. H2O is hot water, and CO2 is cold water.

2. To collect fumes of sulphur, hold a deacon over a flame in a test tube.

3. When you smell an oderless gas, it is probably carbon monoxide.

4. Water is composed of two gins, Oxygin and Hydrogin. Oxygin is pure gin. Hydrogin is water and gin.

5. A super saturated solution is one that holds more than it can hold.

6. Liter: A nest of young puppies.

7. Magnet: Something you find crawling all over a dead cat.

8. Momentum: What you give a person when they are going away.

9. Vacuum: A large, empty space where the pope lives.

10. Artificial insemination is when the farmer does it to the cow instead of the bull.

11. The pistol of the flower is its only protection against insects.

12. A fossil is an extinct animal. The older it is, the more extinct it is.

13. To remove dust from the eye, pull the eye down over the nose.

14. For a nosebleed: Put the nose much lower that the heart until the heart stops.

15. For head colds: use an agonizer to spray the nose until it drops in your throat.

16. Germinate: To become a naturalized German.

17. The tides are a fight between the Earth and moon. All water tends towards the moon, because there is no water on the moon, and nature abhors a vacuum. I forget where the sun joins in this fight.

18. Blood flows down one leg and up the the other.

Have a good day.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Story of the Phoneless

One day, a couple of weeks ago, by the time I was on my way to work, my phone was still snugly tucked in bed. I was without phone for a day, and it seemed a big deal. Ten years ago, mobile phones were not common, most of us didn't have one, and it was no big deal. Nobody felt it was a great inconvenience to be without a phone. I personally didn't think using public phones were troublesome, or prohibitive. Without the convenience of a 'phonebook' feature in a mobile, I could pull at least 20 of the most-dialed numbers from memory - yes, my own memory. I digress - these all have not much to do with the story I mean to tell.

It was a day in 1997 - a day still in the times of public buses, public phones, and dial-up Internet connections, sans blogs, Twitter or any other forms of social-networking.

One of our housemates, Ms K, had gone out to meet a 'friend' of hers, who'd travelled all the way from their hometown to see her. 'Friend', because they both felt more than friends do for each other, and yet were too shy to officially call themselves girlfriend and boyfriend. Yes, in those days, young people were cute in that way. This 'friend' was known to us housemates as Mr Nevermind, because his standard response, when he called and Ms K wasn't in and we asked who it was on the line, was always "Errr... nevermind!"

Ms K was to meet Mr Nevermind in a public place. A little while after their appointed time to rendezvous, she called the apartment from a public phone - she couldn't see Mr Nevermind, and couldn't find him, so if he were to call, could we let him know of her location, which she then described to us. Perhaps it was a pre-agreed contingency plan, perhaps it was telepathy - he called, also from a public phone, some minutes later. We conveyed to him Ms K's message. A quarter of an hour later, she called again. She hadn't found him - or he hadn't found her - and a new message was given to us to be given to him. Then he called, got her message, and left a message with us for her for if she called again.

Both had gotten considerably anxious by that time, and all of us housemates had stopped whatever we were doing, and were crowding around the phone, breathlessly waiting for the next ring. Well, yes - students always have nothing better to do, it's true.

The calls kept coming - she, then he, then she again, then he once more. It was already past an hour since they were supposed to meet. We suspected that while they kept updating us on their latest locations and search efforts, by the time one got the message, the other one had moved on, vice-versa. On her second last call to the apartment, a housemate reprimanded -

"He's looking for you, and you're looking for him! You're both circling the place! STOP where you are and describe clearly your location..."

Yes, pretty fierce, but it worked. The directions were conveyed to him on his next call, and the next call we got was from them - they had found each other! It took well over an hour, but they found each other! How we cheered! We were so happy and relieved that we spent, I believe, another hour or so talking about how harrowing it must had been for them, and how much sweeter it made the reunion, and how much more precious it made their time together.

Those were the days. You might want to take a moment now to appreciate the power of communication that you have today.

Interesting Read

A friend shared this with me:

Why I am Not a Professor

I absolutely adore the article, and the person who wrote it, even though he implied that the likes of me haven't "a grain of sense".

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Just Words

I couldn't sleep well last night. My nose felt blocked and I could breathe properly. I attributed it to the fact that I missed applying my prescribed nasal spray that morning. When he wrote the prescription, the doctor warned me seriously - that I will have to apply it every day, for a whole month; that I mustn't skip, nor stop, even if I thought I felt better. But that was the morning of the funeral. It was not that I purposely forgot about my nasal spray. It was the morning of the funeral.

Being the expected doesn't make it easier to accept, and definitely doesn't make it alright to be. In the end, it's just words. Words uttered because of their propriety at the time, words said because someone needed to speak, words said because someone was required to speak. They mostly became white noise. Already being acquainted with the Buddhism teaching of the impermanence of life and everything material in life, one would imagine, perhaps even expect in practice, the relative ease of letting go. It suffices to say that it wouldn't be without effort to convince oneself that it doesn't matter. Nothing is permanent. I know that. I think about it a lot. I think about once reading about why William Saroyan begun writing. He said that if he wrote something, that thing in itself would be itself, and would probably be itself forever, or "for what passes as forever". It would be a piece of him that would be, long after he himself were gone. Words. I would agree that, as paintings, sculptures, musical pieces - they are as permanent as livings things will never be. Even more so as the means and ease of duplication and dissemination are as they are now. Ever been told at work to always send wholesome words of gratitude and praise through emails, and harsh ones of reprimand or complaint through phone calls? In the end, we are all remembered, if we would indeed be remembered, by the words we have written. I do suppose so. I do not know why it matters at all - or perhaps it doesn't. Perhaps it is arrogant, self-serving ego, to want to be remembered. Or perhaps the fear of being forgotten is one as real as the fear of heights. Perhaps it is the desire to want to always remember a loved one gone, which instilled a fear of the unreliability of the human memory, leading to the presumption that those gone would fear they would be forgotten. Perhaps most are, in fact, simply indifferent. As of this point the reader may be wondering where I am heading with this post. Nowhere. The mind is overwhelmed and tired. I started writing this piece without ever meaning it to be understood. Recent predicaments had put me in such a mood.

I remembered to apply my nasal spray this morning. Perhaps I will be able to rest better tonight.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Cameron Highlands

In stills...

It is really interesting to note that strawberries are sort of the mascot of Cameron Highlands. In addition to the really huge strawberry figure on top of the "Welcome" monument, every souvenir shop in the area sold strawberry keychains, pillows, stuffed toys, bags, and even strawberry-decorated clothing and umbrellas. It makes even less sense with the fact that everyone knows Cameron strawberries are tiny and sour. I mean, really sour. Ask anyone who'd had them before.

The last time I was there, it was the year 1992. I didn't even remember how the place looked like. There wasn't much for me to do there - sure, I bought loads of fresh vegetables and fruits, and some cute cacti - but there wasn't much to do at all. My main activity, other than buying the local produce, was taking photographs. That is why I though I ought to cut back on the words, and let the photos make this post.

The road going up was narrow and winding.

My BM isn't what it used to be, so I can't say what a better word than bengkang-bengkok would be - but bengkang-bengkok simply strikes me as being an extremely funny adjective to put on a road sign.

This is another sign I won't expect to see very often...

Other than strawberries, vegetables and flowers, this place is also famous for its tea plantations.

The hills covered in tea-plants do look lovely.

The symbol of Cameron Highlands... The Tiny and Sour -

The greatest thing about the cool climate is the extreme loveliness of the flowers that grow in it. I can't stand just looking at pretty things. I have to have them... in pixels, if not physically.

These little frilly white ones were wild, at the side of a road -

They all have such bright, vivid colours...

... they are exotic and elegant...

... and just so pretty -

This has got to be the finest Bird of Paradise I'd ever photographed, if not the finest I'd ever seen -

This was also the first time I'd ever photographed roses in different stages of bloom, all on the same plant -

There were other curious plants -

And there were loads and loads of cacti. Some are really cute -

Some are just... odd -

I also have to say how BIG everything there was! This one -

It was bigger than my head. It was perhaps twice the size of my head - and so much prettier, of course. Most of the Hibiscus blooms I saw were bigger than my hand -

Even the bugs were big -

There wasn't much for me to do at Cameron Highlands, only so much beauty to admire, so much to photograph.

Farewell, see you again.

Selamat Datang - Welcome
Jalan Bengkang-Bengkok - Winding Road
Kawasan Batu/Tanah Runtuh - Area of Rock/Land Slides
Pokok Halau Nyamuk - Mosquito-repellent Tree (=plant)
Selamat Jalan - Safe Journey

Note the sign in the last photo - Selamat Jalan isn't Please Come Again. This shows that we cannot take for granted that if a sign is written in 2 languages, both mean the same thing. Weird.