Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Staring Strangers

Strangers stare at me when I put my groceries into my nice, reusable shopping bag. They stare at me when I sit in a cafe alone, with a drink and a book, for an hour. They stare at me when I pulled my car into the tiniest spot with barely enough space for me to open the door and get out. They stare as I ran into a shop, and they stare, in 5 minutes when the errand was done, as I ran back to my car. And they stare as I backed my car precariously out of that tiniest spot. Strangers simply love to stare!

Once, a few of us walked into a seafood restaurant for lunch. We were thoroughly enjoying ourselves when we felt that we were being... erm, "observed". We then noticed that strangers at the adjacent tables kept turning their heads towards us, and staring. They just stared and stared... and I don't understand why!

Why - had they never seen girls having fun laughing?

Had they never seen anyone lick a spoon?

Or never seen anyone pick her teeth?

Or photographing food?

Or consuming food?

Now, must these strangers keep staring? What was there to look at, really? I just don't get it!

23rd June edit:
The proper write-ups of
1. The Lunch
2. The After-Lunch

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Confessions of a Shopaholic

This write-up is intended to be about the book. But first -

Shopaholic in Denial
I am not a shopaholic. No, I am not. I may be a sleepaholic, a procrastinataholic, even an occassional workaholic if you will (though I resent that) - but definitely not a shopaholic. I seldom go shopping, and when I do, I do not buy uncontrollably or indiscriminately. I am fashion-and-style illiterate, so I do not get urges to restock / update my wardrobe every so often, nor do I give in to impulse buying when it comes to clothes, shoes, make-up, well, the likes. But, put me in a bookstore and - argh!

I know I get carried away so easily - I pick up a best-selling title, then I see another lesser-known title by the same author, and I think, why not? I pick it up, read the synopsis, and I think, now, isn't that interesting? Wouldn't that make an excellent read? And look - a beautiful box-set of 3 books by another best-selling author. It sure is cheaper to get that, than getting the 3 books individually. And here is one of the titles in my shopping list - check! And here's another, and another, and what is this? A book on Victor Frankenstein? About how he got his dead bodies for his experiments? That spells a must-read for me!

Before I knew it, my basket was full - yes, they provide shopping baskets in bookstores these days. It's a good thing they don't provide trolleys, like those hypermarkets do, or I'd..... I shudder to think what I'd likely do. As it was, I didn't want to think about how much I'd be spending on that basketful I'd accumulated. However, I had a little unexpected extra reward in my way last weekend - it was the season of Teachers' Day, and the store was giving an RM5 voucher for every RM50 spent by teachers. Any sort of teachers, anyone who can prove they are in the teaching profession.

Now, I am usually very reluctant to disclose my occupation to strangers. It could be the look they always give me (ie. "This little girl teaches in a university?!") or the false impressions they always conceive (ie. "She must be a genius!" or "What an easy, relaxing, stress-free working life she must enjoy!"). But, an RM5 voucher for every RM50 spent? Equivalent to a 10% rebate on the total? Here - this is my employee ID, have a good look and give me those vouchers! For instances like this alone, one should always carry one's staff and / or student ID(s) at all times!

And now -

Confessions of a Shopaholic
I have known the existence of this book long enough, and had always known it to be a best-seller. I just wasn't sure if I was actually into "chick-lit", as these types of prose are described. But the recent movie, and incidents of friends openly drooling at Hugh Dancy's Luke Brandon sparked more interest than I cared to admit. So I got a copy of the book; I got a copy of the book on Sunday, started reading it on Monday, and was finished by Wednesday. It was an extremely easy read - very, very light, and well, entertaining, I should add. You just shut three-quarters of your brain down and go on and on and on.

It was a very enjoyable read, although the protagonist, Rebecca Bloomwood, funny, imaginative and endearing as she is, nearly lost my sympathy halfway through. It was really amusing at first, the way she was in denial all the time: avoiding those mounting bills and letter from banks, and spinning tales to hide the truth she can't face. But then, she started spiralling out of control, and while that was still OK by me, the lying wasn't. She told a small lie, then another to cover the first, and another and another, and the worst part was, some of these lies were just not necessary, in my opinion. It was like she was addicted to making up stories, just as she was addicted to shopping.

Luke Brandon was a character of special interest to me when I started, because a friend had mentioned that he is the "perfect guy" in the book. It was therefore, a disappointment to find that he is nothing close to what I had imagined he would be. Perhaps it was due to the nature of the first-person narration - none of the characters were very well-developed at all. From the book, I couldn't get a satisfactory picture of Luke Brandon - not his general physical appearance, not his personality, least of all his style. It isn't clear how Rebecca is attracted to him, and even less clear what in Rebecca he loves. Perhaps I ought to read the subsequent books to find out?

I have not seen the movie as yet, though I am sure it is as good as my friends said it was. I mean - how difficult can it be to make a chick-flick out of a chick-lit? Add in tonnes of lovely clothes, shoes, bags and a gorgeous hunk - what can go wrong? I read somewhere that the movie is quite different from the book - but hey, tonnes of lovely clothes, shoes, bags and a gorgeous hunk: nothing can go wrong - no matter what.

In conclusion - nothing beats relaxing on the couch with an entertaining chick-lit. And I need to write about all the other reads that I'd read but not written about...

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Picture of a Thousand Expressions

Earlier in the week I noticed my friend had a new avatar - I found it such an adorably odd choice for an image used to represent oneself online, that I simply had to ask her - what was it that put that look on her face?

She said she was eagerly waiting for her claypot chicken rice, and it turned out the rice wasn't cooked. I am not sure I could follow the logic of the tale, or how it was possible that the rice turned out uncooked, assuming the chicken was cooked. Anyhow, it must had been the most awful thing - the most maddening, most depressing, most confounding - to had put on her face, this expression -

*Published with the permission of the person pictured*

If only I can make it into an emoticon! What sentiments I can express with it!

"My boyfriend never gave me flowers"
"I got some lovely flowers, but they wilted within 2 days"
"I am so broke I have to survive on bread till the end of the month"
"I hate ironing, but have to do it every weekend"
"I get caught in the jam every morning going to work"
"I get caught in the jam every evening coming home from work"
"I have to work..."


Hardly a thousand there, but you get the idea.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Mother's Day

Somewhen last week, I teased my mom. I said, Mother's Day is coming soon, and it's about time I went and bought a Mother's Day gift for myself.

What, she said, not for her?

Nope, I said.

But, she replied, she wanted a gift from me!

Well, I said, what about Grandma? Shouldn't she think about what she wanted to get Grandma?

She stays too far away, my mom said. I could hear the sulk in her voice. I knew should stop teasing then - before she wonders why she didn't just eat me the moment I was born, like my (late)hamster did her imperfect young. This terrible daughter!

But, of course I got her something - I always did (even if I didn't, I'd take her to a nice dinner...)

Tupperware for her to store unfinished food, for when I don't go home for dinner without informing her :P

I love my Mummy :)

Friday, May 1, 2009

She is...

She was the girl who once brought more eggs than needed for a cooking class at school, the surplus which broke in her bag during art class. Three of us - she, and two busybodies - fussed over the mess right there and then, while the art teacher was teaching, and were made to stand outside the classroom till the end of the class, as punishment for "not paying attention".

She was the girl who once, while walking away, turned to say goodbye to me. She took so long to say that goodbye, she wasn't looking where she was going for a step too many - and turned her head back in time to knock into a post. It was the first and last time I'd ever seen anyone walking straight into a post, thus far in my life.

She was the girl who once, when walking down a flight of narrow stairs, missed a step, fell, and brought at least 4 girls, who were walking just ahead of her, down with her. Yes, me included - we landed in a heap at the bottom of the stairs, laughing.

She was the girl who once found a kitten with one eye green and the other blue at school. We called it Michael J. Cat (Mikey for short), and kept it for several days before it ran away and disappeared.

She was the girl who shared laughter, tears, dreams, fears and aspirations with me through the past 18 years (and still counting). She is my bestfriend.

And she got married today!