Wednesday, December 29, 2010

If Love Were All

Fate may often treat me meanly
But I keenly pursue
A little mirage in the blue,
Determination helps me through.

Though I never really grumble,
Life's a jumble indeed
And in my efforts to succeed
I've had to formulate a creed.

I believe in doing what I can
In crying when I must
In laughing when I choose
Hey ho, if love were all
I should be lonely.

I believe the more you love a man,
The more you give your trust,
The more you're bound to lose.
Although when shadows fall
I think if only
Somebody splendid really needed me
Someone affectionate and dear
Cares would be ended if I knew that he
Wanted to have me near.

But I believe that since my life began
The most I've had is just a talent to amuse.
Hey ho, if love were all.
Hey ho, if love were all.

Music & Lyrics: Noel Coward

Friday, December 24, 2010

Blue Beauty


How lovely it'd be to wake up each morning to such delightful things!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Story of the Candy Canes


A Christmas gathering wouldn't be Chrismassy enough without them, so there were plentiful. Though I am not exactly a candy person, I can never resist when someone hands me one. So, there we were - food and candy canes aplenty.

"The very design of this candy has meaning," he who is knowledgeable said. He went on to explain that its shape looks like the staff of the shepherd, representing the Lord being mankind's shepherd. The thick red strip represents the blood of Jesus on the cross while the thin ones the whipping He endured. Even the flavour of the candy - mint - meant something.


We were quite impressed, for never before had we known that the simple festive treat could carry in it such profound symbols of Christianity.

"I thought they were just for fun," she said.

"No," he smiled, "This red one isn't. Now, this green and red one is just for fun."

And he laughed.


This post would have ended beautifully here, but I had to find out that Snopes.com had labeled this claim as false. Bummer.

Regardless, I think they're lovely and very becoming of this season they're a part of. After all, they're pretty, and they're sweet -

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Your Unconditional Love

You profess your love - you say you love me not for how I look, but for who I am. Good looks will one day fade, but your love will not fade with them, you insist. You pledge to love me wholly and unconditionally beyond when I turn old and grey.

You give your word with much ease, for I am young, hearty, cheerful and care-free; I amuse you with entertaining narration and stories; I make you laugh with witty remarks and light-hearted jokes; I fill your days with love, passion and delightful conversations. I lift your spirits when you're down, share your glee when you're joyful, and hold you close when you're discouraged. No, I do not doubt your sincerity when you gave your promise of unconditional love.

Yet, would you still love me when I am down, disheartened and passing my days in perpetual gloom? Would you still love me when I tire and no longer have the desire nor zest to constantly fill the silence between us? Would you still love me when I grumble, fret, cry, demand, scold or am being difficult? Would you still love me when you find that you cannot see any reasons I should be unhappy, yet I dwell continuously in senseless despair and disappointment? Would you still love me when I demand more than you are willing to give, ever? Would you? Could you honestly say your love would remain as strong and unwavering?

Is not then, my pleasant and buoyant disposition a condition for your love? My being always happy, content and agreeable? My never being weary of initiating and preserving communication? How then, is your love unconditional?

Do not profess, unless you are certain, for my heart would break.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Awful Songs

On the way back from dinner, I heard on the radio, an a cappella version of a well-known, well-loved song. Perhaps I haven't learned to appreciate this particular kind of music, but I found it really terrible - the vocals on the melody were boring, and the background singing of bah-dum-dum-dummms were sort of too much, kind of messy, and rather noisy. It is pretty incredible how this group of people managed to make a song bland and over-done at the same time. At the end of it, the DJ came on and said something along the lines of "... an amazing rendition of ..."

That was sooo far from amazing, I complained. Was she trying too hard to be politically-correct, polite, and/or courteous, or was she plain *ahem*... non-clever?

He laughed.

No, seriously, I insisted. If I had a radio station, I'd play all the awful songs there are out there, then have the DJs explain which aspects are bad, and why.

Still laughing, he said, in that case, no record labels would want me to play anything from them.

Then, I said, keeping themselves from getting airtime on my station ought to be strong motivation for them to release only the good stuff!

At that instant, the songs gave way to a commercial break.

An idea dawned to me! On my station, I said, I'd have commercials that tell listeners which products are bad, so the consumers can stop buying them! I'd also tell which products' official commercials are sneakily, deliberately misleading and why.

He laughed again.

What's so funny? Hmmmph!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Rain

It is pouring, and we've had heavy rain nearly every day for the past few weeks. It puts me in the mood for reminiscence and story-telling. I have in mind a rain-related one. So, here goes:

We were 17 years old when we organized our very own camping trip. There were just a handful of us in the committee, and nearly 40 girls under our care. I suppose being in an all-girls school made us believe we are every bit as good as the boys (and much better academically) and could handle the outdoors every bit as well. We managed the planning almost entirely on our own - the booking of the campsite in the middle of a forest reserve, the transportation to bring us there and back, the renting of tents, the preparation of food, and well, activities. We were excited; the girls were excited; and well, the excursion sort of turned out disastrous but in an extremely enjoyable manner. However, I hadn't planned to write about the entire two-day adventure (the post might get too long) - just one amusing part.

The campsite was a little clearing in the forest, just large enough. Some of us had, prior to that trip, learned to pitch tents - actually learned from professionals, while we were in another jungle the year or so before. We had four-man tents, so it was four girls pitching up each tent. Grappling with the frames and layers of fabric in the bright and sunny early afternoon was immensely fun. Amidst all the laughing and frolicking, (do not imagine cute, girly cadets, Reader, for girls who didn't go to school with boys never cared to appear feminine nor poised), some of my friends and I, the seniors, recalled that in addition to making sure the tents were secure and sturdy, we're supposed to dig trenches around them. I can't remember if anyone mentioned - but I remember clearly no one bothered. We were just content that the girls were cheery and obedient and the tents were properly erected, and went on to take care of lunch.

Then, it rained. It didn't just rain, it poured like the sky's been saving up just to amuse itself watching us scamper like frightened puppies into our tents. But something wasn't quite right inside - water collected all around us, and underneath the floor of the tents, so it was all soft, squishy and damp. As the ground turned soggier and the water level rose higher, it was evident that unless we did something, our tents with all our stuff in them would soon be flooded! It was then that we realised that that was the reason we're supposed to dig them trenches - so that when it rains, the water goes into the trench instead of into the tent!

We hurried our juniors into the shaded part of the campsite - a minimally-paved area with a roof - while we went to work. We didn't have any hoes, so we hacked at the ground around each tent the best we could using bits of twigs and whatever we could scavenge from the woods around us. It was still raining. We were panicky, anxious and excited all at once. Although we managed to save all the tents from being flooded, we were absolutely drenched and extremely dirty. In fact, we looked no better than a herd of buffaloes right after rolling about in mud, and we never had a better time in the entire trip. Somehow, there was a time in our lives when making mistakes, then working hard and getting soiled making things right was fun. We even felt sorry for the juniors because we enjoyed ourselves so tremendously while they stayed dry, out of the rain.

There. Of course, there are much more to be told than this episode in the rain and mud, but this suffices for now. How I miss the times when life was so simple - sadness was when friends slight me in moments of thoughtlessness; joy was toiling in the sun or rain with mates, their laughter ringing in my ears.

It is raining, still.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Mobile Post

It is funny how I'm willing to do the out-of-the-ordinary when there's an hour to spare and brunch takes less than half an hour to take, and I don't have a book to occupy my mind.

Well, it is not that there is anything wrong with mobile blogging - if there are applications for it, I'm sure there are people who do it regularly enough. Furthermore, I sort of like being the arrogant snob sitting in mamak stall, engrossed in doing "something" on my... ahem, smartphone.

On a serious note, I don't really enjoy composing using my Swype keyboard, no matter how cool it is. The proof-reading and editing is rather tedious.

So there - this post is written on and published entirely from my phone =)

Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.5

Monday, November 29, 2010

Pointless Rant

Sometimes, I really can't stand the way some people talk. In order to save myself from the mostly-insuppressible urge to tell them off, I'd have to stop focusing on the present and start thinking about something else. It is not that my mind doesn't drift off unintentionally during times I actually ought to be paying attention - but this has to be like, really making a conscious effort to not listen to the crap lest I should roll my eyes to the point of being noticed.

Some people are unable to make a point without twisting and turning the facts, or beating around the bush, or sounding as if they're trying too hard to pitch for something. Plus, at the same time they're irritating me with their fake smiles and rubbish talk, they're letting their phones go off, answering the calls, reading and replying SMSes, or just fiddling with their phones without the slightest regard to the propriety of any of it during a meeting. To me, it's simply RUDE. Period.

So, they might think we academicians are just pompous snobs who don't know much beyond our endless theoretical studies, who live in our own little worlds and are not the least acquainted with how the real world works. Well, fine. (I probably don't speak for all academicians, but) I like it that way. I do. In addition to being in academic, I'm also a (mostly unpublished) writer and an occasional (also unpublished) poet. Do you know how many little worlds of my own I live in? I have no time and no intention to linger in your "real" world.

There - call me whatever (arrogant, obnoxious, mental, or all of the preceding) you wish.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

My Good Roomee (Again)

Once more, I know I have one when -

I rattled on for a good part of half an hour about this horrible thing that happened to me. The words were tumbling forth in furious torrents, accented with fully-CAPPED phrases here and there.

She said, "Given your being so extreme when telling stories, I'm sure I shouldn't imagine it was really that bad."

Argh, but it was really bad! Fine, maybe not the-end-of-the-world bad. Does she have to know me so well?

She then said, "Come, roomee sayang you. *Hug Hug*".

Yes, I guess, regardless of all, she knew all along that all I needed was a lil' bit of attention and love. She knows me too well for my own good.

Yay, Roomee! =)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Ghost Pen

Some months ago, we ran into a time where we resorted to buying our own ink refills because they were almost never available amongst the stationery supply. At the shop in town I usually visit, there was an entire shelf of them, though looking a little different from those I'm accustomed to using. I checked to make sure they're for whiteboard markers and grabbed a couple without giving any further thoughts to the differently-coloured packaging.

When I started using my newly-purchased refill, I noticed that my marker's ink started fading - and I mean, the more ink I put into it, the more faded the writing appeared! It made no sense at all. Eventually, it was rendered totally useless, for the ink then appeared so light it was ghostly. I called it my Ghost Pen, and stopped using it.


It was then that I took some time to really look at the refill ink I bought. I noticed they were indeed meant for a different range of markers than those we've always used.




So, the difference is the ink being "alcohol-based" whereas my markers were simply... well, regular whiteboard markers, I suppose. I don't know what could be so disagreeable about alcohol-based ink with my markers, but somehow, when used together, they turn translucent. So, I was back to the running-out-of-ink predicament, plus I have bottles of ink I then had no use for.

I went to the shop again, and this time, made sure I got the right kind of ink. I also got a couple of alcohol-based markers, since, I figured, I already have the refill ink for them.




The cashier, scanning the bar codes of the items, gave me an odd look. "These refills are wrong for the pens," she told me, meaning to be helpful, I'm sure. I started saying, yes, I realise, but... and it dawned to me I really didn't want to have to tell her that the current purchase was to right a wrong I made the last time. I didn't think she'd be interested. Actually, I'm not sure you, Reader, are interested either.

And now I wonder what I should do with the one which has already turned into ghost...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

One Of Those Moments

I dragged myself out of bed much earlier than I would have liked, hurried through the daily grooming just to try to avoid the usual morning congestion. I took the simplest unhealthy breakfast of coffee and crackers, and I made it on time. It would be the fourth time I deliver the lesson. The very same lesson - the fourth time. The room was big and mostly unoccupied, for attendance was only about a third of the official number. Some of the lights wouldn't turn on and that had the room in a darkened bluish hue, coloured so by weak rays of the sun coming through the rather heavily-tinted windows.

The audience were quiet, perhaps intimidated, and not desirably responsive. I lifted my voice in a poor attempt to lift their moods and the general somberness. It didn't work. It was still too early and there were really far too few of them. I pressed on and persisted. The projector cast onto the screen a blank square of blue because the visualizer wouldn't turn on. The power button wouldn't work, the lights button wouldn't work. I fumbled with every button I could get my fingers on but it just wouldn't turn on. They were watching me like one would watch a TV programme.

In the instance I knew it wasn't ever going to work, it all came crashing in. The senseless frustration, exasperation, gloom, despair, resignation - the combination rushed over me like a wave, so overwhelming, in that moment, all I wanted to do was fling my pens away, strike a hard surface and utter profanities. I wanted, so much, to take the easy way out, get it done and over with! I simply couldn't go on anymore.

But I could. I shut my eyes, cleared my mind, and took several deep breaths. I opened my eyes, forced my hands to uncap a pen and started writing. It took a lot of effort. It took a lot, a lot more effort to speak and made sure it was in a cheerful, inviting tone. I was in a trance, mechanically obeying the instructions of the conscious mind. I could do it. So I could.

I have moments like that. I believe we all do. I am grateful I did not give in to emotional urges and ruin the session for myself and those who depended on me, for it didn't take too long thereafter for some to warm up, and thus, paid adequately off my perseverance. I am glad. Things are usually not so bad once you've gotten past the worst.

Now, I must rest, for I am unwell.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Spoilt

So, Bee Ree said JS will not disappoint us. Disappoint? I don't think that word should ever exist in the same fragment as his name.

He covered the meat in spices, marinated it overnight, then slow-roasted it over 9 hours. NINE hours. Just before dinner, he fired it up such that the skin crackled and crisped to perfection. It was perfection personified.

We were still thinking about it, looking at photos of it, and drooling over 'em, two days later. Shell Shell said we are all addicted to it. It was 12:30am on Monday night and Mee Mee and I were up, talking about it - fine hour to be flaming our greed and lust for it. She said over and over, that it would be quite a while before she could accept any other roast pork. I think everyone feels much the same.

And that was just Chef's Signature Roast Pork:


What about the Pasta that Chef is also very famous for?


What about these baked Root Vegetables?


And this?


This?


This!!!


And the incredibly awesome Banana Souffle(s):


Oh, yes - we were spoilt. We were spoilt silly. We were spoilt beyond help. Thank you sooo much for having us over and pampering us with great food and superb company. =)

For further reading:
http://cher-ry.blogspot.com/2010/11/dinner-with-roomies.html

Friday, November 5, 2010

Shoulder Injury

I pulled something (seriously, I don't know what) in or around my left shoulder joint about a month ago. I don't exactly know how or when - though my best guess is the day I attempted a bouldering route, and did a dynamic move (= a small jump on the wall) to get to an out-of-reach hold with my left hand. The left arm is obviously not strong enough to withstand such strain, and therefore, I think, that was the instant I sustained the injury. It is funny how one doesn't really feel the pain until the adrenaline rush is over - which is usually much later.

For three weeks I endured it - though not in stoic silence - thinking it would eventually go away. It didn't, and it frustrated some people around me because I kept complaining about this pain-in-my-shoulder, but did not take up any of their suggestions to see a doctor or apply compressions. It wasn't an intense, unendurable pain (which explains my initial apathy), though it sure was irritating and persistent.

It was when the pain started interfering with my life - I couldn't bend my arm backwards, lift it high, turn the steering wheel properly, or straighten it for certain yoga poses without feeling a somewhat sharp pain, and I daren't climb (!!!) - I decided I had to do something.

So, I started applying cold compression. The instructions on the freezable gel-pack say to apply within days of the injury. Well, too late for following that then.

I've been freezing the entire area around my left shoulder every night for a little more than a week now. If it is doing any good, the rate of recovery is so slow that I don't really notice it, although the pain does seem less severe (managed to go up the speed-wall last week somewhat pain-free). That, or I'm getting used to it such that I don't feel it so acutely anymore (ahem!).

Oh well, even if the cold isn't healing my injury, it's still fine, for once the gel-pack gets defrosted enough, I'd put it over my eyes instead. That's suppose to get rid of them eye-bags, isn't that? I'm looking forward to being sans eye-bags now! OK, even if that doesn't happen, it's still comfy to have the cool gel over them tired eyes.....

Finally, I can stop complaining; people around me can now heave sighs of relief!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Ideas, Anyone?

We - someone and I - need a song to sing for someone's wedding. It isn't easy looking for a suitable one as:

1. It must be a song about love, being in love:
I'd really prefer it if we don't sing about "you" specifically, because that's sort of like serenading just one in the couple, which, if you really think about it, is very odd. For example, we considered "Close To You" by Carpenters - it's a who-wouldn't-like-it song, obviously, but it's lyrics are basically praising just the guy. Well, also, we test-sang it in karaoke, and it sounded boring. (Fine... we're not as talented as Karen was)

2. If it is a duet, both voices must be of about the same range:
Since two female voices will be singing, it'll be awfully weird if one had to sing the manly man's part. My duet partner has an amazing range, and can go pretty low when she wants to; I suppose I could sing low too, but it still remains that both of us will make a very odd-sounding baritone.

3. If it is a solo, it must have a nice version sung as a duet:
We are not pros. We are not formally-trained in song arrangements - we do not know how to come up with harmonies unless we have a reference. Simply taking turns singing several lines at a time, and then the chorus together is so cacat. No, we'll not settle for a solo for two unless we can sing at least the chorus as a two-part harmony.

4. It must be one simply-accompanied:
We want a song with minimal music accompaniment - something simple and beautiful. It is not that we do not want the music to outshine our vocals (it probably will, any ways...) It's just that we'll have only a 3-piece band backing us up. We can't do any songs that would sound good only when sung with a 5-piece rock band, or a 60-piece orchestra, or a 30-strong choir doing backup vocals. A quietly-moving, lyrically-meaningful and sentimental piece would be perfect!

5. It is best if it isn't an over-sung piece:
Well, such as Shania Twain's "From This Moment On", Bryan Adams and Barbra Streisand's "I Finally Found Someone" (not that I don't absolutely love it to bits), Ronan Keating's "When You Say Nothing At All". We want a song that is ideal for a wedding, not a song that is expected to be played at a wedding. Of course, the reader would have also noticed that the examples mentioned don't fulfill points (2) and (3) as well.

And I wonder why we find it so hard to decide on what to sing...
*arghhh*

Monday, November 1, 2010

Encounters

The young lady was standing facing the lifts when I got there. I thought I was quiet, wearing sneakers instead of my usual heels, but she must've heard me, for she turned. She gave me the most radiant of smiles, a friendly nod, and said "Hi". I didn't expect her to greet me, and I certainly didn't expect her to start talking to me.

I was a little taken aback when she asked me where I was from. I thought maybe I'd misheard the question, for she spoke with a very thick accent, but I answered her all the same. I said I was from here. She looked surprised, asked again to confirm that I was Malaysian, and then said I don't look like a Malaysian. I think she must've meant Malay, for she then asked if I was Chinese. In return for her friendly effort in starting a conversation, I asked her where she was from. Instead of answering directly, she flashed me a cheeky grin and asked me to guess! Where did I think she came from? Which country did I think she looked like she belonged?

I was actually thinking of an answer when an upward-bound lift arrived - she was waiting going up and I was waiting to go down - and she had to take it. She stepped into it and turned to face me again.

"Libya," she said, "I'm from Libya."

Generally, I do not appreciate strangers talking to me (but especially asking what I deem very personal questions such as my name, my occupation, my age etc.) but this was so different. I marvel at the ease with which she struck up the light-hearted, casual and rather impersonal conversation, which didn't make me feel the least awkward or uncomfortable.

She was a stark difference from a family of four I shared the same lift with later. I held the door open while man and wife waddled their way in, lugging bags of groceries and two boisterous little boys; I held the door open again 3 floors later while they heaved their way out - and did not get as much as a nod of acknowledgment, nor a smile of appreciation. Of course, I would never expect anything for merely pressing the "Doors Open" button in the lift, but outright discourtesy gets on my nerves.

These - all within the span of an evening - reminded me of something Papa always said:

There are all kinds of people in this world - and you can choose the kind of person you want to be.

Wasn't he simply the wisest?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

By Any Other Words...

"He would be out of his depth in a parking lot puddle."
"A gross ignoramus - 144 times worse than an ordinary ignoramus."
"When his IQ reaches 50, he should sell."
"A photographic memory but with the lens cover glued on."
"A prime candidate for natural deselection."
"Donated his brain to science before he was done using it."
"If you give him a penny for his thoughts, you'd get change."
"It's hard to believe that he beat 1,000,000 other sperms to the egg."
"One neuron short of a synapse."
"Some drink from the fountain of knowledge;..... he only gargled."


... still means stupid.

(from www.Joke-of-the-Day.com)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Evil

You think me evil, don't you? You see yourself the perpetual helpless victim wronged by me in every sense imaginable. You play the mistreated, the oppressed, the hurt, and name me the vicious one before the world. You deliberately misled all your readers when you wrote that very nasty post about me. Do you think the fact that I did not object or retaliate automatically makes your unjust, baseless accusations valid? I have had enough! I will be silent and impassive no more!

So, you like calling me evil, don't you? To make an honest woman out of you, I shall be evil! I'll start with your little friend -


I don't care how cute you are - submit to me!

Submit to me, all of you!


What is this I see? So, you've got yourself an impressive new toy, haven't you? Did you not claim that I seized your laptop and declared it mine? Well, so I shall! This, too, is mine now.


Mine, mine, mine!

Yes, you should be afraid. Be very, very afraid!


*evil laugh*

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Good Roomee

I know I have one when -

I said, "I hate this guy!"
She said, "I don't know the story so well, but I also hate him."

She knows I am worth siding and standing up for, even when she isn't sure what the situation is. Yay, Roomee! =)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Bat Episode

My mom pointed to the air-conditioning unit in our living room. Guess what's there, she said. From where I was, it was right across the room and being myopic and not wearing specs, I only saw a dark little blob of something at the top.

A frog, I said disinterestedly.

She raised her voice a little to tell me how ridiculous my guess was, for how could a frog jump that high. Then she said it's a bat - probably the same one which flew into our house on a couple of occasions previously. I remember encountering a black winged-creature flying around the place late one night, some weeks ago. I thought it was a bird, got out of its way and went to sleep without paying it any more attention.

Well, said my mom, get it out of house.

I really didn't think it was necessary to do anything, for the little fella looked comfy and contented where it was. Furthermore, it had wings, and I really don't like having panicky things with wings aimlessly swooshing around me. Some readers might remember the incident of the unwelcome visitor in my office.

My mom, however, insisted. What if it died up there, she said. I really didn't think it would die, resting (or sleeping) on top of the air-cond, but - well, getting a little guy out of the house isn't too much to do, if it pleases Mommy, so fine, I said, I'll do it. I'll get my man to fetch the tallest step-ladder in the house and I'll prod it with a broomstick until it flies out, I said.


Now, Reader, you may be wondering why I didn't just tell the man to do everything. I have a fear of heights so I definitely can't be looking forward to climbing up that ladder; if the bat took off in a haste and flew towards me, I'd be hit right in the face and may even fall off the ladder - I can't want that as well. By logic and reasoning, anyone would gladly let men take on such assignments. Well, my logic goes a little differently: if I fell and hurt myself, the man is strong enough to pick me up, dump me in a car and drive me to the hospital. On the other hand, if he fell, I wouldn't be able to do the same - I'd have to resort to calling for an ambulance and perhaps be told there are none, or to pay RM500 for it to come, or to wait 85mins and then have the undertakers arrive before the ambulance does. No, better by far for the person who has the ability to save to be safe. When I was in university, I once locked myself out of my third-floor hostel room. To get back in, I decided to "borrow" a couple of pieces of scaffolding from the nearby construction site, and climb in to my room through the window. Some friends helped with the "borrowing" and setting up of the metal frames, and a security officer came by to offer help. My friends suggested I let him climb instead. I declined - he was a middle-aged man with a belly, while I was much younger, fitter and smaller in size; I didn't want him getting hurt falling or whatever, because of me. That, and I really didn't like the thought of him stepping all over my study table which was right beside the window. So I climbed, despite my fear. Logic supersedes phobia. Pardon me, for I have digressed.


My strategy was to get the little fella to bite onto something - and then haul it up and bring it out. I remember rather vividly an encounter with a baby bat in primary school. My primary school was situated on top of a hill, surrounded by wild trees and bushes, and all their usual inhabitants. The baby was sprawled on the ground outside the canteen, and being curious, some of us prodded it with a twig. The tiny thing attacked the twig viciously, caught it between it's sharp teeth and held on tenaciously. It wouldn't let go even when we lifted the twig, and with it along, clean off the ground. It bit till the twig was broken in two. We left it alone thereafter. Come to think of it, it might not have been a baby after all... I only assumed it was a baby because it was so small. Anyway, pardon me for I have digressed yet again.

So, I climbed up the ladder, prodded the fella with the end of a cane, taped to a mop-stick, and hoped it'd bite and not let go till I'd gotten it safely out. But it didn't. Several times it bared its cute little fangs and let out ferocious little squeaks - no, that really wasn't as oxymoronic as it sounded - the bat was really quite intimidating, even in all its tininess. Right, maybe only to me. Anyhow, though it bit the cane a few times, it didn't take a solid hold of it with its mouth. It took me quite a while to get it to cling on - using its claws. When I finally lifted it off the air-cond and got ready to climb down the ladder, the man stopped me.

Wait, wait! he said, he wanted to take a photo first.

I don't blame him, for the bat now clung to the cane on both its hind legs, and hung upside down, with it's wings wrapped around its body. It was beautiful. Absolutely stunning. I paused mid-step and hurried him.

He rushed to get his phone and just as he held it up, the bat launched into flight! It flew back and forth and all around over and over! I was still perched precariously high up on the ladder, terrified to death that it might crash into me or attack me (and all sorts of silly thoughts like that). I spent probably a good part of a minute screaming at the top of the ladder, then recovered enough sense to jump down (yes, I jumped!) and then spent the remaining portion of the minute screaming behind a sofa. My mom, who was upstairs, came running down, and told me to hush it or the neighbours might think something awful actually happened.

I don't really know what happened while I was cowering and busy being freaked out - somehow, the bat fell to the ground after a while and was swept out of the house by the man! Finally!

Please, please... I beg you... don't ever, ever come back again... please!

But it did... it flew right back into the house today. I can't be sure if it's the same fella, but it sure looks it.


It's still clinging onto my mom's curtain. I'm wondering if I should gently "coax" it to leave, and I'm wondering if drama is going to repeat itself...

Lead-Climbing

Now, lead-climbing different from top-roping in that while the rope is securely fastened through an anchor at the top of the route for the latter, the lead climber has to clip the safety rope to quickdraws spaced several feet apart along the route as he goes. It is a lot more dangerous, and definitely not for beginners.

Here's why: in top-roping, as I'd written earlier, the rope is secured to the climber, goes all the way up through the anchor at the rop of the route, and down again to the belayer. As the climber ascends, the belayer keeps the rope taut (or tight, as the term is) by pulling it through the belay device. If the climber slips and falls, he doesn't really fall much, unless the rope is very slack, or if the belayer lets go. For lead-climbing, however, the rope usually is quite slack - for the belayer needs to feed the climber rope as he goes up, and if the climber falls, he falls the length of the rope measured from his current position to the last quickdraw anchor, times two, plus the stretch of the rope. That's quite a long way to fall.

When some buddies at the place we climb suggested I try lead, I laugh it off without thinking twice. I was not nearly good nor experienced enough for it. Mr Expert once said it is best to start lead-climbing only after a year or two of consistent climbing/training, and I've not taken up this sport for much more than 6 months now. I've just starting doing some top-roping recently, and am still getting past my issue with heights by not looking down. No, I think I might be ready in another half a year, perhaps.

No, that's rubbish, she said. She insisted I make myself ready by next month! Again, I laughed it off. I wouldn't have dismissed her that lightly had I known that she and another friend were well-equipped, prepared and willing to show us the basic stuff - on that day itself. I guess Mr Guitarist Extraordinaire's charm did play a part in securing this very kind and generous offer, but climbers are generally a very friendly and extremely gracious lot. It is not uncommon that when solving a bouldering problem, strangers just get together to discuss strategies, suggest moves and help each other. Of course, after the first encounter, we'd no longer be strangers to each other (even if we might not know everyone's name). The community there is that great.

So, back to our very first lead-climbing lesson. We had to learn the right way to clip the rope onto the quickdraws. We had to learn to do it steadily, swiftly and to avoid back-clipping. I also had to learn to clip just the rope, not my finger along with it. Well, yes, that was embarrassing.

That wasn't so hard, I thought.

Now, let's see you try an easy route on an actual lead wall, they said, presently. Is this actually happening? They must mean the Guitarist, I thought. He's the one who lifts weights, studies climbing theory and practices climbing moves even when he's not on a wall; he's the one in good shape, has excellent endurance and obviously - balls. I'm just a scared, little (physically, that is) girl. They must mean him. Or so I thought.

It was a non-intimidating 5a route, with mostly nice-to-hold jugs. As a safety measure, our Teacher/Belayer clipped the rope to the first quickdraw for him, so it would be like top-roping until he climbed past that point. And up he went. The climbing was like a piece of cake for him, really, though the clipping not so much. It would take some getting used to - clipping while hanging on for dear life on just one pumped-out, tired, aching hand. For a first-timer, he did very well - totally deserved the cheers and applause he got when he got back down.

Then, they turned to me. My turn, they said excitingly. I did not respond immediately. It didn't look too difficult, and I was more than eager to try it for myself, but I was scared (yea, what's new?). I glanced at the bleeding graze on the back of my left hand - got that conquering the speed-wall earlier - and... I was scared.

Teacher/Belayer announced he'd clip the first 3 quickdraws for me (it means if I were to fall before that, I'd be perfectly fine; if I were to fall after that, I'd be far enough from the ground to not be seriously hurt). A part of me was very glad for the added safety measure; another part was a little indignant - what, he needed only one to ensure he wouldn't kill himself, and I needed three? Fine, that thought was totally irrational, I know.

So there I was - properly fastened to the rope, ready to go.

Like I mentioned earlier, the route was an easy 5a, so climbing wasn't that big a problem, even for me. There was only this one stupid hold that was 3 inches out of my reach. Tip-toeing on 1 foot brought me an inch short of it. Bending my knees and then hurling myself upwards to it got my fingers around the edge, which was effectively like a tiny pincher. There was no way I could haul myself up, clinging on only that "pincher" edge. Several attempts, an accidental fall and two scraped hands later, I changed strategy. Dynamic moves are not for the vertically-challenged and always-scared like me. I locked my hands on the hold I was clinging to, smeared on the wall with one foot just enough to get the other one to high-step onto the other hold (that was at chest-level, mind you!) and got to the stubborn one. My entire hand on the entire rock - not just the edge!

Finally! I felt the need to scold it while I was at it - silly, but so satisfying! So, apart from the little drama there, the climbing wasn't that hard.

I didn't feel the clipping was that hard either. I don't remember having to be reminded about not back-clipping, though I probably can't trust my memory to be accurate, being there at the time, feeling anxious, excited and thrilled at the same time. The Guitarist said that for my first (the route's 4th) clip, I attempted to pull the wrong end of the rope; they were calling out to me to correct me, and I simply appeared confused. I don't deny to be often in the confused state when I'm in the middle of getting to the next hold, or thinking about how to get there. There was once, while I was struggling to traverse the expert bouldering wall, he tried to help by suggesting "Right hand on the brown rock!" and I responded with "Which right hand?" when I really meant to ask him which brown rock. Anyhow, even if I didn't ask the wrong question, it would have been a stupid one all the same, for there was only one rock within the reach of my hand that was brown. Anyway, I digressed - so, I managed to complete that 5a lead route.

And I finally understood why people do lead-climbing although they might not be technically sound enough for it. Being more challenging and risky than the regular top-rope also meant that was way more fulfilling when successfully completed. I believe it was reckless of me to have done it knowing I am not quite ready - but gosh, I would so do it again! Of course, that, only if I have experienced, expert supervision and guidance, like we did this time. I am sometimes insane, but I do not have a death wish.

To end this long post:
Anyone who finds it hard to believe that climbing is addictive should just try it. Don't worry, for unless you're doing it professionally, your personal accident insurance will cover you in case anything, erm... happens. I know - I've inquired.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Being Girly

So, I'd decided the kind of pouch I'd want for my phone. I'd decided the printed design must be simple, and I do not want letters or cute stuff on it. No brand names and no silly words or grammatically-wrong phrases; no cute kitties/doggies/piggies etc., and no furballs/feathers/bling-blings either.

I looked at the lot of them there. I skipped the entire "cute" section, and focused only on the relatively-bland. All the brightly-coloured ones have at least the brand name visible on the front! I looked at one; I looked at another, and another. I couldn't decide. The only ones without letterings were a (very) dull grey-green with several dull horizontal lines across it, and a sleek black one with a red and yellow stripes at the top.

I picked up the black one. The reds and yellows were practically screaming at me.

"What do you think?"

"I would choose a bright colour, if I were you"

I would too, if they didn't have the brand printed all over them. I absolutely abhor "wearing" names. I held the black one in my hand still.

"It looks very manly. Come on, you're a girl! You should choose something that is more girly!"

Oh, she is so right. After all, I really do like the bright red ones. So, she helped me picked one on which the words were not too obvious, and there! My phone is no longer without its very own smart-looking pouch!


Last week, Bee Ree asked that I write about my phone. Well, I would, really! I would want to write all about how incredibly amazing it is - all the wonderful things it can do thanks to a host of brilliant programmers who filled the Market with truly awesome applications, and how by carefully choosing the best of these to have on it makes it almost smarter than I am...

However, to be consistent with the theme of this post, the appropriate bimbo-ish thing to do is simply posting a photo of the actual device. I am not pretty enough to be a bimbo, so here's my Teddy posing with it:


Bee Ree, you like?

Well, truth is, I'm not trying to be girly. I'm just too lazy to like, really write... =P

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Tragedy and Comedy

For the past several weeks I had been extremely occupied - as should be evident by the few short posts that scream "she's too busy to really write something, yet she still wants to!" I had been so occupied that I couldn't rush back in time for yoga classes several times, and had to ask for a month's break from my teacher.

That's fine, she said, but I must practice at home. I was reluctant to promise that I would, knowing I would most likely break it should I make it, but she was insistent. She said it was important that I do at least several sets of the Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation), if nothing more. I said I will.

I didn't of course - until last night. It was fortunate I didn't say I would do it daily, or even weekly, for that would have meant I'd not kept my word. Lame as it is, I figured if I'd done it once, I'd done it as I said I would.

So, I started with 8 sets of the Sun Salutation. He sat facing his laptop, and smirked at me when he thought I wasn't looking. I moved on to the Trikonasana.

"This the L-Shape pose?"

I can't be certain if I was more amused or annoyed. "No," I said, "it's the Triangle Pose."

I moved on to more poses.

"What is this?"

"Warrior I."

A minute later -

"What is this?"

"Warrior II."

It is not customary to talk during yoga, and I should have told him so when I had the chance. I guess I was a little full of myself, and wanted to show off some. Not a wise inclination, as I was soon to find out.

"This is Warrior III."

"Ah, OK."

"What other poses would you like to see?"

He thought for a moment. "The Corpse Pose!" and he grinned. I scowled.

I showed him the Garudasana. "This is the Eagle Pose."

"No claws? Shouldn't the Eagle Pose come with legs extended like claws ready to strike?" and he laughed.

I scowled again.

"This is the Tree Pose," I lifted a leg into the Vrksasana. I wobbled a little; I wobbled a little more; I fell out of balance and landed back on both feet.

"The tree just got chopped down!" he laughed again, very heartily. "Timber!"

My tragedy is his comedy. Isn't this how it's always been? Oh, well...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Scars

STOP CHILD PROSTITUTION!

That's the message a friend wants the world to get when he wrote and recorded this song. Download it here. In his own words, feel free to pirate it. Share the message with as many as you can.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Bored


I'm bored. I'm so bored. What are you looking at? Have you never seen a bored lil' doggie?


Stop staring at me. Stop calling me cute. Stop taking photos of me. I'm so tired of people. You all have nothing better to do!

What, you are still staring at me? You are so irritating! Get a life!


*curls up into a ball*
Go away!

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Nest


I think it looks a sorry excuse for a nest, and I wonder if the little ones will be warm enough when they hatch...

Friday, September 3, 2010

Monday, August 30, 2010

Silly Little Things Make Me Happy

The lady introduced herself and explained that she would begin her floral arrangement demo shortly. Being somewhat interested in arranging, I went towards the stage area. It'd only started so there were just a few of us there. She said her name again, and explained the reason she repeated it was that she would be asking some questions during the demo, and would give goodies to audience members who could answer. At first, that didn't get much extra enthusiasm from the few around there.

Presently, while working on her first arrangement of artificial orchids in a transparent bowl, she asked the very predictable first question, which was what her name was. For a moment, there was silence, and then, an aunty awkwardly raised her hand and answered it. She was given a floral arrangement booklet and a little packet of what she called "flower food". I thought it was some sort of fertilizer for flowering plants.

As she continued working, she asked a couple more questions and gave out more goodies. More people came by and those there got more eager. She finished with the orchids, put them aside, told the crowd they could take photos of it later if they wished, and began her next piece. She was going to show us how she'd tie a simple hand-bouquet using a spiral sth sth method (wasn't listening that hard). She picked up a handful of roses from a pail she kept next to her work-table. There were audible audible gasps of admiration from all who were watching.

She kept talking as she worked. I could feel the other aunties' increased eagerness to claim the work-in-progress we're all feasting our eyes on. Yes, of course I wanted it too. I didn't need any other reason than it was pretty. It was pretty and I wanted it.

She asked her question and hands shot up, mine included. I was sure she couldn't tell who raised her hand first (I use "her" for though I can't be absolutely certain, I don't think any men were crazy enough to do the same) She stared for a few seconds at all the gleaming faces before her, and decide I was the one. I got the answer, and I got the bouquet and a cute lil' packet of "flower food", and along with 'em, applause from the others. It was pretty!


It being handed to me sparked off so much desperation from the crowd that certain individuals began displaying distasteful behaviour. She went on with her demo. She was talking about representing Malaysia in a floral expo in Japan. A girl next to me turned to me, bent unreasonably close for a stranger, and asked "Where was the exhibition?"

I was taken aback by her suddenness and rudeness. I gave her a half-frown "What?" She turned her attention back to the stage, completely ignoring my reply. A little while later, she turned to me again and repeated her question, just as rudely.

"Japan," I answered, giving her a full-blown frown that she didn't at all register, and proceeded to take a step away from where she was standing. By then, the lady on stage had started working on a huge bunch of hydrangeas. She made known that she would give the completed bouquet away too. That girl next to me wanted it so much she practically looked as if she was ready to pounce on anyone who dared stand in her way. She stepped right up to my side and rubbing my shoulder, said "You help me, OK?"

No, not OK, I thought. Firstly, I didn't even know her. Secondly, I know she want it badly, but so did everyone else standing there. I can't help feeling she ought to just do the same as the rest of us - enjoy the demo and if she knew the answer to the question, raise her hand like a civilized person would. If she got it, she got it; if she didn't, was the world going to end? I gave her a half-hearted smile. I admit, I wouldn't have minded "helping" her, if she was at least more polite. As the bouquet grew more beautiful, she grew more desperate. "You must help me, OK?" she repeated twice or thrice more. I took two more steps away from her, but she somehow managed to knock her arm against mind when she raised it even before a question was actually asked. I don't think she answered the question correctly, or at all, but the lady said she'd give her the bouquet anyway.

Had quite enough, I thought. I walked away at that instance; for a moment I felt the strong urge to go into a pharmacy, get the strongest hand sanitizer I could find, and rub it all over my shoulder and arm which she touched!

Pardon my digression in this otherwise-positive post. Freaky girl aside, I felt delighted, gleeful, and very much like the way I did during the cupcake incident. It was really a trivial little thing, but it made me so happy! The pruned stems were exposed so the blooms would probably not last the day, but they made me happy! As it was then, I walked around the mall holding the lovely bouquet, getting stares and sometimes, smiles from strangers, feeling the weirdness and reeling in it. However, unlike the cupcake time, no one actually stopped me to ask where I got it. I suppose they only wondered what this fella did that was so bad that he had to buy her flowers. Since I did not get to repay the lady's generosity then, here goes - click here for the company's website.

I did not really check the "flower food" out till later; it turned out to be something that one can put into the water one puts flowers in, to make them last longer.


My most recent batch of roses lasted almost 2 weeks in that little vase, filled only with plain tap water, which I changed every day. The next time I get my hands on fresh ones, I'd be sure give 'em this "flower food" and see how much longer they will last.

Till the next time, then!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Grateful

You said -

I know you can do it. You've always been the smarter one of us.

I never thought of it that way. I have been around long enough and seen enough of the depth and breadth of intelligence to be aware that I am not really that smart; I'm sure you know it too, but that never changed the way you thought of me.

I marvel at how much confidence you have in me, and how much you believe in my abilities and determination. You never once stop believing in me even when I have stopped believing in myself. You are sure I have the strength to overcome all challenges and adversity even when I feel I am all drained-out. You are constant and unwavering in your love and support for me. You have always stood by me despite my eccentricity, excessive use of sarcasm and inclination to give in to the horrifying temper I never seem to be able to completely rid myself of.

I realise how lucky I am, and I am grateful I had you in my life all these years. I am doubly grateful knowing I will still, and always have you with me hereafter.

You'll have me too. Oh, and I'm sorry about the time I rode so closely to the row of parked cars, and caused your knees to knock into one of them which caused you to fall off my bicycle onto the road...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Top-Roping

Reader, if you knew beforehand that I, like (I believe) so many others, suffer from a fear of heights, you would wonder why I chose to get addicted to wall-climbing. Well, for the record, one doesn't choose one's addiction. One can choose to stop being addicted, but one definitely doesn't choose to get addicted in the first place. Perhaps one of the reasons I enjoy climbing is the same as that for my love for martial arts - it is as much an art as it is a sport - and there are no balls and no running involved. I can't do any sports with balls and I can't run. Actually, I do not expect that to make sense to anyone.

So, I have always had a fear of heights - for as far back as I can remember. Ever since I was a little girl, if ever I was in a high place and chanced to look down, my head would swirl, my legs turn wobbly and my heart race. The time I had to get across the canopy walkway at FRIM, I held tightly to the ropes on both sides, held my breath, and staggered all the way. The times my bestfriend and I took the cable car - once at Genting, and once to Sentosa Island in Singapore - we held tightly on to each other and closed our eyes. When I was in college, I once was reckless enough to try to conquer this fear by sitting on the balcony wall of my third-floor apartment, legs hanging down on the outside. What a stupid and futile idea it turned out. It was great for storm-watching, though, for while focusing on bolts of lighting in all their brilliance and magnificence in the darkened sky, I'd not be looking down, or remembering how high I was from the ground. However, even if I wasn't stopped by a grumpy, scolding security guard after several "attempts", I doubt it'd have helped me overcome my phobia.

I started off at the relatively-low bouldering walls - perhaps just about three times my height. Even that I always kept as close to the thickly-padded ground as I could, traversing the walls from end-to-end most of the time. When I have to climb upwards, either for attempting a route or attempting to get numb to the height, I make it a point not to look down. Once I'd reach the topmost rock, usually at the completion of a route, my hands would be trembling - I know not from exertion or nervousness. From there, I'd always try to climb down a little before letting go. It's been now several months of climbing and falling off, and I still feel no more immune to the height as when I first started. Perhaps I am better, perhaps I am not as scared, perhaps... but I do not feel it.

Such then, was I really ready to attempt to climb top-rope? The walls were high and very intimidating. But, if I do not try without being sure that I was ready, how would I ever know if I was ready? Would I then, ever be ready? After all, I'd be safely strapped in a harness, tied securely to a rope, and held on to by a trustworthy belayer, so why not? I was confident I could do it if I could do it without looking down.

I do not quite remember my first top-rope climb. A friendly and generous fellow climber offered to belay us, and we climbed without following a specific route. The second time we did, we had the Expert of the expert climbers belaying and guiding us. We managed a 5c route, followed by a 6a. I didn't know how I managed - for it was impossible not to look downwards at all. We'd have to be looking at where we're stepping, in the least. I guess hanging on to the holds, figuring how to get to the next one, actually getting to it, fighting the fatigue and striving to complete the route did occupy the mind enough to take if off its fear. If that wasn't enough, the sense of achievement at having completed a route was undoubtedly intoxicating.

Perhaps it didn't feel right accepting charity belaying all the time, perhaps a climber isn't quite complete without having learned all the different aspects of climbing... and so he persuaded the Expert, ever generous with his knowledge and ever willing to impart it, to teach us the proper techniques of belaying. So there we were that day, knocking ourselves out at the top-roping walls. I climbed four routes that day - more than I'd ever done previously.

I finally realized that my issue with heights isn't really a deterrent to my scaling up a wall. Each time, it was when I've reached the top that I was suddenly seized by panic, knowing I would then be lowered down. It was the going down sensation that I find very scary. I'd cling on so tightly to the rope that if it could complain, it certainly would. I'd steal downward glances and get more anxious each time, for the ground always seemed still so far away. Yes, the descent always felt like it would go on forever. I can't be sure now, but I think I might even have had held my breath all the way down.

After several climbing and belaying exercises, we did our final route for that day. It was one of the two on the speed-climbing wall which was 20 or 25 meters high - I can't recall exactly.


Mr Expert, our coach for the day, said he would be the belayer for both of us, for a reason he would only tell after we'd climbed. Right, that was a situation where it wasn't wise to go with "ladies first" so I let him take the first turn. The route was "easy" in that there was only one along the trail, so the mind didn't need to constantly figure out the next hold. It was at the same time challenging for the holds were spaced quite apart, and it was a very long climb to the top. He managed it elegantly, in his great form and endurance, without stopping to rest or falling off. Once the route was completed, Mr Expert revealed what he wanted us to experience - he released the rope such that he was lowered at an alarming speed. Yes, our macho fellow climber, Mr Guitarist Extraordinaire, was so taken by surprised that an unintended squeal escaped his lips. We needed to experience, and possibly get used to, the "feeling of falling", Mr Expert Coach said.

Then, it was my turn. Going up wasn't too hard, considering the holds were rather big. For me and my extreme lack of height, though, some parts were really quite a stretch, and by the time I was two-thirds up the wall, my arms were so ready to give out. However, with support and lots of encouragement from Mr Expert Coach, I made it to the top. The moment I got both hands to the final hold, I panicked with tenfold intensity at the prospect of having to experience the "fall-like" going down. I actually turned my face downwards, called and begged him not to lower me at high-speed. I was so paralysed with fear of the impending descent I froze in my harness. I was still hanging onto the rock with both my hands, as if I was hanging on for dear life.

I knew I had to let go - well, apart from hearing voices from below telling me to let go - I knew I had to let go or I'll be stuck there. So I let go, and grabbed the rope. Then, I started falling. I knew I wasn't really falling, but it was the closest thing, and it was endless! I was aware I had curled my body and closed my eyes, and was squealing all the way down. One part of me, perhaps the little part still sane and sensible, was aware that someone was laughing, and quite loudly too. By the time I reached the floor, I was so shaken I couldn't stand. I crumbled down in a heap. The sane, sensible part then registered laughing, cheering and applause. I appreciate the encouragement from the regulars, but at the time, was totally unable to react to it. In fact, I was too incoherent to even speak when I was spoken to - for a while. And I was trembling such that I couldn't undo the figure-of-8 knot that kept the rope fastened to my harness.

Now, thinking back - it was all pretty awesome, really! I wish I hadn't embarrassed myself being that scared, but it was a truly eye-opening experience, to say the least. I can't tell if I would become less scared with more training, but there is always hope!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Long Day Ahead

It was yet early. It was cool, the air was fresh, the sun's rays warm. Balancing folder, book and materials on my arm, I stepped out. The corridor was bright and bare. The walls, though not much past a decade old, looked wan and worn. There were scattered pools of water on the floor below where the ceiling leaked. At the part of a pillar where ran a constant trickle of water from one of the many leaks, green moss grew. Occasionally, the drip of droplets broke the morning stillness.

The journey down two flights of stairs was without encounters. The steps, perhaps not quite wide enough, perhaps sometimes slippery, proved a precarious path for someone like me. Spots of discolouration and permanent stains visible here and there on them. The pale beige railing, scratched and chipped in places, showed patches of the darker shade of the layer of paint beneath. Out of the corner of my eyes, I caught a glimpse of a friendly face at a distance. He saw me too. I was thankful for the sweet, dazzling smile he gave, for it somewhat lifted a little off the impending gloom of that day.

Stepping into the corridor of the other wing, I felt intensely the stark difference in temperature. In that early hour, there were few about; the fully-blasting air-conditioner combined with low lighting made a very bleak picture, tinged in a bluish hue. Apart from the low hum of cold air blowing out of the vents, it was hushed; my heels made distinct clacks with each step I took. The first room I passed, I saw just one person - the one who would be teaching. There, in the semi-darkness, he sat - how forlorn and pitiful, I thought. How deplorable times have become, that he who made it on time sat alone in an empty room, accompanied only by the unoccupied chairs, waiting for those upon whom he would impart knowledge.

I passed two more rooms to mine - it's just as empty. I stepped in, and hoped the wait would not drain too much of my patience, for the longest day of my week had just started.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Need You Now

By Lady Antebellum, in Simlish!

Pisha plurba mimmlers
Scabbled ooba rowza flobe
Reek-a furba flozark
Yaka feenip oonamobe

Immawumba eefle eeba kloosha mibe
Fromeena kappa laza tibe

Yassa quirler appa wub
Ya mala nobe
Emma neeba zow
Sibby ooba kaw
Bidda loxaw kidrow
Emma neeba zow
Yema da nooha yakadooba wow
washa neeba zow

Amooda shaba wixie
Kasta lukimazy doe
washa vooka swimpling
nimba wavoo dinza foe

Immawumba eefle eeba kloosha mibe
Fromeena kappa laza tibe

yassa quirler appa wub
Ya malippa drelk
emma neeba zow
Sibby ooba kaw
Bidda loxaw kidrow
Emma neeba zow
Yema da nooha yakadooba wow
washa neeba zow

issa drabba hulkin fleena timbadal

yassa quirler appa wub
Ya mala nobe
emma neeba zow
Sibby ooba kaw
baya malippa drelk
Emma neeba zow
Yema da nooha yakadooba wow
washa neeba zow

washa neeba zow

Oh nooboo wa neeba zow!


Reader, do you know that I've always said "bye bye" to my roomees in Simlish ever since we got addicted to The Sims ages ago?

We should so learn to sing this one!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

My Name is Aram

The first story I'd read of this brilliant collection of stories was The Circus. I loved (and still love) it - it tells of how the young boy Aram and his friend ran off to the circus whenever it came to town, despite being punished for it afterwards, every time. The writing style is all at once casual, bluntly comical, and very affecting. I read it out of an anthology, and had, ever since, wanted to get my hands on the book itself.

For years I scoured - the bookstores in the days sans Internet shopping; the online bookstores in later times - I never saw it physically on any shelves, and it was out of stock for the longest time on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. I managed to get a William Saroyan anthology at Kinokuniya, but not his (arguably) most famous work.

After a while, I stopped looking - but I never forgot this book, or how much I wanted it. Some months ago, I did a search for it out of the blue, and to my delight, it was in stock at Amazon! Finally - I found the book I'd wanted for more than a decade. It took its time making its way to me, but there it was, at last, in my hands.

Did I devour its pages immediately? Did I not wait a single minute to read and reread my favourite story until I could memorize the very phrases that made me chuckle? No, reader, I did not. For reasons I do not expect anyone to understand or accept, I saved it - like some treasure to be savoured slowly, word by word, page by page. Yes, I took my time with the book.

It was by the time I reached the tenth story, that I noticed, to my utter horror, that almost the entire story was missing. It was then too late to have the book returned.


A total of eight pages were simply not there. Need I describe how I felt? Aghast, infuriated, bewildered, stupefied... and regretful - why did I not check the book when first I got it?! But then again, who actually checks newly-purchased books for completeness of pages? It was devastating!

Well, alright - "devastating" was exaggerating it a little. To be fair, I was rather upset for a day or two. Just a day or two. I could always order another copy of the book, I figured. Surely it wouldn't take as much effort as it did so many years ago, and surely the cost is justified by the sheer passion I have for it, I reasoned. There is no need to be miserable. I could buy another copy.

I could. I haven't, as yet, but I could...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

For Reasons Unfathomable

It was past 2am and I was still awake. I was looking for my black ink pen. It wasn't amongst my organized pile of mess on my coffee table. It wasn't amongst the unorganized stash of stationery in the drawer. It wasn't amongst any of the messes on any horizontal surfaces I could think of. Where could it be?

It'd been a long day, I was tired, and I was about to go to sleep. I just wanted to pen a few words before I did, and I noticed my black ink pen wasn't next to the blue one where they should be. So where was it? I remember I used it to write dates and stuff in the new books I got last week. Or was it the week before? Or was it two weeks before? It wasn't where the books were. I can't recall if I put it back. So, where was it?

It was past 2am and I ought to be in bed. I was aware that it was just a pen, and I have many others. I was aware that I misplace things all the time, and they usually turn up the moment I stopped looking for them. Yes, I was aware. So, where was it? Where was it?!

No, I'm not obsessed with a missing a pen. I'm not obsessed with proof-reading and editing a post countless times before and after publishing. I'm not obsessed with having every little thing my way and my way only. I'm not crazy. A little out of my mind, perhaps. Just a little.

Now, excuse me while I wrap those new books. Nobody - myself included - are allowed to read them before they are properly wrapped. Of course, nobody but me can wrap my books because nobody can do it the way I want it done...

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Are You A Musician?

I wish I could say yes. I do. Alas, it wouldn't be the truth if I did. I can't create, write or arrange music. Heck, I can't even perform music decently on any instrument. Sure, they say the voice is also an instrument, and most of those who'd heard me sing would say I sing rather well; I think, though, the judges at the only singing competition I'd ever been in would disagree.

I guess I could say, like I always do, that I'd never been formally trained in music. Technically though, that's not completely true. When I was a little girl, I had several years' piano lessons.

My first teacher was a family friend. I was her very first student. I don't know how she did it, being so young and inexperienced that she was then, but she was amazingly patient and taught me very well. I lost her, however, when my family moved away from that town. The second teacher I had taught piano for a living, and made it so, extremely obviously. My third piano teacher was better than the second, though not much. She taught without passion, and frowned upon questions. I didn't like that at all. It was 5 or 6 years since my first lesson, when I stopped going for them (... and started writing my first "book"). I was somewhere between Grade 4 and 5, I think. Right now, I'd place myself at Grade -1.

I don't know how I fared as a music student - though I guess I must not have excelled, for I don't recall having garnered any praises from my teachers, nor admiration of family members and friends. The only thing I remember, is how my teachers always reprimanded me for banging too hard on their piano keys. I remember I learned The Blue Danube (an arranged-for-children version, of course) while with my second teacher, and once, when visiting, played it for my first teacher. She hid a smile while I was at it, and when I was done, told me that the beautiful waltz was meant for ladies in elegant ball gowns to dance to, not for stomping elephants. I was a little indignant; had I known then, how my final teacher would put it (= "STOP pounding on my NEW piano!!!"), I'd have appreciated the humour and sugar-coating a lot more.

I'd previously written a very brief note on getting my guitar (= here). Well, the Guitar Society was offering lessons at the time, and I thought - well, why not? I ended up going for 2 lessons in the span of a year, and only managed to learn ONE complete song (the easiest of them all, of course) before the poor thing was confined to its god-forsaken corner for years.

If it wasn't for my joining YKLS last year (and also being somewhat obsessed with Jason Mraz), and thus rekindling my yearning to play the instrument, it would still be in its solitary confinement.

So, yes, I can play a miserable couple of songs miserably on my miserable guitar; I can read a little music (though hardly enough to manage sight-singing); I believe I can play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star on the piano...

But no, I am not a musician. I love music and would love to do more musically, but unfortunately, I am unworthy to be termed a musician. As yet.

And no, I couldn't tell you where you could get a decent guitar. I couldn't tell you where you could get affordable lessons. I couldn't tell if there are teachers who teach with patience and passion. Still, I wish you all the best in your quest.

Now, I should stop writing and go practice some...

Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Early Morn

It is yet so early one could hardly tell it will be dawn soon, looking at the sky. The darkness, the fog, the still and vacant roads - intimidating, yet alluring.

I'd forgotten how blissful it is to be awake at an hour where most in this part of the world are fast asleep.

Good morning!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Fine Line

Well, I mean that one between the want to show genuine concern and sticking my long nose into someone else's business. I care, and therefore I want to do something about it; I want (though I am fully aware that I probably am unable) to protect one from being hurt. So, how do I know when I've crossed the line from being a caring friend to being intrusive?

I am not talking about relatively straightforward right-or-wrong choices: to continue or to quit smoking, for an example; to consume alcohol excessively or in moderation, for another. I mean matters in which no one could ever be sure what would turn out good, or otherwise. I want so much to say outright that I am extremely unsure of whether one has made the right decision; it would be easier if I knew for a fact that my opinion doesn't mean much. However, I know otherwise. My thoughts aren't, and will never be inconsequential to this person. For this, I must exercise a lot more care in what I say, and how I react.

For, how could I be sure that this isn't meant to be, just as how I have doubts on whether it is? True, history made me cynical, but still, how can I be sure? How can anyone be sure of anything? So, does that mean we are to live in fear of what we cannot predict? Are we to avoid and to forbid every single choice and course of actions that we believe might lead to the worst of our fears?

I cannot know for sure - but I know a truly happy friend when I see one. I can see the light and the life shining from the eyes, the smiles that come straight from the heart, the bliss and content that radiate from the being. Therefore, in spite of past heartbreaks, how can I confidently say the choice is a bad one when it gives one this much happiness? I cannot.

I am wary but I accept one's choice. I want badly to make certain one does not get hurt again, but definitely not at the expense of one's chance at happiness. I guess I could be like the mattress at the bouldering walls - no matter when or how many times a climber falls, it will be there to provide soft landing - constant and unwavering. Yes, that I can be.

Know that I will always be your friend, and be here for you, regardless of everything. Everything.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Lament of the Forsaken

As I lay there helplessly, darkness, silence and emptiness all around, I can't help thinking back on the days I was happy. I was once happy. I was once his heart's dearest, his constant companion. He used to want me so near him always, we're almost never seen apart. I was his pride, I had his undivided devotion and attention, I was perfect for his needs, never wanting in any aspects. I was then, truly happy.

It is strange how the happiest times always seem the shortest. The blissful days passed as if in a flash. It got more and more often that he didn't want to have me with him all the time anymore. More and more frequently I was left behind while he went about his ways. I tried not to let the hurt and disappointment get hold of me too strongly. He still needed me, didn't he? He still came to me every now and then, didn't he? I was still the only one he had, wasn't I? I was still perfect, complete and not wanting in any aspects, wasn't I?

I was - and then, I no longer was. Though through no fault of mine, an essential, irreplaceable part of me went missing, and needless to say, I would never be the same to him, ever again. Feeling acutely his waning passion for me, I knew it would be a matter of time before the inevitable came. True enough - soon, I overheard him speak of another. He spoke of how much better it'd be for him, all the characteristics which would make it superior to me, and how he was bent on owning it soon. My heart broke - I was about to be replaced. I was devastated. I feared that I would be confined to a solitary, forgotten existence, for the rest of my days. I dreaded every passing day, which brought nearer the arrival of what would be his new love. But meanwhile, I told myself, he still was mine exclusively. He would still have me, keep me and care for me.

Till this day. This day was the day he'd left me behind. Although I do not believe he'd done it intentionally, but the fact remains that I was left behind. Others came and left, and as the day drew to an end, I was the only one still here. The night would be long and hard, and I was all alone.

Morning came, and I was still alone.


Days passed, and he did not come for me. Did he not miss me? Was he not anxious about my well-being and whereabouts? Perhaps his new companion had arrived. I could not bear to think of how I might actually never see him again. Little by little, I fell into deep despair and depression. Then I met it - the one was so like myself, we might have been twins separated at birth.


It was glad to see me again. It told me not to fret, and assured me that its owner could get me back to mine. That, I do not doubt. Of his affection however, I could only hope...