Monday, May 21, 2012


This post might give the false impression that I only do silly things with my smartphone. Not true, but I don't only do smart, productive stuff either. Life's got to be a balance of the smart and the silly, right?

Last year, I downloaded Androidify and androidified the roomees. This evening, I stumbled on Pocoyize - an app which allows the creation of you, or your friends, Pocoyo-style!

Now, I really like Pocoyo - from the concept and characters all the way to Stephen Fry's narration. I even made a little hat like his! Look -

So, this is me, pocoyized -

And this is Pocoyo, surprised at seeing a picture of me on his wall -


Maybe one of these days I should write a serious post on what serious things I actually use my phone for and how it's improved my life and work etc., but then again, the web is saturated (if it can be saturated) with articles like that. So do you really need another person talking about useful apps and how-to-minimize-battery-drain? Now, if you have 24MB of memory in your phone you don't know what to do with, try Pocoyize =D

Disclaimer: I'm not getting paid for writing this... I mean, as if anyone would pay me for writing anything! Ha!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Eleven Years

The Chinese have many weird beliefs, and one of them is the ability to communicate with the departed through dreams, and getting a "sheng bei" when asking questions during prayer ceremonies. A "sheng bei" is basically an affirmative, indicated by getting different sides up tossing two coins (conventionally, wooden blocks are used, I think - I did not research this tradition prior to this post). For example, one might ask one's ancestor, while the joss sticks are burning, offerings on the altar, "Are you happy over there?", and then toss 2 coins. If they landed one heads and one tails, the answer is yes. Both heads or tails mean no.

I find it frivolous, and yet, when my mother tells me that the reason she could not get the "sheng bei" despite tossing several times in a row but that when I toss I usually get it the first try, is that my father loves me and wants me to do it, I desperately want to believe. But I know it's all probability.

I desperately want to believe in so many things that in my conscious mind, I know cannot be. Like how my frequent dreaming of him means he isn't ready to leave me so he "visits" me in my dream. I am inclined to think that it is because I think of him way too much and too often. Also, I have the annoying ability to dream vividly and remember most of them afterwards. Other family members may dream of him just as frequently, just that they don't recall anything in the morning. A couple of years ago, my mother suggested that I speak to my father at the altar and let him know that I'm well and happy, and that I can take good care of myself, so he needn't worry about me anymore - so the "dream visitations" may cease. I didn't. Not only because I don't believe it, but that just in case it is real, I don't want his "visitations" to stop.

Does every one who's ever lost a parent grieve (seemingly) indefinitely like me? Or am I just really, really weird? I am not improved in this aspect since this date last year (read the post). If there is a curve for level of recovery from the pain of this loss, where it saturates to a plateau, I've been there for some time now. I will not improve with time.

My mother keeps track of the lunar date, I do the regular one. It's eleven years, today.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Some Tales

Hello there! I'd meant to entertain you - yes, you, Reader, with some silly tales from my past, on the 16th, for Teacher's Day. Procrastination, plus some tricky issues going on at work, got in the way. Better late than never? (Well, this is my blog and what I say, is what is - so yea, better late than never!)

Although I'm not always the elephant, I have in my memory countless bits of scenes from my school days. The happy, the unhappy, the crazy, the weird; the people I liked and disliked, the people I liked then disliked, the teachers I loved and hated... if I compiled all of them into a book, will you read it? (It's OK to answer "Sure, if it's free")

I don't always write about my teachers - in fact, I might never have written about them since I started writing here. I'm not sure why - there were a handful I loved so much, surely they're worth writing about. Like my Science teacher - she was caring and motherly in a non-overbearing manner. Once, something awful (in the world of a 16-year-old) happened at school and I went home extremely unhappy. She called me (yes, my teacher had my number, and I had hers), spoke kindly to me and let me whine and CRY into the phone for half an hour. After the phone call, I felt tonnes better, and when my mom, who obviously saw everything, asked me what was wrong, I told her "nothing". I knew, even then, she was hurt - but how many 16-year-olds of my era (many years ago, yea!) would actually pour their hearts out to their moms? Oh well, I'm making up for that by talking to her so much these days she deems me noisy.

Anyway, back to tales of silliness - or mischief, rather.

* * * * *

When I was in primary school, we had a teacher who never got mad. No matter what. The story was that he once got into a lot of trouble with higher authorities for punishing a pupil, or something like that. So, thereafter, he became mild and indifferent, and although still carried out his teaching duties, he pretty much let the children did whatever they please. And naturally, the children climbed all over him. Literally. I remember I did, once. A few of my friends and I decided to "disturb" him while he was doing some marking at the teacher's desk in our classroom. We swarmed over him, chattered and prattled away at him, pulled his shirt and hands... then, a couple of the girls climbed up the chair he was in, and stood behind his back. Yes, I was one of them. We patted his shoulders and played with his hair, which was a big (and I mean really huge) mass of greying curls. We pulled strands up and were delighted that they remained sticking out. Each time, he quietly smoothed his mane back down and we'd pull some out again. Again and again. He went on his work, casually and gently removing little hands grasping him here and there, and showing an amused smile or a chuckle every now and then. After a while, we little monsters got tired of provoking the un-provoke-able man, and left him alone to find other mischief to indulge in.

* * * * *

Some years later, I was in my final year of secondary education. It was just before our major exam, and classes were no longer conducted. We went to school each day to talk with friends, fool around, mess the classroom up, and in-between, fit in a little studying. One day, the lower form pupils had a sort-of variety show at a hall at the ground floor of the school. We heard the music, the singing, dialog from the sketches, the laughter... and my friend and I just had to go and poke our busy noses in. Now, have I ever mentioned that I'm a seriously vertically-challenged person? Yes, I must have. This friend of mine is about 1cm taller.

So, there we were, sneakily peeking from one of the side-entrances of the hall, enjoying the on-going show. All of a sudden, we heard a very loud "Apa kamu berdua buat kat situ?" (what are the two of you doing there?) It was the discipline teacher, known for being extremely strict and fierce. We were stunned. She glared at us, "Kamu tingkatan berapa? Tingkatan satu atau dua?" (which form are you? first or second?) We ought to have just pretended to be the 13-yr-olds she mistook us to be and escape trouble, but no, we had to be honest. One of us stammered, "Tingkatan lima" (fifth form). She widened her eyes, clenched her fists, inhaled sharply and all but breathed fire with her next words, "TINGKATAN LIMA??!!!"

We did not wait to see what else she would say / do to us. We, simultaneously, turned on our heels and took off. We ran like we've never ran before, for our lives, down the corridor, up two flights of stairs and back into our classroom. As we were running, we were also turning our heads around in fright - as if we were expecting her to be right behind, chasing us. Thank goodness she didn't come after us, we said to each other, panting, as we reached "safety".

* * * * *

Good girls sometimes turn bad when they go to college. But not me, I remained good (fine, it's not that I was so good to begin with, but I meant I didn't become worse) in college - I went for my classes, practiced my martial arts and loved my roommates. It was when I went to university that I became bad. Well, not bad bad. Just a little mean. In my time, we had some tutors so fresh out of universities they were all nerves and not much else. I'd observed some with hands shaking while holding their whiteboard markers.

So there was this young man - I don't remember his name - who was so new and so petrified all the time, he appeared cute. Once, during class, while walking about checking the students' work, he came upon my friend and me. He asked to see our work, and we showed him. He noticed that I had one question unsolved. Concerned, he asked, "Why didn't you do this?" I answered with a straight face, "Because I don't know how to do it." He asked, "Why don't you know how to do it?" and I answered, with pretend-sorrow, "Because I'm stupid..." The look on his face - a mix of shock, horror, and guilt - was priceless. Priceless. He, trembling, stammered, "No, no... don't say that.........." while my friend nearly choked herself trying to hold back her laughter.

* * * * *

So, there you have them - tales of how I've climbed all over, ran away from, and cruelly teased my teachers. I can only conclude that I was a horrible little girl. Maybe I still am (although "little" right now refers only to physical built...)

Happy Teacher's Day to all educators!