Friday, September 30, 2005


It’s amazing what a squirt of nasal spray and a prescription of mild steroids can do.

The left ear got blocked after a bout of flu. I knew there was fluid behind the eardrum in the Eustachian tube. I could feel it sloshing around whenever I tilted or moved my head. Not only was it uncomfortable but it impaired my hearing. I felt like I was walking around with an earplug jammed in.

After two weeks of hemming and hawing, I finally got my referral letter from the GP to see Dr. Soni at Selangor Medical Centre. Dr. Soni is a dear. He not only took out my long-suffering T-tubes from my ears, he has been treating me and my case with utmost patience.

Note to June: next time if you have ear problems, you should try seeing this doctor. For my stuffed ear, he prescribed me nasal spray, clarinese and prednisolone, which contains steroids. I asked him about the need for steroids and he explained that the steroids in prednisolone and the nasal spray would help loosen the muscles in the ear so that I could try blowing my nose and popping the ear. Popping the ear would help expend the fluid out from the inner ear. I had not been able to pop the left ear at all since it had gotten stuffed. So he sent me home with the prescription and told me to see him again if the ear doesn’t clear up in two weeks.

I tried popping my ear last night after taking the meds. It didn’t work. Today after I had popped in the pills, I waited the prescribed 10 minutes before pinching and then blowing my nose.

Eureka! My left ear started experiencing some action. First there was a gurgling, then it started popping. Woohooo! I was on a roll, so I blew some more. More gurgling, and then I felt a rush of fluid gushing out from my ear. All that gunk stuck in there and finally some of it is out. Immediately my hearing is better. At the rate I’m going, it will take less than two weeks to clear out.

So June, if you’re reading this, it’s not necessary to go for an op to insert the damn tubes. I’d suggest you just go and see Dr. Soni and get him to prescribe you some nasal spray and pills, and you’re ready to go!

Thursday, September 29, 2005


The lunch topic today included pet dogs, keeping them and what to do when their own owners have no use for them anymore. The SPCA is an option but as a last resort. And mom mentioned that we were lucky last time because we had two dogs and were moving to an apartment soon. One of them died of kidney failure (poor Rufus died alone at the vet, I'll never get over that. I was away in Michigan).

Sam was still around and old when I returned. He too had kidney problems. It got to the point we had to take him to the vet every few days to help him relieve his problem. The vet did say that he was in pain and the situation would not get any better. Sam was peeing blood. The vet suggested euthanasia. We pondered. Hemmed and hawed. And saw the anguish he was in. So we relented.

I opted to stay in the room when the vet adminstered the shot. Mom and sis opted to be outside, they weren't sure if they could take it. I was determined that I would at least be around with Sam in his last hours and not leave him alone to die like Rufus did. I would not leave him alone.

For anyone who's ever been with their pet when the fatal shot is delivered, it is heart-wrenching and undescribably heartbreaking to see the life taken out of their beloved pet. It was utterly horrible for me. One minute he was standing on the vet's table looking at me with his woeful eyes (Sam has what I call a "universal sad dog face" in that, every dog has their sad face, and Sam's sad face embodies that look), and the next he was slumped in a heap, lifeless. It happens so fast that you have no time to prepare yourself. You don't expect the life to just vanish in a flash, but it does. No sooner had mom and sis walked out the door, the vet administered the shot, and even before the door could completely close, Sam was a lump of limbs on the table.

I don't know why I dragged this memory back. It is not the best of memories. It is one I hold with guilt because we made the decision to end his life. We justify that decision by saying that it took him out of his misery and that at least he no longer had to suffer the indignity of having his bladder massaged so he could pee. I don't know. Maybe at the end of the day, that's just what we tell ourselves to make ourselves feel better. I still don't know if that was the right decision. I still feel guilty that we couldn't have tried harder to make his last years better. I'm still shocked that one second he was alive, the next he was dead.

I always thought that the one who dies has it easy. I still do. At least you don't have to deal with the ones you leave behind. It's the ones who are left behind that have to deal with moving on and coping without you. It's filling in the blanks where you used to be that's hard.

I still think of Sam and Rufus. Everyime that I do, I can't help but feel sad and guilty about their nature of death. I think I'll always feel that way.

I hope my cats outlive me.


I outdid myself at Kino yesterday, again. Self control seems to e a concept that evaporates every time I step into that bookstore. I spotted Carl Hiaasen’s new book, Flush, and just had to get it even though I know they’ll most likely make it the Gem of the Month for October and I’d have missed my 20% discount.

I also picked up Avi’s Crispin: The Cross of Lead and Laurie Halse Anderson’s Catalyst. I almost added The Second Summer of The Sisterhood (Ann Brashares) to my collection but I figured since I only borrowed the first book, I’d need to buy that too to add to the collection. So, that was a no-go.

After I paid, I scooted around the cashier and customer service counter to take a look at the picture books. While they were wrapping up my books, I wanted to see if they still had Emily Gravett’s Wolves. Unfortunately for me (fortunately for my wallet), they didn’t.

I don’t know what it is, but there is just something about books that is so appealing, so comforting. It doesn’t matter that I really don’t have enough space or that my library is getting way to big, I just cannot stifle or control the urge to buy myself new books. This urge is compounded by my love of children’s books and young adult fiction. YA fiction is clear and precise, with no pretense at being more than it should be. I can read a sentence and get the point. I don’t have to sit and think after every few sentences about what the author really wanted to say and what he/she wanted to convey in their writing. It’s there; it’s clear; it’s to the point. After a decade of reading and collecting children’s books, my tolerance for highbrow literary works have slid and hit a nadir. I can no longer read modern or contemporary literature without feeling the slightest tinge of impatience. What the hell does the author want to say? Why couldn’t he/she have written it without beating around the bush or saying it in less words? Adult literary fiction does not seem to be able to capture my attention for more than a few chapters. Must be my juvenile mind. The simpler the sentence structures, the better impact and the longer it stays with me.

Carl Hiaasen’s Flush makes for delightful reading with an environmental twist. It follows in the vein of Hoot, this time, instead of burrowing owls, Hiaasen puts illegal dumping into the limelight. An unscrupulous casino boat owner is dumping effluents and gunk into the waters of Florida Key and it’s up to Noah and his sister, Abbey, to save the day.

It’s refreshing to read children’s fiction with an environmental twist, all the more so with Hiaasen’s refreshing writing and quirky characters. I loved Hoot so much I must have read it three times and am planning to read it again. When I saw the bug-eyed fish on the cover of the book, and the bold colours on it, I really couldn’t resist. It just about shouted out “Buy me! Buuuuy meeee!!”. So I did lah.

I am looking forward to swimming through the book. I like it so much I even brought it to work with me. You never know when you could be stuck in a situation where a good book would come in handy.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Bar @ Buena Vista

I’ve always had a penchant for World Music and more specifically, Latin music. However, it wasn’t until a chance encounter with a particular CD that made the foray into son and the genre even more enjoyable.

Several years back I was browsing the World Music Section at Pennylane Music in Subang Parade. I like this store because, during the times before Tower Records, Music Exchange or The Rock Corner and the like, they’d stock a sizeable collection of World music that I’d love to riffle through (they’re no longer there though, as I found out recently and I have no idea where they went. In their place will be a new Rock Corner). During one such riffling session, I came across a CD that would take me into the world of the Buena Vista Social Club. It was Ruben Gonzalez’s

Introducing…Ruben Gonzalez.

I never looked back. From the moment the auntie in the shop cut off the plastic wrap on the CD, I knew in my gut that this old fogy would open up a whole new world for me. And he did. I was hooked with his first opening notes on the piano. The whole week long I was listening to Ruben Gonzalez stroke the keys and making up my own moves to go with the music. I had not thought of learning salsa then.
I was fascinated by the playfulness, spirit,and  richness of Cuban music, and was irrevocably hooked. In the ensuing months and years, I added Buena Vista Social Club, Ibrahim Ferrer, Compay Segundo, The Afro-Cuban All Stars and most other music of the genre to my collection. It’s still growing.

And so it was with great anticipation that I looked forward to catching Bar @ Buena Vista here in KL two nights ago. More so after a trip down to Singapore to catch it ended up in thin air.

I was lucky enough, as it is, to have caught Omara Portuondo when she came to KL several years back, and then Ibrahim Ferrer when he performed in Japan in 2003. I wasn’t about to miss a chance at catching the old guys rocking the house down with their infectious music.

Seeing living legends Reynaldo Creagh, Jose 'Maracaibo' Castaneda and Maestro Gonzala Rubalcaba perform last night made me realise yet again how old these guys are and that I am really lucky to be able to see them perform because I don't know how much longer they will be around. These octogenarians show the world that they may be getting on in age, but they can surely shine with their talent and their love of life.

Bar @ Buena Vista in KL was different because it was performed in a hotel, not an auditorium or concert hall. Having said that, I feel I must take a crack at criticizing the hotel for lousy parking arrangements. Not only would we not get into the parking lot, we couldn’t even figure out how to get to the valet. What kind of crap management is this? We ended up maneuvering my bulky car up the cramped ramp to the KL Sentral parking lot and had to park in an unauthorized parking spot.

Anyway, I digress. Like I was saying this performance was different. Not only was it not performed in a hall or auditorium fitting for a musical performance, the audience was standing room only. At first, I thought it was silly but then I realized that maybe the organizers wanted to recreate the whole feel of the bar at Buena Vista (on second thoughts, I still think it was because they didn’t have enough chairs and seating and that the ballroom was too small). By the time the intermission had come and gone, the women had kicked off their heels and settled for being barefoot and swaying with the music.

Emcee Carlos Bustamante hosted most of the show, and took the liberty to introduce the musicians and dancers. He has a booming voice and equally evident presence and made a fitting host.

It was awe-inspiring (and entertaining) to watch 87-year old Reynaldo shimmy with smooth moves and gyrate with a surprisingly flexible pelvis. He oozed out moves that would put the average non-dancing Malaysian man to shame. You'd think that the old guy sitting in the rocker while the dancers were whizzing by him and diva Siomara was belting her lungs out, that he'd nod off to sleep. In fact, he stifled a yawn or two. Well, once the man gets out of his rocker, he's no pushover. Not only did he woo everyone with his beautiful, robust (for an octogenarian)  and richly-timbred, expressive vocals, he played to the audience's thunderous applause and bust out several moves to boot. It was pure magic. And the audience lapped it up.

The camaraderie Reynaldo shared with Maracaibo was just as entertaining to watch. The fabulous Maracaibo would teasingly tweak the twang out of his Trey guitar with his deft fingers and you could just see that he was egging Reynaldo to poke his walking stick at him. Poke, twang, poke, twang. Poke,  TWANG! An outburst from Reynaldo and a dismissive hand gesture or two from both musicians, a few foot stompings and the music and camaraderie resume. What mischievous fun!

And can Maestro Rubalcaba play! The piano comes alive under his fingers, though I thought the crowd was too noisy and wasn’t appreciative enough. The maestro skillfully plied his keyboard, plonking out classics like La Vie En Rose and Volare, stopping just at  the chorus point to encourage us and hear us belt out the lines, “Volare, Oh oh…! Cantare Oh oh oh Oh!” , which tailed off to laughs as we didn’t know the lyrics to the following lines after . A shrug or two later, Rubalcaba continues on with the well-loved classic and the crowd is back to clapping and humming along.

Leo Vera, from the Afro Cuban All Stars, gave just as rousing a performance, with his rich and melodious vocals. Eric Turro was superb. Now I know why he needed a ‘sturdier’ dance partner: he kept plugging stunts like water, leaning on his partner for support throughout much of his stunts. I remarked more than once to Sharie that the girl must be really strong and now I know why she’s dancing with him. Arms flailing, legs flailing, hand over leg, death drops, spinning and kneeling on the spot with his partner as support, and probably other technical terms that I can’t even begin to spout.

I was privileged enough after the 20-minute intermission to work my way to the front of the crowd to catch all the action. My disappointment with not being able to see over the tops of everyone’s heads during the first half of the show prompted me to abandon dancing too much during the break just so I could book a spot in the front.

And it paid off. I got to catch the moves, the grooves and the sights. And at least I didn’t have to leave telling people I’d gone there to see the act live but ended up watching the big screen instead. I got to witness a besotted auntie yelling to one of the women dancers to pull the other younger male dancer to the centre of the stage during one of Eric Turro’s staged routines where he spurns the attentions of the women dancers. And after the show, caught the same aunty saying over and over, “He’s so gorgeous!” to her friend (the young male dancer, not Eric Turro).

Of course, the show wouldn’t be complete without a diva, and it had added star quality in Siomara Avilla Valdes Lescay. Although I must say, I am more familiar with Omara Portuondo, Siomara held her own and shook the house with her powerful voice. Why is it though, that Cuban women love their wraps? The mature women always appear in toga-like mulit-hued or glittering wraps. Toga or no toga though, Cuban women sure can move and they have no qualms about being sexy even at their age and size.

In all that music and dance extravaganza, I overlooked Buena Vista Social Club co-founder, Carlos Gonzalez on the bongos. Heck, I didn’t even realize he was there until later, when roll call was being made to introduce the musicians. So much for my knowing who’s who in the ensemble. Luis Frank’s ensemble though was in a class of their own. Here again, I found the audience less appreciative of the musicians’ talents, especially that of young talented trumpeter, Julio Padron. At the end of an interlude, he was playing his trumpet really soft. You could hardly hear it for the noise of people in conversation somewhere towards the back of the room. Imbeciles!

The show ended with Siomara’s rendition of Compay Segundo’s Chan Chan, a fitting finale, I thought. The group received a raucous encore and obliged the crowd with another number. After that, it was Adios Amigos!

A superb show, loaded with bushels of entertainment and a fountain of talent. It’s really sad that a large portion of that fountain is in their 80s. We may not see or hear them live for much longer.

New Permanent Guest

I have a new permament guest. It/she lives outside my front gate and I leave food out for her in the mornings and evenings. She lives under the cars in front of my house. I think she used to belong to someone. But she may be lost or abandoned now. She must have had a sleek, smooth coat but now it’s scruffy and she’s skinny.

So I leave food out for her after I return home in the evenings and before I head off to work in the mornings. At least she’ll have food and not starve even though she now has no home.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Four Ears

These are the four ears that greet me if I’m early at the office in the mornings. A brother-sister tag team.

Dinner party

First off, thanks guys!! For:

1. Your companionship and camaraderie.

2. The gifts.

3. Enjoying yourselves, especially for those who had to sit on the floor.

4. Enjoying the food, although I thought there wasn't enough, especially the beef.

5. Finishing up the food.

6. Bringing the drinks.

7. Washing up.

8. Lavishing attention on my kitties.

9. Sucking it up like a man, even though your sinuses were running amok.

10. Helping to start the charcoal going for the charcoal steamboat.

11. Whipping up and serving the drinks, maestro.

12. Waiting patiently for the charcoal to start up again while the egg was in th soup.

Thanks guys! I had a great time. So when's the next round and whose place is it going to be at? I don't mind doing it again at my place, with the portable stove this time, and also with more beef and gyoza. Oh, and don't forget the games this time, Sam!!

Saturday, September 24, 2005

My Turn

In continuing with what Chin Lai started:

1. I am a bitch.

2. I am whiny.

3. I am stubborn as a mule.

4. I am thick-skinned.

5. I am generous when I want to be.

6. I am direct (sometimes too much for my own good).

7. I am scatter-brained and disorganized.

8. I am a pack rat (just look at my house and you’ll see).

9. I am a such a softy that I can’t bear to see stray cats around and not feed them or think, “if only I could take them in”.

10. I am impatient.

11. I am even more impatient with my family and close friends than I am with people who don’t know me as well.

12. I am trying to be nicer and more thoughtful to my parents.

13. I am at a point where I realize the years are flying by and I have no idea what I’ve been doing for the whole year and that each year is flying by faster than the one before.

14. I am a skeptic.

15. I am quite a resourceful cook but a sloppy one.

16. I am comfortable enough in my own skin and with myself that I wouldn’t mind having meals alone by myself or spending time alone without anyone around.

17. I am restless enough that if I do the above for too many days in a row I go stir crazy and need to get out of the house,

18. I am not the optimistic person that I was when I was in college. Nowadays I’m more jaded and practical.

19. I am glad that I don’t need to watch TV even though I have astro and 8TV. I’m perfectly happy with scribbling and burying myself in my books.

20. I am sometimes so blur that, well…  … … see what I mean?

21. I am my worst enemy.

22. I am paranoid about getting bitten by mossies.

23. I am not an exhibitionist but I like to walk around the house with only my underwear on or with only my t-shirt and panties on (if you can’t do that in your own house, where can you?).

24. I am a kiddy book junkie.

25. I am sure that I can always improve on myself little by little everyday.

26. I am a klutz (have you seen me with utensils?).

27. I am self-centred and selfish (when I’m REALLY bitchy).

28. I am critical but I think I take criticism pretty well.

29. I am easily distracted and have a short attention span.

30. I am afraid that my knees and back will give out on me some day soon and that I will end my life in a wheelchair.

31. I am a starter but I find it hard to finish things.

32. I am loud and boisterous.

33. I am not bothered that my limbs are really short and that when I buy jackets and blazers off the rack, my arms just disappear in all that length of sleeve and that I always have to have my pants altered. What to do?

34. I am convinced that my ears will give out on me and that I may live out my old age in deafness.

35. I am not a reckless driver, I just like to give the impression that I am.

36. I am disappointed that I am not going to Vienna and that that would have been the only worthwhile holiday that would have taken place this year.

37. I am now stuck with the realization that there isn’t going to be much of a holiday or a vacation for me this year.

38. I am quite exhausted from having to lead, motivate and train new people at the office, only to have them leave and then hire more new people and go through that process again.

39. I am baffled as to why some people have such little hold over their own minds and opinions that they are so easily influenced by what other people tell them, and then they go around spouting their new credo as if it were their own.

40. I am sometimes a spud.

41. I am also a spark.

42. I am in love with Japan and all its weirdness.

43. I am an avid reader but so indiscriminate that I often can’t remember what I’ve read, except for my kiddy faves.

44. I am particular about laundry; there is a right and wrong way to iron, and I hate pieces of clothing chucked onto the floor.

45. I am living with a person messier than me and it gets on my nerves so bad but I have to just grit my teeth, bite my tongue and endure it rather than nag. And when I really can’t stand it, I just blow.

46. I am thankful for family and friends and for the people who love and tolerate me.

47. I am not an easy person to live with and the hubby deserves a medal (even though I think he could do more in ensuring the overall hygiene of the house).

48. I am often struck by the realization that I should have been born in a fantasy novel and be living a life where I could yield a sword and go off to battle, and get killed heroically (or not) in the process.


I left a bowl of cat kibble out last night.

On arriving home from dinner, we found a scruffy Siamese looking cat lurking outside the house. When I tried to approach it, it slinked away.

When Rizal went out later, Siamese was under his car.

So I left out a bowl of the furballs’ food for it.

In the morning, the food was gone.


I was taking another bowl of cat kibble out tonite, thinking I’d be nice and feed whichever kitty was out there lost and wandering.

I saw a different cat this time.

It was white, male and quite the tom cat. But he looked clean, and he seemed to be chewing on something outside my garbage area.

“Not the clumped up, chewy gunk of kitty litter, I hope,” I thought. The very same gunk I stepped into and had to wash off my flip flops last night (the clump of litter had spilt out of the garbage bag when the garbage guys had come to collect it, and since it rained substantially yesterday, had turned into goo.)

I closed the outer door of the garbage area and left the bowl of cat kibble as tom cat was sauntering away. He hesitated when I rattled the kibble in the plastic bowl.

I’m quite sure I’ll find the bowl empty tomorrow morning.

A Way In

It is funny that Kino can order for me Susie Bright’s The Best American Erotica 2005but not Three Kinds of Asking For It. They said that the latter would be detained at customs.

So glaring, blatant erotica gets through but not a tome that’s subtly titled.

Go figure.

Friday, September 23, 2005

A Find...

Wait a minute!

I found this in Kino's online library:

How To Write A Dirty Story by Susie Bright.

Maybe my cause is not so lost after all...

A Hankering

I have a sudden urge to devour erotica. A couple of titles I'd like to go through are Susie Bright's Three Kinds of Asking For It and The Best American Erotica 2005.

I haven't had my fill of tasteful literary smut and now that I'm browsing through Amazon, the other question that comes to mind is, "How do I order these and get them in without censure?" Do the authorities really go through your packages? What would they do if they saw my purchases? Chuck them out? Riffle through them and pass them through since their English is so bad they wouldn't understand the titles anyway?

I don't know and I'm not sure I'd take the risk.

Maybe I should just head over to the causeway and see if they're available. I remember finding a gem or two when I was there a few years back. But then again, the last few times I've gone browsing, I've come away disappointed and empty handed.

I just sent off an email to Kino to see if they'd order these in for me. Since I don't see any erotica on their shelves, I doubt they'll bring it in but hey, I'll never know if I don't ask.

We'll see if I'm lucky. If not, I'll have to trouble a friend in Detroit and suffer the jibes and taunts that will come from me getting the book delivered there. Sigh.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

The Tumbling Cat

I was on my T41 last night, plonking on the keypad after dinner with mum. The poor kitties, starved of attention as they are were either around my feet or lounging close by.

I’d been sitting at the dining table for a while, finishing up a piece I was working on when Trixie,
who couldn’t suffer being ignored any longer, attempted to jump up onto the table and plop down closer to me.

Well, note that I said “attempted”. She failed.

She’d not had the foresight to see my Crumpler sitting on the chair next to me. That was the chair she decided to use as a springboard to the top of the table. From the floor at the bottom of the table she tried springing up to the chair then to the top of the table. There wasn’t much of a platform for her to bounce off from as the Crumpler was taking up about 80% of the space of the chair, so the girl lost her footing off the chair, scrabbled at the edge of the table with her front paws and promptly landed on her back on the foot of the teak table.

Ouch! It looked painful.

The poor thing. I felt so bad I stopped what I was doing and scooped up the furry mess under the table and spent the next few minutes cuddling her.

Who says I need kids?

Indian going on Malay

I’d almost forgotten about the short bit of news I heard on the radio a few days ago until I stumbled upon Nadia’s friend’s blog: the Indian Muslims in Malaysia want to be classified as Malays.

Can Indians really become Malays? Hang on, but you’d have to be Indian Muslim before you can actually qualify to be classified as Malay. How obtuse does this premise seem? Just for the sake of argument, let’s say I’m Chinese and a practicing Muslim. Does that mean I can apply to change my race to Malay? What would the authorities say about that? If they can open the process to the Indian Muslims, why leave out the Chinese Muslims? (The Chinese Muslim brethren in the country should organize a revolt and also make a bid at trying to change their race.)

Indians trying to become Malays; when I heard it over the radio on the way to work that morning, my eyebrows shot clear off my head and hit the ceiling of my car. I wasn’t aware that changing one’s race is possible. Religion, yes, as that’s a way of life and a choice of belief or faith. But race? Technically, I should think the structure of one’s genes is already predetermined before we exit the womb. If we are born Chinese, we remain Chinese. We may convert from Buddhism to Christianity but I have never for the life of me heard of or known a Chinese becoming an Indian.

Which brings me to wonder, are the Indian Muslims making a bid to become Malay just so they can enjoy the frills of the NEP, replete with silver spoons, ladles, bowls, trays and the like? If there weren’t an NEP, I’d doubt if the Indian Muslims would give a shit about becoming Malay.

And here’s where I think the system is all screwed up (systems are meant to be messed around with, after all): the people who really need or deserve the NEP aren’t receiving the benefits of it. Instead of the underprivileged who get to further their studies on scholarships, I found during my college years that there were more well-to-do children of this datuk or that tan sri who were abusing the system to get out of paying for their education when they could very well do so, complete with flashy sportscar to drive them around in on campus. How times haven’t changed; I hear this is still a typical occurrence.

Anyone who thinks that the NEP is still necessary or doesn’t need reform in this day and age should be shot. And that goes for those in the government as well. Yes, it was necessary during the times right after independence. But it’s now 2005, more than four decades on, and we’re still calling it the NEP. Forty three years and it’s still NEW? Even though every nook and cranny of the business and political environment here is filled with cronies and nouveau rich Malays who have not only amassed their fortunes because of the NEP but dare I say it, also because of a degree of abuse of the NEP. How much more help can a race need? What other excuse could there be for us to have an NEP? Other than the fact that I still some of my less privileged Malay friends out there who have not benefited one iota from the so-called NEP. And in our equal opportunity times, why should one have privileges over another if not because of their own experience, knowledge or skill?

Of course, the status quo CANNOT be rocked or nudged. Heaven forbid that anyone should even suggest we get rid of a redundant and useless tool such as the NEP or even reform it to the extent that ALL races can reap benefits from the NEP, not just one race alone. Who knows, the other races might just take it in their big heads to clamber all over the underprivileged Malays and kick them off of their economic high horse, saddles, britches and all.

I’m not saying that all Malays are dependent on the NEP, far from it. There are those who slog their asses off to get where they are today. However, the NEP hardly makes it easy for those who work their own way to justify to the rest of the races here that they actually DID do it on their own, and not receive handouts from the NEP. It’s bad enough that they are living under a cloak that labels the whole race as a lazy lot. So now the Indian Muslims want to live under that cloak too.

If the Indian Muslims’ bid goes through, some of my Indian friends may find it a tad tedious at explaining their race to a foreigner. Imagine:

Oh, I am actually Malayisan Indian, but because I’m Muslim we decided to change my race to Malay after the government made it legal for us to do so. So I was Indian, but now you can say I’m Malay. We went with the change because of the New Economic Policy where if you are Malay, there are certain privileges allotted to us. So we thought we might as well take advantage of the privilege since it’s available. Not everyone gets to change their race to Malay.

God help us all.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

A Bus Journey

I’m reading a thoroughly interesting book right now: Riding The Bus With My Sister: A True Life Journey by Rachel Simon. It chronicles the adventures of a creative writing professor as she joins her mentally retarded sister on her daily cruises on the city buses for a year.

There’s a blurb on the cover by Rosie O’Donnell, “An amazing book…it touched my soul”, which I didn’t realize was there till after I’d bought it.

I was happily going through the early chapters of the book last night after dinner. The TV was on. Hallmark was showing “Tuesdays with Morrie” and I was alternating between that and the book. Concidentally, I looked up during on intermission and found that I was looking at a trailer with Rosie O’Donnell in it. But first I saw Andie McDowell and I was thinking, “Hey! Rosie O’Donnell! What a coincidence. She’s got a blurb on the cover of this book.”

And then I thought, “Hey, how come Rosie O’Donnell looks like she’s playing a mentally retarded woman? And is Andie McDowell playing her sister?”

As the scenes pan through, I realize, Damn! This looks like it’s mirroring the book I’m reading! There’s Jesse, Beth’s equally retarded boyfriend, and buses…


Wow! They made a movie of the book?

The end titles flash and confirm it.

Riding The Bus With My Sister, premieres on Hallmark on Oct 2.

Talk about coincidences.

Bat eyes

I decided to take a little more time today to whisk on a coat of mascara before I headed out to work. Normally that would take about 2 mins max as I wipe on first the primer and then the mascara onto right and left lashes.

Today, I poked the mascara wand into my left eye. And ended up with bat eyes.

I started tearing like crazy and tried wiping off the smudges on my lids with my fingertips. Then I whipped out the tissue to absorb the tears welling up and threatening to flow till kingdom come.

I contemplated bringing out my Ponds cold cream to get rid of the waterproof coating altogether, but on surveying the damage (a few dark brown spots on my upper lid that could be disguised with a little more Bobbi Brown shadow) decided that it would take up too much time. Instead, I swiped on another light coating of the waterproof gunk and proceeded down the stairs and out the door.

My left eye was ticking and there were still some remnant tears but heck it, I'm not going to be late for work because of some stoopid war paint. I hardly dump on the stuff on my lashes, and the day I decide to be a bit more meticulous, I poke my eye. No, and this hasn't happened to me before. I'm not THAT much of a klutz.

Swearing never to waste needless time and agony over mascara again (and of course, to be more careful next time), I say goodbye to the kitties and get in the car.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The Tech Guy

I was supposed to go dancing on Friday. In fact, I WAS going dancing on Friday. At a stop light at Dataran Merdeka, I reached behind my seat for the box in which I kept all my shoes, including my dancing shoes.

Horror of horrors: my hand groped empty air. I'd left my box in the office when the car was taken in for a check.

So much for dancing. No heels, no jazz shoes; only my platform flip flops. I can hardly do a spin in those. So with much wailing, I drove over to Carmen's where Rizal was hanging out with his new buddies.

I felt quite conspicuous; everyone there was in their work attire (after office hanging out place, Carmen's is) and I was dressed in minimal halter neck and dancing pants with a low waist. I felt about as home as a square peg on a board of round holes all snugly fit with round pegs. Rizal came to get me at the door (I was intimidated by all the work clothes) and I trudged in behind him with my weather-beaten Mambo flip-flops. Promptly plonked myself into an armchair next to him and proceeded to zone out after the preliminary intros were made (my mind was still reeling from the shock of not being able to go dancing).

After a few minutes, Rizal decided to take me around Carmen's and introduce me to his circle. We didn't get very far. The first woman he introduced me to had a rather loud and animated response.

Rizal: Shirin, meet my wife, Poh Ling.

Shirin: (Looks taken aback) Oh, hi Poh Ling. Rizal, you sure ah, she's your wife.

Rizal: Yes, she's my wife.

Shirin: No-lah, come on! How can she be your wife? Come on, she can't be your wife!

She looks at me and asks, "You're his wife? Are you sure? You're ont pulling my leg?"

All this while I'm just laughing my head off at her reaction. She looked so incredulous.

Shirin: Rizal, come on lah! How can she be your wife? She looks so hip and happening!

Hahah, and I'm just soaking it in, guffawing and gloating.

Rizal: What, so you thought my wife's this tudung-wearing, stay at home, obedient woman?

By this time, we'd moved along and Shirin was pulling a couple of her friends over, asking, "Eh, do you think this is Rizal's wife?"

A couple of his friends who had met me before confirmed this, but she still remained incredulous and disbelieving.

Shirin: Rizal, I really can't believe this is your wife lah! You're so ...(at this point she makes a square with her fingers) ...square!

One of the guys pipes up and says, "Yah, it's his hair".

And then Shirin adds, "You must go to Peekaboo. They're the only ones who can do my hair."

The guys all add their acknowledgement and approval of Peekaboo.

"But I DO go to Peekaboo!!" protests Rizal.

"You must tell Sean to give you a new look," I add.

By this time, we're talking about other stuff and how the bunch of them want to learn Mandarin (they're all Malay) and I'm sorta trying to huddle behind Rizal when they ask, "Do you speak Mandarin?". Sheesh, such a banana.

I've been digressing. I was supposed to talk about the Tech Guy...

Anyway, we stayed on for a bit later. Quite a bit later. Towards the end, I catch 8TV's infamous Tech Guy, Gary. I've wondered to Rizal many times if Gary spoke in real life the way he does on TV. Geeky, sort of a Chinese accent, but quite adorably.

Apparently, he does.

The story is, his actually isn't Gary. Gary is just a stage name. However, since appearing on 8TV as Gary, people would come up to him and ask if he was Gary the Tech Guy. It got to the point where people were calling him Gary so he just changed his name to Gary.

I was introduced to the Tech Guy as we were heading to the entrance and getting read to leave. He really does look much better in real life than on TV. Of course, I had to blurt out and tell him that I was thrilled to see him and that, wow! he really talks the same in real life as on TV. And that I always wondered if he did. And then I asked him about his brother. To which he replied, "He's more than my brother."

And then I had mental visions popping in my head. More than his brother? His mentor? His partner? His twin? His ???...

Before I could blurt out something stupid, I was saved. "He's actually a reknowned DJ in the club circuit," says Gary. He then tells me his brother spins internationally as well and plays often at Zouk. For the life of me I can't remember what name he goes by. I know he told me, I just can't remember. My mind had to expand a vast amount of energy incorporating the image of Gary's geeky brother to the image of a suave, hip and happening DJ. "Wow!" I say. "That's amazing."

Do not judge a book by its cover flashes in my head as we head towards the door.

And so my evening out ends as we head home. It was an eventful one, albeit minus the dancing. Quite illuminating, I'd say. All in all, an interesting end to the workday week.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Feline Fiend

I'm a feline fiend. What else would be the reason for me to purchase the magazine shown here? And the worst part was, someone had randomly discarded it at one of the bestseller shelves at Kino, I happened to pass by, was piqued and decided to buy it without even unwrapping it.

Maybe I'm just a shopping fiend. See, must buy.

It is an interesting find though. I must say, now I've got some idea of what to do with the kitty litter pans that sit under my brand new hallway mirror: I know how to make them "blend in" in with the rest of the furnishings...

I won't divulge now. But it's a cool idea :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Too Smart

I'm now totally convinced my kitties are too smart for their own good.

Two nights ago I placed a light metal box behind my bathroom sliding door to block the furballs from sliding it open. I think the box was too light; it didn't have an effect on them trying to open the door. They still got it open.

Last night I placed a heavier plastic box behind the door to keep them from opening it. Again, I found the door slightly ajar this morning! What is it with the furballs and opening doors??!!!

Before I left for salsa class last night, I left some keropok out on the dining table. I had bought this from a sweet little old lady sitting outside RHB bank in Taman Tun. One of the packets was fish keropok. When I came home last night, I found all three packets on the floor. The tapioca and sweet potato keropok were untouched but the rascals had bitten through and torn the packet with the fish keropok!! The plastic bag was littered with pock marks and holes from their attempts and there was a big gash on the side of the bag where they'd managed to rip it apart. I didn't see any keropok bits left on the floor so I think they must have been happily munching on the keropok up till the time I came home.


My keropok!!

While I transferred the remaining keropok to safety (don't let a good thing go to waste, I say) I dropped a few bits onto the floor and the boy was on them in a flash! Omigawd!!! Such an oinker!!!!

I think they must be totally stir crazy and total oinkers to tear up my bag of keropok and that they find such delight in trying to slide open my bathroom door.


Oh, and the girl loves to tear paper up into bits and pieces and leave the mess for me to clean up. I swear, the two furballs are worse than dogs!

I've gotta think of a way to stop them from opening the sliding door again tonite. Sheesh!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


I was walking in SS2 today, intent on my destination.

A non-descript man, possibly in his 40s or 50s maybe, dressed in a blue t-shirt and jeans approached me with a packet of pens. I slowed my pace just a tiny bit but continued walking.

"Miss, please buy."

I gave the packet a passing glance and continued walking on.

"Miss, please help me. Miss, no one will give me a job," he says in a shaky voice.

By the time he'd finished his sentence I'd walked on and left him talking to the air. I was in a hurry and I had somewhere to go.

Right after he'd finished his sentence, a heavy weight of guilt presses on me. I turn back to look and he's just come out of a shop with his packet of pens.

The weight of guilt stays with me. I can't shake it and I realise my problems are so small compared to the problems of others.

I ask the one above to look over the man.

I tell myself if he's still around when I'm done with my appointment, I'll buy a packet of pens off him.

When I come out about an hour later, he's nowhere to be seen.

I could have made a small difference, but I gave up the chance.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Smart Alecks

I spent the weekend hovering between sick and tired. Friday night I had the sniffles, actually a continuation of the sniffles that started in the morning. By the time Friday evening rolled around, I was dead tired from all the sneezing throughout the day.

Saturday evening I was scheduled to attend the studio party, however that had to be shelved because I felt a gnawing pain in my throat and a different kind of runny nose had started. Not my usual sinusy runny nose but a flooded, stuck-in-your-throat kind of cold. So I ended up retiring early while the hubby started his game with his buddies downstairs.

It was a fitful sleep. Not because of the raucous boys downstairs, but because of my smart aleck cats. I'm convinced that I need to do something about a) the kitties opening the bathroom door (it's a sliding glass panel door with no latch) or b) putting up a mosquito screen at the bathroom window. I was plagued by mossies for the most part of the night. I killed one sometime in my tossings and turnings (a blotch of dried blood on my pillow proved so) but I couldn't kill the other that was left around buzzing in my ear and plonking itself on my arms for a succulent meal of fresh blood.

Like I said, I'm convinced it was the kitties, namely Trixie, who nosed her way into sliding the bathroom door open and letting loose the mossies in my room because the same thing happened last night. I had a mossy-ridden sleep. And I woke up to find the bathroom door had slid open by half a foot and the two brown culprits staring (one guiltily, and the other startled) at me from the mat in front of the door.

My kitties are too smart.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Be Careful What You Wish For

I did wish that a few of the interview candidates would not show up. I must be more careful what I wish for.

We had 8 interview candidates lined up. Only 1 showed up.

What's with the people today? Set up and confirmed time but never show up. True, we are not the big boys and we're a small set up. We probably won't blacklist (but I do remember when people don't show up) but people should have the common decency to at least call the interviewer and inform them if they are not going to show up. I know I'd call up even though the company was small. Ijets! I hope those no-shows fail in their other interviews!

I remember when the no-shows first happened to me, I was quite bothered. Nowadays when interviews are set up, I've come to expect a 50-60% no-show rate. Today was the worst. It's just a waste of time when you've scheduled a full day and you're left with no shows. Think of all the other more productive things you could do. Customer visits, product updates, sales updates, etc.

I must be more careful with what I wish for. Maybe I should just start wishing for more money and more sales, hahah!!

Wearing Me Down

I have to keep reminding myself I'm not a young spritely thing anymore. I'm only a year after 30 but my body protests like a septuagenarian's. My knees ache, my back aches and most recently after a somewhat hectic two weeks resulting in lack of sleep, my nose is berserk and I feel like a useless sack of rotten potatoes. How much worse can it get? Actually a lot more but I shall not dwell on all the negatives that could crop up.

On the one hand, I have a lot of things to be thankful for (no major illnesses, my health other than the nose, knees and back is relatively fine). I'm not in the pinkest of financial health (or should i say blackest??) but at least I have no immediate wants or needs that I cannot not take care of.

On the other hand, I have to treat my knees and back with kid gloves. Just yesterday I resorted to buying a pair of jazz dance shoes just so can salsa without the heels (the heels are what caused the recurrence of knee problems, methinks). For the record, the jazz shoes are so comfy I may just chuck my salsa shoes into the cupboard and leave them in oblivion!

I also have to step up on my massage sessions to treat the back and shoulders. I'm reluctant to return to Aikido because I know I will somehow or other end up screwing up my falls and hurt something somewhere. Sigh, the possibilities are endless. To top it all off, today my nose is screwing up royally and has in its own mind to teach me a lesson to take better care of my body. If I move around too much, I start sneezing uncontrollably. Which results in my eyes welling up and overflowing with tears and puffing up into major LVs. Did I mention that I am conducting interviews today? And that my wish for some of the candidates not to turn up came true?

I have another 4 hours to go. Am eagerly awaiting the end of the day when I can head home and just crash into my bed. Who needs dinner when the body overules food in favour of sleep? This is how I know that I will never be able to participate in Discovery's Eco Challenge and any of those games where you need to be able to race on limited sleep and rest. I'd be the first one to be disqualified.

Such is life...

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Full Steam Ahead

It's been a hectic week and it looks like the pace is not slowing down even now. I had Japanese visitors down for work Tues till today. Tomorrow is interview day. So said because my entire day is crammed full with interviews. Holy fucking shit! How the hell am I supposed to cram 30 mins of interviews with candidates? One after another from 9.30am - 3.30pm? Looking at the schedule, I am hoping that a few of them will not turn up. It's bad but I'm exhausted just looking at the schedule? Trust my HR to cram as much as they can into the schedule. Oh well...
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