Friday, January 27, 2006


It’s two days to CNY and I have no new clothes and am sick. Go figure.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Yut Kee's 78th

Yut Kee had a blast yesterday. We celebrated its 78th anniversary. Wow! The shop is a septuagenarian!! And a damn popular one at that.

I was fashionably early. Some of the old timers were already there by the time I got there at about 4pm, but they don’t count. They’re old timers. I munched on toasted bread with kaya as Merv regaled me with an amusing account of his stag night with the gang last Friday. Somebody other than him got some heavy action that night.

Azwan was the first of the bunch to arrive. Also fashionably early I may say, at around 5pm. The rest were hopeless, arriving between 7pm till 8.30pm. We stuffed ourselves with mutton curry, satay, curry puffs and putumayam. Oh, there was also papapdam and salsa. Of course, beer too.

I had fun lugging the Seagull and toting the LCA around. I must have looked some kinda awful. Sometime towards the later part of the evening, one of the aunties asks me as I walk by, “Are you from Calsberg?” Huh? I vehemently shook my head and exclaimed, “No, auntie, no!”. I don’t know where she got the idea. Yes, we were serving Carlsberg to everyone and no, I was not in a skin tight miniskirt nor white tanktop. I wouldn’t be caught dead in a get-up as an alcoholic drinks promoter.

I will never live down the nickname of Carlsberg Girl as the auntie excitedly told Merv and the gang as she was leaving, “I thought she was from Carlsberg!” and the gang burst into hilarious laughter. Sheesh!

I hope the shots from the Seagull turn out. They’ll be worth having been thought of as the Carlsberg girl, bbrrrrrr!

Did I mention that one of the old uncles got up on the chair and serenaded uncle and Merv? He should have been the Carlsberg boy! He had on a matching Cobra outfit: Black cap, black collared t-shirt tucked into black shorts (and we’re talking shorts here, not the type of surf longs our generation wears) topped off with bright yellow socks and black shoes.

Long live Yut Kee!!


I’ve found the name of my addiction to shopping: Oniomania. Now all women who can’t seem to stop themselves from buying junk, clothes, shoes, etc. can safely say that they are Oniomaniacs.

I’ll be the first one to say it:

I am an Oniomaniac.


Today is not a good day. It’s not the Monday blues. It’s more serious than that.

I feel as if I’m being buffeted by strong winds pulling and pushing me in any which direction. I can’t make up my mind to go here or there, for that matter I’m not sure which direction I want to go. I feel somewhat drained. I feel disillusioned. I feel like giving up. I feel unhappy. In general, I feel pretty much like shit.

And I am not sure why. I just feel … discontent. I am not upset, I am not angry, just discontent. Making up my mind about what I feel discontent about or why seems to be more difficult than I thought.

I always say that you have a choice. But I think deep down I believe it’s easier to believe you don’t have a choice rather than to have to make up your mind about difficult decisions or difficult choices. That’s the lazy person’s way out: not having to think about things. And I am my Number One lazy person on my list.

So yes, I’m unhappy but I’m still trying to find out why.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Beginner's Luck

I won RM1700 at the one-arm bandit up at the summit of our one and only casino play land last weekend. It was unexpected – I am not a gambler and have never taken to throwing my money away needlessly. But the pull of the blinking, flickering lights of the slot machines proved too strong to resist. Call it curiosity but I think it’s a conspiracy - casino owners build their casinos to block out all thought of ever going out into the daylight; they make you forget the passage of time and keep you zoned out enough and so addicted to your game, you just keep on putting more and more money into the machine or onto the table. All you want to do is continue playing and gambling.

Call it beginner’s luck. I was on a winning streak with every button I touched. My golden fingers kept drawing out the three pyramids. We earned free games like churning out water from the water dispenser: 18 free games, 21 free games, 24 free games, one after another. My sales guy, hubby and I were on a roll, although it was mainly hubby and I that were pressing the buttons while my sales guy leaned back and watched. And then, as my luck peaked, I hit the jackpot: over RM400 in total! It would have been nice to have hit the RM20,000 jackpot, but hey, RM400 out of thin air is good enough.

There’s a system to the points and the pictures that show up on the screen, but I could not for the life of me keep up with the point tallying and the pictures. So it was basically just picking an amount that I preferred to bet and pressing the button. It was fun. It was mindless. And I was on the verge of getting zoned out.

From a low of RM1 or so, we watched the figures go up, up and up until we were targeting RM2300. At one point of other, there were spectators witnessing our good fortune. We reached a high of RM2200. We must have been sitting there for about two hours mindlessly pushing buttons when the luck started to dwindle. Instead of winning points every other time we punched the buttons, we started losing points, and we saw the figures going down from RM2200 to RM1900, hovering at about RM1800 before we decided to call it quits at RM1700.

The capital was RM100. We walked away RM1600 richer. It’s a pity though that it wasn’t my money. We’d stumbled across my sales guy solitarily playing the slot machines so we decided to keep him company. He was on the way out until he let both hubby and me try our hands at pushing the buttons. That’s when our beginner’s luck began to override his own dwindling fortune.

It would have been nice if the money was my own. I’d have been able to keep the winnings. Although, as hubby said, it is nice to gamble with other people’s money. There’s a sense of abandon: if we lose it it’s not ours anyway so we tend to go for broke. You take more risks and you win bigger.

It was an interesting night. I’d been to the casino many times before, but only for work and I’d always walked past the table games and the slot machines straight into the counting room. Now I know why the aunties and uncles and gamblers of the world are so tempted to try their luck. You never know when or how much you’d win if you don’t try.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Chiang Mai: Highlights

Rotee For The Masses Chiang Mai had their own roti (they called them rotee) vendors. You could get anything from roti telur to pisang to chocolate. Advertised on the top of its cart, this was supposedly the best rotee in Chiang Mai just outside of Anusarn Market. We had the roti pisang with sugar and condensed milk. Syiok!

Power Tom Yam Kung One of the seafood open air restaurants at Anusarn Market where we had extra spicy tom yam kung. they spoke Mandarin! We had oh chien (oyster in omelette)!

Creepy Crawlies Anyone? The many delicacies you can find at the Sunday Market: worms, crickets, bugs, pupae, etc.

Chinatown-esque One of the many shops around Warorot Market. The goldsmith on the left reminds me of the ones back home.

Smitten This scruffy mutt was quite adorably beside himself at seeing out tuk tuk driver. When we stopped to pick up the driver's dinner at a stall near our hotel, he clambered onto the tuk tuk and planted his scruffy butt next to our driver.

Veteran musicians This group can be found nightly at Anusarn Market and perform at the Sunday Market.

How We End Up With Silk 1. Gorge the silkworms with leaves. It's eat, eat, eat from the moment they're hatched.

2. The silkworms eat and grow till they're ready to become moths/butterflies and weave themselves into a coccoon.

3. Before the pupae are ready to hatch, they are boiled alive in their coccons, which are unwound to make silk threads. It takes 30 coccoons to make a single strand of silk. Just imagine how many coccoons and silkworms it takes to make a metre of single, double and triple ply silk fabric.

Pachiderms You'll find lots of representations of elephants everywhere, from pottery to bookmarks to t-shirts, bags, etc.

Flower Market Lots of garlands and offerings made of flowers.

Indoor Food Central At the Warorot Market. Different merchandise on different floors.

Glutton He had to have Mexican food (but settled for pizza), right outside the Old City at Tha Pae Gate.

Chiang Mai: Sunday Market

The map and guidebooks said the Sunday Market would be up and running from 1pm or 2pm. We were within the Old City walls around noon. There were a spattering of people setting up stalls outside of the Old City walls but when we ventured onto Ratchadamnoen Road, there was nary a stall in sight.

It must be too early, we thought. It was the only logical explanation. So we did the next best thing: we went for brunch at the corner Mexican restaurant. We were in an hour. Not wanting to sit around and do nothing, I suggested we walk out anyway and check out whatever stalls were set up.

Still the same spattering of people outside the City walls, except that they were more organized now with more of their merchandise for show. Still not much activity on Ratchadamnoen Road. We decided to walk down it towards the Wat at the end of the road anyway. As we walked down, we came across more people just setting up stalls. Damn, it looked like this market would not get started until 4pm, most likely. As we walked, we discussed shopping strategy: we’d take a tuk-tuk to Central Department store where I could go crazy over the bras and then we’d head back after I’d just about emptied the store of their bra collection.

I found more than bras. Hubby went walking around the mall while I was trying on armfuls of bras. He stumbled across an enclave of shops similar to those found in Sungai Wang and eagerly showed me his find (I didn’t know hubby enjoyed looking for treasure as much as I did). As we walked around the little enclave of about 30 or so stores, I realized not for the first time that Thailand must be where all the merchandisers in KL go to for clothes. Other than Korea and Hong Kong. I swear the little boutiques in that mall have the exact line of clothes as most of the funky shops in Sungai Wang. And for much less as well. A top that you’d find for say, RM40 or RM50 in KL, you’d pay about half or thirty percent of the price in Chiang Mai. And probably less if you buy wholesale at the Pratunam Market in Bangkok.

I wasn’t in the mood for bargaining though, and more than happy with my bra purchase, so I walked out of the mall with only one top from that enclave of shops.

It was dark by the time we left the mall. It wasn’t very late, probably about 7pm or so. We took a song tao back to the Sunday Market. By the time we got there, the market was in full swing. What were empty roads were now totally cramped and taken up with hawkers and stalls and all manner of bric-brats and people. The Market was so huge that it spilled out onto the adjoining roads leading off Ratchadamnoen Road. It was so full of people and so huge that it was quite mind-boggling. There were silk scarves, cotton scarves, trendy clothes, ethnic tribal clothes, picture frames, accessories, bangles, cards, pad thai, fried ramen, oranges, fisherman pants, cotton clothes, lamps, decorative lights, trinkets, earrings, foam “sandwich” notebooks, scented oil, soaps, essential oils, kitchen accessories, necklaces, fruits, incense, bookmarks, gifts, painting, T-shirts, slippers and shoes, food, bags, housewares, wine holders and people, people, people everywhere, locals, tourists, foreigners, young and old. At certain places, the crowd was so thick and intense that it was as if you were stuck in a wave of people and you could not move but had to follow the wave in whichever direction it was going. If you thought pasar malams here are a joy to navigate, you really should head down to Ratchadamnoen Road on a Sunday. It is a madhouse!

By the time we were done with the market, it was close to 11pm and we had more than enough shopping bags on our arms. Once out of the City walls, we hailed a tuk tuk. By sheer coincidence, it turned out that we had hailed the same tuk tuk driver who had driven us home to the hotel two nights ago from Anusarn market. What were the odds? There he was, moonfaced and whistling in his sweatshirt. He was surprised and smiled when we stepped up to his tuk tuk. I exclaimed to hubby, “Hey!! He’s the same guy from the other night!” . I couldn’t stop thinking about kismet. I mean, in a city with so many tuk tuks and even more tourists, what were the chances of us hailing the same tuk tuk twice, each in different locations? It’s kismet, I say.

I was still amazed when he dropped us off at the hotel gates, which were by now locked at this late hour. After scrimmaging around at the bottom of the gates, I found the lock and let us in.

I would say that it was the best day we’ve had for shopping and I was more than happy with my main purchase of the day: an armful of comfy lacy affordable bras (average price of RM45) and none of the horrendously padded contraptions you find back home for RM90 or more.

Tomorrow would be a day of relaxing; we’d have about 5 hours’ worth of a spa package to finish up: steam room, body rub, body wrap, facial massage, manicure and a pedicure.

What a holiday!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin