Friday, April 28, 2006

Mother's Day Special.

Dear Mommy

Maybe I should call you different but I grew up imagining calling you Mommy because that's what everyone calls their mom. Grandma never talked all that much about you. I asked Aunt a few times but she didn't tell me nothing so I stopped asking since.

I am old enough to understand things. You gotta know I am not angry with you. Don't even know why I should be angry with you anyway. I never saw you. And you never knew me. So we are about equal.

I called Aunt mommy all my life until one day someone told me she wasn't my mommy but I kept calling her mommy because she was all I got and she took care of me real good. She taught me men don't cry. And I've made myself real strong never to cry for anything. People at school can beat me up good but you can ask my friends and they'll tell you I don't cry easy.

I looked after Grandma and Aunt and Cousin real good. Maybe you don't know but they are all gone now. And the house I grew up in Dungun is empty now. Don't know what to do with it. Maybe I go live there in my old age, and I won't bother no one. You are welcome to go there and you can have it if you want. I can give it to you and Daddy. I never met him either. Grandma told me he was a naval officer. Is that right? He must be a good looking guy in a uniform. Aunt say don't you never join no army and so I said, yes Mommy.

I wrote a lot of letters to you. But I never knew where to post them. I kept them in a shoe box until Aunt found out about it one day. She read every one of them. At night she came to my bed to hug me. She cried. I don't know why because I had done crying. I felt her tears in the back of my pyjama. In the morning I found her next to me holding me as if I was an infant. But I was no infant I was already in primary school.

Really, maybe it's because I live alone now that I think about you. And maybe because Mother's Day is coming. It doesn't mean anything to me but this year I think it does mean something to me. Maybe not in the real way a real family celebrate it but I reckon it is nice to celebrate something for someone so special like a mommy.

I thought I'd get something for you but I don't know where you are. Or how to get it to you. Anyway, I just like to wish you Happy Mother's Day since everyone in the world is wishing their mother the same thing. I ain't got one but that doesn't mean I can't wish the same thing to you, right? I can't wish Aunt the same thing now that I know she wasn't my real mother although in very sense of the word, she is to me. And she still is. I hope you don't mind about this.

Happy Mother's Day, Mommy, wherever you are. Or whoever you are.

Your son.

p.s Grandma, Aunt and Cousin raised me good. I thought you'd be proud of me and I really think you should thank them. They are gone but that doesn't mean you can't thank them, right?

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Lamb Cutlets & Red Wine.

Uploaded by Bergen. This is not the lamb cutlets I've got in my freezer. It's taken from a food website. The picture is to fulfil the request from AuntyN.

Whenever a recipe calls for red wine in a sauce, just go for ribena or any blackcurrant drink. You can safely bet your left ear that no one will ever know the difference. Not even the most senior members of a gastronomie connoisseur club. The moral of the story is, at least from where I am cooking which is my kitchen, red wine or any wine in a cooking doesn't significantly enhance to making the dish more tasty. I didn't learn this trick. Someone taught me, a Michelin chef, a true blue Frenchman, a Muslim convert who used to work in one of the five star hotels in this fine city of KerlaLeempoor. Don't look him up. He left the city years ago which is why I believe it is quite safe for me to write about him here. Let's hope he's not coming back to handle the same hotel and the same kitchen crew or else people are going to know. Better still, let's hope there's no big names in hospitality industry reading this entry.

In a month my friend poured down the drain cases and cases of high quality wines which the hotel had rationed for him to use in his cooking. He'd do this discreetly so you won't know. For effect, he would place a half empty bottle of wine in the work area so you'd figure, oh yea he's using the wine that's why his food is delicious. The truth is, it's the blackcurrant drink. And we laughed so hard coffee came out of our noses like a musical fountain.

Now let's get back to the lamb cutlets.

A butcher at a wet market...I won't tell you which wet market because I want this butcher to remain ignorant so I can buy the cutlets from him at least until next year at Rm14.00 per kg. I won't tell him that MAS serves cutlets to its first-class passengers. And I won't tell him that cutlets usually cost about Rm40.00 per kg. And most of all I will never never tell him, not even if you tie my hand in the back, put me in a chair under a lightbulb, that I can sell a high-class cutlet dish for Rm35.00 apiece, wine and Rydell glasses not included.

To produce the cutlets, you need to know a thing or two about loin and non-loin section of a carcass. Obviously the butcher in question doesn't know. Which is good. Every portion of the carcass to him is just meat when cut into 1 inch cubes for curry. I saw him worked on a whole leg of lamb this way. He asked whether I was there to watch him at work or else I had better get moving before he showed me what he could do with a heavy cleaver.

How much for the backbone?

The backbone in question came attached with the tenderloin intact. I rushed home to work on it with my knives. Cleaning the section of the bone that curves like C to come up with 14 pieces of cutlets shaped neatly into a 6.

Rushed to Tesco to get some rosemary, coriander leaves, and mint. And blackcurrant juice. Rushed back to the house feeling slightly disappointed because SHE wasn't there. I had hoped to meet her so I could invite her and her family (hopefully she's a single mother) for a meal.

In the end I had four pieces of cutlets. The rest I put in the freezer, maybe for another meal with someone.

What's good 14 pieces of cutlets if you don't have someone to share them with?

Next entry: Tenderloin, striploin, sirloin, T-bone, ribeye, Kobe beef, white veal and all things beef.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

When You Have No One To Care For...

When you have no one to care for, you go to Carrefour.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Blogging Courtesy.

Don't be offended if people you are having dinner with consider you a village idiot when you don't know there is such a thing as table manners. It's not a big deal to me if you don't know about such a thing as I would usually pretend not to see what you are doing. I was once like that too and decided to do something about it. I figured it was wrong for me to appear rude all because I was ignorance about something as basic as table manners. People are usually sympathetic. They won't look at you as if you have committed a grave sin. Afterall not everyone is born with the knowledge to know about which spoon to use first, or whatever. And you won't spend good money to learn about this at a finishing school. We learn as we go along. But I believe it is wrong for you to consider this a western culture and that you plan to abolish this practice by showing to everyone at the table that you are the champion of all things eastern and therefore it is okay for you to jab the steak with your fingers and jam it into your mouth.

I believe there is a set of manners for everything. There's a set of manners how to eat banana leaf rice. The same way goes for udon noodles, tajin chicken, tomyam, ikan bakar or ice-cream. I consider conforming to the manners a good way to appear humble. That's what manners are for. I believe in Fiqh it's called tertib. It doesn't hurt to appear tertib. In fact I think it brings out the artistic side of a human being, the hidden beauty in each and every one of us.

There is even a set of manners on how to dress correctly. How to choose a shirt, a tie, belt, shoes, pants, socks, dinner or sports jacket and so on. All this will make a man appear sharp. Of course you can be a rebel by not conforming to the manners but in most cases, it is not so much of a rebel in you that you are trying to bring out. More like your ignorance and you cover this up by appearing to be at war with the correct way of matching your belt, shoes and socks.

Same way with blogging. I believe there are manners associated with blogging too. Visiting someone's blog, to me, is like going over to a friend's or a stranger's house to listen to what he or she wishes to share. I either agree, or disagree with an entry. In most cases, I'd rather agree since the whole idea about blogging is to make friends, not enemies. Of course you can disagree and still remain friends but there is a set of manners how to disagree.

Since I have a lot of free time, I usually login the blogs I visited the day before to see if the host has up-dated an entry, or have taken the time to reply to the comments. It's nice to read the reply, really. I enjoy it. It gives me the sense that the host acknowledges my presence and he or she is kind enough to engage a stranger like me in a conversation. It may be a short one but it is a conversation nonetheless. Now this, to me, is manners. A common courtesy.

I believe it is good manners to acknowledge someone who has just said something to you. It shows you appreciate his or her effort to get to know you. I have stopped visiting blogs where the host doesn't bother to acknowledge your comment. I consider this rude. It leaves me with the impression that the host doesn't need my friendship. For all I know he doesn't even want you to read the entry in the first place. He might even consider you a pest for coming in and leaving comments as if there is a prize for doing that. I was surpirsed that famous people like Yasmin or Afdlin took the trouble to reply to a comment. That's humility and I have nothing but respect for people with such a personality.

To me this is the same as saying 'hello' to a stranger but instead of a smile, all you get is this blank stare from him as if you have just interrupted his line of thinking on the physics of how to turn water into fuel so the world doesn't have to depend on fossil fuel anymore.

It doesn't hurt to be courteous, friendly, warm and hospitable. It's a rude world out there.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Good Things About Bloggin'

You can tell a blog junkie when he, or she, rants and raves about the positive aspects of blogging giving you the impression that he or she has to keep on blogging or else the rainforest is going to be wiped out from the face of the earth. Don't ask me how rainforest has gotten into this. At this point, I'd recommend you not to get into a debate with a hardcore blogger over the of pros and cons of blogging because there is no way you can win this argument. He or she has had the mind locked that blogging is the next best thing that has ever happened since mobile phone. Nothing compares to blogging. Nothing will ever come close. He or she might even come to the conclusion that it is much much better than chatting. Some of you may agree. Some may disagree. Some just couldn't be bothered. But this is not about agreeing or disagreeing. It's about something I haven't figured out yet.

And what is the big thing about blogging that has caught on in some people as if his or her mind has been conditioned by an entity floating around in the cyber world like wandering spirits whispering, blog blog blog blog...And you go, yes yes yes yes..., your eyes turning red, fingers dancing on the keyboard at the speed faster than the legs of a pregnant centipede about to give birth to a triplet. Centipede ain't mammal, right? Nevermind, this is not about science. It's about the positive aspcects of blogging and what it can do to a person trying to assume a congenial personality. And more importantly how the assumed personality can contribute towards making this world a more sensible place to live, and how your family will benefit from all this financially and emotionally

For one thing you make friends. A lot of friends the majority of which you might never meet in your lifetime or speak to on the phone. This is not a bad thing. It is one of the unwritten rules of blogging you've got to respect as the whole idea about blogging is to remain faceless but yet at the same time an open heart surgery in itself. By that I mean you can write anything you want and no one has the right to stop you from saying things that you have always wanted to say like, my nose is too big. You can say this, typing the sentence in large font, upper capped and underlined, bold, upload a picture of your nose in extreme close up. You can bet your left ear no one will give a bother. Instead they might leave a comment like, 'I kinda like big nose. Let's go out Saturday night.' Or someone might leave another comment 'I have a big nose too, let's start a club to take over the world. It's about time they recognize us big nosers the way they are going to honor left handed people.' By the way, I am left handed.

There you go, another good thing about blogging. Now you know I am left handed. I didn't mean that it is good for you to know that I am left-handed. What I really meant was you got to know about my being left-handed via blogging. Mobile phone can't do this. I can't fit in a statement 'I am left-handed' while talking to you about olive oil. Unless of course you ask a direct question like 'Are you right-handed or left-handed?' What's the chance of you asking me this question? A million to one. That's why blogging is good. You can get around to discussing about any issue any which way you want it.

You may meet a few fellow bloggers in real life. And you will cherish this meeting. Nurturing it in your mind as memories that you won't let go because you don't know when will you ever meet them again. You may have forgotten how they look like but given a chance, you should be able to spot them in a crowd the way you can spot goat cheese from piles and piles of processed cheddar cheese and yoghurt.

As for me, blogging has motivated the desire in me to learn English the fastest I can. Now I am quite comfortable with present perfect continous tense. And past participle. Gerund. Passive voice and active voice. Subject verb agreement. Of course I still have a lot to learn and figure out ways how to use these in a sentence so that I will appear 'educated' and 'well-schooled' and 'metropolitan'. Some of you may remember how horrible my English was when I first started to blog. That's one of the reasons why I deleted the entries I had started from September 2005 and start over. Some friends sent me email demanding that I post all these back. According to them it was the part of me they find rather amusing especially my natural talent to write a sentence a mile and half long before someone says, hey! there's such a thing as a full-stop, you know. I almost had Kak Teh breathless once when she tried to read my sentence. I figured I'd better not kill anyone that way and so I learned as much as I can about independent clause, conjunctions and modifiers. Adjective. I even have to re-learn nouns all over again. Funny thing is, I don't remember English having this many areas that one has to learn. All I remember about my English lesson at school was a pretty teacher whose name I will never forget. Miss Low Bee Lia. According to Sir Awang Goneng she should be somewhere in Google Land. So far I haven't come up with anything that could be use as a positive lead. I'd marry her if she's still single. Which is hardly likely. English teachers don't stay single long enough for me to become an adult so I can marry them. Them? That's plural, right?

I am still not very familiar how to use all this elements in English grammar but I'll show you what I can do with these if you give me a chance. And how else will I be able to show you if we didn't have this BLOG thing? And it's good to know that I can still write the way I used to write i.e sentences three mile long before coming to a full-stop. So now I've got two different styles of writing. And that's good because now I can choose to be either a metropolitan, suave dude, or a cowboy with rough hands going after women with flowers in the hair, chasing after them up the stairs to hear them giggle like firecrackers.

And that's another thing about blogging. You know a blogger like the way you know your own relative. Not a distant relative. A close relative whom you meet often, or grew up with. Or a friend with whom you used to share a room during your varsity days. In fact you feel that you know a blogger so well that he, or she, won't get away with a lie or two should he or she decide to write something that doesn't seem right. Or doesn't quite fit the character you have construed in your mind. You can pick it up the lie he or she tells the way a radar can detect a bogey coming out of the cloud from behind a mountain. You know this because you have read him or her for a month to know roughly what kind of person he or she is. Like now you now Tuesday is my laundry day. And you also know that Tesco is a big thing in my life. Do you know where your sister, or brother, does his or her grocery? You'd know if he or she is a fellow blogger. Otherwise you may have to guess.

Blogging has also enabled me to be invited into the living room, kitchen and sometimes bedroom of fellow bloggers reading about things they write on familiy issues like a plasma TV, dinner, a new sandwich maker or a pressure cooker. You don't invite a stranger into your living room, do you? Well through blogging I can walk through your house in 3D animation. Let's not discuss private things they write about concerning bedroom activities. That's not good. Or is it good since we are all faceless individuals with stories to tell? I shall leave it to you to decide since this is a moral issue that I don't want to get involved in. See? I use 'shall' instead of 'will'. How do you think I could have known how to use that in a sentence?

And blogging can take away the boredom of being alone in an apartment. Instead of watching the changes in the cloud formation every five minutes, I now have a better option what to do with my time. I visit people's blogs to read the things they have to tell. I may leave a comment, or just write 'present'. I'd like to think I invented this 'present' phenomenon. It has caught on a little although not in a big way. It's a convenient way to remain neutral while at the same time, informing the host that you've dropped by to say hello. It's a form of courtesy. I'd like to believe it will catch on in a big way. Too bad I won't get any royalty for it.

And that's another good thing about blogging. It's free in every sense of the word. You can express your opinion freely and no one will give a hoot. Of course once in a while you will receive a nasty email for your opinion but since you are as faceless as the guy who sent the email, it doesn't really matter. I've written about my stance on a lot of things that I believe didn't go down too well with a lot of bloggers out there but I didnt' receive any bomb threat or something like that for my opinion. As far as I'm concerned blog allows you to practise the concept of democracy in the real sense of the word. What can be more democratic than this? Not even India can match the democratic principles of blogsphere. In that sense, blogsphere is better than the real world. But don't get too excited that you want to throw everything you got and become a professional blogger earning enough money to scrape a living.

I can go on and on but you've got a schedule, like you too need to write your blog so I can go visit it to read, and leave a comment or just 'Present' Bergen.

To fellow bloggers, cheers!

Next entry: At the Taekwondo tournament & lamb cutlets.

Word count: 1,741 or thereabout.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Why I Find Blogging Fascinating.

Being addicted to something can land you into trouble. It could be a small trouble, or a big one needing somekind of therapy to get you off the hook. Depending on who you talk to, some treatment may require you to mandi bunga, or run around the padang seven times in a kain ssahang no bigger than a handkerchief all the time saying to yourself, Mary Had A Little Lamb, or something more Asian like, Lap Ta Li Lap Tam Plom.

Every junkie will readily admit that he or she is in total control of the situation. That's the first sign of being addicted to something. Denial. And this may go on for weeks on end. Or months. Living in a constant state of denial. Believing that he or she can get this off as and when he or she wants to. It's not a big deal. But you know better this isn't so.

What do you call this if it isn't an addiction already when I need to login to the Internet first thing in the morning on my way to the kitchen to make coffee? A normal person wouldn't be thinking about the Internet first thing in the morning when he gets up from a deep slumber that took him half way around the world in a dream package tour. This blogging thing has gotten to me real good that it scares me a little thinking, will I end up in a blogging mayo clinic that will drain all my savings to see me through? Or will I have to pay good money to shake off this addiction at Blogging Anonymous session? I have to think about this in economic terms to make me see better the seriousness of this addiction and that I should do something about it. Tomorrow. I stil have a few entries to work on today. I promise. Tomorrow.

That's another sign of addiction, procrastination. Putting off something that should be done today indefinitely. The time frame 'tomorrow' thing is just a way of giving me an illusive sense of urgency so I can feel better that yes, I am taking charge of my life again and I won't let blogging get in the way of my effort to do something important in life. At least once. Like inventing a way how to do pre-tenderized roast lamb under 5 minutes.

And that's another sign of serious addiction. This crazy notion to be a great person with big ideas. Ideas that can change the lifestyle of a suburban middle-class family. Changing the way they eat dinner, or watch TV. I don't know what this big idea is yet. I'll go figure but until that happens, let me finish this entry first. And then I do something about this addiction thing. If it is an addiction at all, that is. No this is not denial. It's something else that I don't have a word for yet. I'll go figure that too.

And there you go. Another sign of addiction. Trying to do a million thing but never get around to doing a single thing. Let's see the list of things I have been meaning to do since this blogging thing got in a way.

  1. Call a spare part shop in Puchong about that water pump for that Volvo I am trying to restore.
  2. Figure a way how to re-route the pipe from the washing machine so it goes directly into the discharge valve somewhere underneath the sink or some place.
  3. Get groceries.
  4. Wait I've gotten groceries a few days ago.
  5. Get fresh vegetables. I need some of that.
  6. Get fresh fruits.
  7. Figure a formula to start this business that have been formenting in my head.
  8. Learn the new tricks from Illustrator CS tutorial.
  9. Try some effects that I haven't quite figured in Photoshop.
  10. Learn how to speak Spanish.
  11. Design a bridge.
  12. Work out the restoration schedule for this Volvo.
  13. Check the undercarriage for leaks the Volvo I just got from a doctor in Klang.
  14. Design a glass pool with eternity edge. Who knows some developer somewhere may find it attractive. And I can become famous.
  15. Figure a recipe for chicken to counter the latest KFC's chicken chop promotion.
  16. Figure how to do steak burger that cost less than RM1.50.
  17. Figure the layout for a breakfast setting of a restaurant.
  18. Revolutionize the design of christmas tree so the drilling operation can be more efficient now that the President of Iran has threatened to push the price up.
  19. Design the rotor blades of a helicopter.
  20. Better still design a helicopter without rotor blades.
  21. Fall in love.
  22. Get married.
  23. Wait. Get the design of the Samurai suit to wear to my wedding.
  24. Stop writing this list and get back to blogging.
I am not a junkie. I am not a junkie. I am not a junkie. I am not. I just have to blog every day. What else to do when you don't have a day time job?

Next entry, the positive effects of blogging. I can name one; you make friends.

Female Rivalry.

How was I supposed to know about the long standing undertone rivalry between the girls from Sri Aman and Assunta.

That's why I stayed out of the way. Kept all the opinions to myself. Not saying anything except when she asked, do you want another drink?

Yes, please, this is getting beyond me.

(I hope this feud will end in a mud wrestling by midnite.)

The guys from the rig are coming to town for some lovin'. Feels like the good old days.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Petaling Jaya.

There are things about Petaling Jaya that you are not supposed to get it no matter how hard you try to figure it out. Like if you are driving from SS1 heading west towards SS2, try not to work the numbers because you won't find SS3, SS4, SS5 and so forth in a sequence like that. Right after SS2 is Section 14, a busy commercial zone I consider a serendipity because if this isn't it I don't know what is. I thought I had it all figured out until a friend told me that SS and Sections are two different concepts altogether. As different as A.R Tompel and Clint Eastwood.

Against this seemingly amusing system of zoning I decided it would be in my best interest to find a place to live where they number each zone according to the sequence that will make it easier for friends to come visit me based on a postal address.

Last night I needed to direct a friend from Damansara Toll Exit to my place. I wrote long time ago that it would be a big mistake to trust me to give directions. I can mix up your left and my left, your right and my right, the way I can mix up salad dressing with liquid detergent and not know the difference.

10.30 pm / 2230 hrs.
We are now at Damansara Toll Exit. How do we get to your place?

Okay. It's a simple drive from there to Damansara Perdana. Just follow the road until you come to a fly-over where there's a police station to your right. Keep going until you come to Taman Tun traffic light junction. Take left. Keep going. You will see One Utama on your left. Keep going until you see a huge Tesco directional sign. Keep going until you come to a fly-over. Take left to go up the hill. My apartment is on the left. Call me when you are in the neighbourhood. Okay?

10.50 pm / 2250 hrs.
You fellas should have been here by now. Where are you?
We are at SS3.

How did you get there?
Look, don't ask us any questions. Just get us out of here, will you?
Frankly, I don't know how to get you home, fellas. Do you have GPS?
No, we haven't bought it yet. Maybe you should have gotten us one.
Okay, relax, fellas. No need to get excited. It's not good for blood pressure. I'll bring you home.

I asked for familiar landmarks like a petrol station, or a tree that might look strange to them. They couldn't identify anything to help me guide them out of the area straight to the apartment. And so I asked again whether they see any shop that I might be familiar with. They mentioned something like Tea Pot or something to that effect which I said I had never heard a shop by that name. In the end I said why don't you fellas keep driving until you see somekind of civilisation and call me.

11.00 pm / 2200 hrs.
They were at Section 14.

Bergen, where are all the numbers between SS1 and SS2? We are now at Section 14. We didn't see SS3, 4, 5...
Look, this is PJ. Don't ask questions like that. It's close to midnite. You might get into trouble for asking a question like that.

I know my friends were hungry. Tired. They needed a shower. It had been a long drive from Penang in a rented car. Too bad my postal address isn't as simple as; 1605 Washtenaw and 4th. But what to do. This is PJ. I quickly turned on my PC to login Google Earth hoping the satellite would pick up three male Caucasians in a car somewhere in Section 14 PJ.

In the end I told them to stay put. I'll go over with a rescue vehicle to retrieve them from the battle zone. By the time we got home it was pretty late but being a host, I figured it was my responsibility to serve them a hot meal. I started cooking around 12.30 am. A simple fish dinner with lemon butter sauce and pasta which didn't turn out quite good. I blamed it on something about PJ that I still haven't quite get it.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Things That Got Bigger And Bigger.

Who would have thought a simple get-together with friends over a few drinks could turn ballistic that left me being branded anti-Malay? Were we on the same page when it happened? I don't remember.

It is difficult to recall the events that led to an argument so heated that I ignored an important SMS from a friend. Now that the dust has settled, I believe it should be easy for me to re-construct what really happened on that fateful Saturday night when we could have avoided talking about what we talked about that very nearly left a few of us with a bloody nose.

I remember faintly that it was about Rais Yatim.

About what he wore to the parliament. And then someone disagreed and then the issue got bigger. Someone said, it's not about what he wore. It's about making fun of the dress code of an institution like a parliament. It's about a minister responsible for the courtesy campaign who doesn't practise what he preach.

Yea, I agree with that. And we drank to that. Cheers!

And then somone got smart and said something about what's wrong with that shirt? At least he doesn't put on a tie, something that doesn't belong to Malay culture. Maybe he was trying to display his defiance by not putting on a western style shirt that had to be matched with a necktie. I tried to sound intelligent and said something stupid, well in that case even these nice English shoes I'm wearing ain't no Malay thing, man. So if you wanna be a real Malay why don't you go around barefoot? And stop wearing western shirts and pants. Or jeans. Just put on a songkok and a sarung. Now THAT being a real Malay to the core, man. You can't be anymore Malay than that when you put on a sarung, man.

No one's laughing. Oh oh.

I know I shouldn't have pushed the limits of our friendship further, but it was really tempting that I kept going. If he (Rais Yatim) wanted to prove a point that it is time for everyone to stop conforming to the western rules, why didn't he put on a baju Melayu on the day in question? He should have known better that putting on a Nehru style shirt didn't make him less western than what he is.

So he should have put on a baju Melayu?
Maybe. But do you know that baju Melayu isn't something that belongs to the Malay? It was invented by a Chinese tailor and that's why he or she (that tailor) called it baju Melayu. It was a baju he had to make for a Malay customer.
Oh really? How did you know this.
Hey, I know this kinda stuff like the back of my hand.

And so this Chinese tailor designed this baju Melayu for his client. The client came in the evening, looked at it and said, can you put some pockets on?
Sure thing, awang.
And so the Chinese tailor put some pockets on. Three altogether. Next thing you know this Malay client put the shirt on and walked around the shop, looking himself in the mirror feeling like a handsome Malay prince. He asked, how much for the shirt? The Chinese guy said, four rial. He paid the guy and said to himself, what do I do with my sarung? He said, oh well I can wear it on top of the baju. Which he did. The Chinese guy said, if he wears it like that, how is he going to reach for the pockets? Oh well, the Chinese guy thinks to himself, that's what Malay is, quite impractical people. Funny but impractical. Unlike the Chinese. Good customers that they are so what the heck. Let them wear it the way they like as long as they come to me for more baju like that.

That's the story behind baju Melayu, man. And that's why I don't wear it no more. Last time I put it on was like twenty five years ago. No one can make me put that on, man. And you can be sure as your ears that I won't ever make one, not even if have to appear before the Agung to receive a medal or something. I'd rather put on a boilersuit before a Sultan than being seen dead in a baju Melayu. Unless you are P.Ramlee it is difficult to look handsome in a baju Melayu. It's not like a Samurai suit, or a pirate outfit, or a cowboy suit where a guy can look dashing in them. Besides, how do you match baju Melayu? Do you wear it with shoes, or capal? What kind of shoes? Oxford? Demiboots? Or Phua Chu Kang boots? Or a Wellington boots. Do you put on a songkok or that heap of cloth coiled like a dead snake on your head? I don't put it on because I don't want to look like a doorman of a five-star hotel, man. The most practical baju Melayu is the kind worn by Johorean. At least they've got the pockets outside and the sarung inside. In the 80s rockers posing for a Hari Raya posters in Malay entertainment magazine wore their baju melayu with a songkok and sneakers. They are not breaking any laws, it's their interpretation of what baju melayu is in the 80s influenced by malay soft rock.

Shouldn't have said that. I could sense someone is ready to boil over.

And then someone got really drunk and said something. tidak Melayu hilang di dunia. Now that got me really really pissed off that I almost shouted, do you know that Hang Tuah doesn't exist? And that he was just a character someone as drunk as you had cooked up? Had he really exist how come not a single decendant of his has ever been found in Melaka or anywhere in the world? And that Taming Sari bullshit? It's just a load of bull, man. Have you ever fought with a keris and have you ever experienced how difficult it is to hold a keris the way you are supposed to hold it and fight? When you fight with a weapon you hold it tight, man. You don't hold it like a Malay handshake, soft, loose and unsure. Do you know that Hang Whatever could very well had been Chinese? That's what Yasmin said in her movie Sepet. I believe Yasmin more because there is no written history of this Hang Bullshit any where. All you've got is a load of bull, oral history from people who don't know any better how to smelt metal to turn into sharp shining sword like that of Victorinox. He didn't exist, man. He is as good as other folklore like Luncai, Awang Kenit, Mat Jenin and the rest of the stories old people tell their children. Stories that don't mean nothing. Stories with gurindam and pantun using archaic, dead language that doesn't say exactly what you are supposed to say because it is not polite to call a spade a spade. Call whatever you want, man but to me that is as good as lying. Maybe that's why you guys are finding it hard to deal with me because I can be absolutely honest with my opinion and say it the way I feel instead of hiding behind this polite bullshit your ancestors taught you.

One thing I learned from facing a possible danger like a fight. You either make the first move punching your opponent cold or you can wait and wait until he got bigger and bigger in your mind that will make you wobble in the knees. Didn't want that to happen so I had better leave those guys to drink their sorrow away before I had to bundle them in a taxi cab to take them back to the hotel.

Things We Don't Know.

Will my friend and her missus remain husband and wife next week now that she knows that her husband was at the apartment with a woman? I can only guess that she has probably all cried out and has figured out a way to move forward. With or without her husband.

The point is I apologised to her for not telling the truth the first time she called eventhough I somehow got the feeling she knew I was not being entirely honest about it. The way I figured, I can't make a decision based on what I presume will happen.

We can more or less predict that the missus will be very upset. Who wouldn't? Neither it is difficult to figure that my friend is probably pissed off to the brain with my decision to disclose what was supposed to be a secret between men. But this is not male bonding thing we're talking about here. It is higher than that. It involves whether or not my tongue will be chopped to three hundred pieces by the malaikat in charge of dealing with liars.

This is another possibility. Who knows by my telling the truth my friend will come to his senses and develop a new kind of loving for his missus, falling in love all over again. People got stronger after they've gone through a crisis.

The truth is, we don't know what will happen. They may end up filing for divorce. Or they may end up loving each other more. Or things may also remain unchanged that they will continue living as husband and wife. As far as they are concerned this is just another episode they'd rather not talk about since at the end of the day, no one ends up divorcing anyone.

The truth is we don't know what will happen. For this I believe, it is quite wrong for us to make a decision based on what we believe is going to happen. We have to deal with the situation as is. In real time. We can't make a decision based on what has happened, or what is going to happen. I don't know how to make it any more clear than this. Maybe this example would suffice:

You are hungry now. And so you eat. You can't be thinking, if I eat now I might get fat tomorrow. Or if I eat now, I might get stomach pain just like I had one yesterday.

In my limited capacity as a non-scholarly person, I believe the example above should do just fine.

Actually this is not entirely my original line of thinking. I didn't develop this perception of truth that has influenced my decision to spill the beans on my friend.

If you must know, this is the same line of thinking employed by George W. Bush in his foreign policy on Iraq. You must be aware that his popularity has dipped to an all-time low now that the truth about WMD was more or less a joke that didn't turn out the way they figured it would. He said something during an interview with a journalist on TV that made a lot of sense to me. I can't recall verbatim what he said but it goes something like this:

' can't make a decision based on yesterday's gotta make a decision based on today...history will prove that I am right...'

Now, that, to me is a leader talking. A brave man. He probably knows he's wrong. And he knows for sure a lot of people think he is not a smart person to be in charge of U.S.A but he believes in what he is doing. He sticks to his decision. He takes charge. And not afraid to face the consequences come what may.

I've met a lot of foremen who are like that. They are generally a pain in the neck but when it comes to taking a chance, or making a decision, they will be up there the first in line to stick their neck out. Every drilling team needs a foreman like that. A foreman who isn't afraid to make a decision as and when the situation requires them to do something within a split of a second. People can talk about it later that he made a wrong decision but we know those who talk as if they know everything won't know what to do under the same circumstances. It is the same thing with people in other professions who have to make split-second decision in performing their work. People like brain surgeon, chef, fire chief, police officers. These are people who have to make a decision in real time. Maybe they know the consequences or what will happen but they don't know that for sure. All they know is a decision is needed now. And they gotta decide. They can't remain indecisive. The clock is ticking. That's why only a few percentage of the population on earth are lucky enough to do this. The great majority of us don't have to do it. All we have to do is live with that decision. And complain. And yak yak yak until the cows come home and go out to the field again to graze. Same thing with Abdullah Badawi when he got to make a decision to call off the bridge project. History will tell whether he's right. Or wrong. Even if he's wrong, it is his decision and he has to live with it. We can make fun of it. That's because whe didn't have to make that call. Political Science can analyze all it wants. People can talk about it in restrospect, sounding intellectual and academic. But a decision is a decision. In most cases we don't have that much time to analyze the factors before we arrive at the final analysis.

It is the same situation here. I got to make a decision based on real-time i.e when Desparate Housewife called the second time to ask for her husband. It may not be a split-second decision that I had to make but the sense of time and urgency of the matter is more or less the same. The consequences, I believe, is equally damaging. For example, my friend and I may end up not talking to each other for years. He might divorce his missus. But I can't think of all this. These are things we don't know.

And they don't matter.

Dear Friends:

I thank everyone for participating in this short discourse on a married life of someone you don't know. He may be a stranger to you but trust me, he is not a bad guy. No one is in this issue. This is not about good guys vs bad guys. I may have potrayed him as a bad guy in my entry but this is unintentional. I mean it is easy to label someone a bad guy just because he wishes to marry another one. He may be out gallivanting with the woman he is going to marry but this doesn't mean he is an irresponsible person.

I am not his defence lawyer so please don't get the impression I am trying to re-paint him as an angel after what I've written about him. The whole issue is not about him. It's about me. It's about whether it is wrong, or right, to tell the truth or to lie given the circumstances I was in.

This may happen to you one day. Or to some, it has happened to them and I thank them for sharing this so we can all learn a thing or two from these experiences. It is good that we can talk about it and remain faceless. That way we can be honest without sacrificing anything that can land us in trouble, or regret, later.

This has been quite a difficult entry to write. But it has to be written nonetheless since I can't be talking about this to any barman, or to a nail specialist who can shape my nails into cartoon characters.

Through it all, it has been an enlightening experience.

Thank you, friends.

P.s This could be a wrong decision. But it is nonetheless a decision and I have to live with it come what may.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

That's Not How It Is In My Book.

How do you raise a child who knows instinctively when to tell the truth, and when to lie. Do you drum into him the values of telling the truth, citing Qur'an and Hadith so he can see better that liars go straight down to hell to be consumed by the fire.

How do you tell him that it is okay to lie under certain circumstances like if he sees mommy or daddy making out with someone else in bed, he should keep quiet about it. Don't tell anyone. Especially mommy, or your daddy, since by doing that mommy and daddy will run to a downtown office to be the first in line to file a divorce.

How do you raise a child like that?

There must be somekind of Hadith to guide you to carry out this mission as parents effectively.

I Wanna Talk About It.

Encik Sayuti writes:

i learned from someone that lying is allowed (in Islam) under three circumstances:
1. in war - strategy or to avoid war.
2. in marriage. to avoid conflict and divorce.
3. (i forgot, sorry)

but,i've not read your previous entries yet, therefore i'm still not sure about the real situation here. forgive me if i made an incorrect remark here.

6:03 PM

I write...

Encik Sayuti,

Nevermind who that someone is from whom you obtained the 'hadith' (?) that you wrote about in your comment. I have a scenario.

Supposed I know your missus is having an affair. Going by what you wrote, I have to keep this a secret from you, right? The reason being, if I told you the truth it will only put your marriage on the rock and it might end in a divorce. Since the sanctity of the marriage is bigger than the sin of an extra-marital affair, going by what I understood from what you wrote, I have no business to tell you about your missus' promiscuity eventhough by keeping it a secret from you, I may put you at risk of contracting AIDS or other forms of STDs.

Is this what Rasulullah s.a.w wants me to do? In other words, I am performing the sunnah and therefore earn a deed that I could use as a pass to get to heaven. Or to say to Rasulullah s.a.w when I meet him that I haven't done enough good deeds but once in my lifetime, I lied to protect the marriage of a friend called Encik Sayuti. Therefore, Rasulullah s.a.w, I deserve your syufa'at.

Encik Sayuti, I picture the scenario above to enable me to see more clearly, as a man, that should it happen that way, would I be angry with my friend for not telling me about it? Or should I be grateful for his discretion since the marriage doesn't end in a divorce. Nevermind if the marriage continues as a charade.

I wanna talk about it.

Yours sincerely
Bergen Abdullah

Monday, April 10, 2006

Expiry Date.

He wasn't very happy when I said next time his missus call to ask where he is, I'm going to tell the truth. The whole truth because everything comes with expiry date, including the lie I told the missus. This way I hope to take this load off my chest and get on with my life. It may not be much of a life, reclusive even, but it's the only life I've got at the moment and I plan to enjoy every minute of it instead of spending sleepless nights thinking of other people's marital problem.

Give me a few days, okay?
You've got until Friday, man. If your missus call me to ask about you, I ain't lying to her no more. I gotta tell her the truth. I am going to ask her forgiveness for not telling her the truth about you being in the house with the woman you plan on marrying. You can't do this to me. It is my right to tell the truth, and it is wrong to tell a lie, or hide the truth eventhough this may ruin your marriage. I don't plan on making telling a lie as a career option, man. You got it? How would you like it if someone lie to you about something you believe it is your right to know? You would be hurt too, right? Besides, I ain't doing anything wrong. I am going to tell the truth. And that to me is the right thing to do. It is better to deal with the truth than to go live on lies. And if you ask me, man, you should tell her that you plan to marry another one. Be a man. Take charge of the situation.

And he slammed down the phone. I know. I heard the click that sounded like that.

No, I don't feel bad for losing a friend. Losing something has never made me sad. I learned early that life is about losing things you love. The minute you are born, you start to lose something. You lose the security of being in a womb. I don't remember much about being in a womb, do you? And you lose something, one by one, as you go on living. In the end you lose Grandma. And then Aunt. And then Cousin. You lose friends. Either they die of bad liver, or a fire accident. You see their bodies burnt and black, and smell the burning flesh, carried on a stretcher in the middle of a storm, rain lashing on them as if to wash away all the bad things they've done in their life time. In the end you lose something. Everything.

At midnite tonight the lie I told the missus will expire. I won't make the first move to call her but if she calls, I am going to tell the truth. She will cry. I may have to listen to a woman crying over this. I have listened Aunt cried and so a woman crying isn't a big deal to me no more. At least she's got the children.

And as to my friend, if you happen to read this, I mean if you decide to become a blogger, that is. I don't have to protect anyone by lying. I have the right to tell the truth. And it is wrong to tell a lie.

In my book, to tell the truth is macho. And it's the right thing to do. It's manly. Brave. It means something big. It simply means you are willing to face the consequences. People die for telling the truth. To lose a friend for telling the truth, to me, is a small price to pay.

Besides, since when has it become an offence to tell the truth? Don't you know that truth will never go out of style?

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Matador Picador Peon And Muleta.

I got a phone call from a Desparate Housewife at two in the morning.

She sounded concerned. Any woman would too if she's a missus with four school-going kids whose hubby had gone AWOL for a week since his onshore leave. No, ma'am, I don't know where your hubby is. Bye.

That was a lie.

I saw him a few hours ago. He had came to the apartment with a woman he said he was going to marry. I said, good for you.

And I served them coffee from a pot I had bought from Tesco that evening.

In the kitchen he asked, what do you think?
I think the pot is a classic piece. The kind they must have served first class passengers on Titanic.
I mean her lah.
You mean the one sitting on the couch watching the Arabic channel?
Yes. BTW, why are you tuned in to the Arabic channel, man.
I am brushing up on my Arabic.
Oh really?
Yea, I'm thinking of going back to Saudi Arabia to work with Aramco.

So what do you think?
I think she's older than you, yes?
About 2 years.
Does your missus know about this?
Not yet, but I'll let her know soon.

So what do you think?
Whaddaya want me to think, man? Do you want me to say something you wanna hear?
You sound mad.
No, I ain't mad but I wish you don't include me in your plan, man.

Hi, ma'am. My name's Bergen Abdullah. Have some coffee. This is a new pot I just got from Tesco. Do you like Tesco? They've got a lot of aisles that'll take you at least a couple of years to go through one by one. I'm not the official spokeperson for Tesco but that's where I hope to meet someone special so she can be my missus, someone I will love until I'm blue in the face. Ma'am?

She must have found me a nuisance. Or somekind of a nut case that she must have psst psst psst my friend behind my back to leave this apartment now or else she would call off the wedding. This friend of mine must have loved this woman very much to listen to her instead of staying for another minute to talk about friends at the rig who asked about how I am getting along trying to adjust myself to being a land person without a job, pretending to be a writer writing blog after blog that people are beginning to have problem keeping up.

They left around a quarter past midnite.

I stayed for an hour or thereabout watching the Arabic channel, re-learning all the words and how to use them. In the end I gave up and went to bed.

And then the phone call came in from a Desparate Housewife. I listened to her for twenty minutes or thereabout, maybe more. In between sobs she said she knew something about her hubby so please, don't hide anything from me. But there I was holding back a vital information from a missus whom I had met on several occasions. I felt like saying what Aunt said:

'Men are like that, there's nothing you can do about it.'

She said, please do call me when you see him. And please tell him the children are missing their daddy a great deal.

Yes, ma'am. I will.
(A lie)

I tried to sleep. No way I could after telling that lie. And so I dreamed of a bullfight in Seville. I dreamed of a Matador. Of cape passes. I dreamed of Spain. I need to get away from all this. I need to run away from all this. I am going to Spain. To join a circus. Or become the first Asian matador. Maybe an overweight matador.


I need to be killed by a charging bull while trying to execute an elegant cape pass. Anything as long I don't have to delve with the question that has been playing in my head whether should I or shouldn't I dial the number and tell the Desparate Housewife that:'am, your hubby is getting married. They were at the house. I served them coffee from a pot I got from Tesco. I'm sorry for the lie I told you last night. I wish I had been honest about it. Forgive me, ma'am. I got nothing to do with what happened between you and your hubby. He's a friend of mine from the rig. Not exactly a good friend, but a friend nonetheless. Not that I wanted to protect him. Or protect you from getting hurt knowing the truth at two in the morning. But when you said the children are missing their daddy, I got scared. I got really scared for hiding this information from you. I'm sorry, ma'am.

Wish I had the courage to say all this. Wish I am not such a sissy. Wish I am in Spain. I wish my friend didn't show up at the apartment. I wish the Desparate Housewife didn't call me.

I wish I were a Matador so I don't have to deal with all these domestic issues. A Matador is good. I can dedicate a bull to a pretty woman sitting in the expensive seat of the arena.

I don't want to see the phone.
I don't want to see the phone.

Of Course I Speak Malay.

Memanglah saya punya entries banyak tulis dalam bahasa Inggeris tapi ni bukan boleh bikin bahan bukti saya tak tau cakap melayu, atau tak bleh tulis dalam ini bahasa. Saya pandai ini bahasa sudah lama. Dari kecik sudah boleh cakap dan boleh tulis lepas gi sekolah. Saya pun pernah dapat markah tinggi juga dalam peperiksaan ini bahasa, mungkin paling tinggi 65%. Itu sudah kira bagus sebab saya dalam kelas paling belakang, sama satu kelas budak-budak tak tahu baca apa-apa tapi cuma tau main terup dan tumbuk-menumbuk bila balik sekolah pasal diorang suka kacau orang lain punya hal jadi gaduhlah.

Saya juga memang boleh pandai tulis dalam bahasa melayu cantik macam itu orang-orang puisi dari Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka. Saya cakap pun ni macam saya tulis pun lagi ini macam. Saya memang tahu ini bahasa, saya memang boleh cakap ini bahasa punya. Saya juga banyak ada respek ini bahasa itu pasallah saya bagi ini entry dalam ini bahasa sebab mau kasi proof saya boleh tahu ini bahasa macam semua orang juga. Kalau tak tahu ini bahasa mana boleh dapat MyKad. Betul ka? Awak fikir saya cakap ada masuk akal?

Pernah satu kali ada tiga orang kawan saya cakap saya macam orang putih celup tapi body melayu. Saya cakap tak baiklah cakap ini macam saya bukan orang putih. Saya bukan mahu jadi orang putih. Apa pasal saya mahu jadi orang putih, ini memang tak boleh punya. Cara biologi memang ada mustahil tapi saya punya kawan cakap saya sudah over sebab saya punya gayahidup serupa macam mat salleh tapi saya cakap, mana ada? Saya memang suka makan steak tapi itu bukan jadi bahan bukti saya mahu jadi orang putih. Lagipun semua orang makan steak tak kira orang putih atau melayu atau china atau india atau iban atau kadazan atau eskimo. Tapi diorang tak percaya dan cakap pun sikit ada kasar jadi gaduhlah. Tumbuk menumbuk macam koboi bikin saya suka pasal macam ni boleh saya hentam orang yang suka bagi saya sakit hati.

Satu kali saya kena halau dari gelanggang silat sebab saya cakap ini silat tari menari macam pondan mana boleh lawan Hapkido. Diaorang sudah hot ajak saja gaduh saya cakap tak baiklah gaduh tapi lebih baik terima ini kritikan secara open mind lah, tapi diorang tak mau juga dan terus ajak saya masuk gelanggang. Saya cakap saya bukan mari sini mau cabar sapa-sapa tapi saya cakap yang betul punya hal jadi jangan kecil hatilah. Tapi ada tenaga pengajar datang dekat saya terus mahu hantam saya punya muka. Dia sudah silap. Sebab dia tak tahu saya masa itu sudah dua tahun belajar buah pukul datang dari China punya, dan ini silat memang tak tunggu orang pukul punya pasal ini silat jenis silat offensive bukan defense. Jadi saya dapat hantam dia punya ribcage dan kasi tolak dia punya lutut dan terus hantam dia dengan belebat anak-beranak. Dia jatuh luka muka semua habis lebam gigi pun ada pecah. Saya cakap jangan ini macamlah tak baik. Lepas itu saya pun takut terus lari. Sampai ini hari pun saya ingat diorang masih dendam sama saya.

Ini semua cerita mau kasi tahu pasal saya boleh cakap ini bahasa punya, sama seperti semua orang rakyat jelata juga. Saya juga ada respek ini bahasa tapi sekarang saya kurang respek pasal kerajaan pun tak respek ini bahasa jadi saya pun ambil keputusan mahu belajar bahasa inggeris betul-betul tapi ini bukan bahan bukti saya mahu jadi omputih.

Jangan tuduh saya itu macamlah.
Of course I speak Malay.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Let's Do The Shoop Shoop Song.

Image uploaded by Bergen from

Shoop Shoop

Does he love me, I wanna know
How can I tell if he loves me so?

[Is it in his eyes?]
Oh, no you'll be decieved
[Is it in his sighs?]
Oh, no he'll make believe
If you wanna know
[Shoop, shoop, shoop, shoop]
If he loves you so
[Shoop, shoop, shoop, shoop]
It's in his kiss
[That's where it is, oh yeah]

[Or is it in his face?]
On no, it's just his charms
[In his warm embrace?]
On no, that's just his arms
If you wanna know
[Shoop, shoop, shoop, shoop]
If he loves you so
[Shoop, shoop, shoop, shoop]
It's in his kiss
[That's where it is]
Oh, it's in his kiss
[That's where it is]

Whoa, hug him and squeeze him tight
Find out what you wanna know
If it's love, if it really is
It's there in his kiss

[How 'bout the way he acts?]
Oh no, that's not the way
You're not listenin' to all I said
If you wanna know
[Shoop, shoop, shoop, shoop]
If he loves you so
[Shoop, shoop, shoop, shoop]
It's in his kiss
[That's where it is]
Oh, It's in his kiss
[That's where it is]

Whoa, hug him and squeeze him tight
Find out what you wanna know
If it's love, if it really is
It's there in his kiss

[How 'bout the way he acts?]
Oh no, that's not the way
You're not listenin' to all I said
If you wanna know
[Shoop, shoop, shoop, shoop]
If he loves you so
[Shoop, shoop, shoop, shoop]
It's in his kiss
[That's where it is]

Oh, It's in his kiss
[That's where it is]
Oh, yeah it's in his kiss
[It's in hiss kiss]
[That's where it is]
Ooh, it's in his kiss
[It's in hiss kiss]
That's where it is

It's in his kiss
That's where it is
Ooh, it's in his kiss
That's where it is
Ooh, oh it's in his kiss
Oh, oh, it's in the kiss
That's where it is

Lyric uploaded by Bergen from

Expires: 7 April 2004


If I Get To Heaven.

At 8.30 am a Malaikat finally cleared me with 'APPROVED' after having sucessfully gone through thousands, perhaps millions of checkpoints, before they finally issue me the permit and the licence so I can hand these over to a Malaikat manning the main-gate of Heaven to let me pass through. Let's say I finally get to enter Heaven at 9.00 am sharp after all the administrative documents are checked, re-checked and endorsed. I go to a Resident Department to check what kind of accommodation I am entitled to. At this point I don't mind if I am not qualified even for a single-room in a low-cost apartment because I am already in Heaven, far away from the cries of sinners and the torment of hellfire.

Looks like I am not qualified for any kind of property to call home, but since I have served my sentence being grilled, fried, tossed, beaten, and endured every form of punishment for all my sins I am qualified for a tent which I can pitch at an open ground under the star, a camping ground by a river. I am thankful for this that tears stream down my cheeks thinking of all the sins I committed but yet still deserve a place in Heaven, a little plot of land measuring 5' x 5', just enough for me to put up a tent where I shall stay forever and ever. I greet the neighbors with Salam. We become fast friends. I watch people swimming in the river, drinking, walking in the park. Everybody is extremely handsome, and women extremely so that I am speechless. I am not thinking of Elizabeth Taylor anymore because suddenly she isn't someone I want now that women far prettier than she are everywhere. I cry even more.

I search for Grandma. I call out to Aunt. And Cousin. They are all here. We hug feeling so happy now that all of us are here. And that's all that matters. Nothing will keep us apart anymore. We are here. Forever.

Grandma, Aunt and Cousin live on the other side of Heaven where the beautiful houses are, with rivers running underneath them. I also get to finally see Grandpa, and Uncle. In the evening I can go over to their house for tea to talk about Dungun, about the rain and Ramadhan. About how I didn't pay attention to Grandma when she tried to teach me a Surah. About how I cheated in my solat. About how I pretended to fast during Ramadhan but ate and drank like a pig behind their back. About every little things I did that I have to pay being punished for millions of years in hell before I finally see them here in Heaven.

I reach for a piece of paper in my pocket, a note wrinkled in a million creases. In it I try to read what I have written all the things I wanted if I ever get to Heaven. Now that I am finally here it is only right that I talk to a Malaikat in-charge who can make all these wishes come true. But I am embarassed to even think about it. I am embarassed for keeping this piece of paper all those years, protecting it with everything I got when people together with me in hell tried to snatch it from me. I am so embarassed that I lower my head to look at the grass but I reckon this isn't enough and so I prostrate, bringing my whole body to the ground and not wanting to get up because how can I be so selfish to ask for anything. I crumple the paper in my hand to swallow it, pushing it down my throat because I don't want this useless piece of paper to contaminate the sanctity of a patch of grass in Heaven. This paper doesn't belong here. And so I swallow it feeling the coarseness of the paper in my belly.

What else can I wish for if I ever get to Heaven except to be thankful.

Am I For Real?

The truth is, I don't know. Whaddaya think? Could all this be the product of wild imaginings of a jobless guy who has nothing better to do in a day except cook up some wild entries that seem to contradict themselves at certain points in the story? Could all this be somekind of a joke by some sick, twisted, perverted individual out to con women into some dubious money-making scheme to make him so rich that he could buy off Petronas cash?

The truth is, I don't know. Whaddaya think?

Does all this sound too good, or too crass to be true? Or does it sound like a fiction that's not going anywhere because the plot has played itself out, and there is no more room to insert another character without feeding the curiousity of an imaginative mind? Except Azhar Dayok, there's no more characters from the memory bank with which to move forward writing about another childhood adventures only Mark Twain or Charles Dicken could have experienced first hand. Or Frank McCourt. The question is, a Malay guy can't have a rich childhood experience like those white men?

Whaddaya think? I don't know what's the truth anymore.

Or what constitutes the truth. Or a lie. Blame it on the Internet. For the chance to remain faceless but yet unaccountable for anything that lead or mislead readers to believe that it is the truth. Or a lie. Blame the Internet for a chance to become whoever one may want to be.

Bill Clinton.
Clint Eastwood.
Wahid Satay.
Elizabeth Taylor.
Rosamund Kwan
Titiek Puspa.
Bergen Abdullah.

Blame the guy who came up with this thing called BLOG. Blame him for the chance for anybody with a finger or two to hit the letters in a keyboard to write a sentence or two about anything. Anything. Any language. Any accent. Any dialect.

And then hope for someone to leave a comment. To feel good that what you've written has been read by a total stranger. Or strangers. You can do this another way. Write your entry on A4 or A3, or 20" x 30" paper, post it on the trees around your house and then go back there tomorrow to see if anyone has left a comment on what you wrote. But we've got the Internet. And blog. Why do it the hard way when you can do all this from the comfort of your bedroom with the aircond turned up full-blast, and the music playing some familiar songs from your stereo.

Is all this for real?

Monday, April 03, 2006

'M' For Opera.

It was supposed to be a refined, cultured affair, an evening at the opera, high fashion, air kisses, famous names, and trooping to a high-class joint after the show to sip coffee talking about what a talented young guy Jit Murad is and if only Malaysia had a theater program to produce first-class talents like him, we could be the center of art, culture and everything in between by 2010.

We left Damansara Perdana in her car driving straight into one jam after another at every traffic light junction from Taman Tun to Damansara Heights, inching our position along Jalan Mahameru all the way to Auditorium Negara. She had insisted on going in her Bavarian car on account of mine is a station-wagon with a conspicuous bicycle rack on the roof which she found a little too coarse and out-of-place for a fine evening at the opera.

She is in a jovial mood at the apartment making last minute adjustment to her beautiful dress standing before a full-sized mirror turning this way and that way asking, do I look alright? Do I look pretty? Do you think I've put on weight?. A light drizzle comes down in a cotton droplets and so we trot to the car like a TV couple going out to receive the award for best supporting actor and actress. She is a first-class girl smelling all so high-class in her French perfume, looking so nice and pretty, skin smooth as porcelain. I forgot my knife. A woman this pretty would need a first-class protection but she's got the engine running and I didn't think it is okay with her to wait so I could go take the elevator up to the apartment to get my knife. We are going to the opera for crying out loud, not to a potluck or a cook-it-yourself dinner show where you need to bring your own lamb, spices and 12-inch Chef knife.

She's got the radio tuned in to a nice station playing familiar songs for us to sing the chorus together. At the first traffic light junction at Taman Tun we inch our way little by little to be next in line when the green light comes on. She is in good spirit, laughing at my silly jokes about John Guling that drivers in the cars around us must be wondering what a pretty woman like this convulsing violently at the steering wheel as if possessed by a demon. When we get to Damansara Heights she starts to sound a little irritated being caught in a slow-moving traffic and begins cursing under her lips. I know it's time to shut up and that it is no time to be playing stand-up comic or putting on Mr. Bean kinda act. It is time to sit still as ramrod watching everything from the corner of my eyes because Malaysian opera is about to begin. And what a lucky fellow I am being the audience of one sitting this close next to the star of the show driving a German car of a matching color.

And it comes down in a torrent of curses and swearing I never thought a pretty woman like her is capable of doing I figure the sky is coming down in pieces. Quite frankly I like her this way. She's more original like this but this is no time to be thinking of originality when the show is starting any minute eventhough I say softly to her there's a good chance it wont start on time. Afterall it's the Malaysian opera and it is only fair that they run it according to Malaysian time, sticking closely to Malaysian schedule. It must have touched her deep with that one that she finally calms down like a pony, laughing and giggling at my stupid jokes which I deliver like a running commentary of the last horse race of the week.

After the show we stop for coffee at a joint to meet up with her friends, men and women with tired eyes who slur their speech that I have to keep saying, excuse me, excuse me, excuse me? In the end I give up saying excuse me when I sense they must have figured excuse me must be the only phrase I know how to say since I was born. But I have to say excuse me for one last time to a white girl blocking my way to the toilet. She turns her feet to let me pass but she's an extraordinary girl with an extraordinarily large body about a mile wide that I have to say excuse me three times before I can squeeze my way through to smell stale beer in her breath.

What was it about the opera that I remember most so I can write something to prove that I am no prairie cowboy or a roughneck who doesn't know any better how to appreciate finer things in life like red meat red wine, white if you are having fish, sir. Oh yea, I know that but at two pee aym in the morning I'd like something stronger like sirap bandung soda and lamb briyani. Sorry, sir, we don't serve that here. Oh yea, and you call yourself a first class joint?

She says please don't make a scene here to embarass me.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Running Titles For Entries.

Someone gave me this address I tried to link it up but it's not working.

Make someone happy. Very happy. I called Aunt Su to find out how she's getting along and whether she has made new friends. She said, I'm doing alright. It's a nice place here, thank you for putting me up here. Aww, no worries, Mak Su. I'm just doing what I can to make you happy.

When are you coming to see me?
La ni cek takleh pi sebab ada hal.
Amboi, hal apa yang penting sangat tu?
Cek mengandung tiga bulan.
(I heard her laughed so loud.)

Make someone scared. Really scared.

I got a call from LHDN.

Some women fall for men knowing very well he is married with kids. I guess some guys have all the luck.

I am just a blogger, not a keeper of secrets. But there's a 50-50 chance that she is a blogger herself and may come across this entry to start a war with her hubby who is a friend of mine from the days in the rig. He's getting married with a woman he has been exchanging SMS with. Why remained married to one when you are allowed to marry four? Who can argue with that. Selamat Pengantin Baru, mate. Don't send me no Walimatul Urus because you know only too well that I don't go to wedding receptions. Can't deal with the question 'Sorang jer?' 'Mana orang rumah?' 'Solo ker?' Can't keep answering these questions with a grin.

Must be hard for a mother to disown her son for running up debts with loan-sharks to fix his gambling habits. She's got nothing left to pay her son's debts with. Malay Mail and Micheal Chong.

I look at big issues from village idiot's point of view.

I don't hafta understand complicated concepts because I don't have a huge stock of vocabulary to express them in the first place.

Sayuti writes something like this; a husband is the sun, wife is moon, and children are stars. For the life of me I don't want to be a husband if I have to be the sun. I told you I look at big issues from a country bumpkin's point of view.

Malaysia has gotta be the only country in the world with the largest population of geniuses judging by the number of students who scored so many As in public exams. I wonder if those As mean anything to anyone outside Malaysia. In a couple of years we should have at least 10 Malaysians winning the Nobel Prize. So far we've got Adi Putra but they are gonna kick him out of school for being too smart for his own good. Doesn't sound like a country run by a bunch geniuses. More like a country owned and managed by politicians from a circus act. Or MokYong.

Will I be in trouble
with the law for writing something like this?

Why bother watching RTM1 when it can suck your brain to become a zombie who can't even form an opinion? In a borderless world, you don't need a channel like RTM1.

The guy didn't mean to ruin Mak Ngah's business. He just wanted to teach people like her a lesson not to charge RM45.00 for gulai ikan aye. He's sorry that the authorities have slapped Mak Ngah with RM1000 fine. It's your words against hers, man. Another theory, this guy and Mak Ngah are in this together. It's free advertising. Front page and runs over a few days. The newspapers get to sell more papers, people have something to talk about, which may give the politician something to debate until blue in the face, or a topic to discuss live on Debat Perdana.

We don't usually get this much rain this late into March and well into April. Are we in for a long-haul dry spell?

Feel like getting married tomorrow, 2 April 2006 Sunday.

Who knows, I might end my life the way Hemingway did.