Thursday, December 28, 2006

Learning To Paint.

uploaded by Bergen: A Norman Rockwell.

Images uploaded from a favorite artist of mine, Encik Latif Maulan.


Next Entry: If only I could make a quick stop at Sungai Bakap...

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Wonder Of Being A White Woman Who Has Nothing To Wear.

She could have brought the whole wardrobe had she wanted to. I've got enough space in the station wagon for a washing machine, industrial dryer and plenty of room left for a tournament size billiard table, plus enough extra space for a rugby team. There was no living witnesses to back me up but you've gotta believe me; she had insisted to travel light, with just a duffel bag for our clothes and nothing else. And so when she said, I've got nothing to wear there was nothing I could do but said, I'm hungry so you'd better come as you are if we you wanna share dinner with me. I was joking but she didn't get it. And so she put on a tank top to take the elevator with me down to the restaurant where the men, husbands and waiters looked and gawked, smiled and nodded, their missus and young children going ish ish ish.
You can ask my friends about this and they'll tell you that I am a very low-profile kinda guy. I hate attention and I feel very uncomfortable being watched by strangers but right now I think I should denounce being such a low-profile kinda bloke and try being a high-profile kinda guy for a change because attention is not such a bad thing. The only problem is, the attention is all on her and none on me. I don't blame the crowd. It's the way she combines the tank top with a utilitarian batik sarong that earns her all the attention from almost everyone in the restaurant. I'd wear the same thing too if I am a woman with her looks and the physical accessories, and white. There is no way you can get this kind of attention if you aren't white. A Caucasian woman can appear at a five-star restaurant in the same batik sarong she goes to bed, matching it with a tank top she wears to the gym and the maitre d' will naturally say, you look stunning, ma'am. You know maitre d' love saying something like this to white women as a way to acknowledge their sensitivity to local fabric and the weather. Of course no one will ever know that she wears what she's wearing because she's got nothing clean to wear because I messed up the laundry rotation.
After paying the check, I said to her in the elevator, why don't you appear berkemban for breakfast tomorrow, who knows with all the attention we got tonight someone could be kind enough to sponsor us breakfast.
What's berkemban?
Ask Yasmin.
Who's Yasmin?
Sepet, Gubra, Mohsin. Remember?
Oh, I know her.
Right this way, ma'am.
Thank you, sir.
You're welcome, ma'am ma'am ma'am.

Friday, December 22, 2006

A Budget Holiday.

We don't have all that much money between us for a decent holiday on a cruise liner but we figured this shouldn't stop us from going on a budget holiday to get away from the city for a couple of days. It must have been the wine she had been drinking to come up with such a brilliant plan out of the blue, in the middle of a conversation about my station wagon which, in a round about and complicated way, reminded her of her daddy who walked out in the middle of an arguement with the mommy and never came home since. I don't want to go into details to figure the connection between my station wagon and her daddy. As far as I'm concerned, the very idea of travelling aimlessly without a definite destination in particular is as good a plan to me as it can get. After all, aimlessness is the very embodiment of the lifestyle I am leading at the moment, at least until early next year when I shall leave all this behind to start a new life in Sudan of all the most unlikely places in the world.
We are in the living room packing things into our duffel bags, not knowing how long we are going to be on the road. I've got the laundry points worked out, which is quite unnecessary since we have no specific route in mind to follow but I like it when I've got a general idea about laundry rotation. No, we don't need the map, she says. Let's take a drive along the inner roads, I don't want to go by the highways. I say, okay by me but let's just bring the map just in case, okay? No, no, no. No maps! I am not too worried about this since I've got a spare map in the glove compartment and so I say, okay okay, no map.
Friends will tell you that I take stupid risks but I don't take risk being on the road without a map. Or a compass for that matter.
I've got the TV and the radio turned on to keep up with the up-dates on the flood situation. She's got her ears trained to the news too. Nothing major but it would be lovely if we were to be caught in a flood to see what we are made of, how both of us would react in an emergency situation. Things like this can bring the best, or the worst, in a person.
Let's hit the road, ma'am. Or shall we wait for the sky to turn really dark before starting on our budget holiday?
We leave now, sir!
After you, ma'am.
No, after you, sir.
Right this way, ma'am.
Thank you, sir.
You're welcome, ma'am.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Artists And Their Works At A Gallery.

Bad things are bound to happen when you are at the wrong place at the wrong time talking to the wrong people about subjects as wrong as texture, color, intensity, balance, concept, stroke, media and things that make a lot sense only to artists, art collectors, art brokers and agents and those who pretend they know a few things about a painting to engage in an animated conversation, comparing a drawing of a gold fish with works by famous people whose names I can't even pronounce.
She said I should put on a black shirt with a matching black pants and a pair of black English shoes. It's not the kind of clothes I usually put on unless there's a funeral going on but she said it's about the safest thing to wear to an official opening of an art gallery, as safe as putting on the safety boots when you are on a rig to work the 12-hour evening shift. Maybe even safer than being in the comfort of a mother's womb. I trust her one hundred percent to go get me a black shirt that cost me quite a bit of money and a pair of black jeans that cost me even more money.
We arrived on time to find the place quite empty but she had a job to do. She said go ahead make yourself at home and started to make a lot of phone calls on her cellphone. I was free to wander about to gawk at the paintings they had set up on the walls with down lights trained at an angle to enhance the visual impact of a painting of part salmon part remote controller and part chopping board. It had a strange title, Metamorphosis, which got me thinking this must be some kind of a riddle and so I tried looking at it from a different angle but the more I tried to do that the more I was drawn to make the conclusion that the artist didn't know any better how to draw a decent shape of a fish.
People started to arrive in groups, fashionable people in trendy clothes, people who know how to start and end a conversation with a fashionable laugh and air kisses. A woman came up to me to ask if any of my works on display and so I said, no ma'am, I am not an artist. She said, you are a polite gentleman. I said, thank you ma'am.
There were speeches and a lot of clap clap clap of the hands and smiles and polite things people say to each other. Someone said something funny and everyone laughed.
Are you okay? She asked.
Yea, I'm doing all right.
Good, make yourself at home, go mix around, get to know people, connect, network, it's good for your business, say something intelligent, do this, do that, don't do this, don't do that. Don't give me that funny look.
Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against people paying good money for a piece of painting of a gold fish that looked like alien space craft, or a mini sub with over-sized headlights. I am pro-art. But tell me if you know a thing or two about art, how come some painting with a title say , Serenity By A Pond, is nothing but a riot of colors crisscrossing and overlapping one another that in the end the whole composition looks anything but a serene scene of a pond? In fact you'd be pissed blind if you try to look anything that resembles a pond in the painting.
Maybe I am not made for this sort of thing. Maybe I should take up some kind of class to understand the finer points of fine art, or maybe I should be a little more metropolitan. Maybe this kinda art is for those who can't draw because if you ask me, art is about being able to draw something real nice. It's not about putting colors together and putting a title relying on big words ordinary people hardly use such as Sapnaceous or such to confuse people even more so that everyone will say to one another, oh what a deep person he is, in fact he is so deep we don't know how deep he is in anything he has gotten himself into.
Maybe I should take up drawing.
She took a picture of me with her digital camera and put a title 'Self portrait'. Not exactly a Norman Rockwell. What do you expect from digital technology?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I'm Sorry, My Friend.

Everyone knew nothing could stop the late Roustabout King from betting all the money he got on him when he was on the roll and so when he said he'd take me on I knew better that he cheated on the game. That pissed me off quite a bit since I had been losing a lot of money from the start of the game and so I said, you are one big sonofabitch liar. Everyone knew I shouldn't have said that but I did and there was no way anyone could ever make me apologize to the late Roustabout King because my head was spinning from too much German beer and the late Roustabout King was no better himself.
I saw it coming, his burly arms going after the collar of my overall, but things moved in slow motion when you're drunk as a skunk. I got hold of him by the wrist with both my hands, raising my knee for a good recoil to kick him in the groin. He read that pretty good to launch a counterstrike with a head butt to the chest. That knocked me off quite a bit, stopping the air in my lungs to leave me breathless for a couple of seconds but it felt like a full minute. I can't remember much what happened after that except we traded wild, unsteady punches that did little damage to any part of a face we had planned to hit.
When we came round the world felt like one big giant turntable spinning faster than our eyes could fix on an object as a reference point to figure what in the world was going on. We were oilmen used to rough seas but we were certainly no astronauts trained to spin like a top to be able to keep our guts from spilling out dinner all over the floor. Of course that wasn't the first time we got thrown out of a crummy bar in the sleazy side of town.
That was the first fight I had with the late Roustabout King. There were a few more fights throughout our friendship until he died, around this time last year. We made up each time, slapping each other in the back laughing like men born to be friends for life.
I'm sorry, my friend. I'm sorry we can't have more fights no more.
You were a good guy, man.

Thank You, yang arif.

One afternoon in Ramadan a group of men came out of nowhere to rain down on me, Roughneck and the late Roustabout King busy having lunch in a restaurant. They showed us their authority card as if it meant something. We did what three hungry men would do under such a situation, continue eating to finish up a good lunch we had just started. That got 'em mad. One of them came to our table with murder in his eyes to sweep the plates and the glasses off the table with a single swoop of his arm. That got me mad but I knew better to remain calm and to take things one at a time. It was not the right moment for a brawl. To begin with we were outnumbered and there were police officers joining the raid and so I did what a man caught in a situation like that would do. Remain quiet and follow their orders.

First you give them your Kad Pengenalan.
And then you wait for them to take down your name.
And then you go wait in line with the rest of the offenders.
And then you march to a waiting van in a single file.
Curious crowd loiter about the van to hurl verbal abuses you wouldn't repeat to a snake.
A guy came up close to the van to spray spit at you.
A few others join in as if it was a spitting galore.
You want to get out of the van to start a brawl.
But I know better to remain calm.
Take one thing at a time, there's always time and place for a brawl later but for now, let these guys do their job. You know the routine. They'll give you a lengthy sermon and how you are going straight to hell. Listen. Don't say nothing. And then pay the fine and walk out and head straight to the same restaurant to start lunch all over again.

Not a big deal.
Thank you, yang arif.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

From Kajang To Malacca.

There was little point in going home after a good wedding lunch of a plate full of nice fluffy basmathi rice, creamy dalca, ayam masak merah, daging rendang, acar, sayur campur, air sirap merah-merah best best, and a hard boiled egg in a tiny ceramic cup adorned on the sides with all manner of ribbons of every color in the rainbow. You must be made of stone if you don't feel the urgent sense to marry someone holding this in your hand but I was too full to be thinking of marrying someone under the circumstances and it being a week-end and all, any guy with a bit of brain in him knew that Tok Kadhi don't marry people on a Sunday evening when the sky looked every bit that it would rain any time soon.
And so we decided to take a slow drive to Malacca and enjoy the evening remaining talking about anything that came to mind.
In Malacca we decided there was little point to make a return trip all the way up again and so we said to each other, let's put up a night in this fine historical town. But first thing first and so I said, I think you are a little overdressed, and boy that felt good to be able to finally say that. And so we drove around town looking for a departmental store to get us some decent clothes, toothbrush, toothpaste and things I don't remember. She got herself a nice pair of cotton pantaloons, a blouse, a shirt and a batik sarong. We put all this in a bag and checked ourselves into a hotel overlooking the river still thinking how nice it would be if we could pack some of the wedding lunch and eat it all over again here in the hotel room watching ferry, boats and sampans sail down and up the river.
Around eight or thereabout we took a stroll to Dataran Pahlawan looking for a decent restaurant to have a decent dinner, something spicy to remind ourselves that we were now walking on the very ground where spice traders from all over the world used to barter and fight one time in an era long ago forgotten. We were right at the place where it all began. And ended as melodramatic as it started. We walked a great deal until our feet ached so in the end we went back to the hotel to have dinner there which I think was a mistake because the cook burnt my fish and under thawed the meat for her steak. And so I called up the maitre d' to complain and asked the cook to come see for himself what rubbish he had cooked for us but he never turned up and so I said, I am not paying for this. And so the maitre d' called up everyone in town except the mayor to offer a special discount which I thought was very nice of him and so I said, you'd better fire your chef or this fine hotel is going under, mate. He said he'd talk to the management. Of course he won't do that because any man with a bit of brain in him knows that a chef is the number two man in a hotel as far as day to day running of the hotel is concerned and that he is the big guy you have gotta put up with if you want to keep your job.
We went up to our room to sleep off the excitement of the day hoping that tomorrow we won't wake up in jail because anyone could tell that we were not husband and wife on a second or third honeymoon trying to get away from the children so we could have a little naughty time to ourselves, amusing ourselves silly with meaningless jokes.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Kenduri Kahwin.

You can't tell a friend from your days in the rig to skip your name from the list of people to whom he should be sending out a wedding card to celebrate his daughter's wedding. The fact is you've received his card and it wouldn't be right to call him up with one hundred and one excuses why you are not interested to honor the invitation. A friend wouldn't do something like that to a friend, especially to lie your way out of a jam. And so I said to myself, hey it's free lunch. It's amazing how we can look at things different once you switch your mind to look at something from a perceptive such as free food. The only thing was, I needed to go to this wedding party with someone. And so I called up several people I could depend on in a situation like that but none of them was in town which explained the reason why I took a circuitous drive to Kajang with the only person who agreed to accompany me there. The only problem was it wouldn't be right for me to tell her that she had overdressed herself for a wedding party held in the middle of an afternoon under a colorful marquee built to cover the entire stretch of a road in the middle-class neighborhood. I've never been a woman in my entire life but I know better that a woman wouldn't like it when a roughneck like me offering my opinion in the form of fashion critic on how she should dress to a wedding party held in the middle of an afternoon.
I know better that you can never be wrong under any Malaysian weather dressed in a nice checkered short-sleeve cotton shirt, cotton pants with a nice brown leather belt and a nice pair of brown boat shoes. I know better also that you can never be right dressed in a kebaya with intricate lace work on the sides, selendang panjang, and kain susun so grand fit for Ibu Tien Suharto. But there she was, an elegant woman dressed to look like a manequin in a showcase, sitting right next to me at a table under a grand marquee trying hard to figure how to eat lunch without looking like a glutton for we were famished and quite frankly, we were too occupied with food to figure who was marrying who or who was going to get a divorce right after.
My friend was busy receiving guests that he only managed to say a short hello, sila sila makan. A couple sitting across from us gave us a friendly hello and asked about our children. I said we don't have any. We must have looked married for life for the couple to ask us that kinda question, or it could be their nosey way to find out if we were really husband and wife since we must have looked as if we'd just had our biggest row over an issue as trivial as who had left the light in the bathroom turned on. Only then did I realise that a wedding party was not about lunch. It was about relatives coming together to see each other. It's about maklong paklong maksu and pak ngah chatting about this or that relative. It's about family which has gotten bigger.
I never felt so lonely and so we left early.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Year End Sale

So this is what she lives for, a year end sale so she can drag me to every store printed in the press advertisement she has seen the day before looking for that elusive pair of Clark shoes she can't do without or else the world is coming to an end. So this is what it's all about. Her entire existence depends on this pair of shoes, the centre of her universe, very much like Kak Teh and her Yan and Gunung Jerai.

Year end sale brings out something I've never known in a woman like her. She's not the same anymore. She has changed completely into a creature I am not ashamed to admit of being a little scared when she turns the page of the Metro section of a national newspaper. Her eyes bulge the size of a headlight of the 1960s Volkswagen, her cheeks suddenly rosy pink and her hair stand straight up like steel pikes. When this happens I know better to get to the kitchen fast to fix coffee or cook something, anything. In fact I'd cook something that has been cooked just to maintain a safe distance from a creature I believe every retailer love to bits if only mothers can produce species like this faster than anything you've ever known.

If only I were a retailer. I'd love to entertain her and the type like her all day that I won't mind giving them free membership card so she and the rest of her type can visit my store to spend all their money on things they have got like another twenty four pairs of shoes, a dozen or so skirts, a dozen or so dresses they'd wear once, bags, watches, belts and accessories. Admittedly she and her type make the world go round. Not love. Love can't make the world go round. People in love don't go out of the house all too often and they don't spend all that much money. They'd prefer to spend their time together whispering sweet nothings and do stupid things like run in circle in the rain or dance around a fire.

We are going out again to a mall on the other side of town. I've just fixed lunch but looks like this lunch won't be eaten since we've gotta make it to the store. We've gotta beat the rest of the crowd. We've gotta to have it first.

Excuse me? Did you say we?
Yes, ma'am. I am coming right up.

Every Momma's Boy.

He was a good kid, every momma's dream son with a good brain to be top of the class from primary one all the way to secondary school, university and a Magna Cum Laude of an Ivy League university.

He's a good kid everyone says so.

Listen to him recite a difficult surah while leading a jemaah prayer in the family living room. His dad, tears welled up in his eyes, was a proud man in the middle-class neighborhood that everyone says, you're one lucky person, haji.

He's a good kid who doesn't mix up with boys his age in the neighborhood who stay up late at night to learn a few chords on a guitar singing rock n' roll smoking boxes after boxes of cigarettes among themselves until the voice is all coarse in the throat. He's a good kid who doesn't mix up with boys his age drinking beer smoking joints and fondling young girls in tight jeans and a tube.

He's a good kid always at the surau when he's on holiday from a semester break. Everyone loves him and everyone prays for him to be a good man one day. May you be blessed with a good woman for a missus, son. A solehah who can raise your children to follow in your path to being a good man. A good man.

And then he got a job. And then he met me. And then he met the gang. And then he kept to himself when we were having fun. And then he started to join in. And then he started to like what he saw. And then he started to like what he drank. And then it all started. And then he was not a good kid no more. And then his dad started calling me from a lonely bed in a government hospital. And then his momma met me, tears welled up in her eyes to ask, what happened to my son?

Don't ask me. I don't have answers to this type of question, ma'am. No, ma'am, I don't have a message for his dad. Quite frankly this is none of my business, ma'am. Good day.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A Walk On The Wild Side.

Some of us will never have the chance to walk on the wild side of life and so the only life he or she will ever know is to graduate college, get a job, get a missus or a hubby, have kids, live in a double storey house in a middle-class neighborhood, retire, go the mosque, get a high-blood pressure, high cholestrol or a stroke, or a heart attack or cancer and die peacefully in a private hospital.

Some of us will never know what it's like to take a roller coaster ride of life, going through the ups and downs that will leave you thinking why are we here at all, or why are we made this way if it has been determined from the very start that we are going to end up in heaven, or hell. We can't help but to ponder why some people end up a prostitute while some a middle-class housewife who may have a few unpaid bills on her credit cards but otherwise lead a serene life that she doesn't have to sell any part of her body for food.

Some of us have never committed primary sins because the opportunity to do so never came around long enough to shake every part of our body to forget about hell for a brief moment and grab a piece of heaven right before our eyes.

Some of us will make a life out of walking on the wild side of life because that is the only side he knows or because he's been down that road too far to get back to where he started. If he's lucky a light will dawn on him and he'll drop to the ground, tears rolling down his cheeks, and whaddaya know, he repents and everything is all right.

But some will walk further down. These are the doomed, the damned or what have you. These are the savages that have been fated from the start for hell fire. And there's nothing they can do about it.

A walk on the wild side, you'll see things different.
But you and I know that some of us are not meant for the wild side because the world is divided into those going straight to hell, while the lucky ones are on a one way trip to heaven.
How lucky some of us are.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Just Passin' Thru', Mate

We used to drink ourselves silly going down to have breakfast in the restaurant to catch the news of the Asian Tsunami thinking to ourselves, when it is time for you to go down, you go down good. I've seen colleagues with blood gushing out of their ears and eyeballs, gasping for air trying to tell me something I couldn't make head or tail of, went down with a violent jerk as if trying to hold on right to the last minute the life he had fought so hard to live the best he could making a living as roughnecks on an oil rig in the open sea, or a lonely rig in the middle of a desert in a country so rich in oil the citizens got paid monthly for idling themselves silly.

Just passin' thru', mate.

There were bodies I've seen, burnt to the bones with dangling eyeballs waiting to be washed on a steel table. Their mothers haven't got the news that their sons won't be coming home this Christmas. Somewhere in Oslo a little girl waited for daddy to come home with chocolate and Barbie, the mother is probably in the kitchen figuring out how how to surprise hubby with a nice filling for this year's turkey. Both of them would know soon that daddy is on the steel table somewhere in the middle of a desert, his entire manly frame reduced to a heap of coal. Daddy's coming home all right. In a box.

Just passin' thru', mate.

Rescue boats in a violent storm. Four men in orange and yellow suits calculating the wave patterns to fish out a body out of the water. Men overboard! Men overboard! The chief shouting at the top of his lungs in the storm and you stop work to look out for a friend you've had coffee with this morning joking among ourselves how pretty women were when your head is full of gin, tonic and lager. He won't joke no more with us tonight. He in the water, white as ghost, eyes open as if still thinking of the women.

Just passin' thru', mate. Just passin' thru' before going down.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Someone Like You.

I met someone like you
She's driving me crazy
Lemme love again
like I've never loved before
If only I could

If ever I get to heaven
all I want is someone like you.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


They've got land rigs scattered across the country so you move from one site to the next a lot. No, I won't be in Darfour where the trouble is. The rigs are mostly in the northeast where there's relative calm and peace to do your job, get the money, and take the next flight out home as fast you can. First thing that came to mind before signing the papers was, are the women pretty there?
Depends. The longer you are out on the field with harsh weather and foul-mouthed all-male crew, the prettier the women get when you think of them. It's the same no matter what country you are in. But you've gotta keep saying to yourself, this ain't no ordinary country, mate!
They do things different here. Of course they've got satellite phone but I know better not to expect things offshore roughnecks take for granted like adult movies, nice food coming out the galley, great time with the boys on a town spending all the money on Dolly Molly Or Polly, drinking gin singing along with the band off key. This isn't that kinda country. Do that and you might end up being flogged in public without so much as a wafer thin t-shirt on your back. Don't you know that secular is fast becoming out of fashion and everyone in town is talking about going back to basics. Going back, going back. I wonder where that is or how far back they've gotta go before everyone is happy and the radio station can start playing western music again. That, my friend, isn't going to happen.
It's not a bad deal. For a night on a town with the boys there's always Cairo. I know for sure women are always pretty in Cairo no matter what time of day or night it is, or how much money you've got in the bank. It's a great city if you don't mind the girls from inner city Manila doing the bellydance. What is the world coming to, Asian women doing the bellydance when they should be home putting together a circuit board or something like that.
Don't hope for a deal in Tehran. It's gonna be a long time coming before you get to fly in thinking and hoping of meeting that girl again. She's married with kids, no doubt about it but it's nice to think of someone pretty as Spring Blossom smelling all so nice of jasmine. She's somewhere in Tehran no doubt about it, mate. But like I've said, the contract for Tehran is going to be a long time coming so you'd better forget about it and make the best of Sudan as long as you don't fall in love with the white women from the UN you see going about doing their voluntary work looking so nice and pretty in their clothes and desert boots.
I love this job.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

No Need To Say Sorry.

I should have told her about Aunt Su and that I kept her room neat and tidy because I am a big fan of Ikea method of keeping things in order. But she went into the room before I told her about it and started to open the cupboard only to find a stack of batik sarung and baju kedah in one section of the compartment. All hell broke lose after that and there I was in the middle of mixing the marinade for chicken kebab, trying the best I could to explain that the clothes she had found in the cupboard belonged to Aunt Su.

Of course I had to explain in less than 3 seconds who Aunt Su was and how in a round about way, via Grandma, we became related in a strange twists and turns of the family tree. She had honestly thought those batik sarung and baju kedah belonged to my missus and that I was once married. I said that's okay, you don't have to say sorry. But yes, I was married once but that's a long story. Of course she could have thought worse.

She could have kept her thought to herself thinking that I put on those clothes when no one is around, or she could have started a blog to write about me, a gym mate who is actually a cross-dresser in private.

We had a good laugh but underneath it all I wasn't sure if she was totally convinced that those batik sarung and baju kedah weren't mine. She asked about Aunt Su and so we talked about it for a bit. I showed her pictures of our trip to Kedah, the tour to Putrajaya and the fireworks we saw early this year from the hotel room downtown. Sure, I said, I'll take you to see her if that's what you really want to do. Maybe some other day, was all she said.

We talked late into the night that in the end she said it may not be safe to drive and so I said you can stay if you want to but you have to sleep in Aunt Su's room since I have converted the third room into an office. Sure you can choose any of the sarung you prefer, I'm sure Aunt Su won't mind.

Good night.

We're having breakfast at Ikea tomorrow. I need to get the magnetic knife holder.

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Lycra And Expensive Knee Pads.

Don't ever go to the gym if you are not prepared to spend a good deal of money on a decent gym stuff like expensive tank top with a small logo that everyone knows even at 500 yards, a good pair of shades, luminous lycra, expensive socks and of course, a pair of gym shoes that can cost more than 3 pairs of dinner shoes. Don't forget the bag. You've gotta have a duffel bag or a baseball team bag, or a backpack. A branded one, that is. You can't be going around in a respectable high-profile gym carrying a grocery bag, putting all your gym stuff in there including a toothbrush with a matching toothpaste and stuff like that. It's not illegal but it is almost a sin to be seen strutting a shopping bag emblazoned with the familiar logo like Mydin, Giant, Tesco, Carrefour or Kedai Jahit Sew Sew, Jalan Tambun, Dungun, Trengganu. Do this and you must be out of your mind. They might even consider revoking your membership.
I don't know what got into me but I am now a respectable member of a high-profile gym in the city where the place feels more like a dancing club instead of a joint where you sweat it out while sipping designer mineral water or gulping down one of those over-priced fancy fruit juices they've got at the juice bar. Do all this while watching Bloomberg (and pretend you understand every thing they say) and you are one of the crowd. A guy comes up to you to say, it's a rough place out there today, isn't it? And you go, yea, it's gonna get rougher. He looks at you and say, hey! you know the market. And you go, what in the world is he talking about? Lemme tell you, this is a nice place to go around pretending you are one hotshot health maniac with a nose and ear for high-profile international investment ventures. Of course you've got to come in in a right kinda car, walk the right kinda walk, and talk the right kinda talk. As for me, you don't need to do all this. Just keep your eyes glued to Bloomberg channel while running the mill until your feet hurt from forcing yourself silly all because a pretty girl running next to you looking as if she can go on and on for another three days without even the need for a water break is smiling at you.
And you think to yourself, is she a robot? You know she's not. She's one fit woman in her early 30s you've been trying to chat up to ask whether she knows how to cook gulai lemak pisang muda with ikan masin. You know you won't ask that question. That's not the kind of question a member of a respectable high-profile gym would ask a fellow member. So in the end you say,
Are you training for a marathon?
Ha ha ha, no, I am not.
Oh really? I thought you were. I have the impression you could go on and on for three days.
Ha ha ha.
And that's how we became friends. I went over, made her laugh and we went for a drink and talked talked until it was time to go home. After that I kept going to the gym almost every chance I got, as if I was training for Doha or something. Did everything a member of a respectable high-profile gym would do in a situation like that, the bench presses, crunch, weight, treadmill, everything. In fact I almost lift up the bar top just to show how my strength has improved tremendously since she came to be part of my routine at a respectable gym in the city.
We have so much in common like, we wear the same tank top with a small logo everyone who knows can spot from 500 yards. I can't think of things other than this that we have in common right now. In fact the more I try to think of the things we have in common the more things I find the things we disagree on. In the end we try to avoid each other, going to the gym at different times so we don't have to run into one another. That way we have less things to disagree on. But in the end we found that we kinda miss each other's company since we couldn't find a good partner to argue or disagree about almost everything under the sun.
But we agree on the basics like one needs a good meal to get through the day. Of course we disagree what good food should be. Red meat or white. Brocolli or cabbage. Red wine or Coke. Muesli bar or Snickers. Cadbury or Kit Kat. M&M or Hershey. In the end we agree to disagree that we shouldn't let this get in our way of having a good time together since it is very rarely that we get the chance to meet someone who can sit for hours watching the sky turns dark and wait for the first drop of rain to fall on our cheeks so we can run to the car holding hands, laughing our heads off like two lonely people in love. Two lonely people who don't know what they are doing or where they are going.
Lycra and expensive knee pads, if only they last twice as long.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Say Good-bye To Malacca.

You'd better go to Malacca and snap lots of pictures before they put up the tower they say will re-position Malacca as a historical destination in the tourist map.

I don't know what those guys must have smoked or drank that made them decide among themselves to build a revolving tower maybe higher than KL Tower. They must have been drinking or smoking some powerful stuff that they say to one another; oh well, what the heck, let's build a damned bloody tower even higher than the one they've got in Shanghai. That way we can bring more tourists to Malacca, afterall who'd want to go to Paris to watch that short tower? Ha ha ha drink up boys, and smoke up fellas. Hey, bring those cute little things in short skirts and heavy make-up down here.

You know as well as I do that you can't make an important decision under such a circumstances when your mind isn't quite right, when all you can see is a blur vision of women in short skirts giggling like rats, when the room is reeked in whisky or German beer, when cigarette or marijuana smoke filled up every nook and corner of a private room booked and paid for with someone else's money. The last thing in a man's mind when he's in this situation is history. He won't care a penny for history. It has nothing to do with him. All he cares about is to think of a project, get the government to approve it, and since they are the law and the government you can bet your left ear that approval can be given even before the concept drawing is even submitted or discussed. And things will move pretty quick from there. Award the contract to your friends and start building as fast you can, over charge the materials, labour, consultancy, pen, paper, computer and everything under the sun, get the money and think of another useless project with a design so outrageous even a drunk monkey with stomach ache can come up with something nicer.

But darn oh darn! Those boys from the museum have to go dig in the ground and discoverd what is believed to be part of the wall built by the Portuguese. So they've got a 2-week stopwork order but a small thing like this won't stop them from pushing the project through. Afterall, everything has been booked and ready to be delivered, things like expensive cars, marble floors for the house, expensive furniture, holiday abroad, swimming pool. The money runs into millions so there's plenty where it came from for those girls in short skirts and vintage wines. Good life this business with the government, ain't that right, boys?. Hey wait the minute, we are the government, ha hahhh hah. Drink up boys, smoke up!

History? What history? Oh don't worry about it, we'll mention Hang Tuah. Bad publicity in the press? Oh don't worry about it, ask MoneyPenny to book me a flight to Mecca to do the Umrah. Two weeks there will give us a good image as pious Muslims, whatever that means.

Ha hahh hah.