Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Student's Schedule.

Portion out.
Bake bread 6.00 am.

Fry rice. Pack.
Fruit. Fruit juice.
Mineral water.


Clean the house.
Clean the bathroom.
Clean the kitchen.
Empty the garbage.

Wipe. Mop.


Watch Asian Food Channel. Take down the recipe.
Go to the kitchen. Cook. Eat.
Workout the portion for 5 servings.
Cook. Freeze.

I think I gotta study. And do less cooking.
At the rate I'm going, I might as well be attending a cooking class.

Re-set the schedule. And the priority.
In the meantime, I'm watching Asian Food Channel. Again.

Less blogging. Yea, that too.

Monday, October 29, 2007

They Didn't See It Comin'.

And he had to knock his head against a wall and died. Now that he's dead, what are they gonna do with the plans they've made to welcome the doctor-who-went-to-space? They must have had everything laid out; a big welcome do, caterers, tents, expensive wiring, live on national TV, press insertions, TV commercials, expensive light and sound systems, king and queen, court jesters and clowns, and all the rigmarole the government like to spend the money on for an occasion like this. You don't have to be a genius to figure that a PR agency with strong connections with the inside network has been awarded the job to organize this welcome party and you don't have to be a hardcore businessman to know that the agency has been paid at least the 80% deposit to get the party going. They have probably spent it on the down payment for an expensive European car.
And he had to knock his head against a wall and died.
Now they gotta figure what are they gonna to do with the Profit and Loss Accounts? They figured a 800% profit but now none of that is going to happen all because he knocked his head against a wall and died. There ain't gonna be no reception for the doctor-who-went-to-space and this is not good because the good doctor isn't in the mood for a big party to welcome a space traveller now that his brother has died crashing his head against a wall. No one saw it coming. What are they gonna do? They were counting on this party to welcome a hero to make lotsa money.
(They didn't it see coming. They didn't see it coming straight at them like a runaway train.)
Maybe the government will decide to go ahead with the big hero welcome and stick with the original plan. Just put the doctor-who-went-to-space on the plane to Moscow, and then put him back on the same plane after it has refuelled and fly for home, wait for the plane to touch down, put up the tents and install the fan with water mist, get the caterer to prepare expensive gourmet food, lobsters and all, get the damned expensive wiring done, get the dancers to do their damned thing, get all the big screen TVs installed and charge the damned government triple since those guys in the Treasury will sign every damned thing as long as you grease their damned palm.
Let's stick with the original plan. Let's pretend the guy didn't knock his head against the wall. Let's pretend he didn't die. That wasn't his body they had buried yesterday. Let's have a hero welcome anyway. After all this is once in a lifetime chance for a lot of people. Let's go ahead with the welcome home party. After all it has been paid for in advance. After all they gotta make lotsa money, dude. (They gotta make lotsa money.) Who cares for the brother who knocked his head against the wall and died. He should have seen the damned wall. It's a wall for cryin' out loud, what could be more obvious than the damned wall? And he had to knock his head against the damned wall. And died.
They didn't see it coming, not from a brother of a doctor-who-went-to-space. He was from a smart family. They didn't figure it would go this way. No one did. How are they gonna make lotsa money now? Send another guy to space. A guy with no brother who'd crash his head against a wall and die.

Friday, October 26, 2007

They Got 'Em.

No point telling a lie when everyone knows I'm not a big fan of the men and women in blue. And you can bet your index finger that they don't like me either. But when they die in the line of duty being shot by bad guys, my heart goes to them and I'm all soft inside thinking about their children and missus at home. At the end of the day, they are men trying to make a living just like you and me. They don't earn much, although some managed to amass something like RM17 million within a short span of their career. But those who don't amass that kinda money are the ones who put their lives on the line in the name of getting a job done.

I don't know much about police work other than what I've watched on Channel 732. One of my favorites is Dallas S.W.A.T. I like the concept of safety and tactical maneuver in dealing with armed and dangerous criminals. It's a lot like the kinda stuff we've got on the rig where discipline and strict adherence to the do's and don'ts can mean either getting a job done safely, or people getting killed or maimed.

Two constables died and two Inspectors seriously wounded trying to flush bad guys out of a house here in the city yesterday. They weren't wearing the kevlar that could have saved them. The big guy in the police force said there's not enough money to supply every cop in the city with one. Maybe they're gonna put up a contract looking for supplier soon.

There's no point guessing what really happened, or how it went the way it did. Of course questions are there if you care to ask like; didn't they know that it was not a simple raid? Maybe they didn't. Maybe they were tipped wrong. I don't know and I'm not about to make a wild guess because the only police work I know very well are those shown on Channel 732. But I know one thing for sure.

That Malaysian police are pretty relax when they stop to ask you questions or when they conduct a body search on you. Most of the time they are on small-powered bike like a kapcai which they share between two of them. The pillion rider would just sit on the bike while his partner ask you question balancing himself on the miserable bike. You can be in a group of two or four, standing. Any fool knows that in this situation you have the upper hand because hey, you're standing and the cops are on the bike balancing themselves like a circus clown. All it takes is just one kick from you and you can take them on anyway you like when they're down on the ground trying to get up. You can steal their service revolver if you want to have a bit of fun. Sometimes they carry MP5 which would make your day.

I have a feeling they are like this because they want to make a deal with you. They want to negotiate something. They consider you a fully loaded Automatic Teller Machine, not a potential criminal. Which is different from the cops in countries where I had the pleasure of being stopped, questioned, frisked and released with apology. I like Ohio State trooper best.

In the U.S I believe it is standard procedure that the police consider every individual they stop a potential criminal. They'd stand a safe distance from you. They'd politely but sternly order you to spread your legs wide as you can, your arms behind your head. You can't do much in this position, not even if you are Jet Lee. If you look from the corner of your eyes, you can see clearly that all the time their hand is locked to their Glock 22, ready to release it from the holster if you start to behave funny. They'd frisk you just like you see in the movie. They'd size you up, detecting any smell of alcohol or substance abuse. They don't negotiate. You are not a bank to them. As far as they are concerned you are armed and dangerous and they could get killed if they are not careful.

Maybe you don't need kevlar. All you need is common sense. A bit of honesty and sincerity would help too. But first of all you've gotta stop this notion that every person you pull in to ask for IC, passport, work permit, somekinda ATM machine you can withdraw money from.

To all the good cops, please be careful, people. It's dangerous out there.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Big Guy Is Dead.

Maybe there's more than a hundred but I have no way of knowing for sure if my guess is good enough to paint a picture of people who took big chances to strike rich only to lose everything they owned like shop house, factory, savings, marriage and their life to Black Jack, Crap Game or One-Arm Bandit. I know a couple of high-rollers who got VIP treatment whenever they are in town for a game. And I know a couple of decent looking Malays who looked for help in the supernatural before going up the casino up in the hill just so they can win big money. They win big all right but I can tell you right now that none of them is rich. A couple of them have taken to talking to themselves all night, or seeing things like KongKang Angin Mati Beragan.

Yea, the big guy is dead. The big guy who built big things on a big mountain so people can go up to have fun with the kids. And the big guy has a lot of big cruise liners too where people can gamble away and not pay taxes because they are on international waters. The big guy built a lot of things. The big guy owned a lot of palm oil plantations, power plants, factories, property outfit, and a list of companies that churn out cash. And the big guy brings in international names to entertain you. High class acts only people like the big guy can dream of bringing in.

Yea, the big guy is dead. The big guy who once said, 'Who ask you to be poor?'

Full page ads in the papers to wax the big guy. Oh what a brilliant guy the big guy is. Worked himself up to become so rich there's no way the money will ever run out. No way. And the government too is singing like a canary about the big guy. Oh what a superb entrepreneur he is. There won't be another like him.

The big guy is dead. Who asked you to be dead, big guy?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Awang Oh Awang. Bukang Angkasawang.

There's no such thing as plain Awang. You gotta be Awang something. Like Awang Chia, the husband of Mek Marang. Of course there's no way of knowing for sure which part of mainland China they came from but they are as Chinese as Chinese could be when they are as silent as a fish but the moment they open their mouth to speak, either to ask you about Aunt or Grandma, or to tell you that the price of sugar has gone up 5 sen to 25 sen a kati, you won't know the difference between Awang Chia or Awang Botok, who is short, dark and not very bright in the head that it got people to psst psst that he is actually a wali in disguise. And Awang Botok can't be anymore Malay than you and me unless you decide to change your name from Tawil to Thompson, or from Melor to Mary, or thereabout. Maybe you've missed my point since I have the tendency to digress from the main topic but at this point in this entry you will have deduced that I've got two things on my mind; that in Trengganu people are fond of calling you Awang. You've gotta go figure what is the second thing on my mind since I am not too bright in the head to figure that out myself. Maybe, just maybe, like Awang Botok, I am a wali in disguise.

There's Awang Teksi. No, he's not a cab driver but he's the only trishaw man in Dungun who goes about his job in a cowboy hat. Well, it's not exactly the real cowboy hat you find in Texas but a good immitation to the real thing to resemble a hat movie cowboys put on when they ride on their horses. He should have been Awang Koboi but somehow it didn't go this way because he had a trishaw first before he finally had enough money to buy him a cowboy hat.

I know don't know Awang Injeng very well because he doesn't talk to children all that much when he's busy working on boat engines. Besides, you don't see him very much. His job takes him deep in the dark, engine compartment of a fishing boat, only to emerge every now and then, his face smeared in oil that he looks like a miner who has spent five years looking for coal in a used mine.

There's Awang Ddecung. I don't know of a standard Malay equivalent for Ddecung but in Trengganuspeak (a word coined by Awang Goneng who has got a book out on Growing Up In Trengganu), Ddecung is usually reserved to describe the sound of a fast-moving object that whizzes you by in a flash. Say for example you are relaxing on a veranda sipping a cup of coffee and then all of a sudden a fighter jet zooms you over that it got you all startled and nearly die of a heart attack. I hope you get what I mean. Awang Ddecung is like that. He walks like a snail but when he's on his motorcycle, he's gotta be the fastest man alive that people say one of these days he's gonna burn himself into a flame riding his bike so fast against the wind.

There's Awang Guling, but his Awangness isn't strong enough to hold down his given name, which is Semail but we call him Johng. So instead of Awang Guling, he is more popular among us as Johng Guling, but among the older generation, I mean those who were young men and women during the Japanese War, he is known fondly as Awang Guling. You see, he survived a motorcycle accident by rolling himself into a ball over the top of a car and onto the road with minor scratches to his elbows and knees.

I once told Johng Guling that he needed a passport to go to Kuantan. He never left Dungun all his life until one day when he had to go to Kuantan to buy a small truck for his business. He went to the immigration office to apply for a passport and the officers there must have laughed so hard that the whole of Dungun trembled as if a giant earthquake had just hit us. He came looking for me and I ran for my life that it's a miracle people don't call me Awang Lipas.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Three Digit Shock.

How was I supposed to know they've re-arranged the channels when they didn't even have the courtesy to give me a call to at least warn me that; hey! we've had enough of single and double digit channels so you know, we thought it would be nice to change things a bit so you'll have more fun fidgeting with the remote commander. For two days I really thought there was something wrong with the TV that I nearly call up that doctor syed guy we've got in space to find out if he had any idea what was wrong with my set. I figured he would be the best person from whom I should find out about this kinda thing on account that he's got more brain than I ever will have in a million years. But I figured that doctor syed guy in space must be pretty busy having fun floating about and it would cost me too much money just to say, hi ya doc, would you please check something out for me up there to see if there's something wrong with my TV set? But instead I called up the cable company and they must have turned blue in the face trying not to laugh at my stupid questions like, excuse me miss, I can't get any picture on my TV, is there something wrong with the decoder or has someone taken over the company, or stolen my ID, or have you got something against me to do this to me?

No, sir. We've re-arranged the channels. Please refer to channel 100 for more information.

And I felt so stupid. Oh well, at least I know I'm home.

A Windy Evening In The Market Square.

Of course it would be very nice if she could be there waiting at the gate with a smile that could lift you up a hundred feet above the crowd of passengers that have just gotten off the plane and now scrambling for the luggage on the carousel as if there's a grand prize for being the first to get a hand on a suitcase that belongs to you. It's the odd that would never come up in a million years but there's nothing wrong in being a hopeless romantic when you are alone in a country like this. Or to wish with everything I hold sacred for the girl I used to know long time ago to appear behind the arrival lounge of an airport to welcome me in Persian; the language I will never acquire, not in a million years because Persian doesn't sound the same spoken by anyone else, and as far as I'm concerned Tehran is not Tehran until I meet Baitool.

And here I am all alone still hoping for that chance that I'd meet her walking down the street on her way to a perfume shop in her chador, looking as captivating as a Persian girl should be on the last day of Ramadan 1428. It's crazy to harbor such hope but miracle does happen and I'm hoping for a slice of miracle to happen to me right here in the busiest corner of a market square, at this very minute.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Ferris Wheel, Picnic and Eid Mubarak!

You can't ask for a nicer day than a mild one such as today to welcome the first day of Syawal and I'm feeling just as a king should feel first thing on the morning I can have a cup of qahwa I've just prepared from a brand new Ibrik I bought from a guy who own a stall in the souq where you can have all the lamb kebab without having to take a loan from a bank to pay for it. You want to live in that souq for the rest of your life so you can taste all the food they've got there and to steal a glance or two at the pretty women with eyes that can set your heart on fire. How you wish one of them is your missus so you can spend the rest of your life with her so she can cook you nice meals like Persian chicken, saffron rice and all the foods that have been passed down to her from several generations that go back to Omar Khayyam or people like that. People I only know by name but heaven knows if I know who these people are or what they do that got them to be so famous. You love this country but you know better that you don't belong here. You belong some place else where people don't ride on ferries wheel or spread a mat on a good spot in a park so the family can have a bit of picnic on the 1st day of Syawal. You belong to a place where people get all emotional and nostalgic on a day like this. You belong to a place where people die by the hundreds in auto accidents trying to get home.

It's good to be home but heaven knows how much I miss the girl in the souq who smiled briefly at me when I stole her a glance. For that brief second, I was as madly in love as a guy far a way from home could be on the 1st day of Syawal.