Thursday, October 26, 2006

Happy Diwali and Eid El Fitr

Malaysians have always been proud of our harmonious multiracial, multi-creed society. Particularly during festivals or celebrations, be it religious or otherwise, we open our hearts, our hands and our doors to EVERYONE for a delightful feast and a wonderful time.

Just as we cheerfully anticipating another double celebrations of Diwali and Eid El Fitr (both being celebrated by Hindus and Muslims respectively, a couple of days apart) this year, an Islamic religion authority released a call to the Muslims asking them not to visit their Hindu friends during Diwali and not to wish them festive greetings even, as such deeds are viewed as acknowledging the existence of another God, hence defying one of the core teachings of Islam: accepting Allah, the most merciful and the most magnificent as the one and the only God.

Islam is a religion of peace and a way of life of tolerance and love. Respectful and meaningful conduct with the non-Muslims is well documented in the Hadiths and the Koran. There are teachings of the prophets living and working peacefully with the non-Muslims. I’m no Islamic scholar but the call by the religious authority seems so contradictory to the Islamic teachings. It’s simply beyond logic. It’s like we live together under one roof but we do not talk to each other at all. What kind of peaceful co-existence is that?

Personally, I strongly believe that Islam is indeed a beautiful religion preaching peace, tolerance and love. The teachings and values of Islam are universal, timeless and honorable, but the followers, that’s another story. Some of them can be insensitive and ridiculous. Though fortunately such bunch is of the minority, they did do some considerable damage to the religion itself.

But in the spirit of festivity and goodwill, we shall ignore such incident. Seize the day to be the bigger person to forgive and forget. Do not let the incident dampen our celebrations and merry making.

Wishing all the Hindus and Muslims a blissful Diwali and Eid El Fitr.

Opps, I’m late for an open house for some amazing feast.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Mistaken Identity

Early this month the receptionist at my gym asked me if I’ve got mixed parentage. “Malay and Chinese parentage?” She ventured a guess. Nope, 120% pure Chinese!

A swimmer I met in the pool thought that I looked like the ‘rich Indian’, Indian from northern India. “Dark but not really black, you know.” He said to me. Sorry dude, I’m not an Indian and I’m not rich.

Then there’s this sweet girl in the gym: “Oh you speak Mandarin! I thought you are not Chinese.” She exclaimed, after hearing me speaking Mandarin. Let me guess, you thought I’m an Indian. She nodded vigorously.

Last Thursday, a man asked me if I’m going back home to Borneo for the Diwali and Eid festival long holiday. He thought that I’m a Sarawak native aborigine after I told him I worked in Miri before relocated to KL. Now I’m a native tribesman. This is a new one!

Well, can’t blame them. I am a hell lot darker than the average Chinese guy. Although I’m fluent in Mandarin, I rarely use it, because we speak English in the office so I automatically speak English to anyone and everyone, inside and outside of office. I do speak pretty good Malay, without the Chinese twang. I can survive without rice and Chinese food. While most of the Chinese are quiet and reserve, I’m relatively loud, direct and blunt (borderline abrasive).

But I do have the Chinese almond shape eyes.

As I laughed these mistaken identity incidents off all together, I’m glad at times for not being identified as a Chinese. I can’t deal with Chinese being calculative, especially when it comes to money; say something like two bucks fifty. I can’t stand Chinese being kiasu, competitive over some mindless insignificant crap and actually afraid of being one up by the others and then losing face BIG time. I can’t tolerate Chinese being selfish and defensive as they have no qualm about screwing their friends, or family even, over like 6 times in order to save their asses.

Too much! So I try my best not to be associated with those Chinese.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Hazy Sunday Dozy Me


I woke up early, 8.00 am early. What the hell was wrong with me? I just could not get any more shuteye. So I got out of bed to start my beautiful Sunday.

Looking out the window, it was indeed a beautiful Sunday. The sky was slightly overcast and there was a light yet refreshing breeze brushing through gently. The sun peeked through the thin cloud, splashing generously her golden rays upon the distant skyline.

I turned on the radio for some lazy Sunday morning tunes. I put a load of laundry into the washer. I made coffee. I flipped a couple of pages of magazines contemplating what’s for breakfast. I decided to bake a carrot cake, this time full on with cream cheese frosting.

Accompanied by the music, merrily I started the entire mixing and whisking and beating and baking routine, stopping now and then to sip my coffee. In no time the room was filled with the delicious fragrance of cinnamon from the carrot cake. Lovely!

“Not a bad morning.” I thought to myself.

It was then I looked out the window again. “Where’s the beautiful skyline?” The pleasant view and wide-open space outside my window was shrouded by this ugly gray veil of haze. I felt choked!

My day went downhill from then on. Something wrong with the washer, so I had to manually rinse all my washing. By the time I done I was all sweaty and hungry and tired. I had my carrot cake and dozed of in front of the TV. The afternoon heat woke me up. I was sluggish and lazy and sticky. Even a refreshing shower (I forgot to shower waking up in the morning) did me no good, I couldn’t sit still to write, I skipped lunch, and I was definitely not going out into the haze. So I did the only sensible thing: heading back to la-la land.

Zzz… Zzz…

I got up again around evening, still feeling heavy and lethargic. It must be the heat and the haze. I have not been active the whole day. Cooping in the house vegetating on a Sunday was certainly not a great idea. Some fresh air would do me good perhaps.

Looking out the window again, what fresh air?

I went out anyway. I drove to the pool for a quick dip and for some fresh air.

Fresh air? Who am I kidding?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Youngsters Nowadays...

I’m the self-appointed care taker of the office pool laptop. I do it voluntarily as I can take it home over the weekend to work, on my personal stuff that is.

Last Friday a new staff, let’s call her Newbie (she’s young, just out of college), came to borrow the laptop for a presentation in the afternoon. Newbie was to return the laptop by the end of the day. But she did not. I only came to realize that Newbie was still holding the laptop after office hours and she had left the building. I managed to call her and she informed me she had locked it in her desk and she would return it on Monday morning. No biggie then.

Come Monday morning, I thought Newbie would return the laptop first thing in the morning along with an apology for the late return. Nope! Not happening that way. Another colleague came looking for the laptop and only then I realized the laptop still with Newbie. So we went over to her place to get it. The other colleague picked up the laptop (Newbie did not even hand it to us). She simply blurted out an obligatory I’m-sorry, and back to work. That was it. Not even the slightest tinge of regret or humility in her tone or her demeanor. She was rather matter-of-factly, remorseless and guilt free.

The episode got me thinking a bit. What is happening to our young people nowadays? What happen to their common sense? You borrowed something from me. Shouldn’t return the item on time? More importantly, what happen to their common courtesy? You borrowed something from me and you forgot to return it on time. Shouldn’t you make it up by returning the item to me at the next soonest and available opportunity and be apologetic? These are actually something so very fundamental in any relationship, with anyone and everyone! Is that too much to ask for?

Perhaps it’s bad parenting. Perhaps it’s bad education. Perhaps it’s bad TV. Perhaps it’s the youthful arrogance and invincibility. Perhaps it’s the attitude, as they call it.

Perhaps it’s old age. Perhaps it’s me being the anal old fart. I remember how I used to roll my eyes when the elderly lamented about the young generation being disrespectful and taking things for granted.

Look at who’s bitching about the youngsters now.

Perhaps I need to take a couple of chill pills.