Sunday, December 30, 2007

Kuching Leisure Stroll

Some pictures taken wandering around the streets of Kuching.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Reflections

So, this is Christmas.

I spent the day alone at home. Hey, technically it's just a holiday for me which I got to sleep in and do nothing. Oh, God knows I'm certainly not all that religious.

So today I woke up doing a bit of net surfing and then I decided to bake. Baking started slightly after 11 am and finally stopped around 4 pm. Boy, did I bake? I made brownies, lemon zest short bread and chocalate chips cookies. When I done baking, I cleaned. I slaved myself for another 2 good hours sweeping, dusting and mopping. By the time I was done cleaning I realised I'd be late for my uncle's dinner invitation, I called to cancel, at the eleventh hour. I felt bad.

Reflecting on a year gone by, it was very much like this Christmas day. I spent too much time and effort for all the frivolous things that I some what lost sight of the ultimate big picture. Long hours were poured into work, chasing after the various current year's targets. I've been doing the same tasks over and over and over again for the past 4 years. Those tasks turn mechanical and routine as I'm falling deep into the comfort zone. There wasn't any significant growth in job satisfaction. Hence motivation and drive are heading south, like the migratory birds around this time of the year. I want out. I want stimulants. I want challenges. I want to grow.

In the last year, I've been seriously looking to buy a place for myself. I was, well, still am, searching for a two room apartment in the city. So far my quest has been unsuccessful, mainly due to the price tag of such a place. Even so, I've been dreaming about the day I get a place of my own and how I going to get it all done up: the furnitures, the room layout, the colour scheme, the bed, the bath tub, the kitchen cabinets, the book shelves, the flat screen t.v. etc. Yet at the end of the day, I'd go back to an empty house anyway. Isn't it true that we can buy a house but we can't buy a home? I was so wrapped up about the house, I totally overlooked my home and my family. It's just plain wrong that they weren't in the picture. Dad is dying and I hardly spend time with him. I hardly know him!

It's has been a selfish year. Too much about me. OK, I confess, it was all about me. Too much taking and too little giving are not very good on the karma account. And I know karma can really gets me big time, any time. I've got to put more credit in. Come next year I want to give my time to the others, family and friend especially. I'm looking forward to volunteer too. I always want to work with children and I'm planning to spend my Saturdays doing just that. I know of an excellent program for that.

As Christmas day drawing to an end, I called her, far far away her. I wanted to hear her voice. But I got the machine. As my Christmas day today pretty much sums up my past year, I hope this part has got nothing to do with it, this year or the years to come.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Dad Is Dying

Dad is dying.

He is not doing well. He is frail, worse than the last time I saw him, barely a couple of months ago. His feet are now swollen, making it harder for him to walk and harder to get him to move around. So, he spends his day sitting idly at the dining table, waiting for meals, watching tv and smoking occasionally. He hardly talks to anyone. And when we talked to him, the reply was short, most of the time mono-syllabic.

It is now the monsoon season at home. It had been raining steadily a few days before I got home, according to mom. The sky remained gloomy and threatening, heavy with thick grey dark clouds, just like the uneasiness shrouding my mind.

Dad is dying. I don't know what to do.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Eating Down Memory Lane

I love bagel.

I remember walking to class in the morning and taking bites at the half a toasted bagel, smeared with cream cheese in my hand. Toasty warm and crisp on the outside with a chewy and dense dough inside. The cream cheese complemented the bagel wonderfully, adding a touch of saltiness and moisture. This is one of my favourite breakfast on the go. Passer-by would stare at me and I would stare back at them. Then gave them a smile, or just a silly grin.

Oh how I love bagel!

Friday, December 14, 2007

All Things Piggy

I was taking pictures of the old shop houses and the street signs when I noticed this old corner shop. The place looked absolute dark and grimy, magnified by by blazing sun outside. But the dingy hole was abuzzed with energy: customers streaming in and out, wait staff serving and clearing tables and the cook cooking up a storm behind the stall at the front of the shop. I had not idea what it was but the fragrance was tantalizing.

My stomach was growling after wandering along the streets of Kuching so I went in for lunch. It was 3 pm but it still a full house inside. To me that was a good sign of good food ahead.

This was what I got (well the only thing they serve). Noodles with dash of black vinegar and served with a bowl of hot soup, filled with seaweed, chinese cabbage and anything and everything pork: minced pork, pig stomach, pig intestines, pig liver, pig kidney and whatever pig inside available.

Sounded disgusting but I cleaned up the bowl, well except the pig lever and pig kidney.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Digging Again

"Argh... Let it silde." I said to myself.

It started off casually over a couple of drinks. I'd steal one from a friend. And then two. It was really good, having a ciggy with a drink. A sip of iced cold beer, followed by a long drag of a fag. There is something soothing and relaxing about exhaling the puff of smoke, slowly, eyes closed. It's somewhat macho, like a fire breathing dragon. Good things come in pairs, so are the bad stuff. Booze and fags, they complement each other so very pleasantly, almost symbiotic.

Later I'd do it whenever I'm traveling, on vacations or business trips. I buy them myself and get it done at the hotel lobby, as I still specifically ask for a non-smoking room. Normally I'd not finish them and I bin the remaining as I return. I could not remember when exactly I started to buy a pack for myself before I go for a night out, drinking with friends and smoking like a chimney. I'd go look for the specific brand I like. I no longer throw away the remaining at the end of the night. I finish them!

I'm not a social smoker anymore. I'm a pseudo smoky smokerson! How the hell did I let it gone to this far?

Consciously I know I'm walking down an extremely slippery slope. It wouldn't be long before I advance into a full fledge smoky smokerson. I still question myself on why I'm doing this. I still find it disgusting. The after taste lingers in my mouth and my clothes put me off. Parched throat, chapped lips and smelling fingers aren't exactly appealing either. Yet, I can't put my finger on it.

The healthy freak in me is screaming into my ears, calling me names, stupid, stupid names, which I totally deserve. So is the miser in me, tallying the money I burn every time I light one up.


Oh shit, I think I'm back on digging again.

Friday, December 07, 2007

The Joy of Giving

It's the most wonderful time of the year, wonderful Christmastime!

I've been whistling Christmas tunes since late November! I like to get a head start, spreading the festive joy around, getting everyone into the jolly holiday mood. Come December I just can't help myself but have this silly grin on my face, counting the days to Christmas. I just can't wait for the holidays. Eat (get fat), drink (get sloshed) and be merry (get stupid).

This year I've been good. I've got all my presents ready early. I've found the perfect present for her. I know she'll love it. Well I must say I'm yet to mail them out. Hopefully they'll make it to her before the holiday. It'd be amazing to see her face brightens up as she open them. Hey, maybe next Christmas. That's the thing about giving, knowing that you bring cheer to the receiver, warmth to their hearts, while you yourself enjoying the time spent dreaming up the ideas, hunting that gift, putting your thought in the cards, wrapping and in my case, mailing them.

Hope you have as much fun as I did getting Christmas presents for those dear to you. It's the thought that counts. And if all else fails, a thick wad of cash always works (for me anyway, key word being thick!).

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Going Banana

Waking up to the beautiful Sunday morning with gorgeous sunshine everywhere. The kitchen was lingering with the sweet aroma of the banana bread I baked the night before.

Quickly getting the kettle boiled for a cup of java and cutting a slice of the banana bread spread with butter for breakfast. A bit of reading and a bit of music and a lot of sunshine.

What a lovely morning.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

See No Evil

You've probably seen this along the sidewalk before. Ever wonder what it is? Do you know what is it for?

It's actually for guiding the blind walking along the sidewalk. A friend of mine enlightened me on this some time ago. This morning while I was out running an errand, I noticed one on the sidewalk as I was stepping out of the building across from my office. It's absolute fantastic that we are more conscious and sensitive to the need of the disabled community.

But a few more steps along, I was halted in utter shock and disbelief. I saw this. Big ass flower pots place right on top of the guide. What the hell?

I don't think these people are blind, they are most likely just ignorant and stupid.

Open your eyes people!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

First Impression

I worked and lived in Miri for three and a half years but I never once set foot in Brunei, even though it is merely an hour drive away. I had heard so much about it, some good, some bad, ok, mostly bad. Until last week, I was there attending training for a week. Finally I’ve got a glimpse of Brunei.

I flew into Miri on Sunday and drove across the border on Monday morning. First impression: it’s flat and deserted. This pancake flatness extended to the horizon, as far as the eyes could see. There is nothing but secondary bush. For a small yet rich country, the road is surprisingly bad: narrow, patchy and bumpy. Indeed, first impression is the most powerful and lasting; especially if it’s a bad one.

The first day of class finished around 4 pm. After class I checked into the apartment accommodation pre-arranged by the course organizer. I inquired at the front desk on where I could change some Bruneian currency, the lady replied that I could do that at a mall nearby, but the shop was most likely closed. Goodness, it’s not even dark out yet!

The next morning another attendee told me that he went into the town for dinner. He took a bus there, which took no more than 15 minutes. After dinner and a bit of walk about, he had to take a cab back into the hotel because the bus service stops running at 7pm!

Well, all are not bleak and bad in this country. Most of the daily needs and necessities such as education, housing, healthcare are free, if not heavily subsidized. In these USD100 per barrel crude price days, petrol is terribly cheap, 33 cents/liter. Cheap dirt! It’s almost a crime not to drive.

Local folks and foreigners alike, they told me that this place grows on you. As much as you despise it initially, and can hardly wait to get out, however as you stick around for a bit, you can’t help but love the peace and quiet of the land. Laid back lifestyle, friendly folks and safe society, it’s one of the best places to raise a family.

Unfortunately I was not here to raise a family. I checked out on Tuesday and commuted daily from Miri everyday.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

4 O'clock Lunch

It was 3:45 in the afternoon when I walked through the door from my swim. I was so hungry that I could eat a cow. I realized I did not have lunch.

Quickly, shell pasta and broccoli into the boiling water and a link of Italian sausage into the oven. In the meantime, chopped some mushrooms into quarter and crushed a few cloves of garlic. Browned the garlic in olive oil (Oh, I love aroma of garlic!), then sauted the mushroom. Added in ground black pepper, sausage fat, Worchester sauce and generous splashing of white wine (leftovers from Friday night). Paused to take a sniff at fragrance and imagine the mushrooms and garlic soaking up all the flavors. Put in couple spoonfuls of ready-made alfredo sauce (I’m lazy) to reduce the sauce and dumped the pasta and broccoli back in for a quick toss. Finally topped it up with the sliced sausage and Parmesan cheese.

My 4 o’clock pasta lunch, whipped up in 15 minutes, gorged down in 15 seconds.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


I woke up this morning to a gloomy sky so I ditched my plan of heading out for a hike.

After brewing the whole morning the rain finally came in the afternoon. The clouds rolled in as the wind picking up. The sky turned blackish grey. I was expecting it'd be pouring by the buckets. It did not. It was more of a fine drizzles, misting up from the horizon afar, moving in gently, almost like a ballerina gracefully dancing en pointe.

I made myself a cup of coffee and lazed on the couch reading. The aroma of the coffee lingered in the air, along with the jazzy tunes I put on. It was truly relaxing. Here I was physically confined in the living room but my mind was out there at a happy place far far away. One minute I was gliding freely in the sky and the next I was floating in the blue ocean under the warm sun.

The next minute I found myself waking up from a slumber, crumpling the megazine pages on my chest.

I love these rainy weekend afternoons. I hope there are more to come.

It is strange if not ironic that for an self-proclaimed outdoorsman, like yours truly, to enjoy a rainy afternoon cooping up at home.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Operation No Stain

According to my ever so reliable informant, aka my sister, words have it on the street that my landlord, aka my brother will be back in town tomorrow night. This heads-up was later confirmed by my domestic intelligence services, aka my mother. This valuable intel set off a frenzy of cover up and clean up activities at the operation base, aka my pig stile, aka my brother's condo.

Operation No Stain was covertly kicked off at 1000 hours (when I woke up) with more intel gathering and a sit-rep, followed by drawing up an air-tight strategic plan to combat the surprise assault. It was finally set in motion full steam ahead at 1200 hours. Classified documents, aka old newspapers and flyers were destroyed in the incinerator. DNA, aka hair, skin and nails (no bodily fluid!) were carefully lifted and collected. Physical evidence, aka the trash were bagged and binned. Impression evidence, aka the water marks on the windows and finger prints on the mirror were wiped clean. Traces of incriminating substances, aka oily residues on the stove and gravy stains on the dinning table were swabed spotless. The crime scene, aka the condo, was washed and scrubbed with copious amount of industrial cleaning fluids.

Finally, Operation No Stain successfully completed at 1500 hours.

Good thing I got the scoop early. Good thing today is a holiday so I have time to tidy up the place. Good thing I'm all prepared. The best thing: I spoil the landlord's element of surprise.


OK, that's my best impression of an evil laugh when I'm all beat, from the whole day labor of mopping and washing.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Seafood Madness

For two consecutive evening, I had a seafood feast for dinner.

On Friday night I headed out with a friend for Thai seafood dinner after hitting the gym. The place came highly recommended. It's a place where the Thai community in town flock to for a taste of their home. All the cooks are Thais and hence it's as authentically Thai as you can get. The rest the Thai restaurants are merely posers. The two of us gorged on three dishes: barbeque squid with a spicy chili dip and sweet peanut dip, steamed fish in spicy lemony soup and stir fried vegetable with bean paste. The food was simple, nothing fancy but homey. The spiciness and the herb infused fragrant of the dishes were unmistakeably Thai. Indeed the food was great.

On Saturday night, after getting our adrenaline fix from white water rafting, my friends and I went to get our crab fix. The selection of crab dishes was dizzying to say the least, over thirty ways of cooking. The nine of us narrowed them down to three: fried crab with vercimmilli, crab with salted egg sauce and butter crab, along with the trimmings. The food was good but fall short of amazing. We cleaned them up pretty good nonetheless, probably all the paddling and sloshing in the water worked up our apetite.

For the two following consecutive morning, I woke up feeling so full.

My cholesterol level must be off the chart now!

Friday, November 02, 2007


Kicking it up a notch this evening for my Friday-run -in-the-park, which I normally do about 6k, I ran 10k.


I clocked 53.53:34, crappy time, a whopping drop from my personal best of 45++. But that was like years ago, 7 to be exact. That was the last time I did a full on 10k-ler.

Now it's more like 10-killer.

Nonetheless, I felt like a million bucks. I was elated and hopeful and optimistic. Perhaps a marathon next? Let's not get ahead of myself now. A couple more 10-killers, then 10-milers, then half marathons, then we THINK about a marathon. Let do it before I turn 40.

Anyway, for the feat this evening, I deserve a pat on my back again.

Rounds of applause for me please.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Simple Pleasure

Sunday morning.

Hot coffee, OJ and toasty cibatta roll with butter and dusting of icing sugar.

Sometimes, it's the simple things that brighten our day, bring us endless joy.

Well if you think about it, it's actually most of the times.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


What do you collect? Coins, stamps, ticket stubs, bookmarks, match boxes, bar coasters or hotel toiletries? I collect pins, for years now. Spent the Saturday morning cleaning up my collections. Like a river breaching it’s bank, memories poured in uncontrollably.

These remind of my secondary school days. It was not just all books and no play. I involved in various co-curriculums activities back then. The after school afternoons and weekends spent organizing fundraising dinner, participating in general knowledge competition, marching under the blazing sun…

These bring me back to my 3 years in Calgary for university. I went to Calgary in fall 1998 to start my third year of my engineering degree. I remembered doing very well in my first semester, but flopping, not failing though, miserably in the next. I took a year off later to pursue an internship program and earned shit load of money (for a student) and lived a lavish life (for a student). Oh, I met her here in Calgary.

These are some that I picked up along the road while traveling. Aside from taking tones of pictures, I bought these souvenir pins. These flash back my first backpacking trip to Thailand back in 1997. They also tell stories about my trial and tribulations roaming around in Central and South America.

These are collected during my trip to Maritime Canada. I could clearly recall that rainy day as I touched down at Halifax. I walked in the rain around town sightseeing. Then there were the beautiful kind folks that I met in Charlottetown. Oh the drive along the coast of Cape Breton Island was fun filled and full of adventures: camping illegally along the way.

These prompt memories of my trans-Canada journey aboard a train for a month. I set off from Edmonton, Alberta, heading east all the way to Quebec City, Quebec. Then I made a U-turn moving westward towards Vancouver, British Columbia, meeting my parents there. When the train stopped at Jasper, I remembered racing towards a laundry with a bunch of fellow travelers, paying to take a shower. We went 4 days without a shower on the train. When the water hit my body, it felt almost as good as sex.

These are about Quebec, the French speaking province in Canada. It’s strange yet unique, like going into another country, within a country. I love the French Canadians for their deep appreciation for art. There are amazing sculptures and beautiful murals and wonderful galleries everywhere in Montreal and Quebec City. More so, the zest for life of the Quebecois is infectious. Once their aloofness shells were broken, I could feel their live-life-NOW! attitude, enjoying a good cuppa at a café, cracking open a bottle of wine early in the evening, even walking a lot slower. So when in Quebec, do as the Quebecois do.

Not counting transiting in LA and Dallas, the two places I’ve been to in the States are Washington DC and Chicago. I never had a strong desire to travel to the States but both trips were indeed very pleasant experiences. They were all-paid-for trips. Oh, from what I’ve observed, yes, there are a lot of fat people in the States, and no, not all Yanks are stupid and ignorant.

I always want to travel around Europe. So far the only place I ever set foot in that continent is Stavager, Norway. I got a trip there 2 years ago for work. Like any other Scandinavian countries, it's a very expensive place. I flew into Amsterdam but that doesn't count as I only saw the airport, transitting. These are the 2 pins I bought in Stavanger.

These are some of the pins given by friends and family. Knowing I collect pins, they were kind enough to think of me during their trips by getting me these pins. They speak volumes of our friendships. I cherish these big time.

While some remind me of the places I’ve been to, these count for the people I met. Among others are the crazy cross-country skiing brothers, A and G from Yukon; the pretty Japanese lady J who volunteered for the Girl Guide; the kind, generous, soft spoken and artistic Pommie E that I befriended volunteering in Belize. These pins are the sweet reminder of the friendships we built.

These serve as the testimonials of the crazy things that I’ve done: rolling down a double black diamond course on my first try at alpine skiing; yee-haw-ing at the Calgary Stampede, the greatest outdoors show on earth; polar bear dipping on the new year’s day of the new millennium for fundraising (got a t-shirt for that too); bungee jumping in Bali; pub crawling in Belize City; partying on the street of Quito after the Ecuadorian football team made it into the 2002 FIFA World Cup final; diving at the Blue Hole; spending the night (again illegally) atop a Mayan pyramid at Caracol, Belize; sneaking into Tikal, Guatemala on a fake visa.

Memories, so many memories. Now snap out of it and resume cleaning.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Mission Accomplished

The first Malaysian in space had successfully completed his mission in International Space Station and safely returned to earth after spending 11 day in space. The whole nation is rejoicing at this great achievement, as usual, with a lot of fanfares, media coverage and more big talks on the future space explorations. At the same time, there are the skeptical and the cynical camps questioning or mocking the whole thing.

Unfortunately, I must admit that I’m with the cynical camp. C’mon, let’s get real for a second: people are still debating whether he is an astronaut, a cosmonaut, a space tourist or a space cowboy. Opps, space kampong boy. Seriously, we do not train the guy. News flash: We do not have a space program! Reality check: what exactly are the tangible benefits of this space exploration for the country?

Paraphrasing Neil Armstrong, this first Malaysian in space said that, he would be taking a small step for himself but it would be a giant leap for Malaysia. As epic and as momentous and as significant and as historic the moment might be, it did not amount to that giant leap for the nation, not even the small step.

But it was no doubt a positive sign of progress, as positive and hopeful as some heighten abnormal neuron activities in brain of a neck down paralyzed coma patient, and we are not even talking about waking up or any physical moment at yet.

One thing for sure, I sincerely wish that by putting him into space and generating so much fanfares, it’d inspire the young generation, realizing what they want in life, be it space exploration or arts and literature, following their dreams and going all out reaching beyond the stars, knowing that the sky is no longer the limit, in the way that Homer Hickam was inspired, looking at the Sputnik, Russian satellite traversing across the October sky in small town Coalwood, and grew up to be a NASA engineer.

That'd be mission accomplished.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

No Duck and No Pork, Got Wine

Plan was set on Friday that a couple of friends were supposed to come over for dinner tonight. One was to bring the famous roasted duck, the other one was to grab some famous roasted pork in town. I was to serve up the booze. The plan was simple, we were going to stuff our face silly with some greasy grub, chase them down with bottles of wine and yak the night away.

But damn it, the plan fell through. The one with the duck couldn't make it.

So I spent the night in. I spent it cleanning my room: dusting the book shelves, tidying my wadrobe, mopping the floor and changing the sheet.

When my room was all spotless and smelling great, I sat and drank my Chardonnay.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Silver Lining

My heart was thumping heavily and I was wheezing like a rackety old truck on a bumpy road, as I was closing in on the 5th lap of the 1.2k running track at the KLCC Park. The euphoric delusion of chasing the wind offset the excruciating pain I felt on my toes, my feet, my right ankle, my claves, my left knee and my thighs for every stride I took. My head was enjoying the heavenly lightness while my legs were burning in hell.

"One more to go. I can do it!" I told myself, panting heavily.

About 200m ahead I saw a tall Caucasian guy, at least 6'2", strolling along leisurely on the track munching an apple. Then to my utter horror I saw him tossing the apple core onto the lawn of the park. Actually he slowed down, bended his knees and bowled the apple core across the lawn with a swift powerful swing of his arm, beautiful form, precise execution.

"What the fuck! The bin is just steps ahead of him." My heart thumping faster, my breathing wheezing noisier and my blood was boiling over.

Picking up my pace, I ran towards him. It was such perfect timing and coordination that as I run beside him, the bin was in front of us. I tapped him on his arm and then pointed to the bin with simply a expressionless face. I was sucking wind so badly that I could hardly put on a stern and dismay face, let alone chiding him some. So I just continued running. He seemed to get my message though. "It's an apple core. Blah blah blah. (I did not catch this part) Have a nice day." He shouted as I dashed away.

True, it was an apple core. It's organic. It will decay on it's own. It will help the growth of the plants around. So what? So fucking what? The decay takes time, about 10 to 14 days. So for the next 10 to 14 days, that apple core would be an eye sore in the park. Now imagine if the other visitors doing the same thing, hurling banana skins or orange peels, how the park will look like and smell like. "Dude this is my running ground. I wanna run in a park, not a dump." Tossing that apple core like that is definitely not the right way of composting. That was just justifying being a lazy asshole with a bloody lame excuse.

A moment of genius came to me as I was pushing ahead running, gasping for more air. I suppose there are a lot of stupid inconsidered irresponsible people like that jackass composting in the park. Perhaps the park management can designate an area for visitors to dispose their perishable waste and then compost them properly to be used as fertilizer for the plants. It's a win-win-win situation, convenient for the lazy or green-conscious visitors, greener and cheaper approach to maintain the park, and not to mention good education for the kids (and adults) and good publicity for the park.

Ahhh... A brilliant idea came out of a not-so-brilliant circumstance. I should get in touch with the park management ASAP!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Squash Sweetness

Making squash dishes can be as simple or as fancy as you like. This time around I took the fancy route. I've got a wedge of squash, covered it with crushed garlic, sliced shitake mushrooms and chopped bacon. Then topped it pinch of salt and pepper and dash of olive oil. Into a preheat oven the squash went.

Roughly 45 minutes later, I tasted the soft sweetness of the squash with the trimmings. Mmm... Yummy.

Didn't know it took that long to bake that little thing. But hey, it was well worth the wait.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Sorry for Not Playing

The sadness he saw in her eyes at the end of the night sparked the guilt in him. He had been thinking about what he said and how he said that night over and over again for the past few days. The more he thought about it, the heavier the burden of guilt he felt.

He knew something was up that night. The air in the room was stuffy and smoky. The anxiety was so intense that it was suffocating him a little. There was a strong undertow of anticipation from her friends of them finally being them. They were watching and waiting. Then out poured her revelations of her feelings towards him. Though they did not come as a surprise, they were stifling. He was pushed into a corner. He felt trapped.

He was treading on thin ice. One wrong move, or one slight tremble even, he might be falling into the frigid water below. Therefore he was extremely cautious, with his words and gestures. How could he say no to her without hurting her? Like ripping off a Band-Aid in a snap, just one short sharp piercing pain to end it all. Or sugar coating the rejection with sensitivity and political correctness, but potentially dragging the misery. How should he do it?

He decided to be gentle. He tried hard not to be harsh or blunt. So he laughed off the questions and avoided the conversations. He was trying to be elusive yet assertive. The more she opened up, the more he shut in. She poured her heart out to him, so delicate and vulnerable. He knew that and he felt it. Unfortunately he could not reciprocate, the feeling was not mutual.

As much as he felt choked and trapped, he felt sorry.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Playing Catch

She put on that pretty little dress and that sexy strappy heels. She wanted to look gorgeous for the night. Indeed she was.

All night long she was downing copious amount of alcohol, one after another, to show that she was having a ball. Afterall it was her party. Perhaps she was using the alcohol to psyched herself up, to muster the courage to spill her heart, to bare her soul in search for return of affection from him. It was a little pep talk session with alcohol for herself. Well, you know how you think you can fly off the building or conquer the world when you have got enough alcohol in your system.

So she did. She did it, hinting sheepishly to him when they both drinking with the noisy merry making crowd. She did it, telling him gently when they both stepping out for fresh air. She did it, whispering into his ear when they both almost drunk lounging on the couch.

He was playing dumb. He was making jokes. He was being witty. He was pushing his luck. He was beating around the bush. His replies were ambiguious and vague at best.

While it was heart-breaking not getting the answers she hoped for from him. More so, it was mind tormenting not getting any answer at all. They set out playing catch. She kept throwing the ball but he remained motionless, simply not catching the ball, simply watching it hit the ground.

It wasn't too much fun. It wasn't fun at all.

She then sat silently across from him. She drank some more. She laid down on the plush sofa. She said she was tired and tipsy. He thought she was utterly dissappoined, maybe crushed. He knew she was done with him.

Friday, October 05, 2007


I took a week off and went home to spent time wth my folks. It was a slow relaxing week. But there was something amiss. I couldn't put my finger on it.

Until I came home from office tonight...

I was dead tired, probably from my Friday workout. I had a killer yoga session over lunch. After work, I went for my Friday's run-in-the-park, logging 6k and then hit the for my hamster-run (treadmill) for another 3k. I was absolutely beat when I dragged myself into the door, even slightly dehyradrated. Yet, I felt good and elated, feeling like a million bucks, probably more!

It dawned on me that I was back in full swing of my exercise routine upon my return to the city, weekend swimming laps, weekday after work gym session, yoga on Tue and Fri, sweating in the sauna and my Friday run. No wonder I felt like on top of the world.

The last week back home were spent being a couch potato, reading, catching up on shut-eye and hanging out at the beach. Those were hardly breaking the slightest drop of sweat. Then the other major 'workout' would probably be the stuff face exercise with mom's awesome cooking. I've been lazy all last week.

No wonder I felt like crap last week. That must be it.

Man, I'm such a workout freak!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Dignity at the Dinner Table

Dad is getting frail ever since the stroke a couple of years ago. The physical decline is very obvious. He is so weak now that his stride is reduced to a slow drag. Every movement is extremely slow and clumsy, even eating is such a chore for him. He used to eat with chopsticks. Well, he still does, but with the declining dexterity, it would be difficult for him to pick up the dishes or shoving rice into his mouth. There would be rice spilling everywhere on the dining able, on the floor and on himself. Therefore such a chore for everyone else to clean up after him, every meal.

"Dad, why don't you just use spoon instead?" I asked him once over dinner, more like shouting as his hearing is failing as well.

"Hmm..." It was sort of a deep grunt from dad. Then silence, somewhat an awkward silence. I was not certain if he heard me or understood me.

I remember hearing this somewhere that people want to die with dignity, but the fact is that there is no dignity in dying. People should live with dignity, not die with it.

Isn't that true?!

So, I think dad heard me and fully understood me over dinner that night. He is simply holding on to one of the few things that he still could do, which reminds him of the able man he used to be.

I was home for a week. This time around over dinner, I asked dad to sit closer to the dinning table, therefore any spillage was contained on the table. Then I wiped the table clean after dinner.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Gone Hiking

Again, waking up at some ungodly hours, like half past 4 in the morning. A quick breakfast and drove in the dark, alone for half an hour. It was quite a scary thing driving past cemeteries, jungles and plantations. Yeah I know, call me chicken.

Reached Sg Lembing around 6 in the morning. Kitted up and hiked up this little hill, hoping for a magnificent sunrise. It just took half an hour to get to the top and it wasn’t a tough climb too. In fact it was easy.

It was still dark when I got to the top. The town was lit with streetlights, about to coming to life with the morning hustle and bustle. Dogs were barking away, then there were the occasional motorcycles going by. On the other side of the hill, insects and birds were chirping ever so loud and crisp.

I set up my camera and patiently waiting for the sunrise and the rolling clouds. The plan was to capture some vivid splash of colors on the sky or the misty dreamy clouds.

An hour ticked away…


These are what I got.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Gone Fishing

It's Saturday morning and I woke up at some ungodly hours, six in the morning, the sun was not even up yet! I got ready, by that I meant a quick shower, packing up my MacBook and grabbing breakfast, a banana. I then rushed out the door to pick up my sister, who was supposed to stay over last night, at the other side of town, then heading home, a 3 hour drive to the east of KL.

Oh did I mentioned that I slept at two in the morning? Tired and sleepy as I was, I was excited and thrilled, because I'm going home. I've got a week away from work, out of the city, with my folks (though this might back fire) and home cooked meals. I was totally psyched.

However, we reached home just to find the door was locked shut. Mom was on a weekend getaway trip and dad was at grandma's. It was scorching outside, too hot to do anything outdoor, not to mention I was too zonked to do anything anyway.

I slept. Zzz... Zzz... Zzz...

Well, I have a week ahead of me. I'm going to squeeze in some beach time and bush time. Take more pictures, write more, read more, get dad to exercise more.

Yahooooo... I'm on holiday!

Monday, September 17, 2007

After 50 Years of Independence...

The August air was not only saturated with humidity, it was also so thickened with the patriotic, joyous and festive mood of the people in celebration of the 50th independence day of Malaysia. In fact I can still feel the Merdeka frenzy. It is so intence, simply overwhelming. There are Malaysian flags everywhere, cars, lamp posts, buildings, trees etc. I mean, EVERYWHERE!

I drove past a secondary school decorated with hundreds of Malaysian flags, on the school gate, the fence and classrooms. The star of the this proud patriotic display was this massive flag hanging from one of the school buildings. Actually, the huge flag wrapped up the 4-storey school classroom building, from the roof to the ground. Massive! We are talking about an easily 64 ft by 32 ft massive, about 2050 sq ft massive, which is about double the built up area of my condominuim unit. Wow, how could anyone not be impressed with such effort the school went through in declaring their love and patriotism to the country. Well, I so seriously did.

Driving away, I started to think of the amount of work, more importantly the amount of money needed to accomplish such a feat. Wouldn't that money be spent in a more practical and more impactful, if not more meaningful ways? Don't get me wrong, I'm all about "I'm proud to be a Malaysian" and "Malaysia Boleh!" and all that nationalism spirit. But I'm sure that the school could have used the money for a couple more unit of microscopes or a few more computers. What about stuffing the library with more books, or the sport room with more sporting equipment? How about putting a fresh coat of paint for the school? Looking from outside some of the buildings can certainly use that. Perhaps the money can be used for funding some extra-curriculum activities for the student?

We had achieved independence and self-rule for 50 years. Why are we still hanging onto some insignificant mindless and senseless showbo-ish display over what is actually one of the fundamentals of nation building, education, for the next generation?

Happy 50th independence day my fellow countrymen.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Sinful Indulgence

Stacked up two slices of toasty warm carrot cakes on a plate.
Piled on two enormous scoops of vanila ice-cream.
Sprinkled down some chocolate chips.

Here you go, some sinfully tasty indulgence.

Wanted to make it even more sinful? Splash on generously some Irish cream, which I did not have. Damn!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Pile Up Sandwich

Like Joey from Friends, I love sandwich. It’s such a healthy and balanced meal, if you do it properly. Sandwich is quick to build and almost zero cleaning up. Seriously, what more could you ask?

One of my favorites is what I call the chicken and fresh herbs pile up. Bake a couple of chicken strips with your choice of marinate and piling them up along with whatever fresh herbs you fancy, cheese and lettuce on 2 slices of whole wheat bread, lightly spread with mustard. This time, I got my chicken marinated pesto with garlic. Cilantro and sweet basil were my herbs of the day. Finally sprinkle some freshly ground black pepper atop the pile up, lunch is good to go.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

50 Funny Things Malaysians Say...

In commemorating the 50th Independence Day of Malaysia, I compiled 50 funny sayings in Malaysia. Feel free to add.

1. "Cincai" Whatever
2. "Kam ching" In good term with someone
3. "Gua caya sama lu" I trust you man! I believe in you.
4. "Tak aci" No fair!
5. "Machar" Brother in law in Tamil but use widely like buddy or pal, as if you are dating the sister of the pal.
6. "Oi Tambi!" Hey little brother (to an Indian)
7. "Giler babi" Literally crazy pig, to exaggerate a situation as insanely and crazy.
8. "Lah" Used in the end of a sentence for assertive purpose.
9. "Leh" Used in the end of a sentence for assertive purpose.
10. "Loh" Used in the end of a sentence in submission or agreement.
11. "Siot" Used in the end of a sentence for assertive purpose.
12. "Kepala hotak ko!" Literally your head and brain, used to scold others.
13. "Rilek lah Brother" Relax my friend, calm down.
14. "Char bo" Woman, girl friend or wife
15. "Pi... lah" Go away.
16. "Boleh blah" You can go (to hell).
17. "Jom" C'mon or let's go.
18. "Choop!" Used to stop a conversation
19. "Kepoh!" Busy body
20. "Ang moh" Western foreigners
21. "Boh liao" Done or do not have anymore.
22. "Machai" Literally little horse, means subordinates.
23. "Ipoh mali" Came from Ipoh.
24. "Lai" Come or come here.
25. "Mai lah" Come, let's go.
26. "Siao liao" Gone crazy.
27. "Alamak!" Oh shit!
28. "Boss, kera" Boss the bill please (at a mamak stall).
29. "Ho jiak" Tasty.
30. "Ape lu mau" What do you want?
31. "Kan jiong" Panic and anxious.
32. "Jiak lat" Exhausting.
33. "Ape macam?" How's it going?
34. "Anieh" Used to call an Indidan lady.
35. "Kasi" Give.
36. "Samseng" Gangster or baddies
37. "Aksyen" Arrogant
38. "Tai ko" Big brother, normally refer to head of a gang.
39. "Otai" Old timers.
40. "Gostan" Go a stern.
41. "Ah Kua" Tranvestites.
42. "Brapa luit" How much does it cost?
43. "Fu yoh" Use to express admiration.
44. "Wah lau eh" Use to express surprise and atonishment.
45. "Ai seh man" Use to express missing a chance.
46. "Sempoi" Simple.
47. "Mampus" Die or go to hell.
48. "Kow tim" Done deal or completed.
49. "Aiyoh..." Use to express surprise or pain.
50. 'Tak pau" Ordering food for take away.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Stale Breakfast

Sunday morning.

I got breakfast ready, cereal, coffee and a couple of slices of carrot cake I baked the night before. I had them all laid out on the table, then I sat down at the dining table, ate and read.

Suddenly I just sat up and turned to ask you how did you enjoy your breakfast. But it was an empty seat next to me. You were not there. You were thousands of miles away. How I wished you could be here and we could do this simple stuff like having breakfast together or simply talking?

The carrot cake tasted stale.

I miss you, terribly.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

As Time Goes By...

Saturday night, I sat across from the kitchen at the living room floor under the window, taking a long drag and blowing the smoke lazily. The oven heating element glowed in the dark, dimly lit up the kitchen, and then slowly faded into darkness again. There I sat, smoked and totally hypnotized by that cyclical glowing. I felt time ticked away, second by second.

Mmm... the aroma of the cinnimon...

I was baking a carrot cake.

Monday, August 20, 2007

My Right Thumb

One of the features making us human being unique and superior is our opposable thumb. It is the only digit on the human hand which can oppose or turn back against the other four fingers. With the evolution of this opposable thumb, it allows us to grip and grab and hold on to object better.

Being a typical human being, more so a typical guy, I always take things for granted. I never appreciate the everyday things which are so important and significant to me, like the opposable thumbs. I never give it a second look. Ever!

Until last weekend…

What happened was I banged my right thumb onto the metal frame of the coach while mopping the floor. Ouch! Holy fuck ouch! That was fucking painful, as if it was stabbed, repeatedly. Instantly the flesh underneath the thumb nail turned reddish black. I was howling and swearing to no end. The pain finally subsided after I stuck my thumb in to a cup of ice for a good 10 minutes.

However, the thumb is now tender even to the touch. I never know that buttoning my shirt and unzipping my fly can be such painful chores. Holding a pen and starting car ignition are no fun either. The slightest pressure applied to it will send a jolt of piercing spasm straight to my core. But the worst is, I can’t flick the lighter to light a fag, crush a beer can and unhook a bra!

How I miss my healthy and ever reliable opposable thumb now. Being a typical human being, more so a typical guy, I now learn through a painful lesson how incredible and wonderful the thumb is and I now realize what a dick I was all these while for neglecting my thumb. You only value the things you take for granted until you lose them, or almost lose them. Typical guys!

The moral of the story: love your opposable thumbs!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

For the Hungry Ghost Festival

Just a teaser, more to come...