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.