Monday, May 29, 2006

Thinking with which Head?

Reading about some supposed "bright" people of the nation sometimes makes me wish I weren't Malaysian.

This Professor from the Islamic Studies Academy in Univeristy Malaya, has just gotten a bright spark of an idea and actually suggests to recognise misyar marriages. A misyar marriage is that the man doesn't need to support the women materially - no need to feed her, clothe her or shelter her. All he needs to do is provide for her sexual needs. This is in view of the increasing number of unmarried women in Malaysia. After all, this is already quite a common thing happening the rich in the Arab world.

Surprise, surprise, we get the Kelantan politician, who is known to comment profound things like "Only ugly women need to work because they won't be able to find a husband to support them", supports this notion whole-heartedly. He adds that Islam allows these kind of marriages with the condition that consent is obtained from the woman who is willing to enter such marriages.

They claim this will reduce vice in the country. It's obvious which head they are using to think.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Dat Cat

So last night we were about to go to bed when suddenly a gale picked up and whipped rain against our bedroom window. The first thought we both had was, "Shucks, the cat's gonna get wet!".

We raced downstairs and peered through the window but couldn't spot her so I opened the door. She immediately mewed pitifully and crawled right into the house, seeking shelter. Usually when paw meet threshold, the residing humans would emit a stern warning, "NO!" and the paw would automatically retract.

However, last night, human hearts melted with sympathy and we ended up housing Dat Fella (her official name for the moment) at the back of the house.

This morning, still lazing in bed at 9:45 when I suddenly remembered of our furry captive. I can almost imagine the scene for KS, as he continued to lie in anticipation while I ran down, his worst fears intensified as my cry of horror floated upstairs. Yes, dear folks, there was poo AND a vomited furball waiting for us to clean up.

As we cleaned up, "I don't think I'll ever be ready to have a baby", "No, this is good training for us"

I don't buy that. KS ended up cleaning three quarters of it after I touched the vomit while trying to clean up. I handed him paper towels and gagged.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Missing my Baking

For two weeks now, I’ve been hankering on about wanting to knead dough. Called my Mum 400kms away to ask if I can use normal flour instead of bread flour (as I can’t find any retailing) and explained I was going to make sausage buns. Instead, Mum said, “Just go out and buy from Giant lah! So cheap!”

After that incredibly sensible remark, I also thought of the impending doom of trying to wash anything in my kitchen now. We’ve got a blocked pipe for several months now which no one seems to be able to solve, save from blasting through the wall or to hack the floor to get to the piping. I can wash maybe 3 plates and the back will start to flood with black putrid water.

So, forget about my baking. Since I couldn’t scratch my itch of wanting to knead or do something with my hands, I washed the bathroom instead. At least I had a clean bathroom.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

American Idol 5

It's amazing how there are so many American Idol fans here in Malaysia. They'd go on for weeks just talking about who they like best, moan when their fav is kicked out and watch the finale replay until past midnight even if there's work tomorrow.

Wait... the commercial break is over...

Ok, back from another commercial. I'm so glad Taylor won as I don't like Katharine. She'd be a typical American choice, gorgeous with generous... voice. Still think Chris is the best looking as he looks like Bruce Willis...

It's Not the Computer

Eversince I started work 7 years ago, I've had several personal computers for each job. The first and third one were brand new Dells. This was at my old firm. They both crashed and died on me to the point that the entire hard disk had to be reformatted and thereafter crippled to a shadow of what was once a powerful tool.

The last one I had before I switched jobs was found to have over 500 bugs. The IT guy who helped clean it said he had never seen so many viruses on one PC in his entire career. Bah, he's only a couple of years in the work force then, what does he know?

Still living in denial, this week my office computer crashed. With 5 viruses that had the HP guy shaking his head. My operating system had to be copied from another computer and I lost all my unsaved emails.

Maybe, just maybe, it's not the computers after all. But I'm not admitting to anything just yet.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Feeding the Hungry

Yesterday, Jan and I made good use of an entire loaf of expired bread which we kept frozen for the purpose of feeding the fishes in the lake.

Although there were dozens of people feeding at the same time, I was suprised our loaf went pretty fast. Some people threw the entire slice, leaving the bread floating away to rot later, so I made it a point to pinch the bread into nibble sizes and fling it into the middle of the lake. Boy, were the fish hungry!

Altogether, it was rather therapeutic, just enjoying the evening breeze while watching the fishes and tortoises feeding. In the end, Jan said she was inspired to start buying bread to eat for breakfast so that the slices she can't finish, she'd be able to keep to feed the fish.

As for me, I've got a sore arm from all that throwing. I blame the ache from the rare scrubbing of the bathroom.

Freaking Out KS

Saturday night, on our way back from church, KS said:

"Maybe we should take a long 3 week break, at the end of the year to Perth. Just go there and relax. What do you think?"

Sunday morning, Mum calls:

"Has Yen (my sis-in-law) gone back to Perth yet? Can she buy this cheese that has fruit in it and a special fruit wine only found in one small shop tucked away somewhere in Perth?"

"Hey Mum, why don't you and Dad go to Perth at the end of the year with KS and I?"

Sunday afternoon, Mum calls Jan:

"Jan! Save your money and let's all go to Perth at the end of the year!"

A 3-week supposed getaway for KS has suddenly turned it's tables.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The Management of Malaysian Tourism

In 2002 , Malaysia made international headlines when the International Court of Justice declared the sovereignity of Pulau Sipadan and Pulau Ligitan belongs to Malaysia after a court battle with Indonesia.

Both islands are one of the top world diving spots in the world and Malaysia proudly glowed with this news, issuing special First Day Covers to rub salt into Indonesia's wound. Nature's gem handed over for our responsibility.

Tourists continued to pour in from all corners of the world to experience the gorgeous reef and corals which took decades (or even centuries) to form.

So it bloody pisses me off when we irresponsibly allow projects to build building on the fragile island AND the f****** contractor uses a barge to transport the materials there and destroys coral reef as large as two tennis courts just a couple of days ago.

Even worse, here's what the papers have reported:

In Petaling Jaya, IZATUN SHARI reports Tourism Malaysia director-general Datuk Kamaruddin Siaraf as saying the damage to Sipadan's coral reef would not affect the country's tourism sector much.

He said this was because of remedial actions taken by the relevant authorities.
- Taken from

Remedial actions? Oh, let's go plant a coral reef today? Let's all hug a coral and everything will be alright? I can't believe this guy is the DG of Tourism Malaysia.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

No Desire

I can't... I really can't do it anymore. What once used to be a driving force for me is now sadly a chore.

Today, I took leave to accompany my sis-in-law but since she had plans to meet up with her friends, I decided to go shopping. I had a grocery list and a will to replace my work boots.

To my dismay, I quickly lost interest while trying to look for my shoes. In defeat, I got my groceries and left. Yes, on a day when one doesn't need to shovel one's way to the payment counter, when the afternoon stretched on endlessly and when I'm totally on my own. What's happened to my shopping motivation?!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

What's in Your Purse?

Was talking to Jan during dinner just now and she was telling me she just recently played an icebreaker where you are to share something interesting from your purse/wallet. It brought to mind another addition of Stories of My Sister.

Years ago, I inherited a purse used by my sis. It was a nice long brown one and since I was too lazy to go out to get a new one, I thought I'd make use of it. Inside the coin compartment, I found this 2.5" nail. I left it there because it didn't take up much space although it's a strange thing to have in one's purse.

Later, I asked her what it was for and she solemnly told me it was in case she was ever attacked by a pontianak. Her friend apparently told her that all pontianak's have a hole at the back of their skull and when you block the hole with a nail, it will immobolise the ghost.

Of course, she never found out if this is true and I certainly hope none of us ever need to use the nail in this manner.

Interesting Article

STAR, Wednesday May 3, 2006
The followers

A FRIEND was relating how after her daughter had read the Da Vinci Code, she had wanted to read the Bible. Which is not in itself a bad thing except that she was concerned that an impressionable young mind would not be able to differentiate fact from fiction. Also it seemed that perhaps what was needed is a Da Vinci Code-type book for Muslims to spark off the same level of interest in young people in their own religion.

Except that if anyone tried to write a similar thriller based around Islam, they'd be hounded and pilloried and threatened with death, thousands would riot in protest and people who would never have been able to read the book either because they are illiterate or can't afford it would have died.

Such is the difference between our religions.

While there are many Christians who are upset about the book and movie, they are countering it with seminars and other educational events to balance what is being said in the book, even if the book is only fiction. There have not been Da Vinci Code-related riots or deaths thus far. Which speaks volumes for the adherents of the faith.

It would be nice if everyone could brush off similar challenges and say "we are strong enough to withstand any attack". Even if a book or a movie becomes a runaway hit, compared to the total number of any faith's followers, the numbers sold can never match it. Books are by nature, in a world where illiteracy is still common, a luxury item. As are American movies, no matter what arguments people make about cultural imperialism.

I remember when there were riots over Salman Rushdie's book The Satanic Verses, President Benazir Bhutto commented wryly that the people who were dying over the book were those who would never have read it, or possibly even heard of it if someone hadn't whipped them into a frenzy. A similar situation arose with the cartoons. As insensitive as they were, they were still not worth dying over.

The point is that people's impressions of a religion are often related to the behaviour of its adherents. Some religions are thought of as simply kooky because its followers behave strangely. Some are viewed as benign and peaceful because its followers resolutely will not harm a fly.

But when people, supposedly in the name of religion, riot, burn and kill, it can't help but give the impression of a religion that advocates this, no matter how much we point out that nowhere in religious texts itself does it say you should do this. And unfortunately we get the whole spectrum, from men who publicly insult women on a daily basis without censure to the real crazies.

Recently in New York I had to suffer the embarrassment of having to listen to a Muslim man say to a non-Muslim woman at a forum, "Don't mess with Muslims, we have nuclear weapons!". There I was trying to dispel stereotypes about violence-prone Muslims and in one fell swoop, this nutcase confirmed every stereotype there was.

I think the only people who can dispel stereotypes about Muslims are women. While there are certainly some conservative women, even when these speak out they will naturally change perceptions because in a world where Muslim women are perceived to be perpetually hidden behind curtains, their sheer presence and articulateness will be noticed. What more if they are able to argue rationally in a calm manner.

Thus far there have been very few Muslim men in the international media who give a good impression. We might argue that the Western media selects who they interview in order to perpetuate stereotypes, which is true and that is a problem for all of us. A man or woman who looks like the archetypal wild-eyed conservative is far more telegenic than someone who looks like everyone else. Channel surfers are far more likely to stop at the sight of someone they think of as alien to their culture than if they see someone too similar to them. To stop this means having to make a concerted effort to come together as one community and decide on a sophisticated media strategy. But sadly coming together as one united community is a challenge in itself.

If we do manage as a global community to change other people's perceptions of us, the benefits would be many. Our own people might think more kindly of each other so peace would reign within. And because within ourselves, we respect diversity, we can do the same with others. Then peace would truly have a chance.

Friday, May 12, 2006


We had free tickets, otherwise I wouldn't have watched it. It's crap. Don't waste your time and money.

Now there's an ongoing debate, KS wants to watch MI3 but I hate Tom Cruise. I'd rather go out and buy the FAKE DVD and not pay him royalties! Anyone wants copies?

At least there's the great summer movies coming up, Da Vinci, X-Men 3, Superman Returns, Pirates (love the soundtrack, and Johnny Depp), Lady in the Water and although I'm not a fan of Jack Black, I think I'm gonna like the slapstick Nacho Libre.

Stupid Cat

She meows every morning for food. But she hates us touching her. Not even to manja or pat her head.

To continue to feed/keep or not?


I kid you not. For 4 days in a row, KS and I have encountered cockroaches every night. Two were outside the house beside the gate (KS smashed one with his umbrella which I'm never touching again), one was in a friend's place (she swears she never had cockroaches since she shifted in a few months ago - and I must be the first to introduce it to her) and the final one was in my toilet.

The one in my toilet was discovered thanks to my nose. I was rushing to use the toilet but the moment I stepped in, I could smell it. Calling KS, my roach terminator, he tried to sniff it out but didn't smell anything. After standing there for a full minute, then he saw where it was, on my bar of soap! You bet I threw it away and started a fresh bar! But now I geli to think that it might have ventured to my toothbrush and other toiletries.

God, why did you ever create cockroaches? Every single living thing seems to have a purpose here on earth except them. To make us exercise our lungs by screaming whenever we encounter one?


There is one sin that is absolutely embraced here in Malaysia. It is encouraged and the more one does it, the more admiration is given.

I'm, of course, talking about Gluttony.

Last night my working partners decided to go out for dinner and karaoke to celebrate the hard work we all put in for the launch of the product. We went to this restaurant in Starhill Jogoya (what a stupid name as it's not catchy at all and I keep having to refer to the name card I accidentally took to remember it, even as I type). Anyway, this place is having a promotional price of RM88++ per pax for a buffet dinner.

To be honest, the moment we stepped in and looked at the array of food, a singular thought crossed my mind, "So much food, so little stomach!". The food is great with an immense variety of Eastern dishes, the most recognisable would be Japanese. I had loads of raw salmon, yummy. However, even after several rounds of walking about, my boss had the same thoughts as me, "A lot of food but... nothing much to eat!" I don't know how to quite explain it. Sure, there's loads of food but almost everything is the same? There's prawns, crabs , oysters (fresh and baked in cheese)... but it's just the same things, you know? How many versions of prawns and crabs do you want to eat?
Both were available in curry, clear soup, steamed, fried whatever.

The dessert table was impressive too, with Movenpick ice cream being the highlight. The rest were just small slices of the usual stuff, cheesecake, mango pudding, Chinese black jelly etc and interestingly, biscuits. I mean, how often do you go to a buffet dinner which offers a variety of biscuits?

The chap sitting beside me was steadily going through all the seafood and really ate his worth. Other than that, we all never really ate it's worth.

I guess the presentation of the place really blew me away. I'm not sure if I would pay RM88++ to go back there again. Mind you, this is a promotional price too. Hahaha... that's my Pay Little, Eat Bulk side talking.

Thereafter, we adjorned to Karaoke. Dang, I hate having to sing in front of others, let alone my two bosses and the Managing Director of the other company. In the end, I had to croak a few songs for the sake of participation.

In KL, there IS nothing else better to do for corporate celebration but to eat and sing. My boss initially suggested go-karting but unfortunately, the suggestion didn't interest the partner.

Indoor Rock Climbing

Man, I just realised I haven't updated my blog in almost a week! Sorry, nothing much happening except work.

Today is Wesak Day and I organised an indoor rock climbing session with some of my CG members. I have friends in Penang who used to do indoor rock climbing on a weekly basis and here I was, doing it 10 years after I first tried it in NZ.

The class was only 1 hour and we climbed 4 walls in total, the last being the tallest about 3 stories (12 metres, if I'm not mistaken). I nearly gave up halfway but pushed myself to reach the top. Now my fingers are aching and I'm aching all over. Cheh... so lau ya.

In conclusion, I'm not sure if I'm hot into it although the rest of the people who went with me are keen to go again. Of course, one of them does push ups on 3 fingers and is always looking for ways to strenghten his upper torso. Sheesh. I'm going to collapse to sleep soon.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Surprising Wedding Guests

Yesterday night, KS and I were in Melaka for his classmate's wedding dinner. I have never met this friend although KS has mentioned his name several times as being a really intelligent guy who was studying in Singapore and then working as a doctor there.

Hardly expecting to know any of his guests, I was first introduced to those who sat at the same table, all classmates of KS and some of their partners. One of them looked vaguely familiar but when he introduced himself, the name didn't ring a bell. Shortly after, I discovered he was my ex-colleague at the bank! He left one month after I joined, which means I did see him on ocassion since he was just one floor above me. We exchanged news on those who were still there, gossips about the mass exodus of staff from my department.

Then suddenly, this girl was walking past my table when she stopped and gave me a queer look as though she'd seen me before. I recognised her at once and rose to greet her. Quickly making introductions to KS, she still looked bewildered that I know her full name and asked me honestly where have we met. I told her she was my classmate since Form 1 until Form 5 back in Alor Star but it's been a while since we last saw each other. She had gone to Singapore right after Form 5 for ASEAN scholarship and also studied at the same uni as the groom and she's also a doctor there. Ree Nee. Blast from the past. Again, I exchanged news on those whom I still keep in touch but am not sure if the names registered. But jo-bloggs, she remembered you, though. Come to think of it, I didn't tell her my name so she probably doesn't remember me today either.

Then, throughout the dinner, this guy kept walking up to the stage to take photos and he looked familiar. He was sitting at the main dinner table so it wasn't until much later when he walked past my table when I flagged him down. Hock, the ex-auditor from my old company, is actually the groom's brother-in-law. KS and I actually bumped into him and his wife some years back in Bidor but KS didn't know his friend's sister well enough to recognise her.

Malaysia is pretty small, I guess.

2 Intense Days

After much longing, I finally got myself a copy of The Da Vinci Code on Friday evening. Said I wanted to read it before Astro shows the discussion about it this Monday evening. KS didn't believe that I would be able to finish it by then.

Dang, I should have made a bet.

I enjoyed it and think I will enjoy Angels & Demons since it is recommended over the Da Vinci Code.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


We've been having roach problems again. It's twice now in a week that we've had major mama's in the kitchen right after we get back from work.

I know of two instant ways to kill a cockroach without using insecticide spray:
1. Pour boiling water - tip from Ron
2. Pour dishwashing liquid (even if it's diluted, it works) - tip from Jan

If you have the time, Tip #1 works fine and water is easy to clean up. But most of the time, we don't want the vermin running away before we want it dead. So Tip #2 works just as well for us. And since the last two pests were in the kitchen, reaching for the dishwashing liquid was the easiest and most instant.

I also got rid of a colony of red ants at my front lawn using this method.

It's really amazing to see how quick they die. Makes me think of how many more I'm killing every time I wash my dishes. And what other things am I killing along the way.

Monday, May 01, 2006


A couple of months back I went to a warehouse book sale. As I was making my way out, they were throwing away some books at a total bargain, just RM1 for this book which had a nice cover. Yeah, judge a book by it's price, not cover. The Dive from Clausen's Pier by Ann Packer.

I have conflicted feelings about this book. On one hand, I feel horrified of the main character for leaving her fiance even after he broke his neck and is left paralysed and runs to New York. But on the other hand, I symphatise for her. The starting of the book made me feel a little depressed but things are looking up a bit now. Hope to finish it by today.

The other book I'm reading is The Brethren, John Grisham. Yet another John Grisham.

There's a Place I Go...

Spring cleaning my photos again. There's this place I go during lunch when I want the solace or just to sit and read while I have my meal.

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It's an old pre-war shop that is beautifully maintained by the owners. Introduced by Monster as the lawyer's hang-out place after court, the place is always full but somehow I always manage to find a seat.

It's funny that I NEVER used to eat alone and would resort to eating biscuits (lest I starve) but now I find that being on my own for lunch once a month is good for the soul.

Kiss Me

To my ex-colleagues who didn't believe there was such a brand of a sweet, NAH!

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Believe me now? What a weird name for a sweet though...

Officially Adopted

Folks, we've been officially adopted again.

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She is the weirdest cat we've had so far. Doesn't like attention much, only comes a-calling when she's hungry. Our other cats loved attention and would always look for us to manja them but not this one. She looks like Jay, doesn't she? We haven't named her yet, and we believe it's a she coz we also suspect she may be pregnant. Great.