Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Pangkor - Day one

It was torturous returning to KL. In the moments before leaving the island, K remarked that I looked like a person on death row.

Honestly, why would anyone willingly leave the clean air, the bright sun and the even brighter surf, and when the biggest decision of the day would be whether to go snorkelling today or tomorrow.

One kilo heavier and two shades darker, trust me to have had a fabulous holiday.

We took a bus from KL Pudu bus station to the port town of Lumut, a 4-hour journey up north. We took the Konsortium Bus which was punctual and comfortable. Definitely recommended. It cost about RM20 one way with a stop in Teluk Intan town. I snored throughout the journey so I can’t tell you much about the highway landscape.

The Lumut bus stop is only a stone’s throw from the jetty. We were accosted by hotel touts but upon hearing that we have booked our place to stay, they quickly lost interest in us. To be honest, I had no clue if my booking was made as the lady who took my reservation, didn’t even ask for my name!

At the jetty we found 3 ferry operators, represented by booths occupied by ticketing ladies with booming voices. Like land octopi, clusters of arms reached out from the dark recesses of the booths, waving through the iron grills calling us hither to award the chosen one with our RM5 patronage.

Seeing we knew nothing about ferries, we opted for one with the loudest voice. Terribly scientific I know. Anyway the ferries leave at half hour intervals.

As we travelled during a Saturday, there was a crowd. The ferry made two stops. The first was at a Chinese fishing village (you can see the red tokongs peeking from between the wooden buildings). But this was not our stop. Only locals who have business here disembarked at this stop.

All other passengers, holidaymakers included, alighted at the second stop, which is the Pulau Pangkor jetty proper. It appears that transport around the island is mainly by taxi-vans or motorcycle.

As none of us can’t manoeuvre a motorised bicycle to save our lives, we took a cab. Taxis here are these bright pink vans and cost the same regardless if you travelled alone or if you brought your entire football club with you.

We stayed at the Hornbill, a hotel located at Teluk Nipah (Nipah Bay). A budget hotel at RM85 per night for a standard room, we did not manage to secure a room with a sea view but seeing that we were practically across the road from the beach, it was just fine.

We had air conditioning, TV with only 2 channels (TV1 and HBO) and hot water. Pretty basic. Breakfast not included. I am sure there were other cheaper places to stay but as this was so close to the beach, we didn’t bother, although the bathroom smelt funny with a staleness I found disturbing. We attributed it to the water. Perhaps it was poor circulation. But then, how much can you ask for, for RM85. Would definitely check the bathrooms again before booking next time.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Today's invoice

20 cents per floppy.
Oh did the girls at the office have a fine hoot!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The Alobar syndrome

What a surprising discovery!
Following my morning attempt of taming my mop of hair, I found nestled among the briars, two shimmering threads.

Plucking the silvery serpents from their dark thicket, I wondered why I never observed them before. My auburn highlights have blinded me or at least spared me the anguish of realising that my body is turning older by the day.

Like the aching joints and a sudden interest in stretchy pants aren’t clues enough.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Gourmet pistachios

Said the crocodile to the alligator,
Cass will soon be a litigator.
So let us leave this river nile
Nodded the alligator to the crocodile
‘Tis good to have fresh meat to savour.

The carnivores of the legal world are out to get me, I swear.
Yet I have conjured up enough will power to banish this evil Procrastination and take the deep deep plunge into the river of fate.

I enjoy writing very much which surpasses my study of law, that much is evident.
As all members of the proletariat, I harboured hope that I may be able to earn a decent living doing what I love. But writers are paupers in this country and my writings are so dark that if they ever get published, they would come with a health warning or at least a cut out coupon for discounted Prozac.

Hence I ended up at the Communication Department of a major retailer. My job was to write for the company about the company. Then I got involved in advertising, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Then it began to include PR for which am as talented as a rhino is a china shop is.
Soon the madcap juggling shall stop.

As I flip through the papers, drinking in the stories of the people I know and will get to know in the course of my future career, I feel a freezing of the heart sometimes. Excited that I will be on my way of joining their lofty lofts yet fearful that I will not meet my own expectation of greatness and fall down flat on my face, a muttering heap of mediocrity.

So I lay the papers aside to go back to work, writing about imported pistachios.

Thursday, September 15, 2005


My friend has just got a new job and I am so so so happy for her.
This place that she works underpays and worse, unappreciates her talents and dedication.

This vicarious joy I am feeling is fantastic. I know her employers well. And I would LOVE to be there when she drops in her letter! The look on her boss's face, Ooo it would be priceless!

Of course then will come the counter offer and she would find out what she is worth but have been prevented from getting. Of course it will be packaged in such a way that it would appear that the boss had to fight tooth and nail to get the increase - tis all a ploy to win gratitude. I wonder if she knows that she is as transparent as water and nobody trusts her.

But joy oh joy!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

All hands on deck

The ugliest problems are the ones that you don't see coming until it slams into you at 60 knots. Between falling sick and falling apart, it is always with hindsight that we just realise a little too late how good we had it all along.

I am not ready to tackle what life is churning to throw at me. I am not grown up enough. I hate turning from sheltered child to the one expected to brave the bloody storms to tie the sails down.

My parents are hopefully looking at me now to care for them and I am terrified that I don't know how. Is this how new parents feel? But while parents have the advantage of sending junior to his room, do I box their ears when my parents fight? I actually prefer it when I DIDN'T understand what they were talking about.

I am not yet a responsible adult with a stable job, a comfortable future, lots of money and purchase plans for a mid-range apartment. I know so little, I fear so much.
I can't handle problems that are not my own.

I can't captain my own ship.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Swan song

Falling in love with a song literally involves falling deeply for a moment in time that becomes so glazed with each recollection that it takes on a surreal air which in turn makes it as fantastic as the song itself.

I was convinced that I have gotten over Maroon 5's signature tune after like about a billion replays but I was wrong. I had not counted upon the memories that were silently etched within the words and the curious emotions that have woven themselves between the notes.

Of course the music video still disturbs me, yet nothing beats snuggling in bed, in the dark, with a beautiful song and quietly sharing it.

I still have not gotten over it, even after a billion replays.


For the past year or so I have been afflicted with a hip problem. No, I am not talking of its obvious size although the term fertility goddess does invoke similarities.

Anyway, I have suffered from a nagging discomfort which has now fully graduated to pain on my right hip and despite x-rays and 3 different specialists, I was told that it's not spinal nor anything to do with the nerve, thank goodness, but muscular. Yup, only in one hip. Haven’t been cradling any babies/earthen pots around I can assure you, so I banish all domestic origins.

Well this last doctor wants to inject a muscle relaxant containing steroid, anaesthetic and something else into the muscle using a very long needle and all under x ray, followed by 5 treatments of ultra sound. And even after that still no guarantee that I will be well again to frolic like the lamb I once was.
Concerned friends want me to give it a shot, Mom is worried about the steroid and I am concerned that it will cost me 2 grand.

Tis a scary turn of events indeed when patients question the doctors as to whether they are actually out to get your money. Exorbitant charges, unnecessary tests, wanton hospitalisation - the list goes on. Government hospitals on the other hand means rude service, long queues and the refusal of hospitalisation.

The Aluminati

After being bitterly chastised for not keeping my blog up to date, I have obstinately left it exactly as it was for weeks on end. And not by choice mind you. Pity i know, but since I have taken on that mid year resolution of not complaining (much) I am pretty dry on things to say.

What can I say that will be of any significance to you besides reaffirming your belief that yes indeed, there is no other sorrier guppy that I.

In anycase, I have been a busy little trooper. The scholarship Alumni I have sworn my allegiance to is trying to organise a fundraising dinner. Problem is that the committee is split into factions and I got roped in to be in the committee running it.

Lets just say that there are members with outstanding personalities who are passionate about their causes. When titans clash, the wee people get trampled on.
In any case the funds will go towards buying uniforms for poor kids at the Kuala Selangor area. That is about the only thing we all have in common.

As my alumni, or at least its members are quite high profiled, we are hosting some big shot lawyers, hot shots from Government Linked Companies, university professors, art luminaries and members of the British High Commission. No social butterflies here, thank you. Models not invited. Its brains dripping from the ears type of crowd. (I got the award by fluke, I assure you. I feel as comfortable as an ant in an aardvark farm i tell you.)

I have been co-ordinating the guests lists and now guess who got volunteered to hold the mike for the evening? I suspect I got anointed emcee from birth. It never ends. And I thot I only people at work were conspiring against me. Its the three hags of Fate I tell you. I shake my fist at them and boldly cry "where's my script?"

Well it is going to be next week so stay tuned.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Picture perfect

Photographs consist of frozen pantomimes. The silent smiles, the toothy grins, of imaginary kisses in the air and sticky chocolate fingers in the hair, salient moments caught forever within a tight bright window.

Let human memory be ravaged by necessary forgetfulness, my pretty pictures will stand against the onslaught of time, recklessly defiant to the very end. For better or worse. Going on auto play each time the yellowed pages turn, what is to stop a fool from reminiscing?

I recall a picture taken when I was 3 years old, clueless in a blue frock standing unsurely in the middle of the floor, with my mother at the corner of the frame, persuading me to smile. Oh she looked lovely with her pale skin and long straight hair. My dad was always the one carrying the camera, so antiquated that we needed to but new flash bulbs every time we had to take a picture. It was expensive.

The earliest family portrait was taken when I was about one. Classic 70s picture set against a forested landscape bursting in bright autumn. The roman columns added the sensual mystique that was the Chinese photo studio. Paired with beige bellbottoms, Father had on this patterned shirt that was as art nouveau as the next flower pot. Mother looked beautiful with her long hair and flowing gown, the vintage Galadriel. I was that staring toddler, slumped on her lap, looking so sexless if not for the frilly dress. For the longest time my brother entertained a belief that it was him in that picture.

And now after 30 years of marriage my parents are one the verge of separating. One is out of the country, one is constantly in tears. The family is broken and all that I have is a cardboard box of happy photographs. How I stop going on auto-play?

Serves me right!

I sent a green towel to Captain Kleen, the laundry people at bangsar. It came back brown. I was about to throw up a fuss. Then I realised that in the effort of saving a few cents - its more expensive washing bed linen and towels then normal clothes, i knowingly chucked all my laundry in one bag with my towels underneath.
So how can I claim for the ruined towel when I myself was trying to "outsmart" them.

Well, now I got a brown towel.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

It’s a hoot

Hooters is advertising for girls! But guys, don’t get your hopes up ( or anything else for that matter). The closest one is in Singapore. According to the newspaper ad a Hooters girl will earn S$1600 (that’s RM3500) and “other benefits”
All she needs to be is pleasant looking and be service oriented. And no experience needed.
Oddly it did not specify cup size.

Boo Hoo Hoo

No matter what people say about the BBC radio, I think it is absolutely fab.
Last night I tuned in to a lovely story entitled Theo.

It tells the absolutely riveting tale of a 20th century bear Cinnamon bear. Harrods bought by a very insistent 7-year-old, the b ear reminisces of its many masters’ and mistresses’ trials and tribulations, as well as its’ own joys and heartbreak.

You will never forget your first love and that includes bears.
Oh woe, how I have abandoned my Boo bear. You can see his ears from my profile picture. On the left. He is my first real bear, gifted to me my brother who bought it with his saved up school pocket money. It was a lot of money for that kid.

Time to get Boo washed and returned to my bedside.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Bangers and Mash

‘Tis was a working weekend for me. The company had a fashion show/product launch/cocktail party.

Adamant that I am not going to waste more money by buying another frivolous frock, I wore my dress from my uni prom.

Felt like a blinking pork sausage the whole night.
Good thing it was an evening event and God bless scarves.

I had to PR the media and got to know a very pleasant Japanese editor. Okay, so he’s very cute. Very charming. Sweetheart material. He even taught Japanese in India before coming here to write. Of course I learnt all this in casual conversation. It was all work, you must understand.

Then I got high on three glasses of wine, and 2 gin cocktails before the fashion show started. Things started getting so much better after that.

Heck the products but I remember two male models on the catwalk. One looking like Brad Pitt and the other with a face like that squeaky clean mounty from the Canadian TV series Due South. Did I swoon? Yes. Did I grovel and beg to follow them home? No.
There was already a queue for that.

Not as disagreeable as I thought it would be. I was expecting to greet Kee Hua Chee. I think in my stupor, I may have found him interesting. Of course when sober, he scares the heck out of me.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Bane of the Creatives

Here is an example of my typical day, which is also shared by my corporate graphics team. We all service internal clients, but my wrath is mostly directed to the promo manager.

1. Promo Manager has hare-brained idea.
2. Conveys strict instructions, in cold-no negotiations-bullet points, on how to deliver message.
3. I am given 8 hours to come up with titillating copy that would shame Neil French
4. I email copy to my boss who tunes it down to fit corporate identity
5. Promo Manager stomps to my table and tell me how my copy needs a rewrite
6. I beg another advance from the Devil to whom I sold my soul to when I joined the company.
7. Rewritten copy is delivered to Promo manager
8. Promo manager forwards copy to Big Honcho Creative Director for vetting
9. Big Honcho Creative Director rewrites the copy completely as original brief completely missed the point.
10. Promo Manager ecstatic, Creative Director thinks I am an imbecile and I lost more years of my life than I care count.