Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Book 'em, Officer

Having so much time on my hands, I have not once felt bored. To say that I have been catching up on my reading is an understatement.

Let's see, I have devoured books on dragons, time travel, space travel, death, new life and new civilizations, women in the pursuit of happiness, men in the pursuit of happiness, magic and sweet sour pork. And I still have 4 more books on dragons, death and more men in pursuit of happiness (gay adventures in other words). It is a blessing indeed to have the loves of your live with you and the time to savour each delectable morsel. Time that is running short nevertheless.

I have made MPH and Kinokuniya my publishing holy land and I raided the Pay Less Books and Reader's Corner like a Saracen possessed. I also snap at the boyfriend whenever he raises frivilous suggestions like leaving the flat for food and fresh air.

I am such a nerd. But you know, that is ok. Speaking of which there was this teenager who angrily wrote to The Star newspapers 2 weeks ago to vent about being called a nerd. According to her letter, she studies hard and as a result the kid gets labelled as a nerd in school. She wrote with such fury that you wound think that the name would get her stoned to death.
Me, I embrace my kind. Geeks turn me on. 'Nuff said.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Scissors in the City

Today I lopped off 3 inches of my tresses.

I have sworn off those posh hair salons after Kool Kuts in Bangsar Village actually charged me RM70 for a wash which totally drenched my collar and a trim that nobody noticed.
I felt so ripped off.

Then I had the misfortune of going to La Bell on Jalan Telawi where the shampoo girl almost ripped by scalp off and the stylists ganged up on me to tell me how I was starting to bald.. and oh what luck, she had just the solution. For just under RM400 I could delay my moulting and save my crowning glory. Of course when I sought a second opinion from the Loreal Paris concept store the stylist rolled his eyes when I asked if I had a bald spot.

So today I got my haircut at QQ CUT at Mid Valley for RM12 for 12 minutes. So I don't look like Jennifer Aniston but I see nothing wrong in looking like a handsome sheepdog with my shag.

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Complete Blackadder

I got myself a Blackadder DVD boxset and I am such a happy camper. Sarcasm and insults take on a whole new level when one is dealing with Edmund Blackadder. I have been coveting this for as long as I can remember. The collection traces the exploits of Blackadder in 5 generations. It is basically the same cast featured in different periods settings.

I think that English comedy with the likes of Blackadder is so successful because the writers were given the task of entertaining their audience who do not take too kindly to having their intelligence insulted with excessive slapstick and rude humour.

Hence I was surprised to find it in Low Yat.

Of course Rowan Atkinson is brilliant as Edmund. There is something terminally sexy about a scowling man in a full court dress. And then there's Tony Robinson who played Baldrick, Edmund's whipping boy. He managed to look like a peasant in all the 4 series. I don't think I could recognise him clean. It was mostly to Baldrick that most of Edmund's venomous insults were spewed at. The series comes highly recomended and once K gets his DVD burner, I am backing up this baby for posterity!

I sign off with this snippet. Its much funnier on screen sadly.

Melchett : Unhappily Blackadder, the Lord High Executioner is dead.
Blackadder : Oh woe! Murdered of course.
Melchett : No, oddly enough no. They usually are but this one just got careless one night and signed his name on the wrong dotted line. They came for him while he slept.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Why do you want to work here?

Today I went for an interview for a PR position in a big college.
Upon my post-interview dissection I cringed a million cringes thinking over some of the answers I had to make up on the spot.

I was asked about my flaws. You mean besides the fact that I am as blunt as a rock and as confident as a sloth? I feel like such a floozy overcompensating for my lack of experience, lack of panache and lack of control over my mouth. I was experiencing verbal diarrhoea in hyberdrive. Yeah, reeeeall smooth.

If my ancestors were looking over my shoulders, they would have hid their faces in brown paper bags.

You live and learn, they say. From this experience I have learn that I need to down a couple of shots of vodka before I attend any interviews.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Sorry state of updating

I have been horrible at updating this blog but I am working on another project right now that is taking a bit of time to finish. Will let you know more once I deem it presentable.

So tell me about yourself

I am one of those people who suffer an addiction to procrastination. I will postpone everything until it cannot be postponed anymore, then spurred by guilt or a nagging boyfriend/mother/Citibank customer service, I set off on a excruciating quest to complete EVERYTHING in one day.

I am one of those people who procrastinate doing the big things that need to be done by busying myself with all the small things that get in the way. This time my procrastination is a little more dire. I have so far been postponing my life and getting a move on my career simply because I am obsessed with doing everything else.

How can I possibly choose what I want to do with the rest of my life when nothing has fallen into place, my life does not makes sense, my hobbies not pursued, my kitchen not scrubbed and my laundry is not done? Oh the pressure.

And oh I have had a million things to do. My parents were around, my legal papers are still in disarray, my home looks like a barn and I need to lose weight.
How can I possibly be ready for the job market? The time is not ripe, my mind is not prepared, people still have not mistaken my silhouette for Heidi Klum’s, the stars are not aligned and I have nothing to wear.

See my problem?

Perhaps that is why I slightly resent the job interview I have tomorrow. I am not ready for the big bad world yet.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Crash Boom Bang

I finally had a go at Daytona for the first time in my life. The bf and I went to the Subang Parade entertainment outlet in the morning. It was deserted naturally. Which was the only reason I agreed to play. It is so much fun! And I soooo suck at it. I think I crashed into everything at least once.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Sweet dreams are made of these

I had an amazing dream last night.

I dreamt of a wedding. MY wedding.
And the groom was Richard Dean Anderson.
I was mildly suprised but hey, I am marrying Colonel Jack O'Niell aka MacGyver (post mullet), so I am not complaining.

In my dream he was Scandanavian. And my in-laws happened to be Allan and Inge, the Danish couple from K's office.

It was a simple ceremony that was over in 3 minutes. It was held in a large conservatory glowing with lamplight. It may have been snowing outside. There was a queue of couples lining up to be married by the official.

We were the third couple to get married. I wore an cream coloured empire styled wedding dress and I had great looking hair too, if I may say so myself. The groom cut a dashing figure in a sombre black suit. In my dream I remember thinking, "Ooo, he is so handsome." I could swear he kissed the bride.

I woke up from sleep giggling like an idiot. I wonder if I can dream about Hugh Jackman next.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Evolution of dance

You are old enough to know these moves, admit it!

Complaint letter to Astro

To: Astro

Since my Astro statement for October hadn't arrive, I called your Customer Support last week to enquire about it as well as to seek clarification on whether I could pay the sum due together with the coming month's bill. I was assured that this was possible.

I also asked whether my Astro service will be cut to which your customer support assured me that it would not. I was told that another statement would be issued to me.

However today I was shocked that my Astro service was indeed cut regardless of what your customer support told me.

And when I called your customer support again, I was told that this was due to the said non-payment and that I would necessarily be further charged for reconnection.

I am very dissappointed with the turn of events as my purpose of contacting your customer service was to avoid this problem in the first place.

I hope to settle this matter amicably and I am seeking Astro's goodwill in waiving the reconnection fee that I have been asked to incur through no fault of mine.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

A fluffy baby emperor penguin

I watched Happy Feet today. It is so sweet. Watch it if you like music and dance and watching a penguin do both. It is essentially a musical so it might drive some people bonkers (Sean, I am refering to YOU).

The animation is flawless and it if wasn't for the voices, you would think it was national geographic. Yet while it has some great laugh out loud moments, it is no SHREK. So it is not fair to compare. But it still a movie with lots of heart. W was bored with it. Well, it is not really a movie made for the average male seeing that there are no explosions, car chases, military, mutants or murder. Plus the only nudity involved artic creatures.

Nevertheless I am so blown away by the animation. Not in a jaw dropping oh-my-God-it's-a-Balrog kinda awesome but the magic lies in the tiny nuances, gestures and downright spot-on kinks and quirks of human character made to look so natural that you'd swear all penguins do it.

Nevertheless it does leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling and happy tapping feet. I am going to look for the soundtrack now.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Happy Feet

I am really anticipating this movie. It looks so cool. (pun intended)

W remarked that the characters don't seem to have cartoonish voices. Defending the movie, I said that the mature voices were necessary to make the characters become real.

Sure, like a tap dancing penguin with the voice of a ex-hobbit is going to make it all the more believable. Hah!
(In case you are wondering, the lead character Mumbles is voiced by Elijah Wood of the Frodo Baggins fame.)

Enjoy the trailers!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Cultural identity

BBC 7 is currently running its Indian Summer series, showcasing myths and legends, historical dramas, tales of identity, documentaries and award-winning comedy, heavily infused with fiery Indian flavour.

I relate to the stories just as I suppose a Briton does, which is to say, with a little culture shock and sometimes even despair.

Despair not because the programmes are bad - they are in fact written and performed exceedingly well, but rather because they tell tales of humanity set against a landscape of inequality and inequity, corruption and caste, narrated without the slightest pretence and apology.

Like most literary gems that come from India. All tragedies exquisitely told.

Although I lay claim to one of the oldest names in Hindu history, I have never truly embraced this sultry culture.

I don’t speak the language, I don’t visit the temples, I don’t know which caste I belong to and neither do I know the where in India my bloodline originates from. Not that anyone has asked. It would seem that if one is the result of a mixed marriage, cultural ignorance is expected. I am the proverbial break in the link.

In a country where one is defined by race first before anything else, growing up without cultural identity forces one to develop an independent mind and liberal attitudes because there are no other alternatives.

I doubt anyone else during their childhood would be asked,
“When you grow up, would you like to marry a Chinese or an Indian?”
And after I randomly pick one over the other,
“Why, ah?”
How does a 7-year old to respond to that? I had not come into sarcasm then.

Generally my parents did not try to assimilate us into one culture or another, perhaps knowing how people can be cruel.

I never really cared about creed and race until I found myself a victim of the country’s infamous university quotas. I lost all faith in the ruling party right then and until there is an able and credible alternative government, I will continue to refuse to vote, as I have done for the past 9 years. But I digress.

Then the race issue came up again when I was dating. One guy I dated was given some ‘friendly advice’ by his friend for dating a non-Chinese girl. The nerve! I can understand how old folks are prejudiced but I did not expect it from my generation. I am glad that there are more young couples now whose relationship transcends race and colour.

So you can understand my horror on the current wave of xenophobia, for the lack of a better word. I am the very result of the melting pot that is this country hence I belong to nowhere else but here and the only race I can actually claim to is this bangsa Malaysia. So I get extremely upset when people shoot it down.

The benefits coming from a mixed marriage is of course manifold. I get exposed to not one culture but two! Topping the list are celebrations and food. Speaking of celebrations, the national oil company, Petronas, came up with this brilliant Deepavali TV ad. Made in TYPICAL tamil movie fashion, it is soooo funny. Watch it here.

My Call to the Bar (the non-alcoholic one)

The blog has been a little quiet of late owing to my mom and dad coming over for my call to the bar. Now that they are safely back home, I can actually begin narrating the whirlwind that was last week.

Essentially a call to the Bar in Malaysia entails the High Court giving an order granting the petitioner (the pupil) admission as an advocate and solicitor of the High Courts of Malaya, hence qualifying her to practice as a barrister and as a solicitor.

Digressing a little, in England - the heartland of our common law inheritance, only barristers are licensed to appear before the courts while solicitors concern themselves with out-of-court legal practice. And only barristers are called to the bar. A solicitor is "admitted and enrolled as a solicitor". So there you go, I have equip you with a morsel of utterly useless information.

Anyway, my call ceremony went quite smoothly, despite both my master and my mover arriving at the court house on the dot, hence rendering me close to a cardiac arrest during the final minutes before Dato' Wan Afrah, High Court Judge, entered the courtroom. My mover is a highly respected litigator and a partner of one of KL's more outstanding legal firms and so I am very glad he took the time to move my call.

After the bloke before me was called, the court interpreter hollered my name and petition number. My mover stood up with me and he narrated my personal history to the court beginning from when I was born (I am not kidding. This is standard procedure!).

Then my mover deviated from the script I sent him earlier by mentioning how I failed the darn CLP exams so many times only to rise again from the ashes to finally become a lawyer. He was of course making the point of reaping the rewards of hardwork and dedication but that didn't stop me from cringing when he mentioned how many times I had to retake the exams. While his delivery was flawless and inspiring, for which I am forever grateful, I wished he had warned me first so that I didn’t look so shocked.

And after the representatives from the Bar Council, Attorney General’s Chambers and the KL Bar disclosed their non-objection, Dato’ Wan Afrah granted the said order. My master then helped me put on the heavy black robes. And that was it. I felt like walking on air.

There were 8 other pupils after me and it was a long wait before court was dismissed. Besides my mover and master, KC, Sean and SSL came to my call too and I was so glad they stayed for the tea reception afterwards.

While it felt fantastic, I did feel a deep pang of embarrassment as I had made an enormous faus pax. I had not personally invited a senior partner to attend my call. Apparently he was quite taken aback as not to have received an invitation.

It all boiled down to how differently we each perceived the significance of the long call. I for one did not invite that many people to attend the ceremony as I viewed it as a vulgar display of vanity. Getting people to take time out from their busy schedules to come hear my virtues is altogether a bit embarrassing for me. However as I discovered to my dismay on that day, to most lawyers, the senior ones especially, such invitation is an honour. And oh, how I insulted him by not inviting him for the occasion. I doubt that the hastily misspelled sms I sent him in the morning was enough to sooth him.

It was a wonderful day.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Long Call

My Long Call will be held on the 9th of November, this coming Thursday.

I have filed all my papers, called the relevant bodies, contacted my mover, called the firm, wrote my speech, attended briefings etc.

My parents are attending the ceremony. So will the family and friends of the 9 other petitioners who will be called on the same session.

But, I don't feel the buzz. There is no excitement for me.
Sure it is a big thing, but I fail to see it as an achievement. I guess I expect too much of myself.

Thing is, I don't feel that I am a better person now from when I started. I sure regret that I don't have a passion for legal practice. It would have been so much easier if I did. Sacrifices would not be so hard to make.

I am still frustrated that I have yet to find my calling.

Yeats at midnight

The wires are smoking with news of Saddam's death sentence for his crimes against humanity. So the world will be rid of a tyranical despot.

What separates a war criminal and a war president is the ability of his spin doctors.

I would like to see George W. Bush or Tony Blair brought to court for their crimes against the people of Iraq. When genocide in Rwanda and Darfur was received little more than political verbiage. And what of Ehud Olmert?

And in a time when unity is most needed, we have insecure politicians saying things like this:

Taken from The Star,
Monday November 6, 2006

Bangsa Malaysia wrongly interpreted

JOHOR BARU: The implementation of a wrongly interpreted concept of Bangsa Malaysia (Malaysian Nation) will jeopardise the stability and Constitution of the country, Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman said.

In his policy speech at the Johor Umno convention, Abdul Ghani questioned the need for the different races in the country to be ethnically diluted or mixed up (dileburkan untuk menjadi rojak) merely for a concept that was still hazy in its meaning.

“After 49 years of Independence, we should be mature enough not to try and introduce vague and unclear concepts.

“The term Bangsa Malaysia continues to be lauded by our friends under the name of unity and understanding without proper thought for its definition,” he said.

He reiterated that even if the term Bangsa Malaysia had to be used, it should be limited to the definition of the people of Malaysia with the Malays as the main race.

Abdul Ghani said that the Constitution did not encompass the concept of Bangsa Malaysia with the only definition of the different races being “Malays, Sarawak and Sabah bumiputeras as well as other races”.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Carbs, wonderful carbs!

The nation conspires against me.

I just discovered that McDonald's delivers to my neighbourhood.
I wonder if they deliver breakfast.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Back to Civilization

I would so love to afford to be a housewife or the single equivalent.
Forget all my preaching about how a woman needs a career for the mental stimulation, a sense of purpose and worth.

And watching day time soaps not make me shallow. That I swapped my BBC’s Hardtalk for Spongebob Squarepants is not indicative of anything, OK?

On to advance geekdom.
My graphic card can no longer support the latest PC games in the market. I was quite upset when I was not able to run Scrolls of the Elder IV: Oblivion that everyone is raving about.

Nevertheless there is Civilizations IV!

Don’t know why I have not discovered it before. This game is MASSIVE.

It is a turn based strategy game where, you guessed it, you create a civilization. You start with a settler in 4000 BC and you build your empire up to the space age, if you can survive that long. You have to figure out trade, religion, technology, war and all such wholesome things. You can trade stuff with your neighbours or declare war and have his head on a pole.

Plus you still have to keep those little ingrates (also called – citizens) happy by ensuring that they get enough religion, clean air and food.

It is quite overwhelming for a beginner. For my first go, my leadership ability was judged to be akin to Dan Quayle’s. Yeah, rock bottom.

But I am getting good.
For my last round I was crowned Julius Caesar after my aggressive expansionism.

There is an amazing sense of well being that comes from annihilating the opponent.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!


My Korean tenant has left our apartment after just 5 months. Of course we wondered whether it was due to our combined explosive personalities (or rather our lack of one) that drove him away. Well, I suppose we will never know. At least now my fridge looks spacious again.

Anyway we have another tenant coming in who is a single Chinese female who will be staying with us for 6 months. The reason I mentioned that she is a single Chinese female is that I was quite suprised that we got someone like her.

While we are charging a fair rent for an apartment like ours, it is still a bit more expensive than what else is available considering that there are rooms here for as little as RM350 with furnishing and air conditioning. The catch is that such offers are only available to single Chinese females.

Hence I was expecting a dude of non-chinese decent to take up our extra room. Well, as long as she can help us cover our monthly rental, we are fine. And she is cool too.

Speaking of rentals, I saw an ad the other day offering a shared room for only Rm180 a month, proudly proclaming their 'selling point': Apartment shared by ONLY 10 people.
Cosy if you like sardine living. I really kesian people who have to live like that.

Saturday, October 28, 2006


From Yahoo news:
ITN Saturday October 28, 10:26 AM

Cruise set for Star Trek?
Tom Cruise is rumoured to be starring in the latest Star Trek movie - as Mr Spock.

The 11th film in the Star Trek series is set to be a prequel to the original 60s television series and will feature Captain Kirk and Mr Spock in their early years.

Film-maker JJ Abrams, the brains behind hit TV series, Lost, will produce and direct the movie which is set for a release date of 2008.

Cruise's involvement in the project has not been confirmed and the fact that he recently parted ways with the film's backers, Paramount adds further uncertainty.

However, there is little doubt of Cruise's pulling power and Paramount bosses are keen to revive the flagging franchise.

Monday, October 23, 2006


The blog has been very quiet these past few days because I am back at my hometown. Traffic was not bad when we drove down here from KL on Friday. Deepavali was a quiet affair. My family is still in mourning. We have yet to reached three years of my grandfather's passing.

Anyhow, I am spending a week here. My daily routine involves, sleeping, eating and fighting with different members of the family(for variety). My whole family have opposing horoscopes, which probably explains why currently every one of us is living miles away from each other. The long holidays are occasions when the entire family gathers together to remind ourselves why we live this way.

My dad will be back from the middle east in a few days so that is exciting news. When he gets back, it will take a few days for him to get into his stride and drive everyone nuts as usual. Endearing, isn't it? And oh, we are moving house. Yup, it is world war three just waiting to happen!

I don't recall my childhood with any particular fondness so I won't pretend to have any heart wrenching nostalgia about home. Actually it was a painful time. So when I was 17, I left. Things have changed so much here that somewhere along the way I lost that feeling of belonging.
All my friends have left for greener pastrures and what remains are familiar faces and fading places. I still do have my folks here. Yet I cannot shake the feeling like I am still a stranger on the outside looking in.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Wrath of this bookworm

Published in The Star newspaper today, this is the daily highlighted opinion submitted by someone who I personally think is a little more than a moron.
I wonder what exactly IS she looking for.
Read it and weep.

Why Malaysians seldom read
Posted by: Gnisy

I skimmed a bookstore last week, looking for something to read. It's been a while since my last book which was... a title I can't even remember now, so I was quite adamant about spending some money on 'a bestseller' just to overturn the reading statistics a little. Since I live in Malaysia, that is not as easy as it sounds.

After being let down by the mystery/detective story section, I had a -very- quick run through romance, literature and self-help books. No luck there.

Then, I stepped into the business, management and computer section... to check out a tall, cute guy only to get cut off by his red-haired, possibly overprotective mother. I scoot over to the language section and spent a whole two minutes there, checking out a joke book. They had better jokes back then when I was growing up. At least, I laughed back then.
The politics section was more like a museum gallery of national leaders, each face bigger than the next on their respective book covers. History… erm, hey! the horror stories section.

Horror stories aren't my cup of tea though and I'd rather get a quick 2-hour scare at the cinemas than labour through Singaporean ghost stories. Same goes to "now a blockbuster movie" books; I still don't understand why anyone would spend more on a book rather than just enjoy the evidently cheaper and easier to go through movie itself.

Naturally, I avoided prize-winning books like the haze after I found out what curious thing happened to the dog in the night time.

Since I already have every book by Ms. Rowling and Mr. Brown, I thought perhaps there is hope in Narnia or Snickett but I turn-tailed once I scanned through the blurb and the price tag.

As I got desperate, I entered the Japanese manga section but was lured into the parenting books section by an adorable little princess held up by her again-expecting mother.

I was briefly occupied by the cooking section but judging from experience, these books will end up being dust-magnets in my bookshelf at home.

The magazine section had a little bit more variety in terms of genres: cars, women, sports, women, men, kids, women, women, brides, pregnancy, women. After that, I wasn’t too sure if the magazine publishing industry is not dominated by women. Which leaves me with *drum roll* the usual reference books and dictionaries. I took STPM once, nothing in the world will make me go through that again.

Evidently, I stepped out of the store, an hour later, with nothing in my hand but a nice bookmark and a daily newspaper, and RM34.95 richer.

You can’t say I didn’t try to get a book but now, I think we now know why Malaysians read only two books a year. There’s never anything good on the shelves!

The Circus is in Town

This is how it is when I try to suggest anything PC related to my programmer boyfriend.

( Sorry, can't figure out how to display the cartoon larger, so you would have to double click on the strip.)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Belly dancers

My dad asked my mom in confidence, “what the heck is our daughter going to do?”
My boyfriend’s mom has even recommended a job. I think people are worried.
Am I the only one who isn’t?
Now THAT worries me.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

On hindsight

So I am back to being unemployed.

Rereading my previous criticism of work, I do feel shame. Editing is a good job. And my editing job was not in the slightest demanding. It is just that I am, I guess. That and just a tad impatient on accellerating my career. I was bitter at being Bored and Ignored.

There were another factors which prompted my swift departure. I didn't mention earlier that there were discrepencies in the offer letter emailed to me when I joined the company and the letter handed to me for signing when I started work. Essentially some terms were changed and that brought to light several other clauses which I was in complete disagreement with.

For example, for the entire duration of my 6 month probation period I am not even entitled to medical or emergency leave. Hence, not only I don't get health care or insurance, if some misfortune befalls me and I don't turn up for work, my pay will still be docked.

Plus my notice period for termination was changed from 24 hours to 2 weeks. And I am not allowed to take a single day's leave until my probation is over. Most companies I know would pro-rate leave entitlements according to months of service. However at this outfit, anytime I need to take leave during this period, I go unpaid. I think this is too harsh.
Hence I had to quit my job as soon as I could because I had no intention of signing the employment contract.

Here is a bit of useful infomation for Malaysian workers.
For workers under a contract of service earning and below RM1500, their rights are protected by the Employment Act of 1955 which sets out the minimum provisions for wages, leave, days off, termination etc. However for those earning above RM1500, the employees' rights are derived primarily from the contract of employment and the safeguards of the Employment Act do not apply. There was an amendment to protect the category of workers earning between RM1,500 and RM5,000 per month but only in limited terms on wages, allowances or other cash benefits. Hence there is no going back after the siging of the contract.

I had an interesting last day at the office on Friday. Everyone was so nice to the girl who only lasted one week. I was hauled into the CEO's room to discuss my leaving. The company was understanding about my changing my mind about the job. While I didn't get to harp on the contractual terms, I did get to say my piece about feeling as welcomed as a UN weapons inspector in Iran. Naturally they were a bit defensive but I do hope I brought the matter to light for the benefit of the other new staff at the company who do not have the luxury of tending their resignations.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Ain't no lily livered wuss

For once I did something assertive for myself.
I threw caution to the wind.
And I quit my job.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Shhh... I am complaining about work

Ok, I have been moaning. Yes, it has been two days and I am in misery. With due respect to editors the world over, editors are like accountants. Instead of number crunching, they ( or rather, WE) word crunch.

As we chew on the ill-fated text, we delight in the snap and crackle of words breaking apart and coming together. And the result is a selection of letters altered beyond recognition yet Better, Finer and Digestable.
Think Chocolate Digestives.

Writing is a creative process. Editing is basically wringing it for bugs. Right now as I am under probation, so my boss edits my edits. Trained (or rather, bullied) by CYH2, a bloody blunt Creative Director and succinct wordsmith himself, I like nice words. Never mind that they are big. Yet at work my pieces are dumbed down because the boss prefers things that way. I understand that most of our literature needs to be simple seeing that the kids are our main target audience. Yet the thing is, it has become so predominant that even articles for adults get the same treatment.

Plus I am practically ignored at the office. It is so cold here and I am not talking about the air conditioning. And the HR exec would call her workmates "pigs" and "anjing" in front of everyone! And of course there is the Twisties incident. The environment is as encouraging as a piranah feeding frenzy.

Monday, October 02, 2006

First Day as an Editor

I edit English coursework for school kids and this is what I discovered:

1. I hate editing.
2. I suck at editing.
3. Grammar is the pits.
4. This job will only be a stepping stone and nothing more.

This is hard. Writing is easy but editing is so hard.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Talk to the Hen

I seem to be writing less on leave than when I was working. I am tired out from running around getting people to sign my papers for my call to the bar, typing affidavits, making eyes at the commissioner of oaths, filing the darn papers at the High Court, serving them on the different legal entities, then affirming my affidavits of service which I had to then file into court again.

So my two weeks of purported leisure just went swoosh!

I start work next Monday and I have not gotten over my relief at having completed my court marathon to begin worrying about my new job like e.g. “what if my new co-workers hate me” or ‘‘what if the company is actually a set up for a multi million dollar money laundering operation” or “what if I forget how to spell diarrhoea again”.

And yes, I have begun to miss the legal firm.
This is indeed chicken shit.
I can never be happy.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


I haven't been putting up photos lately as my Olympus battery charger has gone bust. Who would have figured. To replace the charger I would have to fork out RM230 bucks. Perhaps I should just get a new camera.

We had to let go of the Canon 350D SLR and the beloved lenses when we moved into our current apartment. It paid for our TV and the rest of the furniture. Plus with the arrival of the latest EOS 30D, the resale value of the 350D Digital Rebel was showing signs of a drastic drop, so we had to heave it quick.
So bye bye SLR.

No use denying it. The SLR is sorely missed.

I don't suppose I can put it on my wedding register when I get hitched.

London Bridge

With the radio stations playing it with religious fervour, I am sure that you would have at some point caught Fergie's London Bridge.

The beats are cool although the lyrics is just crap. It's easy to get addicted to it though. As one blogger puts it,"It's catchy, like Herpes."

The video sure pissed off the Brits. Not only does she don their flag on her butt but the footage also featured Tower Bridge instead of the real London Bridge.

Guess there isn't much sex appeal in a drab concrete bridge with no towers on top.

But still.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Happy and Sad

Now that for two weeks I am rid of the tiring function of earning a living, I have decked my room to resemble Rasputin’s den of dark shadows and dank tea leaves, sans the debauchery naturally. I ain’t so lucky.

So here I am sulking in front of my PC in a dark room, trying to stoke the dying embers of creativity so that I can actually write something worthwhile, yet all I can think about is Kermit the Frog and how articulate and misunderstood he is. If all kids can speak like the green frog instead of taking after Elmo, won’t English teachers have less problems with their blood pressure?

This clip is a hoot.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Through rose-tinted glasses

I knew this would happen.
I just knew it.

I complete my chambering yesterday and as expected I am feeling all sentimental about it. Not to mention experiencing severe doubts as to whether I am prepared to leave this profession.

Despite all its shortcomings, I readily agree that it is a profession whose members are intrinsically bound by a deep sense of fraternity, solidarity and resounding pride. It is not unlike an exclusive club whose membership is by baptism of fire. Entrails before entry.

Legal study is punishing, practice is damning and remuneration is shameful, as you probably know by now from my bitter confessions on this blog over the last few months.

Nevertheless in true fashion time has diluted my loathing for the legal system somewhat. In the last few weeks as I manoeuvred the labyrinth that is the Magistrate Courts, I became aware of a surprising yet not unpleasant sense of belonging. And there is this unspoken understanding that while I am crossing swords with opposing counsel, I am still only duelling with a colleague.

I will never forget the day I got severely scolded by my Pupil Master for bringing two versions of an affidavit instead of just one for her approval. I was sharply criticised for not making my own decision and defending my choice.
“Because you are Counsel!”, she shrieked.


I am Counsel.

I will be called to the Malaysian Bar as an Advocate and Solicitor of the High Court of Malaya in late October. I have won my place in this fraternity and oh yeah, the pride is certainly resounding.

Friday, September 08, 2006


You know the mood music compositions that combine say drum beats with the sound of the ocean or a raging thunderstorm? There is one real cool site where you can actually customise your own, for free! Pretty cool.
Check it out: www.soundsleeping.com

Ready, Set, GRIMACE

I attended another job interview 2 days ago just to get initiated with the company. Located quite out of the way, this is one major Chinaman enterprise and I was quite surprised that a panel of 6 people was there to interview humble old me for this position that really ought not have required so much formality. Present were the GM and even the Chariman no less.

It was a very intimidating and uncomfortable experience certainly. I got the impression that they aren't very pleased that I am leaving a "honourable" profession to join them. Most of the questions hinged on the legal side oddly.

While I was not afraid, I wanted out immediately. I felt that they blocked out the sun with their sullenness. Like, how much would it cost to smile? One guy silently left the room when I was there and didn't return until I was about finished. I thought that was very rude. The Chairman ( a Datuk) would not even make eye contact with me!
Upon leaving the place I bet my long sigh of relief was heard even in Toronto. I won't go back there even if you gave me a winning racehorse.

Postscript: They called me back to say that I didn't make the cut. Pity. I would have loved the opportunity of turning them down.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Grammar Mama

Until a week ago, I did not know how to spell diarrhoea. Or manoeuvre.

I also knew diddly-squat on the differences between "its" and "it's". Elementary I know yet with the advent of Microsoft Word's spell check, my spelling and most of my grammar have degenerated to the state of stale Swiss cheese and now with the automatic spell check option, I am none the wiser. Hence if you got a handwritten Christmast card from me last year, it wasn't my fault!

Yet on the other extreme, becoming a grammar snob is so unbelievably anal.
Can you imagine combing through publications to find that one fatal typo, the one rouge apostrophe to ruin the day of the already highly-strung writer? More and more of these self-appointed language centurions are now even writing to the papers complaining about the state of our English. I say, may the one who has never made a grammar gaff cast the first paperweight!

More than the writers, I look at the industry's pencil-chewing proofreaders in new light now. Besides the indigestion, the stress that comes from having to be constantly aware of every semicolon would be insane. One would wonder who would ever want such a crummy job?

Apparently I would. You see, I just got hired as an Editor. To deal with English language teaching materials. So when your kids start spelling Christmast my way, kindly remember that it is really not my fault.
Blame Bill Gates.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Scratching cars

Lately we have been trouble with parking space. Or the lack of it.

A handful of tenants at this condo here seem to take little heed that our car park is NOT THEIRS. Even my tenant's FRIEND is claiming it for her own! We have asked the guards to clamp cars before yet it does not seem to work.

Even my tenant's friend seem to be claim to the guard that the car park is HERS and to to clamp all other cars besides hers. Audacious, right? I just got to know this new development after another fracas with the guards for not keeping my car park space empty.

I will be getting a house on my own the next time I move as I can't really stand this stress.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

I want a Hedgehog for Christmas

What a listless Saturday.
So we decided to look for a pet. I have my heart set on a pair of hedgehogs.

They are less timid than rabbits, far larger than hamsters and with far more character than fish. I have all the space for them and while they are no dogs, I secretly intend to teach them to bark.
Anyway, we popped by Pet’s Safari at The Curve today. A hedgehog cost a whopping RM400! Should have just smuggled one out when I was in England.


Lately I have been playing with the idea of starting a new blog, with a personal domain name and more pictures, with my present anonymity cast away so that friends and family can visit. Yet there are benefits hiding behind by the Bear and Sheep (which by the way sounds like a good name for a pub.)

It is the attestation of my cowardice. As my online journal, the blog chronicles my good days and my bad days, of family celebrations and heartbreaks, of good friends and the people I want to chop into small tiny bits to stuff into dumplings but who have no idea I think of them that way - your know, the historical fluff that one gathers in the infinate roll of the dustball of time.

I don't necessarily want to lose my job or hurt anyone's feelings but due to the stresses of daily life and the most annoying parties I have to deal with on a regular basis, a release mechanism has to be in place so that I won't end up in a straitjacket cooing to the tune of Rocky. Hence Monsterpiece.

I began this blog soon after I broke up with my ex Boyfriend. I figured that it is a public enough platform to vent on what a low-down-good-for-nothing-spineless-bastard he is. But surprise, surprise, I have not blogged about him even ONCE until now if memory serves me right. Of course I went on to vent about a HOST of other things. And I am getting very attached to this little plot of cyberspace.

Having an open blog would mean that I would have to censor myself.
OR it could mean that I would have to stop complaining and focus on the positive rather than the negative. Darn. I have become very attached to my little spot of raincloud too.

I need my own motorised vehicle

It has been pouring bathtubs in KL lately.
Naturally traffic was at chaotic.

It culminated to a climax last night when the KTM Kommuter to KL Sentral station was experiencing scheduling trouble, the Monorail was down and the LTR Putra was down as well. So many train services and each as hopeless as the other.

Of course cab drivers had a field day picking and choosing their passangers and hiking the prices. I had to offer the taxi driver an extra 10 buck on top of the meter before he would agree to take me home. I normally detest spoiling the market like this but I was so desparate to go home.

I seriously don't get the transport system in this country. It is customary for the public tranport providers to blame the heavy rain and floods but after all this is tropical country, duh. It is not as if it was a snowstorm or something. You would think our engineers would have figured it out.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

This business of soul searching is tiring business. Actually the term is a misnomer is it can’t really be regarded as searching when:
1. I have no idea what I am looking for
2. It has never gone missing. The lot is still here.

Maybe the correct term is DECIDING.

Lean pickings

Once upon an eon ago, some one told me that I belonged to the Arts. I took that to be a great compliment as he was smack in the middle of it. I like to indulge myself in thinking that I am right-brainer, dangerously artistic and intuitive.

So last week when a senior lawyer said to me straight to my face that I am not creative I actually choked. On the spot I came up with a few ways to cause her grievous harm. Who is she to say I am not creative? She then went on to say that I have a problem in my thinking. Maybe she is right in that department. Slashing her Mercedes Benz in broad daylight would just be too obvious.

Of course it is trite that lawyers would need that bit of creativity to further their client’s (or their own) interests but I have been going out of my mind for the last 8 months from work that is sometimes so dry, it would put Ryvita to shame.

Well she was not too happy that I was not able to construct a particular clause to her satisfaction. Hence the scathing comment.

But there is some truth in her comment.

Take a person out of a creative environment and put her into a sterile environment, all will and enthusiasm die a lingering death at a pace so slow that the subject hardly notices it at all.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Shahrukh Khan

Wuahahaha. Blast from the past.

At one point this bloke broke the hearts of many a college girl. I think he still does. I was at my friend's office the other day and his posters were everywhere.
So here is a homage to the one star that once too sent my heart a flutter.

It began with Dilwale Dulhania le Jayenge (1995). I was in Hong Kong at the time and through an amazing network of friends we got this Hindi film for the weekend and my best mates (bless them) translated every line for me. Hey, I can even still a song from the movie ok. Only i have no idea what it means still.

The Indian bug bit hard and I was throwing myself at my indian heritage. So much so that this one guy wanted to send his parents from Madras to meet my family in Malaysia to ask for my hand in marriage!! Fuuyo! He was no where close to my Shahrukh so I told Mr Creepy to go back to Dubai.

Oh those were the days!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Proffesion of choice: Housewife

Only 6 weeks and counting.

Honestly I am quite surprised that I have come so far. Survived rather.

There is nothing as agonizing as doing something that you unhappy doing. So my heartfelt respect and empathy goes to all the people out there who are stuck in shitty situations that they can’t get out of and yet soldier on everyday.

I am quite convinced that I will leave the profession, for the million reasons I won’t go into now. When I tell people, I get a litany of WHYs.

Why don’t I want to practice?
Why did I take law?
Why do I waste my time with chambering?
Why do I go on and on about my unhappiness and not do something about it?

A lot of people can’t understand my decision and quite a few have been vocal about their disapproval although my mates have been brilliant with their support, especially the young lawyers, ironically. Yet at times I feel like a quitter because I am giving up because it’s too hard.

That does not make me feel less guilty though especially towards my Mom and Dad. I am torn between finding happiness for myself which may just land me in the poor house OR alternatively traveling the tried and tested route to eventually earning enough to turn from being their dependant to their provider.

And it does so NOT help that I have not figured out what I want to do with my life. Sure, half of me wants to run off to be a UN field officer or another Irene Fernandez, but then I would also like to be able to spend time with my family, own a decent house and vacation in the Alps.

Too many people are selling their souls to their jobs and sadly this is viewed positively. A proud mother was telling me of her daughter who left her firm at 4 am only to return to the office again by 6 am.

There is a perverse pride associated with working to death.

But what is the point of working so hard so that you can afford the surgery to remove the ulcer you get from working too hard?

What not to say to a bootlegger

Over the weekend, I found myself at Low Yat, the notorious haven for bootleg IT software. I figured I may as well get myself a PC game. I was browsing among the stacks of dirt cheap CDs and DVDs until I spotted an interesting game sitting just inches from the blond haired, tatooed peddler.

As it was so noisy, I raised my voice and pointed my finger at the DVD seller, and hollered,"PIRATES! PIRATES!"

You can imagine the glares I got, especially from the seller.
Then I hurriedly mumbled "Pirates of the Carribean", paid him for my purchase and quickly made my exit.

K tells me that he will never take me there again. Apparently I am too dangerous.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Sauteed with asparagus

Sometimes too much research is a bitch. But there you go.

I had my first taste of foie gras 2 weekends ago and I fell in love. The taste is so rich, texture so smooth and is incredibly expensive. Foie gras literally means "fat liver". At that time I only knew foie gras is the liver of a goose.

Upon returning home fully satiated, I decided to Google it.

What I found was quite distressing. Foie gras is the liver from a goose that has been fattened by force feeding so that it becomes particularly large. Animal rights activists practically go nuts when it is mentioned. Yikes.

I am contemplating being a vegetarian for a while. Or maybe semi-vegetarian since my loyalty to Pork still borders on obsession.


A life without books would be an existance deviod of meaning.

I am forever grateful to my parents who saw to it that I got my very own library card when I was 6 and by the way, that was how I was ceremoniously ushered me into the magical world of geekdoom. Entry into bookwormship normally entailed above- average English and a compulsory distate for PE. (Wearing glasses and braces - optional). Of course I had the super deluxe Platinum Package with being Teacher's Pet and School Prefect thrown in.
Disgusting, I know. But that is another story.

Where was I? Oh yeah, books.

I count myself lucky to have friends who are voracious readers, some of whom also share my inclination for demons and death. I throughly enjoy fantasy mainly because current events are just so distasteful that it's not so hard to find refuge in magic and alternate realities. Living in denial, perhaps but I look forward to my 8 tentacled mythical creatures, bells of death and neatly packaged endings.

Fictional violence I can deal with. Especially if they were written for young readers. Happy endings mostly guaranteed. I am about to begin the Earthsea quartet classic by Ursula Le Guin. Took me forever to get a copy of the book from the store.

Notice how more and more books seem to come out in series now? I kept being lent the first in the series and I end up having to buy the remainder. Hence to my exasperation, I am not able to lend a boxfull of novels to anyone as I can't imagine anyone who would want to read a series from the second books onwards.

However in a strange course of events, I was given book 2 and book 3 of Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin. It's quite expensive this collection. One novel is over RM50. I finally bit the bullet and bought the first book. Despite not having anything to do with anything remotely fire breathing, I finished all the books within weeks. Set in gay San Fransisco, the books chronicles the lives of the tenants of 28 Barbary Lane, circa 1970 or thereabouts. Naturally its about decadence, drugs, nail biting suspence and sexual liberation. And in the words of the character Michael Tolliver, its as gay as a goose. And what a fun fun fun read. I still need to get book 4, 5, and 6. It's a pity that the books I want are never on sale.

Saturday, July 22, 2006


My adoration for all dogs is attributed solely to their uncanny ability to cock their heads to one side and stare at you unblinking with their enquiring eyes.
How can you resist something as cute as that?

Its different with Cats . As they invade your favourite armchair, their eyes would narrow to slits to shoot you this look of unadulterated disapproval not unlike an Emperor having to endure the presence of a peasant. This is especially true after Its Highness The Cat has had its dinner and you are the unfortunate thing coming between it and its chosen crib (aka, the aforementioned armchair).

Someone once told me how animals have this ability to tell whether a person is a friend or foe. Maybe that is why cats don't bother wasting their time with me ( unless its an emergency) and why someone like Eric gets mauled by Ah Jin, house dog and terror machine of Jo's in-laws.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Sand in my hair, sun in my heart

The only time to visit Langkawi is when the sun is shining and the sea is behaving itself. Clever me, my last visit to the island was during the monsoon season. The dark clouds poured their hearts out everyday and the sea was so choppy that it scared the bejeebers out of us. The trip so disappointed me that I swore to never return to the island.

So when our firm organised a fully expense-paid company trip this July, naturally it was destination Langkawi. The option of not joining the trip could not be considered, as lawyers who opted to stay would be made to go to court. Yours truly signed up on the spot.

I was prepared to be bored out of my skull. But as you know, Expectation is always in inverse proportion to Reality. So I was pleasantly shocked how my trip actually blew me away!

We lodged at the luxurious Mutiara Burau Bay Resort. With private cabanas among lush foliage set within a short walk from the sea–it was picturesque. The long stretch of beach was part white sand and part rocky enclave.

The boys went scavenging for snails and crabs and Ramesh claims to have even spotted a biawak. Saltwater lizards? Ick.

One tip about eating when one is up north in Malaysia is forget the sirloins and chicken chops. Even the hotel variety is dismal. The star attraction has to be the Malay food which is spectacular! The simple sambal and dried fish is transformed into a parade for the palate. And in Langkawi beer is almost as cheap as soda. Talk about a Happy Meal for a Happy Me!

Island hopping was without a doubt the highlight of our trip. We left the resort early at 8.30 am to enjoy the wholesome sunshine. We were told that it was better to get an early start as the sun can turn scorching later. Syeah, right!

Three boatfuls of us rode screaming into the sea as we jetted over the beautiful, beautiful emerald waters. Some of the islands were little more than giant limestone monuments covered entirely in green foliage right to the water’s edge. From afar they looked like mossy knolls sitting placidly on smooth green glass.

And then we came and shattered to smithereens what peace they had.

But soon our noisy entourage too was eventually hushed by the islands’ sheer serenity. It was like we were passing through sacred waters. We were dropped off at Tasik Dayang Bunting aka Lake of the Pregnant Maiden. After a 10-minute easy hike from the beach, an immense fresh water lake greeted us. It was even greener than the sea. One can take a dip in its cools waters, take a paddleboat to explore the lake or go crazy and go banana boating. The locals believe that the waters are beneficial for women who have trouble conceiving.

If you ever venture there, be careful where you dip your feet. There is one particular enclosure that is teeming with catfish. They usually trawl the lake bottom. But when they see feet, they surface to nibble the flavourful bits of dirt between your toes. I vow not to think too much when I next eat seafood.

When we got back on our boats, wadda-ya-know, it began to pour. As we sped onwards with rain lashing in our face and the sea throwing itself at us, we were completely soaked to the bone. Sunburn..humbug! Yet what fun!

Some of the passengers on the other boat didn’t quite share our enthusiasm. I don’t blame them. They had a Tsunami survivor as their boatman and he was cheerfully regaling his tale of horror throughout they journey. No wonder a few of my colleagues looked sick.

Then, just as suddenly as the rain had begun, it completely stopped. As we approached a quiet cove the boats stopped. Mr Boatman-From-Hell (so christened by my boss), tossed a handful of meat into the water. Typical of urbanites who grew up throwing bread into fish ponds, our eyes immediately searched into the depths of water until a loud “ehem” from the Boatman got us to look up.

And there came eagles.

There were three species of eagles. The Sea Eagle, the Swamp Eagle and the Hill Eagle. The Sea Eagle was the largest and by far the most impressive due to its while plumage and its significantly larger size. They circled high above us before slowly descending to the water - talons outstretched. We were in awe. Watching the eagles is a highly recommended experience!

After the eagles had enough of us, we made our way to Pasir Basah island where it was quite shallow and there were hardly any waves, making it perfect for swimming.

When we got back to the resort, we were completely drained despite it having only been a half day trip.

The rest of the vacation involved bussing around the various tourist spots. Langkawi may be touted for its mythical heritage but seriously, visiting Mahsuri’s Tomb and Field of Brunt Rice was a waste of time. Its just another excuse to entice tourist to part with their money.

Altogether it was a great escape and all the better that it was fully paid for by the company. One only needs to endure one’s officemates, which can already be trying on most days. Nevetheless the sun and sea was worth it. So you can just imagine how loathsome it was to get back to KL.

But no point in pouting. I end this entry with a picture that encapsulates perfectly the best bit of my 2 nights and 3 days in Langkawi.

It's the view from my hammock.

Open Court Near Death Experience

I finally appeared in open court, before the Magistrate and all my brethren in law and an audience in the gallery. Yes, just like in Ally McBeal but with a less shocking hemline. I appeared for the Plaintiff in a Judgement Debtor Summons hearing.

What it means is that the creditor (my client) has obtained a judgement against the debtor (the defendant) earlier but the debtor still has not paid despite the court having ordered him to. So a JDS is a procedure by which the creditor’s lawyers cross-examine the debtor as to his ability to pay the judgement sum. Usually the debtor will come to court with some sob story about how his family is living below the poverty line and the court will order some sort of instalment arrangement.

I was nervous as hell yesterday with Monster Moths flying in formation and doing aerial flips in my gut. So I prepared for every eventuality (including what I would do if I was called a complete moron by the Magistrate).

The near insane and inane preparations did alleviate my fears and during my entire journey to Port Dickson I did not hurl or throw myself onto the railway tracks to save me from attending court.

Oh, I forgot to tell you that I needed to wake up at 5 this morning to take two cabs and a train to journey 3 hours to get to court before 9 am to meet the debtor, strike a deal and obtain consent order from the judge.

I actually did not mess up my case and everything actually went quite smoothly.

At the end of a hearing, be it in chambers or in open court, the feeling I get right after it is over is one of huge relief. Relief that I was not thoroughly humiliated by the judge, that the utmost has been done for my client and that it is just OVER.

Then the niggling starts. Should I have asked for a higher settlement? Should I have asked for a later date? Should I have pushed the Registrar a little harder? Should I have paid more attention in Land Law?

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Domestic Bliss

Despite not being initiated into the wonderful world of household chores until late into my teens, right now I am happily suffering from this inexplicable fondness for domesticity.

This affliction has been slowly invading my head, starting very modestly with innocent infatuations with the home furnishing paradises of Habitat and Ikea, and then on to home improvement reality TV shows.

My foray into flowers started by my stealing daffodils from the dormitory garden. Nothing declares the arrival of springtime like a bright windowsill of jam jars full of yellow daffodils. A sight that gladdens the heart indeed and worth risking the wrath of any gardener, even.

Then I witnessed the magic weaved by my ex-colleagues who were the wizards of visual merchandising. Give them a few tired blossoms and a bush of dried twigs and voila! The mess has into a masterpiece that people would actually pay money for.

So that now that I actually have the space at my new apartment, the endless possibility of decorating it has me hyperventilating. I conjure up these amazing colour schemes (complete with silk flowers and kitch vases even) and work myself into a frenzy everytime I step into a fabric store. Of course everything comes crashing down the moment I peek into my bank balance. Yet if there is one thing I have learnt from my visual merchandising chums is that one does not need expensive stuff to make a place feel like a home and with patience bargains are usually found.

And in my hunt for fabric, I discovered that cloth shops do sell leftover cloth at a fraction of their original prices. Being remainders, their odd lengths make them difficult to sell, hence their marked down prices. That was how I ended up with more than 5 meters of top quality cloth for just RM30! Absolutely Brilliant!

Next I will be shopping for matching curtains and then suitable silk flowers.

So there Ladies and Gentlemen, my transformation into a homebody Aunty is now complete.

This fact is reiterated again this afternoon when I went to Ikea with this gay buddy of mine. He is my age and all the while he was checking the delectable young men in the crowd, I was by far more engrossed in dish racks and teapots. It just struck me how I would love to be working for Martha Stewart.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Pro Bono

These past few weeks have been a blur. I have started my Legal Aid chapter of my chambering. It is basically pro bono work and I am currently assisting this NGO that goes by the name of Tenaganita which concerns women and migrant workers.

As we deal mostly with migrant workers, we hear a plethora of sob stories and it is heart breaking and a very humbling experience. As most of the workers than walk into our clinic are from India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar, we are talking about very poor people who in most cases had to sell what little they had at home to the work agents to bring them here to work.

You can guess what happens next. It is such a shame how some local employers exploit their workers and we are talking about these poor chaps who work for more than 10 hours for just RM20 a day and even then subject to the numerous deductions the employer would impose on whim.

There have been many many instances where when the workers stand up for themselves, the employers merely cancels their work permits, hence rending them illegal migrants as they have no cause to be in the country anymore. Then the Immigration Department comes down on them and shunts then off to the Detention Centre, which is another deplorable story altogether.

When things reach breaking point, they come to the clinic where we help where we can, be it liasing with the employer for some sort of remedy or the relevant government departments to allow them to sue their employers or just to get them home.

Pro bono work is indeed interesting although for Tenaganita it is exhausting both phycically and emotionally. If you had the unhappy occassion to cross swords with the Immigration Department, you would know the stress it entails. Now imagine if you are a migrant worker who nobody cares about and who everybody conveniently blames for all the social problems in the country - think you will receive any sympathy from the authorities?

I think we tend to forget that they are people too. I admit, before being apart of this, I viewed migrant workers with suspicion too. They may not dress or sometimes smell too well and my guess is that many people would rather not know of their existance. It is really not their fault as they can't afford the basic luxuries that we take for granted.

On the first day I was on duty and I had to interview 10 Indian nationals who have not been paid for more than 3 months by their boss. That night I could hardly touch my dinner as I felt guilty for being so priviledged that I can eat without wondering where my next meal would come from.

I have had to accompany a migrant worker to make a police report and today I visited the Embassy to facilitate a worker's repatriation. You won't believe what a problem it is just to send a worker home even if he desperately wants to!

You see, the moment one's work permit expires, one is considered an undocumented migrant and even if one has a valid ticket to go home, he would be arrested at the airport and sent to Detention Camp and charged in court! Hence we have to make sure that all the legalities are dealt with and fines paid before even sending a worker home. Easier said than done.

Of course there are bad hats out there who give a bad name to the entire clan, some certain nationals more than others, but sadly all of them gets painted with the same fear and prejudice and we don't seem to see that in many ways they are just like us, trying hard to make a living the best way they know how.

Monday, June 12, 2006


Spent a lurvery weekend with the folks back home. The brother and I traveled home to spend time whith my Dad who is back from work for 2 weeks and to celebrate Mom's birthday on Sunday.

And you can say all you want about Karaoke but it is one of the best bonding experience in the world. Singing in key is of course, optional.

Dad spent a grand on this Karaoke microphone which has all the tunes programmed inside it so that anytime one wants to rattle the shingles, one just plugs the mike into the TV and hey presto-portable Karaoke! 1000 songs from Tom Jones, Richard Marx, Eminem (I kid you not), and other Karaoke luminaries.

My parents enjoy terrorising the neighbours between the 4 pm to 6pm. It would be anytime now that the neighbourhood committee would be serving my parents with an injunction to stay away from the machine.

Anyway, I hope my mom enjoys her Anna Sui birthday present. Soo decadent.
Now to find something for father's day coming next week. Who came up with all these celebrations is a marketing genius.

Well, like most parents, mine frequently deprive themselves of luxuries but would splurge us kids as much as they can. As a kid I used to hurt so much when my Dad would insist that I get new clothes for the celebrations but he would go without and how my mom would never even dream of getting anything that was not on discount. Our family income was modest and it amazes me now even as I am struggling to make ends meet, how Mom and Dad could possibly raise two kids and saw to it that we got proper education. Being frugal is second nature to my folks.

Hence the way the Brother and I indulge our parents is with springing them with good stuff that they would never get for themselves. Having our parents coming so close to splitting up, has permanently renewed our respect for family and togetherness, as corny as that sounds. And as I see my folks growing older every time I go home, I am sad that I am not able to provide them with more creature comforts.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Like most, I wonder where the days go to. Oh never mind the weekdays, just give me longer weekends. Speaking of time warps, why is Saturday SO SLOW in coming.

Yet I hate Sunday nights due to the anticipation of the next day's slave pits. And my mood at 6.30 am Monday mornings is sour enough is turn my Dutch Lady milk to yogurt.

More juicy gossip from the office. Not only is my master leaving in 3 weeks, two other lawyers have left. My current master (yes, the one who is about to go) is trying to convince me to be Mr Wanker's pupil. With all respect, I did listen to her reasons and politely went "naaaah!"

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Things I do for RM800

Oh what a day.

Today I was sent of to the ends of the earth, aka Kuala Kubu Baru to attend an auction. Not as glamorous as it sounds I assure you.

No hammer weilding man in an expensive suit standing behind a podium in a lavish room with priceless Ching vases on display. Not on your life. This was a property auction.

Some joker decided to take a huge loan to buy a house in this village and now that he has defaulted on his loan, the bank decided to auction off his house and guess what, nobody wants to buy it.

Usually where these are no bidders for a property, depending on the type of land title, the Court or the Land Office will order that the reserve price be lowered for the next auction. And for this the lawyers are required to attend to this business.

So that was basically how I ended up at Rawang train station at 10 am this morning looking for a taxi driver to drive me to this small speck of a town called Kuala Kubu Baru. I am sure it was not too much to ask for something that actually resembled a taxi, maybe a small lit box on the roof with the word TAXI on it or even say, a the hint of canary yellow that is so close to the hearts of cab drivers the nation, nay, the world over.

But then, my life would be so boring if things always go my way right?

Rawang only has those Sapu taxies which are essentially normal cars illegally ferrying passangers for a fare. My using the word Normal here is really stretching it. They were these ancient vehicles that our grandads once use to court our grandmas with, back during the days when the world was still black and white and dinosaurs roamed the earth.

The first car I sat in refused to start. The second jalopy was no better. It was so old that I was told that when the car first came out, seat belts were not a prerequisite for the model. We naturally had no air conditioning and besides, the knob to wind the window has either rotted away or dissappeared and the only way I could wind the window was to turn the massive spanner that was clinging to the side of the car door like a dead raccoon. Whether the cab smelt like a furry small animal I could not tell you as I thankfully had a blocked nose.

I made to the land office in one piece and back without any mishaps like the engine falling through the car or having to stop to the side of the road to pick up the exhaust pipe.

And guess what, since nobody bid for that earlier mentioned property - I have to go back in August for the next auction.

Catch the next episode of Dicing With Death in two months time.

Monday, May 22, 2006

D, for Deranged

There comes a time in one's life when certain questions start making frequent appearances.

Like what is my purpose in life? What do I really believe about death? Do I want children? Am I successful? What IS success? Am I going to be a spinster with 12 cats?

Personally it freaks me out. Sometimes I can calm down and convince myself that things will turn out okie dokie, piggy pokey. But being one's own personal motivation coach is hard, and who motivates the motivation coach?

I just did a RIASEC test over the weekend. It is supposed to tell me, according to my personality traits, what job suits me best. It appears I am a ISA. Investigative, Artistic and Social and the career suggestions range from copy writer, editor of a dictionary and art appraiser to a video operator, psychiatrist and librarian. Psycology appears quite often. Shucks not only am I a nutcase, I seem to like treating other nutcases too. I should have taken up that course at university. I think I would have really enjoyed it.

And I can't do sales or business to save my life. Well they got that spot on. And law features nowhere on the list. I was quite dismayed as I was hoping , with toes and fingers crossed till they were blue, that law was supposed to be my element somehow and that maybe my utter loathing for the profession was just a fluke. But nothing can brace me for the shattering truth that I STUDIED THE WRONG SUBJECT. I weep at all the wasted pounds I could have spent studying English and Art History. I could have been a curator, an english professor or knowing Malaysia's employment climate, a Starbucks barristar.

I was reading a couple of other peoples blogs recently, (because I am a darn nosy, that's why), mostly Americans and Brits, , and I noticed that people can graduate with anything under the sun yet come out to do something else and its really OK. How exquisite is it to be an antiques restorer or a horse trainer or a furniture designer..

In my universe on the other hand, I got so much flak for leaving law to do communications earlier and now that I will be finishing my pupilage, once my family gets wind that I am applying for publishing positions again instead of practising-oh will I ever hear the last of it.

But in the words on Jon Bon Jovi "its my life". Deep, no?
I have just applied for the post of a legal editor. I just hope that I won't regret leaving practising. Someone got a crystal ball?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Legal Aid Orientation

A component of pupilage is Legal Aid. As the same suggests, Legal Aid involves free legal services for people who are not able to afford representation.

This evening I attended a briefing on Legal Aid and the programmes offered. As pupils we are required to render 14 days of service.

Among the ice breaking games included one where the floor was divided into three sections - AGREE, NOT SURE and DISAGREE. Statements were flashed on the OHP and we had to decide where we stand on the issues and move into the sections accordingly. We are then called to give our reasons. It was an interesting game with no right or wrong answers but it does get the juices going, not to mention firey retorts ricocheting off the walls.

It is a typical trait to sit on the fence when it comes to difficult issues, especially when it does not really encroach on our everyday lives. Have a look at these statements that were given to use and consider your stand on them. They may be clear cut to you but you would be quite surprised to discover how opinions differ, as I did today. Here are some of the statements givens to us.

1. The death penalty should be abolished.
2. Illegal immigrants should be arrested, jailed and caned.
3. These is no need for the ISA.
4. Homosexuality should be made a criminal offence.
5. To slow the spread of HIV/AIDS, free condoms and clean needles should be given to drug addicts.
6. Everyone should have the freedom to convert into the religion of their choice.
7. Migrant workers should be given the same rights as local workers.

I have volunteered to work at the women's clinic and I do hope it is approved. Sometimes if a programme is oversubscribed, people will be shifted to other programmes.

But really, it is a bid sad that there is little enthusiasm for volunteering among the pupils. Priviledged bunch. My social service experience have taught me the world and I am keen to start. Being able to make a difference is a fantastic buzz.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Tuesday's heartbreak and purple donkeys

There is a haunting song by Faye Wong that I used to listen to in the days of my youth and which till today still evokes a forlorn sadness.
Originally sung by Japanese artis Miyuki Nakajima, its English name is translated to "Fragile Woman". Perhaps the title Fragile Woman is a little short. The Canto title is more descriptive, being "A woman who is easily hurt". Not very poetic admittedly but it describes the song in a nutshell.
And I really should not be listening to it, being suicidal and manic depressive and all (gotta love the drama queen in me), but it is damn good for wallowing in self pity with.
I have just been constantly disappointed lately and I just got wounded again. Hence this seems to be my theme song for the week.
When my ex-company was doing the Winnie the Pooh project, I loved Eeyore with all my heart. A kindered donkey with rain clouds over our heads. Soggy heads should really stick together. I got a stuffed donkey which used to sit above my PC. Its now more tawny than purple but its my darling of a mascot still. Will put up my purple donkey soon.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Home Sweet Home

I have been staying at my new apartment for about a week now and I now I am finally wired and online. Yeay.
I am still living in boxes alright as I have neither shelves nor cabinets but its really not too bad. Since I am merely renting, the mere thought of having to eventually move and lug everything around again is enough to stop me from even thinking of more furniture. ( I bet you my resolve will last only till IKEA's next sale.) While part of me wants to start making this into a home proper with hanging baskets on the landing and reproductions of Van Goghs on my walls, yet I am kept being reminded that I am only renting. According to my tenancy agreement, even hammering nails is a cardinal sin.
So much for my cascading petunias.
So the nest is pretty sparse right now with cartons in the front room and laundry in the main hall. Argh, I am fighting the urge to decorate my house according to Good Housekeeping but I figure not even Martha Stewart could make corrugated cardboard boxes look chic as home centrepieces.
Anyway, I think all my muttering has done some good as my Korean housemate has vacated half the kitchen without my asking. Guess I won't have any use for that VooDoo doll after all.
Speaking of kitchens, I have whipped up some local favourites from my humble wok. So far no incidences of food poisoning and I have not set fire to my kitchen, so all is sweet.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

I wish daffodils grew in KL

The best thing about being in a happy environment is that cheeriness is so contagious that one cannot help but be infected with optimism and the odd fit of giggles.
Cross contamination ensures a continuous cycle of good will.

Work with gloomy people and gloomy the world becomes.

Where I used to work was a pleasure indeed. Lifting each other up was so natural that we did not even contemplate that things may actually be different on the outside world.

And different it is. Bitching and power trips, nasty colleagues and even nastier bosses.

SO it was very refreshing that I had lunch with Jo today. Both a bit battered from our respective battles but finding comfort in a kindred spirit does indeed rejuvenate my spirit.

And speaking of comfort, I don't understand why most Malaysians don't understand the concept of COMFORTING. The moment to relate a sad/frustrating story expecting some sympathy, I get the typical retort "Told you so already. That is why la, you should have...."
Which only makes the matter even worse.

I regaled by story of the Korean annex of my kitchen cabinet to someone close and all I got was an earful of how I should have done this and done that, not this and that. I am sure the person considered it as good advice but to me it turned out to be severely unwelcomed criticism.

I am afraid I may have snapped at her. Now I feel guilty.