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.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Lament of the pseudo-housewife

Okay here is the scene.
We needed another tenant to contribute towards the rent. We were quite particular that he be a non-smoker, tidy, non-party animal aka we were looking for a geek basically.

And we got one.
A Korean programmer. Seems shy and I have yet to say anything beyond HI to him.
K arranged the rest.

But he has already pissed me off.

I am a lover of kitchens and what is a kitchen without cabinets and a fridge, right. And this guy has filled up 3/4 of my kitchen cabinets and half of my fridge! Apparently this guy is not able to stomach our flavourful malaysian food hence he has the need to cook everything. So he brought with him all his equiptment and food and he has invaded MY kitchen. More like annexed it.

I was SO upset. I hope he gets food poisoning for his utter inconsideration.
AND he has taken to hanging his clothes in the living room.

Wait till I move in. I suppose I need to let K do the talking as I may get too emotional and skin him with my cleaver. . slowly.