Thursday, November 30, 2006

Bukit Bintang

I normally enjoy watching Perliamentary debates, for the simple reason that it’s entertaining to watch adults behave like kids, although I have to say that as entertaining as the MPs' ridiculous behaviours can be, sometimes they make me wanna throw up in disgust.

I missed this particular remark by an MP, that Bukit Bintang is a Malaysian equivalent of Thailand’s Patpong. I don’t know when he made that statement but you can read the comment by Wong Chun Wai in The Star (29/11/2006) here.

Being one who have worked in the Bukit Bintang area for the past 7 years, I am rightfully very insulted. This is an area bustling with commercial activities and it caters for all walks of life. You can find all sorts of things here, from designer outlets to jinjang fashion stores, IT spots to bookstores, exclusive restaurants to cheap food stalls, night clubs to video arcades and 5 star hotels to backpacker dorms…. And oh… lots of legal firms too (I have to mention this otherwise you might think I work at the jinjang fashion store!), big and small. Everything is within walking distance from one another and easily accessible to anyone.

And all some people can see is the sex for sale bit. Shame on them!

The MP claimed that his Arab friends told him that the sex activities made Malaysia “better than Thailand”. Say what?????? (Actually, I’m more interested in what the MP could have told his so-called Arab friends in response to their said remarks, if it was indeed them who said it. But in order not to be speculative, I refrain myself…)

Anyway, the vice referred to above are known to exist only in several spots, Jalan Alor dan Low Yat to name a few, and not the whole of Bukit Bintang. As for the bars and nightclubs carrying out escort services, and call girls going about their business nightly, this is not exclusive to Bukit Bintang alone, you can find ‘em all over the city!

Yes, this is a social problem and yes, most of us don’t want this sort of things happening here. But branding and labeling a certain place as this and that isn’t gonna solve the problem, what with the government’s efforts to promote tourism in this country and all. We don’t want tourists coming here by the droves to participate in our ‘sex industry’. There is no such industry here in the first place. The activities referred to above are happening on a miniscule level compared to the bigger picture.

That said, miniscule as it is, the government still should step up their enforcement activities to curb this vice before it becomes uncontrollable. Abolishing ‘em for good might be very tricky, as prostitution, as we all know, is the world’s oldest profession. So you can arrest them, whip them, deport them, lock them up, kill them if you will, but new ones will spring up the next day. It’s a vicious cycle.

But what we can do is to contain these activities so that it is not so rampant, widespread, and readily available that it becomes synonymous with the name of the city. K.L is no Bangkok and surely, Bukit Bintang is no Patpong. It is a gross exaggeration that the MP had remarked as such. But that’s not to say that we are not on our way there. If the authorities leave this unchecked, who knows what the future holds for us?

Friday, November 24, 2006

The Thinking Process

At the office last week, a colleague commented, “I hairan le…. You duduk dalam bilik ajer, tak keluar-keluar langsung”

Errr, keluar where?

“I think I DID go to the washroom once or twice, pick up my printed documents at the printer and go to the boss’ room a coupla times. What do you mean tak keluar-keluar?”

“Ye la… asyik dok buat kerja kat bilik you aje… tak sembang-sembang dengan kitaorang pun”.

Excuse me?

I didn’t bother explaining to her that unlike her job scope of typing out letters and standard documents, preparing bills, and other usual mundane clerical stuff, my work requires me to peruse voluminous documents, bulky files and thick books and actually SIT DOWN AND THINK.

Did I sound like a snob? Well, who cares?

To some people, the thinking process is best done in long hours. As my mind adjusts to the situation, after having been imbued with thoughts of how delicious that nasi briyani I ate during lunch was, and that how sleepy I am feeling right now, once I get rid of all the distractions, the thought process actually becomes smoother and faster.

I don’t know about anyone else but I have to build up the momentum bit by bit until my brain is in full gear. This inevitably would take hours and any distraction would throw me off balance causing me to have to start all over again. If I were to come up with a report, solution, proposal or opinion on an issue, out of say, 4 solid hours that I have been processing it, I would have been most focused at the last and final hour.

And it would have taken me more than 4 hours to finish the job had I taken a break in between to go socializing around the office.

Of course they are geniuses who can do their thinking in a fraction of the time that I took to do mine, not to mention, having idle chit-chats somewhere in between. Silly me, thinking I’m so much more efficient than others.

But then, how efficient you are depends on how well you manage your time and deal with your inadequacies. In my case, I understand my own quirks pretty well I think.

Ah well, I guess, just like everyone else, I was just trying to do my job in my own tortoise-paced blur-sotong kinda way. I’ll socialize when I can, but when I need to focus, you better stay out of my way. You might not like it, you might think I’m sombong, but hey, that’s just the way I am.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Parliament-Today

Prime time news, 20/11/2006 8PM.

Ipoh Timur MP, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, made a comment in Parliament today that a certain MP had made a factual error when delivering his speech at the recent UMNO General Assembly. The error, the other MP (I can’t recall his name or constituency) had referred to the International Herald Tribune as an American newspaper when in fact, it is UK’s. For this, Mr. Lim said, we were the laughingstock all around the world.

Heh.

Such a sin that was!! How can anyone say it is American when it is British? (Or is it vice versa??? I can’t tell either!!)

Err, seriously, the whole world is laughing at us for getting this wrong huh?.

The MP in question (dang…. I still can’t remember his name!!!!) defended himself by saying people make mistakes et cetera et cetera. But when pressed on by Mr. Lim who seemed to enjoy making fun of this fella (who wouldn’t?), all hell broke loose. To cut the story short, a big ruckus erupted with insults traded back and forth between the warring parties and their supporters.

I have to say I was half-expecting somebody to pick up a chair and start throwing it around!! Seriously. Taiwan’s parliament has already adopted the chair-throwing thingy followed by the hair-pulling and eye-poking and face-punching and ball-kicking… when are we gonna do the same?

Heh. And it all started because what is British was called American.

DAMN those Americans!!!!


Monday, November 13, 2006

PHENOMENON

Phenomenon.

Webster’s New World dictionary described it as (1) any observable fact or event that can be scientifically described (2) anything very unusual (3) an extraordinary person, prodigy.

I found that the word is used very liberally on the telly. Local productions would slap the word Phenomenon or Fenomena on everything from Mawi to Mat Rempit to just absolutely anything that has never made headlines before.

I don’t claim to be a linguist or an English teacher or a word expert or whatever you call someone who knows a thing or two about languages. Anyway, this is NOT about the usage of the English language. It’s just about the word ‘phenomenon’ which I believe has been grossly overused. I must say I’m a bit uneasy by this light use of the word, which, to my tiny bird brain, is reserved for something more extraordinary and unbelievable than say, a goat running loose in front of KLCC.

The support and adulation towards Mawi (of the Akademi Fantasia fame, if you don’t know already), to my mind, does fit the description. It is unusual that despite the limited vocal ability and the gaudy fashion he sashays in, the public would be so besotted with him and anything or anyone related to him, to the extend of spending hundreds if not thousands of bucks on SMSs, magazines, books, souvenir items and hundreds other nonsensical items simply to indulge in this adulation. Now, that’s a phenomenon!

Mat Rempit, their lifestyle of racing and vice is nothing new. This has been going on since the 80s (or maybe even before that, I’m not sure), although perhaps on a slightly smaller scale. So, I wouldn’t say they are an unusual lot. A nuisance, yes, but unusual, hardly. And I don’t suppose anyone can actually give a comprehensible scientific explanation on the matter either. As far as I’m concerned, Mat Rempit is just another bothersome culture, NOT a phenomenon.

Yesterday, I heard the word being uttered on a certain TV show to describe the trend of women marrying later in life (or not at all) instead of at the prime age. Is this so unusual? In today’s society, it is not uncommon to see a woman being a high-powered executive or highly skilled professional or successful entrepreneur or world-class adventurer. And amongst all these women, some may choose not to go down the marital path just yet, or at all. It is their choice and their right. And it’s no big deal.

So, to hear the TV presenter say something like, “Fenomena wanita berkerjaya tidak mahu berkahwin amat dipandang serius…” make me cringe. Let’s not go into the pros and cons of being married or the merit of a woman’s choice not to marry. I have no wish to write a 10000 word thesis, which is what this would turn to if I go on about that. Let’s just focus on the ‘phenomenal’ aspect of the so-called trend. Is it apt? Why is it so unusual? Is there a scientific explanation to be had? How is it extraordinary? Unmarried women, a phenomenon? I DON’T GET IT!!

But then again, I have just discovered that Kamus Dewan (1989 edition is all I have) described Fenomena as “sesuatu kenyataan (kejadian dan sbgnya) yg dilihat atau boleh dilihat”.

Hmmmmph? So I’m wrong meh?

Guess I have nothing further to say. Now, excuse me while I log off in order to menangani fenomena semut menghurung cawan tak di basuh in my kitchen.

Ciao!

Friday, November 10, 2006

At The Pasar Malam

At a pasar malam I went to earlier tonight, the most popular peddler was the VCD guy. Scores of people, young and old were shoving and pushing to take a look at what’s available, including …err….. moi…. (terkebil-kebil malu gue…).

As expected, all the latest movies were there. I was tempted to buy a few since I haven’t bought any VCD or DVD in ages, original or otherwise. The peddler was telling the customers, “Ini clear punya, manyak bagus, manyak cantik ooo…”.

Yeah, right!

We all know what that’s like. The movie will start off promisingly enough. The picture is almost clear and the sound is crisp. Then 2 seconds later you’ll realize that the cinematography is a bit senget. So you sigh and say “Oh well…. At least the sound is okay, there’s no extra bit of sound effect ruining our enjoyment on the RM4000 home theater system”, and that’s when you hear something pop and someone laughing softly.

“Hmmmph?” Your eyebrows went up, and it dawns on you that there is that special sound effect after all. You then sigh again, and try to look on the bright side, again, “At least the picture is nice”. And that’s when the camera tilts to the right and someone adjust it back up in a jiffy. “Haiyaa…. Nasib baik dia adjust cepat-cepat… at least they are efficient on that, and it’s good that you can’t see anyone’s head from here”.

Darling, you spoke too soon.

The guy on the front seat stands up blocking half the screen, and walks jauntily out, presumably to go to the loo, lest we’ll hear the popping and rattling sound again.

The opening credit now comes to an end and the opening scene begins and, you know that you have wasted 5 bucks on yet another piece of crap.

No thanks. I’d rather spend my 5 bucks on some murtabak, a few keropok lekor and perhaps a cup of cendol. Now, that’s money well spent.

Excuse me, I think I'm gonna burp now.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A Deaf Hippo

I was window shopping at Jaya Jusco earlier today when I heard someone shouting my name. I looked around and immediately realized that I perasan sorang-sorang. There was this guy I didn’t know walking pass me, calling for someone else bearing my name. I don’t know to whom he was shouting at, but I saw someone in the distance scamper away in haste, perhaps, trying to avoid an encounter with that guy. I chuckled to myself. It’s kinda obvious, I’m sure he would realize that the girl was running away from him, or, if he gives her the benefit of the doubt, would think she’s a deaf hippo (loosely translated from pekak badak) in a rush.

My sister once thought that I am almost deaf. The loud music blasting straight to my eardrums all those years must have damaged something. Logically speaking, it could have. But it didn’t.

I have this amazing ability to ignore people. I can just walk by, pretending to be absorbed with something else without appearing to try to run off somewhere whilst the person I was ignoring would be screaming my name at the top of their lungs. Naturally, anybody who sees this incident would say I’m deaf.

I don’t do that often. Only the few number of times I am repulsed by something I see. Once, after an engagement ceremony, after all the guests had left, the soon-to-be bride who was pretending to be so demure and shy earlier had become herself again. Feeling absolutely ravenous for not having anything to eat for an entire 2 hours when the ceremony was in place, she practically shove everybody out of the way while she rushed over to the lunch table in the garden in front of the house. As if the food was about to run away or something, she gobbled everything up without a single thought about the possibility of her choking to death. True to my suspicion, in about a minute and a half, she needed a drink. Seeing me not far away, she screamed her lungs out, telling me to get her a glass of water. “Get yer own damned drink, you sod!!”, I thought to myself as I did what I always do best. I ignored her and I did a terrific job I can tell you that!

My sister who witnessed the whole thing later told me to see an ear specialist as she was pretty sure I am deaf at certain frequencies (there is such a thing as being partially deaf, y’know….). I told her I will, and now I’m sitting here writing this piece while the loud sound of The Killers’ Somebody Told Me is blaring through my earpiece. The ear specialist would have to wait, I still haven’t damaged my eardrums yet.