Saturday, December 30, 2006

Selamat Hari Raya Haji and Happy New Year!

Hari Raya Haji is here again. It’s the time when Muslims slaughter cows, bulls, sheeps, goats or camels as their korban and give the meat to the poor. In Saudi Arabia and many other countries, all of the sacrificial meat are packed up and sent off to poor Muslim countries almost as soon as the animal is slaughtered. In Malaysia, mostly we give out only the required portion of the meat to the poor and we feast on the rest ourselves by having barbeques and particularly in the northern region, daging bakar cicah air asam.

I remember the good old days when my late grandfather used to have the korban done at his house. A strapping young cow would be brought over to his backyard in the wee hours of the morning. After the Hari Raya Prayers, people all over the kampong will congregate at his house to do the necessary.

As kids, my cousins and I were not allowed near the cow in its moment of truth as adults fear that the sights of the bloody event would traumatize us.

Errr...Puhleeze!! I killed frogs for fun!!

True, cows are no frogs, but then again, a killing is a killing, big or small, even a child can understand it.

Anyway, despite the prohibition by the elders and their attempts at scaring us (“Don’t stand too near, if the blood sprays onto you, you’ll get warts!”), my cousins and I managed to squeeze in through the crowd every single time, and see the whole thing.

Once, in my eagerness to be up front and at the center of everything, I stood too near and the cow’s blood actually sprayed all over my face.

Needless to say, despite the devil may care attitude I put on in those days, I had sleepless night for many weeks expecting warts to pop out all over my face!

Ah… those were the days.

My grandfather is long gone now, and so is the family tradition. Although the same thing is still being carried out everywhere, with the usual amount of fanfare, somehow, it’s not the same thing anymore. But if I’m given the chance to relive those moments again exactly as I remember it, I’d do it in a heartbeat, warts and all…

Selamat Hari Raya Haji and Happy New Year everyone!!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Mission

It’s Christmas and I’m stuck at home playing Pac-Man Rally.

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Didn’t make any plan to go anywhere for the holidays as I have a mission to accomplish - I wanna clean up my backyard which is full of all sorts of overgrowth. From grass to lalang to wild flowers to anak2 pokok kari, it’s literally a jungle out there.

The sight of my unkempt backyard actually scared the hell out of me as I had visions of snakes and all sorts of creepy crawlies setting up home in its midst. I haven’t been able to open the kitchen door all these while for fear of inviting these creatures inside my equally unkempt house.

When my mum came over recently, I got an earful about it every morning before I went to work and another earful when I came home from work. But being true to myself, I didn’t bother to do anything about it while she was here, and never gave any indication or promise to her that I’m gonna deal with it.

Of course, I wanted to get rid of all the mess, but as always, in my own sweet time, in my own sweet way and NOT because she told me to.

Now that she has gone home safely, realization set in and YES, I really gotta do something about it. No more dilly-dallying. I’m not gonna upah the pakcik potong rumput to do the job as I need the exercise ever so badly, so I’d do it myself.

Thus, yesterday, I put on my standard working gear, the oversize khaki cargo pants with holes at the right knee and at the crotch and an old Bon Jovi T-Shirt with streaks of paint all over it, courtesy of an old painting job, and a pair of old BUM boots, and I went right to work.

I had to use sickles and all sorts of tools which name I do not know till this day. The Black & Decker lawn trimmer won’t work on this one, the lalang are even taller than me! Besides I’ve actually gone through at least four of these B&D babies and damaged each one of them due to excessive use. I’m not buying another one.

Before I started, I used a 2 metre long stick to poke through the overgrowth to shoo away whatever creature that might be lurking in there. Having satisfied myself that it’s perfectly safe, I quickly put the sickles to good use and well, whadddaya know, it’s actually not so bad!

Within half an hour I’ve cleared away about a quarter of the backyard. Great, I can actually see the longkang again!

But yet, as always, I couldn’t work for more than half an hour. So, with the mission a quarter accomplished, I retired for the day, feeling itchy all over, and resolved to continue the next day.

And now, the next day, I’m still itchy all over. The darn weeds do this to me every time!

It’s not so scary to go out the back door anymore, but to submit myself to more itch-causing weeds is a little bit daunting. Plus, my back hurts a little bit. And I’ve got scratches on my hands and arms. And I think my fingers are a bit numb. And my shoulders starting to ache big time. And I think it’s gonna rain…..

Suddenly the future looks bleak…. and my a-quarter-accomplished-mission looks more and more like Mission Impossible.

Oh well, maybe I should just stay indoors and play Pac-Man Rally. It’s really quite fun!

Wishing all my Christian friends a very Merry Christmas.

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

There's No Such Thing As The Perfect Boss!!!

When I left my last job in August, I didn’t hand in my resignation letter personally to my then boss. I left it on his table when he wasn’t in the office and he buzzed me about 2 hours later, saying that he saw the letter and accept it with regret.

The reason I didn’t give it to him personally was because I didn’t want to see his expression upon knowing that I’m leaving. Whether it was disappointment or elation, I’d rather not know.

I am actually more inclined to believe that he was over the moon about the whole thing. After all, the biggest procrastinator in the office is finally leaving on her own accord. Wouldn’t that be better than actually biting his nails each time a deadline approaches and I still haven’t finished my task? Of course I normally pull through, with flying vibrant colours if I may say so myself, but not before turning his hair grey with worry.

I did my job well, of that I’m sure, but I usually do it in my own sweet time and in my own sweet way and I don’t really listen to anyone. And that bugs people.

My then boss is the ‘kancheong’ type, always wanting things done in a hurry and always breathing down my neck. I, on the other hand, am the exact opposite. Laidback to the very core, I am the epitome of tardiness.

For that, I believe he was happy that I was leaving. Because that means he can get a new associate, someone more diligent, someone who would toe the line, someone he can command, someone who would listen to his instructions. Someone more, say, robotic.

Which is why I was a bit taken aback when towards the end of my tenure at the firm, he wasn’t talking to me much, and seemed to be avoiding me altogether. I didn’t even get to say goodbye to him on my last day!

Nah…. I don’t believe he’s actually upset about me leaving. Perhaps, he’s just bitter that I didn’t think his firm is good enough for me anymore.

But he got himself a new associate rather quickly so I guess it’s all dandy now. Although…. I happen to have seen some sample of drafting and writing from ‘the Replacement’ and quickly realized that her skills are mediocre at best. Knowing how lousy drafting is my then boss’ pet peeve, I can imagine his frustrations.

But I heard it through the grapevine that the Replacement is also leaving soon. Can’t stand the dragon’s breath perhaps.

As for my new job, so far it’s okay. I’ve heard numerous tales about the boss, but I’m not running away just yet. If it gets bad, I can always leave. I always do. I also do understand that there is no perfect place to work and that there’s no such thing as the perfect boss. I’m not looking for anything perfect because I’m not perfect either. But if I feel unhappy about a certain place and feel that it’s severely lacking in perfection, I often have no doubt about moving on to a better and hopefully perfect one. This firm that I’m with right now is far from perfect, but it is much better than the last one. And because of that, to me, for now, it’s just, well….. perfect!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Cerita Ceriti Renang

Semalam, aku ke Danau Club di Bangi mengiringi anak-anak buah aku ke swimming class. Kakak aku dan suaminya terpaksa menghadiri meeting di Genting Highlands, jadi aku dipertanggungjawabkan membabysit bebudak tu. Seronoknyer tengok diaorg main air.

Aku pun berkeinginan untuk terjun jugak tapi memandangkan ramai pula yang hadir untuk menemankan anak mereka dan masing2 hanya duduk di tepi kolam aje memerhatikan mereka-mereka yang berada di dalam kolam, maka aku agak tersipu2 dan segan untuk memasukkan diri aku ke dalam kolam yang sama. Almaklumlah, takut nanti banyak pulak air yang melimpah keluar dan membasahi mereka semua jika aku buat terjunan duyung sakti aku yang tersohor ini.

Alkisahnyer… aku ni pernah sekali dulu belajar berenang. Tapi tidak habis pulak belajar sebab aku terlalu busy dengan segala aktiviti lain yang kurang berfaedah. Selepas hadir beberapa kelas, aku rasa dan perasan bahawasanya aku sudah agak pandai berenang, jadi aku tidak berapa peduli untuk habiskan kelas aku tu. Dan sejak dari itu, bila saja aku ke air terjun atau kolam renang atau pantai, aku akan sentiasa menunjuk-nunjuk dengan kengkawan aku kononnya aku ni pandai berenang. Kononnyalah….

Heh…Setakat berenang katak tu oklah.

Tapi tak mengapa, jika dibandingkan dengan kengkawan aku yang lain, tahap kebolehan aku dalam sukan renang ini bolehlah dianggap memberangsangkan. Tapi aku cuma boleh bersaing dengan kengkawan aku yang sama-sama berenang katak dengan aku sajalah. Sebab kalau nak berlawan berenang dengan Ian Thorpe, nescaya aku akan mendapat nombor 1 dari belakang.

Dalam beberapa bulan kebelakangan ni, aku kerap juga ke pantai. Bukan ke pantai Cahaya Bulan atau Telok Cempedak atau Cherating atau Cenang atau mana-mana pantai yang berbunyi ce ce ce dan diiktiraf cantik-cantik belaka. Aku cuma ke Port Dickson yang selama ini dikutuk ramai sebagai antara pantai rekreasi yang terkotor di Malaysia. Tapi, aku tak le pergi ke tempat yang memang sah kotor. Sebab aku dah selalu ke sana, aku tau yang mana kotor dan yang mana kurang kotor… Pantai kegemaran aku, Telok Kemang. Dan hotel kegemaran aku, Guoman. Ha.. kalau nak ke PD, pilihlah tempat ini, nescaya anda akan berpuas hati.

Kenapa aku suka ke pantai? Sebab bila aku mengapungkan diri aku selama berjam-jam di dalam air dan dibuai-buai ombak aku terasa seolah-olah aku tiada berat badan.. hehehe ..

Berbalik kepada kisah anak-anak buah aku yang belajar berenang, aku rasa aku pun nak ikut sama belajar semula. Sebab dah ternyata kehandalan aku memang ada tolok bandingannya.

Jadi, aku ingin memahirkan diri aku supaya aku boleh menunjuk-nunjuk lagi dengan jayanya kepada kengkawan aku. Itulah objektif utama aku. Untuk berlagak semata-mata.

Lagipun, berenang ini adalah suatu aktiviti fizikal yang baik untuk seluruh tubuh. Jadi kalau aku serius belajar berenang, bukan sahaja aku boleh menunjuk-nunjuk kehandalan aku, malah aku juga mungkin akan berjaya mencapai suatu berat badan yang ideal. Kiranya, aku akan membunuh dua burung dengan satu batu (Kill 2 birds with 1 stone). Kan baik gitu!!

Setakat ini dulu entry aku untuk kali ini. Kepada yang tertanya-tanya kenapa aku menulis dalam B.M kali ni, tak ada apa-apa misteri yang perlu diperjelaskan. Dah malam ini mood aku nak tulis dalam B.M., aku tulis jelah… Tapi perlu aku tekankan bahawa ini bukanlah suatu perkara yang aku mungkin akan ulangi lagi dalam masa-masa terdekat ini. Ini cuma sesuatu yang berlaku sekali dalam suatu bulan biru.

Aku tidak punya kemahiran berbahasa berbunga-bunga dan puitis macam sesetengah orang. Malah, penggunaan nahu dan tatabahasa aku memang akan memalukan Cikgu Sopiah selaku guru BM aku di sekolah menengah dulu. Oleh itu, aku cuma menulis dalam bahasa pasar dan bahasa rojak dan berharap pihak-pihak yang berwajib tidak akan menyaman aku kerana mencemarkan bahasa ibunda kita ini.

Dan oh... alangkah bahagianya aku kerana Cikgu Sopiah kini sudah tidak boleh mengetuk kepala aku dengan cincin zamrudnya yang bertaraf antarabangsa itu setiap kali aku membuat kesalahan tatabahasa...

Selamat malam!!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Pointless To Ponder

I had a conversation with a certain pakcik recently who was really long-winded and naggy. Thankfully, neither I nor anything I did was the subject matter of his naggings, but I was after all, at the receiving end of that endless yakkety-yak, so it was rather painful to bear nonetheless.

The guy talked about everything from the delayed response he received on his transaction to the bureaucratic nonsense that we all have to deal with in our daily working life to the political instability in Iraq and to his cousin’s sons who are down with chicken pox.

I tried repeatedly to end the conversation but all the usual tricks didn’t work with this guy. As he is a nice elderly gentleman, I couldn’t possibly tell him off. So I had to pretend to listen, giving a few ooohs, and aahhs and Really?s every now and then at the appropriate pause.

The conversation ended in what seemed like an eternity and I wondered how much of all that really registered in my brain.

He reminded me of many many other people, my mother being one, who are in the habit of yapping away pointlessly, oblivious to the state of the listener’s mind.

My mom, bless her, whom I love very very much, have the same annoying habit (well, okayyy,… I know I am kinda long-winded too so I guess I take after her). She in particular likes to renew old acquaintances and find long lost relatives, and at the very slightest manifestation of interest on my part about someone related to us, she would go into this long narrative of who’s related to whom and so on. Example:

Me : Mum, last night while out with a coupla friends, I met this guy who said he’s the grandson of A.
Mum : A’s grandson? Who’s son is he?
Me : B
Mum : Oh….. B, who married C, right?
Me : I don’t know Mum, I only know A.
Mum : Yea…. B married C. C is the daughter of D. D is a cousin to E. E married F. F and G are brothers. G’s sister then married H’s son, and their son, I married J who is the daughter of K. K and L are best friends. L married my cousin M and had two sons N and O. O has an adopted daughter named P who is now in the same college with your auntie Q’s son, R who is going to marry S and who is a student of T. T married ……..
Me : Z Z Z Z Z Z Z….

I guess as you get older, you tend to have more pointless things to say. I hope, when and if I ever come to this stage, I know enough to stop talking at the appropriate time instead of boring the crap out of everyone in my presence who may be too polite to tell me to shut my gob.

But then again, am I not doing the same thing in this blog, going on and on and on about nothing whatsoever like I’m doing now?

OMG, I’m already there….

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Call Before You Come, OK!

If you are going to someone’s house, would you call them up and say you’re coming or would you simply show up at the front gate?

Back in the kampung, it’s probably normal to just show up anytime you fancy. Life is simpler there. Besides, if you make an appointment to visit, the hosts would probably say you’re being haughty.

But here in the city, in this day and age, is it appropriate to come unannounced? I don’t think so.

Someone came to my house recently, unannounced obviously (why else would I be bringing this up then?). My car was in the driveway but I wasn’t at home. I took a walk to Carrefour across the street to buy dinner ( I don’t cook, u see) and did not bring my cell phone. Didn’t bother to because it’s just 2 minutes away on foot… I’d be back in 20 minutes tops.

This person came by at such an inopportune moment, rang my bell and when I didn’t appear, called both my fixed line and my mobile. I couldn’t be reached of course, for reasons stated above. My neighbour told her where I went and asked her to wait a while. She didn't.

She just left, sobbing all the way to Shah Alam I was told, because I did not open the door…. What the …???????

Needless to say, I had to bear some serious whining the next day (and for many many days after), about how inhospitable I was, how rude of me et cetera et cetera.

And needless to say too, I refused to apologize as I DIDN’T DO ANYTHING WRONG!!!

And you know… there's this little thingy called the telephone…….
CALL ME before you leave YOUR house!!!
BOOK ME before I leave MY house!!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Victims or Perpetrators?

Last Friday, the nation was shocked to hear the news of the 3 children who were poisoned, allegedly by their parents, who then attempted suicide but failed miserably landing them in even hotter soup than they were in before the incident.

People are talking about it everywhere, in coffee-shops, offices, homes and business meetings even. Many viewers actually cried buckets watching clips of the children’s grandmother, Madam Wong tearfully telling the reporters of her woes as she tried to claim the children’s bodies for burial.

In the aftermath of the incident, reports has been carried out of the many details thereof, some factual, some speculative. But while it generated sympathies to the children, which I think is expected, the reports also generated sympathies to the parents who, unless the police investigation or court hearing shows otherwise, had committed (allegedly, of course) the most heineous crime – killing their own children!!!

I know I am probably being sub judice here to judge the parents before they are properly charged or convicted of the offence, but hey, I’ve read reports that say the father actually admitted to reporters to having poisoned the kids and he has no regrets about it. Read it here. Hello????

Loan sharks are a menace. We all know that. Beatings, kidnapping, these are but a few instances of things they would do to get their money back. It has been going on for years. Aside from the measly amendment to the Moneylenders Act a few years back, which caused considerable hardship to legitimate moneylenders while the illegal or crooked ones who couldn’t care less about the law is totally unaffected, nothing else had been done by the authorities to rid us all of this menace.

Loan sharks flourish because people need money. Banks and Finance Companies have strict approval mechanism. An ordinary street peddler in dire need of cold hard cash would find these institutions very very cold to their plight. Hence, the loan sharks look mighty attractive to these desperate hands.

Understandably, having landed themselves in very precarious situation, it is a burden too much for them to shoulder. Killing themselves may end the miseries for them but it will create problems for the ones they left behind. But killing their family, for whatever reasons, is totally and wholly unjustified.

Many people look at the couple as the victims. Some even sympathized with them wholeheartedly and said they have no choice but to do what they did.

Excuse me, they have no choice but to poison their kids???

The innocent children are the victims. And unless the investigations say otherwise, the parents are the perpetrators, the killers, the murderers. Let us not mistake that. Let us give sympathies where sympathies are due.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Whistle-Crazy Guards

On weekends, the security guards at Carrefour near my house go whistle-crazy.

I understand that when a traffic policeman blows the whistle while manning the traffic, it means, go, or stop, or this way etc, depending on the situation. This is usually done when he needs us to move or stop on his instructions, and not to follow the traffic lights. We can always tell what to do based on his hand gestures. The whistle functions only to draw our attention away from the traffic lights and on to him instead. It has no other function.

In a parking lot at a hypermarket on a crowded shopping day, a security guard may use the whistle to draw would be shoppers to certain parts of the parking lots, the vacant parts I’d imagine. For example, if the sign shows ‘go left’, he may want to direct you to go right, so the whistle goes “Preeeet!!” and you oblige. Or, if you are stupid enough to park on the trolley lane, or callous enough to park on a handicapped parking bay, then the whistle would go “Preeet!!!” again to shoo you away, and rightly so.

Now, what I don’t understand is, when a security guard is standing at the entrance to the parking area, and there is only one route going in from that entrance, what would the function of the whistle be? Here is this Pak guard standing there happily blowing his whistle away ordering everybody to go this way, when in fact everybody can only go in this way anyway, with or without him!

And on the other side, the exit point, same thing, the Mak guard stands by the exit, full of authority, blowing her whistle away like there’s no tomorrow, telling everybody on their way out to go out through this exit she’s guarding, eventhough that’s what everybody is already doing.

I don’t see the point of it all. Why would they man traffic that doesn’t need manning and give directions that nobody needs? It’s a waste of resources methinks.

Not to mention the pain in my ears everytime I hear those whistles go “Preeettttt!!!” here and “Preeettt!!!” there.

And the intensity by which they blow their whistles is another matter. It’s like “Preeet! Preeet! Preeet! Preeet!..... ” in every single second for as long as they can muster. You can get the same results if you give the whistles to monkeys.

It is pure noise of the ear-splitting kind.

Damn, I hate those whistle-crazy buggers.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Typhoon Durian

Typhoon Durian hit Philippines yesterday and the fatalities recorded are at least 109. Another disaster to hit the region and our heart goes out to our fellow human beings in sufferering. My condolences to the victims and their families.

That aside, are they naming typhoons after fruits now? Far as I know, all these tropical storms are always named after people, particularly women, presumably because of the mood swing (allegedly) thingy, until some women association or something made a big deal out of it, after which they have been naming those storms equally after men and women.

Or is durian a name in the Philippines? Or is there another meaning for durian in Tagalog?

Be that as it may, and with all due respect to the victims and the families of victims of any typhoons all over the world.... without any malicious intention whatsoever, I am actually keeping a lookout for Typhoon Sue, if there's ever gonna be one. Hope they'll be none though, I don't wanna wish disaster unto anyone.