Monday, January 29, 2007

My Little Fishes

This morning when I came down to go to work, I noticed that my 2 little parrot fishes were swimming about extra-excitedly in their tank upon seeing me. My initial thought of amusement immediately turned to horror as I realized that I haven’t fed them in a week!

The poor babies,.. no wonder they haven’t grown an inch since I bought them 2 years ago!!

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Feeding pet fishes is a very enjoyable experience, at least it is for me. I have always loved seeing my fishes rise to the surface and pick at their food. I can actually spend hours looking at them swimming around happily. In the past, I’ve had many other types of fishes in my tank, oscars, barbs, carps, gouramis, kalois, and many others. I once had a palm size Indonesian kaloi which was a bit on the garang side. Everytime I feed them fishes, the kaloi would chase away all the smaller ones and enjoyed the food all by himself. The others were then left to pick at the leftovers only after he’s finished. What a jerk!

One fine week, I was so busy with other stuff that I forgot to feed the fishes for days. When I came to, I noticed that the ‘ikan bandaran’ were missing and upon further investigation by the CSI team and upon discovering bone fragments at the bottom of the tank, I came to the conclusion that the Indon kaloi must have eaten the unlucky sods!

Even in an enclosed, protected, pollution controlled environment, survival of the fittest is the name of the game. Crocs rules… err… kaloi rules!

And the next day, the kaloi died…….

My friends asked me, “Why did he die? You didn’t feed him meh?”

“No lah…. Dia tercekik tulang …..”

My current pet fishes are parrot cichlid. These are mild mannered cutesy type fishes that can be entertaining but are not dramatic.

I’m all for drama, so I’m thinking of getting some new ones soon, perhaps the interactive and aggressive oscar who would chase everyone who cross his path, or the timorous gouramis who would run away from everything and everyone, or the even little tiger barbs who swim in groups and gossip about the others. This would add a little twist to the current mundane life in aqualand. Perhaps then, I’ll be more rajin to feed them fishes and alleviate the dangers of famine hitting the area.

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- The Oscars -

Speaking of new pets, I have been thinking of getting myself another pet, possibly one of those fluffy furry longhaired type cats. Ever since Jambu, my favourite and most adorable cat died many many years ago, I’ve never really had a replacement till now. Now, obviously the wound has healed, but somehow, having a cat (not owning, nobody owns a cat) is not a simple enough decision for me to make. It’s much like having babies methinks. You have to prepare yourself mentally and physically. Patience, discipline and understanding are key requirements, and which I have nada.

Sad to say, if I can’t even feed my fishes, whose aquarium I pass by everyday at home, and who are the easiest pet to keep, how can I expect to feed the ‘science plan’ to my expensive furry friend, take him for regular medical check-ups and vaccinations, provide enough scratchy posts so he doesn’t scratch my sofa down to the skeleton, take out his crap and clean up the litter box every day?

I shudder to think that my already unkempt house would stink to high heaven if I keep a cat at home. But then again, they are soooo cute, how can I resist?

(Okay...so this is a post about my fishes, so I'm not putting any pix of any cat out of respect to them)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The NST Lawsuit

Much has been discussed throughout cyberspace lately about the suit by NST against 2 very prominent bloggers, Jeff Ooi of Screenshots and Rocky of Rocky’s Bru. For those who have been living under tempurung kelapa or otherwise not familiar with the going-ons in blogosphere, these 2 bloggers were recently slapped with a defamation lawsuit by the New Straits Times Press for some articles they posted on their respective blogs. They were served with the court papers sometime last week and are now in the process of preparing their defence.

Through a united front called Bloggers United, Jeff, Rocky and like-minded individuals are garnering support from the masses towards their current predicament. Following some generous offers of financial assistance from sympathetic readers and fellow bloggers, a fund is being set-up to help these 2 guys face the legal battle.

A visit to their blogs and many similar ones would reveal that these bloggers have quite an impressive following and are in my opinion, very influential people in their own right. Thus it is not surprising to see that many of their readers buy everything they say, hook, line and sinker.

I have to admit, I read their blogs religiously myself. But I’ve always been a bit of a sceptic about everything and so I don’t believe everything I read, even if it is as convincing as Jeff’s and Rocky’s postings.

I am all for freedom of speech. But I also believe that there is a limit to that. One cannot go around calling other people liars, crooks and scoundrels and commit character assassination all under the pretext of freedom of speech. The law does not protect those who choose to smear another person’s reputation without any justification.

Having said that, I must state that I do not know whether Jeff and Rocky were telling the whole truth all along or not. Their postings on the mismanagement of this country and various related topics were always hard-hitting and bold. Yet, on many occasions, I found that the information they supplied sounded more like hearsay than fact.

Nonetheless, it is obvious from the comments left by some readers at the blogs that whatever information posted on their sites are almost always taken as the absolute truth.

It is said that the NST is a mere vessel of the powers-that-be to silence the critics, in particular, the loud unflinching voice of dissent that are Jeff’s and Rocky’s. Whether or not this is true, I have no idea. In the popular assumption that it is accurate, the suit is interpreted to be an attempt at censorship and a tactical manouvre to remove undesired elements reminiscent of the Anwar Ibrahim’s Reformasi era.

Hence, when news about the legal action spread and was given a few dramatic spin by fellow bloggers, many excitable followers readily joined in the hoopla shouting anti-establishment slogans and freedom of speech rhetorics. Sadly, some do so blindly without even knowing what the fight is all about.

I may not agree with their views all the time but I’d like to think that Jeff and Rocky are responsible journalists, that what they have written on their blogs are the cold hard truth. While bloggers like me write about what’s on the radio and bitch about our bosses, Jeff and Rocky write about important stuff and things that really matter, fact or fiction notwithstanding.

That said, they are nevertheless accountable for whatever they have written thus far. Even in the States, the land of free speech and topless sun-bathing, a blogger was recently sued for revealing her illicit affairs with various powerful men at Capitol Hill. She lost the case, and she wasn’t even telling lies!

So, for Jeff and Rocky, I wish them well, I wish them luck.

As for the rest of us, the bloggerhood is suddenly abuzz with the realization that we are all accountable for everything we say in cyberspace. And it’s scary. For quite some time now, the internet is considered a haven for free speech. Say what you like, do what you like. You are untouchable.

Well, not anymore, so bloggers beware!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Tired and Cranky

I’m tired and I’m positively cranky. Went for a meeting at a client’s office today and was stuck in it for 3 solid hours. My boss, whom I went with, excused himself right in the middle of it all as he had another appointment. He took off leaving me to come back to my office on my own over an hour later, carrying his stuff. What a gentleman!

It was a mere 15 minutes walk back to my office and I resisted the urge to be ever so mengada-ngada to hail a cab for this short distance. After all, people always say that a short walk is a good time to think and reflect on things. But then again, when one has to carry a thick and heavy file together with the boss’ things on a hot sunny afternoon, not to mention doing it on an empty stomach, one tends not to enjoy a quiet peaceful stroll while contemplating the wonders of life.

I’m always at my worst when I’m hungry. And today, having missed lunch, I am absofreakinglutely not in the mood to do anything. I have just briefed my boss about what happened at the meeting after he left (I left out that part about how I cursed him every step of the way back to my office) and gotten his instructions to write an opinion letter on the matter.

And now, I’m brooding in my office, mulling over whether I should look into the issues raised at the meeting or to draft the opinion letter right away, or to draft the agreement that my other client wants to sign so badly or to prepare the opinion that another client needs to see pronto or to write that letter to the government agency that another client wishes to deal with.

Having faced with the various options, all needing my urgent attention and swift action, I did the single most obvious thing…... I blog.

HAH!

Monday, January 15, 2007

PTUI!!!!

Not too long ago, a fellow blogger, The Blueberry wrote a piece about the idiocy of the current Mix.Fm morning show presenters, Pietro, Ika & Serena C, in particular, their “What’s In Serena C’s Mouth” segment and demanded the return of Richard Ng & Shazmin. I wholeheartedly agree with her on that.

This morning, I tuned in to Mix.Fm to check on how things are doing and the 3 nincompoops were right in the middle of that stupid segment. The clues given to callers to guess the item were; No. 1- it belongs to Pietro, and No. 2- It stinks!

Well, no reward for you for guessing it right though.

It was indeed, a sock. Euwwww!

And as Pietro so eloquently put it, one which he wore since Friday….. Euwwww Euwwwww!!!!

Nevermind if they were just playing their part and didn’t actually do it. People actually do get mental images from what they listen to, you know. And I can’t get rid of the image of this stupid girl with some stinky sock in her mouth. I can’t even have breakfast today because of the yucky visual they put in my head.

Gross… PTUI!

Friday, January 12, 2007

B. O.

The cleaner at my office just came in my room for 2 seconds just now to pick up my trash and she left a trail of foul air in her wake, and the smell didn’t come from the trash!

The air-con vent in here isn’t powerful enough to circulate the air swiftly so I would have to endure the odour for a while till it dissipates.

I don’t mean to be rude or mean, but people with B.O. bugs me, BIG TIME!

At the movies last night, I had the displeasure of sitting next to a man who smelled as if he hasn’t bathed in a week. It was a rather full house so I couldn’t get up and find another seat. I ended up being robbed of clean air all through the movie and the strong smell damned near gave me migraine. Such torture! Lucky for me, I had in my purse a small bottle of the ever so useful minyak cap kapak, so I kept putting drops of it on my temple to keep the headache away, and dabbled a little bit near my nose to mask whatever foul smell invading my nostrils.

And the smelly guy sitting next to me had the audacity to give me a weird look every now and then as if the smell of the minyak cap kapak bothered him! Huh!!

It is a known fact that you can’t smell your own body odour. Thus, these people may not know that they reek. They can be professionals and high-achievers, men or women alike, with expensive clothes and elaborate style, but if they don’t know how to take care of themselves, they’ll smell just like the cleaner (whose smell still lingers in the air I breathe as I’m writing this).

I myself don’t know if I ever had this problem. I take regular showers everyday, wear only fresh clothes, and use deodorants and perfumes, but if I still do smell bad despite all that, I wouldn’t know of it unless someone tells me. But so far nobody has, and I’ve never seen anyone sniff when I sit next to them, or pretend to have a headache in order to put on minyak cap kapak to their noses, so I take it as a good sign.

I can’t help feeling self-conscious though, especially on days when I sweat a lot, like on the day I decided to walk to my office… It’s days like that when I do weird things like having a sponge bath in the ladies room to get rid of the sweat and putting on an extra dose of perfume that ended up giving me migraine the whole day.

I’m pretty sure I’m ok today though (and every day, for that matter).

And it’s Friday, so tomorrow could be the cleaner’s laundry day, at least I hope so, and if I’m right, I look forward to an odourless Monday next week!

Till then, have a good weekend.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Liar Liar

I have a friend who, throughout uni days, was a compulsive and habitual liar. She lied about everything under the sun, from everyday simple things to the most crucial bit of information. Any news she relayed were always prone to exaggeration and any story she told were more often than not, a fabricated tale of the utmost proportion.

Some of us referred to her as the big fat liar, literally. How sad!

It’s amazing how she would lie about the most insignificant thing. A simple chit-chat about nothing would be a gallery of some sort for some of her fabricated infos. None of us could fathom why she needed to lie so much, in particular, why she needed to lie about things that didn’t matter.

Once, while we were all comparing driving licenses, she stated that hers was under review because she didn’t renew it upon expiry.

Duh!!!

There is no such thing in Malaysia at the material time ( I don’t know about now, what with the P licence and all) but I did remember an episode of a certain American TV sitcom where the lead male character had his license reviewed for failure to renew it in time. Perhaps she got the idea there.

Another time, this dear friend of mine underwent a minor procedure for something to do with her anus (LOL), and she happily told everyone about the time when the surgeon showed off her condition to a couple of interns and they discussed it. The thing was, the procedure was done at a private hospital in KL…
No. (1) private hospitals are NOT teaching hospitals. They don’t teach, they don’t train, they just do.
No. (2) there are no interns in Malaysia. Medical students are called medical students, trainee doctors are called houseman. Internship is an American thing!
No.(3) there are NO med-students or houseman in private hospitals!!!
Of course, interns in hospitals are a concept shown to us widely in all American medical TV shows.

Another time, while a few of us were by the roadside, she was showing off her ‘knowledge’ about cars and machines when an old car passed by going ‘gek-gek-gek’ and she confidently pointed out that it needed water…. Heh.

Those are just a couple of examples that I can recall at the spur of the moment. But I do remember there being many more of similar lies.

I don’t understand why it mattered enough to her to have to lie about these. In fact, till now, I still can’t understand how having a bunch of people look and point at your anus would be a cool story to tell people!!!

Now, many many years later, we don’t really keep in touch anymore. But, knowing that she have a good job and is on her way to the top, I would’ve thought that she’d mature up. That lying is a thing of the past. That even if she does tell a little white lie every now and then (who doesn’t?), there’s always a good excuse for it. Most importantly, that lying is no longer a habit.

But I was wrong. Recently, I discovered by chance that she lied about something (a lie that was pretty harmless if you ask me) and when I contacted her about it, jokingly, just to tease, as old friends would, she told me this cock-and-bull story to explain that she didn’t do it.

I was astounded that she would lie about lying!!

But I let her have her peace of mind. I let her believe that I believed her. I didn’t lie to her myself but I didn’t tell her the truth either.

After that last telephone conversation with her, I felt so sad. I couldn’t stop thinking about it and was so disturbed that she is still that same childish insecure little girl who needed to lie to feel better about herself.

She was and still is my friend and I still do value that friendship even though we haven’t seen each other in over 5 years. I do wish there’s something I could do to make her snap out of it. The thing is, I don’t know how to break it to her, how to tell her that she have a reputation as a liar, that nobody ever believe anything she said unless they hear a second opinion from someone else, that people laugh at her behind her back…

I’m sad that she hasn’t changed a bit. Worse, I’m sad that I didn’t have the courage to tell her the truth.

I wish I am a better friend.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Of Exercise and Execution

On New Year’s Day, I woke up with a firm resolution; I gotta exercise more this year. I’ve been living a sedentary lifestyle all this while and now I think I should do something about my health before it becomes an issue.

Thus, on the first working day of the new year, I decided to take the LRT and walk to office from the station. I knew that it was going to take me about half an hour to walk there but I thought it was a piece of cake. An early morning walk should be a breeze. I suppose it did me good, but I was soaked in sweat by the time I reached my office. Should’ve brought along a spare blouse to change into. (I put it down to bad planning)

Anyway, after work, I had to walk back to the station and this is where I decided I’ve over-estimated myself. The half an hour walk after an exhausting day at the office sure put a damper on my spirits, not to mention, bunions on my soles!

Enough is enough; I think I’ll find another way to exercise. I’m still not willing to wake up early on weekends just to jog around the block or to actually make use of the one exercise machine that I still have at home (My mum took the cycling machine back to Alor Setar and I’m left with the boring, unimaginative stepper, perrghhhh!!!!).

I’m very certain that joining a gym is not a good idea for me. Knowing what an undisciplined bum I am, I know it’s gonna be a big waste of money if I were to do that! Guess I’ll have to figure something out then. I’ll sleep on it (not literally I hope!).

On another note, after resisting the urge, I’ve finally viewed Saddam Hussein’s execution video, the unofficial one I mean. I was actually sick to my stomach watching it.

I caught the news and the official video of the execution on cnn.com a few hours after it was done. Felt a little bit upset that he was executed so swiftly after his appeal was rejected and on a holy day, the Aidil Adha. Then I read about the tauntings he received by the executioners at his final moments and their celebratory mood after it was done. I felt sad that my Muslim brothers could behave this way.

Saddam was a man defeated. He had fallen from grace. And he was facing his Maker. No matter what crimes and atrocities he committed in the past, he was our fellow Muslim and his passing should be solemn and respectful. We can all take lessons from his fate, that a tyrant, no matter how powerful and feared he may be in his prime, will eventually fall from glory and have his comeuppance, in this life or the next, and his once tortured opponents will have their day. But to dance and celebrate his death as his dead body was still hanging by the neck is totally unbecoming.

It’s amazing that Shiites and Sunnis are almost like 2 different religions. Why can’t all Muslims unite? You can love Saddam or hate him, it is an individual choice, but treating a dying or dead man with respect is an Islamic teaching, no matter what sect it is, tyrant or saint notwithstanding. I guess they all forgot that.

That aside, I’ve always thought that the idea of lynching or hanging someone by the neck is to cause him to die of strangulation. Thus, when I first saw the official video I thought it was odd that the noose was not placed properly with the base squarely on Saddam’s neck. It was odder still that they placed a piece of cloth around his neck where the noose was to be placed. I wondered how he can be choked properly if his skin is covered.

Then, when I saw the unofficial video of the execution with the image of him hanging by the back of his neck instead of by his throat, I finally knew that the idea was to break his neck and not to strangulate him. With that, I understood that his death was instantaneous. He did not slowly choke to death while the people around him danced and cheered. He did not see all that. And I’m glad he didn’t.