Wednesday, June 27, 2007

It's Nice Not To Be Nice

I was at a colleague’s house for lunch one day and was quite pleasantly surprised that she had prepared laksa all on her own despite once claiming to be allergic to kitchens. The nice surprise was shortlived however, as, upon being served with the day’s special, I quickly discovered that her so-called allergy to kitchens are not without merit. The laksa was tasteless to say the least. The gravy was so thin you can literally take a bath in it and still come out looking pretty clean.

She seemed to be quite proud of it and I knew she tried, so I didn’t give her a hard time about it. But another friend who came along started giving her compliments after compliments, “This is so delicious!”, “I didn’t know you can cook so well”, “Can you give me the recipe”, etc etc. And all this she said without a hint of sarcasm.

I nearly choked. I couldn’t very well give similar compliments because it’s not true. But on the other hand, I couldn’t tell the truth either and burst her bubble. There was no correct way to tell her that her cooking sucks. Besides, I didn’t know her all that well to be so upfront with her like that. So, I kept quiet and continued chewing on what I could only describe as white noodles served with tap water sprinkled with lime and salt.

What bothered me though, was my other friend who was giving her compliments that she didn’t deserve. Yeah, maybe my friend was just being nice. But did she have to lie in order to be nice?

This reminds me of those scenes in so many TV shows where the men were faced with the dreaded question of “Do you think I look fat in this?” or any variation thereto. I have always thought that you should tell the truth, no matter what. But if the truth may not be pleasant, then it’s nice not say anything at all. Of course, some men out there might beg to differ in this. They have their reasons I’m sure.

As for me, my compliments are hard to come by. Not that I’m very hard to please, it’s just that, in most circumstances, when I don’t like something, I can’t pretend that I do. I can restrain myself from being nasty but I cannot, for the life of me, fake niceness.

If I give you a compliment, for whatever reason, trust me, it’s sincere and came straight from the heart. But if you are expecting one, and I said nothing, please don’t get angry. Perhaps I was just being nice to you.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Wiki-Groaning

I have absolutely no idea what to write. So until I do find something to rant about, I'll just have to share some infos I got off the net.
I have always been a big fan of Wikipedia, not that I believe every word in it, but in that it always have enough information for whatever purposes I had in mind. So, when I found an interesting article about it in Wall Street Journal, it does open my eyes a little bit more on the usefulness of the site. But, for whatever reasons, I still find Wikipedia a fantastic source of information, even if it's priority is a bit muddled. After all, I'm not using it to write a thesis or something, so it doesn't really matter. Here's the article:-



Oh, That John Locke
By JAMIN BROPHY-WARREN
June 16, 2007; Page P3 The Wall Street Journal

There's a new sport on the Internet: competing to come up with the best examples of how Wikipedia, the Web's home-grown reference source, is skewed towards pop-culture topics. For instance, the West Wing of the White House merits a 1,100-word entry on Wikipedia, while "The West Wing," the Aaron Sorkin TV drama, has an 6,800-word write-up. This game already has a name: "Wiki-groaning." The term appears to have been coined by Jon Hendren, a 23-year-old living in San Jose, Calif., who wrote about it on humor Web site SomethingAwful.com after playing the game with friends online. Below, some notable comparisons, with their Wikipedia word-counts. -- Jamin Brophy-Warren


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Here are more comparisons:-
West Wing, White House (1,000) -vs- "The West Wing," television series (6,700)

The Harlem Renaissance (1,300) -vs- The Harlem Globetrotters (1,900)
Miles Davis, jazz musician (6,000) -vs- Miles 'Tails' Prowler, sidekick of video game hero Sonic the Hedgehog (6,300)
Charles William Eliot, pioneering president of Harvard University (3,000) -vs- Albus Dumbledore, headmaster of Hogwarts school, 'Harry Potter' series (5,200)
Steam engine (7,300) -vs- Lightsaber, fictional weapon from "Star Wars" (10,000)

Apollo 13, space mission (3,900) -vs- "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" (6,700)
Cecil B. DeMille (1,300) -vs- Russ Meyer (3,500)
"Annie Hall" (2,500) -vs- "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back" (5,200)
Poker (1,400) -vs- Magic: The Gathering, fantasy card game (7,800)

V.S. Naipaul, Nobel prize-winning author (1,500) -vs- J.K. Rowling (4,000)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Let's Talk About Me


I have been called self-absorbed yet again. This time, by someone very dear to me. What is it about me that make people want to throw that kind of accusation at my face every so often?

I asked that someone to elaborate and here’s what I got; I am a human being that doesn’t really care about what goes on with other people. If anyone talks to me about something, I would always somehow manage to make it all about myself. As far as I’m concerned, life is all about Me, Me, and Me, nobody else matters.

Really, ah? That's me? I didn’t realize that.

Let’s see. In my last posting, I wrote something in conjunction with Father’s Day, so it was supposedly for my father, but I ended up talking about myself the entire time. HOW SELF-ABSORBED IS THAT?

Okay, okay. I get it. I am self-absorbed. Say whatever you want.

A quick check on the net shows that a self-absorbed person is one who does things “primarily for his/her own benefit, puts his/her feelings first, can't do anything when he/she doesn't feel good, swayed by his/her emotions, more concerned with himself/herself than others, prefers personal glory over team victories, pleasure seeker, uses his/her looks to get what he/she want, gets angry when he/she doesn't get what he/she wants, dramatizes his/her suffering, wealth seeking, superficial, manipulative and narcissistic”.

WHAT? That is so untrue. I’m pretty sure I don’t use my looks to get what I want.

:)

On the flip side, it’s good that I’m self-absorbed. Because if I’m not, I wouldn’t care if someone thinks I don’t give a damn. As it is, I care about people thinking I don’t care so I try to care about things that need caring and hope that people care to notice that I do care, even if I only care about it in order to get you to start thinking that I care. Am I making sense?

Maybe after I finish talking about myself in this blog and in other blogs, I’ll start thinking about how to make Me, Me, and Me a better and more caring human being. And after that, I’ll talk for about an hour about how caring I really am.

Till then. Take care!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day

When I was 2 years old, my dad died. It was sudden, it was shocking, it was totally unexpected. He was, after all, in the prime of his life, and nobody in their right mind would think that he would leave so soon. And everybody who knew him got the shock of their lives that day.

To this day, we never know what caused his death. Some say it was a heart attack, others say it was something else, but one thing was certain, he was fit as a fiddle hours before his passing. My sister the doctor remembered most events leading up to it and concluded from the massive headache he reportedly had, that it was brain aneurysm.

Even so, we can never be sure, but I suppose the posthumous diagnosis would provide closure to some of us.

As for me, I am indifferent to the whole thing. It is not as if I am uncaring, nor heartless, but realistically, I don’t remember my dad at all. If it wasn’t for the many pictures of him that we have all over the house, I wouldn’t even know what he looked like.

I was told that when my dad’s body was laid on the bed before being prepared for the burial I actually climbed up and lied next to him. I guess I must’ve been wondering why everyone was watching him sleep.

In the days following the funeral, I waited by the front gate in the evenings when he usually came home from work. This went on for weeks until I finally stopped waiting. I guess this was the time when I finally forgot all about him.

In the years that followed, I was always told by my family that we all love him and miss him and I echoed that sentiment whenever questions about him were asked of me.

Later, much later, when I was old enough to figure things out on my own, I realized that I did not miss him at all. How can you miss someone you can’t even remember? How can you love someone you never knew?

Perhaps I did love him as a 2 year old, but that feeling must’ve diminished when I eventually forgot about him. My family put the idea of me loving him and missing him in my head when I was a kid and it remained there for as long as I couldn’t figure things out on my own.

Growing up without a dad, but with 2 older sisters and 2 older brothers who doted on me, I never had the time to be jealous of my friends who had one. But when I was in school, I resented every assumption that people make about a kid without a father.

I remember once, back when I was in Standard 4, a few days before the Raya holidays, a teacher called me and a bunch of other students to the headmistress’ office. There, the HM gave duit raya to the students who have lost their fathers. It is customary for people to give duit raya especially to anak yatim, so I took it without a second thought. It was after all, just duit raya. Then back in the classroom, when my friends found out about it, they got all sympathetic and started giving me money. What’s up with that?

My pride was hurt, my ego bruised, I refused to take their money and I threw a bit of a tantrum if I remember correctly. It’s true my dad died, but that was years before, and we didn’t become a charity case upon his demise. In fact I think we were much better off than some of the kids who wanted to give me money. As if their 20 cents were going to make a difference!

I understand now that they meant well, but sometimes, such display of sympathy is insulting rather than welcomed. Nevertheless, I forgave them for their ignorance.

When I was in Form 1, my English teacher asked us to make cards for Father’s Day. Then, she told us to write our addresses on the envelope so she could mail it out to our dads. I wrote mine to *Batu 2, Tanah Merah, Jalan Masjid, (Poskod and Town). The teacher never knew where the card was sent, or not.

To this day, I don’t really know what fathers should be like as I have no frame of reference to it at all. I see my 2 brothers having different styles and approaches in dealing with their kids, but I know that they’re both good fathers in their own respective ways.

My mum did everything for me. She wasn’t perfect, but she did everything she could to raise her kids. And I think she did a good job considering we all turned up decent (At least, I think I did!).

People always say that you can’t miss what you never had. Well, I did have a dad for the first 2 years, so I suppose I did miss him for a while, but after he was gone, I moved on and I missed him no more.

As for loving him, I cannot say for sure that I do. But if there is someone whom I can love even without knowing or remembering, then that someone must be him. For I’m sure, had he lived, he would’ve loved me no matter what.

Happy Father’s Day dad, wherever you are.


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* Batu 2 refers to the 2 stones at a muslim grave.

Monday, June 11, 2007

F*R*I*E*N*D*S

Friends come and go, they say.

It’s easy to make friends when you were kids. You play together, jump together, laugh together and fight each other. And the next day, you do the same things all over again. No hard feelings.

As adults, things are not quite that simple. If a friend screws you over, chances are, he or she will never be your friend again. Perhaps some of us will somehow find it in their hearts to forgive and forget, but to many of us, we’ll carry grudges to our graves.

Given the fact that human beings come in all shapes, sizes, sounds and styles, it is little wonder that at times, even the best of friends can be at loggerheads. Personalities clash, it’s only human.

But if we let these little spats divide us, we’ll change friends faster than F1 cars change tyres. So, being mature adults that we are, we understand that nobody’s perfect, not even ourselves, and therefore we tolerate each other and we make allowances for our friends’ shortcomings and hope they’ll do the same to us. And then life moves on.

There may however come a time when, no matter how tolerant we have been thus far, our friends may still drive us up the wall on regular basis. That’s when we decide that we can’t take much more of this. And we'll snap.

I know I will. Soon.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

The Weather Is Fine, But I'm Under It


I’m feeling a little bit under the weather, so I’m a wee bit sensitive about everything. The light, the heat, the smell of ciggies at the lobby, the receptionist not greeting me when I came to office just now, my secretary not asking me if I’m feeling better. Everything hurts.

I spent my whole day yesterday lying on my bed, wallowing in self-pity. When I wasn’t knocked out cold from the medicines, I was complaining to myself about everything, how cold the room was, how stuffy my nose was, how my back hurt, how my head throbbed, how my tummy ached, how my mummy hadn’t called to check if I’m okay. That is, till I remembered that it is me who hasn’t called her in 2 months. So I popped another dose of medicines and went back to sleep. Woke up hours later only to complain about the same things all over again. It’s a vicious cycle.

Back at work today with a little bit leftover flu still hanging on. I kinda like how my voice sounds at this point. A little bit nasal, a little bit husky, a little bit rockish if I may say so myself. Makes me feel like I could sing really really well. I guess I’m hallucinating about that.

Hope I'll feel a lot better by noon today since I have to rush off to a meeting in Shah Alam at 2.

And oh, by the way, before I sign off, I wish the happy couple a blessed life together. Amin.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Big Belly

When I was buying mangoes at a Pasar Tani in Hulu Kelang last Saturday, there was a big guy with a very big belly at the same stall. The mango seller’s daughter, fascinated with his super size, innocently asked him,

“Pakcik, pakcik, dalam perut pakcik tu ada baby ke?”

Awkward silence ensued before the stunned mother profusely apologized to the man for her daughter’s outrightness.

“Tak pe…” he said. “Tapi minggu depan saya tak datang lagi le”.

Hehehe. Pakcik dah merajuk dah dik…. Hahahaha.

Aren’t kids the most honest people on earth?