Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Selamat Hari Raya

Ramadhan is almost over. It’s less than a week to go before Aidilfitri is here. Muslims look forward to this special day, for it signifies their victory in resisting temptations for the whole month of Ramadhan.

To some others, the real meaning of Aidilfitri may be lost, but that doesn’t mean the celebration is any less. We all rejoice, visit each other, ask for forgiveness from one another, and we eat all the ketupat and rending on the table. It is a day so meaningful that even those who do not fast and observe Ramadhan can still find a reason to celebrate it at a scale grander than those who do.

Children enjoy it the most I think, donning their colourful baju raya and going from house to house collecting duit raya. I hope parents do not let their young ones wander out too far, for we never know what evil lurks in a corner somewhere.

I will be going back north to my mother’s house in Alor Setar, a quiet unassuming place where cars travel so slow they cause KL drivers to go mad and start waving fingers, until the KLites manage to overtake and discover that it is an octogenarian Atuk who is driving at a pace which is probably just a little bit faster than a turtle jogging in the morning.

Having gotten over the Atuk, you drive further ahead, only to be stopped by a cow crossing the highway, while in a distance a BMW seems to be traversing the padi fields next to the highway at breakneck speed.

Such is the colours of Alor Setar road. One that hasn’t change for many many years and I suspect, will not change anytime soon.

I will be bored out of my skull over there, to be honest. Everything seems to be moving so slowly you’d think you’re in twilight zone or something. Immediately after passing the toll plaza at Alor Setar Utara, the reality sinks in, what with the traffic light at the Jalan Sultanah – Jalan Langgar junction letting only 3 cars go before it turns red again, and the single lane road all the way back to Mum’s place that lets no one overtake. Honking and swearing and waving fingers won’t do you any good here-- the cars in front of you just won’t go any faster. Maybe it’s the Atuk again.

*Sigh*

At least there’s one thing that I can look forward to though —the ketupat and rendang and all the yummylicious food readily available everywhere I go. I’m already smacking my lips at the thought of that!

My nieces and nephews will be expecting, or rather demanding loads of duit raya. The Minah Bakhil that I am, I only give to my nieces and nephews and usually do not give a hoot about other kids visiting my house, be it neighbours or cousins or whomever. Being the youngest child in the family has its advantages-- I can always hide behind my 2 brothers and 2 sisters. Let them give duit raya to all these other kids while I pretend not to notice, unless of course, if my Mum would be ever so vigilant and remind me to do the same, at which point I would have to feign forgetfulness.

“Eh, luckily Mum reminded me, I almost forgot to give duit raya. Here you go little fella”.

..and the child looks at me, almost angrily, “Singgit aje?”

Duh!



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Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri to all Muslimin and Muslimat.

Maaf Zahir & Batin.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Animal Planet

My cats are not scared of dogs. Whenever JD, the next door neighbour’s 2 year old terrier comes out of his house, my 9 months old Mopster would always stealthily walk up to him assuming an attack stance and start hissing. Within seconds, there will be fight between them. Thank goodness for the fence or otherwise someone could really get hurt.

Mopster need only to hear JD bark at the door for her to go crazy inside the house and ask to be let out so she could go and kick JD’s butt.

Funny how Mopster is not at all scared of the bulky and loud 11 kg dog yet is so scared of the sound of the lawn mower 3 doors away that she would scamper away and hide in the bathroom behind the toilet bowl until the sound stops.

Last weekend, as the cats were outside, I heard JD whining and whimpering from behind his front door. I went out to check and found out that not only have my 3 cats climbed over to JD’s territory, they have actually made themselves very comfortable and at home in his kennel!!

No wonder the boy was whining.





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My nephew Nabil wanted a kitten. His mummy said no.

Nabil then asked for a bunny. His mummy said no.

He later asked for hamsters. Again, his mummy said no.

“Oh, man!!” Nabil complained.

One day, his mummy came home from work to find him cleaning, toweling and talking to a polished rock from his garden. Feeling curious, she asked what he was doing.

Nabil answered, “I’m playing with my pet rock!!”.





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I was chatting with Pugly today about lobsters and how they are often cooked/processed while they’re still alive and squirming. It reminded me of the following story:

My nephew Danial and his dad decided to go fishing at a lake in front of their new house. So off they went with their new fishing rods and a boxful of live worms. 15 minutes later, they returned.

My sister asked why.

“When we put the live bait on the hook, it squirmed. It wouldn’t stop. We could almost hear it scream in pain”, my brother-in-law said.

So that was the end of their fishing activity.

And so that's how Danial now has a thriving worm colony in a terrarium sitting prettily on his desk, next to his coca-cola can, and a plate of cookies.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Typhoon Sue, The Beginning

Friends have asked me, why Typhoon Sue?

Gee, I dunno.

I coined the stupid name not long after Hurricane Emily hit Mexico (that was in 2005) followed by Hurricane Katrina in Florida and New Orleans. I guess I was trying to keep in line with current events at the time.

Storm, by any name, spells disaster and it is not one which man can easily overcome. Its raw power invokes awe yet leaves devastation in its wake. Thus, I thought it’s cool to name myself after one of these awesome events. But instead of going by the handle ‘hurricane’, which always remind me of that song Rock You Like A Hurricane, I chose another type of tropical storm, typhoon, which sounded much more uncommon.

And then Sue, being my actual name obviously, well, part of anyway.

So that’s the roundabout explanation on how my moniker came about, more or less. To be honest however, rationalization is often a mere afterthought, and this obviously is.

The actual truth is, the creation of the name was rather accidental in nature. I was just trying to create a new phony email account and the usernames I had in mind were all unavailable. So I just created one stupid name after another, mostly based on my favourite X-Men character Storm, without any thought whatsoever until lo and behold, I found one available variation which eventually evolved to Typhoon Sue).

And the next morning I wondered “What the hell kinda name is that???”.

But I’m stuck with it and I have no wish to go name hunting again. So there you go.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Pull My Finger!!

I was sitting with my nephew Danial the other day when a popping sound came out of nowhere and he sheepishly said, “Sorry!”.

Cheeky fella, that one.

Flatulence, farting, breaking wind or its Malay equivalent ‘kentut’, is a common and normal biological process as common as eating and breathing. To put it another way, one can’t claim to be human if one doesn’t fart.

So you just can’t blame someone for having to expel their bodily gasses wherever they are, but manners dictate that you do it discreetly, and without causing discomfort (or harm, depending on how toxic the gas is) to anyone else.

I’ve heard of a term ‘kentut ubi’ being used by someone from my hometown. I have no idea what type of fart that is but I assume it is one of the smelliest farts produced by eating too much ubi kayu or tapioca.

Must be as potent as those produced by eating baked beans.

That’s not a myth y’know! The Mythbusters of Discovery Channel actually experimented with beans and concluded that eating beans does indeed give you gas. Lots of ‘em. Potent ones too. Very flammable.

So the next time you see someone picking up a can of baked beans from the supermarket aisle, just stay away from them for a while, will ya?

I do not know if there is any other variation like kentut durian or whatever but if you’ve heard of such thing, do let me know.

For yonks, flatulence have been the butt of jokes all around the world. There are fart jokes in TV shows, plays, political speeches and even in academic conferences.

Of course, no comedy film would be complete without ‘em. Remember The Nutty Professor? Or even better, that unforgettable scene by Carmen Electra as the blind woman in a wrong house in Scary Movie 4-- that was hilarious!!

Then there’s the usual prank “Pull my finger!” which we have seen in The Simpsons, Scrubs and countless other TV shows, where the finger works like a switch opening the valve to unleash gas. People never get tired of that it seems.

Farting is funny. No doubt about it. But how funny is it really if someone actually farts in your face and you have to smell the oh-so-nauseating gas?

When I was younger, I did have that ability to just unleash my noxious fumes in front of my friends – sometimes in retaliation to them doing it to me, and sometimes in an imbecilic farting contest. Now however, I find such things repulsive.

Imagine this, gas accumulates in your digestive tract, goes through your lower intestines, and comes out to the real world through your anus and flies straight into the noses and mouths of anyone sitting next to you.

Yucks!!

So it bugs me big time when a friend, while talking to me, casually lets one out right in front of me. The fact that the odour wasn’t so strong was not the point. The point is that the act itself is disgusting and ill-mannered.

Then another friend, while I was driving and she hitching a ride, casually shifted in her seat and hey presto-- I smelled her fart a second after. How rude!

Faint as the smell was, it still smelled of fart. It’s noxious gas coming out from her belly through her rectum into an air-conditioned enclosed space with other people in it.

I literally gagged and was so bloody pissed off. I still am.

Hey, I don’t claim to be a saint or claim to have never done the deed. But I’d like to think that I’m refined enough not to subject anyone else to breathe on my gas emissions. So, instead of polluting the air for everybody and embarassing myself to the point that I’d feel like sticking my head in the oven, I would surreptitiously slip to some corner somewhere to discreetly relieve myself of my predicament.

Of course, unlike my friends there, I would never fart in a car unless I’m alone in it!!

And now, having missed sahur this morning, I have been fasting on an empty stomach and I can feel gas begging to be let out. No worries though, as I’m sitting here alone in my office with the door closed, I can do whatever I want.

I’ll just sit here and pull my finger. Stay out of my office everybody!