Tuesday, July 25, 2006

And God Answered

Ninette is a fragile creature. She never stands up for herself. When the gas company overcharged her, she shut up and kept on paying the bills until they sent one so horrendous she could not afford it.

A friend said, don't worry dear, sleep on it this weekend and on Monday, you give them a call and tell them. When she finally did, they checked up on her old bills and realised they had been overcharging her for a long time.

She did not receive another bill for six months.

She would like a garden of flowers. But the lady next door objected, saying that she has asthma and would not be able to bear the pollen. The lady next door is very frightening. When angered she bangs on Ninette's door, screaming imprecations. It takes very little to set her off.

Ninette tries to steer clear of her and not do anything to offend her. For instance, although she would like to get a dog or cat as companion, she is afraid. What would the loud lady say? Would she bang on her door and scream? Better not to risk it.

Ninette is 60 but strangely childlike. She has been violently assaulted by her father, husband, brother and even casual male acquaintances who happen to turn up for a coffee. She never reports them.

She never does anything but pray. She is afraid. Maybe if she reports them or takes out a restraining order they will come over and kill her. She is all alone. There is no one to protect her. She doesn't even have a phone.

She spends her life on her knees. Hands clasped fervently. Pushing away despair. Forcing words into the emptiness. She prays about everything and for everyone. She prays and prays and prays but God is not tangible and she wants someone there who will talk back. She would like a companion but she is afraid of men - their appetites, their anger.

She is so lonely.

Sometimes when the darkness takes her, she wants to kill herself. But she is afraid. Self-destruction is a sin. Mortal. Unforgivable.

So she sits in her darkened apartment listening to the silence as her mind darts into dark corners searching...

Why is she all alone? Why was her life so blighted? Why could nobody love her?

Maybe there are no answers. Maybe the sky is empty and there is no God and the world is truly bad and she is damned for Eternity which should only be a few years more.

If she's lucky.

Friday, July 21, 2006

The moving finger blogs

Assert: Infinite Jest is a good book.

: Justin thinks so. He said: "I really like it."

: It's about addiction and like really arty movies that make no sense or make sense in an obscure sort of way. You need a dictionary (preferably OED) for like, every page, and you need to read the footnotes as you go along. Everything is extremely ironic, which means you cannot take it seriously or IDENTIFY. The writer forces a distance between the reader and text. (I would tell you what Justin thinks, but he didn't tell me, other than that he really, really liked the book)

What do you think? First paragraph in a really scintillating essay?

Anyway, that's not what I came here to talk about. I don't exist when I'm drunk so just ignore whatever doesn't make sense and I'll make it up to you someday with muffins or rendang or vindaloo (take your pick).

I'm actually not drunk because it would be stupid to drink when I feel like crap cos that would hinder my get welling. Also I have important meeting with grey-haired VIP whom I have to brief on how to respond to the press when they get snarky. (Nod, smile, prevaricate. Don't antagonise or be antagonised)

I had another meeting this morning, in which I intended to blow the guy off (you want to pay peanuts, get monkeys, freelance doesn't mean free) but he was desperate and I felt sort of sorry for him.

Also, he was open to negotiation.

He talked about "building relationships".

Can someone tell me what that means? I am too superficial and short term to understand.

Before meeting with "building relationships" guy, I received a very important business phone call.

Important caller: Um hi Jenn, this is Sharon, you called yesterday?

Me: Yes.

Sharon (who doesn't really know me from Eve, I met her for a short time at a bar and got her card. Long story.): Right. How can I help you?

Me: Are you free on Wednesday?

Sharon (doubtfully): Yes, why?

Me: I have arranged a meeting for you with a contact. Possible financier. Told him about your value proposition (sic). He agreed to meet you.

Sharon (after short silence): Who did you say you were again?

Me (with flourish that can't be seen over phone): They call me the hook-up girl! Pleased to be of service ma'am.

I then rode off into the sunset. (Except that it was 10 in the morning and other than haze which makes the sun look sunsetty at all times of day, there was no sunset)

So as you can see, I am on the mend. Thank you to all those who wrote expressing concern. Big hug and sloppy kisses. Of course I read everything like every day, because I couldn't stay away from the blogs, not even when I felt like death warmed up.

Quilly, is this addiction? Do I qualify for Blogaholics Anon?

Do we 12-step our way to mental health?

PS: I watched Seinfeld yesterday and Elaine mentioned Malaysia twice. It was apparently an exotic destination where she bought this really cool pair of frames (as in spectacle frames). To piss of an ex-boyfriend who thought he was the only one with said frames. I was so chuffed. (Yes, PTB, I'm taking the piss)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Down for the count

My body has spoken, enough is enough, I am down for the count.

Posting will resume when I am halfway human again.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Just because

Prabs, this one's for you.

The long slow mourning has begun
and the air resounds
with the gentle sounds
of someone weeping.

You go creeping
into night
I watch you leave
and know I can't follow.

You were never mine
But I don't know
how to let you go.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Are You There?

She calls friends. She wants to see them. This solitary existence was never for her. They make a date.

Great then, see ya Saturday. Look forward to it. Bye for now!

Carbonated affection goes a long way.

But then, bitterness kicks in. Why was it she who had to call? Why didn't they bother to pick up the phone? Something inevitably comes up. Work, most times. She is after all a very important cog in a very important wheel. And she cancels.

OK then, no problem, maybe some other time.

She strains to catch the tones, but cannot detect any regret. No, they don't care. They never did. If they had, they would have called first.

Once she had to fight them off. All the friends, always calling, always wanting to see her, always willing to come over, always, always wanting to hang out with her. She gave off a certain warmth, people liked being around her.

Grief stains backwards; colours memories. Was it ever really like that? Can she hone in on one memory, one image, one feeling that would say she was once loved, once wanted?


Once there was the solace of brandy. A half bottle and then she would take to the highway, watching the speedometer rise steadily, 110, 120, 130, 140, 150... She wanted to crash out of this non-existence.

She crashed. But didn't die. Didn't even lose her licence.

And now she is medicated, doped up to the gills. No more brandy. Not even wine. Sometimes your body hates you back.

So she is in St Anthony's twisting rosary beads between swollen fingers, praying, ...Lord, help me out of this existence, I don't want to live, I don't want to feel this way anymore, Lord, please, I am so unhappy, help me out, I need you, Lord, I need you, please help me, please help me, please help me, I've fallen so far, I've fallen so far, I don't know what normal feels like anymore, please help me, please help me, I don't believe in you anymore, but please help me anyway, I hate you, but please help me anyway, you did this to me, you never ever gave me anything I wanted, but please help me anyway, I hate you, I hate everyone, look what they've done to me, what did I ever do to deserve this?

Lord, are you there?

Can you hear me?

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Nella Fantasia

I meet Foost today. He plays the oboe. I really liked him. We talked a lot about a whole bunch of stuff.

Julie was there. She knew Foost. She introduced me.

We had just come from the KL Sing Song at KL-Pac. It was kinda nice. Indie musicians playing their own songs. Some were really interesting. Most were fun. They all had a patter and great rapport with the audience. Some of them spoke in Malay.

One of them was stoned. He said he hadn't slept in 48 hours. I couldn't understand most of what he sang, except for the bit about not having credit on his phone to call his Mamma. I so related. So I laughed at that bit.

One of them played the keyboard and sang Broadway-type tunes he had composed. One of the songs, about inter-religious relationships, was seriously good. The other, sung by a Chinese hooker to this Malay married man who impregnated her, was sort of funny because, well we had to imagine him as a Chinese hooker. And the third was about a planet for romantic failures.

Princess Leia's got donuts instead of hair
and yet she found a man who cares,
the bitch!

One girl was so pretty that I let it distract me from her songs. (Grey, I think you would like her but since she's like a minor star she may already have a boyfriend. Or girlfriend. You know how artists are!)

One of the guys was pretty hot. Apparently he knows it and he sings to get girls. He grunts at the end of every line. Supposed to be sexual or something. I just thought he was cute. And that he played the guitar very well. I could relate to his song, Smoky City, about KL, and how difficult it is to readjust after being away. Everyone else was busy being unimpressed.

And then we had teh tarek with Foost at this stall outside of KL-Pac which is a very good place if you want to have teh tarek at 11 after a show at the KL-Pac. Which is, like, in Sentul (think Indians, lots of 'em).

We got into a discussion about farmers and development and I came off the Luddite. I ALWAYS come off the Luddite. But I don't care. (OK seriously, do you NEED to attach computers to cows to monitor the nutrient content of their milk and automatically adjust their feed accordingly? What are we, like, machines?)

Foost said he liked Kinokuniya the best and I said, yes, that was my favourite bookshop, although Borders at the Curve was pretty good. And the MPH in Megamall was kinda catching up as well.

I bought Infinite Jest at MPH Megamall and am still reading it.

I am up to page 691, but suspect I will breach the 700-page mark soon.

I may make a chocolate raspberry streusel bar tomorrow.

It is something I have wanted to do for a long time.

It's nice to have a purpose in life.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Razor Sadness

She has that razor sadness that only gets worse
With the clang and the thunder of the Southern Pacific going by
And the clock ticks out like a dripping faucet
till you're full of rag water and bitters and blue ruin
And you spill out over the side to anyone who will listen...

9th and Hennepin (Tom Waits)

So I started out with bad directions, driving everywhere at once. I put through one call and she couldn't tell me where to go. She said, you're too far away, I don't know how to direct you.

She spoke in Malay. Her voice, a gentle tragedy. But I didn't know then. I hadn't seen.

So with rising irritation, I pushed on, eyeing the petrol gauge with slight consternation...great, it had to be today I be given bad directions, when there was less than a quarter tank left. Anyway, I went round PJ which is made up of roads that go everywhere, edge back on themselves, spread out, full of drivers who swear and swing into your lane, full of people needing to get somewhere, people who know where they're going.

And there was I, tentative, hesitant, inching my way forward, peering at the signs, praying for a miracle. A second phone call and I figured it out.

I was half an hour late. By Malaysian standards this was still OK. But I had spent three years in Australia. By Aussie standards it was unacceptable. How rude, how rude, how unaccountably rude. She would think I was taking this lightly. She would think...I didn't know what she would think. You see, I didn't know what to expect.

I parked across the road and made my way to the gate where an elderly looking Indian woman with a kind face let me in. I thought she was the one I had come to meet so I apologised profusely in Malay (or rather as profusely as I could in a language that after a lifetime of learning, I still speak badly). She smiled and gently steered me towards an office.

Some of the kids came up and smiled at me. Severely handicapped. But they looked happy. They wanted to shake my hand. They wanted to touch me. And the lady steered me away.

There she was in that little office. Little more than a girl. In reality, a year older than me, but still, so young, so lost, so tragic.

Her face pale and shadowed, she tried to smile. But her eyes kept tearing over. It had only been two months, you see. Two months since her much beloved husband had been snatched away in a freak car accident. All this was his. His dream. A home for handicapped children run with love.

They had been together since she was 14. He had a video shop, she used to go over to borrow tapes. They fell in love. She got married at 17. She was now 36. And he had only been 44.

"We were never apart, never, not until now. When he first started this, I was afraid of the children, and he said, if they were ours, you would love them anyway. They are ours. Love them."

It took her all of a week to adjust.

I asked how she coped. What with her grief, and the sudden burden of running the whole show herself. Again that smile: "You do what you have to do. You find the strength somehow. These kids, they have no one else."

The centre had been running for 15 years. He had big plans; physiotherapy, massage therapy, voice therapy, a bigger premise (he insisted that the kids should have a pleasant place to live, rather than be heaped together like sardines, as in most government-funded welfare homes); he had wanted it all.

Love, he said, it's always the love that is missing. That is what they need. That is what we can give them.

When they first started out he bathed the kids himself, fed them, looked after them. Slowly word got out and volunteers appeared to help out. He was a tireless fund raiser, a good speaker and he believed so deeply in what he was doing.

She worked alongside, a helpmeet who loved him and looked up to him and would have done anything because he asked her to. She just hadn't known he would ask her to do it alone.

"My husband was educated. Right up to college. I didn't even finish Standard Six which is why I can't really speak English. It never seemed to matter before. Now, I suppose I will have to learn. I can run this place. I know how to handle the children or manage the staff...but raising funds, talking to these big people..." she trails off.

Tears again. She reaches out to touch the leg brace in the chair next to hers.

His chair.

His leg brace.

His presence.

How could someone like me possibly hope to understand?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Drama Queen

I don't know if you've noticed, but I tend to be a bit of a drama queen. They say that recognising one's weakness is the first step.

But I never seem to get past the first step.

I fly off the handle for featherweight offences, grind my teeth over imagined slights and lose sleep over what would not amount to a hill of beans to anyone else.

So, if I take off screaming down the road, collapse in hysterical sobs, twist the corners of my sari in exasperation (I don't wear saris), fly off the handle for nothing in particular, please bear with me.

I don't mean to be like this, it's in the blood.

Things will be better tomorrow.

And despite how I've behaved, I still really really like all of you.

ALL of you.

I'm sorry.

Monday, July 10, 2006

The More You Ignore Me

The more you ignore me
The closer I get
You're wasting your time
The more you ignore me
The closer I get
You're wasting your time

I will be
In the bar
With my head
On the bar
I am now
A central part
Of your mind's landscape
Whether you care
Or do not
Yeah, I've made up your mind

The more you ignore me
The closer I get
You're wasting your time
The more you ignore me
The closer I get
You're wasting your time

I bear more grudges
Than lonely high court judges
When you sleep
I will creep
Into your thoughts
Like a bad debt
That you can't pay
Take the easy way
And give in
Yeah, and let me in
Oh, let me in
Oh let me ...
Oh, let me in
It's war
It's war
It's war
It's war
It's war
Oh, let me in
Ah, the closer I get
Ah, you're asking for it
Ah, the closer I get
Ooh, the closer I ...

Morrissey said it better than I ever could.

Get the picture?


Sunday, July 09, 2006


Sometimes they are not a good idea.

You think, heck, it's been 10 years, it couldn't hurt. And then you meet and have nothing to say to each other, and you plough through the painful minutes, trying to not glance at your watch surreptitiously, and wonder when it would be OK to say you have to go.

And so there you are, stuck in a room with all those people you lost contact with, because there was nothing to keep you together, wishing you had just said no.

Nameless: So how long have you been back?

Me: Um, a while now. Like half a year.

Nameless: So what are you up to now?

Me: Up to?

Nameless: Yeah, you planning to return to (old newspaper)? Go into PR? Write a book?

Me: Dunno.

Nameless: Do you have a card?

Me: No.

Nameless: Why not?

: Um, I know, I really really should have a card. I was planning to have some made. But I have no idea what to put on it. Freelance writer is so boring. They're like a dime a dozen. I was thinking of Zen Mistress, but that sounds vaguely sexual. And when I tossed around Void Artist, a friend of mine pointed out that void could also stand for emptying your intestines. Then I thought, Specialist in Nothing, but heck, don't think that would drum up a lot of business.

Nameless: So that means you are a freelance writer now?

: Yeah, basically.

Nameless: Any jobs?

Me: A few.

Nameless: What?

: This and that.

: Wah so evasive ah?

Me: Wah so nosey ah?

: Fuck off.

: Gladly.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Getting a Life

My oven is fixed. To all those who don't know the import of this momentous news - it is merely this; when my oven is working I can bake muffins. And Texas Fudge cake. And chocolate raspberry streusel bars. And...oh you get the picture.

If you lot were around, you could come over for tea. Or coffee if you would prefer. (That's for you Justin, the self-declared non-tea drinker!)

Prabs and Addy were over for dinner yesterday. We had wine. All of us. I had the most. In fact, I finished the bottle. Was rip roaring tipsy after and scared nice friend who wondered if I would go through with threat of dancing naked in the streets (I didn't).

And I had Shantini over for tea today. We had muffins and texas fudge cake. And tea of course. Also some ginger beer (I had to convince her that the Bundaberg variety was the real stuff, brewed, not carbonated). She left with some muffins and some cakes. I love doing tea with people. It's my favourite meal of the day.

Also I may have a tea date for tomorrow.

Suddenly the social calendar is sort of filling up. Like I have a life rather than a pale approximation of one.

And I think I will make rendang this week because it's very very hard and I just feel like it. (Have made vindaloo three times in one week and frankly am getting a little sick of it).

The transformation is nearly complete...I have morphed into a Malayalee auntie!

Addendum: On a whim, I went out with a friend to check out the pub scene at The Curve (Oh man, this place is totally happening!) and we stumbled upon a pub (The Mystery Bar) that was gonna have live music. Alleycats, no less. They were pretty good, and Esther and I bopped along to the music and congratulated each other on our perspicacity choosing this place. I said hi to Loga (I think he's cute) and of course he didn't remember me from that brief encounter, swapping conspiracy theories outside the Hyatt with Anita. like 10 years ago, but he was nice all the same. Kept coming back to our corner to see how we were doing. Called me Stephanie (because naturally, Jennifer is a little too much for anyone to remember) We went to Laundry Bar after, to check it out, but there was not much happening. I mean, it was crowded, and there were these fucking huge screens with some music videos going on, but still, what is that compared to live music?

If any of you guys are in the mood to buaya, there is a seriously cute (and I mean CUTE) waitress at Mystery Bar.


Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Some Hallucinations

I don't think I made a very good journalist. I mean, journos are these hard bitten newshounds, you throw them into any situation and there they are, cool as lemonade that's been in the fridge for a month, notebooks out, pens poised, hair unturned.

Try throwing me out of my context and I flail around, gaping awkwardly, looking for someone to come save me. Huh! Like real oni. No one ever did, of course.

Case in point: I used to cover power, you know, as in electricity and the fuel that goes into creating it? Well, I had just met Dr Amory Lovins, was terribly impressed and decided to adopt energy efficiency as my cause. Yes. I was fighting the good fight. Anyway, I did a series of stories on it, for my dinky little newspaper, and then a friend from the mainstream one said she would like to do one too. I gave her some phone numbers, she made a few calls and voila, her story was out in a few days, to a much wider audience (but who cares, I was fighting the good fight).

She received a phone call from a nuclear physicist the next day, saying...geez, this is what I have been telling these bozos over here for a long time. If you want the real dirt on energy efficiency in Malaysia and the four-fuel policy, come see me. So she called me (it was my story to begin with, after all) and asked me to meet her at this guy's house at 11 in the morning (any warning bells going off yet?).

So there I traipse bright and early, to be greeted by said nuclear physicist. Except that he is wearing a sarong. And no top. And he has a white mop of uncombed hair. OK. I shall not be shallow and judge by appearances. Said friend hasn't arrived, so I am ushered to a seat in the garden where I park my fanny gingerly, feeling a little nervous.

Then, this guy starts talking. Oh boy. Does he start talking. He doesn't say much about power or energy efficiency, although he does thrust his badly spelled and yellowing PhD thesis into my hands. He talks instead about how he is the reincarnation of Jesus Christ. And how he was PERSECUTED and CRUCIFIED for seven days and seven nights when he wrote a letter to Mahathir (Dear Uncle Mahathir, we should import five million Chinese from China and five million Indians from India to even out the races here...) and got chucked in the loony bin as a result. He talks about how his wife is actually the Hindu Lord Shiva (they were both Malay) and how they would go to temples to gather cockroaches to let go at home. Apparently temple roaches leave behind a sort of medicine, if you let them run wild in your house having first dibs on all the food.

I was beginning to be a tad uncomfortable. I was no longer alone, because the photographer had shown up, but instead of making things better, the photo guy turned out to be as wacko, staring at mad guy intently, asking his opinion on stuff (should I divorce my wife and marry my girlfriend? I really really want to) and all but making obeisance at the cuckoo's feet.

Then my friend showed up and scary topless guy in sarong was obliging enough to repeat all he had told me for her benefit. When he came to the part about the roaches, she lifted both her feet onto the rung of her chair (she being a tad more afraid of the suckers than I was. Incidentally we were both glad that a third friend who has an out and out phobia was not among those present. She would have rushed into the street, screaming hysterically and maybe collapsed in front of a speeding car. We would have rushed out after her and thrown ourselves in front of car. Result: absolute carnage. So you see why we were glad). Friend kept throwing horrified glances my way, as she listened to creepozoid with dawning comprehension.

We managed to hustle out of there after he had repeated for maybe the tenth time what it was like to be crucified, and how all the Christian bishops and Hindu priests had met with him and his wife, and paid their respects, and how the old UMNO had collapsed because he spit on the side of the building.

Oh my.

During the drive back, friend shaking her head: "I'm sorry Jenn, I'm so sorry Jenn, he sounded so sane on the phone."

I sighed.

They always do.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

My Sweet Harlot

I know things have come to a head when I call my friend Addy on a Tuesday morning and ask her what she is doing at work, cursing the company for being slave drivers.

Addy is a little surprised at my vehemence: "But it's a working day, Jenn."

"It's Saturday!" I choke indignantly.

"Oh my God, it's Tuesdaylar. This sleep thing is really getting out of hand. You better get some, even if it's during the day."

OK thing is, I did. I only woke up in the late afternoon. But I woke up with my sense of time all skewed. I didn't sleep the night, although this time I had an excuse. Julie was leaving for Bangkok...

One night in Bangkok and the world's your oyster
The bars are temples but the pearls ain't free
You'll find a god in every golden cloister
and if you're lucky then the god's a she
I can feel an angel sliding up to me...

and she was up all night, finishing her work, packing etc. Then at about four in the morning, we had to take off for the wild railed yonder, as in KL Sentral, where she would catch a bus to the airport.

On my way back, I felt myself zoning out, sleep creeping into the edges of my consciousness. This was not good. Not on our roads. I mean, it was now five in the morning and traffic was scarce, but there were still the heroes who thought they were trying out for the F1!

So got home in one piece, crept into bed, turned a few pages of Infinite Jest (you try reading this book quickly, go on, I dare you!) and fell fast asleep. Only to wake up at about two and perpetrate the following conversation on Addy, when I decided it will be fun to hang out like we did last Saturday.

Flashback: Last Saturday, Addy, who just got back from Italy, and was terribly jet-lagged, called at eleven, wide awake, and asked if I would like to go for a teh tarek. So we went, and ended up watching not one but two football matches, getting out of there at like five in the morning. In case, you're wondering, I'm not a sports fan. But I watched, and howled, and advanced amateur theories in the voice of a pseudo-pundit, nodded and shook my head seriously, irritated stupid men sitting around us, the serious fans, who wished we would just shut the fuck up...you get the picture.

So my nerves are as ragged as cheesecloth. I lash out at innocent bystanders. I take offence at imagined slights and feel like my life is going nowhere (actually, it is going nowhere). I relapse into my "nobody loves me" strain of thought (actually, plenty of people do). I start agreeing with Dylan (was it Dylan?) who said that life is one long process of getting tired.

Sleep. Ahhhh sleep.

Sweet harlot of the senses.

Delilah of the mind.

Good night.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Pill-less in Petaling Jaya

So I went to see a play by Beckett today. Makes me feel so highbrow just saying that. Especially since I fell asleep not once but three times during the first half alone.

Such is genius. And after the play, we discussed it, my cousin, sister and I, and I came to the conclusion that it took place in protagonist's mind. I mean in the first half, she was submerged waist down and in the second, neck down.

Doesn't it make sense? We grow older and become less flexible. At least, it made sense to me. Made sense to my two brilliant compatriots, also. They nodded seriously and we waggled our collective eyebrows and felt very English lit-majorish. Except that none of us did English lit. Well, I did some, for my writing degree, but I do remember avoiding Beckett like the plague.

I tried to read Waiting For Godot, and hated it so much I couldn't get past the first few pages. Threw down the book in a fit of pique and resolved not to have anything to do with this monster.

Then of course, Charles (on whom I had only like the world's biggest crush):

Me to my cousin: I love Charles, I love Charles, I love Charles.

My cousin to me: (with tired sigh) Oh Jenn, he's 60, he's married, can't you focus your attention on someone else?

Me to cousin: But I love Charles, I love Charles, I love Charles.

(I get as repetitive and tiresome as those characters in Beckett plays - same thing over and over and over - have you any idea how boring internal monologue actually IS?)

Anyway Charles was teaching the Beckett class. He strongly recommended it...had cerebral orgasms describing the fellow. I listened to him, forehead furrowed, torn in two directions. Still didn't take it. Offended him when I came once on a visit to the Beckett class and didn't stay.

Charles to friend I came on a visit with: Where's Jennifer? I thought she was staying for the class.

Friend to Charles: Um, she doesn't really like Beckett.

Charles to friend: She doesn't like Beckett or she doesn't like me?

(I mean to say, what?)

Anyway, towards the end of the second (and final scene) she describes this terrible incident in her childhood where a mouse runs up her thigh and she screamed and screamed and screamed. Discussing this bit, we all nodded sagely and agreed that it pointed to sexual interference. When she was only 5. I mean a mouse. And her thigh. And the enormous impact of the memory.

(OK I haven't read any of the critics on this so may be totally off base, but heck, it's absurdist, so doesn't that mean you can sort of take it to mean anything?)

Anyway, have been suffering from massive insomnia for the past few weeks.(I fall asleep at about five or six in the morning no matter how morgue fodder-like I feel) So yesterday I went in search of pills.

And you know what?

Nobody would sell me Valium over the counter!!!!

So my pharmacist sister Jackie called and when I told her this, she was a little worried.

"Why do you want Valium?"

"I need to sleep."

"Oh. OK try these antihistamines. They have a soporific effect and can be obtained over the counter. But only first two days OK? Don't get hooked."

I took down their names. And was supposed to go buy them today. But then I slept late into the afternoon and then there was the play (which sort of came up unexpectedly - one of those spontaneous things people do) and now here I am past midnight, antihistamineless in Petaling Jaya.

My kingdom for backrow seats to another Beckett play.