Saturday, December 30, 2006

Tell me something I don't know

Moods are ephemeral.

(Yeah, and?)

They pass.

(Your point being?)

We are not defined by our moods.

(This is all very interesting. Not. So what you trying to say?)

A mood is a mood is a mood. It's fleeting. Just remember, this too shall pass.

(Bubble, bubble, toilet trouble)

Yeah, that too.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Happy Boxing Day

Hello! Merry Christmas and Happy Boxing Day! Sorry this is a day late but as you may understand, things have been a little hectic/mad around here. Anyway, as my sainted Mamma would say, when you don't wish someone on Christmas Day itself, Compliments of the Season!

Things to do the day after Christmas.

1. Sleep till afternoon, especially if it's raining (oh joy, it never rains but it pours);

2. Watch DVDs (To Kill a Mockingbird, Narnia Chronicles, Northern Exposure);

3. Call friends to say, hey, I'll be back in KL tomorrow...wanna meet? (Yes, I mean you!);

4. Finally send off trifle recipe that I was supposed to send off before Christmas;

5. Make up gift basket of goodies and go visit old music teacher;

6. Go easy on the port (especially since we finished most of it yesterday);

7. Reply emails (I'm sorrylar, I was busy! And tired! You try making six different types of dessert in two days!);

8. Reply all the text messages I received yesterday (same as above, sorrylar!);

9. Do new post for Christmas, a day late;

10. Wish everyone a Happy and Holy Easter. (Father Pang, absent-mindedly one Midnight Mass, long story).

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Tarts, anyone?

Julie was at her boss's leaving do. Her boss, Kathy, is Eurasian. As some of her guests gathered around the table of goodies, one remarked rather snidely:

"Eurasians make the best tarts..."

Julie who was trying the tart in question disagreed: "No, my Jackie makes the best tart!"

She wondered at the ensuing laughter.

(Just for the record, our Jackie does make the best tarts. Pineapple. It melts in your mouth)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Pulling a Jennifer

I pulled a Jennifer today. It's good to pull a Jennifer because it amuses the people around me. And selfless as I am, I exist to amuse.

I received a cheque today. A long-awaited one. One that I wish arrived earlier so it would have cleared by now and I could have finished my Christmas shopping. Instead, it arrived today. Rain or no rain I was determined to bank it in. Like immediately. OK, almost immediately. I mean I needed to go back to bed. Also read a little William. Also watch some TV. Also make vague attempts to pretend to help Jackie who is cleaning the balcony in earnest (she sorted toys and recycleable books today).

Anyway, I bustled downstairs at about 2.30pm and declared my intention of going to bank in the cheque. Mommy, whose eyes were riveted on her Indonesian drama serial, Bawang Merah, Bawang Putih, told me to wait a while so she could follow me.

"No, no I want to go now. I'll go alone. You go get your Christmas cards and I'll post it for you. (you see this Mommy ah? I post my cards on November 15 and she posts hers on December 19)

Poor Mom shifted her gaze reluctantly from the TV and went upstairs to look for her cards. After tapping my fingers impatiently for all of five minutes I went to the stairs and shouted: "Hey Mom! Just give me the cards, I don't want you to come with me."

"What if you can't get parking?"

"Aiya, the whole bloody place is flooded. Surely there'll be less cars on the road and I'll get parking. No problem. Stop changing and just give me the cards!"

(When I'm impatient, I'm impatient)

Anyway after faffing about for a further 15 minutes during which time I chafed in irritation, swore softly under my breath and found myself on verge of apoplexy, Mom gave me her cards and a bill she wanted settled. I took off. Still raining. I took the flooded road first and then had to do a U-ey as it was impassable. Sort of like a lake. Came out in the news later that night, that road. (Is JB famous or what?)

Being the bright spark that I am, I found my way to the Post Office through an alternate route. (OK it's brilliant cos I don't really live in JB and I don't know the roads here very well. What do you mean I spend half my time here so I should have learned by now?)

Anyway Mom was right. It WAS chock-a-block. No parking whatsoever, except for slim ants and maybe some slender cockroaches. Being Malaysian, however, I proceeded to park illegally and charge for the Post Office where I settled all business in a very short time.

Feeling very pleased with myself I took off for City Square where I would bank my precious cheque and do some light shopping. As I was now filled with love and light and feeling a little guilty for snapping at her earlier and making her miss the last excruciating 10 minutes of Bawang Merah, Bawang Putih, I called Mom and asked if she wanted me to buy anything for tea. Also the newspaper. She said yes to both.

(Do you get the God is in His heaven and all is right with the world feeling right about now? Because you should)

Anyway, there I was ambling amiably towards the bank. I found that I would require an envelope to deposit the cheque in this machine (unlike the one in KL where you just deposit the cheque as is) and grumbled cheerfully to myself about JB being ketinggalan zaman (behind the times) in terms of cheque-depositing-technology. Anyway, I went to get an envelope from one of the customer service officers and here is where I encountered my first reverse.

No, it wasn't the envelope. That was as right as rain. (Haha, rain! Get it? Rain!) In fact, the customer service officer provided me one promptly. With a smile to boot. It's when I fished into my bag for the cheque to pop into said envelope. It wasn't there. In all the bustle, I kind of left it behind.

So I drove home rather sheepishly. Mom unlocked the door and asked if I'd banked it in. I told her, I left it at home. At which point, she stared at me for a while, then made her way to the steps to holler for Jackie.

Mom: "Jackie! Jackie! You know what that Jenny did? She left the cheque behind!"

Jackie: "Aiyoooooooo!"

When Ivan, returned from work, Mom obligingly went through the story again. Bellows of laughter issued from Mother, Brother and Sister.

I took a bow.

All It Does Is Rain

It rains. And rains. And rains. And then, for variety, it rains some more. Lightning, thunder. Light drizzle pretending it's gonna stop. Heavy again. A little lighter. Then heavy again. Tapering off. Then heavy again.

It's been like this for three whole days already.

The road in front of the Convent is flooded. Roads in town are flooded. Work on the fence has had to stop. Nobody can hang out clothes to dry. Our Astro (satellite tv) transmission is disturbed.

It's dark. It feels like winter. The air is so moist you could lick it. The doggies are sleepy. I am sleepy. But I need to drive into town and run some errands.


Monday, December 18, 2006

Wisdom of Julie

So, does anyone want a pair of black Guess jeans? Practically new. One catch, however. You have to be like, really, really thin. Anyway, if you want it (call it a Christmas present, sort of) send me your size. Also your address. And I'll parcel it off.

Jackie and I were cleaning out the balcony. OK, cleaning out is a bit too ambitious a phrase. We were making a start. You have to understand that our balcony is sort of stuffed up. With years and years and years of debris from our childhood, teenagerhood and early adulthood.

Jackie: "Eh, look at that, Julie was so cute in this one, remember?"

Me: "Can save ah?"

Jackie (examining it carefully): Yeah, this one can.

(I have to say we tossed as many into garbage bags labelled: "to be binned", as we saved)

Sorting out the clothes into three categories - children, adult and garbage took us all of yesterday afternoon. Coincidentally, it was a sort of "second deluge" type of day, where it rained continuously from early morning to late at night, which meant we were not going to be doing anything else outside (the roads being flooded). As we uncovered years and years of memories, we laughed, sneezed and felt a little sad.

Jackie (holding up tiny tee-shirt): "Hard to believe I ever fit into this."

Me: "You were very skinny, what?"

Me (holding up third Snoopy, "It looks a little like rain" tee-shirt): Gosh how many of these did we have?

Jackie (holding up her Thundercats tee-shirt): "Wow! Thundercats! I actually had a Thundercats tee-shirt?"

Jackie (holding up a Buck Rogers tee-shirt): "Eh, who was this Buck Rogers fler, ah?"

Me: "This guy, he went to sleep or something and woke up in the 25th century. Don't you remember?"

Jackie: "No, I kept mixing him up with Battlestar Galactica."

Anyway, you see how it goes. Btw, if you know of any worldwide charities who want lots and lots of kiddie (and adult clothes) as well as toys and books, please tell me. We have cartloads to get rid off.

OK, Jackie found this in the balcony. It was a crumpled piece of paper, scribbled over in Julie's schoolgirl handwriting. Jackie found it inspirational and will keep crumpled piece of paper. I, on the other hand, thought I would share it with you.

1. Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive. (Elbert Hubbard)

2. Friendship is like money - easier made than kept. (Samuel Butler)

3. The only people in the world who never fail are those who never try.

4. It is easier to do a job right than to explain why you didn't.

5. The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.

6. It is easier to stay out than to get out. (Mark Twain)

7. A great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.

8. Winners never quit. Quitters never win.

9. If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail.

10. Being in the right does not depend on having a loud voice. (Chinese Proverb)

11. Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. (Teddy Roosevelt)

12. To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting. (Edmund Burke)

13. Silence gives consent, or a horrible feeling that nobody is listening.
(Franklin B. Jones)

Friday, December 15, 2006

Castration: Not as fun as I thought it would be

It's been three days since Elliot's little operation. The pain seems to have kicked in properly today. We thought he was settling down and recovering when this morning we noticed little whimpers escaping him as he tried to find a more comfortable way to sleep. That's the thing with large-testicled dogs. After the unkindest cut of all, the testicles, which have not been sutured, tend to get in the way.

I called the vet, and we went to pick up some painkillers. Gave it to him, allowed him to sleep inside (Mom turned a blind eye for once because the doggie was in such obvious pain) and after a while he became more comfortable and fell asleep.

Despite his agony, the naughty doggie still finds it in himself to growl viciously at Maggoty. We castrated him, hoping it would improve his personality. Elliot, who looks part Rottweiler, is one aggressive dog.

When he starts growling:

Julie: Give me a reason, just give me a reason!

Jackie: Elliot, stop it! Don't you dare!

Me (bellowing - I have very good lungs): You go sit down there and shut up or I'll wallop you!

(None of it works, of course)

Simon said it would take a while for the testoterone to vacate his system. We're hoping after he will be all sweetness and light and forget to growl at Maggot. (I would, however, be perfectly OK if he bit chunks out of Igor)

Speaking Malayalam

Mom told us she had given Auntie Baby a "katrika" tree.

Me: Is katrika the same as murniaka (drumstick)?

Mom: Aiyoooooooooooo!

Jackie: Nolar! It's karipila (curry tree)!

Mom: Aiyoooooooooooo!

Me (to Jackie): Ele! Think you so clever ah?

Mom: How many times do I have to tell you, katrika is brinjal?

Me and Jackie: Ooooooooooooooh!

Of course, I'm also the person who argued with my Auntie Granny (Auntie Baby's older sister) that "palli" was school, rather than church. Auntie Granny was born in Kerala. Nuff said.


Except for the occassional sabre-rattling from the two witches and their one (rather cowardly) thug next door, work on the wall is proceeding unimpeded. It is coming up beautifully.

But the real news is that Jackie went to do her passport today. She said she wasn't too annoyed by the whole process. (Usually she is ready to chew bits off the wall off after a JB immigration passport experience because everyone goes out of their way to give you a foretaste of Purgatory)

Firstly, the guy who did her passport looked at her date of birth and said: "I can't believe you're that old, you still look like you're 18."

And if that wasn't enough, the old auntie at the photo shop (she had to take a paspok picture with a blue background as her pictures had a white background, a little idiosyncrasy of the Malaysian Immigresen) said she looked like Preity Zinta.

When I went to pick Jackie up, she asked me who Preity Zinta was.

"Bollywood actress," I answered laconically.

She then told me that the immigration officer who was doing her passport, on finding out that she lived in England, asked her for a JC Bola (ball) the next time she comes back.

"OK," agreed Jackie, amiably. She asked me later if JC Bola was a brand of football she hadn't heard of. I told her he probably said jersey bola (as in football jersey).

"Oh," said Jackie, "that makes more sense."

Anyway, she thinks Badawi's government is a vast improvement, if only because the immigration flers have become that much nicer.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Good fences make good neighbours

You remember what Gandhi said before he disappeared in a puff of logic? If not I'll refresh your memory, Simon.

Brotherhood and sisterhood can be preached to everyone but brothers and sisters...

OK anyway, as you know, the Moms wants to put up a wall at the back. No unfriendly reason. Just so the dogs can run wild and free and attack Mommy's plants with impunity. Also poop where we need to hang clothes. You see, all love and light.

But somehow, taking down the ugly old rickety fence to put up swanky wall has ignited enough familial animosity to make two Iraqs.

The two witches from next door, with Igor, their resident thug decided that it was their business what we do with OUR fence. After threatening our pavem (poor thing) Indonesian worker, they erected chair barriers today so as not to let the lorry come through to where the bricks, etc, need to be unloaded.

Anyway, picture the peace and tranquility of Jalan Gertak Merah at 0800 hours. Birds singing tunefully. Elliot recovered from his little operation yesterday, but a little depressed that Julie has returned to KL. The good folks of Jalan Gertak Merah enjoying their morning roti canai at the gerai across the road. And Jackie reading Baby Blues.

Suddenly the peace is shattered by raised voices, punctuated with the occassional swear word. We (the three Jacoby children) stick our heads out to see the Old Woman and Mom going at it hammer and tongs.

We watch with intense fascination (to say the least) when I suggest we go support our Big M. Jackie demurs. And then we hear a loud bellow.

"You leave my mother alone!"

I turn to Jackie in wonder: "Who's that?"

Jackie shrugs in resignation: "I think Ivan has joined the fray."

He kicks the offending chair away and hollers about their bullying tactics. He also queries the sincerity of Old Lady (Aunty Chachi)'s aspirations to sainthood: ("Disingenuous Aunty Chachi, really disingenuous!")

Old Lady retorts: "You think you accountant you so great ah?"

Bleached Monkey (formerly known as Black Monkey before the application of oodles of Fair & Lovely) starts screaming for Igor, her card-carrying criminal son who also acts as resident thug.

He charges out and shouted at Moms: "You don't speak to my auntie like that."

At which, Jackie charges forward: "You don't speak to my mother like that."

When Jackie and I appear, Auntie Chachi who has been shrieking for all she is worth, quietly steps back and commences her cleaning activities. The garden path gets so dirty when you're busy hurling offal.

Ivan, who is already late, then takes himself off to work. He sees that he can leave things in Jackie's quietly capable contemptuous hands.

She turns to Moms: "Don't get upset. They're not worth it. They're beneath our contempt."

Threats of police interference are made by ironically enough, the only one in the group with a criminal record. At which Jackie sneers: "Go ahead, if you know how to dial."

At this point, Ivan makes a reappearance and asks why we are still talking to these nonentities. To which Mom replies:

"Eh Ivan, what you still doing here?"

Ivan, holding up the offending article: "I forgot my tie!"

(Just a bit of comic surrealism that lightens the charged atmosphere of a typical Malayalee family fight - you see why it's more civilized for us not to speak for 20/30 years?)

Jackie, who has been busy calming Moms down (Look Moms, they're so far beneath us, don't upset yourself, these people never went to school, they're not educated, it doesn't matter what they think) agrees with Ivan: "Right Mom, let's go. These ARE nonentities." She turned: "Yeah, nonentities, look it up if you don't know what that is."

As we turned to leave, Bleached Monkey throws out a parting shot: "You live in England now you think you white?" (As you can see neither Bleached Monkey nor the Old Lady can argue grammatically. Just thought I'd point that out)

At which Jackie chuckles: "At least I don't bleach my face!"

To which, after a few moments of stunned silence, the Bleached Monkey replies in an unconvincing tone that would not fool a child: "I don't bleach my face!"

The air is now thick with threatened lawsuits. I think Fair & Lovely should get into the fray and sue Bleached Monkey for pretending not to be bleached.

(Jackie, who is sitting beside me said, yeah, but I don't know if they would because I don't know if they would want her to be an advertisement for their product. On consideration, I quite agree. Hideous harpies, bleached or otherwise, don't make good advertisements for anything but the "before" for Extreme Makeover)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Proper Stuff of Fiction

But any deductions that we may draw from the comparison of two fictions so immeasurably far apart are futile save indeed as they flood us with a view of the infinite possibilities of the art and remind us that there is no limit to the horizon, and that nothing, no method, no experiment, even the wildest - is forbidden, but only falsity and pretence. 'The proper stuff of fiction' does not exist; everything is the proper stuff of fiction, every feeling, every thought; every quality of brain and spirit is drawn upon; no perception comes amiss.

Virginia Woolf on Modern Fiction, The Common Reader, Vol. 1

Currently OD-ing on

A Fairytale of New York

It was Christmas Eve babe
In the drunk tank
An old man said to me
Won't see another one
And then he sang a song
"The Rare Old Mountain Dew"
I turned my face away
And dreamed about you
Got on a lucky one
Came in eighteen to one
I've got a feeling
This year's for me and you
So happy Christmas
I love you baby
I can see a better time
When all our dreams come true.

They've got cars big as bars
They've got rivers of gold
But the wind goes right through you
It's no place for the old
When you first took my hand
On a cold Christmas Eve
You promised me Broadway was waiting for me.

You were handsome
You were pretty
Queen of New York City
When the band finished playing
They howled out for more
Sinatra was swinging
All the drunks they were singing
We kissed on a corner
Then danced through the night.

The boys of the NYPD choir
Were singing 'Galway Bay'
And the bells were ringing out
For Christmas Day.

You're a bum
You're a punk
You're an old
Sl't on junk
Lying there almost
Dead on a drip
In that bed.

You scum bag
You maggot
You cheap lousy faggot
Happy Christmas your arse
I pray God
It's our last.

The boys of the NYPD choir
Still singing 'Galway Bay'
And the bells were ringing out
For Christmas Day.

I could have been someone
Well, so could anyone
You took my dreams from me
When I first found you
I kept them with me babe
I put them with my own
Can't make it all alone
I've built my dreams around you.

The boys of the NYPD choir
Still singing 'Galway Bay'
And the bells were ringing out
For Christmas Day.

Hmmm...sort of Iceman Cometh feel to it, no? I thought I'd spread some Christmas cheer....sort of.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Deleting Orkut

I finaly did it. Deleted my Orkut account. I got all these weirdos asking to be friends, OK, maybe there was one normal person, but for the rest, mostly weirdos, and I couldn't understand why. Before deleting it, I went back to read what I had written and a sort of lightbulb went off.

OK, there was this one guy from India (where else?) who wanted to get together for fun and games on his visit to this, our very own, teh tareky emerald isle. His "groups" consisted of porn sites, mostly. Ugh! He even propositioned my dear, straight-as-an-arrow cousin, and I thought, geez, you sure are desperate.

Well, anyway, my friend Hrish could have told me why. On re-reading my profile, I noticed that under "activities" I put: You mean other than sex? Under sexual preferences, I put: bi-curious. Are you starting to see the problem here? Because I sure am. As for my dear cousin, um...I kinda wrote her profile. Which means she got lambasted by the same number of creeps and weirdos.

The last straw was funnily enough, neither a creep nor a weirdo. Just someone who disagreed with my taste in books. I can take a lot of things. But not someone who disagrees with my choice of reading matter. Or who disses my favourite authors.

So you see...the big DELETE.

Anyway, I have enough friends.

Free Advice

"What do you charge for free advice?"

Charming, I think, simply charming, someone asking for advice, rather than have me dish it out freely in generous quantities.

"10 per cent of anything you make from it, maybe 11, depending on whether I like you ."

"That's a little steep, no?"

"Depends...if you make nothing, you pay nothing...."

"Well...," he breaks off.

Ah, here it comes, I think. Sure enough, the kid does not disappoint.

"I have this business plan, see and it's for this cool technology, first in the world, no one else is even close to doing anything like this..."

He goes on yada yada-ing while I carefully extract my attention. I hum Nella Fantasia under my breath (yes, in Italian) and then, as he is nowhere near done, I hum Pal (yes, in Hindi). I chuckle to myself at a joke Sam told me know the one about Amelele Mobudu? Hehe, funny story, but will tell you some other time.

Finally the young man winds down, looking at me, expectant. Thing is, it's not free advice he wants. It's an introduction. He heard somewhere that I was the hook-up girl, and so, he wants me to hook him up.

Someone with deep pockets. Dumb enough to be impressed by enthusiastic waffle. You know, that sort of thing.

I sigh. This is getting to be a habit among the young and penurious. They come bearing business plans for the latest greatest new new thing. They've got the patter down pat. Thing is, the patter gets old real fast.

I feel my way around it. The usual questions. Value proposition. Investment timeline. Customer base. Barrier to entry. Potential exit strategies.

He gapes. Looks hunted. Slightly resentful. You know, that sort of thing.

"You could afford to be a little more enthusiastic..."

"What's the use? I wouldn't be doing you any favours. Go back and do your homework. And maybe I'll think about hooking you up."

He leaves.

I exhale.

Shhhh....come here, I'll tell you a little secret.

The thing about free advice; it's worth exactly what you pay for it.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Like a handful of smoke, a fistful of water.

You hover over there, just out of sight, and yet I see you.

I do.

I feel that something, that something intangible, I cannot frame the words...

...but you are there, and I linger here.




This brief madness. It seems interminable.

The world in a grain of sand?

Eternity in an hour?

You ask me to live through the minutes. But they stretch, they mutate, they succeed each other.

How hostile the minutes, how unfriendly.

Please come back.

Or let me wake up.

Like Shining From Shook Foil

Margaret, are you grieving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leaves, like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?

Ah! as the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie.
And yet you will weep and know why.

Now no matter, child, the name:
Sorrow's springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:

It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.
Gerald Manley Hopkins

Monday, December 04, 2006

Curry Puffs and Teh Tarek

New monitor. It shines pinkly in the summer sun. Actually no summer sun. A fluorescent light. So, it shines pinkly under the bright impartiality of a fluorescent light.

Boyz II Men crooning Silent Night. Now Nana Mouskouri singing Deck the Halls. Falalalala.

Nuff cookies. Baked last batch last night. Or in the wee hours of the morning. Soft, rolled balls of pecan chews. They are chewy. Good jaw exercise. Mary didn't much care for them, but Julie and Dadda did. Which is why I had to bake another batch when I was supposed to have finished cookie baking a while ago.

Distributed some presents already. Books I made. A CD mix. Three batches of cookies. A Texas Fudge Cake.

Bought new monitor today from newly opened Digital Mall. (Old monitor went on the blink) Trudged all the way to the top. Monitors got cheaper as you ascended. I think it has something to do with rent.

Raju's is still hang out for rich and famous. Saw Charlie Peters there today. Hmmmm... he waved and didn't come over to say hi. But that's OK. Don't really know what to say to the rich and famous.

We had curry puffs and teh tarek. (Some things never change)

Bought a whole heap of books at Wisma Atria. Ben Elton. Jeanette Winterson. Peter Carey. Julia Cameron. Joan Didion. And some others I can't remember now. Also bought Christmas CD which I'm listening to now.

Altogether an eventful day.

Getting close to when I'll have to split. So much more to do.