Friday, February 29, 2008


OK, it's one thing to be a bitch when I want to be a bitch. I put so much energy into ignoring people I don't like, that it's almost as good as paying them a great deal of attention. But not. You know what I'm saying?

But it's another thing to be a bitch totally by accident, when my mind is a million miles away and I see someone without seeing them, and so, don't smile or wave or acknowledge them, although they smiled and waved and acknowledged me. And I actually kind of like them.

It's like this. I saw the lady I go to facials on a lazy Saturday morning when Mary Z and I were lingering over our English breakfast at Sri Hartamas. I was busy delighting in the fact that this kopi tiam served real bacon (rather than its strange and halal proxy beef bacon) and we had just had excellent coffee and kaya toast. Full and contented I was leaning back when I saw this babe alight from a car with two guys and a cute little boy. I checked her out and whistled in my mind. She was hot.

I didn't see her smile and wave at me (I wonder where my eyes were focussed). Then Mary whipped around and said, isn't that Sherene? At which point I realised, that yeah, it was. Thing is, Sherene is my beautician and not Mary's. Mary has seen her all of twice. Yet she recognised her. And I didn't.

When we finished our breakfast, we left. I didn't say goodbye. Not deliberately. My mind was a million miles away. Lost in some alternate reality where silly girls have sex in the Backyard at 2 in the morning, sullying the name of that family pub. I was busy bugging Jerry (who joined us for breakfast by accident) about it. Jerry kindly offered to ban me from the pub instead. I felt mildly indignant as I don't get up to no good there. I don't get up to no bad either. So I walked out without saying goodbye to Sherene.

She told me today that she thought I was mad at her for some reason. What with one thing and another (she moved shop from the middle of Bangsar to Pantai Panorama) I haven't been to see her for more than two months. Yikes.

What could I say? I apologised profusely and said that I am sometimes very blur. Then I wondered surreptitiously how many other people I have offended similarly by walking around with my mind on a hundred other things (usually the latest book I have read or a conversation I had or some abstruse problem that nobody but me would give much thought too).

I don't mean to be stuck-uplar. I really didn't see you. Or I saw you without seeing you. Yes, it's possible. They don't call me Silly Nut for nothing.

Last Night I Dreamt Somebody Robbed Me

I am sitting at the boss's desk waiting for him to finish his PR (OK, OK, catching up with what's happening in the office) rounds and come sit down here and help me out with points for his speech in England. He's a globe trotter that one. And I just want to go to Perth once more. I want to go to the Berry Farm at Margaret River and have some of that heavenly chutney (which of course I will buy and pack for home). It just adds that zing to every meal, you know?

I feel better today, so much better that I'm open to going out tonight, though not to a noisy smoky place.

Zafrul has just come and sat himself down across from me and opened his temporary laptop (his permanent laptop is nearly always on the blink). He is supposed to look at his rewritten profile which I sent him yesterday.

Me: I changed your profile.

Him: Why, why, what's wrong with the old profile?

Me: I just wanted to add zinglar!

So that's kinda like my job you know, writing profiles, company and personality...a bit like my old job except this is only one company and one personality.

I'm re-reading Eat, Pray, Love and loving it even more the second time around. I wish I could sneak off somewhere and read my book.

Monday, February 25, 2008


It's weird being down for the count. Last night I woke up with my stomach going through these spectacular cramps (I couldn't figure out if it was gastric or food poisoning) and this morning I woke up feeling like death warmed up. Just plain knackered.

So I crawl into work and there is some minor drama going on (Nadia lost her phone, or more appropriately, it was stolen). As her laptop had been stolen just a few days ago (someone broke into her car and nicked it) this was not good news.

She went through the familiar motions of horror, disbelief and a massive sense of violation. I watched her and felt worse and worse (physically). Funny thing, this stomach bug ceased to hurt but I was feeling all weak and droopy and listless. Told the boss I thought I caught his stomach flu and I was going home. He said OK.

I went home and promptly fell asleep. After which I called Dadda and told him I was not feeling well, and would he bring some Rotiboy home cos I was hungry. He made sympathetic clucking noises and did the needful, arriving home a good hour earlier than was his wont. He also had to make the tea, as being the lazy sick girl that I was, I hadn't.

So, there I was dunking my rotiboy into tea...when I started feeling sick again. I pushed a half-eaten bun towards him (despite his protestations), took a shower and went back to bed. To sleep, perchance to dream? No. I huddled under the covers and read One Red Paperclip. And finished it, by gum!

Or as Julie would say, dagnabbit! (Julie talks funny...I think it was an early diet of Garfield and M*A*S*H* that put paid to her vocabulary...but it makes me no never mind).

Then I felt inspired enough to crawl to the computer and offer to trade my book (One Red Paperclip) for something funky. Like perhaps, another book? Or maybe a fish pen? Or a house?

Who knows.... was an interesting week. I learned a new word.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Marking Time

Hah! The title is ironic for so many different reasons. I want to, I want to, I want to, I don't know what I want to do.

So I go through this "negativity clearing" in the mornings. There seems to be less to look forward to because I can't eat sweets or drink sweeters or even chew steaks. Nothing as satisfying as medicating with sugar and booze and dead animals.

I've had a lot of time alone lately to try and figure things out. Normally I avoid thinking. I even avoid any sort of free write now because I don't know what junk will come up.

Instead I live from event to event, from incident to incident, not connecting the dots, not making sense, not gaining perspective, not nothing. Just be all tao and detached about it. Nothing means anything. Nothing has to mean anything. There is no coherent narrative. Just a bunch of discrete events or incidents or happenings that is connected by nothing.

My third person omniscient narrator has withdrawn or taken a break or something...and now my narrative is sketchy, streams-of-consciousness, a jumble of nonsense or Nonsense (whichever you prefer).

Nothing makes sense. It does not have to make sense.

I wish....never mind.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Eat, Pray, Love

I am two thirds through this book by Liz Gilbert and absolutely love it. Although I don't think I'll be taking off for an ashram in India anytime soon (I've been invited and I said no, and I'll keep saying no because the notion irritates me for some peculiar reason) I do realise I need space for quiet and solitude in my life. And maybe a sense of transcendence.

Everything is so fucking noisy and I seem to be constantly trying to distract myself without even knowing that I'm doing it. There are books heaped by the side of the bed, higgledy-piggledy, all anyhow, there is the music constantly blaring in my ears, there are conversations about conversations which don't really lead anywhere, there is the constant pageant of absurdity going on around me.

I think I may be afraid of silence. I think if I fell silent, the hurt would come to the surface. And once more, I wouldn't be able to breathe.

Yesterday I wandered around feeling slightly hungover and out of it. I hadn't had a drink for more than a week, so go figure. And this existential, free-floating pain kept wrenching my innards and I wondered. Why? Who? What? Where? How?

My friend Vij called and we hung out. Went to a bookshop and got a passel of books. As I couldn't wait to get started on one of them (guess which one) I insisted that he bring one of his newly-acquired books to dinner. He did. So we had Japanese and read our respective books, something I've only been able to do with my sister Jackie, the rest of humanity considering such behaviour anti-social and offensive.

Then I hung out with two friends at Devi's.

One of them regaled us with a tale of this truly romantic proposal. Seems this 24-year old guy in advertising had taken out a billboard to ask his girlfriend to marry him. In the picture, he proferred a RM14,000 diamond ring with the words, Kelly XXX will you marry me? The whole enterprise cost him a cool RM54,000.

When he drove past the billboard in question, he asked her to check it out and she was stunned into 10 minutes of total silence. Of course she said yes.

What was most interesting about this story was how we, three women in their mid-30s, reacted to it.

Me (choking in disgust): How was she supposed to say no after that? When the stupid guy had splurged so much money. I mean, I felt too guilty to say no when my stupid boyfriend proferred a thousand dollar ring, what more her!

Friend One: Yeah, and she's only 22. My God, wait a while lar.

Friend Two: It's stupid. If he was going to spend so much money on me, I would frankly, have preferred a cheque.

Me: Or a holiday. I mean, like a nice holiday somewhere. RM54,000 could go a long way to making it a really nice holiday.

All three of us looked at each other.

Me: it just me, or do we seem a little cynical?

Friend One: Not cynical. Realistic. Stupid fler. But he must be loaded, so whatever lar.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

You Will Be Loved

No one I know has plans. A little surprising. Usually the commercial machinery has cranked on the guilt so everyone has expensive plans, each seeking to outdo the other.

But this year, none of my friends seem to.

Makes me wonder.

Someone sent me the following and I thought it was nice.

Nothing you become will disappoint me;
I have no preconception that I'd like to see you be or do
I have no desire to foresee you, only to discover you
You can't disappoint me.

-Mary Haskell-
From The Love Letters of Mary Haskell and Kahlil Gibran


We were together...I have forgotten the rest.



I love your feet only because they walked upon the earth
and upon the wind and upon the waters, until they found me.

-Pablo Neruda-


Lo, I have opened unto you the
gates of my being,
And like a tide, you have flowed
into me.

The innermost recesses of my spirit
are full of you
And all the channels of my soul
are grown sweet with your presence
For you have brought me peace;
the peace of great tranquil waters,
And the quiet of the summer sea.

Your hands are filled with peace as
The noon-tide is filled with light;
about your head is bound the eternal
Quiet of the stars, and in your heart
dwells the calm miracle of twilight.

I am utterly content.

In all my being is no ripple of unrest
for I have opened unto you the
wide gates of my being
and like a tide, you have flowed into me.


Monday, February 11, 2008

In A Meeting

At a management meeting. Lizard face is feeling particularly hostile. She has come out to attack one guy, but been forced to withdraw her fangs when he brushed off her "concerns".

Seems like I'm not the alienated one here. She is.

Haha. I was writing out birthday cards when Zafrul arrived and the meeting was called. Apparently I have chock-a-block meetings today so I am wondering when I will get to sneak off to bind Jerry's book (I made him a book for his birthday last night - Flowers for Jerry).

I also need to post three birthday cards. (The last I will be handing over personally)

Elsie is talking now. I think she is my most inoffensive colleague.

Basil just told me my button was undone. (You loosen up my buttons baby, but you keep fronting, say what you gonna do to me...) So indecent!

I'm wearing my stripey hat because I feel like doing something different today.

I look like a very tanned Japanese tourist.

Just Once

I wish I could let this moment flow into tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. This small space of quiet.

I wish tomorrow would not come with its question and perplexities and anxieties and a woman with the face of a lizard and the body of Jessica Rabbit glaring at me from the rafters.

I don't know what I'm good for anymore.

Just pouring words into white space for nobody to read.

But what about work? What about making a difference, any difference whatsoever in this world? Or even in the space around me?

Alienation is a funny thing. The illusion of separation. I look out at all these people running about busily making themselves matter and I feel so detached. So out of it. So not part of it or anything else.

Drunk. Not quite. Not on alcohol anyway. I gave it up for Lent.

Maybe just drunk sort of tired, because I drove back from JB today and got caught in this jam where the car inched forward slowly and other cars weaved in and out and nearly caught me on the fender bender kender...whatever.



Out of it.


Saturday, February 09, 2008

Back Home...

I'm back home in JB now. Took a long slow drive yesterday and arrived late in the afternoon, closer to evening. Mum came down, grinned at me and made me some tea, while I scarfed down her nasi lemak (not having had any lunch and being famished as a result).

Then I went upstairs for a loooooong snooze only waking up for some dinner. I tell you, I get so lazy the moment I get back home. I don't want to do anything but snuggle under covers and read some Agatha Christie that I have read a thousand times before but can't seem to get enough of.

This time, Mums got me back by saying we would celebrate the Chubster's birthday early. OK. So here I am baking a fresh lemon curd cake. Actually, I just made the curd. I will get around to making the cakey bit after this.

Just as soon as I've finished my tea, and listening to Chubby's ARIAS CD.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Makes Me Wonder

I'm beginning to feel increasingly alienated in this place. Of course, as my friend Bo so sweetly pointed out, I never fit in to begin with. And I have been miserable ever since I got here.

I thought I could last another year, but now I wonder.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


Sometimes life is a waiting room. Sometimes the waiting room has no door and you don't see a way out to the rest of your life.

Everything seems a tad greyer, tinged with ashes.

It's appropriate I guess, tomorrow being Ash Wednesday.

And so it begins...

Monday, February 04, 2008


I realise of course that I have submitted. There is little or nothing left of the me that came home from Australia. Even at the airport I felt my skin melting in this heat; my certainties slipping away.

I didn't realise it until I met this girl. Fresh from Louisana. She left her fiance there and came back to work for a year.

Her family says, dump him.

Her family says, don't talk to him again.

Her family says he is American and they have no concept of marriage.

Settle down here and be one of us. What, you think you're too good for us?

She says, but I love him. She says, but he is the one. She says, I'm going back. And there's nothing you can do to stop me.

And she cries herself to sleep every night.

She talks to me, a random stranger on the abdominal machine. I was not doing it properly and she showed me how to. This was so rare (the fitness instructors don't tell you anything unless you pay them a lot of money and book them for at least 12 sessions) that we started chatting.

I found out all about her. About how this country is strange and the cars gleam arrogantly in the bright sunshine and how the sky is gray and lowering and angry and how the people spit in your eye if you let them.

And how it's all about money. How much you earn. How well you're doing. What watch do you wear? What shirt? What phone do you carry?

How much did you pay for that?

How much?

How much?

You disappear in the numbers.

She goes for movies alone. Sits in coffee shops with a book. Thinks a lot. Tries to figure everything out.

The yearning to be with you, I do what I have to do...

The smile cracks.

So I reach out and touch her hand. Reassure her about her fiance. Tell her about my own cousin who was separated from her fiance, then husband, for a year, and how it just made them stronger...tell her stories about how things worked out.

And I ask her to come to Backyard to listen to Mark.

It's Monday.

Thank God it's Monday.