Thursday, March 27, 2008

So They Did

Have you ever walked around just pretending? While everything around you crumbles, crumbles, crumbles, you pretend that everything is as it ever was and all this chaos is simply more of the same.

I hate frozen looks that tell me nothing.

But I guess frozen looks is all I will get since I stopped up my ears and refuse to listen.

Leave me alone, I cry into the wilderness.

Leave me alone.

Leave me alone.

So they did.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Sicky Sicky

By the pricking of my thumbs - OK Dadda fell sick on Easter Day. After crawling out of bed to make my breakfast, he went right back to sleep. I unclosed an eye at 11.45am to find him still sleeping which was highly unusual. So I asked if he wanted to go out for lunch. He muttered and grunted.

"I'm sick, mol."

Which I should have guessed. Seeing as he was sleeping. Seems he picked up the bug that's been going around. Flu, body ache, the works. So I went out and bought tom yam. Because he asked for tom yam. Vegetarian tom yam as he didn't want to wrestle with meat, not even seafood. (Ironic that Easter Day and I'm still vegetarian).

So it was a pretty dismal Easter. News that the Dadda-man was sick spread like wildfire among his siblings. Now the thing is, he's sick. He needs to sleep. So it doesn't help when I get one phone call after another asking to speak to him. I refused a few and then didn't answer the phone and considered taking it off the hook.

When someone is sick they need rest. Not twenty thousand concerned phone calls asking the same thing.

Are you OK?

Well, duh!

Obviously NOT.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Way to go, Captain Obvious!

OK, I realise that much of my angst was alcohol-related. It also had to do with hanging out, almost every day, in a pub with other creatures of the night. It seems that in the dark, smoky interior of the pub, other rules prevail. Everyone is running away from something. Even the poor girl everyone despises, who picks up a different man every night, when she's too drunk to see straight, and ends up having sex with them right there. I think you cannot possible plunge into an atmosphere of loss and longing, night after night, without adverse effects. Yeah, and that's no matter how good the music is.

So yesterday was the end of Lent. Which means, technically, I could go out and get rip roaring drunk if the mood so takes me. Except that I am pretty happy with my newfound sobriety. And I realise all the stuff I was giving up (like peace of mind) for a few minutes of oblivion.

Instead, I went to yoga class yesterday and tried to stretch myself as far as I could go. I think the body echoes the mind, and it helped me see just how inflexible the mind is.

When I got back, I showered, glugged some Italian Aqua Vitae and read some Cleveland Amory (I finished the second book, The Cat and the Curmudgeon), watched Stardust (I love it, love it, love it, and besides, I had finished my Twin Peaks box set), and worked on my project.

I have started making my gifts for Christmas. It's the best thing to do when stretched out on the sofa, watching my DVD du-jour. Now that I quit the gym, I realise that I was never home before because of it. Every night, at least two hours of my time puffing away on a treadmill with nasty headbanging music blaring at me from the speakers (you could try to stuff your own ears with the iPod, but it wouldn't work). Coming out feeling a little worse (rather than better) about myself.

So it's the first day post-Lent. And I was supposed to get drunk.

But maybe I'll give it a miss.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Nits and I were having lunch and she (having just read Eat, Pray, Love) asked me what my word was. You know, that one word that can be used to characterise my life. Well, no prizes for guessing (although I am working on changing this) word is "fight". I don't think I've met anyone quite so agro as me. And even when I'm not being agro something in me seems to trigger the agro-ness in other people. Within the space of a month I have been attacked (and I mean seriously attacked) verbally by two people, so that I came out of those encounters quivering, my nerves jangling like plucked guitar strings. (Oh yeah, and I vowed never to speak to these two people again for the rest of my natural life)

One of those fights occured on Election Day (yes, I deliberately left it out of my narrative as I was very upset and I didn't want to give it undue importance or record it for posterity).

My friend Mary (who was present at the attack) suggested I do ho'oponopono in it.

I love you.

I'm sorry.

Please forgive me.

Thank you.

(You gotta repeat those four phrases over and over again, while concentrating on the problem)

I agreed. I didn't feel much like saying these things but I agreed anyways. Anything was better than how awful I felt.

OK, it's been a week and some days since the fight. Today, out of the blue, I get a call from the person who attacked me on Election Day. He apologised. It was very formal but still an apology. After gaping wordlessly for a few minutes, I matched his formality and apologised for any offence on my part.

We parted with mutual civilities and (probably) a desire never to speak to each other again. But it was so freeing. No need to hold any more animosity (though I have to admit, the animosity was waning).

This stuff actually works!

I repeated the phrases when driving. I listened to the audio files I bought from Joe Vitale (which transmits the message subliminally). Basically I flooded my mind with this (and Twin Peaks, let's not forget Twin Peaks).

The premise of ho'oponopono is that we are responsible for everything in our lives (that includes the war in Iraq and the starving hordes) and that if there is disharmony somewhere in the universe, it is because of some programme of the world that we hold, some limitation we have bought into. So you repeat the phrases over and over again, asking for forgiveness for holding that negative belief. This is known as "clearing". When you clear the negative belief in you, it gets cleared in the rest of the world. Or at least the other person you are at loggerheads with. The angrier you get at some perceived wrong or injustice, the more you feed into it. So anger doesn't really solve anything. Not even righteous anger.

This has been my first demonstration of how effective this is.

Oh my.

Still reeling.

Monday, March 17, 2008

A Little Bit Of Something

I feel sick today. It came on on Saturday night (scratchy throat) and has bloomed into an overall body ache and lassitude and the feeling that everything is fucked up and I just want to crawl between the bedcovers and sleep (sweet harlot of the senses, Delilah of the mind).

So here I am at D'lish, answering emails, editing stuff and just feeling crummy.

I finished George Orwell's essays and As I Lay Dying and Snowflake in My Hand. Have started on James Frey's My Friend Leonard (the sequel to A Million Little Pieces) which is poetic, but not designed to make me feel better. I have also started on a book of essays by Ursula Le Guin which I find quite fascinating. I'm passing on Orwell's essays to Mary Z cos she was intrigued when I talked about them.

I hung out with her and Vijay on Saturday. We sat at Devi's Corner (Bangsar) and discoursed on the lack of discourse in our society. Vij is going back to Bangalore in May and he said he would be getting us really good Indian movies or films (like Malgudi Days, woo hoo!). We discussed Gandhi (Mary just watched the movie again) and Partition and Hey Ram! and all in all it was very edifying. We talked about Othello (I still haven't read the play altho I know how it ends, having watched two versions of Desdemona's murder in Stage Beauty, which is one my favourite movies, like ever!).

I have been watching hours and hours of Twin Peaks. I usually have to watch something else after because as quirky as Twin Peaks is, it's depressing. Everyone is so impossibly beautiful (Agent Cooper, oh my). And the themes. Well, let's not go there.

Last week seemed to be a week of healing. I went for yoga class and musical healing (where you lie down on a yoga mat and this guy plays ragas on an Indian flute that is supposed to stimulate particular chakras) and I had no less than five dikshas from good friend who went to India, enrolled in an ashram for 21 days for an intense course and has come out somewhat changed and able to bless.

I woke up on Saturday feeling surprisingly good. For the first time, I was not a mass of raw nerve endings and I didn't feel the need for alcoholic oblivion. (I think Lent and the enforced abstinence has been very good for me).

So it was quite ironic that come evening, my throat starts to feel scratchy and it's like hello, what do we have here? And that I'm feeling like this today.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Love is All You Need

I want to plunge into narrative but they stole all the words. And George Orwell (to say nothing of Ezra Pound) said we should go in fear of abstractions and evasions and vagueness.

So I want to tell you a story. And I want the words to bleed red over the page, so you're there, you're present, it's real, it's definite and we can all exhale together at the end.

But then, you see, like the milky covering of a geriatric's eye, all I see is blurred and unfocused.

Hey Kid, get your ass outta, let him stay, let him stay, let him stay...

I watched:

Across the Universe
The Sleeping Dictionary (!)
Must Love Dogs
Friends With Money
The Darjeeling Limited
40-Year-Old Virgin

in the last two days.

And I'm reading Faulkner's As I Lay Dying and Housden's 10 Poems To Change Your Life and George Orwell's Collected Essays at the same time. And another book by a cat vet, A Snowflake In Your Hand. Also the second book in Cleveland Amory's cat trilogy. And I am partway through other books as well.

If anyone suggests a lack of focus in my life at the moment, I would gladly agree. No focus. I am wandering through fields searching for patches of daffodils. (Or dandelions)

Because I always seem to be in vacant or in pensive mood.

Especially vacant.

When Rae Armantrout talked about being a connoisseur of vacancies was she talking about me?

Oh well:

All you need is love
All you need is love
Love is all you need.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

NOW is the time for change!

When I read that the song below, (Jentayu, Phoenix) was a poem written by poet Usman Awang for Anwar's wife, Wan Azizah, its political overtones were buried under the fact that I just liked the song, it appealed to me for some strange reason. And it's not one of the typical Malay love songs either. Listening to the lyrics carefully, I realised it's about holding on when every hope seems to be lost and they are breaking you, breaking you until there's nearly nothing left. (But there's always something left until you actually die, and even then there's something left in those you leave behind)

Wow. The elections yesterday. I mean, what an upset!

I woke up at noon without having voted (but meaning to), had a leisurely breakfast, and wondered about how to get to the Sri Aman school, which was my voting centre. I had registered to vote in 1995, and so far, that had been the only elections I had voted in. The next two, I was conveniently out of the country and didn't really care. I mean, the government would remain the government, corrupt and oppressive as ever, and there was nothing a little Jane Bloggs like me could do about it.

This year, however, I was determined to vote. Unlike the Americans, who listen carefully to the debates between candidates etc, our votes are usually foregone conclusions. If you're a government supporter, you'll vote for the government (or national alliance) candidate no matter who it is. If you think the country needs a good opposition, you'll vote opposition, no matter who is standing.

So there I was lingering over breakfast. I had received a text message asking me not to vote until after 2. I didn't rightly understand why, but hey, I trusted the friend who sent me the text message, and besides, I was busy sleeping in the morning, after a night playing several hundred rounds of Spider Solitaire and listening to Jentayu over and over again (spliced for fun with Mariah Carey's Touch My Body which I find real catchy).

I took a shower and dripping in my towel, decided to call my good friend Mary Z to see if she needed help getting to her polling centre. She did. I said I need to go vote first (we have different polling centres) and then I'd come get her and take her to hers. She was ecstatic. I said I'd call once I was done and heading over hers. But wouldn't you know, I left my mobile at home. Since there was only one and half hours of voting left, I decided not to go home to get it, but rushed over to her house. She was not expecting me yet, and thrown into a tizzy, throwing everything into her handbag and rushing out.

The thing about it is that we had both dressed up to vote, complete with nice clothes, nice shoes (her, not me, I was in my crummy sneakers) and nice hair (I was wearing the flowers again, but I took it off because it was giving me a headache).

Anyway we found her polling centre with little difficulty. Now, when I had gone to vote, it was such a civilized process (our seat not being a hotseat) that I was in and out of there in five minutes (really, I kid you not!). Now Mary was voting where Shahrizat, our Women and Community Development Minister (her posters kissing babies and hugging old women have to be seen to be believed) and Anwar's daughter Nurul Izzah were contesting. It was a VERY hot seat. Mary struggled through the two bands of supporters who stared at each other from across the tiny street, obstructing traffic waving and giving thumbs-ups to both equally (we're Malaysian, we don't like to offend anybody) and so it took a while to get to the school (I had parked some distance off because of the mad traffic). When she finally got back to the car after voting, she said she felt saintly for having fulfilled her democratic obligation. Yeah, me too.

I was hungry (not having had lunch) so we took off for Raju's to repair the tissues (Mary didn't want to go as I couldn't have the luscious curry puffs but I twisted her arms). Then we went on a pirated DVD search for classics (she is looking for the top 100 movies on the British and American lists) and I just picked at romantic comedies and some other stuff (I managed to get a box set of Twin Peaks which I can't wait to watch!).

Then we went to Backyard which was across the road. Our friend Vijay was playing and Mary said, I bet he won't remember me. What do you want to bet? I had been just about to dig into my vegetarian fried rice when I snapped up with a we shall see about that look upon my face and made my way into Backyard before Mary had time to gape. Vijay was all togged up in a cowboy costume and talking to some people when I went up to him and said, would you come out and meet my friend? He followed me out without a word.

When he saw Mares, his face lit up and he leaned over and kissed her. He not only remembered her, he had been wildly attracted to her that first meeting so many months ago, when we had come for the finale of the JAM (Jairus Anthony Music) festival. It's one of my favourite stories. We had just met Vij and were leaving before the second set. So I went to say goodbye.

You're going? he asked, then practically shoved me aside in his eagerness to get to Mary and kiss her goodbye. Every time I told that story I added a little more. Till finally, there was a Jennifer-shaped hole in the wall, where he had shoved me and I died. But then resurrected a while later to make our way out of Backyard.

Mary's usually response to this (amidst gales of laughter) was: "Nonsen! How you exaggerate child!"

OK Vijay stuck to us like chewing gum on the bottom of a seat. No matter how many others came over to claim his attention (he was never gone for long). When we told him our version of that story, laughing, he didn't laugh.

He looked a little embarrassed. And he didn't deny shoving me out of the way to get to Mary (so I exaggerated a little, but not a lot). Mary looked uncomfortable. But it was nice getting all that attention.

In between listening to the music etc, we were watching the large TV with the election results. Every time the Opposition scored a seat we would crow wildly. (The band naturally thought we were cheering for them and we did the thumbs-up thing again, not wanting to disabuse them of the notion).

Other election watchers kept coming over to update us on the news. Penang fallen to the Opposition. BN trounced in Kedah. Kelantan, foregone conclusion. And now it looked like Perak and Selangor were also going the Opposition way. Nurul Izzah beat Shahrizat (Mary cheered loud and long over that). Samy Vellu lost in Sungai Siput. Koh Tsu Koon lost. At first they said Khairy had lost and asked for a recount. Then the flashing results informed us that Khairy had won by a majority of over 5,000 seats. Darn!

Wow. Malaysians, that silent, disenfranchised majority had spoken. We left Backyard at three in the morning. I dropped Mary at home, came back, had a shower and turned on the TV. Dadda, who had been sleeping woke up to come sit with me. I told him that Kedah, Penang, Kelantan had gone over to the Opposition and now it looked like Perak and Selangor were heading that way too. I also told him that BN had failed to get the two thirds majority in Parliament. He grinned cheerfully, sleepy as he was.

What about Petaling Jaya? I didn't know. So far, I hadn't seen any results for our constituency. But this morning I saw in the papers that the Opposition had won our seat by a majority of some 19,000.

Ahmad Talib, a former NST group editor came on TV. He called it an elections tsunami. They cut to the press conference given by our surprisingly-not-sleeping but grey-faced Prime Minister Pak Lah. The mood was somber. Amid flashing lights, he shrugged his shoulders and said, if this was what the people wanted...

Of course someone asked if he would step down because of this barely victory that was almost like a crushing defeat. He said nobody had pressured him to. When asked about his Cabinet Ministers who had lost their seats, he said, lose, loselar!

Then he stood up to fend off further questions.

I would have liked them to cut to former Prime Minister and to all those politicians who had lost their seats. But Malaysian TV is ever demure and would leave those clowns to mourn in private.

And CNN and Al-Jazeera had better things to cover than our elections.

I fell asleep in front of the TV.

All in all, an interesting day.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Phoenix Rising

Just Because...

The goodbye we never said bleeds out into the cadaverous silence,
There are no echoes.

Friday, March 07, 2008

I Can't Breathe

Sometimes the body feels strange, heavy, lumpen, leaden, like it belongs to someone else.

I can't even breathe...

And I stare at this purple glitter that looks like it came from one of those three-dimensional pictures - a depth that goes on forever. I hate it. Why did I do it? Or why did that other spirit that took temporary possession of this body do it?

Not that I'm the old spirit. I'm another one. Another one that doesn't fit. I feel the accumulated sadnesses of this body. Everything jars. The space, the silence, the darkness, the misery spilling out into the sour stratosphere.

And I can't breathe...

And I lie curled up in bed in the middle of the day, worn out but not able to sleep. I close my eyes. Tight. I heave a deep sigh. Then another. Then another. Then another. Until I start weeping quietly. But not even that. Not even that lightens this terrible load on my chest.

And I can't breathe.

I can't breathe.

I can't breathe.

God help me, I can't breathe.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Rant If I Want To!

It seems like I woke up on the wrong side of the bed or something. I'm in such a foul mood and no amount of "clearing" or positive thoughts or pretty music seems to be working. I feel these waves of negativity flow out from me to everyone all around.

I'm in BV1 now, with a cranberry juice and a mineral water (I don't feel like lunch), steaming away. Started with this stupid woman who wants the boss's picture like now. I hate people who rush me to do something. Especially if they happen to me from some dumb make-up company.

(I don't care if you charge RM40,000 for a moisturiser, you're just not that important and your "urgent requests" read like fucking jokes, see?)

I told you I was in a bad mood!

And so, the boss's secretary who doesn't know how to convert an AI file to a JPEG file calls me and sends me increasingly urgent messages about this stupid woman who wants the picture.

I mean, come on, what is this, a pimple cream emergency?

I know I'm being sexist and rotten and whatnot, but I don't give a flying fuck.

It's my party and I'll rant if I want to.

Oh, and after I've rushed to a place with free wifi to send the pix (which was rejected by the dumb bimbo's server) I am told by the boss's secretary, that, don't worry, our head of marketing (who presumably knows how to convert the file to a jpeg format) has already sent it!



So there I was reading my book on ho'oponopono at this little kopi tiam at Sri Hartamas. Mary and I had gone there once for breakfast and I remembered it as being peaceful, soothing and out of the way. Oh yeah, and the food was nice.

However, this had been on a Saturday morning. Which is very different from a Tuesday afternoon. I fought my way through extremely slow-moving traffic to get there and wondered if I would be able to get a parking space anywhere close by.

Whaddyaknow, I got one almost directly in front of the kopi tiam, woo hoo! I texted Jerry (of Backyard fame) to see if he was anywhere close by, but he was off for a meeting and said, see ya later, darlin'!

So nemmind, I was eating my excellent fried rice and reading my book, when I looked up to see VJ, one of the Backyard musicians, passing by. He came and joined me, looking tired and out of it. Thing about VJ is that he is almost always upbeat and springy, so it was quite strange to see him out of it. He said he'd join me for a while, and me, being me, told him all about the book I was reading and the formula for "cleaning".

He listened and smiled. I asked him if anything was wrong and he told me that a coupla things were preying on his mind. This and that. We talked about "this and that". (I am an inveterate busybody and I like knowing everybody's business)

Anyway I ended up going home with him (he lived around the corner) and hanging out. It was a nice large spacious house he shared with a few people. His little doggie Chloe came over and proceeded to lick my face with some intensity. She was a very loving dog.

VJ shared his philosophy on life and gave me one of his paintings. He also proceeded to sketch me as I sat curled up on the sofa, dreading having to go back to the office and tackle insurance web content (does anyone know how to spell BORING?)

It was an unexpected afternoon.

I like unexpected afternoons.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Flowers in My Hair

So now I've got flowers in my hair. I went to the one place in BV2 where you can buy fake orchids attached to clips and scrunchies and tried on various variations. Of course, since I had just re-layered my hair, I had difficulty getting anything to stick. But I was DETERMINED to have flowers in my hair. If this was the closest I could get to pretending I was in Hawaii, I would do it.

Then a lady walked in. She had recent stitches on her lip and looked kind of sad. She saw me trying on the various flowers and said, hey that looks cool. And although I don't think she meant to buy any flowers for her own hair, she ended up doing so. She told me she had spent 10 years in the US (5 in New York and 5 in LA) and was not exactly thrilled to be back. Especially since one of her friends was behind bars for having spoken out against injustice.

"You know freedom of speech is something you take for granted there. Coming back is like taking 10 steps back. I just can't believe it."

She looked sad and tired and pained.

We chatted and one of her friends came up and joined us. Her friend is a Backyard kaki. I asked if they would like to join me there (yesterday being Monday and all). But they begged off. Seems like my new friend had just had her lip stitched up. She was in pain and did not feel like facing a bar full of guys.

Her friend, the Backyard kaki, said that this pub is not like that. Nobody would even look at you. Hmmm. I don't know about that, but it is one of the most laidback pubs in KL and everybody knows everybody and there is a sort of ease and family atmosphere.

Anyways, they called me later to say, not today. Maybe Friday? I said, sure, no problem.

And with much difficulty, I attached the flowers to my pitiful shrunken ponytail (I don't think I will be layering my hair much from now on) and walked around trying to pretend I was in Hawaii. Except that I wasn't. So I got back home and shared a pitiful meal with the Dadda man who then watched his customary football while I got onto the computer and played a couple (or a coupla hundred) rounds of Spider Solitaire.

Then I had a shower and washed out all the purple glitter from my eyes, and settled down underneath warm sheets to shiver and read my book on ho'oponopono.

Tiny bubbles in the wine,
make me happy, make me feel fine,
tiny bubbles make me warm all over
with a feeling that I'm gonna love you 'til the end of time.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Purple Glitter

So there I am leaning back in this comfortable leather armchair with this nice lady rubbing lavender lotion into my feet. Another nice lady is filing my nails. Square instead of moon-shaped this time around.

And they ask me, do you want nail polish?

And I nod: Yes. Purple glitter.

And they giggle. And I giggle. Because it is all so funny. Purple glitter is not sober. But to hell with sober. I am THROUGH being sober. I will be ME!

So yesterday I wander around Megamall searching for the tackiest glittery purple earrings I can find to match my now glitterry fingernails and toenails. I didn't find the tackiest, but I found some that were close. (3 for RM10, tacky is not expensive)

And I also want to buy those flowers that I can pin into my hair. I want flowers in my hair. I want leis and hakuleis. I want Hawaii. I want gently swaying hips to Tiny Bubbles (what's that guy's name again?) I want to embrace my hippie side (to hell with dark corporate clothes and stiff-collared Raoul shirts and cuff links).

Something is happening. Some change. Some revolution. Inside me.

I know now that the reason I was severely under the weather last week was because of my wisdom tooth coming out and causing a ruckus in my gums pushing all the other teeth aside. I know God is wise and all but I still don't get the wisdom behind wisdom teeth. Oh well. Some mysteries are meant to remain mysteries, I guess.

OK I need to go have banana leaf with Nits now. We're trying to decide between Anjappar's in Bangsar and Kanna's Curry House in Section 17.

Either way, yum!

Later for you.

Addendum: Oh and I forgot to add. On Saturday I quit the gym. Of course, informing the gym that I was quitting on the 1st of the month is never a good idea. Especially since their invoices go out on the 25th of the month, which means I was stuck paying for another month and I may just use it in the mornings (though I've decided not to gym at night as there's too much noise). I've quit the gym and joined a yoga place that's like really serious about the whole thing. So I will assume the lotus position and intone "Ham sa". And from now on you'll find me calm, centered and so very ethereal.