Wednesday, December 31, 2008

And Then Some

I read what I wrote last year - remember the hotel room and the half bottle of wine, and the dark streets and the fog. It was cold but I was too drunk to feel it. And my volume of Anne Sexton which I clutched to my chest like a talisman. The poems I read over and over again. The feeling that this night would go on forever.

And I was lost.

And I was miserable.

And I just wanted to be left alone.

And I just wanted to not wake up so I wouldn't have to go back.

To face that.

And what was that? Nothing really. Simply a stupid management meeting, with a company I no longer cared for, with nothing to say, no updates to give, because I was tired, tired, tired of it all, and maybe death was an easy way out.

Death? So I wouldn't have to attend a management meeting? Laughable. But there it was. True.

And this year, I see the year out on my old bed, which is laden with books (I'm reading two poetry books at the same time, neither of them Sexton), no wine (well, Mum is downstairs watching Intan, she may want to break out a bottle but then again, she may not) and I hear my phone beeping away with the group messages wishing everyone Happy New Year - cheerful things, really. And maybe I will go check to see who SMS-ed.

But this year, I feel peaceful, almost cheerful really, and there is no great blight in my soul.

Although, I have no job (nor any prospect of one, since all the leads seem to have dried up). I'm trying to care, but can't bring myself to. I know I'll find work to get by. But there are more important things, Iago, like starting on that elusive novel, what I want to write.

Like a honey cake. I cut off little pieces and chew them meditatively at intervals, savouring the nectar. Ambrosia. You know what I'm talking about.

My face lovely with dreaming
Facing my fantasy
Facing the question
When does beauty die?

Happy New Year.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Plum Tuckered Out

I'm home again. I've just finished making our quota of cakes for Christmas, to whit -Spiced Apple Cider Cake, Grandmother Whitehead's Texas Fudge Cake, Chocolate Raspberry Streusel Bar, Greek Orange Almond cake, Lemon Curd Cake and Sticky Toffee Date Pudding.

The fridge is bursting at its seams.

As I have some flour, some butter, some eggs and some chocolate chips left (to say nothing of cocoa) I'm thinking of rounding it off with chocolate chip cookies. And since I brought the cookie cutters Jackie gave me a couple of years ago, to Johor, maybe I can make Christmas-shaped chocolate chip cookies. Now, there's a notion.

I'm just plum tuckered out.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Butter Fudge

I love, love, luuuuuuurve home-made butter fudge. I ate nearly a whole packet of it and have decided that what I want for Christmas is home-made butter fudge to sweeten the palate as I watch numerous episodes of the Waltons.

My book-du-jour, Julie and Julia is splayed open. It's such a truly hedonistic, sybaritic romp, what with the recipes and the butter and the disasters and the crustacean murder and the sucking out of marrows and Julia Childs, and pounds of flesh and David Straithairn and loons on the subway - that I laugh to myself at La Bodega where I wait for Zafrul who is already 30 minutes late and will possibly be more as he is stuck in traffic somewhere in Mahameru.

So I read and chuckle and look up to see Kamal grinning at me. Shirene is upstairs with her Mum having her hair done and little Aki is at the playhouse so he joins me for a latte.

I'm wearing my Santa hat and Kamal wants to know if I'm doing it cos I lost a bet. No, I'm wearing the Santa hat cos I want to rustle me up some Christmas spirit. BSC is bedazzling but that doesn't somehow do the trick. Now I attract furtive smiles and cheeky grins and it is always nice to have strangers flash their teeth at me for no reason, well no reason I can think of until I remember my unconventional headgear.

So Uncle Cody is being courted by Cordelia Hunnicutt. And I have finished one cup of tea. And there are brownies and muffins in the fridge.

And I will be making chocolate chip cookies by the bushel tonight. Truckloads of flour and chocolate chips reposing on the table. And can you believe that all these choc chip cookies are for Julie. Well not for her exactly. For her to give her gym aunties and her gym instructors.

So maybe I'll lie on the sofa and finish my book. And watch another episode of the Waltons.

How does one step through life, jaunty, unafraid, neither timid, nor tentative nor apologising for one's existence?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

What Happens When This Too Passes

It doesn't feel like time is passing. It feels like I am behind plate glass watching it pass for other people, as I withdraw from this life, as I cease to be a participant, as I diminish into an observer.

I read voraciously now, maybe because reading is passive, it does not require a response to another person. Yes, other people. I don't want to deal with other people.

This is not normal behaviour, Jennifer...

I am aware of that. I could ask what normal is, and who defines the parameters, but I will spare you the cliches. (Haha, spare you the cliches, when every thought is no more than a cliche, hahahaha indeed!)

So maybe I have been losing my mind, my spirit, my centre of joy, my ability to interact with other humans and be part of the swirling, heaving masses, life in all its pathetic and heartbreaking guises. So maybe...

I no longer recognise the person in the mirror.

I have taken leave of my senses.

They wished me luck as they waved me goodbye.

I can't think of anything more dreary than eternal life.

Friday, November 21, 2008


I am starting to miss my friends. I am starting to miss the shopping centres in KL which must be all festooned for Christmas by now. I am starting to miss waking up at a decent hour in which to live.

I am reading the Emily of New Moon series.

Before this I was reading Anne of Green Gables.

Oh what is to be done?

I tired of Virginia Woolf and reading books that I had to chew and digest and understand only partly.

I realise now how difficult it is to write "paragons" and not end up hating them yourself. Paragons don't exist. They are barely human.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

This Wall Between Us

I didn't mean to withdraw from the world, it just happened. I lie snug, wrapped in blankets in JB awake all night, falling asleep at sunrise with Mum standing at the foot of the stairs and hollering at me to come and have my breakfast or lunch or any food so I don't get gastric.

Her voice filters through as I turn over and burrow deeper into the bed, and settle myself to drop off again. No, I'm not ready to wake up yet.

She calls me in between her important phone calls to Aunty Baby, Aunty Shirley, Halimah Hassan - with whom (depending on the person) she discusses politics, the soap operas, the latest round of funerals, illnesses, me....

Mum: Jenny cannot sleep at nightlar.

Aunty Baby: Why don't you give her fruity yoghurt at night? Then she will drop off...

Mum: Poor Intan. That mother-in-law of her's is too much.

Aunty Shirley: Yalar. How can she take away the child? I mean, Intan is the mother after all.

(It has come to this - I actually know the plot of Intan. Could be worse. I could know the plot of Marina)

Usually she gives up when the soaps begin. And then I stumble down and have a cup of tepid coffee and maybe a nutella sandwich or maybe lunch if it smells tempting enough.

And I don't really mean to be a stranger, I don't. It's just that when the phone rings, I'm usually asleep. Or else I stare at it, this strange creature, singing to me and I feel a repulsion. I cringe. I move away.

You see, there is a wall of water between me and the rest of the world. It is a few miles thick and I'm quite comfortable sitting at this end and not braving the flood.

Tonight, for the first time since I got here, I went out. Drove. To the petrol station down the road. And then to Pelangi Plaza. Parked the car. Forced myself out. Walked up the two stories from the parking to the shopping centre. It was empty and ghostly.

I couldn't even understand the large poster ads.

I mean come on, Let them eat wake!?

And my footsteps dragged all five floors up to Popular bookstore to get some stationery. I figured, if I was going to be cut off from the world, I may as well do something useful, like Morning Pages.

Instead I recoiled at the legal pads I had intended to buy. I picked one or two up idly to look at them but couldn't bring myself to go any further. There was nothing wrong with them. I just couldn't bring myself to buy them.

So I made my way out of there...and arrived home to find Mums had made ayam masak merah and her (very tasty) version of a salad. I ate enough to want more. Chubs (who had gone for the first session of the kids' carolling practice) came back at about 10and had his fill, going for seconds and enjoying each mouthful with a peculiar relish.

We watched Monk in accompaniment.

And then, it was time for Intan.

And then, Mums went up to sleep.

And here I am, still awake, but maybe tonight I'll sleep early cos I promised Mum I'd make a cake tomorrow.

Chubs says we are so bad for him.

Looks like I'm spending my birthday here.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Either I am a hypocondhriac or there is something really wrong with me. My heart hurts. I mean, like literally. Every once so often it pulls. Hard. Today I woke up with a blinding headache that lasted the whole day (until Chubs came back with some Panadol). All the sleep in the world didn't make a dent in the pain.

I can't even think about the next step.

I don't know what to do.

Sunday, November 09, 2008


See thing is, I'm velcro.

And I've always been velcro.

It can be such a little thing, a trifle, a mere nothing. But it twinges. And then I start to make associations.

And so it goes.

And so it grows.

Until my belly is churning so badly if it were milk it would turn to butter.

And then war breaks out - there is screaming and insults and words so full of anger and hurt they burn right through my scalp.

If uttered in real life, they could kill.

If uttered in real life, everyone would know exactly how hateful I actually am.

And sometimes, I vomit them out before I can stop myself - whisky-flavoured bile, green pus, brimstone, crushed glass, rotten vegetables, rusty nails - it keeps pouring. And pouring.

How much vitriol can one body contain?

And then I turn it off. Freeze up. Absolute zero. (That's O degrees Kelvin, not Celsius, not Farenheit).

Now you have received the full measure of my hate you no longer exist. I command you to die. Never mind, even if you don't, I will act as if you did.

It's funny to think that I spent nearly four decades, perfecting the technique. And that I thought this was normal. That to hate was normal. That to be interminably angry and cut people off, one by one, for the rest of my life, was somehow good.

Honourable even. Strong. Impenetrable. Fortress-like.

Har fucking har!

I don't know what happened to me when I fell sick this time around. I was comatose for most of the week. I relinquished among other things, my handphone, my will to live, my food, my friends, my stupid crushes, my need for something to happen to change all this around so I would be happy. I felt someone kicking me in the belly over and over again and I curled into a foetus and tried not to breathe.

It was dauntless.

It was unrelenting.

I wished I were dead.

I guess I had been digging myself deeper into the prison all this while and expecting a miracle - someone somewhere somehow would come along and rescue me. From me. Though how they were supposed to do that, God only knows.

Before I left Geneva, my friend Beatrix asked me to pick five cards. The first would denote the major problem in my life. The fourth would indicate the solution. The fifth, the way to the solution.

My problem? Living in the moment. I was too caught up in the past and the future to be in the present. Big deal. I'd heard that before. And frankly, I didn't know what to do about it. How do you change your hardwiring?

The solution? Rebirth.

Oh wow - that's great, that's really clear, that is. Rebirth. Die and be born again. Yeah, that would be a synch.

The way to the solution? Meditation. I didn't meditate. Instead, I fell sick. Much quicker and more effective.

So I died.

But I came back to life.

And things had changed. I couldn't find it in me to stay angry. Maybe there was no fight left in me. Something was missing, but whatever it was, I didn't want it back.

I wrote to tell Beatrix about it.

She said, illness as initiation, how interesting. And then she signed off to go on a five-day surprise birthday holiday with her husband.

And I thought, illness as initiation? Well why ever not? Nothing else had worked. For those like me, a mass of infected wounds under layers and layers of scab, nothing would, I guess.

I was velcro.

But I think I'm turning into teflon.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Some Part Of Me Has Died

I'm in another time-out from the world. Things are really ugly out there and I figure if I bury my face under the pillow for long enough the rest of the world will eventually fade away. Especially the ugly bits, the bits I don't want to see, hear, feel, touch, taste, smell.

When I was in the throes of illness, I felt someone kicking me in the solar plexus over and over again. I felt my insides contract and I couldn't breathe. And I gave up fighting the feeling.

It coursed through me.

It kept coursing.

I let it course.

Spent, I lay on the unwelcoming pillow and allowed my thoughts to erase themselves. Someone had taken a blowtorch to all those memories. I felt each one die under the blaze, the concentrated fury. Of what, I don't know.

I was at Shalom on Friday. I saw Carl. I have hated Carl for more than a decade. I avoided him like the plague. Slipped out of the reach of his hands.

He bit a friend. She stepped in between when he was coming for me. After that I stopped talking to him. Taking his calls:

Jennifer doesn't work here anymore. Please don't call this number.

And Friday, I just chatted with him, like the intervening 15 years hadn't happened. We talked about the bite. Or rather we mentioned it in passing. He told me what had happened with him. I told him I was freelancing. And it was all so... devoid of drama.

I felt nothing. No animosity. No hatred. No judgement. No... get away from me, you bastard!

And I wondered, has there really been a shift? Are all those grudges finally petering out? Will I really live in the moment?

Some part of me is letting go.

Some part of me is dying.

Some part of me has died.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Only Refuge

I wonder what is real anymore. Everything has the effect of a mirage. I find out things every day that harrow my soul. Is anyone who they say they are? Lies, lies and more damn lies.

And now I find that another carefully constructed edifice has all but tumbled. Part of me feels horrified. Another part, relieved. Something was wrong. Terribly wrong. And now, it is all out in the open, grinning entrails and all.

A friend called to give me a heads-up. She said the problem with everything today - the company, the country, the world - is a lack of integrity and accountability. I agreed. No one is responsible for anything more than covering their own asses.

If karma is supposed to operate unflinchingly, why do I keep seeing these villains thriving, growing fat on their vampire feasts?

No justice.

I'm glad I left because things were unravelling at a frightening pace. Unravelling, unravelling, unravelling.

But now I feel orphaned out here in the cold.

And silence is my only refuge.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Dancing With The Dead

Because they were stolen little by little, I didn't see them go. And I didn't know till I was walking in strange and wonderful places, beauty all around me.

My words.

So I borrowed from others. Stole what used to be mine. It didn't matter from whom.


In a New York minute,
...everything can change...

Tony Curtis:

There is a winter inside me, a place so cold, so covered in snow, I seldom go there...


And so long as you have not known
This: to die and so to grow,
You are only a troubled guest
On the dark earth.

I cannot hide and feelings bubble up and I cannot hide and sadness engulfs and I cannot hide and I re-read Sexton and I cannot hide and I lie down to be covered in shells and bones and silence.

But there is no silence.

So for the moment I'm lost.

So, for the moment, I'm few and far between.

But you have no voice for singing
and you sleep too unsettled for dreams.
Your needs and your thoughts imprison you.
You have the cold embrace of a stranger.
Even your God has banished you naked.
I pity you and you think you pity me.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Music, When Soft Voices Die

I'm twirling by myself in the centre of a large white room. Once in a while someone comes into focus. Then it's all a blur. Dancing. Strobe lights. A strange and beautiful music.

Everyone twirls.

Then Tristan is beside me. I am stunned by his radiance. Was he always this beautiful? He smiles into my face. "Everyone is beautiful at the ballet. And hearts take wing..."

He looks deep into my eyes: "You're OK now sweetie. You always were."

I raise my glass and toast to cheap wine and prawn cocktails and cold winds and waves thundering on the shore at midnight and shared confidences and the warm arms of a friend.

And love. Always love.

He dances away and I watch him go without longing, without regret, without the need to hold him back. After all, the ones you love remain with you.


And the Lady comes into view. "Darling, there are poems in the folds of my skirts, stories in my hair." I reach out to touch her and butterflies rise from her skin and settle on my heart. Sweetly like a smile. Gently, like sleep.

"Even as the eyes are closing," she croons. "Do it with a heart wide open." I know I will write. The words are coursing through my veins. I let them course...

And she twirls away, stars gleaming in her backwash.

The light has turned pink. The air is perfumed. I take great gulps of it. It tastes like butter pecan with hot fudge. It tastes like midnight in Paris when Maya sat beside me under the cold sky and we shared a Coke, chicken sandwich and some fries.

And there he is. Maya. He takes my hand and twirls me around. Angels don't need to talk. He smiles. An imprint of warmth. Then he is gone. I take a deep breath and wave.

The joy expands. The love deepens.

The light has turned golden. It spills on the floor, turns everyone luminous. My heart is going to jump out of my chest. But this time, I will not turn back. Or turn away. I am no longer afraid of this beauty. I open my arms to embrace it, bring it closer, hug it to my chest.

And then I see Kat. "The beauty is there if you look hard enough. We got fooled by the disguise."

She smiles at me and I notice that her hair is shining. Then I realise it isn't her hair. It's her. She's glowing. The words curl softly in her tresses. She has been kissed by the Lady. And we're both awash in butterflies.

She winks: "It's our little secret". Hugs me and dances away.

The music changes. It's Beethoven's Ode to Joy. I think of Immortal Beloved and bless Nessa. And there she is in front of me. She looks like someone I've known for centuries. She feels like family. And she says:

My love is warmer than the warmest sunshine
softer than a sigh
My love is deeper than the deepest ocean
wider than the sky

And then she's gone but there is a peculiar warmth in the air. Her warmth. And more butterflies.

I'm in a garden. The grass makes spring's freshest tints look like shadows. And there are flowers. More perfume. Sweetness. Light spilling from leaves. Bliss creeps in. And I wonder....

The trees here are old friends. I hug them and feel the sap rise in their steady hearts.

Thank you.

Thank you.

I love you.

Thank you.

Then I notice Mark sitting on the grass, strumming his guitar. I sit beside him and listen. I don't recognise the song but it sounds like he pulled it from one of my deepest and most joyful memories. I don't know it but I've loved it all my life. He takes his time imbuing every note with his own peculiar magic. Then he looks over to me, smiles and nods. I clap and bow my head in appreciation.

Thank you.

I love you.

And I walk away.

And my feet trip gaily of their own accord. I know not where they're going to take me, but the journey has been joyful, the people beautiful and I am filled with wonder.

There is beauty in transience.

When we demand Eternity from Love, all we get is Disappointment. But maybe if we take the moment for what it has to offer and demand nothing else besides, we get Eternity.

I got Eternity.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Travel Stories

I am reading a collection of travel stories by women and what strikes me the most is that each story doesn't tell me more about the place...but about the women themselves, what they're going through, etc. The countries they were in simply served to underscore all that.

And I thought about Christope Graizon who insisted he was a traveller rather than a tourist (he made a very clear distinction between the two) and pointed out that we go neither to see nor to do, but to find different levels of our personal dementia. That resonated with me although at the time I was only a fresh-faced 22-year old.

And now I've chucked my job and am busy sloughing off identities my feet have become itchy and I want to take to the road. Again. I want to travel and discover new lands and see with new eyes. I want to go where I am not part of the context and simply observe and write. Or not write. Maybe interact. Trip gaily through market squares where my feet leave no imprint on the cobbled stones.

One of the best presents I ever gave my cousin Praby was a travel journal of our time together in Bali. I wrote it out painstakingly day by day, taking note of the little happenings that meant something to us, and wouldn't mean anything to anyone else. I called it Sunset in Bali because my dear cousin never got to see one. There we were on the beach, and there was the sun setting, and she had one woman braiding her hair, another painting her fingernails and another harrassing her to buy mats. One look at my face and nobody bothered me much. In fact one American dude we met in Bali, in comparing us said Praby was a kitten and I was the next best thing to wrestling with an alligator.

Anyways, coming back to travel stories, I am dusting off the old wanderlust and heading off for parts unknown. Finally. I put it on hold and did what I thought was the sensible thing but now I know that sensible doesn't involve me being utterly miserable.

I cannot force myself to fit in. I can play at other identities for a while but then I need to cast them off.

And there are no solutions at the bottom of a brandy glass. Although I do intend to get pleasantly smashed in each and every country I visit. Preferably in the company of strangers.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Bingo on a Saturday Night

My oldest boyfriend, George, is in town. He's pushing 90 but still sounds robust on the phone. He called to tell me he landed in KL amidst a flurry of tragedies. A stroke, cancer, bipolar disorder. I listen sympathetically. KL ain't what it used to be, huh? Unhealthy place now. He laughs. He left in the 60s. A war hero. He's back for a World War Two Memorial celebration in Singapore.

George is a man of few words. I interviewed him for a project, getting his story for my collection. He doesn't take to many people but he took to me. Which was a mercy. And always called up to invite me for Dutch Burgher get-togethers at the Anglican church hall after that. Was fun, despite the fact that nearly everyone was twice my age.

Of course, they were curious, seeing as I wasn't the daughter or niece. They couldn't figure out the connection. And with a certain generation, connections are important. You need to be placed on the grid, so-and-so's daughter, so-and-so's granddaughter, so-and-so's niece. I was utterly, utterly unrelated to anyone. I was off the grid.

And I wrote the following after one such night out.

A Saturday Night

Bingo on a Saturday night
Old faces, eager young eyes
People I don't know.
Look at me in surprise.

Who is she, they ask Hyacinth
who walked in with me
George's new girlfriend,
she replies.

George is her husband.
George is 82.

She's very young,
Of course, says Hyacinth
What would he want
with another old woman?

Don't you mind?
Hell no.

What's your name dear?
Where are you from?
Are you related to so-and-so?
Their voices flutter,
Butterflies in my hair.

And then the bingo.
Pat calls out the numbers
22 is double chooks
and 11, legs.
(They always whistle when she says that)
8 the fat lady or gentleman.
Sweet 16 and never been kissed.
She chokes at 69, then accuses an old guy
of being obscene when he sniggers.

Bingo on a Saturday night,
Old faces, eager young eyes.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Bellyful of Maggots

You see it's the extent of the treachery that gets to me. It's like the Dutch boy has removed his finger from the hole in the dyke. The trickle becomes a flow, the water gushes forth, the hole expands, the dyke collapses.

There is a flood. We are overwhelmed. We drown.

I'm drowning now. In all the lies you told me. I can't even seem to get my head around them.

Was there even the slightest semblance of truth in all this mendacity?

Each lie, like a maggot in my belly, eating away at me. And truth, like methylated spirit, to kill each maggot. But oh, does it sting. Each maggot killed feels like a tearing, a severance. I was cuddling my maggots, they took refuge inside me, my bastard children.

Lies, like tumours.

Lies, like festering sores.

Lies, like that look in your eyes.

I just don't understand why you would make all this effort. I'm not worth it. Really. And now, you're on the phone harrassing me. Constantly. Now that I don't want to speak to you.

You don't know, do you? You don't know just how much I know. And who told me. And how you now appear, a dimunitive figure, just sad and ridiculous.

Evil is, as it ever was, privative.

A lack of something.

A hole in the air.

An absence.

You shrink in front of my eyes. You become less and less. You turn to shadow.

While I keep vomitting maggots.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Sith Lord

He comes into the room and rubs his hands together. Affecting evil. Except that it is no affectation. He actually IS evil.

"You want a woman, you fuck her mind first. Then the body comes to you for free. Believe me, she will be begging for it. Look at me, I can't even seem to get rid of them. Which is a bummer. A guy gets bored. He likes some variety."

I nod fixated, wondering why he is deigning to share this information with me. Of course, I'm not in the running so I don't matter. But does he think I wouldn't share the information?

Then I glance across at the table. He's screwing four of the five women there. I watch their eyes as they look at him. Clearly, it doesn't matter what I say. He's got them wrapped around his pinky. He shares just a little with each. Just a little, just enough to let them know that the others are the enemy. Make sure everyone is civil. But always ensure there is an appropriate level of mistrust. We cannot have midnight bonding sessions. You know how women get when they're friends.

He catches each eye in turn with a significant look. As if to say, "See what I'm dealing with? See how she is all over me like spaghetti sauce? This woman doesn't know what's what. She just can't let go. When you know, you're all I want."

He surreptitiously sends each one a text message in turn, assuring her of her utter importance in this bevy of beauties. He calls each when they leave and get home. To make sure they got the right impressions. It is so important, keeping all this square. Maybe he'll invest in the latest relationship management software - to square the stories, the birthdays, the anniversaries, the significant events. Yes, who would have thought that it could be used for this? To hell with customers, who cares about customers?

It's getting late. One by one the girlfriends have faded out, too tired to out-wait the other. They know he will call anyway. Maybe they wont get together tonight. Maybe it will be tomorrow.

He lights a cigarette and contemplates just how easy it is. Women are like dogs. You train them and they respond. Gets into his car and makes the five-minute drive back home.

Where he fucks his (ex?)-wife who just happens to live with him.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Onion and Garlic Tales

I realise that both Julie and I usually turn up in JB looking ragged and weary for Mum to minister to. (Mum's usual comment is aiyo, I wanted to cry when I saw her!)

And despite the fact that having one of us (OK having me, not Julie so much) around means double or triple work for her, she is usually quite cheerful about it.

Last night I crawled into Mummy's bed cos I was pretty cold. It had been raining incessantly. Now if you're going to crawl into somebody's bed at four in the morning, one would think you would do it discreetly, or rather silently.

Not me. She doesn't call me baby elephant for nothing. So it's pound, step on, oops, every step of the way. Mummy wakes up and asks what the matter is. I say I'm cold. So she cuddles me. And I warm up real fast. (I know, I know, disgraceful 36-year-old, but what to do? some of us never grow up)

Then I proceed to sleep till afternoon. I am aware of some vague ineffectual attempts to get me up, but I'm not budging.

So I come downstairs past noon to listen to tales of Elliot's latest misadventures. Apparently he stretched from where he was tied up to get Mum's slippers and chew them. She is livid.

"He's not a puppy anymore."

Then she ponders on it and decides he was demonstrating his displeasure not at her, but at me. For not taking him out for a walk yesterday. I was busy sleeping, remember?

"Ivan let them go the whole night and only tied them up when he was going up and he still does this!"

I am intrigued. Our two doggies are mortal enemies and cannot be freed together as fur and blood tend to fly. "He let them go together? And they didn't fight?"

"Not with Ivan around. He holds a broom and warns them first. They know what they'll get."

Now Mum is making chicken rice. And the kitchen smells very yummy. Chubs asked if I could make the lemon curd cake but I forgot to bring my recipe book. At least, I think I forgot. Must go look. Or ask Jackie if she has the recipe.

I like baking.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

JB Saturdays

It doesn't help that I only dropped off at five in the morning. Mum staggers to my door barely four hours later and starts her early morning chatter:

"Jenny, you wanna go Pasar Tani? Or you wanna go for breakfast? OK come, let's go for breakfast. Hurry up girl!"

So I wake up and shake sleep from my hair and throw on some crumpled clothes. Mum eyes me askance. "You didn't iron that." Then she shrugs philosophically. At least I'm up and that's saying something.

Chubs, who has been shaken out of sleep is also grumpy. I come down to greet the two doggies. I don't understand why Elliot is looking so worried (I realise later that he thinks I'm leaving already - poor Elliot, his life is so full of uncertainty, we come, we go, and he remains tied up).

Anyway we arrive at Kerala Restaurant too late for the appam. Uncle Joe is sitting at his accustomed place at the cash register looking placid. He smiles and nods. We order roti canai instead. And mutton curry. The mutton curry arrives sans mutton. Apparently they don't have the ones that have been chopped up small small. Bru Coffees all round. Mum glances at her watch and mentally calculates what time we can call Jackie to wish her. It's her birthday. I'm hoping that she has received all the cards by now.

Then it's off to Pasar Tani. Chubs stops near the rickety stairs. He's gonna stay in the car and read his PG Wodehouse. I am going to follow Mum and be the pack horse. I look around trying to take note of this pageant around me. Two people quote higher prices than what is written on the cards and Mum bristles up in conscious reproof. The vegetable ladies are grumpy. The fruit guys are jovial. One old fruit guy offers me a slice of jackfruit. It is very very sweet and soon my fingers are sticky with juice.

"Alamak, mak mertua lalu belakang tak nampak." (roughly translated: your mother-in-law has just passed behind you, you didn't see her)

I stare at the man in surprise. "Sorry?"

Apparently it is a pepatah Melayu (Malay saying). I'm not sure if the saying has to do with eating jackfruit, or sweet fruit, or sticky fruit and forebear to ask. I am allergic to mothers-in-law, imaginary or otherwise.

Being a lazy child, not interested in lugging around a lot of heavy plastic bags I make frequent trips to the car where Chubs is relaxing, seat back, reading his Wodehouse and listening to the radio (some things never change).

Finally, all the marketing is done and Mums has arrived at her plants stall. This signals the end of or Pasar Tani trip. Her mouth opens slightly and her eyes zone out into her junkie look. (some things really never change)

Then I think, OK we're off home. But it is not to be. Mum doesn't get a chance to run her errands often, what with Chubs busy with peak period at the office and all (altho I did tell her I'd be back for a week this time, which means we could spread them out), so she wants to go to the Post Office to pay a bill. And stop along the way to buy bread. Lack of sleep is starting to get to me and I feel myself getting grumpy.

But Mums says - go get your refund (the car petrol hike refund thingy) and I say, aiya dowanlar...and Chubs says, you'd better, after all, they reduced petrol prices today, so they may take this off. So I go, pay the bill and get my refund (it takes all of five minutes, for which I am pleasantly surprised) and then finally, finally we make our way home.

Time to shower and sleep. Except that I need to get on the net to check my Facebook and email. Mum looks at me and shakes her head: "You are addicted, aren't you?"

I nod, eyes riveted on the screen.

For sure.

Say What You Need To Say

Even if your hands are shaking
And your faith is broken
Even as the eyes are closing
Do it with a heart wide open

Say what you need to say...

I'm back home in JB. Took a slow drive and calmed down. I am a child of highways, the road soothes me, it lulls me into a meditative peace. I need to drive alone. I need to switch off the phone and just be alone with my thoughts for a while.

From that calm sometimes leviathans emerge, but oftentimes I just watch the procession of thoughts tread by in my head as my fingers search out the best radio station. Sometimes I hit a song I like. Sometimes it all goes distorted. Sometimes, there is only silence.

And I talk to people in my head and tell them what I have to tell them. I compose beautiful letters and messages and blogposts (pity I forget what I think as soon as I sit down to write them)

And what I need to say is:

No cause. No cause.

It explains everything. And nothing.

So you go figure it out.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Going Home

The morning after a binge, the world seems tinged with ashes and dust. The light is rusty, the air unclean. And the music comes to me distorted, like a soundtrack by Teenage Fan Club.

Let everything that is to fall, fall, beginning with tired love.

I'm glad I'm leaving. If only temporarily. There are places to visit, people to see. Nothing to tie me here. There was little before and now there is even less.

We met Rejane yesterday. And that was interesting. We met Richard (not the yoga nazi) yesterday. And that was interesting. We ate the best prawn sambal in the world, at Backyard and that was interesting. We shared some very honest moments fuelled by the alcholic haze. (OK Richard and Mary weren't drinking, Rejane and I were, but everyone seemed sober and real. Very real)

I had four whiskies (four!) all told, and still drove back sober (I am seriously going to have to do something about my increasing tolerance level).

Mary and I are out to Mid Valley today to eat the incomparable chicken rice. And get a refund for my lost parking ticket. And then I'll be off with Nits and Adek to WIP. Maybe call Rejane to see what she is doing later as both my amigas are going to ditch me early. Prior engagements.

Maybe it will be an early night as I intend to take off early tomorrow.

I just want to go home.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Morning After

I wake with a pit of heaving magma in my centre. Doesn't this feeling go away in the morning? Isn't it a denizen of the night? Apparently not. Apparently it will stay with me until it is fully out of my system.

I sometimes wish I had a few more skins.

I like how it feels not to feel.

Think I'm gonna get drunk tonight as well.

Later for you.


OK I'm drunk now. I'm writing this on two whiskies. Which is like way above my limit. Although I wish I could open a bottle of wine by myself and chug it down like mineral water. Maybe that would numb me.

Everything hurts. A mass or raw nerve endings.

I drove to Backyard with Mary Zack of the broken toe fame. She came because I told her I seriously needed to get drunk and there was so much shit going down that I could no longer handle it. Too much sadness and misery and despair and illness and hurt. All at once.

Too much!

More than I could handle. Not without a drink or a hundred.

I think my tolerance is rising. Two whiskies and I feel nothing. I mean everything is thrown into sharp relief, even the pain, even the sense of abandonment, but still...I discussed Jane Austen and Jane Eyre and drove home sober. Although I was drunk. And my heart felt like a lump of lead in my chest. Even then.

Look for the girl with the broken smile, ask her if she wants to stay a while and she will be loved.

But I'm not.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


OK time for a good old update, the old-fashioned kind, the kind that tells you what's going on without me without resorting to poetry or metaphors or streams of consciousness. Or hints.

A lot in fact. I quit my job. My last day was 8/8/8 which is kinda cool. I still work for the company though. Sort of. I'm supposed to be on retainer. In fact I'm at D'lish Bangsar waiting for the ex-boss to come and practice his speech. Same old same old.

Having given up my job, I had to surrender my laptop (definitely the more painful sacrifice of the two). But it was a blessing in disguise. Having to surrender my laptop, I had to go see what was available in the shape of laptops. And I got my wonderful PollyAnna, a red Dell, which is not just functional, it's pretty. And having a laptop, I needed to get a laptop bag. Did you know that these are now fashion accessories? Go figure. Well anyway, I got a pretty red laptop bag from Mid Valley. I love it. Fits all my stuff. And PollyAnna. What more could I ask for? (I'm getting the 'my life is now perfect' feel to this).

I'm supposed to buy a digital camera, and the one I want, I'm attracted to because of aesthetics rather than functions. It's so pretty. When I asked the girl to remove it from the display window, I felt a thrill. It's red, see? BMW red. I love red. Or did you already guess that? However bossy boots little sister asked me not to get anything without checking with her as cameras may actually be cheaper in the UK. So I held off. With heroic restraint. Sometimes I actually make myself proud of me.

I lost my parking ticket. (Which is not a major change, but just the kind of pulling a Jennifer that I thought would amuse you). I found it again after I had paid the fine. It was on my windscreen where some kind soul, who found it on the ground, had put it. By that time it was too late to get a refund (apparently the refunds need to be approved by executives and the mere cashiers who took your money cannot give it back) so I'll have to go to Megamall once again. With Mary. Maybe not. She is still hobbling. Her toe remains broken.

I'm supposed to be a freelancer now but haven't actively started looking for work. Feel tired. A bone-deep weariness that comes from somewhere and goes to nowhere and there is nothing I seem to be able to do about it. Can't wait to get to Campion's sequestered vale, altho Jackie has threatened to drag me off to France instead (but since I love France and Paris is my favourite city in the world, I'm not objecting).

Last night I dreamt somebody loved me.

No hope.

No harm.

Just another false alarm.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Groundhog Day has decided to extend its run.

Monday, August 18, 2008

GroundHog Day

I did it again. One every year. Every 10 years. Who knows? I never seem to get out of today and into tomorrow.

Yeah, the body ages and weakens. The mind becomes more clouded. So we mark the passing years with decay rather than the onset of wisdom.

Round and round and round we go, where we get off nobody knows. Moving in circles, always pain, nobody to turn to, nobody.

I wish I was real.

I wish I was not a watercolour.

I wish I didn't wash off.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Dream Within A Dream

The crow lands on my shoulder: "Give up Jenn. Move on..."

"Quoth the raven, nevermore?" I retort mockingly.

"Poe? I would have figured you for better...but if that's how you want to go...Take this kiss upon thy brow," he pecks me hard and flutters away.

I lift my hand to stem the trickle of blood from my forehead and continue where the denizen of doom left off:

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand --
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep -- while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Why I Love Tristan

I am surveying the wreck of my latest almost-relationship. There is my heart lying battered on the ground, smoke rising from the crevices. It feels strangely peaceful to have my heart outside my body for a while. It doesn't hurt so much.

Tristan appears behind me and looks over my shoulder.

"Another one Jenn? Boy, you sure know how to pick 'em."

"Sometimes, they pick me," I say, hiccuping between a chuckle and a sob.

"Yeah sweetie, but you can always say no."

He examines the grooves on my heart and shakes his head: "Addiction."

"Not love?"


"I thought for sure it was love this time."

I lift the messy organ off the ground and hand it to him: "Why don't you stomp it some more while you're at it?"

Tristan smiles, dusts off my heart gently and places it back in my chest cavity. "A sting, and then peace..."

I start to cry of course. It's all I ever seem to do at this stage and he holds my hand and just allows me to wail. (This is why I love Tristan. This is why I will always love Tristan)

When the sobs subside, he swings my hand in the air: "Let's run away."

"OK, where?"

"The beach?"


So we pack into his rattletrap of a car, stopping along the way for supplies. At the beach we unpack our cask wine, served up in jelly glasses and prawn cocktail, which we eat with our fingers. Somewhere at the back of my mind I am aware of the consequences. I know I am going to feel plenty sick tomorrow. But who cares? Tomorrow is tomorrow. And it is still only today.

As we chug the cheap wine, we grow maudlin, sing songs, swap stories. I ask about boa constrictor girl, one of his girlfriends who insists on sleeping with her snake. And I don't mean that in a sexy way. Tristan shakes his head and sighs. She was interesting, but she is so over. I ask about the bliss-fairy and he perks up. Yes, they went out a couple of days ago. May be something there.

And he asks about Rumpelstiltskin, my latest disaster. And I tell him. Thus, we reduce our exes to some strange quirk or body part, draining them of humanity. They're easier to deal with like this. Not real people anymore. Just a collection of foibles and ANYONE can get over a collection of foibles.

Even me.

It's early and the sun is rising. Tristan gathers me close and I lay my head on his shoulder and shut my eyes. There is a hush in the air, and in that magical moment, the pain dissolves.

I open my eyes to find Tristan has vanished.

I feel sick from the cheap wine and cold prawns like I knew I would.

Tomorrow has come.

But I feel better all the same.

And this is why I love Tristan.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

There Is A Crack In Everything God Made

Look at me.

Look closer.

Right deep into my eyes.

See the crack?

Yes, it's been there for so long now. Tired of trying to hold it together.

Everything crumbles. Everything fades. Everything tastes of ashes.

See the crack?

I don't remember when it got there. But I feel it at the centre of my being.

See the crack? I'm Humpty Dumpty and you can't put me together again. I'm Alice in a Wonderland falling through the hole. Slick walls. I cannot hold on.

You can't help me.

Nobody can.

I know you want to protect me, but you can't.

Nobody can.

There is a crack, a crack in evertyhing
That is how the light gets in
That is how the light gets in
That is how the light gets in...

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Fray is Right; I'm Starting to Unravel

In sooth, I know not why I am so sad.

Maybe it's all the late nights. Maybe it is the unaccustomed alcohol. Maybe it's the new people seeping in at the corners of my life. But I feel like something's changed, something profound and I'm left helpless, staring, wondering what's down that road, what's around the corner.

Words bleed from my fingers...I can't stop them. And I re-read things I wrote before and think oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, I remember how I felt then, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, this blows my mind.

Lear: Be your tears wet? Yes, faith. I pray, weep not.
If you have poison for me, I will drink it.
I know you do not love me; for your sisters
Have, as I do remember, done me wrong.
You have some cause, they have not.

Cordelia: No cause, no cause.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Once More Into The Fray

I'm back from yoga and in a slightly surreal space. I wonder how Richard manages to trip so lightly through life. He is so disciplined with his practice but he doesn't seem to sweat the small stuff. Or any stuff. Heck, I've never seen that guy sweat. Like ever. Which is weird in a yoga context.

I, on the other hand, have all sorts of things lying heavy on my heart. Which I just can't seem to shake.

And sometimes, when I'm tossing and turning, in the furnace of the night, I wonder...

Things are changing very quickly and part of me wants to get swept up in the tides and part of me wants to get my bearings and part of me wants to step out to the sidelines and just watch.

Ever have I been the spectator.

The solitary dreamer.

The one who writes the story.

But is seldom a part of it.

And now?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Squirrels Are Eating The Rambutans

It starts to rain before I've even left Selangor, and I'm very sleepy. Too many late nights. After nodding off (or nearly nodding off) at the wheel a few times, I pull up alongside a trailer at the next stop, push back my seat and take a nap.

Of course, Mums knows I'm coming back and she doesn't know what time I left which means my phone will be buzzing continuously. Not that I answer it. I've left the bluetooth device (which I never use, anyway) back in KL.

When I arise from the sleep of ages, the rain has stopped and I make my way through the traffic..which clears after Malacca. Heroes out on the road today. But I don't feel like speeding. I'm averaging 80 and the radio is set to light and easy and I'm just breathing through the journey.

Everytime I move into the overtaking lane to pass a truck that's going even slower than me, the impatient badawa rascals tailgate me, flash, flash, flash, until I get out of their way. Funny. At one time this would have agigated me. Today, I just go slower, to irritate them for being so rude.

Yeah, go on flashing, why don't you?

When I arrive outside our gate, the two dogs go crazy. Elliot is barking loudly, sounding fierce and forbidding, in case it isn't Julie (it isn't). Maggotty recognises the car (I donno how) and starts yelping. Mummy staggers out with a big grin the gate.

"Be quiet!"

The dogs subside and Elliot wraps his chain around her. She swats him away. Anyway, after much drama the gate is opened and I glide in (haha, Chubs has gone out for a movie so I get to take his place).

So I'm home to kueh teow...

Mum: I made your brother come home before going out with his friends...told him to bring back some kueh teow

which is way nice....

and tea (Mum says, hot drink, you wanna hot drink?)

which is also way nice...

and Old Christine...which is only so-so. I was not into Julie Louis Dreyfuss on Seinfeld, and guess what? Still not into her. However as I'm too lazy to change the DVD, I still through the first half of the first season, wishing I could watch The Hot Chick instead, because that's one of my favourite JB movies. I've also brought my Joan of Arcadia to watch, but too lazy.

This morning, I go to say good morning (way after afternoon when I finally emerge from the mists of Morpheus) to the doggies and realise that they're filthy. My hands are black so I say Mum, I going to bathe the patis...and she says OK. And I do. And they behave really really well, which is a surprise but I think the lack of set up for bath may have had something to do with it...they stand there and shiver as I hose them with icy water and then rub the shampoo deep into their fur. The dog getting the bath is quiet. The other one howls in jealousy. But that's OK.

They're clean now and Mums is ladling out their food.

A little later we'll be going out to fix my car. That bloody Skoda (the drunk who backed into me at the traffic lights) did some damage without me being sengaja of it. I can't open the bonnet...

I tell you ah...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Time To Move On

I brace myself for the inevitable and still, when it comes, I feel sad.

Lost in the silence.

You look at me. You look through me.

It's as if I'm no longer there.

Perhaps I never was.

You need me like a fish needs a bicycle.

Yes, that was what I wanted. I wanted you to make it on your own. Without me. And still, it's hard to let you go.

There is so little left between us and soon, even that will pass.

Thank you for what you have given me. I forgive you for what you have done to me. And I know you will forgive me.

It's time to move on.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Perfect Time

Why is the measure of love loss?

Maybe if I breathe slowly, hold the image, relax into it, maybe then...

I am not ready. She's coming for me. I was stalling and she told me there would be a reckoning. She warned me.

No escape.

Child, stay awake.

Why is the measure of love loss?

It's time.

No, I'm not ready. Sometimes the wind is moist and the raindrops make me cry.

It's time.

Sometimes on a cloudy afternoon, I can hear music on the wind.

It's time.

Sometimes there is chocolate cake in the oven and a mother who smiles and lets me scrape the bowl.

It's time.

Sometimes there is a glint of warmth in the eyes of a stranger.

It's time.

Sometimes there's an afterglow.

No more words.

I'm not ready. I haven't learned it. Please...I'm not ready.

Why is the measure of love loss?

Because there is no love.

Only loss.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Love, Actually

I sometimes wonder what it is we're looking for.

Bliss? Peace? Love? Happiness?

All of the above?

And yet we move in these tortured circles. Same faces, same stories. Different faces, same stories. Reliving the same script over and over and over again.

When will I ever learn?

No, really.


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Peaceful Easy Feeling

As if the musical healing wasn't enough - I went for a Sekhem session yesterday. The healer said the energy was particularly blocked in my knees and shoulders. Apparently that is where we keep our beliefs and memories.

Words employed to describe me:

Kinda hard on men.

Right, right, and oh boy, right again!

She said there may some "healing reaction" after the session. There was. I imploded, became depressed and felt like that guy who pushes a stone up a mountain only to see it roll down again. And again. And again. Hasn't anything helped? Haven't I made any progress at all this year? I thought I had. But there it is - rigid, inflexible, blah, blah, blah.

As for rigid, Richard, my Yoga Nazi could have told you that...when he tries to adjust me, he says, surrender, Jennifer, surrender...and the harder I try, the stiffer I become. Four months of yoga and I've barely moved forward. I sweat a lot, which is good. But everything is still a struggle.

Then today, I decide to get rid of stuff (an impulse bubbling up from my healing session?) Anyway I fill a black garbage bag with old handbags, old shoes, old trousers. While emptying my cupboard I came across a colourful bedsheet a friend gave me as an engagement present. Decided that since my present bedsheet is being laundered, I would use this thing of mirrors and bright colours to adorn my sleeping quarters. Also I will unearth the pillowcases given by another friend as a another, yeah, you got it, engagement present.

I found the beautiful album George gave me. I leafed through it and wondered what I would put in it. will be my dream book. The most special one. Oh yeah, another thing the healer said was that I could achieve anything I put my mind to. And I wondered - as present dreams centre around being a vagabond and wandering through the highways and byways of this old dusty world, sloughing off identities, picking up stories and generally moving forward with the rest of my life.

For so long now, I've simply felt stuck. Like I was not where I was/am supposed to be. I've been easing into a new identity (altho I find it's not so new and I'm still the same old me, with the same old issues) this year.

Which is a long way from that mouldy hotel room in Fraser's Hill drinking myself senseless and wondering how to end it.

I gotta peaceful easy feeling
I know you wont let me down
Cos I'm already standing
On the ground.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

I Could Have Danced All Night

So there I was with a map in my lap, desperately trying to negotiate unfamiliar roads. In Setapak. Which is like, beyond the boondocks. Zafrul had a shoot at nine in the morning and I was already late. I got to the place indicated on the map. But it didn't look right. I mean, I was supposed to get to an old folk's home. And these were flats. Not a house. Surely, it would be a house.

So I get right out of there, turn tentatively into another road and find myself in a kampung. I mean, like literally. I drive as cautiously as I can trying not to run down baby chicks who were not smart enough to get out of my way.

Then I pull over on the verge and take out my map for another look. I read the address carefully and slap my forehead. Goddamn! It's a flat. I'm supposed to have gone to a flat. That first place was the right place after all. Now how to get out of this mess. I drive around a bit. U-turn. Nearly land up in a drain. And then, find my way out and get to the flats in question. Where's there's like a big sign saying...Nascom. The place I want to get to. Which I didn't notice the first time around.

I get out of the car and sprint towards the flat in question. Huh! Luckily I am dressed down in jeans and Birkies. I get there and see the contestants who smile a good morning...and the boss, well, he's not there to scold me cos he is driving around somewhere loster than me.

Anyways, after waiting a while, texting him to find out where he is and finally calling him, I, with the help of the human GPS, Kim, realise that he has missed a crucial turning and gone miles out of his way and needs to turn back. We take the car out to the traffic light he missed, wait for him to turn in and then lead him miles and miles into the interior, to this God-forsaken place...where we rush for the shoot. The sun is blazing and it's not long before his shirt is clinging to him like a second skin. Throw in an ear wax impaction, and you do not have a happy bunny.

What with all the offscreen drama, I don't get to have the meeting with him that I was supposed to, to clear some outstanding office business. Trying to get a meeting with this man is like trying to get an autograph off Juliet Cynthia Jacobs. Not exactly the easiest thing in the world. So I say...but, we need to go through such and such...and running, he says...OK, can you meet me at Carcosa at 2?

I nod and get there at one. After which I text the boss to tell him I'm there waiting for him (as if his life didn't have enough pressure) and he's forced to rush his business to be there as quickly as possible. (The good thing about all this is that we get to clear business at hand). He is there for some KLBC meeting or other and his friends start arriving and rock up to interrupt...he says, give me a minute, need to clear some work, please give me a minute, OK? And they clear off obligingly. That's the nice thing about accountants...they're so civilized, y'know.

And there's a lot more stuff...but it's 1.39 now and I'm tired and I just can't wait to be king. Oh no wait, it's I just can't wait to get to bed....

Bed, bed, I couldn't go to bed
My head's too light to try to set it down
Sleep, sleep, I couldn't sleep tonight
Not for all the jewels in the crown....

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


I seem to have taken a vacation from reality...last night I was baking a brownie and I fell fast asleep and woke up to pull out the burnt crusty thing from the oven...and my hands were heavy with sleep and I nearly dropped everything. But don't worry, it was not burnt all through. Just the top part, which you could remove without anyone being the wiser.

I met Ambikah for lunch today and brought along a few pieces for her edification. She broke off a little for a taste. Then a little more. Then a little more...we were at Angel Cake House and they looked at us askance for eating cake not of their making...but she tipped them generously. I think she likes the brownies.

Dadda is talking in his sleep now....I don't know what he just said.

And I saw Addy later and she said she would love some dessert. Anything chocolatey. My kind of girl, I say.

There was yoga today and my Yoga Nazi was in a good mood. Splendid. He wasn't too tough on us and I barely broke a sweat. Although we did some heavy breathing on purpose. Kapalabathi or some such thing which involves forced exhalations.

I also got to hang out with Stephanie the artist today and I love her house because it is full of her paintings and I love her paintings because they are all the colours of happy.

I'm not making any dessert tonight. I need to take a shower and stretch out on the sofa and maybe watch a DVD or maybe fall asleep or maybe just lie there and drift.

Nothing is real.

I can't make it real.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Sweets for the Sweet

A fresh chocolate raspberry streusel bar reposes on the counter. I just made it. It will be our dessert for the next week. And if it should finish halfway, as I expect it to do, I will make another one. I got enough ingredients to do so....muahahahahaha!

Last week, it was chocolate chip cookies. The week before that, fresh lemon curd cake. You can say that I've been baking with zest. To say nothing of chocolate chips, raspberry jam, lemons, butter, sugar and flour. Lots of flour. I love the way my belly jiggles softly as I enter the room about 10 minutes after it. It's good to play drums on. Thwack, thwack, thwack. (Yeah, yoga notwithstanding)

But considering I only bake when I'm happy (sort of), I feel that everything is pleasant and nice and buttery and chocolatey and coated with honey.

I have strange dreams at night, but that must be because of the books I've been reading. Yeah, there was this one with a glass window and waves that slammed against said window and broke it threatening to overwhelm me as I stood watching in helpless fascination thinking - wow, how beautiful, strange and terrible and beautiful...

Anyway, back to desserts. My friends have taken to avoiding me. Or tying themselves up in knots trying to tell me politely (so as to not hurt my feelings, you know how sensitive I get) that no, please, they don't want anymore cake, and don't ask them again, like ever, have I noticed how nothing fits anymore and get away from me, you temptress, you devil incarnate...NOOOOOOOOOO!

So I laugh (because I'm so happy for no particular reason) and just leave my goodies at home, where we will have them with our tea every day...Dadda likes to have something for tea, and now there is always something. The chocolate chip cookies are not nearly finished (although I must say Julie did her best, polishing off half a tin, in one short day) and now there's a chocolate raspberry streusel bar. And the ingredients for another crsb in the fridge. As well as the fixin's for a hazelnut white dark chocolate brownie. Yum!

And my friends say, stay away from me you devil. So I smile, lick my fingers and say...OK whatever. And some point out delicately that dear, dear Jenn, you are moving towards embonpoint, not to say fat, well OK, fat....maybe you should cut down a little dear.

And I laugh and wave and cram my mouth full of cake and sing yummy yummy yummy I got love in my tummy....

So am I evil?

Or simply misguided?

Friday, June 27, 2008

I Saw My Life Flash Before My Eyes (But It Was Only A UFO)

I dragged Mary to Backyard last night. I was buzzing, buzzing, buzzing and she had an early bus to catch this morning for a wedding on Saturday, which meant early to bed - was there ever anything so inevitable?

Anyways, there we were, me digging into my mutton varuval and Mary chatting away when who should rock up but Mark's Victor...who joined us. We didn't mind him so much - he's very much the strong silent type (though not so silent with us) and we chatted about gigs and Chianti and bounced cheques and new rulings by Bank Negara and other subjects of similar potency. He was struggling with his first glass of stout. Then he struggled through his second glass of stout. Finally he struggled through his third glass, at which point, we left.

Although it was later and later, we stayed on - and then this real creep - large ugly Indian thuggy looking guy with a posh Brit accent, to say nothing of snobby demeanour - joined us. Now, we don't like this guy. The only time I had shared a table with him, he hit on my friend Michelle-Ann, and continued to hit on her through the night until we decided to leave. A noxious bastard with pretensions to grandeur.

However, he unseated my bag (which was parked on a chair) and sat down, purportedly on his way out. And didn't leave. So we had to. He was contemptuous about my coffee table book. Nuff said!

Anyways, on the way back, Mary and I are at the BSC traffic lights chatting, when the Skoda in front of me starts backing up...alarmed, I honk. He keeps backing up until he bangs into me.

I mean to say what?

This red-faced man (he was drunk, not embarrassed) gets out of the car, waves his hands around a bit and asks if we are all OK. I say...what was that? He says, sorry, I put the car into the wrong gear. I checked out my front bumper - there wasn't any visible damage.

So I got back into my car. Mary said, that guy was drunk. Did you see how red his face was? I said, really? She said yes.

So we thought about how surreal everything had suddenly become. There we were, on an ordinary night, at an ordinary traffic light, making ordinary small talk, when suddenly a Skoda backs into us.

At work this morning...early. There's a staff meeting. Mary is on the bus, sleeping.

My colleague Nik is next to me, checking his facebook.

My life is constructed of all these strangely disparate moments. (Hope Zafrul, who is already 18 minutes late for the staff meeting he called, keeps it short. N'am saying?)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Journeys of the Heart

I've picked up 12 copies of my coffee table book (OK I had to pay for them, but still...) I picked up five free copies (one for me and four for the people I interviewed) and have spent most of today (OK, after lunch, before lunch I was head down, bum up, working) delivering the copies and catching up with people. I can't even begin to describe how wonderful it feels to reconnect with these amazing people.

Halfway through I was hungry, so I headed off to Lucas's place for my bacon sandwich (that's real bacon and not that fake beef bacon) and orange juice and coffee. It was on my way cos I had just delivered Dominic's book at Plaza Damas. Lucas was very impressed with the book. He thought it was beautifully put together and he read all of one story (mine, of course, or I would have clunked him on the head). He thought I was leaving a copy for him, but I said, no can do...this book is spoken for. He said he would borrow my copy at some point to read. Mary wants to borrow my copy some time soon as well...little does she know...(evil laugh)

We went to this new restaurant Red at Medan Damansara, for dinner last night. The lamb stew was divine - but it was so very little - that I was still hungry after. So maybe I will have to dig up lamb stew recipes and make my own. At least I will make enough to go around, so you're not hungry after. And I will whip up a crazy dessert. (what is wrong with me? I keep wanting to make desserts!)

And now I'm bathed in the lambent glow of a productive feels good.

And...there is something wrong with my eyes. Everyone seems to be drenched in luminosity. Glowing. Beautiful.

I am living. I remember you.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


It's the boss's birthday today. I sent him an SMS at 1.37am and he replied at 4.51am...still the same old Tune Money and our SMS-ing at ungodly hours.

My review on the play Sybil is out on Kakiseni today. To say I am thrilled would be putting it mildly. I guess after being a PR for so long (OK, it's only been a year but time is relative), it feels good to see a byline.

And Ena from Ayesha Harben called to say that the coffee table book on Families (I contributed a chapter entitled Choices and Challenges way back when I was still an insomniac freelancer) is out now and I can go pick up my copy as well as copies for the families I interviewed. I can't wait.

And I made two fresh lemon curd cakes this week. The second one I am going to distribute among friends...I think something positive is happening as I feel like baking all over again. (I only cook or bake when I'm happy or when it's Christmas and I have no choice).

And now I am supposed to sit down quietly and write an article for the boss. But I'm buzzing, buzzing, buzzing...can't sit still...oh my!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Sapphic Delights

I'm watching Sappho - would not recommend it. The acting is kinda stiff and definitely B-grade...but if you want to ogle at pretty people - and watch two pretty women get it on - then be my guest:

Helene: If you are lucky enough to love somebody who cares if it's a boy or a girl?

Monday, June 23, 2008


I'm flickering. Like a firefly. Buzzing. Like a bee.

A picture forms. It's somewhere else and I'm wandering along, wearing my home on my back and I glide over pavements and the air smells of Lalique and the leaves drift lazily and settle in my hair until I'm something of a cross between a snail and a dryad.

That guy in the red kurta who's just rocked up, with the diamond drop in his left ear, he looks gay, and the girl with him looks suitably moneyed. Oooooh the joys of fag hagging. (I'm the only gay in this village, Myfanwy)

(Nothing's gonna change my world, nothing's gonna change my world)

The lady with fine long straight hair and a carefully tended fringe, bites neatly into her sandwich and regards the man in a pink shirt intently. She smiles in all the right places. Looks coy. Tilts her head to one side. Dabs her mouth with a napkin. Offers pithy observations. Laughs. Her hair is so perfect. Surely he sees that her hair is so perfect. Does he know how long it takes to get it this perfect?

(All you need is love, love, love is all you need)

The ballerina with her hair pulled into a bun and her symmetrical parting, bends over her book, latte in hand. She looks tranquil. She's classically beautiful - all lines and angles - smooth like white marble and just as unyielding. No softness anywhere. Sits cross legged in her armchair. Reaches out to sip her latte. Bites her fingernail. Stops. All intentness for the page.

(The yearning to be near you, I do what I have to do)

The guy in a bright blue shirt is fiddling with his earlobe. His ice latte in a clear plastic cup, balanced precariously on the wooden barrier. He gazes at his laptop. Scratches his head. Then caresses it. Bites a fingernail.

A man walks into the Travel Zone. He is old and Caucasian and he looks clumsy with contentment. He walks into Travel Zone because he can afford the luggage there and it does not faze him that this is Bangsar Village and everything is expensive. More expensive than most. He walks around surveying the pull bags.

Two strangers seated in separate circles are having a conversation. One a bald, bearded Indian man in a light brown shirt. The other a funky young Chinese guy with moussed hair and a cheeky smile. Older guy advises younger guy. He's shaking a finger. Young guy smiles, amused.

(I require plenty conversation with my sex)

Ballerina is feeling cold. She winds a scarf around her neck. Then it's back to the book. Guy at Travel Zone has just picked a bag. A medium sized pull bag. But then he gets attracted to another one. He comes back to original choice. Hmmmm...decisions, decisions...

(Baby, baby, baby I got so much love in me)

Family seated around a laptop. Dad tries to work. Son on his lap with arms draped around Dad's shoulder. Mom craning her head to see what the other two find so interesting. Dad smiles. He has gleaming white teeth. Mom limps. Uses a walking stick. Son, clearly adopted. Happy families being happy together.

(No one needs to know, where you may carry me, you can take me down your stream and show me what my wishes mean)

The baristas are smiling. Attending to two girls in short shorts. They're getting coffee to go. And maybe some pastries. No, we really shouldn't. Oh come on, I can resist everything but temptation. Oright then, just one. Just one. Creamy, puffy, sweet centre. Yum yum.

(You scumbag, you maggot, you cheap lousy faggot, happy Christmas your arse, pray God it's our larst)

And the guy next to me is blog surfing. Leaving comments as he passes through. Kinda like how I wish you would....

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Not Beyond Love

For some time now, all I have been good at, for those bothering to stop by, is to ladle out that daily dose of depression. So I decided to reach out to someone else to give you something more cheerful and uplifting. Nutritious. Like rice pudding. Good old David Whyte. And yes bro, wo/man was born free but everywhere, she is in chains...

When your eyes are tired the world is tired also
When your vision has gone no part of the world can find you
Time to go into the dark where the night has eyes to recognize its own
There you can be sure you are not beyond love
The dark will be your womb tonight
The night will give you a horizon further than you can see
You must learn one thing
The world was meant to be free in
Give up all the other worlds except the one to which you belong
Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet confinement of your aloneness to learn anything or anyone that does not bring you alive is too small for you.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Broken Light

At about one in the morning I suddenly realise I no longer know how to write. Otherwise why should this review be so damn hard? I know I have performance anxiety, but still. I have deleted about 20 false starts. Every word that comes seems trite, stupid, inconsequential.

Full of sound and fury.

Signifying nothing.

Always, nothing.

Dear God, I have forgotten how to write. How did this happen? How did I let me slip away? A simple review, and here I am tied up in knots, unable to produce a damn thing. 187 words, most of which I will delete. And I need 1,000.

Across from me, Mary sits, reading her cheat notes for Streetcar Named Desire. She is hoping she will come across some passage, some sentence, some word, some phrase that will help in this process. She sees that I am in pain. She offers me water, tea, fruit, music, anything to ease the constipation.

She gracefully deflects all my delaying tactics and forces me to write. Rubbish, if I must, but just write.

When did I lose it?

I remember churning out essays at university. OK, the process was increasingly painful. But still, at the end, I would have something I was proud of.

Now, I read the few incoherent sentences jotted out, and think, sheesh, call this a review? Why is it that I am having so much difficulty stringing two words together?

Mary makes an expansive gesture.

"It's everything. It's the environment. It's what you've been writing. You're not happy."


I'm not.

This is not me.

This is not me.

This is not me.

This is not me.

At 3 in the morning, I've finished my first draft. I read it out to Mary, making adjustments along the way.

She says put it away until tomorrow, then look at it again. I nod. Sigh. Drive home. Shower. Crawl into bed. Sleep.

The words have disappeared and there is only silence.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

If I Sang Out Of Tune

I'm seated on a meditation mat on the floor of my room, contemplating the mess that is my room, the mess that is my life. There are clothes strewn everywhere. The wastepaper basket is overflowing. Everything is covered in about an inch of dust. And there are unwieldy piles of books on the table, the side table, the floor, the bed. My bedsheet looks grotty.




Cleaning up my room will just take a little elbow grease.

The second, um, that's a little more complicated.

I want to quit my job. But now there are red flags being raised all over. By my mother (who is on her knees praying furiously that I don't make yet another colossal mistake in a life already peppered with colossal mistakes), my friends, who, brows furrowed in concern, ask me, are you sure, are you really sure about this, think very carefully, don't do anything rash...

What with the recession, the rising cost of fuel, the tremendous, tremendous fear that everything is going to hell in a wirebasket.

And all I want to do is slap on a backpack and take off to parts unknown. Where I will make friends, smoke some pot, sit around the fire and listen to stories from people I have never met who will be my new best friends for a couple of hours until I stand up, dust off my shorts and push on.

Where is it you want to go, child?

I don't know.

What do you want to do, child?

I don't know.

How are you going to support yourself?

I don't know.

Jai Guru Deva, nothing's gonna change my world, nothing's gonna change my world...

I'm so tired of being sensible. OK, not sensible exactly, but as sensible as I will ever get. In a job. With a desk. And business suits. Or at least Raoul shirts complete with cuff links, sensible corporate court shoes and dark trousers.

I hate structure. I hate bureaucracy. I hate being forced to write on demand for people I no longer care about. I hate turning my thoughts to what I don't want to turn them to, and trying to figure out solutions to problems I don't give a flying fuck about.

That drunk at Backyard was right. I AM a prostitute and the worst kind, at that.

If I died tomorrow is this what I would spend today doing? Writing an article about the fuel hike for a youth newspaper? Preaching to them about tightening the old belt?

Emphatically not.

Everyone I talk to these days mirrors my disillusion. There is a weariness in their eyes that I feel right down to my bones.

What happens now?

Another suitcase in another hall...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Where Late The Sweet Birds Sang

Thus in winter stands the lonely tree,
Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one,
Yet knows its boughs more silent than before:
I cannot say what loves have come and gone,
I only know that summer sang in me
A little while, that in me sings no more.

We've decided to give Backyard a miss on Mondays for the next few weeks. We went yesterday. Mary was out of sorts from work and I was, well, I am always up for Backyard on Mondays.

But that was before this Monday.

We arrived and it was not that crowded. Mary ordered a beer (for variety) and I, a red wine. Not the two hot teas we expected to order, but then, let us be different, or die.

Mark was tuning his instrument. He looked a little out of sorts. He joined us for a while and told us that he was not in the mood. Really not in the mood.

Uh oh.

He started playing soft, slow numbers. Normally, I love his soft slow numbers. Today, however, I found myself yawning and trying not to nod off. There was something missing. Life, perhaps. Soul, definitely. His heart was not in the music as he strummed and sang.

Nearly two hours later, he came off stage for a break.

"You're really out of it today, aren't you? Macam takda daya nak hidup," I told him. Mark nodded morosely. He WAS out of it. Though it was unkind of me to have noticed. Because that meant he would have to do something about it. Mark is the consumate showman. And he can't bear criticism or to be thought to be less of.

So he went up and started rocking the joint. Patrons unglued themselves from their seats and started to gyrate wildly on the small space that passes off as a dance floor. We kept to our seats and observed all this. I leaned over to whisper to Mary.

"The boy seems to have woken up."

But observing him carefully, I realised it was all a performance. His heart was still not into it. Some guys took to passing behind him on stage, invading his personal space, because the dance floor was too crowded to pass. I saw the flash of irritation on his face and realised that despite the upbeat tempo and the few smiles, he was actually pissed off.

Seriously pissed off.

Nevertheless he kept it up, pushing himself to the limit. Though I didn't think he was going to play Mary's request, Travelling Light. Because it would not have been suitable for this crowd. Although he did oblige with her other favourite, Call Me Al(coholic).

I wished we hadn't come. Backyard on Monday nights is usually quiet, empty and soothing. Today, however, Jerry had organised a wine-tasting/pool night which meant an infusion of patrons. When he saw me, he slapped his head, and said he forgot to invite me for the wine-tasting. No matter, Edmund let us have some of his excellent red Chilean.

Mark continued to rock the joint but by now I really wanted to leave. Except that it would have been rude. So we stayed. Being Malaysians, we don't like to offend anyone. Especially people we happen to like. Even if they're in a pissed off mood.

One of Mark's friends, or rather patrons, a Datuk something or other came up to me and asked what my favourite song was. Without thinking, I said: "Fire and Rain." He then went up to Mark and insisted he play it. Which was not good for the boy in his already inclement state of mind. He raised his eyebrows, glanced icily at me and said: "Indeed?" when the pushy Datuk insisted he play the song.

Then it was time to wrap up, and pushy Datuk came over to chat.

I must backtrack however. Another unpleasant thing about last night was the number of men who kept hitting on Mary. She was just not in the mood, and too tired to fight and fend them off, so I gave them bitch glares and did it for her. One kept glaring at me like: "You're the reason I cannot sit by this fascinating woman and engage her in conversation." And I glared back: "You're not good enough to tie her shoelaces, bucko, so fuck off!"

Brian, one of the three Indian dudes who had harassed us when we first came to Backyard way back last November recognised me and said, oh hello, in an unsmiling way. He didn't want to be thought friendly, to say nothing of over-friendly. I stared back stonily. "Hello." And looked away. (Bitch, bitch, bitch, went off in my mind. I don't give a flying fuck! I answered myself)

Anyways there was a particularly persistent Bhai guy who went for Mares hammers and tongs, and she gave him a pained smile that grew more pained as time went by. So I put my arm around her and pretended we were lesbian partners. And glared at him. He got the idea.

There were two very attractive girls dirty dancing with each other and they looked like a hopeful lesbian hook-up. They turned out to be first cousins.

My life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes.

Anyways, back to pushy Datuk. He graduated from forcing Mark to play my song, to telling me I should marry him. (Mark, that is, not himself) I reeled. I mean to say, what? Then he invited Mary and I back to his large house in Damansara Heights where they were taking the party for a jam session.

I declined politely. He insisted. I declined politely again. Told him I had to send my friend back. He said, send her back and come then. Did I happen to mention, pushy?

I was tired and my nerves, never at their best at this time of the night, were seriously frayed. Mary had started making tracks for the car. Mark rocked up to say goodbye.

"You're pissed off, aren't you?" I asked him.

"Majorly," he replied.

One of my many useless talents that will never go anywhere. Being able to gauge Mark's actual mood behind the performance.

We left. I sent Mary back and then drove home. Had to have the obligatory "wash Backyard cigarette smoke out of my hair" shower and crawl into bed.

Tired. Very tired.

Woke up early this morning for a meeting that never took place. Not only did it not take place, nobody told me why it didn't. The portly major who was supposed to show up at our office at 10am with boasted military discipline and punctuality, didn't. But since Zafrul wasn't here to receive him, that was necessarily a good thing. Which means they must have cancelled the meeting without telling me.

I really, really, really need to get out of here!

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Bricks and Mortar

Mary and I figured out that the neck and shoulder pain has to do with my heavy new bag. I loved it because you could fit so much stuff into it, unlike all my old bags which were crammed to the overflowing and couldn't be zipped up once I had tried to fit my new wallet and my new sunglass case into them.

Problem is, I have simply stuffed this one to the brim so it requires a mini crane to lift it. Hmmmmm. And then of course my shoulder started to hurt something awful. And I couldn't (still can't) turn my head properly.

"Angel child, what do you have in here, bricks?" was her gentle comment, on having to carry it for a bit.

Went with Mary and VJ to Backyard last night. We sat outside and enjoyed the gentle sounds of Raymond Cheah while sipping our hot tea drowning in hot milk. It was soothing.

I have a busy day ahead. What with my hectic social life and all. Am meeting Meera earlier in the evening. And possibly Michael later in the evening. And Adeline either earlier or later.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Neck Pains and Near Misses

I am perched on the sofa with my laptop on my lap, and a crick in my neck. Have just returned from Sunday morning yoga (I told Richard he gives a whole new meaning to easy as Sunday morning) and an inexplicable pain in my shoulder. And I find it difficult to turn my head.

Last night I was out with good old Vij (the young one, not the old one konon superstar) and we watched Prince Caspian, which was enjoyable even if they did change the story and play up the supposed hidden animosities between Peter and Caspian and invent a romance between Susan and Caspian and make Peter so much less than he was in the book. Why, I wonder. Anyways, the movie finished at 2.30 in the morning, and I got back around 3.

So there I was lolling in bed, too lazy to get up, reading my book, when I came across this passage:

"Why do we practise Yoga?"

I had a teacher once ask that question during a particularly challenging Yoga class, back in New York. We were all bent into these exhausting sideways triangles, and the teacher was making us hold the position longer than any of us would have liked.

"Why do we practise Yoga?" he asked again. "Is it so we can become a little bendier than our neighbours? Or is there perhaps a higher purpose?"

I smiled. And then gasped. Because I had remembered.

Oh crap, yoga class. 10.30.

What time was it now? 10.10.

20 minutes to get from PJ to Bangsar.

I wondered whether to give it a miss but the thought of my Yoga Nazi instructor had me leaping out of bed to the bathroom for a quick face wash and throwing on some crumpled clothes all anyhow and speeding off.

Of course, it being a lazy Sunday morning, all cars were driving at a leisurely pace not in keeping with my frantic breakneck need to get to class in time. I overtook dangerously, car careening sideways.

I parked illegally and all but ran to the centre. Class had not started yet but everyone was either lying or sitting on their yoga mats, in repose. One girl with pants like a belly dancer, was meditating fiercely. And I mean fiercely. She turned out to be a very advanced student who had mastered that holy of holies, the wheel (which I was able to do when I was 14, but sadly, not since then). She was bendier than the rest of us, and took off straight after class without the customary glass of juice (I have a beetroot ginger concoction which is to die for). I don't think she was very friendly. But whatever.

My heart which had stopped racing, started right up again when Richard took us through these vigorous sun salutations (A), which is a variation on the sun salutations, and added the triangle pose in between for hip opening purposes. Being the least bendy in the class, the hip opening poses are a real challenge for me.

Anyways, after class, pouring with sweat, I had my juice and then took off for home.

Usually I feel great after class. But today, I'm in pain.

I wonder if it has anything to do with the late night and the mad rush to get there. I need to set the alarm for Sundays. Or confine my classes to the weekdays.

This will so not do.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

The Week That Was

I am stretched out on the sofa, feet resting comfortably on the coffee table. Near me is my Eat, Pray, Love that I am reading for the third time, splayed open. There is a programme running on the large screen tv. Something motivating and life affirming. (Yesterday I watched The Hours which was beautiful and tragic).

It's been a sorta peaceful week. On Monday, I went to Backyard with Mary and we watched Mark preform and cheered alongside. There were some irritating people over there, but they didn't bother us none. OK, they didn't bother me none. They did bother Mary a tad. But Mark was looking especially cute, so I was not easily distracted.

Then on Tuesday, yoga. After yoga, I went mamaking with Mary, and against my better judgement, ended up at Nirwana for banana leaf. I paid for it the next day with a cheerful day of diarrhoea...would have taken pills, but thought, better out than in.

And then Wednesday, when our Goverment in all its wisdom decided to announce a hefty fuel hike. That did not go down well. And everywhere I went, there were traffic jams leading to the petrol stations. At midnight (when the hike was supposed to come into effect) I heard raised voices. I think a fight had broken out at the petrol station near the house. I ignored all this, however. Despite one phone call and two SMSes telling me to go fill up, I made my way to Kanebo in Bangsar for a very relaxing facial. OK, it was relaxing once she had finished what is euphemistically known as "extraction". I bled. I bit my lips. I didn't scream. And really, the facial lady, Lisa, was very gentle. It cost her a pang to have to hurt me.

Then Thursday. Ah, music therapy with the good Dr (I don't remember his name, only that he's from India), playing his flute like Krishna and activating our chakras for peace, love and relaxation. At the end of it, you feel like melted butter. Or at least, I do. I met Mary later for dinner. OK, I had dinner...fried rice at the Chinese place in Lucky Gardens and we were attended to by Miss Congeniality. Prabs and Mary named her because she has never been known to smile, even in the most smiling circumstances. Actually, that's not true. I caught her smiling. At this dude in the BMW SUV who sat in his car, called her down, ordered his food. She tripped along merrily fetching and carrying for him with wild abandon. Ahh...the joys of driving a BMW SUV.

And then Friday it was yoga again. This time, a make-up class. Richard said, I had been a busy bee that week, having come to the yoga centre all of three days. I said yes. He said, well, at least it keeps you out of trouble. And I said, no it doesn't. Indignantly. And he said, well it should. And I smiled and took my leave. I was feeling extremely tired (so tired that I was bumping into stuff for no particular reason) and just wanted to get a drink (as in Evian water) swallow vast quantities of it, and get home. So, I drove into Bangsar Village, ran out to get my water, and managed to do it within the 15 minute deadline so my parking was free. Then I made my way home, took a few wrong turns (yesterday was a day for taking wrong turns, even in roads I supposedly knew) and parked outside on the verge as Julie hadn't come back yet and one of us needs to book the outside space.

After which I decided I would have a relaxing weekend. Full of little things that give me pleasure. Like reading Eat Pray Love.

I think I've triple-booked on Monday. Which should be interesting.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Breathe, Let Go...

Every so often we have to let go of the older versions of ourselves to move into our dreams. To come into our own, we have to shed our tired skins. But tearing off a skin, like Kahlil Gibran so acutely pointed out, is not like casting off a garment. It hurts.

Part of me is stuck between worlds, wanting to move forward, wanting the comfort (although it grows more toxic by the minute) of staying where I am.

Time can move in circles and you feel like it has stopped and nothing is going anywhere. But stagnation is an illusion. We're always moving somewhere. Hopefully it's not into the Inferno (abandon hope, all ye who enter) but sometimes we need to move through the inferno, to shatter completely, until there is nothing of "us" left, before we can move out into Purgatorio and Paradiso.

I miss so many things. Some of them, stuff that never even happened.

And now, let me get back to it, to breathe, to let go, breathe, let go, breathe, let go.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Amidst the Din and Clamour

I'm at the office now. I had to be in early for a staff meeting (which I was actually on time for, sort of) and then send out press releases for our event on Saturday. We're sending it out today, so it gets into the papers tomorrow - coverage is never very good for press conferences over the weekend - and we have no choice about the timing of the event here - it has to be the weekend.

And now the office is full of a camera crew and the The Firm 2 contestants, directors, etc - as their nth task was to sell Tune Money cards. Dunno who won. My colleague Basil, is judge, jury and executioner.

The boss, who is not used to not being in the limelight has just strolled past on his mobile, to take a look at the action. He has been cooped up in the conference room since our staff meeting.

I was up until five this morning - had a night out with Mary who got back from SP yesterday. We checked out Kianti - this place in Kelana Jaya next to the Kelana Seafood - but only cos Mark was playing there. We bought a bottle of wine - Cabernet Merlot - but it wasn't Wolfblass and didn't have the same effect.

I am bound to think that not all Cab Merlots were created equal.

Mark was on antibiotics, what with his swollen glands and slight fever and a leetle grumpy, in consequence. But one of his singing partners - Sue - rocked up, and he cheered up. He was singing with Victor and it was not bad - but I preferred it when Sue went up and joined them. I first met Mark when he was singing at The Attic with Sue and that is still my favourite combination.

I asked Sue to sing "I Can't Make You Love Me" by Bonnie Raitt, partly because that was the first song I ever heard them do together, and partly because it suited my mood, but she said she needed the lyrics for that. Come back next week, she said, and I just might.

Will think about it. May not need to binge on alcohol next week.

Mary was a sight for sore eyes.

I wonder if I can sneak out now that I have done the needful with regards to press releases.

I'm not as sleepy as I thought I would be, which is very weird.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Containing Multitudes

You know what I love?

The absence of bitterness when it comes to endings.

As you know I am a past master of endings; I scatter them along my path like daisy petals.

I have the quantity. Now I just need the quality.

A beautiful ending is worth a multitude of good beginnings.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Lost Kitten

OK I have a rewritten profile and a picture to send out and here I am faffing about with my blog. I went to visit with the powerful lunged kitten a few houses away. She (I am sure it's a she) has been setting up a racket for the past day or so. I found her comfortably ensconced next to a tyre and with a bowl of food laid out for her.

Maybe she's crying because she's lonely and her heart is breaking.

Maybe it is already broken.

OK, I have to get back to work now.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Sweet Obsessions

I stare at the white page. I click onto another window to play some Spider Solitaire. And yet another to youtube Annie Lennox doing a cover of Marley's Waiting in Vain.

OK what was good about today?

I ended up at Concorde (it was either that or be caught in a traffic snarl to beat all traffic snarls in the mother of all storms) so I got to catch Mark perform. All two hours of it. He started off grumpy (what with his swollen glands and nasty cough and searing headache) but cheered up once the music and the applause worked its usual magic. He actually even sang a song he wrote when he was 16 with cheesy lyrics.

Soon the place started filling up and the applause didn't only come for me. Mark is the quintessential performer and he blooms like a water lily in all that attention and affection.

I ended up in Concorde because I had spent nearly the whole afternoon acting as errand girl. There was something to be delivered and nobody to do it. So I did. Only I wasn't quite sure where I was supposed to go - so I ended up going to wrong way, after which I called for directions - my usual backward way of doing things. Once I got the directions, I found I was miles out of my way, so it was turning back in traffic so heavy, that it barely moved. I think I was stuck for close to an hour on one stretch of road alone.

The sky darkened ominously. But there I was, telling myself to live in the moment, the moment, with no past, no future, so the irritation wouldn't crowd in. It kinda worked. Sort of. Anyway after much ado, I found the place and delivered the stuff. And then made my way out as the sky started flinging rain drops on my windshield with wild abandon.

Which is why I decided that I would rather weather the storm with a hot tea in one of those plush sofas at Crossroads. I was going to work on an article that was due three days ago, but the music got to me and I couldn't concentrate. So after typing and deleting the same few lines, like 20 times, I closed my laptop and turned my attention to the funky young singer with the long hair and killer smile. It had a salutary effect on my mood.

Although I didn't go to Backyard today for the continuation.

Obsession, sweet obsession...