Saturday, August 23, 2014


I'll never see you again. You have disappeared into that big somewhere and sometimes I try to find you but you're not there. I cannot feel you, wrap my arms around you and if I tell you I love you who knows if you hear?

I'll never see you again.

And maybe in time I will disappear myself and it will no longer matter.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Please Let Her Live

Dear God,

Please don't take my friend.

Please let her wake up after the operation.


Please let her live.


I love her.

These Be Strange Times

There I am tapping away at my computer transcribing yet another interview and it's the still watches of the night but I don't feel so forlorn because there Emily is, tapping away beside me and Li Ming, who was clearing stories, has just gone home. Misery lurves company, in fact, so much that when it has company, you're no longer miserable. Maybe that's what Robin Williams needed. Company.

Anyway, I suddenly remember that Jeff is supposed to introduce me to this professor at a local university and I forgot to remind him. And although it's past 11 I send him an email. He replies with an email introducing me to said professor. Yeah, at that time.

And I say: Thanks for the introduction Jeff. These be strange times to send emails.

And he answers: These be only times emails get sent.

I love my job. And the people I meet in the course of my job. And the ones who stick around to become friends.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Cranking it Up

Every once so often I feel like writing here. I have been short on sleep for a while now. Last night, it was my fault. I got home late after transcribing an interview and then, although I was dead tired, instead of sleeping I messed around with a template on, uploading short stories I had worked on over so many years, I don't remember how many. I want to make a book. I want to make a book for Christmas. Maybe I actually will. You know how fickle I get.

But right now, I type as fast as I can because there are so many stories to finish, so many interviews to do. I'm not the only one stretched to the limit. I look around and see the rest of them. Sarah has three interviews at the same time next Tuesday. That is going to take some managing. Emily was in late last night (she went back after 9 at night and when I got in early for a change this morning because I had a super early breakfast meeting) she was already here. Tapping away. Forehead scrunched up in deep concentration.

People send me emails and text messages at ungodly hours. People overseas. People here. Nobody seems to be sleeping. It is a situation I expect will continue until September. Which is when so many of these things are due. And then, we will all take a collective pause, sigh deeply, kick back our heels and maybe go to the beach to veg out. Let the brain which is cranking along at a godawful pace, take a breather.

The only good thing about having too much to do is I don't have time to drama. There is no time to wonder how I feel about things because I'm too busy doing to feel.

And maybe that's a good thing?

Letters delayed. Maybe I'll write some tonight if I'm not too tired.

Wired on strong coffee at the moment and due to go out for another interview. I think I need new batteries on my recorder. I think I need petrol; my tank is almost empty. I think I need to top up my Touch&Go.

I think I should start transcribing yet another interview.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Waking Up

I have spent the past week or so trying to sort through and clean up my mess. And there is a lot of it. I let things slide when Arnold was so sick and everything heaped up in corners and started to emanate smells. Bad smells. So bad that I was driven from my bed from a regrettable necessity of breathing once in a while. I wore out the sofa with my sweaty body all curled up, trying to get comfortable.

And then, at the start of the Raya holidays, I tried to shake off my apathy (no easy task, it's been there for so long it's grown roots and held me firmly in place, unmoving, unable to move) and I started. On Saturday, I called the plumber to come in and fix the leaky tap in the bathroom. Huh! I think times must be really bad because he came (with his little crew of two) almost immediately, so quickly, in fact, that I barely had time go to the nearest ATM and withdraw some money to pay him, and found himself a lot more work to do. OK, about the taps, I was not here when they arrived, so Dadda, taking advantage of the splendid opportunity of having a real plumber at hand, pointed out two other pipes that needed work. He quoted the earth, swearing, all the while, that it was the lowest he could go and he was getting only a small, tiny, minuscule, you'd need a microscope to see it, profit.

When I suggested that it was too much, and I only wanted that one pipe fixed, he paled. And said, no, no, do it all at once, since we are here already. Dadda shuffled his feet and looked embarrassed for having shown him the other pipes. It was unlikely that he was going to let go of that. So we knocked off about RM20 from his original quote (still way, way more than I was willing to pay) and then one of his crew, who had been walking around the house noting things that need to be fixed pointed out that the roof was leaking.

Here's the thing. It was. In fact, some of the wood had rotted clear through and we always knew we would have to get around to tackling it but it seemed like such a gargantuan task (not to mention expensive) task, that we had hemmed and hawed and promised to do something about it vaguely at some point in time, in the future. So while the boss of the outfit went out to get supplies, the dried up little fellow who specialised in fixing roof, got a ladder and shinned up. He took pictures with his nifty little phone to show how many places the roof was actually leaking. A lot. And then he quoted a price to repair...and I sighed because more and more of my pay check was being eaten up. And it was barely the beginning of the month.

But this really, was something that HAD to be done. So I gave them a downpayment on the job, and the guy went out to get more supplies...and while they were at it, I started to tackle some of the tasks I had neglected. Everything was in a fearsome mess.

Firstly, there were the dog beds. They needed to be scrubbed down with chlorox because they had attained a level of murkiness that had to be seen to be believed. And there was Elliott who was sleeping on one of these beds, and who had been scratching so violently that he had worn holes into his body. He needed to be bathed. And then there was the bathroom that I thought I would wash. And then there were the groceries that needed to be bought.

So the workmen worked and I worked and Dadda either watched them or played on his computer.

At the end of the day, I was so exhausted that I curled up and fell fast asleep on the sofa.

And so, day one. A lot accomplished. Oh, I forgot to say. When they started fixing the roof, they came across white ants eating through the beams. Yes, they could address that as well. But it was going to cost us. I watched fascinated as their bill got longer and longer. Gulp.

Day Two of the holidays I was pretty exhausted, but thought it would be a good time to tackle the hall. I would finally clean the fan, clean the windows, wash the curtains, dust the altar and everything else that needed dusting, swap the picture of the Sacred Heart for the one from JB. If I had tackled all of this in an organised way, I could probably have finished it in a day. But I was tired. And not organised.

So I cleaned a little, read a little from two of Mummy's old Mills and Boons novels that I had brought from JB because they made me nostalgic. Then cleaned some more. There was a point where everything was covered in dirt (shaken loose from the fan and various things across the hall)...and my hands were so black with dirt that I made marks on everything that I touched.

End of the day....hall still at sixes and sevens. I finished it the next day. Hung up the newly washed curtains, spread the newly washed cloth over the coffee table, put out the papers I had set aside for recycling (the recycling man came along and bought them for all of RM4). Then it was time to tackle my own room. The motherlode. The floor was so covered in stuff that I had been hopping over things to get to my bed. Not that I got to my bed much. I didn't like sleeping in it anymore. Here, the two days of holiday I had left was not sufficient. So the place was still in chaos when I had to go back to work.

And I've only just finished it today. Finally sweep and mop. And ah, isn't that better?

I bought nails and hung up some pictures. Ah, that feels better.

I feel now the room is organised I can start doing stuff. You know, stuff I want to do.

Like write my letters at my actual desk, instead of on the bed or on the sofa or at work or in restaurants or cafes.

Like, look at the projects I have neglected and come up with some ideas about what to do about them.

Like watch Youtube at my desk while I tackle my needlework project-du-jour.

Maybe now I've freed up some of the energy here, I can get moving again.

Fingers crossed.