Sunday, September 30, 2007

Ramadhan List, Raya Resolution

Today is 18th day of Ramadhan. That’s 12 days before Raya!

Questions to self:
Have I bought a New Baju Melayu for me?
Made Raya cookies for my mom?
Organized armed bank robbery for my siblings and nephew’s Duit Raya?

.......and more importantly; have I been losing weight?

If I listen closely I can almost hear a resounding NO at the end of each question.So what gives?

Well apart from the usual ‘I am too lazy/busy/cash strapped’ reasons, I do find myself un-excited, un-interested about this whole Raya thingy. Am I jaded now because I am too old to collect Duit Raya, (Wait, that was so 15 years ago) or too boring to sing along Raya songs with my guest during my open house?

When you reached at a certain age of 30s, Raya is not as much fun as, say, if you’re 10. But I learn not to be too tight up to the little Universe I am living in now. It is one of those special days where it’s ok to show to others that you are happy. So I sat down and thought hard on what I’d do differently this time that will make me happier than last year:

Hence, the list

5. Send Raya cards to at least 5 people who I haven’t spoken with for more than 1 year
4. Bake at least one type of cake/cookies for our astronauts. (Must be safe to human consumption and space-tolerable)
3. Lose at list 5kg before Raya, and gain less than 5 kg after Raya
2. Make my own ‘Mercun Buloh’ or anything 'illegal' with bamboos.
1. Record one Raya song in a CD and sell at discounted price to friends.

O and about those things I should buy, I guess I am gonna go cheap this time. After all, spending my own hard earned money won’t necessary help to boost my happiness right?

So to answer all those questions above I have a new resolution;

This year I am gonna concentrate on the human aspect of the celebration and less about material things and the very act of showing them off.

Questions, list and new resolution: I guess that’s what you have to put up with if you are jaded like me.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Pancake Disaster

How hard is it to make a One-Step pancake? Apparently impossible. I should know this, I tried to make one yesterday.

I was all alone after berbuka Puasa last night and there was nothing on TV. Bored and needed some 'lifting up', I challenged myself for culinary adventure. Since I am not much of a risk taker, my gut feeling went for something ‘instant’. Nooo…..not instant noodle. Noodle for kids. I am an adult, so I decided to make -tada- a pancake.

Sooo..while contemplating what kitchen appliances (?) to use, I took my sweet time to read the little writings on the back of the box.


Wow!…this is easy. Just add water and within 10 minutes I get to enjoy family tradition of great tasting pancakes. Come on, what could possibly go wrong with a cup of water?
Obviously I knew nothing.

After 15 minutes of disappointment and heartbreak, the fluffy and sunny pancake I was hoping for bailed on me. What shoveled on my face was…err…a lumpy of charcoal burned to ashes.

I wept quietly and grabbed that God-sent instant noodles to nurse my wounded heart.

Next time I try to do something adventurous, I’ll get a shovel.

Hell Night

There is a special room in hell where the flames are extra hot and you must sleep sitting up. That must be how it felt like.

I can’t sleep last night.

You see my room’s window is only few inches away from the other unit’s window next door and the occupant is a family with babies. Yes babies. A set of twin. And that would be the least of my problem if it they didn’t come between my sleeps, plus you know how I feel about babies.

I know it was insensitive of me. All babies do cry sometimes. They have to. It’s a way of communicating to their parents, but must they share it with other?

Anyhow this little bundle of nerves wouldn’t stop crying until late passed 2am and I was getting agitated. I needed my beauty sleep, you know, to stay beautiful so I was being bold.

Boss, kenapa you punya baby asyik nangis sahaja. You tak bagi makan ka? Saya tak boleh tido lah”

“Aiya, you tido sajalah, jangan kacau saya. Saya pun mahu tido.”

Sheesh. I am glad you will be in bed, because then you won’t be on the road and I won’t have to run over you when I see u.

The father not the babies.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Help! Moths Are Eating My Clothes.

At first it felt like a dream. It was like a dream. I woke up this morning feeling elated and almost dream-like. I took a hot bath, opened my designer wardrobe…

…..when suddenly it turned terribly wrong. As though my reverie capsule crashed on planet reality. I was wounded badly in this horrible nightmare.

My clothes! My shirts!…my beautiful, expensive shirt!

What horror could possibly cause this calamity?

Nooo. No no no no

Was it a rat?


O Please do not insult me. “I don’t have those disgusting creatures in my house”. It’s like a rite of passage I repeated over and over again.

Shaken and defeated, I googled ‘that-nasty-little-thing-that-eat-my-shirt-I -hope-it’ll-rot-in-hell'. And to my delights there is other possible culprit - a moth.
Yes, that's it! - a moth. That must be it. I breathed a little easier.

“But it’s not moths that cause damage, but the larvae that hatch from their eggs. Larvae look like small white caterpillars. They eat any natural fibres including wool and silk. To kill them:

1. Wash all your clothes at the highest-advised temperature.

2. Put any ‘dry-clean only’ items into a plastic bag and leave in the freezer overnight.

3. Sore items in sealed plastic bags – air them regularly. Try to keep the inside of your
wardrobe dust-free and use natural repellents such as lavender oil or cedar wood ”

Having printed that out. I googled ‘that-nasty-little-thing-that-stole-my-shoes-I -hope-it’ll-rot-in-hell.

I better clean up my room as much.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Getting To Know You

My friends never ceased to surprise me. Everyday I learn one or two new things about them. Exiting new things. It gives me a new fresh perspective on our friendship and I have always ended up like a big-eyed little boy.

Come on, how could I ever knew that Hafez do paint or Reena isn’t a materialistic (!) type? (she said she wanted to become a businesswoman) or Zack has other moniker other than Reena’s weekend boyfriend? (Call me and I spill).

This is the best part of making new friends - you get to be fascinated about what and who they really are – good, shocking and some you might not even like it.

Along the way, you’ll learn bit by bit, layer by layer, which exactly what we did on our recently concluded weekend.

It started innocently enough. We talked about nothing and it got deeper.

I learned Zack knows a lot about cars.

I learned Hafez can cook, a painter, like to teach and write poems

I learned Azrill likes poetry.

We learned things about others we never thought we knew, or at least I didn't. We learned and shared our inner thoughts, dreams, ambitions, aspirations and even secrets. To open up, share and listen is a long, painful process throughout the period in friendship but I believe it’s healthy and you’ll find it rewarding.
Your friends are for you to discover in order for you to rediscover yourself. That’s why I have always welcomed Get-Together or Talk-Over sessions and I have always tried to make myself available to listen for my friends.

I have learned from my past experiences - never be too sure that you know your friends well even if you have known them for more 20 years. It’s a known fact that people always capable of surprises. And when they do, you’ll find yourself push to the corner as though don’t even know them at all that to start over would be impossible.

So instead of punishing ourselves for failing to be a good friend, what do we do? We lighten up.

Anyone into musical? How about this one from Rodgers & Hammersteins' much-acclaimed ‘The King And I’? Think you know this one?

Getting to know you, getting to know all about you,
Getting to like you, getting to hope you like me,
Haven’t you noticed, suddenly I am bright and breezy,
Because of all the beautiful and new,
Things I am learning about you,
Day by day.

Guess no poem after all huh? Sorry Azrill

Friday, September 21, 2007

Silence Of The Lamb

The worst thing about being a newbie is that you get to be a sacrificial lamb. No, not the one for Raya Qurban but the black one, where a certain, unknown tribe from the deep jungle of Amazon offers to their God of Harvest. You know, before they suck your blood dry.

That’s exactly what I am now, well maybe with little less hair.

OK. So obviously I am agitated and if you must know why – I was made to work on 4th day of Raya!

Think that is not bad enough? How about if I say I’d be the only living, breathing thing on the entire floor? I think I am gonna puke.

But you know me, I moved on…Not!

I was seething mad and let it be known that this “lamb” can’t be silenced. I sulked like a little boy and demanded an entire week off before Raya from my boss.

And surprisingly it got approved!

Yeah! that means my “Raya” will start on 5th of October - a week ahead of everybody.

But I wasn’t at all in celebratory mood. I hate being lonely but I looked on the brighter side of things.

Hey! Maybe this isn’t bad thing after all - I get to do whatever I want to do plus I can wear whatever I want. I am sure my boss would have plenty of ideas to keep me busy on that day but do I give a *^&%.?

My evil mind is throwing a number of “unmentionables” here but on the top of my head right now… riiiight..

I think I am gonna have a party….with myself. Maybe I’ll bring my radio, my CD collection, some foods and punch and be totally let may hair down. (not sure whether that expression is appropriate here)

Hmm…I think I kinda like this idea already.

This is just sad, isn’t it?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Gimme MORE

"I’m very motivated by money. The only thing that would
make me happier is more money "

Simon Cowell

Of course it’s nothing earth-shattering about that, given those words came out from Son-of-the-Devil himself.

Do I find it appalling? No. Am I outraged? I doubt it. As shocking as it can be, I am kinda leaning on his side on this.

And before you call and give me those “Money Made Man Mad” or “Money Can’t Buy Happiness” speeches crap, I’ve got news for you:

I’ll trade my limbs for more money and I don’t give a rat’s ass if you think I am nuts.

Just yesterday one of my close friends posed an old-as-time question on our daily forum.

Should I choose money over security and trust?

Apparently she’s in two minds about accepting a new offer with an extra of RM1.8K or staying in her current office where she knows everyone and everyone knows her.

I’d say;

“What the hell were you thinking sister? RM1.8K extra?!!? Were you gloating or simply messing with our minds? Just grab the offer and stop whining!!

(Glad that finally got out from my system)

I've had friends who had no qualm working thousands miles away from home, middle of nowhere, just to earn few hundred ringgit more. People would do anything for more money. Even me, myself have been job-hopping for more than half a dozen times (or is it a dozen already?) just to earn enough ‘increment’ every year to support my celebrity lifestyle.

People are always drawn to that rectangular-colored-paper like a moth to the flame and sadly that’s what we are and what we will always be. So stop being a hypocrite and pretend like you can live without it, cause it’s just…sad. .

While it’s probably true (to some extend) money can’t buy happiness but surely more of it makes our lives much easier. Face it, life is hard nowadays and only more money can fix that. Call me morally challenged but I would do anything for more of that.

So in the spirit of devilish greed for MORE things; I just made a major decision in my adult life last Tuesday, (hint: something to do with MONEY). I am still not sure whether I was taking the right path but it did feel right at that moment. I am a man without a real moral compass so I guess there’s nothing much to lose, right?

Anyway, I took a liberty to post this cut-off from last Monday’s paper (NST, September, 18) to give you an idea what kind of world we live in right now.

The price of onions, potatoes, tomatoes, enriched wheat flour, instant noodles, milk, soya and fish have all shot up due to global demand, bad whether and poor harvests. The rush for bio fuels has also had a ripple effect on food prices as more and more energy producers look to corn, soya, sugar, palm oil and other agricultural produce as a source of energy.

Still think you have something mooore to say about that? Just scribble down here and enlighten me.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

If You Know Myself Well

If I know myself well, I am not a jealous-type of guy. I don’t get upset with other people’s shot at happiness, especially when it comes to family and friends. I believe everyone is entitled to their highs and ups and I am just drawn to joyfulness or any celebrations attach to it.

But today I saw a different side of me. I thought I finally saw the (green) monster in me and I hate myself for that.

Hasmiron if you read this, yes, last night I did get jealous with you. No, it wasn’t the opportunity you got to further your studies, it wasn’t about the Business Class they upgraded for you and it wasn’t even about the new hairdo you spotted.

But when I saw there were so many loves at the airport last night, I wish I would have that many friends when I am gone or away.

Just look at them….

Aren't you glad now that you've made this many friends?

Man of the hour

Zack is trying to talk Miron out of getting his house's key

U-oohh...looks like someone seriously needs to lose weight

Smiles do fly a million miles, just not Azrill's

Faizal, Hasanah and Din arrived early just to make sure they won't miss the action

Miron and friends sharing the light moments.

How could you not know or see how many people were there for you in your better times like this. These people are the very same people you knew before and we are definitely not going anyway.

So don’t worry about your house, your car, your furniture or us (especially us) cause we’ll manage. Just focus on your studies, don’t forget to send us email, update your blog and don’t marry a mat salleh.

We are all very proud and happy for you and always pray the best for you. Jealous and envious we might, but it’s not about hate and destroy.

Time flies really fast these days and before you know it, it has been a year and you're gonna see us back, same as before except may be …err…your LCD TV.

And if you know myself well, I will always be happy and support you in whatever you do cause you never failed to do the same to me.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Ramadhan Is Here!

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Assalam-o-Alaikum Warahmatullah Wabarakatuh

I would like to wish you and your family a very happy Ramadan.

May Allah’s grace, mercy and abundance be on you.

Best Regards,

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

O Goodies!

I am only human. And being flawed and kiasu human that I am. I loooove goodies. Free goodies…

I have been away from office from a while and apparently somebody was missing me. Yesterday’s morning I got a nice little surprise on my desk....


Cheap Kurma?....errr...seeexy!

More kurma? it's getting lame.

Another box of kurma?!!...ok now can somebody tell me what's goin' on?!

Sarong?...for me?!!....O you shouldn't have...

I mean you shouldn't REALLY have!!

Waaaaiiiitttt a minute!!!!...Corporate song CD?!!!!!....WHAT THE...!!!!

That does it!…this is definitely not an act of secret admirer or psycho stalker…My illicit fantasy was short lived. Suddenly the image of Stephen Baldwin watching me from somewhere afar, using his army binocular vanished into thin air.

As it turned out to be, the goodies bag was from HR as a Ramadhan sedekah. A mere goodwill gesture from bank to all staff that they have been doing for years!


I looked out the window wishing that someone were watching me now!

O goodie!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Music Man

Music is always my savior. Whenever I am down and out I'd find solace in music. Anytime I feel happy and bouncy I'd dance to music. Even when I am in love I'd embrace music. I have song for every moment and occasion in my life that I don't think I could ever live without my music.

That is why good people, it is a little mystery I know zilch about music - I can't play or read a note in music. Maybe it isn't a mystery at all if I say I was raised by parents with music-is-evil doctrine and not by Osmond's or Jackson's family.

But this post isn't about self-pity; if there's one thing I can take comfort to know is that I can sing.

Yes people, I can sing. Arguably, there's a really thin line between 'can' and well, 'good at', but I can hold and bend note, any note the shortest time like some kind of world record. I also give 'pitchy', 'in tune', 'tone' and 'falsetto' a whole new meaning, altogether.

Last Thursday night me and my other nine no-talent friends tried to 'temper the law of physics' by re-defining the science of sonic at a karaoke joint. We gathered at Green Box, Jusco Cheras Selatan as a toast to our Friends, Miron: who's gonna further his studies in Master in something next week. All members of the pack were there except Herman and Zack.

Reena and Amir

Ju, Faizal And Nazrol

Miron and Azrill

Azrill and Hafez

Yours truly and Udin

We had a fun fun fun time together by 'flapping our esophagus' out. I never felt this much fun in a long time though I must say it worried me a bit that the sound we produced that night might attract 'contact' from other dimension or even worse - a pack of wolves. But everything went super well.

However, since everyone tried to hog the microphone like a bunch of 'hyenas' I only managed to sing a paltry six songs. But it was a worthy six-songs moment;

Loving You – Minie Riperton
I Just Called (To Say I Love You) - Stevie Wonder
Greatest Love of All – Whitney Houston
Saving My Love For You – Whitney Houston
What's Going On – Marvin Gaye
Me and Mrs Jones – Billy Paul

It was such a joyous night for everyone especially me since I was able to share my divine voice with all my delusional I-can-sing-better-than-you friends. I thank you guys for your companion and patience throughout the three hours ordeal with me and I salute your sheer understanding and support. And having a pair of a very thick, bionic ears helps too!

You guys made me feel like a Superstar!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

What About Love? Part II : Don't Speed Up On Me!

The next morning, I saw her again in the elevator and I couldn’t help it.

I looked at her and felt a mixture of admiration and revulsion. She had gotten married. At forty five! It was nothing short of inspirational.

I used to walk away thinking, she’ll never get married, that she’ll live with her two dozen cats and die alone in retirement home – pretty much what I’d envision myself to be.

Then I’d go home and lie in bed, and the whole thing would come back to haunt me, until I had to call up my friends and be nasty little cat and say, “If I ever end up unmarried in my 40s, be sure to shoot me, huh?”

Well, guess what. I was wrong. She got married. He’s not the kind of guy she ever thought she’d end up with but she’s happier than she’s ever been in her life.

It’s time. Time to stop complaining about other people’s choice in love. Time to stop waiting for, non-existent, so-called true love.

Time to stop identifying with Taylor Hicks’ lousy love life even if he is on the cover of People magazine

Yes, it is finally time to think about settling down (!) and best of all now I know it can be done. So relax. I have plenty of time. I think.

O Time, please don’t speed up on me!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

What About Love?

Lunch the other day.Vicious gossip with a male colleague.

We were discussing mutual friends from office, a couple. He knew the husband, I barely knew the wife. I’d never met the husband, but I have seen the wife occasionally in the elevator, but as usual, we knew everything about the situation.

“It’s going to end badly,” I said. The husband is 25-year old lowly clerk and the wife is 45-year old Senior Manager. He was a country mouse. He came in from a small town in east coast while she’s a big town girl with high-flying portfolio. He didn’t know anything about her and the next thing you know they gotten married.

I attacked my fried chicken, warming up to the subject

“No one was invited to the wedding except maybe a couple of friends from the wife’s office. It was a really small, family-only, hush hush reception”

Nobody knows for sure what really happened. How they met or what brought them together.

The wife might know there’s nothing’s ever going to really happen with her career and so she needed a trophy husband, or may be she really did want kids.

She’s not even that attractive”. He scoffed, almost in envious tone.

I’d say he got into this for the money”.

The other guy at the table, a corporate, doting-dad type was looking at us in horror.” But what about love?” he asked.

I looked at him pityingly. “ I don’t think so.”

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Birthday's Greatest Gift : Part II

Yesterday I said:

And looking back of what I have done with my life, I realized I led a pretty damn empty life.

But today I am going to take those words back. I concurred ‘I lead a pretty damn empty life’ a bit too harsh.

I may not have all the richest in the world, the power to rule UN or fame and fortune as a lead singer of Pussycatdolls (not yet anyway!). I may not even halfway to my ultimate life dream (I’ll tell you what is it when I am already there). But one thing I have come to realize now; I do have a bunch of people who really do care about me. They are people who respect what most dear to me and love me no matter what.

I received a text message as early as 12.07am yesterday, wishing me for ‘a great health, long life and murah kan rezeki’, some even text-ed me a day earlier (ahem, my dad), just to be sure that he won’t forget because of old age and then numerous calls from friends and family wishing all the kind things for me throughout the day.

I was stumped. Never mind that they happened to have hand phones with calendar and reminder, but the very act of trying to remember something that important to me left me asking “so what more could I ask for?”

Last night my dear friends, even spent sometimes with me for dinner and I was amazed how long that I have been knowing these guys and how they stuck with me all this while. We chatted and had a great time together.

And suddenly it struck me,

Hey, maybe this is what I really want for my birthday.

Text messages, calls, cards and dinner - these are the best birthday presents ever for me and yet it's like I never knew them before.

As I was lying on my bed, I made a pact with myself,

God’s willing if I got a chance to celebrate another birthday another year, I am gonna screw the list and save just one thing;

If I had a year to live:

I am going to be a better son, be a better brother and be a better friend to someone.

Thank you guys for helping me move on. You are really my ‘bahulu cake’. With you guys, my life will never be empty.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Birthday's Greatest Gift

One thing comes to mind when I think of my childhood in a small, quiet town of Seremban: a bahulu cake.

In this time of the year, I swear I can almost smell and taste the cake.

I remember my birthdays wouldn’t be complete without my grandma’s (arwah) famous baulu cake. We can’t afford the real cake so my grandma made the birthday cake herself and my mom did the icing so that it would look just like a real one (Though the taste was hardly the same).

Our family took our birthdays seriously especially mine. I was my mom’s prized son. My mom even took a day off just to make sure I’d get a party that I want. She cooked, she cleaned and decorated the house with balloons and called all my friends over.

She said she wanted to give me something nice on my special day so that I won’t turn into cruel, mindless criminal when I grow up. I thought my mom was joking but hey, I guess it works so far.

Fast-forward 20 years later, I am still a 10-year old boy craving for my grandma’s bahulu cake and am still wanting for balloons-birthday party. I never really moved on.

Just the other day, my dad told me that birthday isn’t just about gifts, balloons and bahulu cake. It’s also about a chance you give yourself, a chance to renew your life resolution and move forward. Of course to move forward I have to look back.

And looking back of what I have done with my life, I realized I led a pretty damn empty life. There was not a single thing that I am particularly proud of.

I want a fresh start. So I took a pen and start a list:

If I had a year to live:

A renewed focus on:

1. Getting the most out of life – work harder
2. Enjoying the simple things
3. Clearing the way for calmer, less stressed routine.
4. Taking a better care of myself - physically
5. Be a better son, a better brother and a better friend to someone

And then, I stopped at no 5 because by then I felt I was fooling myself. I felt I wasn’t being sincere to myself. It’s not what I really want. I mean I want all those things other people want too. I do. It just that I don’t believe it means anything to me now.

Deeply in my heart, what I really really want right now is all those years back - complete with balloons, bahulu cake, grandma and all.

That would make the bestest birthday present ever! And that would be the day I am gonna stop wanting.