Monthly Archives: May 2010

You Are Beautiful

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FUNNY how some small little thing can trigger a flood of uncertainty. Suddenly we feel ugly, insignificant; not good enough.

All it takes is, maybe, a comment from a friend about stretch marks; some comparison between you and someone else; perhaps, even the sight of a better looking woman/man. Or maybe someone did better than you in a game; perhaps you learnt that an old friend who was an utter loser in school is suddenly spearheading a company and raking in big bucks. It could even be an oblique comment by your partner on his most incredible sexual experience (“BTW, I’ve had four climaxes in one night before”…with whom, you wonder)and suddenly you’re ahead of yourself: you wonder if he’s just settling with you; if you will never be good enough for him in bed or anywhere else…

…suddenly you wonder if everyone is bitching about you behind your back. You start comparing yourself to the thinnest reed in your office: you cut back on food even though you know somewhere at the back of your head that you do not need to, and that you look far better, healthier, less pruny than that thinnest reed in your office.

…suddenly you wonder if you studied hard enough, if your boss values you enough, if your friends judge you by stratospheric standards.

And then every shred of self-confidence you had built on every single compliment paid you over the weeks, months or years just disintegrates. Even though you know you are that good.

You tear yourself apart and you find yourself in tears of rage, anger and doubt. You are unsure. Suddenly you don’t like being you.

STOP.

As I write this, Christina Aguilera’s song “Beautiful” comes to mind. How wonderful the lyrics are; how profound. And what a gracious reminder it is that God made us perfect in His own eyes.

BEAUTIFUL

Everyday is so wonderful
And suddenly, it’s hard to breathe
Now and then, I get insecure
From all the pain,
I’m so ashamed

I am beautiful no matter what they say
Words can’t bring me down
I am beautiful in every single way
Yes, words can’t bring me down, oh no
So don’t you bring me down today

To all your friends you’re delirious
So consumed in all your doom
Trying hard to fill the emptiness,
The pieces gone,
Left the puzzle undone,
Ain’t that the way it is?

You are beautiful no matter what they say
Words can’t bring you down, no, no
You are beautiful in every single way
Yes words can’t bring you down, oh, no
So don’t you bring me down today

No matter what we do
No matter what we say
We’re the song inside the tune
Full of beautiful mistakes
And everywhere we go
The sun will always shine
But tomorrow we might awake
On the other side

‘Cause we are beautiful,
No matter what they say
Yes, words won’t bring us down, oh no
We are beautiful in every single way
Yes, words can’t bring us down, oh no
So don’t you bring me down today

Don’t bring yourself down today. Or ever.

My DailyLit

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All or Nothing

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all or nothing

dangling precariously on a precipice
the heart
…waits anxiously
to fall;
to faint;
to self-destruct;
to be trodden, flattened?
left bleeding at the sidewalk of life

…hopes fervently
to be preserved;
nurtured and nourished
with love for others;
from others
from the one who matters

like the anchor that holds a ship
to weather the storm
So love – all of it –
given or taken,
is the anchor, the salve, the cure, the catalyst

don’t leave me
don’t hurt me
don’t give me reason to fear

the heart can take
no more pain
no more doubt
no more complexities
no assemblage of inchoate thoughts and feelings
The self esteem can take a beating
no more!

the heart
takes, gives: all or nothing.
my heart takes and offers all or nothing ~
no more bleeding
no more guilt
no more hurt

All or Nothing:
Utter completion
Or
Total void

~written by Vivienne Pal in a fit of depression.

My DailyLit

The Hokkien I Love

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FINALLY, I have decided to be true to my piggy self and write about food instead of the usual fictional or semi-fictional sob story.

(So, now you know the “Hokkien that I Love” refers to food.)

Thus, the first food posting my stomach has dictated that my brain focus on today is Hokkien mee. OK, the picture above doesn’t look so good, but, hey…I didn’t have a better looking one. And you know what they say anyway: the proof is in the pudding.

Before I continue, allow me to indulge in a bit of background explanation. This, for the benefit of those who just may not know what it is (ah, what sacrilege!).

According to Wikipedia, there are three types of hokkien mee: hokkien hae mee from Penang and Singapore (both with the same name, though cooked differently) and Hokkien (fried) mee from the Klang Valley. The Penang variant is a totally different dish (it’s soupy) and not what I want to discuss here…meanwhile, who cares about the Singaporean variant? Singapore food sucks anyway. Naturally, our Singaporean friends would vehemently defend their “native” delicacies (all ciplak from Malaysia wan lah), but we all know that arguing with the ignorant is like fighting a losing battle.

So, anyway.

I’ve had a long-standing love affair with hokkien mee since god-knows-when (actually, if I am going to be honest, I love food in general, but I have an especially soft spot for any dish that’s porky), and I’ve eaten at many (not all, ok?..better qualify before some hokkien mee zealot tries to crucify me) popular spots in the Klang Valley.

So, to make this as brief as possible, I will just zoom in for the kill and mention only my favourite.

Ever been to Reunion in Bangsar Village? THAT’S my ultimate destination for good old hokkien mee. I know. It sounds impossible. Here’s this really swanky Chinese restaurant and you’d think that all they served up was some cool unpronounceable chinky dish or other… but what a surprise to find the oh-so-pedestrian hokkien mee on its menu! Now, who would’ve thought?!

The noodles are cooked in black gravy wholesomely flavoured with pork liver, pork slices, squid, shrimp and cabbage. And, of course, generous amounts of pork lard. Each strand of noodle is slick and glistening with gravy, making every mouthful a rewarding (albeit incredibly artery-clogging) experience. You know for a fact that when you chewed on the noodle, you would never encounter the taste of lye so normally prevalent in thick yellow noodles.

I’m not a fan of pork liver, and don’t mind the pork slices, but the shrimps! OMG. THAT, dear reader, is simply divine. The prawns are fresh, sweet and so good to eat!

Still not convinced? Try it and see for yourself. It’s more than 20 bucks a dinner plate, but, trust me, there’s more than enough for two people (just don’t bring a greedy pig; bring me, can).

And. It. Is. Good.

Really.

My DailyLit

I Ain’t Heavy; I’m His Sister

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COLIN was late, as usual. He is almost always late come to think of it, although usually not by much. It was already 10.05pm and we had initially agreed to meet at the mamak by 9.30pm; I had been waiting since 9.15pm.

He turned up eventually around 10.15pm, and try as I did to give him a tongue-lashing, I just couldn’t. I’m hopeless at getting anywhere beyond being marginally annoyed with Colin.

If I had to list down all my brother’s negative attributes, I’d be stumped for sure. Save for his borderline tardiness, Colin is a saint. Or very close to it.

Colin is three years younger, but it always feels as if we were born only three minutes apart. Paradoxically at times, it seems like he’s the older sibling. Colin’s exuberance (for food, mostly, and life) and good nature is tempered by a certain gravitas that, perhaps, makes him more mature than many men his age. We’re very close-knit, him and I, but then again, we went through a lot together growing up.

Naturally, we started out like all siblings: the usual rivalry and childish cruelty that some outgrow, but some continue to nurture even up till their twilight years (thankfully, we don’t fall into the latter category).

I remember how I used to push him around the house at dangerous speeds while he sat in his pram, precariously strapped to safety with a flimsy buckle. I don’t ever remember him crying out in fear. In fact, I think he enjoyed it as much as I did! Then there was my usual preoccupation of tapping the top of his head so that I could see how his eyes automatically closed like a doll’s with each tap. It amused me no end, but my brother believes he would’ve aced more papers in school if I had refrained from being too heavy-handed with my, err, head taps. But I beg to differ; he wasn’t that smart in the first place…LOL

We squabbled a lot when we were kids. I remember even hitting/thumping him on his back once: we had this major fight over a stupid looking lime green toy crane and I hit him so hard, I regretted it immediately because his cry of pain actually cut me so deep. Many kids would quickly forget incidences like this, but I didn’t and never did it again.

I think the instant identification with his pain (even at that young age) could be because of our naturally empathetic nature – Colin more so than me; I am the more cynical sibling. He used to shed genuine tears when others fell and hurt themselves, and that, even when I was a kid, was something I found very endearing about my brother.

I used to have my own room, but started sharing a room with Colin when he grew old enough to string a few decent sentences together. At the time, I hated his invasion on my privacy; looking back, I think those were good times…we used to hang out and chat at nights on opposite ends of each other’s beds. Colin was a frequent guest in mine because he was afraid of the dark and the monsters. Eventually, when we grew into our teens, we got our own rooms again. I suppose we all grow up at some point. But, the bond had been forged by then.

I remember how he used to hold my hand everywhere we went, his voice raspy and husky each time he called me che che, and I, at one point didn’t quite like him hanging on all the time…I felt I had ‘grown up’ and my little brother was totally cramping my style – at the mature (or so I thought) age of 7!

In retrospect, I don’t think Colin ever let go of my hand. I think as we grew older, we reached out and held each other’s hands through most of life’s experiences. He’s always been there for me, and I’d like to think that he feels the same about me.

We have this wonderfully affectionate and mutually respectful relationship that I am proud to acknowledge. I’m thankful for him and cannot imagine my life without my dearest brother. For those who have siblings, always be thankful for them. They are your only link to your past and your bridge to the future.

Loving you bro, for all that you have been and are to me.

Note: I hereby attest that Colin Pal did not pay me in cash or kind to sing his praises.

My DailyLit