Category Archives: People

Celebrating the People I Love!

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Celebrating the People I Love!

When you have more than 3 people who will stick with you through thick and thin, count yourself lucky. Some people go through life with far less.

LAST night, I celebrated my birthday with some of the most amazing people in my life. For me, it was not so much about celebrating myself, but of celebrating the people I love.

I am truly thankful. For these friends of mine who have known me for a greater part of 15 years, and who have been with me through thick and thin. Who understand me (and still chose to stick around!), who never judge. Who cry with me, scold me out of love, stand up for me, check up on me, pray for me, and encourage me despite juggling their very busy schedules. Who love me for the person that I am. And who give so much without ever calculating what they get from me in return (yeah, I’ve got childhood friends who only take….).

Someone once said:

Friendship isn’t about whom you have known the longest…It’s about who came, and who never left your side…

If you have even one good friend in your life, who’d be with you no matter what — you can count yourself fortunate. But if you have more than one — or more than 5 in my case — you have far more than you could ever ask for. And so, as part of the birthday celebration, I shall count myself blessed!

Truly, birthdays are special when you can celebrate the ones who stuck around!

Life & Times of A Spoilt Doggie: Remembering Zoe

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We went there again the other day. Mummy and I sat by the water’s edge, at the spot where we last saw you before you died, about 10 months ago. Did you know it was your time? What were you looking at when you sat there?

I’ve never had furry friends until you and  your brother, Leo. You probably knew that, which was why you never minded my silliness. Mummy was always my best friend, and all my other friends were People. Like Grandma, Uncle Oinks, Uncle Colin, Aunty Deepa, Aunty Goh and Uncle Tang. There’s also that kid, Ezra, but I don’t really like him much. He scares me and Grandma’s doggie, Muffins, too.

You and Leo were my first furry friends ever! I remember the first time we met…the two of you were huge and I was so scared! I stood behind Mummy’s legs, worried you would bite. But you didn’t. In fact, the two of you were always good to me.

Eventually, I had other furry friends too. Like Grandma’s doggies. But they’re not at all like you or Leo. And now that the both of you are gone, I miss you.

What is it like, to go? Does it hurt? I’ll be most worried for Mummy when my time comes. How will she feel? I hope she won’t cry too much.

I hope wherever the two of you are, you’re having fun. I will be seeing you someday and we can play together again. Don’t forget me ok? I won’t ever forget you.

Why can’t I be like…?

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Some days I wish I was someone else. Like that hot, irritatingly-skinny chef that runs this hip bistro in the suburbs and who whips up gastronomical storms that would melt a man’s heart.

Me — I wear old food-stained aprons, and can only cook a few boring, pronounceable dishes. I have only baked two kinds of cakes in my lifetime and, even then, not very spectacularly.

Alas! I can only be me. After all, everyone else is taken. Like that chef….

Holding On and Letting Go

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Sometimes it’s hard to let go; we always hold on so tight: relationships, the past, the life that you now have, the one you always dreamed of having… Sometimes you kid yourself that you’ve let go of everything that’s holding you back, but in the dark recesses of your head and heart, that secret place that only you can go to — that’s where you hang on to cherished memories, lost hopes, and dreams-that-once-were. Everything that defined who you were and who you wanted to be. You can’t truly close that chapter. You’re holding on and letting go.

Hope Springs Eternal: One Malaysian’s Dream

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Photo courtesy of Ng Seksan

OVER the last two weeks, an ‘installation’ of sorts has taken shape in various suburbs about town. Thousands of tiny colourful flags have sprouted from the grassy roadside slopes in Bangsar to Damansara Heights, Sri Hartamas and, last I saw, near the Section 16 intersection in Petaling Jaya.

This ever-growing citizen’s initiative, or ‘flowers’ as they are fondly known by the Malaysian Spring movement, were first planted at the Jalan Tempinis roundabout in Lucky Gardens, Bangsar.

I actually think they’re quite pretty. And, certainly striking in their simplicity, especially against the backdrop of the glossy, propaganda-laden posters and political flags that have blanketed the Malaysian landscape of late.

Credit goes to movement founder Ng Seksan and his team who have been hard at work planting the ‘flowers’ since April 14.

Sadly, though, sourpusses have poured cold water over their efforts. An article in an online media news portal reported that detractors had lodged police reports claiming the flags “disturb the eyes” and are an “obstruction of the road”.

Clearly, this flag phenomenon is fast becoming a pain in the EC’s behind. It’s certainly flagging up the growing resentment and restlessness amongst the Malaysian people.

According to Ng, an architect and art collector, the flags symbolise hope for Malaysia. But at the very least, they are a work of art – creative, aesthetically pleasing and hold significance to both creator and audience.

So I can’t help but feel disappointed at the narrow mindedness of those who have decried the Malaysian Spring effort. Surely, freedom of expression is not a crime? Surely, there is equality in visual campaigning. Surely, one can see that those flags are neither an eyesore nor an obstruction to traffic!

Truth be told, I do not profess to campaign for any political party in particular – and am not about to start.

There are days that I mull over the rampant corruption in the country, the glaring inconsistencies of the ruling government, the opacity of business transactions at so many different levels, and the injustice that lies within affirmative policies. I wonder if the deeply entrenched culture of patronage will ever be shattered. I wonder if BN will ever change.

Then there are days when I consider the issues within the Opposition: their inability to agree, the power struggles that drive their disunity. And find myself wondering whether, if given the mandate, they will be able to transform Malaysia into the country that I – and so many Malaysians – hope for it to be. I wonder if they can and will effectively stem the outflow of talent and funds, and reinstate integrity, equality and justice within our systems.

I suppose this effectively puts me in the category of fence sitters that now comprise some 48% of voters in the country.

Ultimately, who we choose to govern the country is our prerogative. But, the choice we make will have a far reaching effect. And come May 5, I know I will weigh my decision wisely. For my hope is for an open, fair and transparent government that will bring peace and prosperity to my country.

Which brings me back to the story of the flags. I hope the Malaysian Spring movement continues unimpeded till polling day. I hope to see more ‘flowers’ springing up in cities across the country. I hope this citizen’s initiative will not be in vain.

At the very least, and as Ng says, “What we’re planting for is hope and the betterment of Malaysia.”

I hope for a better Malaysia.

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

The Strange People We Call Parents: My Dad

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I PAID dad a visit yesterday. It’s been more than a year since I had shown up at his house without my brother in tow.

Funny, I didn’t dash off in an hour as I had initially expected; by the time I left his place, it was already 2pm. I had spent almost three hours chatting with my old man. What a wonderful surprise.

It’s rare that our visits extend beyond the two-hour mark, even with Colin around. My brother is a busy man and has to juggle his visits with dad (and me) around his business appointments. I, too, am usually stuck with work, but if I have to be honest, I would admit to feeling rather awkward during visits with dad. Often, I would not know what to talk about, preferring to let Colin take the lead.

I’m not sure how this awkwardness came about. We had always been close. Dad used to be the first person I turned to when I needed advice and when I was sad. We used to have long conversations on the phone when I was in university. Yes, dad was – and still is – a very wise and funny man. But, things happened along the way, resulting in a split family, lots of anger on all sides, and resentment on mine. That’s in the past, but I guess we all carry hurts from our past to our present lives.

Dad has a new family now, and I have a half brother and half sister. It’s hard for me to reconcile with this fact; I keep thinking in terms of the original family. Perhaps that is a contributing factor to the “strain” (for want of a better word) that I feel where my relationship with dad is concerned.

Colin seems to be more at ease around our dad. Then again, my brother is quite a remarkable guy. Put him with the King and he’d have no problems; they’d probably be best buds within the hour, given my brother’s brand of charm.

Looking back, I think I have allowed my own negative perceptions to get in the way of my relationship with my father. Yesterday’s visit was a confirmation of that: I had a pretty nice time and was reminded of all the wonderful and not-so-wonderful things about him (which just proves that we are all human, and shows me that there is a lot of my father in me).

Dad usually comes across as a very intimidating man (tall, strong and assertive – you know the type), but get to know him a little more and you will find a wicked sense of humour lurking beneath the cynical exterior. He is intelligent and has a very sharp and analytical mind. He also has a very sharp tongue. I admire his sarcasm and hate it (when it is leveled at me) in equal measure. Don’t attempt an argument with dad unless you are damned sure of yourself. He is a perfectionist, and a downright expert in the guilt-trip department. He can be a tad touchy and cantankarous at times, but that, I guess, comes with age. Dad can be bossy: he is always right. He can also be very persuasive and you can get fooled by him if you don’t know your subject well enough. Case in point: he once convinced me that MJ had changed his name to Michael Ross because of his close relationship with Diana Ross. I only discovered that I had been duped when I found dad in the kitchen, totally convulsed in laughter. But, that’s dad with his practical jokes. He is very protective of his family, especially the women: all my boyfriends were afraid of meeting him and I was not allowed to go out for gatherings (especially if there were boys around) until I was much older. He still gets annoyed when I travel to late on my own.

Although my mother played a bigger role in bringing me up, I cannot deny my father the acknowledgement that he deserves in my upbringing.

I love him and I know I would not be half the woman I am today without him.

We all need our daddies.

P.S. Yes, he does have a firearm 🙂

Something About Jaya

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I’ve taken another baby step towards blogging today, and it’s all because of Jaya.

Jaya’s quite a bundle of fun, and although it doesn’t seem like it, this flirtatious chick with the coy smile is quite a blog whiz.

What really surprised me was that she even blogged at all!

Unsurprisingly, though, Jaya’s blog is titled For Vain and Valid Reasons. Very apt, specially where Jaya’s concerned.

My first impression of Jaya was that she was a vain pot. I wasn’t wrong. But, her vanity is justified, valid, even, considering the expert she is in the beauty department.

Jaya has great complexion, is always flawlessly made up, and never leaves home without make-up in her bag. We sometimes catch her preening or checking her make-up in her compact mirror. Some people might think that’s excessive, but I think that fully explains why you’ll never catch her with running mascara, smudged eyeliner, unevenly rouged cheeks or untinted lips. How many women can even look like that? I’m still trying to figure out how not to look like a raccoon at the end of a working day! Maybe I’ll ask her for tips on which mascara to use.

That she was a flirt, was something I found out eventually. But that just adds to her allure, I think. And speaking as a woman, I find her flirtation rather amusing simply because she applies age-old tactics, such as the naughty little girl smile, the sidewise glance, and the cute giggle. It’s not too overdone, I feel, not like some other people we both know (maybe someday I’ll blog about her – I know Jaya will).

For all that flirting expertise, she seems to attract the strangest men. There’s this dude in the office that comes round to hover behind her when she works – a real geeky looking chap whom we never in our wildest imaginations thought would even get the slightest whiff of Jaya’s attention. Then there’s this this Bengali dude that’s gone out his way to get her attention by volunteering to help her out when her car stalled in the Pavilion parking lot for more than a day. In a twist of events, his car then stalled, and she had to bail him out. Poor dude, he doesn’t know how far off the mark he is. And her former landlord?..quite sleazy, I have to say, and an old sleazebag, at that.

There are more weird men in Jaya’s list, but she’s got her share of the nicer ones, too. For one that complains about not feeling loved, our friend recently came to the office only to find that she received a huge bottle of Kenzo perfume from some bloke in the UK. Very nice. But then we suffered the permeating reek of Kenzo for the next few days after that.

Today, she got poked by quite a yummy looking guy on Facebook. Not bad.

She seems demure, but behind the sweetie-pie facade lurks a firebrand that ignites easily with the right trigger. Just about a month ago, she put a certain missy in her place for making false claims about her assets (some people can be a little too full of themselves). We thought they were going to get into an argument.

Today, she gave that same missy a piece of her mind for royally insulting her. Needless to say, the young missy (who, incidentally tries to act too old for her age, and thinks too highly of herself) shut up immediately. Good ol’ Jaya. I wouldn’t have been able to do it.

But, back to my baby steps.

Thanks to Jaya, I now have a clock on my site. Tomorrow, I’ll see if I can put in a site meter. If I fail, I’ll know who to look for for some advice.