Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Crash Cart Chaos

"Dammit. Since I started that one quote per post thing in my blog, I have to keep finding quotes to put at the start of every post now."

Me, to Beve via MSN Messenger while I was writing this post

Remember when I first started this blog, I wrote a post (with pictures) about how I spotted 3 minor road traffic accidents happening one after the other within the span of 15 minutes (2 of which even happened at the same junction?). Here's that post;

Yesterday night1 was only my first night in Malacca and already, I got to watch TWO rather serious crash-'em-trash-'ems happening very close to one another. I'm starting to think that my physical presence in any place increases the chance for accidents to happen.

And no, you may not crack jokes about how my crappy driving causes them to occur - it did not. I'll have you know that I'm a very careful driver. I have never put so much as a single dent or scratch in any car I drove. Plus, I have a spotless clean traffic record - no speeding tickets, nothing - and that's achieved without even needing to bribe anybody either, okay!

Now, back to the post. Here's the first boo boo;

Accident #1

At 3.30 am, I felt kind of peckish, so I went out to look for grub. I headed to Melaka Raya, where I remember a certain 24-hour Yong Tau Foo shop is located. When I got there, I noticed that the traffic light right in front of the Senyum Super Supermarket (opposite Yong Peng, that Yong Tau Foo place) had been pulverized into a scrap yard reject. The picture above depicts the car that did the deed, parked a few metres in front of said wrecked traffic light.

I have no idea why the driver left his car there, but I guess he just wasn't thinking straight. I mean, you obviously have all sorts of colourful, psychedelic stuff discoing through your blood if you drove right into a traffic light, right? They are bright, stationary objects that changes colour - and they aren't even on the road! Either that or the hippie car-driver-guy got hurt enough to be carted off to the nearest hospital (where presumably, they'll finally find out what shit that dude had been smoking).

Die, bitch. Die!

Now, that's the way to get angry at traffic lights. Ram those fuckers down with your car! That ought to teach them to switch just when you reach them.

A piece of the action, literally.

And I parked beside another piece, right across the road.

The second accident involves two cars, about 50 metres up the road (not down the road, I hope you know the difference). You can actually see a bit of it in the first picture of this post. Come 'ere. Lemme zoom it in for you;

02 copy
This picture is just for the sake of giving you an idea of the distance between the two hits.

At first, I didn't dare to get close to take pictures because there was a whole crowd of dangerous looking people there. I suppose it's part of Malaysian's barbaric practice of calling all the gangsters you know to back you up in a car accident argument - you know, whoever got the most numerous and vicious gangsters on their side wins.

Anyway, because of that, this was the closest picture I got before they towed the cars apart;

Taken from that mamak place at Senyum Super. I went there for a glass of ice lime tea after Yong Peng. To help digestion. Yea. Thaaat's right.

I wondered whether I should call the cops just so I can get close enough to take pictures and the gangsters can't do shit to me in case the squabble gets ugly and people get hurt or something. I mean, it's bad if people get hurt right? But, I decided against it in the end though. That's mainly because a patrol car happened to be passing through there and spotted the lot of them (you can't miss 'em - there was enough people there to start their own Merdeka Day parade).

Everyone cleared off once the coppers arrived - and apparently, the car owners vamoosed as well (according to an innocent bystander). Maybe they had fun stuff in their blood too.

The cars involved were;

Yellow Proton Satria.

Black car of indeterminate breed and species. That's because I'm just really lousy when it comes to identifying cars. I don't even know what sort of car my mom drives.

From what I gathered, the yellow car was probably driving along the road when the black car came out of a junction - both trying to break the sound barrier, no doubt. Black barreled into yellow, and both spun out of control. Considering the damage the front of the yellow car took, I'd say it was the one that totaled the ornamental bush and fancy lamp post (both in picture above) when the pair rode up the kerb.

No one died, unfortunately. Just thought maybe you wanna know.

Cruisin' jinx,
k0k s3n w4i

1 Okay, maybe not yesterday night per se. "Earlier this morning" would be more accurate.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

k0k bL0k is Back Online! (On Dial-up)

"Fly the Good Times!"

Kingfisher Airline

I am finally back for good! Expect proper (PROPER) and regular posts from today onwards. In the meantime, I have two nights worth of snooze debt to cough up to Morpheus. I had nil slumber on the night before my Forensic Medicine paper and nil slumber during my flight. Every second staying awake right now is a mental agony no living creature should have to endure. Henceforth, I'm going to do the humane thing now and put myself to sleep (literally).

It's good to be home, by the way. And nothing says "You're home, hon," better than;


Will be online again fairly soon, people!

Dead asleep,
k0k s3n w4i

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Aren't We All Pigs?

Question: If your wife keeps coming out of the kitchen to nag at you, what have you done wrong?

Answer: Made her chain too long.

My current favourite male-chauvinism joke.

Gender equality (or rather, inequality) is a subject I would love to discuss at insanely tedious lengths here in this weblog entry but unfortunately;
  1. I have no time. Exam season.
  2. And therefore, no time to think of anymore reasons other than reason #1 above. So there.

I alloted myself a ten-minute break from my amazingly boring notes about drugs - which are a lot more fun to abuse than to read about - and I have decided to spend it talking to you here, via this post (you can't say I don't think of my readers now can't you?). What I want to share with you is something I thought about while I was in the shower earlier;

When a woman says that she wants to marry a man who will adore her like she's a goddess and will do everything she asks him to, we automatically imagine that man to be someone incredibly romantic.

When a man says that he wants to marry a woman who will adore him like he's a god and will do everything he asks her to, we automatically imagine that woman to be a first-class invertebrate.

Is this fair?

Me, man,
k0k s3n w4i

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Sans Sommeil

"Now, blessings light on him that first invented this same sleep! it covers a man all over, thoughts and all, like a cloak; it is meat for the hungry, drink for the thirsty, heat for the cold, and cold for the hot. It is the current coin that purchases all the pleasures of the world cheap; and the balance that sets the king and the shepherd, the fool and the wise man, even. There is only one thing, which somebody once put into my head, that I dislike in sleep; it is, that it resembles death; there is very little difference between a man in his first sleep, and a man in his last sleep."

Don Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra,
Spanish novelist, poet and playwright

I was told that nobody reads crap this long. You know what?
I don't really care.

I have not slept for more than 24 hours and that rough estimate was calculated from the last instance I have woken from slumber, which was, I am fairly sure, noontime of the 15th of August. I am in a state where my head feels physically lighter, as if a great chunk of cerebral mass have been somehow misplaced somewhere outside the geographical governance of my skull. It is not accurate to say that I feel as all sleep-privileged individuals do - that is, an existence on land in the midst of air, and neither do I consider myself to be trapped in a mental simulation of being underwater. I believe I am somewhere in between, living in some imaginary substance of intermediate density - light, intangible, yet strangely smothering. Yes, smothering. I like that word.

Sleep has been an oft-fought-for luxury for my person and in my nightly quest in pursuit of rest, I have come to the conclusion (at least, in application to individual needs) that the number of sleep remedies in this world is a function inversely proportionate to the number of said remedies that actually work. Counting sheeps, I must say, is a wholly daft method - as the size and increasing complexity of the number (which I was suppose to recite per instructions) of ovine beasts I made to jump over a make-believe fence in my mind contributes to my wakefulness. The suggestion of performing light exercises prior to turning in had flooded my system with adrenaline, which in their course through my veins had encouraged my gullible body to indulge in even more calisthenics - forsaking sleep in the pursuit. A warm glass of milk, in my experience, often led to a cookie, and the follow-uppance of a second - and before I can say "Morpheus", I found myself up to my throat in Pringles and all other manners of junk food. The tried and tested remedial measure for sleeplessness, one which I refer to as Anathanarayan and Paniker's Textbook of Microbiology (AKA the Incredible Bore), has steadily been losing its effectiveness over time. And I would not even bother discussing how far off-course the imbibition of alcoholic beverages have led me from somnolence.

I am reasonably self-assured that I am, at this very instance, penning a whole load of waffle fraught with crimes most foul against grammar and the stringing of random words against their consent. For some inexplicable reasoning my sleepy and screaming brain had cooked up, I am of the opinion that I produce my best literary efforts when I am deprived of sleep and parched for rest - possibly the same motivation Mr. Pablo Picasso had when he stopped painting anatomically correct humans and started creating grotesque jigsaw puzzles. Yes, I am sleepless and tasteless. I ought to be shot. I've heard that argument before.

Yesterday night however, my extended sojourn in consciousness was a desperate effort to prepare for the Microbiology test this morning and with luck, I might just qualify as a borderline failure. My expectations these days are lower than dirt, and I am certain that my IQ has been plunging ever since this chapter of sleep-deprivation in my life began five months ago. An average of four hours of sleep (give or take an hour) per day, by all logical threads of thoughts, cannot be very beneficial to my health. I won't be surprised if that my brain cells are dying by the bucket-loads daily from being forced to slog overtime with no increase in wages or employee benefits whatsoever. One day, they are going to go on strike.


In the course of my cram night, I did the grave mistake of checking the quality of a movie I just finished downloading, and ended watching all two-and-a-quarter of hours of it from its beginning till its end. It is a Korean romantic comedy that goes by the title of My Sassy Girl which I learnt, from numerous recommendations and references, to be a theatrical fare worthy of my time. As a rule, and in preservation of my masculinity, I do not normally draw pleasure from this genre of entertainment (in the past, I had to be dragged to view such mush) but I must grudgingly admit, this cloying, diabetic fairytale flick had struck a couple of heartstrings, and I applaud its simple yet clever plot. There is something persistently charming about an attractive girl with a forceful personality who likes to hit guys. I found myself longing for those times I actually had an agreeable lady to watch such movies with - an understandable yearning of a sleep-deprived young man at 6.30 am in the morning; no doubt a product of a complex amalgamation of the desperation of loneliness and the desperation of needing rest. Watching a movie is always best done with company - I found that I am more inclined to laugh at the funny bits when I have someone nearby to laugh with. That's all the proof I need to tell me that people aren't meant to be lonely.

Also, I wonder if my sleeplessness had, in any way, altered my perception of the film, suckering me into cheap sentiments by shamelessly taking advantage of my decidedly reduced analytical capabilities. If that is so, I think I shall purposely stay up all night just to put myself into the same state of mind before I watch any movies next time since I'd probably enjoy everything better. Just like mood-altering drugs, really. But I have to ask whether a 'me' with a distorted sense of reality is really me? Does it not amount to self-deception if I change my taste and preference through willful violation of my sleep pattern? I don't believe so. It's kind of like an argument of whether a diamond is still a diamond if one looks at it from a different angle. They are just different facets of the same damn thing. But then again, my argumentation might be flawed; I am after all, missing a whole night's sleep.

Sleep. I think I'm in need of some right now. I'm getting that dull pain at the pack of my head again. Oh, it feels so darn good to fall asleep after staying awake for a whole night.

So good that it's almost worth staying awake for. Won't you agree?

Knows fully well that committing suicide is wrong,
k0k s3n w4i

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Judgement is Nigh

"Seizures are fun to watch, but boring to diagnose."

Dr. Gregory House (Hugh Laurie) of House MD

Okay, you know the drill; now's the exam season and my posts will be short and stupid and by most eyewitness accounts; completely devoid of any substance. Nothing kills literary propensity like a battery of written tests designed to measure how big a nerd a person had been. Back in high school, I actually enjoyed exams because they are days on which I do not have to attend any classes or in fact, perform any duties along the line of "reading and memorising a comprehensive list of boring stuff" at all - understanding the principles of most subjects was all that was necessary. Medical school, I discovered, is a whole new species of academia altogether. Everything in med school is "a comprehensive list of boring stuff" which unfortunately, requires me to learn by rote.

Before I move on, let me just wish everybody a Happy Indian Independence Day today - the 15th of August. The date doesn't really mean anything to me considering that I'm Malaysian but hey, everybody loves a holiday right?

Allow me to also announce that I have already been to the air travel agency and told an agent there to put a plane ticket on hold for me so I can return to Malaysia for the hols on the 27th of this month. Providing that I don't suddenly change my mind again in the period of time between now and tomorrow (which is when I will actually pay for the said ticket), I'll be back in the Malay Peninsula fairly soon.

"You talk to God, you're religious. God talks to you, you're psychotic."

Dr. Gregory House (Hugh Laurie) of House MD

For the pleasure of any House MD fans that frequent this humble web journal of mine, I have spent a valuable hour of my afternoon scrying for information about the new season 4, which by most account (including that of, the website of the broadcasting company that owns House MD) will premiere on the 25th of September.


I also dug up some news-bytes about our favourite cranky, misanthropic doctor's new fellowship members after the resignation fest of the co-stars of the previous three seasons - namely Dr Chase (Jesse Spencer), Dr Cameron (Jennifer Morrison), and Dr Foreman (Omar Epps). There is at least 5 actors already signed on to play hopefuls vying for a position on Dr Gregory House's diagnostic team. Here they are;

Olivia Wilde

The biggest breaks of her acting career thus far is her part in the cancelled 2007 NBC American television drama, The Black Donnellys and her appearances in 13 episodes of The O.C. so it is pretty safe to say that she's a nobody in the TV biz. Still, she's a lot hotter than Jennifer Morrison (prudish, insanely irritating Dr Cameron) and that, in my book, is most important. Hugh Laurie got enough personality for the entire cast and what we need, in my opinion, is more eye-candies. She is going to play a Dr Thirteen in season 4 of House MD. Did I mention that thirteen is my favourite number?

Kal Penn

Now here's a guy I actually know! Kal Penn starred (you heard me; starred - not appeared uncredited as a cabbie or person-in-crowd) in a few flicks - most notably the cult buddy-stoner comedy, Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, and a more sober fare, The Namesake. Oh, he's an Indian dude, by the way, just so you know. I always thought that House MD needs more ethnic actors in the cast. Black and white are such boring colours, really.

Anne Dudek

I know this chick too! She was Tiffany Wilson, one of the bimbo-heiresses the Wayan brothers impersonated in the 2004 comedy, White Chicks. And she also had many forgettable (and largely forgotten) roles in a miscellany of television dramas. I remember that she was pretty hot - I hope she still is. The photo of her above was the best I could dig up. I bet that even I have more photographs on the world wide web than she does.

Peter Jacobson

This bloke doesn't even have his own article on Wikipedia ("Ke Le Fe" Alert!)1. He apparently appeared in that recent Transformers flick as a Mr Hosney (which I can't, for the life of me, remember who the heck that is). He also had a role in the USA Network television miniseries called The Starter Wife which was nominated for ten Emmys. He's going to be the first actor on House's team who actually looks old enough to be a doctor.

Edi Gathegi.

Yet another nobody who doesn't have his own Wikipedia page. After scrounging the internet for his mark in Tinseltown, I discovered that this bloke had appeared as a side character in an ABC Family network television drama called Lincoln Heights (though the Wikipedia article about the show did not mention Edi's name at all). Also, he appeared (largely uncredited) as a Haitian cabbie in an action movie called Crank which starred Jason Statham. He's a veritable nobody amongst nobodies - but some internet message board frequenters insisted that he's an incredibly good actor. We shall see.

Okay, that's all the time I got for blogging. Can't stick around and chat. Got a "Death by Microbiology Test" scheduled for tomorrow. Wish me luck and a merry go-to-hell!

Seriously reconsidering his career choice,
k0k s3n w4i

1 Cantonese phrase for movie extras and general nobodies in the entertainment business.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Malacca or Bangalore?

"When the hornet hangs in the hollyhock,
And the brown bee drones i' the rose;
And the west is a red-streaked four-o'clock,
And summer is near its close--
It's oh, for the gate and the locust lane,
And dusk and dew and home again!"

An extract from In The Lane,
a poem by Madison Julius Cawein

At the moment, I am in dilemma - a word here which means "can't bloody make up my mind whether I should go back to Malacca for this coming 5-week-holiday or stay here in India like I planned originally".

Since the monsoon season is upon me, I can't very well go gallivanting about the country and see the north of India like I wanted to (those plans have to be postponed till my next vacation). I figured that I should maybe take a one-person trip to Bangalore, rent an apartment there for a month or a half, and see the city proper. Besides, I heard that there are some decent bookstores in the city, and I desperately need to restock my rainy-days book supply (which ran out because it had been raining every single day here). Not to mention that I've been wanting to check out India's McDonald's menu for quite a while now. Mmm... McCurry Pan...

On the other hand, I kinda miss home. If I go back to Malacca, I'd probably take a road trip to Penang in my Vitara (I've never been there before in my life!). I would also reunite with my most beloved bookstore (i.e. Kinokuniya) and spend half a dozen days there just browsing like a cow in a field full of juicy grass. While I'm in KL, I will definitely want to meet a few persons I've come to know online as well, and have a chat with them for real. Plus, my mom told me that I'll be getting a new room in my grandmother's house and I really want to go to shop for my own bookshelf - my old one was stuffed so full that my novels were stacked in little towers above it. And of course, there's the good ol' awesome Malaccan nosh which I can look forward to.

Jonker Walk at night.

The Stadhuys clock tower and fountain (a Dutch woman I met once on a Town Bus told me that Stadhuys is pronouced Staad-Hoose)

The ruin of St Paul's Church

So should I stay or bugger off home?


Malacca Fuckit
Or Fuck It?

An indecisive, spineless specimen of a guy,
k0k s3n w4i

Lesson #11

Nobody wins a lovers' quarrel. Everybody loses.


Saturday, August 11, 2007


"Had we never lov'd sae kindly,
Had we never lov'd sae blindly,
Never met - or never parted,
We had ne'er been broken-hearted."

An excerpt from Ae Fond Kiss,
a poem by Robert Burns

Anitya is Sanskrit for Impermanence.

The arrogance of our youth demands no greater self-assumption than that we are the centre of our narrow universes. We cannot be understood, because the depth of our emotions cannot be plumbed. When we grieve, we are inconsolable because there was never a precedent to the magnitude of our sorrows. When we are wronged, we are martyrs and the persecuted saints of the ages would weep for the injustice heaped upon our righteous selves. Our hatred is so black that we imagined that the poison would surely eat us inside out and burn the very essence of the object of our loathing. And our love... Oh, our love...


When we love, we know that no other person in the world could love harder than we do. We know that our love would transcend all love stories before us. We know that we could love endlessly and forever. And there's that one person in our lives that would make us know that. The word 'know' here means 'to regard something to be true beyond slightest shadow of doubt' - and to 'know' something does not necessarily make it true.

To 'know' in this context epitomizes Pride - the deadliest of the Seven Sins.

And that makes me a Sinner.

Out of youth,
k0k s3n w4i

Thursday, August 09, 2007

When I was Ten

"Children have neither past nor future; and that which seldom happens to us, they rejoice in the present."

Jean de La Bruyère, 17th century French essayist and moralist

I don't remember much of that place now. All my recollections of it is grey. Grey stones which paved the expansive grey courtyards enclosed by tall grey walls beneath a cloudy, grey sky. That's what old memories always look like to me. Faded - like old photographs left out in the sun for much too long.

The only colour I recollect from that day is green - a green flag to be precise, which I held in my little hands. I was trotting frantically trying to keep up with a tall young man, whose every stride equals mine times three. Of course, being only ten years old at that time, all the adults were almost twice my height. Besides, I was a pretty tiny kid too.

That flag belonged to that young man but he lent it to me because I asked to help him carry it. He also carried a bullhorn which he raised to his mouth every minute - which he wouldn't let me touch no matter how many times I asked him for it. When he talked into it, a whole bunch of other adults who were also walking after him would gather around to hear him speak. I don't remember a single thing he said using that bullhorn because - let's face it - what 10 years old kid would pay attention what one adult say to another (or many others, whatever). In fact, I wouldn't even care what I would say through that bullhorn so long as I get to use it and hear my own voice become all big and electric out of the other end.

He was the tour guide of our little tour group - a Chinese History major or something from some big shot Chinese University. At ten, I learnt that History is a fat waste of time, and if I choose to study that when I'm in a university, I'll end up like that young man - prattling away about ancient stuff ten-year-olds don't give a hoot about to a gaggle of gawking tourists (that's why I screwed up History for my SPM examination - I did it on purpose, okay). Oh, my grandmother and grandfather, my mom and dad, and my very irritating 5-year-old baby sister were hanging about somewhere in that gaggle of gawking tourist, by the way. Just thought you ought to know I wasn't tagging along a group of strangers in China without parental supervision. I was a really good, obedient kid - albeit one whose life ambition was to hear his squeaky, preadolescent voice amplified by a bullhorn.

The young man spoke excellent English and very funny Mandarin which I could barely understand - and now that I'm much older, I realise that it was us Malaysians - and not the Mainland Chinese - who spoke funny Mandarin. I was his self-appointed assistant and my job was simple; raise the flag and yell the tour company's name every time he wanted to show us a bit of really old wall built by some dead emperor or something. I did my job with proudly and turned my nose away from the other children because I was the only kid in our tour group allowed to do it - or rather, the only kid thick-skinned enough to ask to do it. What's the difference, really?

That day, our little group visited a really old temple. I remembered that day in particular because it revealed something really bizarre about me - to myself.


The thing about childhood memories is that they tend to sport big, leaky holes in them. You would remember a series of disjointed events that you know are all connected - but for the life of you, you can't remember the key happenstances that join them. I remember that I was walking with a green flag beside a young man with a bullhorn leading a pack of tourists. Then blank. Memory file not found. And suddenly, I found myself walking alone in a massive temple courtyard with the same green flag still clutched jealously in my hands and wondering to myself where the heck did everyone go.

Somehow, everyone just vanished without me noticing it. Maybe I had one of those childhood absence epilepsy I've been reading about.

What would you do if you're ten years old and suddenly found yourself lost in a strange temple in a foreign country? In a very big temple. A very very very big temple. The enormous 14th century Temple of Heaven in Beijing to be exact. Cry? Scream? Walk up to the nearest adult in uniform and ask him or her for help?

Well, I didn't do any of that. All I did was continue walking aimlessly and absentmindedly drawing circles in thin air with that green flag I still have with me. If there is one thing I can remember very clearly from that day, it is that I wasn't the least bit scared at all. No choking panic from fear of never seeing my family ever again. No despair. No nothing. I was calm and completely composed. Disturbingly composed.

And my thoughts in those moments was even more bizarre. Instead of thinking how to rejoin the tour group and my family, I found myself wondering what I would eat later that night since I did not have any money with me. I thought of sitting at a street corner to beg for some. In fact, I got as far as to planning to steal a bowl to collect alms and thinking that I should roll myself in a dirt patch so I would look like a believable junior panhandler. I idly mused about joining the local beggar gang, wondered at what sort of initiation rites they would have, and was worried about how they would treat a foreigner like me - when I suddenly heard my mother's voice resounding across the grey-stoned courtyard.

"Kok Sen Wai, please walk to the main temple area."

Cool. Mom hijacked the PA system.

The Temple of Heaven, if I remember correctly, was divided into two or three separate complexes with their own adjoining courtyards - and the 'main temple area' I supposed, was the one with that big conical building standing in its centre. So I headed there;


That's when I started having second thoughts about doing that. What if my mom was furious at me for wandering off? Would she berate me in front of everyone? Would she take away my flag and tie me up in the bus for the rest of the tour? And as all these really scary thoughts flashed through my 10-year-old mind, the prospect of being a life living off the pity of passerbys in the streets of Beijing didn't sound too bad after all. I actually stopped walking and was halfway contemplating to make a break for it with the green flag when someone grabbed me by the arm.

It was a young woman with a name tag in her shirt - someone who worked there, most likely.

That made up my mind for me then. As I was being led away to wherever I suppose my family's at, I began formulating an excuse to talk my way out of trouble. I finally settled on pretending to cry - play the Scared Lost Kid card so my mom would go easy on me. I was actually a pretty talented little actor. I could do a very believable Sick Kid back then, even managing to force myself to vomit whenever I felt like skipping school. Fake weeping was a piece of cake.

So, I got off with a lot comforting pats on my head and an ice-cream cone for the "traumatic" experience I went through (which so totally pissed my annoying little sister off because she couldn't have any).

And the tour guide bloke let me use the bullhorn too when I asked him for it again.

Missing childhood,
k0k s3n w4i

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

110 km/h

"All good things
I wish you"

Mandy Moore, All Good Things (2007)

I was nervous because it was my first time, but you said we would do it together.

There were only two parts to our world that night; a diorama of melding, moving inky shapes outside, and the private, air-conditioned cubicle of the car we shared inside. It was that simple. Just the two of us apart from everybody else. Us. Them.


You were exhausted from the very long day we spent together but you would not sleep no matter how many times I told you to. I told you I could handle it - I told you to trust me. I told you that the last thing I would want is to put you in any danger at all.

"I know," you said with a sleepy smile on your face. You yawned but still you would not rest.

It was our first trip ever to the capital city, to KL, we took in my father's Vitara - and it was our first trip back from there. There was a time once, I remember, when we talked about having a date out of town - back when we were in the Fifth Form when I have yet to even earn my driver's license. Do you remember? We wanted to be in a place where we would meet no one we know, where no one could recognise us. We wanted to be strangers to everyone else.

Quietly, you bent over my hand which I laid on the knob of the gearstick. I felt your soft, straight hair graze the bare skin there. Your hair smelled clean - just like the rest of you. You always smelled clean and lovely no matter where you were or what you did. I was glad you weren't into scents. I like shampoo more.

Then, I felt your warm breath wash over the back of my hand. With the merest touch of your lips, you left a kiss there I could hardly feel. Transient, ethereal, feather-light - but it stayed there long after your lips have left.

"I want to accompany you," you said to me.

And you did. All the way home.

"All good things
Come to an end"

Mandy Moore, All Good Things (2007)

The last road trip I made to KL was the hardest I had to make in my life, even though it was no longer my first. Gone were the nerves, the excitement - the thrill of doing something entirely new and possibly risky. This time, the drive felt as cheerful as a funeral and my Vitara was the hearse. The funereal procession was the North-South Highway between Malacca and KL. The dear departed, of course, was the three years of love we had to hold and cherish.

At least, I still hold them. I still cherish.

It was still me behind the wheel, and it was still you in the passenger seat beside me. But everything else have changed. This time, we weren't going to spend the day together shopping, catching a movie, having dinner just the two of us - not like we did the last time. This time, you were dating someone else.

By the time we were close to where I was suppose to drive you to, we weren't talking at all. I was in a ghastly mood. My heart was beating so hard that I thought I was going to get a heart attack. I half expected it. I half welcomed it. Damn, I wish I did die of one.

In the parking basement, I counted the seconds it took for you to walk out of my car and disappear into the entryway
of the mall where you agreed to meet him. It was 34 seconds. That's how long it took for you to walk right out of my life. If I have have to consider any moment of my life to be the definitive moment I lost you for good, it would be that gut-wrenching 34 seconds. I sat there and waited for a heart attack that didn't happen.

"Thank you," was the last thing you said to me.

I felt strange as I drove out of the parking basement back onto the road again. Everything felt like a dream. I thought I would cry or scream or both, but I didn't. The smell of your hair lingered still, a mocking reminder of a time when my car was our little world apart, our little bubble keeping the rest of the world outside. Now, you are part of that outside world I cannot reach.

I spent the rest of the day in another mall, in Midvalley. I paid a call to the bookstore and watched two movies alone. Every minute I spent that day felt like thumb screw in my chest. Each and every single accursed minute I spent alone, you were someplace else with some other boy that wasn't me. In the evening, I had a short reunion with a few of my college buddies. A couple of them asked me about our break up, which they somehow heard from someone else. What could I do but smile and shrug? What would you have me to do?

I learnt that day that God only listens to me half the time. That day I prayed many times for a heart attack to take me, to end my pain right then. He did not to give me what I asked for.

But I also prayed that you would be happy.

And He gave me that.

"All good things
I wish you well"

Mandy Moore, All Good Things (2007)

I picked you up that later that night from your date with him at about 11 pm. By 11.30 pm, we were out on the freeway again using the same toll plaza we used the last time because I missed a turning. I missed that same turning this time too.

You told me about your day and how nice he was, and you showed me the clothes he chose for you. I tried not to listen but I couldn't. I wanted to know everything you did that day, like how I always wanted to know everything you did everyday back when we were still together. There wasn't a single night we didn't end by listening to each other's day. It was our little ritual.

I listened that night in the car even though it could kill me.

"I'm glad you had fun," I said to you, meaning every single word.

I told you to sleep when I caught you yawning. I told you I would wake you up once we reach home. You had a long day - as long as the one we had together more than a year ago. I knew you were very tired. I was just as tired too.

"You sure you are okay doing this alone?" you asked, yawning again as you did.

"Sure, it's not like I haven't done this before. Go to sleep," I said.

You disinclined the seat, closed your eyes, and in almost no time, fell into a restful slumber leaving the last of your day's care outside your mind. Leaving me. Me, alone in the company of depressing and ugly thoughts. If nothing else, those thoughts kept me awake through the entire journey in the dark.

I did not keep religiously at 110 km/h on the left lane like I did the first time, deliberating on every overtake venture like it was a bet at the roulette table. I was a better driver this time around. I sped when I had to but I took no stupid risks. I would not, for any reason, endanger your life - especially since you have such a happy life ahead of you. My eyes were trained ardently on the short twenty feet of headlight-illuminated asphalt visible to me, stealing only a few seconds every minute to look at you. You did not know this because you were asleep.

You also did not hear me when I whispered 'I Love You' in your ear. You looked so peaceful, breathing evenly under the low, regular hum of the car's engine. I wanted to wake you, and tell you that you looked beautiful. I wanted to hold your hand, to ask you to come back to me. To forgive me. To rebuild this world of ours we have demolished in our folly. But I didn't do any of that.

I understand Limerence. I understand Obsession. I understand that those words meant that I would be happy if I have you by my side.

And I understand Love.

Love means I would sacrifice my happiness for yours.

Left in that world you no longer live in,
k0k s3n w4i

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Just So You Know I'm Alive

"Revenge is a dish best served awesome!"

Something random I saw in a comment board.

A couple of hours ago, I was writing a post - a long, sentimental rambler about how big a loser I am and how my life sucks. Of course, being the big loser I am, I accidentally closed my browser page and lost the post. Luckily, Blogspot now has that every-minute-auto-save feature which ensures that my hard-penned drivels don't get eaten up by the gaping maw of the far side of the internet.

That feature is a lemon, by the way. I have seen corpses with hearts that works better than it does.

I checked my draft page and found that my half-written latest entry was lost for keeps. I was so distraught that I immediately went out for lunch and ate a plate of chili chicken which tasted like crap, like everything else here in Manipal.

Life just keeps getting better, huh?

I miss you.

Okay, now that I've started this post, I might as well make a confession.

Back when I was in college in a trip to the Sushi King in Sunway Pyramid with my ex-girlfriend, I spotted a tiny cockroach scampering about the table top by the kaiten-zushi (that's the revolving conveyor belt with plates of sushis on them you see in these joints). Without much thought (as with most of the things I do in my life, unfortunately) I trapped the li'l bugger with one of those transparent plastic covers Sushi King put onto their dishes;

Some picture I stole.

"Eww," went my ex in response. I can never understand why girls (and Shaki) are so bloody terrified of something so much smaller than they are.

Carefully, I maneuvered the bug onto a purple-edged dish which not ten minutes ago contained two pieces of Unagi sushis (grilled eel, my absolute favourite, by the way). The last time I went to Sushi King, the purple plates were RM 8 apiece. I'm not quite sure how much they cost now.

Then, I calmly asked for the manager and showed him the roach.

"There's a live cockroach in my plate," I remarked coolly.

"Oh dear, I'll get you a fresh plate right away. I'm so sorry," he squeked and dashed off immediately, as if afraid I'll make a grand hullabaloo out of the affair.

And that was how I scored a free plate of Unagi from Sushi King. Thinking back, I regret I didn't try getting the manager bloke to tear up my entire bill. I'm sure he would have done so had I but asked.

Now, don't give me that look. I didn't tell a single lie. There really was a cockroach in my plate, okay? It's just that he ran off before I could tell him that I put it there myself.

The moral of the story is: Unagi rocks!

The End.

Will swindle for sushi,
k0k s3n w4i

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Captain's Ark

"If you can't look after it, don't adopt it."

Captain Krishna Kumar Nayar

Last year, Shakiran - a student from Batch 18 of MMMC - met a dilemma concerning a puppy that he and his girlfriend have adopted sometime ago into the apartment unit he shared with two other batchmates. The puppy's name was Belle. When Shaki made a decision to shift to another apartment, he was adamant that Belle would not be moving with him to his shiny, new pad.

"I was against the idea of adopting the dog in the first place!" he responded when I asked him about his downright despicable act of abandonment, and he had insisted that it was his girlfriend who actually wanted the puppy - not him. I did not interview his girlfriend concerning this matter because she slaps my arm very hard every time I approach her with stupid questions (and also because I always make fun of her height) - so let us just take Shaki's word for it, okay? I believe him and you should too. We cool? Alrighty then.

His primary priority then was to find a new home for Lil' Belle (who wasn't so Lil' anymore at that time) and he had sought out a man known as the Captain by the local community here in Manipal, India. He had heard that the Captain helps people look for new homes for their pets.

I was instantly fascinated by this "Captain" character and asked Shaki to tell me more. While paying absolutely no attention in the Pharmacology lecture class we were currently attending, he related to me that the Captain is an animal rights activist of sorts and that he had been trying to get the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) to open up a chapter here in the vicinity - and that he himself had adopted many canines which he could not find a new owner for rather than setting them loose on the streets. Also, he was a captain of a ship once - hence his honorific.

The Captain had managed to locate a local couple interested in getting a white dog and Shaki reported that they were practically ecstatic when they saw Belle. In Shaki's own verbatim; "They were so excited that you'd think they want to eat the dog - not keep her."

I'm sure Shaki was just joking.

I went on to ask him how I could find and talk to this noblest of man, and he told me that the Captain is the manager of Sonia Clinic - the place all MMMC students go to after they realise that they are too sick to go through all the red-tape bullshit to get treated for free by a trainee doctor over at the Kasturba Hospital;

I don't think this photo needs a caption but I wrote one anyway.

I choose to walk the kilometre there instead of taking the a-buck-a-ride auto rickshaw because I needed a bit of time to quickly improvise a set of questions to ask the Captain when I see him. I have never done such a thing before so don't stone me for not... uh... practising in front of a mirror prior to the meeting or something, okay?

When I got there, I approached a nurse at the counter who was chatting with some old bloke and asked her where I could find Captain Krishna. Amused, she gestured at that same old bloke she was talking to. Real smooth, pal. How many journalists have absolutely no idea who they are interviewing? I mentally smacked my own face on the spot.

He was sitting on a plastic stool with an attentive look on his face. I approached him and said, "Uh sir, I heard from a friend of mine that you help people look for new homes for their pets."

"What sort of dog do you have?" he asked, his face changed to a slightly more concerned expression - kind of like the one my doctor had on when he saw my latest blood cholesterol report.

Oh shit, he thought I was one of those no-good, dog-disposing scums pestering him for help! No offence, Shaki (Haha).

"No sir! I write for an online periodical and I'm just interested in interviewing you for a story I'm writing," I said, clawing frantically to salvage a sinking first impression. Haha, online periodical. I slay myself sometimes.

"Oh," said the Captain his face changed again, this time to one that positively beams. "Come with me into the pharmacy. We'll talk there."

The pharmacy?

The Cap'n 2
Meet the Captain.
After parking ourselves on wooden stools opposite each other in the little unmanned pharmacy of Sonia Clinic, I rummaged through my bag for my notepad and pen. I left the tape recorder I borrowed from Ilyani in the bag because it just didn't feel right use it. I didn't want the whole thing to be too frightfully formal-like (besides, I'd probably botch up real bad trying to get the prehistoric sound-capturing machine to work).

I learnt that prior to coming here to live in Manipal back in 1992, Captain Krishna used to sail in the Merchant Navy and had ported in Penang, Port Klang and Singapore in his day. He must have been around the Malay Peninsula quite a bit because he had picked up the habit of ending his sentences with the Malaysian suffix of -lah. Nowadays, his day job consisted of administrating Sonia Clinic and running a few businesses here and there.

A couple of those businesses can clearly be seen advertised on a sign in front of his home;

The Cap'n 3
Captain's - a brand name you can trust.
"You own Captain's Ice?" I blurted in surprise. "I walked past your advertisement outside Snack Shack many times before!"

See? I have absolutely no professionalism at all - interrupting my interviewee like this half the time.

He's a busy man, that much was obvious but yet he still finds the time in between running a obstetrics/paediatrics hospital and juggling several companies to help our furry little friends - and in his time, he had witnessed many instances of unnecessary cruelty against creatures who can't speak up for themselves.

Once he saw a bull standing in the middle of the road with a bit of rope tied tightly at its nose - so tight that the poor animal was bleeding. Of course, approaching a big, dumb, horned animal weighing more than a Kancil which had a bit of rope cutting into its nostrils, had no fingers to take it off and is half-mad with pain is never a very smart thing to do. At the risk of sustaining grievous injuries, the Captain and a friend managed to tranquillise the animal by sneaking from its back with a syringe. After he got the rope out, the Captain stood guard over the animal till it woke up again because he didn't want to leave half a ton of prime beef sleeping in the middle the road on its own. Some truck might run over it, see? Yes, some drivers here are that blind.

"I have a three legged bull at my house right this moment," said the Captain. "It got injured as a calf and my wife and I took it in."

Besides Tripod Taurus (no, he didn't name it that) he currently owns three Pomeranians, a Retriever, a mixed-breed, and a German Shepherd hybrid which once belonged to a Chinese boy who studied here in Manipal but had gone home to Malaysia (that's half a dozen in total). There are also four strays which he fed regularly and they ended up hanging about outside his house all the time.

Kind of reminds me of the three moocher pooches we have here at Acharya Compound;

Fifi, Socks and Mom, lounging on my doorstep. Read more about Fifi here. She still limps though.

I asked the Captain about his efforts in trying to get the Indian SPCA to open a branch here in Manipal. His answer was a short and curt, "They simply aren't interested."

He told me that animal rights in India is never a properly looked-into issue. An example he cited was the controversy over the government's half-hearted attempt to neuter the strays in the city of Bangalore1 as a mean of checking the local canine population. Dogs were simply rounded up, castrated and splayed, and were put right back on the streets almost immediately. He explained to me that a dog needed proper care for at least 2 to 3 days after being operated on.

"What did they expect to happen?" he said. "The dogs would just get infected and die!"

A slow, painful death. It would have been kinder to just shoot the poor creatures.

He also talked about the mobile butchers that roam the streets of Manipal in the dead of night. Men operating these set-ups would break the legs of cows they find, hoist the heifers into their truck or van, and carve up the animal right there in the vehicles in almost no time - all ready for sale the day after.

"There's a demand for beef from the Muslim community here. The debate about this between the Muslims and the Hindus has been going on for a long time now," he commented and prudently left it at that.

Our little tête-à-tête was frequently interrupted by the clinic's patients looking to fill their prescriptions - which were competently taken care of by the Captain (is there a thing this man can't do?). Aside being a repository of drugs, the pharmacy also doubles up as a candy shop. I welcomed these little breaks because they gave me time to extemporise more questions to ask the Captain.

"Selling candies from a pharmacy counter is precisely the sort of nice thing a man like him would think of," I mused privately as I watched him help a little kid choose a lollipop.

The Cap'n
The Captain at work.

Due to the regrettable lack of enthusiasm and support from the SPCA, the Captain had decided to start his own animal care trust, which at the moment is backed by 7 trustees. He said that he planned to register his trust on Monday (which was two days ago, two days from the Saturday I interviewed him). The registration fee itself would require Rs 4500.

"It'll be called Captain's Animal Care," he said with a roguish smile. "After all, everyone around here knows my name."

He has further plans to build a pound, where proper neutering procedures will be done and care will be given to wounded animals. Pamphlets would be circulated to educate the student population of Manipal (which after all, is a university town) about the responsibilities of a pet-owner and his philosophy against mistreatment of animals.

"The biggest problem is money," he said. "Every time the question of money comes up, everyone would disappear. All monetary support for my efforts so far had come from my own pockets"

He was confident that provisions for the dogs can be easily acquired for free in the form poultry bones from the eateries and hotels in Manipal and slaughter wastes from the Century Egg and Chicken Farm. But the medical instruments and more importantly, the workers he planned to have in the animal shelter needs Paper Gandhis. He can't very well pay people in chicken bones, can he?

"So, do you have anything to say to my readers - especially those that are looking to adopt a pet of their own?" I asked the Captain.

His answer was, "If you can't look after it, don't adopt it." But he beseeches to everyone that if they could not bring their dogs back to their own countries at the end of their courses for some reason or other, please seek him out at Sonia Clinic.

"Do not abandon your dogs on the streets. I'll try my best to find new owners for them."

The Captain's card.

I have always adamantly opposed the practice of adopting pets - the idea of which appealed to many of the Malaysian students of MMMC doing their long, dreary two-and-a-half-years here in Manipal. I feel distressed every time I hear that someone in my class had adopted a puppy from the local breeder or had imported one from who-cares-where because more than half the time, that overeager pet-owner is going to realise that he or she simply do not have the time to care for the poor little thing. Everyone wants the cuteness; the bounding fluffy ball of yips leaping at them when they got home from a hard day at school, the furry warmth wrapped around their tootsies when they slog at the study desk, and the tiny breathing sound beside their pillows when they sleep. Puppies and dogs have a great capacity to love a person completely in their dopey little ways. I understand that because I love dogs too.

And I also understand that nobody likes dog-shit splotched all over their spiffy apartments, the midnight bark solos, and the persistent and persevering chewing of a teething pup. I know that because I had a puppy once - a beautiful Cocker Spaniel who grew old as I grew up.

When you accept a tiny, precious life into your own, please be prepared to give as much love as you expect to take from it - because you don't deserve to have it if you don't. Ask yourself whether or not it deserves someone like you. Ask yourself whether you would take it back home to your country where you come from - this creature which had loved you. Ask yourself before you adopt a puppy.

Because it lives, it breathes, it loves.

And it's not a toy.

P.S. I promised the Captain that I would help raise funds for his animal care trust. If anyone is willing to help me, please do. I might be planning a donation drive sometime at the end of this year.

Editor of an "online periodical",
k0k s3n w4i

1 A big-ass city half-a-day's worth of butt-numbing bus ride from Manipal.