Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Puppy Therapy

"Happiness is a warm puppy!"

Charles M. Schulz, that bloke who drew Peanuts

To make up for my shocking lack of pictures in my previous posts, I shall now strike back with visual vengeance. Besides, the head hunting season is on so I'm not up to being my usual verbose self. Heads not filled to near 'splosion with thousands of scientific names of germs and worms, mundane and bizarre ways in which the human body can go awfully wrong, and the myriad of manners in which prescription drugs can act (and shouldn't act) on sick people and people who think they are sick - those heads will roll! If you don't have buckets of medical facts leaking out of your ears (and from other less polite orifices), you aren't working hard enough, ya hear me?!

Here's how I deal with stress,

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*Baby gurgle* *Lick*

Meet my personal favourite from Mom's litter. I haven't name her yet, so let's just call her... Beans!

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"You has a flavour" *Lick lick*

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"Nyum nyum nyum nyum nyum..." *Lick entire hand*

My hand must have tasted good to puppies.

The thing about Beans is that she has incredibly expressive eyebrows. Here's her sitting on my laps,

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Beans pondering on the meaning of life and existence.

See the two neat and symmetrical whorls above her eyes?

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"Luff me, please..."

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"You luffeh me, mmmkay?!"

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"Dun leef meeeee!!! Ehn!"

Sock's brood is a much more multi-coloured bunch. She likes exotic lovers, hence the exotic puppies.

In fact, considering that she has a light brown coat, I think she had several exotic lovers at the same time,

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"Hmmm, strange - these aren't suppose to be here." *Squints*

That's Patches on the left. He is the dominant pupsicle of the litter - that means he's bigger, badder and can walk all over his brothers and sisters whenever he feels like it. There's a Patches in every litter.

Patches already appeared once before in this post.

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Patches and sister. "We bring yew teh qte!"

Patches was Phoebe's favourite - he's just so round and dopey! But he had disappeared for a few days already now. My guess is someone have came along and adopted the little rascal (I hope it was not because he looks delicious). After Patches was taken, his siblings suddenly became just as plump as he was. I guess he must have been hogging all of Socks' teats. Greedy li'l bastard.

I was kind of glad that someone have decided to keep Patches instead buying some purebred from the local puppy mill - the strays here in Manipal are extremely mild and good natured. I don't know why's that but I guess it's because of conditioned selection. Vicious strays are usually put to sleep real quick hereabouts - and I don't mean in a pound with a syringe either.

Anyway, here's a short clip of Patches I made a week before his disappearance. It was the first time ever he waddled out of the burrow under the stairs,

Patches and Sibs home video.

He does waddle, doesn't he? That's my hand there at 0:16 which Patches licked. At 0:55, he lost his balance and plumped down on his fat rump. I LOL'ed at 1:00 when he scooted his big puppy ass around and parked it right on his li'l sister's head. Check out the synchronised long puppy yawns at 1:11 - I felt drowsy just watching them. Infectious shit. And he's such a blur darling when he looked so sheepishly at the camera right at the end of the vid. Patches just oozes teh qte!

I think if I'm ever feeling suicidal, just put a puppy in my arms. I don't think I can kill myself with something so lovable to live for.

Thinks God invented psychotherapy when he made puppies,
k0k s3n w4i

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Shut Up, Bitch

"Of every ten persons who talk about you, nine will say something bad, and the tenth will say something good in a bad way."

Antoine de Rivarol, French writer and epigrammatist

Poor Monsieur Antoine.

There's a girl I know who once told me that she categorised everyone she knows into either the subset of "harmless" or "harmful" people. In spite of her simple dichotomous approach to the taxonomy of human beings (and other animals which are quite physically indiscernible from the rest of us), I found her system to be quite comprehensive.

Firstly, we have to assume (if we even need to) that everybody gossips - and no doubt enjoys the sport greatly. I have long accepted the necessity of humans to talk about other people. I also understand the unquenchable urgency they feel when they have just heard the latest, juicy, steaming hot, right-out-of-the-oven and just-off-the-press prime-time goss - to immediately repeat that to the nearest bitch...

Whoops. Did I just say bitch? I mean friend. Friend of the bitch.

I have been a 'friend of the bitch' on many occasions, and sadly, I have tuned in to what they have to tell me with less than healthy enthusiasm on more than one instance. It may be because some girl dumped some boy. Or a classmate did drugs and blew the Dean. Or Guy X screwed Chick #46 over at his apartment and then had spaghetti without meatballs for dinner. Half the time, I don't even know I'm listening to a bit of goss till I've already heard all of it and have already repeated it to three other persons. On the rare incidence when my fortitude holds good, I'd decline to hear any - that's because I don't trust myself enough not to excitedly accidentally blab to someone else. There's a bitch in all of us. How many of you reading this right now can be oh-so-righteous and declare publicly that you have never repeated a gossip before? Wait. On second thought, don't bother. It's not like I'll believe you anyway.

A "harmless" person is someone who sometimes/always repeat a gossip but does not add anything or much to it. Of course, it's easier to understand all this if I analogise a "harmless" person to a benign tumour. A benign tumour are slow growing, localised lesions that do not invade the surrounding tissue, or spread to other sites of the body. However, it doesn't always mean it can't hurt you. Case in point; a benign meningeal tumour pressing on your brain (I don't think I need to tell you that that's bad news). Someone "harmless" just repeating a story she heard is not malicious, but what she pass along is almost always something detrimental to another person's reputation. After all, where's the kick of spreading around something good about someone, eh?

Extrapolating from my cancer analogy, a "harmful" person is like a malignant tumour - a rapidly growing, invasive, destructive sort of cancer that goes everywhere in the body making lots of baby tumours which will then all gang up on you and pawn you real quick (not the exact words used by my textbooks, of course). A "harmful" person might purposely tell whatever she knows to someone involved in the issue, maybe to watch the ensuing drama and LOL's. She might tell half-truths to as a many people as she can to turn them against someone she dislikes - because she's so paranoid that that person might turn those people against her first. She might try to dig up more dirt by pretending to know more than she does when she talks to an involved person, and then spread what she learns. Sometimes, a particularly malicious one would go right out and fabricate something that's has nil truth in it - either for some unknown motive or out of pure psychopathic spite.

Here's an example; Girl A confided into me about her boyfriend Boy A. Another girl, let's call her Girl B, claims to know Girl A's secrets with Boy A and then tell Boy A that I was the one who told her, when in fact, I have not breathed a single word to her. That's pure slander. Definitely harmful as fuck. This may not be the exact events that happened, of course - it's just an example. This may not even be remotely associated to anything that happened in real life in recent times. And since nothing of the sort happened last week, I will not confront Girl B after my Block 3 exams. Nosirree. Girl B got nothing to worry about because I will not fucking wring the life out of her with my bare hands.

I have been misunderstood on so many occasions I have since long since lost count. A classic instance was when I was thought of as a stalker when the girl I was allegedly 'stalking' was actually my girlfriend then. I never blamed those people who dished around the gossip that I was some sick, depraved pervert (though that didn't stop me from hating their guts, fortunately). Gossip is inevitable, but being slandered is a totally different thing. To have someone wittingly - knowing full well I am innocent - telling vile lies that mar my character, that's evil. Pure evil. Fucking goat-shit evil. To have someone who said she was my friend doing that to me, I can't believe that's even possible! I still hope that everything was all a big, dirty misunderstanding - hypothetically hoping obviously, because nothing like that happened at all.

As for the rest of us "harmless" people, don't get too smug just because you don't hurt other people as much as the "harmful" ones. I have seen people sitting at the dinner table eating when suddenly a girl would lean to a friend and ask, "Eh, got gossip ah?". I have had people telling me other people's secrets on MSN Messenger to me, right that very moment when those secrets are being told to them by whoever that was so unfortunate as to choose them to confide in (grapevine live-update WTF). It felt wrong somehow. It's schadenfreude. Do you know what that is? Hint: not a type of German sausage.

It's being happy because of someone else's unhappiness. That's basically what gossiping is. Every time you gossip, you are rejoicing that someone is sad. Remember this the next time you want to repeat some shit you heard.

Let us all try to keep the bitch inside us on leash and collar, okay?

Needs more mudita,
k0k s3n w4i

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Tell Me All Your Thoughts on God

"Tell me all your thoughts on God,
cause I'd really like to meet Her."

Counting Blue Cars (1996), Dishwalla

My thoughts and ideas may be considered heretical by some circles. Just write me off as someone possessed by the Devil or Shaitan or whatever the Figure of Supreme Evhulness your cult faith has if you disagree with what I've written.

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Hey, why is science in there!

Now that I am repeating it, I'm sure my vernacular is by no means exact - but the essence is this; "So long as you're happy, you're in the right religion." Someone's grandfather told her father that, and she told that to me in turn. My interpretation of that line might be erroneous as well, but heck, that's not going to stop me from saying it out loud anyway.

I have often considered the idea of a creator, of a heaven, of karma, of final judgement and the ever after nothing more than an invention of man - something to make sense of everything we're doing right here, right now. It's a way for the mind to cope with... well, existence, basically. I get how impossible it can be to believe that there is no supreme plan, and that everything that we know and love and hate and suffered for are just some very random permutation of events that doesn't make any more sense than how a pane of glass shatters by the dint of a brick. Michael Swanwick described that futility of living without the belief that we are on our way to something better beautifully in his eerily haunting novel, The Iron Dragon's Daughter. It had lifted from being an outright atheist and dropped me into agnosticism; which was more than any Big Book of Godly Truths ever did. Limitations of my own mind have stopped me from, if the fanatically godless would excuse the term, 'progressing' any further than that.

What I'm trying to say is, having faith fills a void in our very human psyche. God makes us happy.

A few months ago, I've taken an interest in the notoriously unyielding policy of Islam in my own homeland, Malaysia (not that I'm saying it shouldn't be that strict, of course - I am grossly unworthy to opine). In the course of of my curiosity, I have come across a video of an Hindu Indian man and his cry for help - I failed in locating that particular clip again, however. He married a Muslim woman (who converted to Hinduism) in spite of the protests of her family, and they had a daughter together. Apparently, the woman's family have alerted the associated moral police and she was forcefully separated from her husband and dragged off to a correctional facility for wayward Muslims for indefinite incarceration. The child - no more than two years of age, I bet - was given into the woman's parents' care. They had very righteously declared in the video that the child would be brought up in the glorious tradition of Islam.

Like I said, I am unworthy to opine - it can be dangerous if I'm too free with my liberal (and most definitely bedamned) ideas. All I can safely say that in that debacle, no one was happy. The poor Indian man who had his wife and child taken from him, he was helpless to do anything. The apostate, the Muslim woman who renounced her faith for love, was miserable as hell being locked up. The Muslim woman's parents was angry, and might possibly be a bit smug after they have taken custody of their grandchild. I don't know about the li'l girl, but I bet she hated being taken away from her Mom and Dad - don't think she's old enough to get what this... this... 'tragedy' is all about.

On a very basic level, I think something went awfully wrong here.

Because no one was happy.

Of course, what does all this matter to me? I have free rein to worship any Being of Supreme Omnipotence I like (whichever gets me first) and I'm not dating someone who cannot marry me because I'm like, so going to hell (several thousand hells actually since I don't believe in so many different godheads). They shouldn't matter at all except that I know some of these people who got their happily ever after ruined by God on a personal level. Wait, sorry. My bad. It's not God's fault. For want of someone to blame, let's just blame whoever who was too stubborn to convert to the true religion, okay? Blame the infidels, right?

Everyone's going to someone else's hell, apparently.

I'm terribly surprised to discover that faiths that I have previously thought to be more tolerant - like Christianity for one - to be the catalyst of 'tragedies' similar to the one the Indian man, his wife, and his child had. It might be über pious parents. It might be the pastor and the church. I don't know. It might even just be because some jerkoff boyfriend wanted to axe a relationship and decided to sign the tab off to God. These creeps just disgusts me. Of course, by 'creeps', I'm only referring to jerkoff boyfriends.

Well, readers, you'll have to excuse me if i have stepped on any of your toes too hard - I distinctly felt some tootsies underfoot when I write this. Forgive my unlearned opinions and godless ideas. I'm just a creature of feelings.

And when no one's happy, I tend to feel that something is wrong.

Wanted in your God's hell too,
k0k s3n w4i

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Midnight Over End Point

"When stars are in the quiet skies,
Then most I pine for thee"

Lord Edward Bulwer-Lytton

The Coldest Days of the Year have arrived in Manipal and several mornings now I have woken up with my sinuses so stuffed with snot and my cranium so airy I felt like my head is hovering several feet off my shoulders. I leak like a faucet in a third-world budget hotel, and two mornings ago, while shivering in the lukewarm stream of my wake-up shower, I discovered (almost in screaming horror) that a bright red rivulet was running down my chest and to regions yet uncharted. Apparently, I also leak like a faucet in a third-budget hotel right after a slasher victim got dumped into the tanks. Gayathri said it was because my nasal mucosa parched up from the cold and dryness.

But the good news is, the last of the monsoon storm clouds have buggered off. We have found the sky once more.

After a series of events leading from the time I left the basketball court at Sharada (where our men killed Batch 17) yesterday night, involving a very random phone call and a late supper I should have known better to eat, I found myself walking though the frigid, hilly darkness of End Point with a friend I never knew I had.

I don't know what made me look up, but I did - and I stood agape at the myriad of stars that winked back down on me. I have never seen so many in my life before, and I felt myself shrink into a tiny animal inside. Everything they say about how the infinite and bare cosmos would reduce a person to insignificance - I guess they were right. For a fraction of a fraction of a second, I thought I've been scattered to the breeze and blown through the dewy golden grass down the hill and all over the endless Indian plains below. For a fraction of a fraction of a second, I have stopped existing. I have lost myself to heaven and the night.

I guess I was just too metropolitan, living all my life in the blinding man-made light of the city, of street lamps and tasteless strings of decorative bulbs which have usurped my stars. I always knew they were there, beyond the noise of electric illumination - but they were just too easy to forget. And I have always been too scared to traipse around after hours in places people with evil intentions can rob me, stab me and left me for dead. I never knew just how much I've missed.

But yesterday at End Point, walking on a long black road bordered on both sides by the wilderness, so quiet I could hear each grain of sand scraping between the soles of my shoes and the ground, and so dark I could barely see my hands - I wasn't afraid at all. I found them. I found the stars again.

And God, they were so damn beautiful.

k0k s3n w4i

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Feeding Frenzy

"You are what you eat."

Unknown author

I am rice.

I have tons of more interesting posts and pictures pending that I would rather write about, but seeing that this particular post has an expiry date on it, I suppose I better write it up before it becomes too stale to tell.

Yesterday, I visited the annual MSA Malaysian Food Fest for the first time (I do so hate crowds) which crash landed for the night on campus ground. MSA either stands for Malaysian Students' Association, Multiple Sexual Assault, or My Sorry Ass - I don't give two pence worth of care about it because acronyms are such a waste of time.

I was there really early, of course - about 7 pm-ish even though I was suppose to meet mi compadres at half-past-seven. I couldn't help that because my dinnertime is about 5 pm everyday. Considering that I customarily skip my lunches these days, it's amazing that I even managed to shift My Starving Ass there without suffering a hypoglycemic crisis on the way.

Of course, no stall was opened yet then. Dammit.

Here's an aerial... well, semi aerial picture of the
fête taken from the fire escape beside the lecture hall complex,

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Miniature Scene from Above.

I pretty much spent a whole half an hour sitting by my lonesome self at one of those tables they've laid out on the square.

Then the people started to mill in,

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Motley Sauntering Aimlessly.

I didn't take many picture, and none at all of the nosh I scarfed. My hand was oily, sticky or covered in some unidentifiable sauce most of the time - I didn't want to grease up my camera's clicker, naturally.

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Many Supper Aficionados.

I entered with about 300 rupees in my pocket and went home without two coins to rub together. Everything was grossly overpriced, with the exception of a few odd cheap 'n' chompables here and there. The muachi (some squishy, mucoid stuff which was apparently glutinous rice flour balls covered in peanut bits) from a Batch 17 stall was pretty awesome, costing me only 25 rupees. My personal favourite from the fest was definitely that chicken congee I bought from a Batch 19 all-girls booth, reasonably priced at 30 rupees per cup (yes, paper cup - quaintness to da max).

Besides those and Tze Hau gang''s luo hon ko and dried longan drink, Nana and crew's fusion murtabak Maggi, Su Lin's team's handmade fishballs - there's not much I can remember now. Apologies to all the other maker of goodies whose creations which I could not sample for want of gut space and moolah. My Starvation Act have left me with a Much Sissier Appetite and Massive Stomach Atrophy these days. Trust me, I am truly sorry I couldn't eat everything. Same time next year?

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Mess of Stuff we Ate.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention - the main reason I was there was for good ol' Sanjeev's 21st birthday! He's our classmate from Repiblik Sesel, or Seychelles for the rest of ya.
That's his cake in the picture right there and he wasn't there yet when this was taken. I have no idea whose hand it was that appeared to be grabbing at the key-shaped strawberry confection though.

I was sorely disappointed that no one was selling Indomie goreng though. What sort of ripoff Malaysian Food Fest is this? Bah OMGsorrysorrydon'tbanmefromvisitingnextyearplease

P.S. Jen pointed out that Many Stupid Acronyms fits too. I still can't believe I missed that! Shit, I is becoming dumberer everyday.

Foodie extraordinaire,
k0k s3n w4i

Lesson #15

Puppies in India have pretty grey-blue eyes.

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"I has no teef." *Roar*

Sock's 'ickle pupsicles have opened their eyes for the first time in their little puppy lives today.
Those peepers will turn golden when they are bigger, like all the other strays here.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

My Yellow Wood

"Cogito Ergo Sum"

René Descartes

I think, therefore I am.

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The two roads.

It looks like something out of a book of poetry, doesn’t it? A fair and bright walk on the left, bordered by an orderly landscaped lawn – alongside a darker one overhung with shady trees with their pleached branches and dismembered shreds of sunlight littering the ground. A single sign stands at the fork – a lone commandment saying ‘Thou must take the left road,’ and with an authoritarian slash of red, it tells you to clear off the right.

This is the way I take through the campus grounds when I have to walk from the lecture hall complex to seminar rooms where we have our weekly Microbiology Self-directed Learning presentation classes. I am always inwardly amused every time I arrive at that divide with the two roads unrolled before me. I wonder how many of the hundreds of people walking through this bit of real-life poetry everyday without even pausing a second to appreciate its accidental symbolism, its inadvertent demonstration of the choices we make and what those choices make us.

Always, everyone would unwittingly take the one on the left, excepting a handful of oddities, square pegs, skews of the bell curve, rogue variables… - call them what you will - who would choose the one on the right. Like me. I’m a rightie. I’m an oddity, a square peg, a skew of the bell curve and a rogue variable. I don’t know why others pick the same path as mine when they do, and I don’t think I’ll ever ask them either. But I know why I do that.

I just want to be different.

It’s like a ritual, a reminder of the person I want myself to be – kind of like how the withering of a flower signifies anitya in Buddhism, how the cross of Golgotha means Christianity, and how the golden double arch represents McDonald’s. Every time I choose the right road, I renew my oath to stand apart and celebrate my individuality, and that I need not ever do anything just because everyone else in the world is doing it. Because I want my life to be extraordinary. Because wanting it is a start.

Taking the road on the right; that choice is inconsequential.

But not pointless.

P.S. So, are you a leftie or a rightie?

Definitely a rightie,
k0k s3n w4i

Saturday, November 10, 2007

How I Got Attacked and Survived

"As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect."

Chapter I of The Metamorphosis,
Franz Kafka

I was out at the back of Acharya Compound, checking out Mom and her litter of pups - which she produced shortly after Socks Mother's Day event. Her nest was nothing more than a shallow hollow in the red earth right beside an anthill and all exposed to the irascible elements of the Indian clime. During a rainstorm, someone had so kindly moved Mom and her li'l teat-suckers to a place with a more auspicious feng-shui (less feng and less shui).

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Single Mom.

Mr Good Samaritan had also thoughtfully provided an umbrella (a bit of it seen in the top left of the picture above) so that the raindrop spray wouldn't shower the single mother and her four pupsicles. There was initially 6 (or 5) to begin with but life expectancy for puppies here is kind of bleak. Only one survived the previous combined litters of Mom and Socks. Yes, death happens to cutesey puppies too - not just to overreaching drug junkies, terminal cancer patients and Saddam Hussein.

Then I saw this praying mantis swaying rapturously as if in deep religious bliss (it'd probably speak in tongues as well if it had a tongue) on the umbrella,

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I got its attention soon enough. It turned it's head around and looked me right in the face (well, camera lense, but you get what I mean),

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"Ya lookin' at me, punk?"

And below is the picture I took right before it leapt and flew at me - and tried to kill me,

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With a whirr of wings (and probably also a battle cry too high pitched for human ears), it landed right on my crotch and I tried to shake it off by doing a rapid succession of seriously sexy pelvic thrusts - I bet that must have been hilarious to watch but unfortunately for the rest of you, no one was around to video tape it and turn it into a YouTube meme.

It then quickly scuttled from my unmentionables to my butt and for all those that have tried to look at their butt before without the aid of a mirror, they'd know just how bloody difficult it is to check out your own bum properly. I'm not normally spooked by bugs. I'm pretty comfortable around their ilk and I once carried a praying mantis in my hands to the mess hall to freak Shaki out during breakfast - but a mad insect with sharp, pointy appendages going guerilla on my nether region is a big nono. Naturally, I started panicking and tried to shake it off. Please, don't ask me what I was shaking.

I stopped after a awhile, thinking that the green ninja bug couldn't possible have held on after so much gyrating. I cautiously ran a hand over my pant seat and touched nothing out of the ordinary.

Then I peered on my right shoulder - and the mantis was perched right there, looking as ugly as fuck and waving its lethal looking claws threateningly at my face.

I flicked it off, no longer caring if I might hurt the little creep. My beautiful face was at stake there.

It landed on a windowsill.

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"I seeeee yooouuu!"

I don't know whether it was because it saw me in the window pane or that it had a real bone to pick with glass, but it started menacing my reflection.

Like this,

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*slash slash stab stab* "Die now, bitch! Grrr!"

After awhile, it apparently got tired of that and turned around, finding me again,

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"C'mere you!"

I backed away real slowly.

This has been another meaningless filler post brought to you by me. The ol' Compaq is back but I'd have to reinstall the broadband connection thingamajig before I can come online again. Signing off from Shaki's girlfriend's laptop now (she's in Goa for the weekend). A Happy Belated Diwali to one and all!

Survived a mantis attack,
k0k s3n w4i

Friday, November 09, 2007

Dream Girl

"People who insist on telling their dreams are among the terrors of the breakfast table."

Max Beerbohm

I saw you in a dream, and in many dreams before and after. Those dreams always started out different and their stories went in different ways but somehow, you're always at the end of them. You seem to be in distress - I think you want my help. I think you need my help. And I want to help you, but I would have to find you first. I have seen you many times but I do not know your face. I have heard you speak to me but I do not know your voice. I would call after you and ask you if you know what you mean to me - if I only knew what name to call you. I do not know just how your hair would catch the light in the sun or how my smile would look like reflected in your eyes. I do not know the scent of your wake, the life in your laughter, or the warmth of your breath when you kiss me. And I do not know if you've seen me in your sleep the same way I have seen you in mine.

I know nothing about you but I know you. And when I meet you outside my dreams, I'm going to recognise you.

"Hey," I'll say to you.

"Aren't you that girl I've always been dreaming about?"

Feeling it,
k0k s3n w4i

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Heeren Street

"Blows are sarcasms turned stupid."

George Eliot, English novelist

George's a woman, by the way. That was just her pen name.

Looks like the gnarled, throttling fingers of medical school are wrapped firmly around my neck and are wringing whatever joie de vivre I managed to scrape together from the joy-parched earth of Manipal out of me. For like the thousandth time - I did keep count - I rue the day I opted for this course and learning.

Okay, now that I've explained my unenviable state of existence I'll go straight to the point. I was too busy to update this web journal yesterday and the day before (yes, it is possible for me to get too busy, believe it or not) and from the looks of it, I won't be updating in the next few days either. Rebecca (what I call my laptop) came down with a pernicious worm, and after reading through a whole lot of really dull technical papers on how to get rid of it, I have came to the realisation that reformatting the ol' notebook is way less troublesome ('cause someone agreed to do it for me). Anyway, she had been kind of sluggish these few months - so it's mind-wipe for ya, Becky girl! Thanks, Lingghezhi. I'll pay you in House episodes, as usual.

Oh yeah, and here's a few pictures of Malacca's Jonker Street's out-glammed lil' sister, Heeren Street. It's also known as Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock and it runs parallel to its more popular counterpart.

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Pigeon and some seriously old roof.

I always enjoy a walk through the narrow road which is flanked on both sides by sleepy and (some) crumbling old peranakan townhouses that date back to the Dutch era in Malacca all those centuries ago. They are often known collectively as the Millionaires' Row, and I guess it must have been some sort of Beverly Hills of the Malaccan town in its time.

Or not.

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Dilapidated. Pretty lapidated too, if you ask me.

Of course, emergency reconstructive surgery works have already begun on some of the more salvageable townhouses.

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Pretty, ain't it?

Most of the old house had intricate sculptures of phoenixes and flowers adorning the frontal facade, made from pieces of I-don't-know-what-but-i'll-just-say-painted-porcelain-bits-because-it-sounds-classy. Though they are in essence of Chinese aesthetics, the ethnic flavour in their crafting is hard to ignore.

And here's one of my favourite buildings in Heeren Street.

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*Low whistle*

Incredibly picturesque, no?

On certain nice, clear days, I would take a walk down this lane alone and just drink up in the quaint oldness of everything along the walk - I've done so every time the urge got me. Sometimes, I even leave the main road and take walks through the maze of back alleys cobwebbing through the ancient houses and shops erected in a higgledy-piggledy fashion between Heeren Street and Jonker Street.

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Where some Baba kid of yore played footie.

It's hard not to be proud being Malaccan. I really do love the town I grew up in.

I have always been partial to this street because it is still largely unspoiled. There's no millions of garishly coloured light bulbs strung across the road, posh pedestrian pavements and a-buck-apiece antique stores lining the drive like in Jonker "Commercial Cow" Walk. There, the ambience and charm of a few hundred years of Baba Nyonya history lay firmly buried under tasteless state capitalisation of heritage - particularly during the weekend nocturnal flea market. The feel of wonderment and discovery is just not found in Jonker anymore.

That atmosphere of awe is still intact and beating here in Heeren, thankfully.

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Feel it?

However, I think that is fast fading too.

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Damn you, Digi. First my movie theatres, now my favourite street.

k0k s3n w4i

Saturday, November 03, 2007

The Sound of Falling in Love

"No, you may not call it a date."


This is about me. Not anybody else.

I remember having to lie to all our friends so no one would follow, wanting to join us. She had her share of jealously protective and possessive girlfriends, and all girls have one in particular that sticks on quite firmly like a sixth finger, needing to be be at their side at all times of day and wanting to know the littlest details of their girlfriends' life and doings. Of course, it can really be incredibly annoying if that girlfriend happens to be rather close as well to the bloke that was in love with said girl. She would be incredibly tiresome then. She would park herself right between the boy and his sweetheart at all times of the day, and talk to them in turn but hardly ever letting them exchange a single word between - whether it was in a McDonald's having lunch, in a movie theatre, in a car or in all three of the tuition classes they happened to share. It was quite hellish.

Then there was that one day. I don't know how important it was for her, but it certainly was for me. It was the first time ever we have gone out alone together, unchaperoned and unaccompanied. It was only for less than a couple of hours - and we had to enter the movie theatre separately so there would be no chance for anyone to stroll by so conveniently and go "A ha! The jig is up," on us.

It was all kind of cute really the way we took the secrecy bit so seriously. So childish, yet so very necessary. I won't say it was worth it. I won't say what need not be said.

The movie was Di Xia Tie. At that time, it was my third time watching it.

I don't remember when I watched it the first time but I think I saw it alone. However, I do remember that I definitely watched it on my own the second time. That song would come on at certain special scenes and it would get me every single time. I love the even rhythm of the piano and its clarity of a feeling that wants no elaboration. I love the earnestness of the voice that sang it. I love the string of repetitive gibberish that was used in the place of lyrics. It was one of the few songs I felt rather than heard.

There was another version sang by Elva Hsiao but with proper words. It felt strangely hollow, though.

I watched Di Xia Tie for the fourth time after that "not-a-date", and that was the last time I heard that song, four years ago. Until yesterday night. Last night, I suddenly felt the indomitable desire to listen to it again. It took me the best of 3 hours to finally hunt it down.

It was the beautiful, beautiful sound of falling in love.

Quite hopeless,
k0k s3n w4i

Thursday, November 01, 2007

3 Words: Fish Paste Noodle!

"There is no love sincerer than the love of food."

George Bernard Shaw

Amen. Stop tuh wars foh tuh lub of grub!

Today, my dear beloved readers, is one of those short post days when I feel physically unable to meet the demands of vigorous typing and prolonged periods of general consciousness (the natural state of humankind is somnolence - just like cats and certain breeds of dogs). My schedule says that I got Death by Microbiology Test tomorrow and I'm already feeling the wanderlust of the North Indian Grand Backpacking Escapade (yes, giving awesome names like that does make things awesomer) which the compadres and I are still in the addictive and surprisingly fun process of planning. The embarkation of this enterprise is still months away from actually happening, though. Damn you, Lonely Planet!

Anyway, back to this short post of mine - welcome to one of my favourite lunch slash dinner places in Malacca;

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Ly Sing.

This is where I go to get my weekly fix of Hong Kong Fish Paste Noodle when I'm in Malacca. Frankly, I can't vouch for the veracity of the 'Hong Kong' bit - but if Hongkies don't actually eat Fish Paste Noodle, they are missing out on some seriously delectable munchables, I can tell you.

Here's a standard bowl;

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All parts included. No assembly necessary. Batteries sold separately.

I'm not very good with this food review business so I'll just point out what those floaty things in the bowl are. That black mass of jelly-like stuff is (was) dried seaweed, and the golden-brown, crinkly things are minced fish meat wrapped in deep-fried, extra-satisfyingly-OMG-crispy foo-chuk (soya sheets) - all hot-tubbing in a savoury yet clear soup with fragrant pieces of fried onion and chopped spring onions swimming in it. Underneath it all lurks the noodle part of the bargain. I usually opt for equal parts of mee and kuey teow.

You can have the option of having a tom yam soup base but I wouldn't go that way if I'm you. Not many people like that.

And those white, irregularly shaped bits that looks like wads of crumpled tissue paper is the fish paste (well, sorry to disappoint you but they don't come in little squeeze tubes).

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Believe it or not, this used to swim in the ocean.

I've seen them prepare make the fish-paste pieces from a tupperware container stuffed to the brim with the fluffy, squishy white goop. They would spoon bits out and drop them in a pot of boiling soup with the noodle and seaweed to cook. After that, the fish paste would shape up and lose its squelchiness, becoming firm like fishballs (but suppler, more absorbent and waaay softer). In both consistency and taste, I prefer fish paste though they are pretty much made out of the same thing.

One of the best time to pay Ly Sing a visit is 6 o' clock or thereabouts in the evening, when they open for the dinner crowd. You'll usually be the only customer then. After 7.00 pm, it's a mealtime mêlée for seats, especially in the weekends. They are open around lunchtime too but I could never wake up that early when I was on holiday. Plus trying to beat the schoolchildren-chauffeuring Mommies and Daddies for a table isn't really my kind of sport.

And to get there, just drive to where that replica of an ancient Portuguese sailing ship-come-museum is located. Then, drive on till you reach that beached gunship belonging to the Malaysian Navy (TLDM). You should be able to see the corner shop practically standing right in front of you in Plaza Mahkota then. Just remember that it closes really early at night - about after 9.00 pm, I think (but I can't say for sure because I'm usually sleeping at that time).

This has been another quality post brought to you by the dedicated crew of k0k bL0k. We live to serve *kowtows*.

Devourer of fish paste,
k0k s3n w4i