Monday, April 23, 2012

The Best Long Island Iced Tea I Ever Had

"Don't make me sad, don't make me cry
Sometimes love is not enough and the road gets tough
I don't know why
Keep making me laugh,
Let's go get high
The road is long, we carry on
Try to have fun in the meantime"

Born to Die (2011) by Lana Del Rey

This evening, I poured a Long Island Iced Tea in me followed by a Martini, a Whiskey Sour and a Black Russian. For the first time in months, I am liquored enough to obliterate my ability to walk in a straight line and I couldn't think of a better opportunity to write about my latest pastime.

Now that I am bereft of a girlfriend, I finally took up mixing cocktails - a pursuit that I had been meaning to pursue ever since I had my first Piña Colada five years ago in a bar in India because of that "if you like Piña Coladas" song (you know the one). Since then, I had been trying to find a bar which could competently serve my favourite drinks without botching them beyond recognition, and I was met with disappointment at every turn. I once caught, to my horror, a barkeep throwing a splash of orange juice in my Martini. I am now convinced that in order to have a reliably decent drink most of the time, I had to supervise my bartenders or make it myself.

About a month ago, I decided to start building up a personal mini bar and one of the initial challenges I faced was finding a reliable and reasonably priced supply of decent liquors and liqueurs, and I finally found one in Kuching situated along Jalan Tun Jugah who would frequently slip me duty-free booze. The proprietors would even fill orders of certain liquor brands for me that no one else in the city appreciates.

Purchasing mixers posed another challenge but I could gather most of the things I need from the Ta Kiong supermarket at The Spring which hawks a decent amount of imported products. I was very pleasantly surprised when I stumbled across shelf stacked with bottles of Rose's Lime Juice Cordial there - enabling me to churn out Gimlets whenever I feel like having one. Aside from that, I've taken to stocking my fridge with oranges, lemons and an obscene amount of limes because having freshly squeezed juices on hand really does make all the difference. Now, I'm on the lookout for fresh mint leaves and sprigs, and I'm already looking into the feasibility of growing a plant myself.

On Saturday, after consulting with my supplier of booze, I finally located a shop where I could pick up a cobbler shaker and a jigger,

My Cobble Shaker
A smallish 350mls cobbler shaker with a 25mls/50mls jigger.

In the beginning, I was using my Starbucks tumbler as a makeshift shaker and used plastic custard dessert cups as my jigger. I expect that by the time my next payday arrives, I would be purchasing a blender. I'm already googling how-to instructions on buying one.

Today, I attempted my first Long Island Iced Tea - one of my perennial favourites - from scratch. First off, I have to get my hands on some sour mix, and I was obliged to make my own by dissolving a cup of sugar in a cup of hot water, and then adding a cup of lemon juice and a cup of lime juice (both freshly squeezed using a plastic citrus juicer I stumbled across at the store) to it. Then, to a glass half-filled with ice, I added equal measures of gin, tequila, triple sec, vodka, and white rum before dousing the mix with a double dose of my freshly prepared sour mix, which is denser than the spirits and would perfuse downwards to the bottom of the glass. Finally, I threw in a splash of cola to give it that trademark iced tea appearance,

Homemade Long Island Iced Tea
My homemade Long Island Iced Tea. Gorgeous, ain't it?

 It was sooo fucking good. I'd go as far as to pronounce it the best Long Island Iced Tea I ever had in my life (and I had too many). The weird thing about Long Island Iced Teas is that the taste of liquor in them are somehow inexplicably subdued and smooth in spite of the fact that they are actually quite high in proof, and I could be knocking back half a dozen of these while my liver sneakily drowns without my notice.

Over the past month, through the guidance of cocktail sites and instructional YouTube videos, I had successfully concocted Piña Coladas, Staten Island Ferries, White Russians, Black Russians, Screwdrivers, Harvey Wallbangers, Creamsicles, Gimlets, White Ladies (not the local Kuching non-alcoholic dessert drink), Midori Splices, Japanese Slippers, Moscow Mules, Cosmopolitans, Grasshoppers (both the regular and the flying variant), Martinis, Whiskey Sours, Cuba Libres and many, many more that I enjoyed far too much to remember.

Tomorrow, I'm attempting yet another popular and thoroughly recognisable drink, the Margarita. I've already stolen a handful of salt sachets from McDonald's for it.

Amateur mixologist,
k0k s3n w4i

Sunday, April 15, 2012


"Now I know that I'm not
All that you got
I guess that I
I just thought maybe we could find new ways to fall apart"

We Are Young by fun. featuring Janelle Monáe

This is a two days old post.

My head feels light. I had a double serving of Cosmo after dinner and now I'm chasing it with a Black Russian which tasted suspiciously un-harsh, a reliable sign that I am at that stage of inebriation when liquor tastes great with little or no dilution and every idea conceived by my mind sounds brilliant. One more drink and I'm going to call my ex, if I haven't already consigned her number to oblivion.

With every song I streamed on YouTube, it is becoming increasingly clear to me that I'm in that familiar place where life is shallow and strangely bleached of purpose. There's an undercurrent of heartache that I'm so used to that I've accepted it as the baseline of my paint-by-numbers existence. My job at the hospital is an unrewarding series of episodes of human tragedy; a perpetual ongoing advertisement of the futility of clinging to our transient lives. In the past one month, I have told two different friends not to kill themselves. I would have sounded more convincing if I actually believed in living.

An elderly woman with failing kidneys told me today that "her heart aches" at the long hours I work, at how she sees me every day of the week - weekends or public holidays alike - and I lied to her, saying that I love my job. I don't know why I did that.

I think I am over my ex-girlfriend. I believe what I am experiencing is the hollowness she left behind, and that is a crucial distinction to make. I'd like to be dating again if I actually have the time to do it. I kept having this fantasy of a girl, reaching and pulling me out of the prison of lassitude within which I'm trapped - but my heroine never materialised. That is really what I missed most. I missed the idea that there are seven billion people on this rock suspended in an ever-expanding emptiness and one of them is mine. And I hers.

Finding a reason to live,
k0k s3n w4i

Monday, April 09, 2012

Your Lord God Tells You to Shut the Fuck Up

"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."

Matthew 6:5-6

Matthew 6:5-6 has got to be one of my favourite passages from Christ's official biography. I like how most Christians I've ever met ignore and violate these words of their Lawd Gawd liberally as if the man had never said them. They are expert pickers of cherries. Look at Leviticus 11:7-10 which specifically forbade the consumption of pork and shellfish, but the average Malaysian Christian would not hesitate to order cha sio pehng with extra cha sio or suck down as many balitong as they humanly could when they go out for seafood. Leviticus 19:28 very insistently commanded that anyone who keeps the Biblical laws cannot make markings on his or her skin but in Sarawak, the state with the largest population of Christians in the otherwise Islamic Malaysia, you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone without some form of tattoo (and ironically, a lot of these tattoos tended to be Christian-themed).

And Leviticus is also where the famous "no-consensual-butt-sex-between-bros" verse came from, and Christians - violating God's laws so frequently within the same book - somehow have the bloody cheek to tell homosexuals where not to shove it. The hypocrisy is so thick you can just slather it on a cake without whisking it.

But let us get back to Matthew 6:5-6, shall we?

Last Friday, which was apparently Good (I thought it was Okay), I witnessed a nephrologist teaching a teenage patient how to pray out loud in a 'repeat-after-me' fashion, and after an five-minute impromptu sermon at that. The fact that Jesus had said that praying in public places is hypocritical behaviour, and had informed his flock that he only answers prayers that are said in private was completely ignored by the preacher physician.

Honestly, I can't for the life of me think of many more places more public than the Female Medical Ward in a government-run hospital.

I guess Christians only follow their favourite superhero's decrees when it suits their purpose, huh? When two loving adults of the same sex wants to have a consensual physical relationship, they readily rally under the Bible to obstruct and to condemn them. But when they want to speak to their God in front of everyone, or chow down on a ham-and-clam sammich, suddenly the relevant Bible verses are 'taken out of context' or 'not applicable to us now'.

Crazy Christian Choir Praying Circle
I like how the woman closest to the camera is wearing a gold chain around her neck,
when 1 Peter 3:3 and 1 Timothy 2:9 chastises women for wearing jewelry.

Less than a quarter of an hour later, I ran into a dozen other Christians singing their prayers publicly around a patient in the Geriatric Ward, probably because it was only a couple of days to Easter Sunday and the loons are out in force. They could have easily decided to pray for the ill old guy in the comfort of their homes, but they deliberately banded together and drove all the way to the hospital to make a show of it. And not only are they violating Matthew 6:5-6, but I daresay they are breaching the subsequent verse 7 as well which said:

"And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words."

Tell that to those wacky Pentecostals and Charismatics who indulge in speaking in tongues and babbling incoherently like a brook of insanity, Captain Christ. Clearly, they didn't hear you the first time over their incessant crazy talk.

Good Friday Jam
Christian motorists illegally parking their cars outside their church near the hospital and clogging up traffic on Good Friday.

This show-offish behaviour of appealing to their deity in public places spills into cyberspace as well. We all have seen tweets and Facebook statuses of Christians praying for strength to get through a difficult time, for luck to pass an exam or for the recovery their wayward hamsters. What I find amusing is not only that they are displaying what whooping hypocrites they are to the very god they are petitioning to but also the fact that they behave as if Jesus follows them on Twitter, or are friends with them on Facebook. I mean when your god tells you that he can hear you even if you pray to him in a closet (and prefers it), posting your prayers on social media obviously signifies that you are only interested in exhibiting how pious you are.

So this Easter, I bring to you this paraphrased message from the reason of the season, whose resurrection is the subject of your commemoration, the Lamb who was Shepherd, your Lord and Saviour, Jay Cee.

And he said, "Shut the fuck up."

P.S. He also won't like your status on Facebook or re-tweet you on Twitter.

Unlicensed Bible lawyer,
k0k s3n w4i

Friday, April 06, 2012

How to Fight insolence and Win

"... l’homme sensible, comme moi, tout entier à ce qu’on lui objecte, perd la tête et ne se retrouve qu’au bas de l’escalier"

Paradoxe sur le comédien (1830) by Denis Diderot

I have heard my fellow house officers complain that sometimes, when they try to get nurses to do their jobs, they were occasionally stonewalled by said nurses with a variation of this comment: "Your salary is bigger than mine - why don't you do it?"

This must not be an unusual occurrence because I have heard this from multiple sources, but I tended to blow these accounts off because I rarely encountered difficulty working with the nursing staff, and in the times I did I have never been met with this despicable degree of defiance. I make it a point to cultivate a cordial working relationship with them and especially with their bosses: the nursing sisters and the matrons. I also took the advice of an internal medicine specialist, and started breakfasting with them in the pantry, a room traditionally (and jealously) regarded as the nurses' domain.

Today, I flexed my executive muscles a little, because according to my job description, I do technically wield managerial clout. A nurse from one of our four medical wards called me to inform me that a warded patient, a young lady, is having a spot of diarrhoea. When I asked her to clarify a few things for me (like how many episodes of diarrhoea did she have, what is the consistency of the stool, how are her vital signs, et cetera), she said:

"I don't know. Why don't you come up and see the patient yourself?"

I was on the ground level at the time, attending to another patient, and the runny girl was all the way up on the ninth. Now, I don't ask these questions for fun. They help me to assess the severity of the patient's condition and allow me to prioritise on the ones that need my attention the most - and diarrhoea is one of those things that ranges in severity from inconsequential to life-threatening. These half-arsed referrals are sadly part of the norm here in the Sarawak General Hospital but today, I decided I wouldn't stand for it anymore.

Two matrons were sitting nearby and I asked them, "Is interviewing a patient for medical history and assessing that patient's general condition part of the nursing school syllabus?" It was rhetorical because I already know the answer. I tend to pay attention to the lectures that the nursing students training in our hospital receive because I am of the opinion that knowledge is power even if we don't always know how a bit of knowledge will prove handy in the long run.

"Yes," both matrons answered proudly. See what I did there? One of them even grabbed a random patient's case note near her and showed me a clerking sheet that a nurse had filled out.

"Oh, okay," I said. "I was just wondering because a nurse just called to inform me about a patient who is having diarrhoea, and when I tried to get her to tell me how bad it was, she simply told me she didn't know and asked me to 'come see the patient' myself."

The faces on these two matriarchal ladies turned severe. "What is the name of that nurse?" they enquired.

"I didn't ask but she's from Medical 4," I told them.

One of them picked up the phone, called up the offending ward, and asked for the offending nurse. Once she got ahold of her, the matron began quizzing her about the same patient's condition - basic bits of information that she is suppose to know and report to any doctor with whom she works with should the occasion arise - and she totally flubbed it, ticking off the matron. I know it's schadenfreude but I couldn't help enjoying the ensuing drubbing she received. That one's not going to cross me in a hurry, I can tell you.

Later that day, I finally encountered the legendary "your salary is bigger than mine" remark from a nurse that I have never liked, and she smacked me with it right after I had asked her to do something well within the scope of her duties. And you know what? I was ready to deflect it, because preparation is the only sure vaccine against treppenwitz.

I took out a piece of scrap paper from my pocket and wrote '4500' on it. "This is roughly how much I earn per month," I said. That was a generous estimate, but what the hell - I was feeling charitable. Also, I don't really know exactly how much I make in a month. I figured that so long as there's money in the bank whenever I need some, I am making enough.

Next, I write '108'. "... and that's how an estimate of how many hours I work a week," I added. Again I was underestimating my work hours. That number came from three 12 hours days and two on-call days in which I work a stretch of 36 whole hours. The fact is, even on my short days I usually work longer than a clock has face. Today, for example, I punched out 15 hours. I was so busy that I did not even eat lunch. Let's not forget that I slave on every single day of the week, with zero days off. I have heard of Victorian coal-miners that got better working hours that I do.

"Let's take a 30 day month. I'll throw in 24 hours more. That's two normal working days for me." I continued, scribbling as I went along. After brief demonstration of primary school arithmetic, showing my work as I went along, I produced: "That's only about 9.87 ringgit per hour."

Then, looking at her squarely and steely in her eyes, I asked: "How many hours do you work in a week and how much is your salary?"

"Never mind," she said, clearly embarrassed, and slinked off to do her damn job.

P.S. This is also for all you other assholes out there who think I earn more than you per hour of work performed. Clearly, I'm not in it for the money.

You won't like him when he's angry,
k0k s3n w4i