Thursday, August 31, 2006

1K's next Top Model


This is a story from long ago. A year full of geekiness. In fact, my whole class was filled with bespectacled teenagers, had an aura of awkwardness around them, who enjoyed maths immensely and was well known for it's noisiness. The class was known as 1K, whereby K stood for Kenanga. I have no idea what the name is in English, the dictionary that was lying here on my desk only defines 'kena' as hit and 'kenangan' as memories. Just my luck!


Those were the years when lifelessness ruled. You'd wake up, have a bit of the morning to yourself, and get ready for school at about 11, have a quick lunch, and wait for the school bus around 12 to reach school before 12:50 pm Monday to Friday. School starts a little later on Fridays, but the school bus comes the same time anyway. Then you'd spend the whole afternoon/evening in school right up till 6:30 p.m and by the time you got home around 7:30 pm, you'd have enough time to have a shower, eat some dinner and do homework the rest of the day. Those were the times when the teachers were still dedicated and made sure you did your homework every single day.
That was also the time when the class started experimenting with fashion, not their own, of course for they were forced to wear a white blouse and a turquoise blue pinafore. If anything could be called ugly without an iota of guilty concioussness, it would be that uniform. It was a foolish design... why would anyone have school kids with potentially dirty days ahead wear something light coloured like that - the dust, falling on muddy scholl fields, etc?
However, this group of rather well meaning girls had a teacher, known as Ms N aka The Lioness due to her strict demenour. Despite being given the opportunity to shine in the fashion department - she was stick thin, she made no use whatsoever of the good fortune at her doorstep.
A normal observer would have noticed that her fashion sense needed serious mending. Couldn't she see that all the other teachers wore something nice every once in a while? Didn;t she know that straight black knee length skirts matched with equally straight cut covering the bum blouses were... not what 13 year olds needed to see every day in their already boring lives?
We had SY, a cheerful classmate and friend who shared the same surname as Ms. N. We also had a bunch of plastic bags (for lining the waste paper basket) and a pair of scissors. I do not know if it was mere impulse or a planned fashion revolution, where SY got (rather voluntarily) decked in in a Parkson plastic bag (fashioned as a sleeveless T) and a black garbage bag (cut so that there was a high slit and an uneven length) as a skirt right before maths... Ms. N's subject.
Everybody surrounded SY in her new clothes, and one of the classmates turned commentator and began explaining the details of the design for the benefit of those who were not directly involved, i.e; those who sat like good little kids at the front of the class.
A familiar sound of 'tok tok tok' ensued, The sound of tired footsteps, trudging up the flights of stairs in tired heels towards our class.
Scissors moved to get the ensemble off SY before Ms N saw and suspected that something mischievous was brewing. She entered the classroms amidst stifled giggles, took a piece of chalk and started writing the day's lesson on the blackboard.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Ties that Bind

It is eerily quiet in the house on this Sunday evening. The sister has just left the house to get back to the ups and downs of studying life after an uneventful 10 days at home. It wasn't too long ago that she came back to the house for an extended weekend, to get some rest before her final exams... due to the fact that we hardly ever see each other or talk to each other or even sms each other unless there is something totally important, like a great new song or some information about something or other, her coming home is something I always look quite forward to, but she chose a particularly wrong moment to drop by. I was having long nights and long days at work including working through the weekends. Even moments spent in the house was filled with moping around the house with a worried countenance, wondering if the long days and nights will ever end... or wil the commitment pay off (definately not monetarily, the scumbags, but at least the mental anguish will finally be exinguished)
In the still hours of the night on one of those days, we (as in the sister and me) decided that we should get away from it all the next time around... trekking in Taman Negara she persistently persisted. For anyone who knows either of us personally, this would seem totally outlandish. Firstly, trekking in a jungle, Taman Negara at that... just a tad bit too ambitious. I suggested FRIM... besides it's much nearer to us, and the trek is okay. I've done it once before when I was in school, so this wouldn't be too much of a problem.
Unfortunately, the day never came. It's just our luck that even in these 10 days, no activity was done whatsoever. The long days at work came again, rather unexpectedly. The Mega shopping carnival was going on (is still), but neither of us stepped into any shopping mall (together or otherwise), no fancy food besides mom's cooking, no movies (there was a near plan, but it didn't happen due to my refusal to watch anything animated while children seated in front, behind and next to us laughed at unfunny scenes or crunched on junk food at crucial dialogue moments)
So that's it, the sister came and left, we played some SIMS, (she played while I looked cause I had initially caused the baby to be taken away by social services, hehehehe), exchanged some music files, learnt some friendster editing tips from her (haven't put them to use yet) and yeah, that's about it.
I actually miss that girl.

Friday, August 25, 2006

FIRE FIGHTING AND WEDDING INVITATIONS

Note: I actually put this up yesterday, accidently... it was supposed to be a draft, but through mere carelessness, it appeared on my page for 3 hours. And then I accidently deleted it. I was supposed to only make it invisible so that I could edit it in my free time. Maybe it's not meant to be seen... lets just wait and see

I thought that it's weird that the company is having the annual safety week when the safety officer herself is on maternity leave. Then I remembered... the fire of August 2004 (I wasn't there then!) Tanks caught fire, someone fainted... Ha! August is the anniversary of the fire. No wonder.

The company is observing safety week this week. Not that they don't on other weeks, it's just that there are no fun activities then. Take the fire fighting competition for instance.

They announced it on Tuesday morning. The announcement ended with a message to women who intend to compete to please wear trousers. As if! Most of the women here wear trousers, except for some of the office staff. For unknown reasons however, the statement tickled me to death. So much that I decided then and there to take part in the competition.

I could say that I enjoyed the competition immensely. Who wouldn't? It seemed to be a form of escapism from the daily boring routine. Well, routine is not necessarily boring, either... but the competition helped. Unfortunately I didn't win. But now I know I can extinguish a fire (oil based) in 10.21 seconds :)

A few hours later in a totally unrelated matter, I get a call from my friend Nan asking if I was free later that night to meet up. Our friend HK is getting married in 2 weeks and wants to hand out her wedding invitations personally.

So there were 5 of us, Nan, HK, SLL, her bf NK (who is also my long lost cousin) and me. We had dinner at this Nyonya place amidst conversation that surrounded wedding plans, work, and 21 year old dogs.

I found some of our conversations to be just downright odd and led to most of us laughing out loud. Here are some excerpts:

HK: NK, how are your eyes now?
Nan: Didn't you ask him the same question the last time you met? (May 2005)
NK: They're Ok now. But the astig(matism) is still there. How's yours?
HK: We underwent the same procedure, of course I have to know the latest news. Mine's still dry.
NK: Still using the drops?
HK: Of course. I need the fake tears. I just guess there's not enough tears in my eyes.... (said in a slow, melancholic tone)
(During this conversation, the others kept quiet, not having undergone laser treatment. I wear glasses, Nan uses contact lenses, and SLL has near perfect eyesight)

As I mentioned earlier, NK and I are long lost cousins. None of us knew about each other's existence until we were both 18. Our only connection being an uncle whom we both don't like very much. The said uncle weaseled his way into my family by marrying one of my aunts. By doing so, he used to be a tyrannical fiend of a person, questioning us about our examination results (the school semester exams, mind you) and trying to decide our future for us. He wanted me to be a doctor, and was totally against my choice of engineering.

He most probably tried to rule NK's life in such a manner too.

A long time ago...when I chose to enter UTM for enginnering instead of going to form 6.

Uncle: wait till they make you climb into tanks.
Me: It's allright. It'll be a form of exercise.


Back to yesterday's conversation. NK and SLL announced their impending wedding in January next year. Well, sort of...
SLL: Do they know about NK and me? (in undertones, referring to Nan and me)
HK: No
Me: You haven't... when's the engagement
SLL: December
Nan: Figured it out when you guys were comparing stress levels
NK: So, Terra, when is your turn?
(silence emanates as I look up from my plate and see the folks at the table looking at me with curiousity etched on their faces)
Me: You mean, as in getting married?
(More silence as I see him nodding)
Me: err... this is why I stopped going to relatives houses (Not the truth, but who cares?)Actually I don't have any plans
HK: Terra, don't forget your 'yet'
Me: Ahem... yet

Another bit of conversation:
Nan and I live a few streets apart, and recently the dumbasses who live across the street from us, renovated their single story house into a double story house. Firstly, it's against the law, but nobody in the area seems to have complained. My parents have forbidden me to lodge any complaints either because apparently the people who live there are something like the mafia. Only difference is that they (the REAL mafia) are impeccably dressed in tailored suits and have sexy accents.

Nan: Terra, you know the people who live across your house, the new double story house...
Me; Them. Sunset thieves.
Nan: They apparently have a son. Have you seen him?
Me; No...
Nan: My mom said that they mentioned to her that they have intentions of getting him married, and asked about me
(Laughter across the table)
SLL: What's his name?
Nan: After a few days my mom finds out that his name is (S*********)
Me: What a boring name!(I get curious looks again)
Me: A nice name is important. (especially if you're the mafia kind)
NK: You guys should throw stones at their windows...
Nan: hahahaha.... then they might throw back stones with their numbers tied on it.
NK: Ah... then they might get ideas and decide to pair of Terra with S*********'s cousin, M******.
(Everybody laughs again except for me)
Me: And yet another boring name...
Nan: What kind of name do you like? Sean? Paul?
(Me thinks she secretly listens to Sean Paul)
Me: No I was thinking... well, I've got this friend who's real name is actually N****. You know, names should be unique. And nice.

By the way, I just found out that Nan, who lives a few streets away has a dog with a blue collar and is 21 human years, the same age as her brother! Where have I been?
I would love to continue, but I can't think of anything else at the moment. Dang!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Allow me to introduce...

Your Italian Name Is...

Enrica Romano


Your 1950s Name is:

Penny Thelma


Your Hawaiian Name is:

Palila Keilana


Your Russian Name Is...

Jelena Lyudmila Solovyov


Your Old Fashioned Name Is...

Gillian Joulon

Your Superhero Profile

Your Superhero Name is The Terra ShieldYour Superpower is FlyingYour Weakness is MeatYour Weapon is Your Particle PitchforkYour Mode of Transportation is Phone Booth



As you can see, my relentless pursuit to get a pseudonym, a nom de blog or whatever else you may refer it as, has led me to total insanity...

I therefore introduce you to: Terra Shield :)

(add insane laughter here)

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Gasp!

Gasp! I need a pseudonym, pronto!

In the calm of a Friday evening, I was looking through some statistical data pertaining to this blog. I check it from time to time, but never really paid any attention to the details.

And then I stopped short. Closed my eyes, and opened them again in horror. It seems that someone had googled 'my real name' malaysia and ended up landing on this blog.

Now, there's nothing wrong with googling for 'my name'' in Malaysia, fact is I personally knew a few other people who went around by the name. There was a primary school mate (a year or 2 older, I think), there was the daughter of my family doctor when I was a small kid, and there was another friend in the same faculty as me albeit one year my junior... so the search that was made could have been made for any other of these people. Just for the record, though I must inform you that I'm a rather low profiled person, especially from the last 10 years or so...

Anyway, back to the search... what I found rather disconcerting was the fact that this blog came in 1 of 14000 over other sites. Due to updates, I presume. However, I'm rather uncomfortable with it, as I created this blog in order to be one of the many bloggers out there. Yeah, i know I do some linking work, and comment quite regularly on some blogs, but I don't know any of these people personally. That was the point of the word Secret in this blog. Little did I realise that putting my real name would cause it to be say... searchable.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Books and Tags

This has been going around for the last couple of days. Shamelessly I tagged myself, because... (nobody tagged me) well, there's no reason, but I did it anyway.

1) One book that changed your life?
Anne of Green Gables (and the series) in a way that I could see myself starting to (attempt to) write stories, and matchmake people ;)

2. One book you have read more than once?
To kill a Mockingbird. Love the book to bits. I've read it again and again and again....(And all the Harry Potters- up till the Half blood Prince)

3. One book you would want on a desert island?
The catcher in the Rye. If I'm alone (quite normal on a desert(ed) island, I'll need a conversation partner, and I'm pretty sure that Holden Caulfield will rise to the occasion)

4. One book that made you laugh?
God Knows by Joseph Heller - I still think about it (and laugh) :)

5. One book that made you cry?
Cry... as in buckets upon buckets of tears - no.(not that i'm an insensitive git, but due to my preference for comedy) But I got pretty emotional reading The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinback. I just remembered: What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge.

6. One book you stayed up all night to finish?
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (oh, and by the way, I cried while reading it the 2nd time... why is that, I wonder )

7. One book that took you too long to read?
A town like Alice by Nevil Shute. I was 8 when I started and finished it when I was 13 with the first chapter repeated countless number of times throughout that period. And yet, there are about 4 unread pages due to some printing error... :(

8. One book you are currently reading?
The Public conffessions of a Middle aged woman by Sue Townsend. I desperately need the humour

9. One book you have been meaning to read?
Any of Terry Pratchett's books.
Highly recommended, but... haven't got hold of any yet

10. Now tag five people.
Consider yourself tagged if you bothered reading this post till the very end ;)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Of complaint channels and drama laden trips

A friend casually referred to the other blog as my complaint channel. So is this one actually, only difference is no one's mentioned it. It wasn't meant to be so. I recall smiling with glee as I typed out my initial posts (circa April 05) where stories of the long but not so forgotten past was relived and revealed to all who cared to read.
I realised with a twinge of sadness that the said friend had a point... recent posts have been nothing but complaints or near complaints... from the month of July, to the bashing up of annoying workmates, the hopelessness of the Japanese language to the extinction of turtles. In defence, I vehemently stressed that past posts had rather funny stories (most which happened during the confusing years of teenhood turning unseen pages to adulthood)
Anyway, the friend wanted to know if there were any stories where he was featured. There weren't any, and even as I tried to recall, the only thing that came to mind were games of Bluff and black jack 21 - which a bunch of crazy 19 year olds played a long time ago.
However, he thought that one funny story that involved him was the trip to Desaru which he didn't partake in (that being the funny part). And I thought..."why not?' there were some interesting elements that went with the story...
Desaru Trip - 1999
The cancellation of the Desaru trip by the Choir Club did not deter a bunch of impulsive young people to plan one on their own. They dilligently studied the bus routes (yes, bus routes), modified lyrics to the Dikir Puteri song especially dedicated to desaru, and purchased sunscreen (Turtle brand due to the lack of money)
The 'organisers' were awfully adamant on punctuality. It was important to leave as early as possible. Catch the earliest bus out of the varsity and head on a journey halfway across the state of Johor. Here's where 3 other friends who were initially part of trip got left out. Apparently they woke up late, and had no means of contacting the others (cellphones being a luxury more than a necessity back then) At least that's the story I heard... who knows what could have really happened?

Back to the trip... It was fun even for hydrophobics who just stayed near the beach. An attempt to enter the deep waters of South China Sea resulted in a massive intake of salt water and god knows what else. Card games ruled the rest of the day and a bench which got kissed by all the losers (no money involved in our gambling... just a darn lucky bench)
Food posed another problem. The resort we ended up in (the cheapest of the lot which discontinued several years later!) had rather expensive food. Definately not within our measly student's budgets... So we trudged to a nearby resort and bought packets of instant noodles which were cooked using boiled water from a pathetic 1 L kettle jug.
Our journey back had a slightly different twist. It was much more, lets say -adventurous? In our determination to get there we had rather inconveniently forgotten to find out about getting out of there. The resort provided transport (for 2) but there were 8 of us - supposedly from the neighbouring resort... and we just happened to bump into each other at the beach... yeah, right (grins)
On the bus back we practically had to fight with a bunch of school kids from a nearby boarding school ... Bandar Penawar (I think) and it was strange in a way where the bus driver was also the ticket conductor. It took ages for everything to get settled... the getting on the bus (through the fire exit! - not a normal thing to do, but merely an act of desperation due to the overcrowdedness of the bus), and the buying of the tickets, etc... It was so - 'old town?'.
In conclusion: It is not the activity itself that makes or breaks the vacation, but the journey back and forth and everything in between!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Picture this...

It's kind of funny how a day starts out seemingly bright and okay, and slowly turns into a dull mush (whatever that means) and then ends up being nice, warm and fuzzy all over again. Funny thing is whatever I just said has nothing to do with this particular post.

Anyway, this song - Snow Patrol's You Could be happy was ringing in my head the whole day through. Sometimes I enjoy having songs playing in my head, but sometimes I don't. This unfortunately belonged to the latter group. Despite the fact that I like the song, having it play in the head can be rather depressing. I don't know the reason, but will soon find out (I hope!) But I digress....

See, yesterday, I was reading through my "care for the environment" styled post, and the comments that followed, and in my rather depressed state, I ended up smiling as I was reading through the comments two likeminded souls had decided to share. Just because, the whole scene got pictured in my head.

Here we have 3 people... a 17 year old girl from Mexico, a 23 year old guy from South Africa, and me a 26 year old from Malaysia battling to keep the coasts where the turtles come to nest a safer place.

The day just got better :)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Adieu Leatherback Turtle

Picture from Yahoo! News






Yesterday's news. Or was it the day before?
I recall H mentioning in random to the room about the leatherback being extinct in Malaysia. He's the only person in the crowd who reads the papers on a daily basis. It gauged no response even from the people who deep down in their hearts cared for the environment, yet never made a big difference to save it... (just using recycled paper instead of shredding it, throwing rubbish into the designated bins whenever possible, but never demostrating -peacefully or otherwise, nor climbing a tree and living on it just to prove a point)
I was one of them... Firstly, I was silent because I've been having sleep deprivation for the last few days, was also deprived of my weekend which I treasure so much and thirdly, because I could not believe it.
I've heard that the turtle numbers have been dwindling since forever (which in my terms most probably means since the 80's), and hated those torchlight wielding excitement seekers watching the poor turtles lay eggs on the beach. How would you feel if someone shined a torch at your face when you were giving birth? Huh? [Please don't say that they are animals and don't feel anything]
It's sad, really... I've never seen a real turtle... and most probably never will (given my hydrophobia which means I'll never get to dive and check out the turtles in the ocean)
I have a farfetched hope though... they said that the scientists have not fully researched the turtles, and that there a few mysteries still remaining... All I hope is that their internal compass has led them to nest in other places, safer and more conducive, and with much more privacy. I'm saying this because I believe the moving of the tectonic plates has most probably shited dramatically after the earthquake which caused the tsunami in 2004.
Sigh.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Seeking your opinion

Dear people who read this....

I've never done this before, as in asking your opinion about something. Well, of course this does not include the occasional questions that I pop in the posts every now and then, but this time... it's different.
As some of you'll might or might not know, I've been learning Japanese the last few months. It hasn't been easy, but it's allright (the class is kinda fun because of the funny conversations that happen in the class).
Back to the point of this post now.
At the end of this year, there will be an exam consisting of a listening test, as well as a written test. Unfortunately for me (and most probably everyone else too) the final date of submitting the names for the test is on 15 August. As you can see, I'm running out of time and I can't decide if I should take the test or not.
To make it easier (as to why I'm making SUCH a big deal of this) I shall list down the Why I shoulds and Why I shouldn'ts of the test.
Why I should
1. It's objective
2. It's in December, so I still have lots of time to study (yuk)
3. I get a cert?
4. It's a way to move up, career wise (or so I think :)
5. ??
Why I shouldn't
1. I'm not good at languages (I can't even grasp my own mother tongue!)
2. This language consists of 3 types of writing (2 i can manage, but the 3rd type is known as Kanji - Chinese characters and there's about 100 of them)
3. I've not been following the classes properly of late due to work
4. I've not been revising as I should due to the fact that I'd rather read 'The Catcher in the Rye' for the 3rd time instead of studying
5. I passed the class exams due to pure luck and intensive midnight oil burning
6. I can't hear well
7. I'm scared of failing
People whom I've asked personally have said "just do it! You've got nothing to lose"
Seriously. What should I do? Should I take the exam or not?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Goodbye July, Hello August

I have survived 20+ Julys all my life, but none of it ever came close to this July... the worst ever month in the history of my life... (save for September 2005 - I need to analyse which is worse, cause they were yukky for highly different reasons!)

Anyway, I thought that July would bow out gracefully but it somehow got into August's way and informed it to torture unsuspecting victims - like me.... (by the way, I'm not the only person who hated July, someone else whose blog I stalk has written quite a number of posts dissing July)

I just don't know what to say anymore... I don't even have the mood to justify why life sucks so much, except that maybe 2006 should be booted out. A.S.A.P. Maybe the whole year is just yukky ( as predicted by astrologers earlier this year)