Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Why the local political scene is Like a Soap Opera with Bad Actors

If you were to go back about 15 years ago and asked anyone on the streets about the political situation in Malaysia, you might have just received a shrug, and perhaps if the person you asked was friendly enough, you'd get a small conversation on how boring it was. The conversation would have ended there, because there wouldn't have been much else to say. You might have even gone for coffee and discussed the situation (war) in the Balkans instead.

Fast forward to 15 years later, almost anyone can tell you about the exciting things that happen almost every single day, from catfights to uncouth behaviour. From arrests and allegations, ridiculous road blocks that cause massive traffic jams, to the news of an unlikely coalition which if it ever became likely would crush about slightly more than 1/3 of the people to little crumbling pieces of gingerbread men/women. In fact, at the rate things were going just about two weeks ago, you'd think that the socio-political websites would have been flooded with exciting articles. Funnily enough, some of them thought that it was too much, and gave up on giving each drama their 2 cents worth! With all these drama, why shouldn't we liken the situation to that we see in soap operas? Even the economy has dropped a little due to the frightened foreign investors (or so they say). (Yes, the economy has dropped, banks are being a pain in the ass and maybe the investors are a bit scared - who wouldn't be if they had to read soap opera-esque carefully spinned stories in the papers every day?)

Anyway, soap opera or not, and good acting or otherwise, the local political scene has just turned interesting and may stay that way for some time!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

22 Men and a Somewhat Elusive Ball


And let's throw in the referees.



So, later tonight football fans over here will be headed to catch the match between Chelsea and Malaysia at Stadium Shah Alam. I personally know at least 2 people who will be joining thousands (maybe) of fans at the stadium to cheer for their favourite team and to see up close the faces that so often grace our television sets on Saturday nights.

Football to Malaysians is like salt to soup. It's essential. Ask anyone you know, and they will definitely have a favourite team, either from The English Premier League, or La Liga Espanyol (where the players are sometimes a tad bit too good looking for anyone's good) or the Italian League and people will sacrifice their sleep (nevermind the consequences) just to keep score of the exciting going ons in EURO, or the World Cup because the live matches are mostly aired late at night due to the time zone differences.

Sadly, we ourselves do not have as many talents in the field out there these days. Most of the players who made it big by making us a force to be reckoned with have already retired. Our local team being clobbered on the field is something we know for sure. Just look at the lineup. On one side, we have one of the top teams in the EPL, and on the other side, we have a team that has its members picked from practically the whole country (because talent is scarce?)!

I wonder what the score is going to be tonight...

Saturday, July 26, 2008

It's now 2 floors high, or maybe 3

When I was a kid, I moved to a different state at that obscure time between leaving primary school and entering secondary school. So while my friends stayed behind in the same state, and almost all of them went to the same school together (albeit a different one from the primary school) while strengthening the bonds of friendship, I ended up having to go to a brand new place and had to make new friends from scratch, and being me, it wasn't easy at all.

I recently joined a group that carries the school's name, call it alumni if you will and that led me to the school's (official?) website. There weren't many photos there but from the few that were put up, the school looks really different now compared to back in the day. For a start, the single story buildings seem to be part of the past. The few buildings that were in the pictures are at least 2 stories high. I wonder if the main building that was there from the colonial times and is rumoured to be haunted is still there or not. Or if the little garden where stories of 'orang kenit' (or tiny people - like elves, maybe) who lived in the small tower in the garden that used to add colour to our daily conversations as children still exists.

Naturally, most of the teachers I knew are not there anymore, it being 16 years since I last walked out of the gates of the school never to look back again. The headmaster who was there while I was still a student retired back in 1996. The craziest thing is as I saw the lyrics of the school song, the tune suddenly came back to me (we had to sing it every day during assembly, so it's not really my fault)

Gosh, I never did expect to have such nostalgic feelings about my old school!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The radio hates me and a meme

As much as I like listening to the radio during my journey to and from work (especially to, and less of from), I have this feeling that it's all unrequited. Radio stations hate me. There's no other explanation.

I think it was about over a month ago when I mentioned about a new favourite radio station, and how the deejays with their monty python-esque antics make my mornings better, and how I actually won tickets to the Indiana Jones movie, etc. Life was pretty good then.

Barely two weeks later, the station decides to reformat it's content (and promote travel and adventure locally as to help the tourism industry due to rising costs of travel)... so the wake up show (which is called something else these days but I can't seem to remember what it is) is hosted by two other deejays (one of them used to host a show at night called "nocturnal with (insert deejay's name)") and they're not even funny. The saddest part of all, is that they don't even try.

Anyway....

I was tagged by Anita for this meme.

I first answered some of this on Saturday (12/7), so the mood reflects how I was that day. And the rest, were completed at free intervals (when and where available!) Sort of, anyway... Honestly, it was one of the tougher memes to complete, but quite interesting nevertheless...

I am: Terra (or whoever I think I am)
I think: all the time
I know: what I did last summer :D
I have: a few minutes to spare
I wish: time would slow down, though
I hate: some things
I miss: having misadventures like those I had about 9 to 10 years ago
I fear: the words 'improvement activity'
I hear: the distant hum of machines
I smell: coffee
I crave: a break from routine
I search: for notes under a pile of papers
I wonder: where has all the enthusiasm gone
I regret: running out of the house in a hurry this morning and accidentally leaving my water bottle and breakfast behind
I love: books
I ache: where I should not
I am not: a translator
I believe: I need some sleep
I dance: with two left feet :D
I sing: only in the shower
I cry: unexpectedly
I fight: to protect
I win: sometimes
I lose: other times
I never: say never (cliched, I know...)
I always: feel overwhelmed
I confuse: myself
I listen: distractedly
I can usually be found: around
I am scared: of scary stuff
I need: some food :(
I am happy about: things in general
I imagine: a lot

I think I'm supposed to tag people, but I'll leave it to those who may be interested :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

We interrupt this blog to bring you this message


I've been in front of a computer since eleven-ish this morning doing some crazy translation work that I'm at the point of near madness. (No, I'm not in publishing or translation, but in a series of events that started somewhat quite accidently earlier this month, I suddenly found myself being coerced into doing this translation work in a meeting this morning. Why, oh why am I bilingual? Ok, so are most people here... some even trilingual. But why? Again.)

Anyway, after giving it some thought (and the fact that sitting at the computer gives you the opportunity to procrastinate), I figured that I'd call myself the queen of translation in the facebook update status section, which is what I just did and along the way I decided to check out my horoscope (although it may seem odd to check it out when you only have 6 hours left of the day) and found this:

"If you love something, let it go. If it comes back, it is yours. There are some things you just cannot change, no matter how hard you try. It is time to admit this to yourself and move on"

Now, firstly I need to clarify that I'm not a big believer in horoscope predictions. There was this one time long a go when the horoscope said that I should wait in anticipation for an invitation to have some fun. So, my roomate and I waited by our phones (rather excitedly, if I may so myself) for that invite (we were both pisceans. Oops, we still are. I think). In the end, nothing exciting happened and we resigned to our fate of finishing up pointless assignments.

Back to today... Well, the statement kind of made me curious. What could this something possibly be? (I've sort of ruled out humans because I highly doubt that it has anything to do with humans on my part, at least) And if it is an inanimate object... then what could possibly walk out on you and then come back. Or what could you possibly ditch into the dustbin and find again at your doorstep?

The only thing I can think of at the moment is a boomerang and the fact that my translation work ain't over yet. I really really need more time and maybe a boomerang to love!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

THE CUP RUNNETH O'ER

Tuesday, 8th July 2008.

The sound of rain pattering on the roof woke me up from my not-so-deep sleep. I groaned inwardly thinking of how unfair it is to rain when in an hour or so I would have to get up and get to work.

It remained raining throughout, but slowed to a drizzle as I left the house (about 15 minutes earlier than my usual time as there's usually a more massive traffic jam on rainy days and my intention was to avoid getting into work late). As expected the volume on the road was much more than the road could actually accommodate and for most of the journey I was moving at a pace in which if it was a snail that was doing it, it would have committed suicide in a jiffy out of sheer embarrassment.

As I ambled along my usual route, I was met with one of the most unbelievable scenes ever. The road that leads to the highway that will eventually lead me to my workplace was under at least 1 metre of water. One of my colleagues saw a car getting totally submerged under the water as the driver of that car had recklessly attempted to brave the flood.The river had overflowed due to volume of water from the rain and very bad town planning as well as the fact that rivers in the towns are treated as dumping grounds from things like old furniture to murder victims bodies. Although the latter are far and few between.

After pulling off into another road which I assumed would lead me to another entry point into the highway but was submerged as well, I was left with no other choice but to turn back to where I came from to try another exit (which I usually avoid because I'm not very fond of roundabouts) I was most unfortunately stuck for almost forever as everyone who wanted to get out of the town had to use the one and only exit that wasn't submerged. Not only that, but in my haste to get to work (although it was already late), I had brushed the left side of my front bumper against the right side of another car. Talk about a horrible start to a day!

In the end, a journey that usually takes about 15 to 20 minutes lasted an agonizing 2 hours that day.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

MOMENTUM, A SPRAINED ANKLE AND A BRUISED EGO


Who knew that trying to shut a car door in a small space could send you flying into a patch of sand (which is sometimes referred to as a garden - what kind though... I wonder at times.)

That was what happened last night when I got home from work. Despite knowing that I would have to squeeze out into the small space between the 'garden' and the car, and the fact that my feet are not really that small either, I chose to let it remain that way. I got out fine, but as soon as I closed the door, I found myself landing on the sand with a thud, after performing a fantastic pirroute in the limited space that could have made even the best ballerina turn an ugly shade of green. At the same time, I felt my ankle throb (what is a garden if it is not lined with bricks?) and my ego dented although there was no one out there to see the whole incident. I crawled out of the 'garden' and limped towards the gate to shut it and go in.

The swell subsided this morning (hopefully because I acted fast and put some ice on it before sleeping). I have another story about this morning but I'll have to do it some other time because my break time is almost over.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Stream the YX

In spite of certain bad reviews by friends and complaints in the papers by strangers which seemed to be floating around like krill in the ocean right from the early 2000's, I went ahead and subscribed to the only broadband service provider back in 2006. If I'm not mistaken, it was the only service available before a couple of telco companies decided to offer their services quite recently.

Contrary to what people said, it wasn't as bad as I expected it to be. Of course it was also not as high speed as you'd expect. YouTube still needs buffering most of the time, and if you used it (the broadband service) at 'peak hours'- late nights in the weekends, that is, you'd be practically crawling the net (According to a friend of mine who works in a neighbouring country, using broadband there means that buffering is non-existent)

This year though, they irritated the hell out of me. Despite the fact that their service remained the same, they were sort of bought over by their mother company. (Some sort of restructuring process?) They sent in a letter stating this, but nothing further was mentioned. I used to do my payments online via my bank direct into their account and my bills were always a crisp clean sheet of paper, without any outstanding balance. But this year, despite my timely payments (who wants their internet connection cut off, anyway?), I kept receiving bills from the 'mother company' with a staggering outstanding balance. Even the online portal which I check from time to time lists the status of those bills as 'adjustment' "Uh, excuse me... but what on earth do you mean by adjustment?"

There it was. The ugly bills reared it's head around the tenth of each month. Finally, after some time, I decided to call them up and give them a piece of my mind (which unfortunately wasn't much)

So, the guy on the line (who keeps calling me Miss, which I can't stand, but I can't tell him to not call me that way, because he most probably was trained to do so, and if I said that he might start calling me madam which is even worse!) tells me about how the accounts have been transferred to the new company (Only then I noted that I had 2 account numbers stated on the bill so clearly) and how I have been paying to the old account and how that inconveniences them, as they have to manually transfer everything to the new account and that's why it takes them a minimum of 3 months to finally register the payment as 'paid'.

In the end, I guess it's not that big of a problem anyway. All I've left to do is close the old account, open a new one and everything should be back to normal. I hope.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Something to Rant About

I'm beginning to wonder if the lack of living contributes to the condition where you suddenly find yourself not having much to say on your blog no matter how much you want to. Just for the record, I'm not really dead. I kind of feel dead though...

Look at it this way... you see the same people everyday that they haphazardly drop by in your dreams. You practically do the same things everyday, and it takes a whole lot of your time as well, so you don't really have much time for other more interesting activities that may be worth mentioning in your blog. And then when you resign yourself to the fact that that is going to be how it is, someone decides to make it even harder by introducing a whole new concept where everyone else agrees to without giving a thought (mainly because it's not them who have to do it) and you're stuck in the middle. Well, sort of...

So yes, it's true. Routine hampers creativity. Puzzle pieces can be blown away by strong winds on Saturday afternoons. And I really really need to get a new pair of safety boots. And a long holiday far far away.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The Faded Purple Robes

A few posts back, I mentioned about an attempt at satire that failed because I got bored even before I had reached the beginning of the story. It remains so till today, a loose document among other documents that scatter a folder that is so uncreatively named Documents. Nevertheless, I have decided to bring forth the unfinished story (actually it's merely an introduction that took a few weeks to move from my brains to a notebook and finally the screen) because I think it needs to see the light of day, and I personally would like to know what you think.

THE FADED PURPLE ROBES
This is a work of fiction. Any similarities with places, people or incidents, dead or alive, existent or not in the past, present or future is purely co-incidental.

The old frail king sat back on his comfortable leather sofa, his head hung to the side. A crown, merely for decorative purposes was perched on his somewhat knobby right knee. His left leg was stretched out with his foot precariously close to a bowl with a lonesome goldfish which picked up its pace and wrinkled its nose ( Not that it had a nose, per se, but instead of having a peaceful look usually associated with goldfish, it kind of had the look of someone who was constipated)at the smell.

He mused about the bloody war that he had just lost and was aiming to put the blame on someone else (It could be anyone but him. The people, the tv, the neighbour’s cat, hell; even the big old royal palm behind his grandmother’s house would do) He tried to recall how he ever ended up in this predicament and could only think of the incidents that all too well began about five years before. He tried thinking of his vehement denial pertaining to certain issues and was thankful that the people were clueless regarding that. But now, he couldn’t be too sure. He needed to think. And the goldfish swam in circles in its little bowl wondering why the smell still remained.

In another place about a five hour drive away (that is if you took the shortest route ever possible through mountains and jungles, and provided that the carnivorous goats didn’t eat you, or horned ducks didn’t puncture your vehicle first) another old, but not so frail king shook his own hand in the privacy of his ‘thinking room’ congratulating himself over a recent achievement that he believed had happened thanks to the war that had just ended.