Monday, October 31, 2011

Repost: Sugarcanes and Watermelons

Although we do not celebrate Halloween here with Jack O lanterns, trick or treating or even crisp autumn evenings, last Saturday when I was out with a friend, we saw a whole bunch of people dressed up in costumes for a Halloween party at the mall. As a person who is a fan of all chilling tales, and seeing that I have been a bit busy to dig up the rusty old brains for something new, I decided that I'll just repost one of the stories I put back in 2008: 

What I'm about to share is creepy enough that I'm only brave to type this out in the broad daylight. This story was told by a friend of my sister's, and apparently happened in a location not too far away from where I live (and the sister was under the impression that I used that route to work and told this story so I'd be careful - but how, I don't know)

The place in question was once an oil-palm estate. Today, oil palm trees still sway in the wind in a patch of land which goes almost as far as your eyes can see, but most of the area is now littered with medium sized industries, a road leading to/from the highway, the local Road Transport Department building and some small stalls, a mechanic's repair area and trees. It looks like the most normal area there ever was.

At night, the family members of my sister's friend set up a stall in that area, and one day (in the early am) which was as normal as any other day, one of the family members saw something from a distance carrying a sugarcane and walking towards the highway while they themselves were getting ready to pack up for the night. She stared at it, wondering why was anyone walking around that area at that time - unless they needed help of some sort. Apparently it noticed her as well, and turned to look at her, and immediately she felt as though she was pinned to the ground, while experiencing the creepiest feeling ever. She knew it was not human. It changed it's direction and started walking towards their crowd in what she described as an intimidating manner.

She somehow managed to point out what she saw and the whole family panicked as they hurriedly packed their stuff into their van. The thing was getting nearer to them as they worked. Finally they got into the van, and drove off. Nevertheless, the creature was still trailing them from afar, and the person who was driving the van (the mother, if I'm not mistaken) almost rammed the van into something on the road, which she couldn't see, but the others in the van saw. If it weren't for one of the kids who pulled the wheel aside, they would have all been injured. Speeding off, they finally managed to leave the thing behind.

Some time later, they got to know that the particular area has this resident "haunting" which we locally refer to as a 'penunggu". Apparently this one walks araound with either a sugarcane or a watermelon which signifies what it wants from the victims. Either death or injury. Although I do not use the road on a daily basis, it is close enough to give me the creeps.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

For Esme - With Love & Squalor

We pick up books for various reasons. A few weeks ago, my sister and I went crazy in a bookshop named Bookalicious, which had titles you don't often see in the bigger bookstores. After Catcher in the Rye, I had wanted to read Franny and Zooey but just never got the chance because I never found the book. That day we found it, and neatly tucked next to it, was this book, by the same author. Needless to say, we picked both up among various other books. 

Now, for some strange reason, at the beginning of October, I had decided that I'd only read horror related books for the whole month - this was after that dream about scary children I had. I only managed three -
Let The Right One In
The Shining 
Abarat (I picked this assuming it was horror because the author was Clive Barker - but it was actually fantasy. Oh well.)

I gave up on horror after that, partly because I suddenly didn't feel like reading horror anymore, and also I had ran out of books on horror and therefore on Tuesday morning, I finally started reading For Esme - With Love and Squalor. Without having ever read any reviews on it, or even checked it out online, I had no clue that it was actually a compilation of short stories. 

The book was a page turner, with most of the stories set around the war, especially the story which carries the same title as the book. Men and women smoked in almost all the stories, parents were the kind who seemed to either be non-existent, or perhaps those who were not too fond of their children (or even if they were, it was displayed in a very odd manner), children were downright strange and employed vocabulary that was far ahead of their actual age, people (strangers) had long conversations with each other and so forth. I found the book very interesting as the stories mostly required you to come up with your own interpretation of what the author was trying to convey.  

My only complaint about this edition of the book is the font size. It was painfully tiny.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Leave a light on

Festivals.... You can't really run away from them even if you wanted to, and in Malaysia, there are just so many of them that it keeps us happy - happy enough to occasionally forget that we are actually angry at the government. There! I have just gone and sullied a festival by referring to politics.

Anyway, come tomorrow, will be a festival I celebrate, and while all the excitement I had for festivals when I was a child has been squeezed dry by cynicism and genuine disinterest, I somehow hope that writing about it will at least spark some interest, although I'm pretty much convinced that I'm going to spend tomorrow afternoon sleeping - just like the years past. 

The festival is known as Deepavali or Diwali and is commonly also known as the festival of lights, as it was all about good winning over evil. This explains the picture above, an interesting twist to symbolise 'light' which was made by my sister a few days ago... We could just turn off all the electric lights and stare into this for hours tonight :)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Oh Google, Look At What You've Done

Some time ago, I made use of a children's folk story to poke fun at a certain Malaysian whom I thought was in the news for all the wrong reasons. Turns out, my reference to the folk story has earned  the top spot on google Malaysia when people took the trouble to search the following:

click to enlarge

Now, while I'm cool about being listed on google and all that (I don't earn money from the blog, so ratings are not and have never been of any particular importance), I can't deny that I'm a tad bit embarrassed about the content of the post (funnily, the thought that the post would be embarrassing never occurred to me when I clicked 'publish') despite the fact that I think the person (for once) may have found what they're looking for.

In the initial stages of blogging here on blogspot, and because everyone else was doing it too, I paid a good deal of attention on the blog statistics, and with all the tools out there which are available, it's such an easy task. I myself use Statcounter which I feel has a few of the better features around - especially the option for putting up your counter invisibly! Recently, after discovering the above case, I thought I'd start paying attention again at what has led random people over to the blog, and the findings are as follows: (1st August until 23rd October 2011)

Most of the searches are looking for Love Films's 100 movies in a poster and stuff on the ring of fire, and I'm glad that they will actually find that it is indeed somewhere around here. However, other than that, the search terms used are far from being mind boggling like they used to be so very long ago.

Back in 2008, folks came around looking for 'malaysian chicks' and 'red tubes' (I didn't know it then, but sometime later found out that red tube was a site for porn - hence the popularity. Oh, how those who searched for that and ended up at this blog would have cursed) And there were a few other strange searches as well. I had a good laugh. This new finding of rather dull keywords makes me wonder if people have actually ceased looking for strange stuff on the net, or has google managed to filter the content so that strange search items do not find their way to your blog unless you post equally strange content...

Saturday, October 22, 2011

I Don't Really Feel Like Doing It

This morning was the first time in over a week where I had a good look at my face while brushing my hair. My eyes seem to have sunken in, my bangs are covering my face right up to the tip of my nose, my skin looks pretty dead and I cannot even begin to explain what my eyebrows have become. I only thought I felt like crap, but it now looks like I also look like crap. And as I am writing this, I'm beginning to feel as though I have written all this before, a long, long time ago.

To make it all worse, I have a wedding dinner to attend tomorrow, and I don't really feel like it. In a typical womanly way I'd say that I have NOTHING to wear - which is rather true in a way.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

*Insomnia Explained

You lie there, awake, your eyes closed but just barely so, your mind refusing to shut down. You shift positions, hoping against all hope that it will help. Instead you repeat the whole process again and again only to be able to fall asleep about 15 minutes before you have to get up and begin a brand new day. This used to be how my life was some time ago that I had actually dedicated a 'label' on this blog to the word 'Insomnia'

Without me realising it, the inability to sleep slowly disappeared over time. Of course it would occasionally creep up on me every now and then, but it was nothing that made me worry endlessly about ending up like The Machinist. Over the last two weeks however, the inability to sleep or insomnia, as I'd rather call it (lets face it, insomnia is just one word that describes the situation instead of the three words used in 'inability to sleep', making it much more convenient!) made a comeback. Being sleep deprived after a long, long time was awful, but this time, instead of puzzling over it, the reason for this insomnia was suddenly apparent.

See, when I was was suffering from the initial bout of insomnia, I used to work rather late on a regular basis. The 'working late' trend came to a halt circa 2009 when the economic crisis happened (although we were not affected very badly) I followed this new trend although the economy picked up later on, and never realised that this could've been the contributor to my ability to sleep well. Since mid September, I've had to work late rather often, and all of a sudden, the insomnia came back just like that - with my mind actively working while it should actually be trying to get some rest.

Now that I've discovered the rootcause of the problem, the only thing left is to find a solution!

* Self-diagnosed

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Where Hollow Eyed Triplets Scare The Hell Out of Terra Shield

There is a very talented lady out there who is of the opinion that "Childrin r Skary". I was first introduced to her wonderful animated works through my sister, in which our talented lady, Katy Towell tells interesting horror stories involving children.



I personally find little girls or little boys that make an apperance in my dreams to live up to the opinion that childrin R skary. Take last night's dream for instance.

Now, the floor where the office I sit in is located is already full of horror stories that could fill up a short collection of short stories if anyone was interested to take up the challenge in the first place - come to think of it, I could, but knowing me, I'd just scare myself even more, something I'd not want to do seeing that I've been working late the past few weeks. Anyway, back to the dream.

I was alone in the office, looking out of the window which is behind my seat due to some noise I heard. The place looks empty enough until I get a glimpse of three little girls in pigtails with their arms linked, hopping and skipping along the long floor which is right in front of the office. I back up a bit and try to hide, because something tells me that I should be afraid of these girls, whoever they are. (They were all dressed in red collared t-shirts tucked in into light brown pants)

So there I am, standing partially hidden as I hope that the girls will not see me no matter what. However, as they pass by where I'm standing, they come to a halt outside the window and all three of them simultaneously turn their heads slowly and look at me. Their eyes are hollow and black, and as they open their mouths (to scream???), you can see that it's hollow as well, and I was gripped with fear. All I wanted to do was scream, but unlike those horrible Hollywodd slasher movies, I just stood rooted to the ground, unable to scream nor move. It was then my alarm decided that it was time for me to wake up. 

Other dreams related to scary children

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Just Keeping Up With the Momentum

We all know what happens when we begin to lose momentum.

Last month was my blogging month of 2011 after an extremely slow start in the beginning of the year. In fact, I almost wrote a status update on how I thought I got back my momentum, with all intentions of being cryptic about it, so that only people who knew that I blogged would get what it meant. The status update never got the chance to go up at all, and a good thing too.

A few things ran a couple of short distance sprints across my mind, and as much as I am all for quality over quantity, for the time being, quantity is of a higher priority, just because it helps keep up the momentum. I don't know if I'm making any sense here or not as I'm practically nodding off as I type this.

Anyway, here's a post to just keep up with the momentum.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Pyromaniacs, Sort of...

Burnt socks!
The skies were supposed to be clear. Yeah right.

Instead, the skies opened up and literally poured water all over us, in varying degrees of showers, drizzle and plain old rain of the cats and dogs variety. Without water proof raincoats, we were just wet and miserable. And cold. I can assure you that wet shoes and socks are not fun at all. The only other not so fun thing I can think of, which is worse than wet socks and shoes is a wet jacket which is supposed to protect you from the cold. Wet jacket, cold wind - totally beats the purpose.

As they say, necessity is the mother of invention, and through previously successful rain soaked garb (my sister and I always end up in mysteriously rainy destinations) drying endeavours in other hotel rooms, we decided to follow the tried and tested formula of drying the wet socks on the lamp. It works like a charm and leaves your socks all warm and toasty. 

Not this time, though. The socks were left to dry on one of the lamps while my sister showered and I sat in front of the TV trying to get reception of some sort - seriously, lousy TV service in the hotels here. How on earth are tourists supposed to learn anything about your country if you can't watch the local channels? In my TV related enthusiasm, I didn't notice the smell of something burning until my sister came out and asked me what the smell was. It was then we realised that instead of getting all warm and toasty as intended, the socks was burning around the edges, glowing an ominous red. A frantic and nervous laughter induced moment indeed as we scrambled to save the whole building from going up in flames by beating the burning bits of the socks into submission. The whole room smelled awful and we opened the windows to let in some fresh air, although I must admit that the smell was never the same again. 

Thankfully the smoke detectors didn't do their job, and the whole building didn't burn down either, because then I would probably in prison in a foreign country awaiting trial for arson, or attempted arson and wouldn't be able to share this story being imprisoned and all. We threw the burnt socks away, hoping that no one would find out the truth, ever. I can just can't help wonder what the housekeeping staff would say to each other as they cleaned our room the next day. Ha ha ha.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Born in the year of the monkey

An *unintentional act of mischief was committed yesterday, somewhere in the afternoon, while a whole bunch of us were seated in a room presenting some reports.

I had completed my presentation, and had ceased being worried about it and sat listening to the final presenter - lets call him Arofsky. He was talking about a few activities which he labelled as **3R, and my mind immediately drifted off towards the 3Rs related to the environment - Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Someone of importance then chose that moment to ask Arofsky what his 3Rs were, and although he's one of those really smooth talking guys oozing with confidence most of the time, he sort of fumbled with the final R, and without much thinking, I prompted him with the word "Recycle" - a bit too loudly, I guess - and he took it as an actual prompt and said 'recycle' to which everyone burst out laughing.  

He rectified it with the correct word almost immediately afterwards, but I was too busy being embarrassed to take any notice, especially after Ace who was sitting opposite me laughingly told me that I had turned *** 'naughty'

* It seriously was unintentional
**Well, maybe this is a lesson to not use already famous acronyms and (whatever it is you call things like 3R), because people's minds will always seek the most popular use!
*** I don't know where this comes from... I've not exactly been angelic all this while either :p