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Thursday, June 29, 2006
The Almost Penguin Post

After a massive breakfast, I am inspired to write a post in true Penguin spirit. Here is the behind the scenes for the photo taken yesterday. I really want to show you all my cool equipment, set up and lighting equipment, with the exception that I do not have any of those to show.


So this requires some imagination on your part, my dear reader. Help glamourize the photos with funny black photography equipment... and perhaps make the setting a little sexier than it is here. What can you expect from a house decorated by boys anyway?

  • Decide on budget. I had none and had to use whatever that was available in the house.

  • Choose your equipment. Unlike The Penguin, I do not have a magic bag with fancy stuff. All I had was my little trusted digital camera, my Ixus 55, with 5.0 mega pixels and 3x optical zoom. No lighting equipment, no nothing else.

    My Ixus55

  • Choose the setting. I've decided on using the soft rattan chair from Burma, set against the corner of the room.

    The glamour furnishing for the photo shoot

  • Decide on the clothes for your shot. I had two sets - one with Alex's work shirt, tie and pair of black trousers and the other was a change from the work shirt to my own racer back white shirt.

    Alex's blue Armani work shirt

    Otto's RM13.00 FOS racer back shirt

  • Decide on the positions for your shoots. I wanted to emit a more glamorous feel, with androgynous dressing. I had wanted a cigar and Cuban hat but it’s in the middle of nowhere here and it is a pain in the ass to purchase things here because it's bloody expensive!

    Funny left hand position doesn't make good photo

    So I settled for the tie, which gave the “manly” feel to the photos. Poses will also be more manly and Sicilian mafia-like.

    The Sicilian look

Then just start clicking. Take perhaps a billion photos and chances are you will stumble upon a good photo or two. Adjust the angles. Play with the lighting. Experiment with the positions, props, facial expressions, more skin, less skin etc. And voila, among the many rejects, you are bound to find a good photo or two.

The rejects

The chosen one

In all, I took 20 photos to produce all that you see here and my winning photo happened to be the first one. That's how life is sometimes, babes. You work hard, you search for the one and you realise that the one you were searching for was the FIRST ONE.

And there you have it! The Almost Penguin photo shoot.

Small Talk
And if I have fancier photoshop skills, I could have written a "The Almost XiaXue Post" =P



Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Here Is The Proof
I have received emails from ANNN readers who questioned whether I really wore the pants in my house.

What do you mean *REALLY*? Of course I wear the pants in my house! Some cheek you've got to question me like that!

So here's my proof that I wear the pants in this household.

Satisfied? *hehehehe*

Small Talk
"Pants" and "trousers" are thought to be the same in Malaysia. The malay word for these two words would be "seluar".

However the proper word to use is "trousers" whereas the word "pants" refers to "underpants". So if you walk around Scotland saying "I am wearing my pants" you will get some giggles from the locals because they think you are talking about your smelly underwear.


Tuesday, June 27, 2006
I Wear The Pants In This House

It occured to me that 50% of my readers who read “Readers, I Have A Problem” think that I am having the smaller cut in my relationship with Alex since I am expected to do the laundry, cook, vacuum, wash the dishes and even paint the damn living room in “Lemon Juice” yellow. The remaining 50% thinks that is my responsibility since I am a woman.

Well here’s some news for you - I wear the pants in this house.

I remember as a small wee child, my mother did not sit me on her knees. She made me sit next to her, as an equal. An equal because I was born a female, just like my mother. So I sat next to her and not on her.

“Remember. You will grow up and study hard, so you can get yourself a job and your own money. You have to be free in order to be happy and you will never be free if you depend on a man,”

That’s quite a lot of words for a young child to comprehend. But I grew up with just that. She constantly reminded me that being a female gives me no excuse to be lazy or dumb. Or both.

Perhaps my generation is very different from my mother’s and my granny’s. My maternal grandfather migrated to Malaysia to seek a new future and fortune. He had a wife who could not keep her young children alive and as a result, my grandfather sailed back to China and came back with my grandmother. She was his 2nd wife and was left in charge of managing the household and keeping all the children alive and breathing.

My mother had issues with my paternal grandmother. I think many Chinese daughter-in-laws have issues with their mother-in-laws, so my mother’s relationship with my grandmother is nothing too surprising. So now do you see why my mother sat me down at the staircase with an ice lolly, whispering to me all her pains and woes as a fellow woman.

And I had all those shit thrown at me before I even menstruate!

My mother saw working independently from the household and earning her own keep as a way to keep her sanity and remain married to my father. She still threatens to divorce him every now and then but she cannot possible live without her driver. So do you see now why I do not think it is a woman’s place to do all the house chores?

Plus I had a Swedish boyfriend who believed in equality between the sexes. This means I placed my own order in a restaurant and carried my own shopping victories in the form of 3 bags or maybe 4 on a day I am lucky. It also meant that Henrik ironed his own clothes and washed the dishes if I cooked. I felt it was a fair deal, although I suspect not many Asians would see it as chivalrous when the man walks around empty handed while the woman limps with her three bags of potatoes, onions, mince beef and spaghetti.

In my household, my father got up at half pass 6 a.m. to make us children breakfast when we were schooling. That meant he fried the egg until it was cooked on the outside, yet had a runny yolk inside for me. I can no longer remember what my father made for my brothers. It also meant that he was the one who babysat me when I was under 6 years old and had a carefree and brat-free life with my father. My brother did not arrive for the first four years of my young life, then the younger brat when I was seven years old.

The maid took care of the household when we were young. They swept, mopped, dusted, washed, cooked and cleaned. The maids are still taking care of the household now that we are grown. My mother worked twenty years ago. She is still working in her mini projects since her retirement from teaching seven years ago. All you people out there who needs to buy your bosses’ or future mother-in-laws’ hearts please give me a shout. Mom’s harvesting and selling best grade bird’s nest.

I work for my upkeep. Alex does not pay for my make-up, facials nor tampons. I contribute half to the household expenditure and thus, I expect Alex to participate in our household arrangements. It was understood that I cooked and cleaned last year because I had spare time and I did not contribute towards our household expenditure. What I could contribute then was my energy and time, which I did then in the form of taking over the household chores.

This year is absolutely different. I am working for my business via the internet and I have the freelance writing to do. On top of those tasks, I have a book to write and this blog to maintain. All the time which was used to wash and clean last year is replaced with lots of hours in front of the iBook, writing.

  • Writing for my business.

  • Writing for my freelance.

  • Writing for my book project and writing for ANNN.

That’s a whole load of writing to do in a span of 24 hours.

There is an equation for love in every relationship. Some do it 70:30 with the man paying 70% of all expenditure and the woman 30%. Some do it 100:0 and the most common and most logical is a 50:50. This financial equation is correlated to the household chore ratio.

Womenfolk did not have a problem with their love equation 100 years ago. Men went out to work, brought home the bacon and women stayed home, doing housework and keeping the house in order. Things have changed since then, from my grandmother being the silent 2nd wife to a rich business man with rubber plantations, a medical hall and a textile shop to my mother, who trained as a teacher in the 70s, attending fancy tea parties and worked until her retirement to me, a 30 year old woman who most would consider to be quite fulfilled with education and career, yet remain lost and is searching for her equation.

It is safe therefore to conclude that the more a man contributes financially to the household, the less he is expected to help with the day-to-day running of family life. Likewise the more a woman earns and is independent of the man, the more she is able to demand of her partner to contribute to the upkeep of the household.

And I do go out with my cavewoman club every morning to hunt for my bacon. In the evening when I come home, I am equally as tired as the man in the house. Why should society perceive that it is my role and sole responsiblity to dice the onions, garlic, chicken and vegetables while Alex watches pornography on the internet while waiting for his dinner?

I don’t think so.

I do not see why a woman has to do all the household chores and go to work at the same time while her partner cavorts around the house playing in PS2 after he finishes work. No wonder the average modern day woman is lost, confused and beaten before her 10 a.m. coffee break. She is trying to juggle the traditional woman role (like my granny’s) and her modern day expectation (like me).

What is your equation?

Sometimes when I am real tired while I lay in bed, I realise that perhaps women brought this upon themselves with the start of the feminism movement in the 60s. It fucked with everyone’s minds and now we women are left trying to find a balance between home life and working away from home. Screw those power shoulder pads of the 80s and Martha Stewart.

I am just a woman. Not superman. I need some support and help as I waddle through this. A little bit of understanding and tenderness is greatly appreciated.

But back to what I was saying earlier. Where was I? Oh yes.


I wear the pants in this house and here is my proof.

Small Talk
Okay, that's it. There is that much that a girl can take.

Read this slowly. I do not look like that chick from FIR. Yes, some of my friends' mothers remarked that I resembled her. Two of my closest girlfriends said the same. But I have checked this FIR chick out and I have examined my features. I can safely confirm that I do not have an uncanny resemblance with that rock chick, other than the hair.

The forehead.

Okay. Maybe the eyes.

But that's it.

The next person to compare me to her will be skinned and made into a warm cover for my sofa. You have been warned.

* In case you think that I am a tyrant in my house, I'll like to say that I share my pants with Alex :) The title won't be as evocative if it was "I Wear The Pants And Share It With Alex In This House".

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Monday, June 26, 2006
Readers, I Have A Problem
Fellow readers and friends, I have a problem.

Well everyone has problems and that is not too unusual. Mine just seems bigger than others because it happens to be mine. If it was yours, you would feel that it was a big problem too.

And if you give me a minute or two, I will tell you about it.

Since arriving here in the UK, I am no longer living alone. Now that is not the problem since I have stayed with Alex and his housemate Ralph. I lived under this same conditions for 6 months of last year and it was a blast.

Last year, my days were made meaningful by gardening, vacumming the carpets wearing 3 inch high heels, rearranging the books in the bedroom, washing two loads of clothes each day, folding Ralph's boxers and cooking different healthy and piping hot dishes for each meal. I did not own a blog until very late last year. I only started writing when I went back to Malaysia. I enrolled into a writing course last summer and started experimental writing for Nude, Not Naked in June.

I began writing as a discipline when I realized that I had experiences to share and it was only in October that I started writing seriously. Seriously means committing myself to writing as a daily habit, similar to eating breakfasts at 10 a.m. and slapping on Palmer's Coco Butter before sleep each night.

And most importantly, Alex and I had not agreed to work and save enough for a house in the UK (latest news - change of location due to global warming in the next 100 years).

So we can safely conclude that the 2005 experience was very different from the current.

The dishes are piling up to the ceiling and the laundry basket broke under the weight of all the clothes (that was meant to be washed daily) now kept for more than a week. I have not ironed my tweed nor Chanel look-alike jackets. The coffee table is strewn with cups and glasses of half drunk tea, a little drop of whiskey and a good dose of vitamin C.

The living room remains unpainted, with scraps of old paint, quite possibly from the 70s crowding the carpet in a haphazard manner, creating a polka dot effect.

And who can ignore the mountain of clothes, MY clothes, sitting on the chair in my bedroom? I have scheduled to clean it at 3 p.m. each day but for the pass week was unable to do so because I kept getting disrupted at 3 p.m. daily.

  • I fell asleep on a few of those 3 p.m. appointments to fold my clothes days.

  • Alex came back earlier than he was supposed to and we ended up in the garden, bathtub or in front of the TV.

  • I was plain lazy.

  • I was sitting at my iBook writing something for About Nude Not Naked.

This new lifestyle contradicts my Malaysian, which I abandoned in favour of the longer summer days in Britain, three weeks ago. Malaysian lifestyle was one that was filled with magnificient breakfasts with PY, Anna and R, Sunday breakfasts with father and teas under the big tree or Starbucks with BestGuyFriend, Nikki and Good Editor.

In Malaysia, I woke up at 7 a.m. (okay, anytime before 8 a.m.) to write a little something in About Nude Not Naked. It normally took me two hours to write and edit to the point of satisfaction. The daily post would normally be posted by 10 a.m. on any given day, except Saturday and Sunday because my readers have lives to live. Plus R and I hung out at new food joints and ate so much that my fats prevented me from writing on weekends.

Personally writing gave me satisfaction. I had no life (other than all that is listed in the above paragraphs) and did not mind spending hours writing each day. But here in the UK, I am stuck with a boy and a very hairy boy he is. He sees me sitting at my iBook, typing, commenting, writing, telling a story, communicating with a bunch of virtual friends. He sees the dishes piling ceiling high and he sees the living room remain unpainted.

Alex wants me to spend time concentrating on the book project, rather than writing in the blog, which seems to consume all my time but reaps me nothing in return. And he has very valid reasons as usual.

“Are these people the same people who would buy your book? Blogging is not the same as writing a book. You are better off writing your book.”

Alex ran the water for a bath this morning and we took turns washing each other’s back using the new sponge I bought from Bluewater last Friday. I got dressed and wore a black blouse and pink and black polka dot skirt, matching black TopShop shoes and ran downstairs. The boy opened a new pack of cereals and ate from the box while I grilled two sausages, 1 slice of bacon and an egg for MY breakfast. It was to replace the normal grand Sunday dim sum breakfasts with my father.

I logged online and checked my mailbox and statistics, the same routine every morning whether in Malaysia or in the UK. But what was unusual was that I flipped my iBook close less than 5 minutes later.

“No readers?” Alex enquired.

“No. No. They are there,” I lied.

“How many?”

“Erm, 200?” I said.

“You know it is not enough to sustain your book project.”

I was feeling pressured on Sunday morning. Come on, give me a break. I know I am supposedly a housewife but I am feeling like soup boiling in a pressure cooker. I walked away, turned around and smiled at him.

“Why did you stop?” he asked.

“Because I don’t want you to cut the internet line off, to force me to write the book and abandon the blog,” I replied. “This way, I give the impression that I am not hooked on my blog, that I spend time on my book and that I am doing something not entirely worthless or useless.”

He took a deep breath. “We have a problem actually. I’ve spent £22 on the broadband line each month and it’s logical that we make full use of the facility. But we have to balance maximizing the usage with you actually producing something that earns money.”

I looked away and walked to my super delicious sausages and bacon slice, sizzling in the grill. I made us cups of tea and sat down, with my iBook still closed, not hooked to the internet, not staring at my blogspot page and not doing some spell and grammar check.

Alex left for his office, which was just a 10 minute walk away and I secretly flipped my iBook open to write this to you.

So you see, I have a huge problem.

Small Talk
Argh! Blinded, blinded, blinded!!!

I was blinded by the sight of Brad Pitt laying on that dark haired girl in Meet Joe Black.

It was sheer pornography! I should never be permitted to watch him close his eyes and move himself horizontally across A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G! He looked so divine and I will be his sex slave forever and ever and ever.


Sunday, June 25, 2006
I Am Moving To Canada

Small Talk
What did I say about those dogs that just won't let go? Apparently IT2M loves me so much that they have dedicated a post entirely to me. I do not care what jackshit they write on their site but I will not tolerate them shitting over here on my blog. I have been banned from commenting on their site, which leaves me unable to clarify some of the misconceptions they or their readers have added. Hence I do not see any reason why any of their bitches should be allowed to speak here.

I have taken the initiative to change the layout and design, fix the pop up window (as commented by the IT2M team). Does it not show that I have taken their suggestions to heart? Equally they in return, have taken heed of my suggestion to include a legend detailing their smacks etc. How they did not think about it is beyond me. And of course, they've invited Charles to be their Asian consultant.

I will no longer mention them, beyond the three posts I wrote about them. As far as I am concerned, I have moved on more than 4 days ago and I suggest that they do so too.

There was a time when Friday was bliss. It meant that E and I greedily stuffed our faces with pasta and cornbeef during lunch break. Then we went shopping for something to wear for clubbing later that night. We had grand Friday dinner at 8 p.m. then drank our way to a hangover the next morning. We hopped from one place to another, danced, flirted, counted all the complimentary drinks and laughed. Then I went to AB's after supper at 4 a.m.

Last Friday, I sat in the bedroom with my hair in a ponytail, dressed in frumpy clothes and house slippers (which is a pair of suede ballet pumps from Aldo). I felt like a houswife, having a bad day when a red pair of knickers somehow got washed with a whole load of whites. It felt absolutely dramatic, you see.

"Ciku," Alex called 5 seconds after the door opened. It was 5 p.m. and I was folding clothes to be kept away. I brought only one huge box and three bags, so I do not understand why my clothes seem never ending. We bought three stacks of new hangers the day before because I was still hanging clothes 3 weeks after arriving here. "What are you doing?" his voice trailed from the hallway.

He came into the bedroom, gave me a cuddle. When it did not create the response that he had expected, he tried to tickle my ribcage. All I felt was my fat rolling about.

"I am depressed. Stop it," I said.

Alex stuck out his tongue and showed me how nimble it was.

"Seriously. Stop it or I will have to kill you," I said, then putting another pair of trousers into the cupboard. I promised myself not to overspend but that was the third pair of the very same trousers. It started with a dark blue pair, which I really liked. So I got it in grey and two days later in dark brown. I was wondering why on heaven's name did I get three pairs of THE SAME TROUSERS. It made absolute sense when I bought them but it did not make sense when I had to hang them in the cupboard...

"Get dress, we'll go to Bluewater. I'll wait downstairs." He stopped teasing me and walked out of the room.

"But I don't feel like it, babs," I moaned.

"I am waiting. Tick tock, tick tock,"

Got dressed and headed into the car. He was already sitting in the car with the engine running. We were going to Bluewater to buy me all the things that I needed but did not have access to for the pass three weeks. No wonder I felt like I was living in a dumpster.

Alex and I on our way to Bluewater

Here is a small snipet of the conversation Alex and I had as we were on our way.

  • Alex: We are moving to Canada.

  • Otto: Why?

  • Alex: Global warming. We are going to escape it.

  • Otto: Eh? So what are we supposed to do?

  • Alex: Work. You need to get a job. Save all the money and invest in pieces of land in CAAA-NAAA-DAAA.

*a few seconds of silence, then...*

  • Alex: We should start immediately before land prices rise.

  • Otto: When is this global warming?

  • Alex: In the next 100 years.

  • Otto: But we would be dead in a 100 years!

  • Alex: But our genes - mini versions of you and mini versions of me - will be alive! And we have to plan for them.

  • Otto: Can I put this in my blog?

*proceeds to take out notepad from bag and scribbles*

  • Alex: You cannot! Prices of land would rise in Canada because everyone would be buying there... Make up another place...... Say, Russia.

  • Otto: You think my readers would think that you are crazy?

  • Alex: I AM NOT crazy! I am a visionary. Crazy people are wrong and visionaries are right!

  • Otto: Right.

  • Alex: And I am right, so I am a visionary.

  • Otto: You are talking too fast. I can't copy on time, Mr. Always Right.

  • Alex: That's right, babs. I am always right. My wisdom is priceless... Now remember that you can't blog about this!

Being with Alex makes me look so normal.

Small Talk
I like men who have a way with their words.

p/s: I wrote this post to show how entertaining Alex can be... and perhaps why I love him. Do not take this conversation seriously. I am not moving to Canada. Who on earth is going to move to Canada because of a global warming happening ONE HUNDRED YEARS TIME? *hehehehe*


Saturday, June 24, 2006

The NEC Flower Show

Our little display in the flower show in NEC.
Actually it was not little. It took me more than 2 days to stuff newspaper
and bark between the flower pots, so it looks like a garden!

The very elegent orchid, in the most seductive colour.

From my garden

Alex liked space alien looking plants, like Monkey's Pitchers and the Venus Flytrap.
I bought Alex this banana plant from Yunnan, China. Makes Alex almost normal.

Thalictrum, standing close to 6 feet tall in my garden.
The stems are about the size of my pinkie finger.

A very sexy flower with a very glamourous name - Harlow's Car.

Do you like my Harlow's Car?

Plants are funny here in the UK. They are not like in Malaysia, where you plant a baby tree in the morning and it becomes uncontroble the next few weeks! When my family moved into their house, they bought an instant garden, which included full grown palms and budding flowers.

Here growing flowers and trees require patience. It taught me that much. You plant a flower this year and more often than not, you only see the flower 12 months later. Like my pom pom.

The garden last year.

Like all these flowers in my garden, which were baby plants less than a foot tall last summer. And now look! Look at my pretty little green patch! All tall and blooming.

It is the most magical feeling. Plants die down for winter and if they are perennials, they sleep during winter. With birds heralding spring in March, these flowers will wake up and spring back to life! How cool is that?


Friday, June 23, 2006
A Million

~ I Wish I was A Punk Rocker, Sandi Thom.
Lovely song, watch out for the lyrics!

I usually bounce out from bed, singing and dancing, having the biggest breakfast that I can stomach and starting work at about 10 a.m. after publishing my post for the day. Waking up right and eating right is very important to me and I love having breakfasts out in the open with my friends. I miss PY and R very much.

Yesterday was just one of those days that sucked. It sucked big time the moment Alex got up at 7 a.m. Yes, I have been having very long days - up at 7 a.m. and sleeping after midnight. I am allergic of getting up earlier than 7 a.m. and Alex pushed all the wrong buttons by saying:

  • You have to do laundry today. I am running out of socks.

  • Remember to call for your national insurance number or I will spank your naughty bottom.

  • While you are at it, the floor could do with some hovering. Crumbs.

By the time he got to “Oh yeah, you need to hang your twenty jackets and coats in the cupboard,” I honestly felt like strangling his neck.

The funny thing is, I have never really argued with Alex. Sure, we sulk sometimes but naturally we know how to smooth things out with cuddles and special treats. Like elderflower ice creams or a little email during the day.

By 10 a.m. when I was sitting at my make-shift coffee table with an emotional storm percolating in my heart. I was ready to pounce on the squirrel feeding off my bird table less than 2 metres from me, turning it into a duvet to keep my toes warm at night.

Then his email came. “Remember to call the national insurance number, you naughty babs!”

I have not had my usual hot chocolate, cup of hot fruit tea, bacon slices, sausages and tomatoes and I most certainly recoiled in horror when he sent me that email.

“I will call them after lunch break and even the hospital for whatever shit.”

“My babs is in a bad mood today. Haven’t had your breakfast?”

I gave him the silent treatment.

He came back for lunch, which I had to cook. Bah. Wait a minute, I think we shared the cooking. He grilled some tuna and I did a simple courgette and broccoli main course. We sat in the garden, appreciating what we have planted and grown since last year. The flowers are coming out fine and dandy despite the dumb hose ban by Thames Waters.

When he finally left for work again, I sat facing my Apple and the blank cream wall behind it the whole afternoon. I was still in my house slippers and top half of my PJs. It was 1 p.m. A pair of green finches started to feed at the bird table. So did the mother woodpecker check up on the peanut bowl, which was empty. No food for her baby. Tough!

Here I come all the way from Malaysia and Alex gave me nothing but a list of chores to do, I grumbled to myself.

Wait a fucking minute. What the fuck did I just get myself into? I am living with a boy!!! Oh my god!!

I looked at the bird table. I can understand why Tungsten (you can see a photo of him at the navigation bar) finds the bird table amusing and sits for hours below it. It is the most fascinating thing to observe during the day. How rich my little garden is and how much I can actually see, if I gave up television, which I did, by the way.

We shopped for the first bird feeder last year during the NEC show. That was exactly a year ago. Alex bought it, chopped a branch of the maple tree in the mini forest behind our garden (Kent being the green belt of London has lots of trees), filled it up with wild bird seeds and plonked it less than 3 metres from me in the living room. He got me a bird guide. “So you will be entertained while I am away at work.”

I smiled.

Then I recalled the sheepskin I sit on each morning while I write my posts. When the two of us sit on the sofa, Alex lets me have it because I feel cold often, seeing that I come from a warmer climate. "I bought this specially to keep your cute little bottom warm."

I smiled again.

Thinking of being warm reminded me how Alex would jump into bed earlier than I. This is mainly because I wash my face with proper skincare whilst that boy washes with hand soap. And each time when I enter the bedroom and crawl next to him, he would move away. Alex keeps my side of the bed warm, so when I finally curl into his arms, I will lie in a warm comfy bed.

Are you smiling too? I did when I thought of that.

I am guilty of what many women are guilty of. I complained to myself that Alex did not love me. It was absolutely logical. He did not say "I love you". Thus he does not love me. Alex has not said “I love you” for so long, I can’t even remember when he said it. Probably in January in Phuket? I wanted to hear those words. It is romantic to hear those words. I want it but I ain't got it.

A million different scenarios run through my mind yesterday. He treats me like a maid, asking me to do his damn laundry for him. He nags me like my mother. Perhaps even worse than my mother. Argh, how did I end up with him? Alex? Did I just make the biggest mistake in my life? I have just exchanged the attention of probably a million men for the inattention of one. And he is hairy!

Oh god! What did I just do?

I need to run.

Sometimes life is so good with things going your way. Everything is okay. Panic floods through your veins because the sensation is foreign. You feel restless and you realised that it is called happiness. You sit quietly in the corner and you cannot believe that you are actually happy. The feeling is so fleeting because you have been let down a thousand times. It is so frail and you are even more.

Just when I thought of a thousand different reasons when Alex failed to say “I love you” I realised that he showed “I love you” daily, in the simplest of ways. From warming up my side of the bed to weeding the garden of stinging nettles (trust me, stinging nettles sting!) to painting the living room and turning the house into a girl friendly home. A million different ways, each a little different but each with the best of intentions.

Not with sweet nothings or empty “I love you-s”. Each with sacrifice, sweat and tears. Each silent and not heard.

And if I allow myself to open my heart, I will see. I will see that he actually loves me.

”And now here is my secret, a very simple secret;
it is only with the heart that one can see rightly,
what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
~ The Little Prince, Antoine Saint Exupery

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Thursday, June 22, 2006
Goliath Won’t Die

Small Talk
I was away for the NEC flower show when IT2M reviewed my blog. I did not know of the review until I returned home on 20th June. This is written in reply to their wonderful review. I have changed the layout and design, fixed the pop up window etc, as suggested by IT2M team. They in return, have taken heed of my suggestion to include a legend detailing their smacks etc. How they did not think about it is beyond me.

I have been banned from commenting on their site. Hence I do not see any reason why any of their bitches should be allowed to speak here. I will no longer mention them, beyond the three posts I wrote about them. I have moved on and it is time they do so too.

If all blogs are measured in the size of a dot, my blog happens to be a small ink size dot. A blue dot, because other colours make my writing look smudged. On the other hand, probably would be this humongous blotch of slime, the size of a football.

Now imagine that all blogs are like planets, dangling in space with distances between them representing their popularity. About Nude Not Naked would be somewhere where Earth is and would be sooooooooooooo out of my league and positioned perhaps 10 kabillion light years away from About Nude Not Naked.

But heck *spits* I just had to wake the ugly giant’s slumber. To start with, I can’t swear over at their site. It is against my policy. But this is my blog and I can call them whatever fuck names I want to call them. And this time, they even deserve the bloody name calls.

I don’t bloody care how you rate my blog. Did I for once sulked over what you said about my blog specifically? I don’t think so. What you think of my blog does not matter to me because you are so spaced out (remember the 10 kabillion light years distance between us?). Plus you are just a bunch of idiots living in America, thinking that you are far superior above everyone else on earth.

I cried for days when I saw those planes crashing into the World Trade Center. How could anyone do such a despicable thing against another fellow human? But you know what? Perhaps they can do humanity a favour by exterminating stupid fucktards like yourselves, who are racists, arrogantly believing that you own the world.

It is not about my blog. My blog is a nothing, remember? It is about perhaps a change in your mind set, that we are not the same like you and we do not eat food like yours. It is about understanding and accepting that there are differences in this world. Beauty is not defined by blonde hair, fair skinned, sharp nose and oval face. Food is not defined by cheesy broccoli and boiled potatoes.

Ms. Chatty said:
“Don't get pissy with me because I'm a filthy rich American that doesn't have to live in a third world country or beg for money on the streets and spends all of her money buying nasty looking food and even more money on cameras to photograph it.”

I can go on and on about how stupid you folks are, living in a very delusional Lalaland with the Teletubbies. (OMG! 2/3 of American adults do look like the Teletubbies!) but I rather do a review for instead. I had wanted to do it and leave it as a little something for you to read but who knew that you would skip the queue of hundreds of blogs and jumped to reviewing mine while I was away at the flower show in Birmingham.

The other thing that surprised me is that not a single Asian voiced up. No one commented that those nasty comments on Asian food are unwarranted and perhaps to call us a “third world country, begging for money on the streets” a tad overboard.

Are we so subdued as Asians, cowing to the whites?

Do we believe that the West has everything superior and they are always right and we are always wrong?

Are we so busy with our work, to pay for our house (yes, we live in nice houses – I live in a 3 storey house with lush gardens in Malaysia), cars and material wealth that we forget that sometimes we need to make a stand?

Or is it true what Ms. Chatty said, that we are just too busy begging on the streets?

Whilst it is true that I had submitted my blog to be reviewed, I had expected a fair review, one that takes our history and culture into account. I accept that my layout and design sucks. That I can change and have taken steps to. I accept that there are pop ups. Links do not pop up in mine and I use Safari on an Apple. But again, this is something that I can take positive steps to change.

I can even accept that you think my content is too long for the average reader and that it is shitty. This is why I started the blog. I wanted to unshitty-fy myself and to improve my writing to a standard that is acceptable for publishing. I am not too proud of some of the shit I wrote six months ago and I know when I write rubbish.

I cannot accept when you write stupid comments like, “writes in 3 languages”. That is a skill and should be applauded. Additional languages are ALWAYS prized in the adult world and the average Asian speaks at least 2. I converse and write well in English and the Malay language and converse well in 2 other Chinese dialects and read/write/converse rudimentary Swedish. So fuck you if you can’t read anything other than English.

I cannot accept when you write moronic comments like, “Asian food sucks”. You emphasize that you respect Asian food but I don’t see “respect” written anywhere between the three words “Asian food sucks”. Please show me where is the respect.

I cannot accept when you leave callous remarks, calling it a constructive comment. For example, your complaint that Malaysian blogs write a lot of Malaysian politics. Are you a dim wit that you do not understand that we live in Malaysia and thus, comment and write on Malaysian politics. Not all of us are interested on how your young men are dying in Iraq or CNN covering on the latest human rights violations in third world countries when you have one of the worst records for human rights violations.

You continually deride Asia, writing irresponsibly how we suck, one way or another. But you want to ban me when I highlighted how obese your nation is? We Asians eat gross yucky food and remain slim. Can't say much for your great American diet which contributed heavily (no pun intended) to your 66% of fat/obese nation. An average of 18% of the American population has a passport to travel outside of their country. You have a higher percentage of smokers (30%), babe.

So it is ok for you to write nasty things against Asians and it is not ok for me to highlight the same for your country? Ban me for stuffing statistics of US' human rights violations from the UN Human Rights report? It is a joke. I really want to get banned.

As I have raised this issue much earlier in, I am suggesting that you stop accepting Asian blogs for review when you show no competency on reviewing them fairly, constantly reminding yourselves that Asian blogs are not going to talk about the same topics that you do, will not show photos of things that might appeal to your taste or share a similar view/opinion/humor as you.

Get this through that Neanderthal thick skull of yours: We are not like you, so we will not write like you.

If you cannot possibly understand that one simple concept, then fuck off and don’t review Asian blogs because you are not proficiency skilled nor knowledgeable enough to do so.

As for Ms. Chatty and her bitches (especially her hairy male bitch Charred) – this is my fair review of your site.

Layout and design
I can’t decide whether I find their header picture cute or plain disgusting. Am still shifting about on this one.

I have searched three time for the legend detailing the smacks, fish and what-so-nots and guess what? I don’t see it. Either you think we have the gift of ESP or you have hidden it well or you just plain forgot it.

For this you get a for layout and design.

In all honesty, you suck in this department big time. You lack the knowledge, understanding nor information to review Asian blogs fairly. You are not proficient enough to give constructive comments or even fair comments.

You could be more constructive in your comments. If you want to do a review, do it properly and do it well. Show them how to better their blogs, be it with suggestions of the proper html codes or as Charles did, suggesting where to get a proper layout. Instead, you go on an ego inflated trip, judging everyone based on your opinion and taste, which I must say is not par excellent.

For this one uber big mistake, you get a because you stink big time.

On a whole, I give .

I have explained to the old folks there. I have apologized for the mini trolling session. I have tried my best to close the gap between the agregators and myself but the only thing I have received is BS from them and their little community of mini puppies. Well what did I expect when it was a ran by a bunch of bitches anyway?

I rest my case. I kicked Goliath. I made a fuss. I threw a tantrum. I stoned it with 100 tiny pebbles. I wished MENJ could give them ten thousand lashes but heck, it ain't gonna happen.

Goliath won't die. Unless of course all of us start rushing over to their site collectively as a whole community of Asian and throw ten million stones at them. You wanna?

Credit: Graphics taken from


Tuesday, June 20, 2006
The italk2much Aftermath

Small Talk
I was away for the NEC flower show when IT2M reviewed my blog. I did not know of the review until I returned home on 20th June. This is written in reply to their wonderful review. I have changed the layout and design, fixed the pop up window etc, as suggested by IT2M team. They in return, have taken heed of my suggestion to include a legend detailing their smacks etc. How they did not think about it is beyond me.

I have been banned from commenting on their site. Hence I do not see any reason why any of their bitches should be allowed to speak here. I will no longer mention them, beyond the three posts I wrote about them. I have moved on and it is time they do so too.

~ A Little Less Conversation, Elvis vs JXL

On A More Serious Note
Thanks to Charles, who pointed me to a more visually appetizing (and free) blog skin site. Generally I much prefer a centralized content with the navigation bar on its right side. I also much MUCH prefer a white background. Does anyone feel the same?

What do you think of this black/red/flower design? I kinda like it but I am unsure how long I can take the flowers. Never really saw myself as a "sweet" person.

On the other hand, I also found this geometric shape mobile thingy rather interesting, with the exception that the background ain't white and the navigation bar is over on the left....


*pulls hair*

*thinks of catching Tits in the garden and toasting them on a BBQ*

*thinks of ways to catch fat squirrels stealing from my bird table, turning them into a warm duvet*



Now you cannot call The Nude a whiny child, sulking over the negative comments on I have actually taken heed to some of the comments raised over that site when About Nude Not Naked was being appraised. And here to show that I am not a whiny child, who is feeling a little sour grape over the bad report, here is some effort on my part to better my blog.

What do you think of the new layout and design? I'm still shopping for a nicer design but I guess this is better than the previous, right? Do tell me what you guys think, ok.

I am sure that you have noticed that there are some hiccups in this new layout. My header ran out of the space it was supposed to be confined. I have ran through the html and I don't seem to be able to find what is wrong with it.

Similarly I am having problem getting rid of the flower icon located next to the first title of this post. And there is this annoying "skin design" word sandwiched between the main post and the navigation bar. Right at the bottom, you will also notice the overlapping icons from the designer where I knicked this layout from.

Can someone please help me? Pretty please? Much appreciate any help and pointers.

p/s: Can someone tell me how the blog loads up in their browsers? I am using a Safari and nothing pops up in mine. Anyone else?

Since Marcus and GB will be ever so gallantly helpful, I have decided to move back to the old layout........ less I get more boots and fishes from this layout *haha*

Some other choices for the layout design are:

Argh! Don't fancy beach blah.

One for the boys.

Bluek design in my opinion.

Can't read anything on this one.

Much prefer if the content is centered.


Dear italk2much

Small Talk
I was away for the NEC flower show when IT2M reviewed my blog. I did not know of the review until I returned home on 20th June. This is written in reply to their wonderful review. I have changed the layout and design, fixed the pop up window etc, as suggested by IT2M team. They in return, have taken heed of my suggestion to include a legend detailing their smacks etc. How they did not think about it is beyond me.

I have been banned from commenting on their site. Hence I do not see any reason why any of their bitches should be allowed to speak here. I will no longer mention them, beyond the three posts I wrote about them. I have moved on and it is time they do so too.

Dear readers and aggregators,

Thank you for participating in an experiment. I have wanted to prove a point that perhaps in the blog world, nothing is more exciting than a foul mouth blah blah who talks back, creates controversies and ruffles some feathers in the nest.

In my whole life, I have never been called that many rude names ever. And through my whole “blogging career”, I have not said much that created hullabaloo as I have in I even managed to squeeze a callous name calling game; calling another person fat and what so not.

To be honest, do you actually think that upon returning from the NEC Flower Show, I turned in Ms. Hyde overnight, talking gibberish and spewing statistics on fat Americans? Nah. I am quite a nice girl inside. Sometimes you just need to search a little deeper inside, but somewhere inside nonetheless.

What some of the commentators from italk2much did not realise quite possibly was that I was practicing writing. I specifically chose the blog to practice how to write in a persuasive way; to invoke emotions, both positive and negative, in those who read my words. And that I think I managed to do for a few hours in italk2much.

This explains why most of my posts are longer than the average blogs. The whole blog was started as a writing practice anyway. And to perhaps experiment with how readers would react to what I write and how I present my stories. Some days I do it better than others. I believe that I have a better control of what I write and how I expound my opinions now than I did 6 months ago.

If you want to own a popular blog that clocks the readers in faster than a clock per second, write something totally moronic in the most logical sense. Own the biggest ego on the blog. Continually self praise and deride every other reader who do not support your words.

For example:
  • italk2much has “we are rude, so deal with it”.

  • Maddox has the best page in the universe.

I was told to shut the fuck up. I was called "racist" and "xenophobic" by some of the readers. even threatened to ban me from their site. As of last night UK time, 20% of my visitors were refered from their site because readers generally are curious about what is going on. What do you think would have happened if I continued to write negative comments and have them lot call me with even more terrible names? Or heaven forbids, banned from their site forever and ever and ever more.

And what a great opportunity it was, with the gap between the Asians and the Americans (or Westerners) wedged tight by the negative comments thus far on their site. Garner a few more opportunists and there we go, a good controversy and surely people has to take sides because everyone is born judgemental and opinionated. And if you believe that you are not judgemental, you already are.

About Nude Not Naked came about on its own terms. It does not have a fancy layout. It does not have a great neat navigation bar. It has tonnes of blurred out photos. I write about rubbish that matters to me and probably 10 other readers who comes over to read almost daily. And that is good enough for me for the moment.

Because all I wanted from the beginning was just a writing practice. In the span of last 6 months, I have successfully written 4 articles and was paid for it. Therefore I am certain that I have achieved what I set out to do when I signed up for blogspot.

But back to italk2much and some of their powerpuff readers and commentators – I apologize for calling Annie fat and for being a pain in your cute little bottoms. Now that I have proven my point, I will cease writing nonsense and insisting that Americans are a fat bunch of people eating stinky oily burgers and chugging down Cola. Of course there are many well-toned Americans *duh* There are as healthy conscious Americans as there are many good Asian blogs (food or otherwise). Perhaps one day, italk2much will discover one that is worthy of their mention.

Blogging, like many other hobbies and pastimes, are to be taken lightly. I do not think that it is the be all and end all when a site writes negative comments about your blog. I just shrug my shoulders and say, “Tough. Can’t please the whole world, babe.”

And sometimes, just sometimes, bad news is better than no news.

The Nude

p/s: I eat like a horse every breakfast, folks. 3 sausages, 3 bacon slices, 1 tomato, an egg, 1 cup of hot chocolate and 1 glass of hot fruit tea before I wrote this post.

I stand at 5 feet 4 inches and weigh approx. 47 kilos before breakfasts.

Time To Ponder
Taking an example from a small scope while ignoring the general picture is what prejudice and racism is about. About Malaysians writing only about food and taking sucky photos. About Americans being fat, living on a diet of Coke and BigMacs.

Examples in my writing:
  • You may think that I am a stick thin anorexic eating three spoonful of rice here.
  • But in this post, you will read how much I stuff myself with during breakfasts.

Depending on how you quote me, you can bend the truth in your favour.

The list of examples is long and I am sure you have your own examples from daily life experience. So spare a minute to think of whether we have taken everything into consideration and looked a little further than our little goldfish bowl.



Monday, June 19, 2006
The Good Old Days

“Would you like some Italian?” he asked as he opened the car door. It was not his usual car. It was two years ago on an evening such as today’s when Mr. DL came over to pick me up for our dinner in Castle Douglas. He had such beautiful eyes that twinkled with excitement, almost childlike.

Mr. DL had the charms of an old fashion Englishman, courteous and warm all at the same time. He wore a grey suit. I do remember that. That he did. Mr. DL wore a grey suit and I wore my fur lined coat.

The waiter nodded when Mr. DL walked through the door. He was their regular customer, dining at least once a week in that tiny Italian restaurant painted pale yellow. It was warm and busy, with all tables but ours occupied.

I remember a conversation I had with E before. She said most lovers begin their courtship sitting opposite of each other. “So they live in their own world, looking into each other’s eyes,” E said. As the relationship matured, so do the sitting arrangements. E reckoned that most couples (when more relaxed in their relationships) would sit next to each other. E always sat beside her boyfriend while I always sat across.

The waiter led us to a quiet corner. Mr. DL pulled the chair for me and I slid into the seat, thanked him and smiled. He then sat next to me, to my right. I could see his grey eyes clearly when he sat next to me. We shared a starter and then, we had different pasta dishes as the main course. I can no longer remember what we had then after.

What I remember clearly was what Mr. DL said some time into our dinner date. "Oh my goodness!" Mr. DL exclaimed, "you are young enough to be my grand daughter!" The tables around us were staring and I think it made Mr. DL feel a little uncomfortable. In actual fact, Mr. DL turned out to be my oldest date ever. I was 28 then and he was 44 years older than I. Mr. DL was 72. Age did not tear us apart. I think the age gap made it easier for Mr. DL and I to be friends and to be good companions whenever I was in Scotland.

I remember our conversations. He related to me stories from his youth. I loved listening to any story, especially youthful adventures. I grew up listening to my father’s playboy stories, so Mr. DL’s stories commanded my attention immediately. How different his youth was from mine. How charming and how innocent!

Mr. DL was a young man no more than 22 years when he sailed to Malaysia to work for Tun Tan Cheng Lock. He was a plantation manager and each morning, he woke up to teach the locals methods of growing rubber efficiently. He was a beautiful young man, slim, tall with a winsome smile.

I returned to his house for tea the next morning. His house was conveniently was three doors away. Actually let’s make it three gardens away. He was Alex’s neighbour for many years, coming over to Alex’s parents for some weeding, to pass the time. There to greet me was his grey cat, a bundle of skin he found in his shed. He named it Tikus (trans: mouse) “because it looked like a tiny baby mouse when I found him,” said Mr. DL.

Seri Carcosa in the 1950s.

He led me to the drawing room, where he hung many photos from his days in Malaysia as a young man. There was a photo of Seri Carcosa in the 50s, when he attended parties and balls. There he met her. She waltzed into the ballroom in the most beautiful smile and dress. She was the secretary to the British Ambassador and soon she was his wife.

He brought her to live with him in the plantations. She ran the household of gardeners, cooks and house helpers while he ran the rubber plantations. Mr. DL recalled vividly the pleasure of bathing in a Shanghai Jar. I did wonder what a Shanghai Jar was and so he took me to his vast garden to see the two jars he brought home.

The jars were brown and jade coloured, large enough for Mr. DL to stand in it for a refreshing shower everyday. Dragons and phoenixes motifs were adorned on the jars. How befitting. Dragons and phoenixes were mystical creatures, believed to represent lovers in the Chinese culture and often symbolically used during traditional Chinese weddings.

He showed me photos of a sweet young woman. She wore pretty dresses and looked serene, almost like a magical creature from fairy storybooks. There were photos of them together, having tea or attending parties. There were photos of them with their children, in the plantations, lazing on plantation chairs.

They were together every day till the day she was sick. It was then that Mr. DL had to pack his bags and return to the UK with his wife. He cared for her to the best that he could and when she died, he never remarried. He eventually returned to Malaysia and worked for Sime Darby, holding a resident’s permit until he was denied it in the late 80s. Feeling depressed and desperate, he returned to Scotland and lived as a neighbour to Alex’s parents.

I love Mr. DL with all my heart. It is always a great joy to come back to Scotland and to run into his arms, to be hugged so tight that I could hardly breathe. His eyes always glistened while his smile was infectious. Mr. DL invokes the most fatherly feelings and I feel like a little chick running to him each time I see him.

The very super heavy book that I dragged thru
two airports to share with Mr. DL.

When I saw “Malaysia: A Pictorial History from 1400 to 2004” by Wendy Khatijah Moore, I knew instantly that I had to bring a copy to him. I know Mr. DL would love it. All the photos in that book were simply amazing and at RM80.00 per book, I would purchase it as a gift for friends for a long time to come! How different Mr. DL’s life was from mine, with rubber plantations and tea dances with pretty women in frocks. Everything was in a deeper shade of romance.

Alex and I drove 7 hours and reached his parents’ house at 10 p.m. Alex’s father came out to greet us. A tall man standing at 6 feet 3 inches, he towered above me and gave the most squeezable hug. I asked for Mr. DL and he lowered his eyes.

“Old DL passed away an hour ago. You are too late,”.

My eyes watered then and it is watering now. I have lost the only grand father figure that I have in my life. All the cookies and teas are now lost. Everything is but a memory and I cannot hear Mr. DL laugh anymore. There are no more teas and stories of Malaysia in its sexier days. The book does not matter now.

Although everyone knew that Mr. DL was terminally ill, knowing it never prepares you for the actual event. I imagine Mr. DL must have laid cold in his house three gardens away. I did not attend the funeral. Neither did I see him one last time. I like to remember him by all his sweet smiles and twinkling eyes. I like to remember Mr. DL’s vigour for life and spirit for living. I like to remember him for his love for Malaysia. I am thankful that he had the great opportunity to visit Malaysia in September last year, before he found out that he was terminally ill. He was so excited to meet his old friends in the rubber plantations and to meet with a special lady, whom he had helped when she was a young girl. Her daughter visited him late last year, to meet the man who changed her mother's career and life.

I did not see him one last time when he laid there cold. I like to remember Mr. DL for his warm personality. I like to remember a man who loved living and lived loving.

In Loving Memory Of
Mr. DL
who lived, loved and was loved.


Sunday, June 11, 2006
Diamond For Pearls

Quite some time ago (that would be two years ago, I think) I had a strange dream. Perhaps it was not so strange a dream after all. Perhaps it was an omen foretelling my life story. Perhaps it was my subconscious working in overtime.

I cried when I woke up from that dream. I quickly wrote it down in my dream journal (not a literal book but a conscious decision to remember that particular dream). I told Alex but he did not see why I was fussing about.

Maybe if I shared it with you, you would understand why I felt distressed.

In my dream, I became ill. I went from one doctor to another, trying to find a cure but no doctor could cure what I suffered. In the dream, I was in constant pain. Though it was only a dream, it cast an awful feeling on my whole body as I felt quite wretched, to be honest.

As the dream progressed, it was soon discovered that someone (a rival) placed a charm/spell on me, which caused me all the suffering that it did. It pained my heart so much to discover that on top of all the betrayal I had felt in that dream, someone had placed a spell on me, to cause me as much discomfort as it was possible.

How my heart sank. How bitter I felt and how disappointed with everything that was around me. I went to my father and I told him what had happened. That the people around me, those who hugged me and called me their friend; those were the very people who were betraying me.

“Tell me father, tell me what to do. Do I leave everything I have here in Malaysia, forsake all the luxuries I have here and go to the UK, where I will have to start all over again?”

I was sitting at my father’s feet, feeling a two edged sword piercing thru my heart. One from the sickness I felt in my body and the other from the betrayal I felt in my heart. Tell me, my readers, which aches more? A physical pain or an emotional pain?

I will never forget what my father said to me in the dream. I remember those words so clear that I got up to write you this posting, to let you know what my father’s words were.

He said, “My dear child, exchange your diamonds for pearls; your outer glory for inner happiness.”

And that was the end of the dream. I woke up in cold sweat and tears were streaming down my cheeks. The dream was vivid that it felt so real. I remember what my father said in the dream so well.

Throw away all the pride I have in my life. Give up all the things that I have back in Malaysia. All the friends that I hug each night at parties, all the little gifts and luxuries (time, help from maids, the car, the house etc) I had, all the attention I had from boys, everything – just give them all up.

Give them all up because it will not do me any good in the end. I will end up with nothing more than pain, if I had continued walking down the path that I was.

Of course there were lots of “happenings” around, lots of beautiful people to hang out with, lots of discounts on clothes and shoes from boutiques, lots of drinking, parties, dinners, dates, friends, admirers and in one way or another, many lovers. But what would that have left me at the end of the day when the sun sets?

My dream told me what my heart denied when I was awake. I was so sad and insecure despite everything.

Do not, for a second, think that I am downgrading. You see, my father’s words (though it was in a dream) was pretty smart. He said, “Exchange diamonds for pearls.” Now we all know that diamonds and pearls are both equally expensive and much sought after. So it was never meant to be a lowering of standard. It was not a “sacrifice”. It was a mere exchange from one expensive gift to another. It was some sort like moving to the next stage.

And this is what I exchanged for...

A close up photo of a poppy growing in my garden.

Tungsten, a silver tabby Maine Coon visits me daily for some loving.

Took this photo while relaxing to a picnic in Salisbury.

All the flowers coming to bloom in the secret wall garden
in Alex's parent's home in Scotland.

Red poppies against the beautiful house on a warm summer day.

What do you think of my "pearls"? Have you ever felt like exchanging your diamond for pearls?


Friday, June 09, 2006
Of Pre-Marital Sex, A Year and The Best Decision
Argh! Pre-Marital Sex!
As I sat in the living room writing I Guess I Could yesterday, I reflected on many different times spent with my boyfriends. Some were so long ago, like with HighSchoolSweetheart and some are nearer and dearer, like Swedish Love.

If you notice, I could not write much about how life could have been for me and HighSchoolSweetheart. This was partly due to the fact that I did not stay long enough with him. Staying here means living together, on a day-to-day basis. While I am still in contact with him and we continually debate about religion and logic, I do not know how it would be living with HighSchoolSweetheart.

In retrospect, I guess I did not understand myself 5 years ago as much as I do today. Perhaps understanding myself made it possible for me to actually love another person and maintain a healthy relationship with him. I find myself remembering more things about Swedish Love than I do of Alan and more of Alan than of HighSchoolSweetheart.

When I was with HighSchoolSweetheart, we were both church going. I was a little more innocent and perhaps even a tad prudish. Since breaking up with him and being with Alan, I have changed and began to understand myself a whole lot better. I was active in charity work since Alan was the president of the Rotaract Club around our area.

See the three pom poms sitting in the vase?
That's how tall the pom pom in my garden is.

I began to socialise more. I moved out of the church circle and began spending time with Alan’s friends. The bunch of us consisting of approximately 14 single boys and girls were busy having a jolly good time, organizing dinner parties and naughty sauna sessions, where the boys illegally snuck into the female sauna and cramped into the tiny 3 meter by 2 meter room.

Eventually when I did break up with Alan, I found myself in a unique position, where Swedish Love was with me for half of the year. We spent the other 6 months apart, him in Stockholm and I in KL. Compounded by the fact that I was supposed to migrate to Sweden, E and I were basically drinking and dancing every Friday and Saturday. Sometimes it extended to Tuesdays and Wednesdays for me, because I kept AB company.

We met tonnes of boys, from local boys to travellers to expatriates to the bum outs. Days were exciting and nights were thrilling. E and I travelled a lot during that time too, mostly on our own, for weekend holidays. It was fantastic and I absolutely recommend that every girl do that. It changed my perception of life and perhaps even influenced me to be the person that I am today.

When I eventually moved to Stockholm and stayed with Swedish Love, it was also the first time when I really took a break from the church and from family life. I cut my apron strings and led my own life. It took me some years to eventually “grow up” mainly because my parents are highly protective of me (they are teachers!) and I felt intensely dependent on them (despite me hating the dependency).

Bees, busy little yellow bees on my pom pom!

I think I had my first REAL ADULT relationship with Swedish Love. Not just a boyfriend who visits me for weekends or dinners on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays where his family and my family were involved, but a relationship that was built solid on just Swedish Love and I. Thinking back, I think I learnt a lot from him. He took me everywhere and we were together often. Swedish womenfolk were very independent and that drove me to be highly independent too.

I guess what I want to say is, you don’t really know how your love life is going to turn out or how your relationship will be until you live with the person for quite some time. I did that with Swedish Love for a period of 2 years and since then, I have been with Alex for 4 years.

I remember a lot about these two men and I know them in and out. I can’t say the same for Alan, even though I ate at his place on alternate evenings. I most certainly cannot describe how life could have been with HighSchoolSweetheart because I did not live with him. Swedish Love and Alex brought a new dimension to my personality and I am greatly in debt to the two men. Most importantly they taught me how to love and how it is like to be in a healthy and normal relationship.

The church has a very strong stand against pre-marital sex. Being a Sunday School teacher for more than 3 years, I find it difficult now to reconcile the differences in the church doctrine and my personal stance in this area. In my honest opinion, a couple must live a life together before being married and the experience teaches the couple how it would be like once they sign the dotted line. It is far more practical this way and would spare young people from unrealistic expectations of living together.

Of course for my not so Christ-like beliefs, I cannot teach in the Sunday School now – which is why I quit more than 6 years ago. If I had my way, I would preach co-habiting as a subject to young children in Sunday School. Couple that with proper sex education and the responsibility that comes with a regular sex life.

I had rows after rows with my father because he was a church elder and he found it difficult to explain to the church members why his daughter is co-habiting with hairy white men (two white men to be precise, ie Swedish Love and Alex). It must have been very difficult for him to come to terms with the fact that I had to do things my way.

  • Not his best friend’s daughter’s way (who by the way, is a very close girlfriend of mine, recently gave birth to her 2nd child).

  • Not my brothers’ ways. They are both single at the moment, a very good catch but alas, not willing to bring their girlfriends for a short weekend holiday.

  • Not Elder John’s way because I am not Elder John. What worked in the 70s not necessarily works in this day and age. Have you read The Hustler’s Diaries lately? The world is filled with stories that will make 80s wild child Madonna blush!

Just my way. The way that I am comfortable with. The way that I learnt to grow, mature and love. Perhaps not the best of ways as my parents still wish that I was a virgin. But my way, in a way that allows my heart to feel safe and comfortable.

But how can it be so? Didn’t our grandmother teach us that sex before marriage and the idea of co-habiting is detrimental to the womenfolk? I guess there is no clear answer here. It depends on your family culture and values. I did not agree with my family culture, so I have spawned mine. In a heated debate, my father asked me if I would tell my daughter to do the same when she is a grown woman.

“Would you allow your daughter to co-habit with another man?” he asked.

I think my answer shocked my father into his seat. I said yes. I do not share same perceptions of sex and childhood upbringing ideas as my parents. I can still recall how my father slid back into his chair when I said that I would teach my daughter about sex from young and teach her to how value and cherish herself.

I do not believe in getting married and discovering about sex with your life partner. I think it causes more harm than good as the wondering mind will be at work at the seventh year itch. I think it is important to have a few lovers and at least one permanent partner before running down the aisle. This applies for both genders.

To me, there is no such thing as “girls will lose out in this co-habiting game”. There is no lost unless you have degraded yourself or sold yourself cheaply. It is no one’s business if you maintained a relationship with a respectable man, who loves you and treats you well. It helps if the man is successful, good looking or intelligent. Naturally the best option is all of the above characteristics.

I never felt that I had to answer to my church members or to my neighbours. Not even to my father. This might come as a shocker to many but I honestly believe that a woman’s sexual encounters are private and no one has the right to tell her what to do. It is her body and she has the right to protect and nurture it. So no father talks, no mother talks, no church elders talks. Everyone else can bugger off just as long as I know that I am taking care of my body, I am with a very good man and I am responsible for my actions.

What A Difference A Year Make
It is June 2006 and last year around this time, Alex and I were away for a flower show in NEC. Both of us helped his parents who owned a nursery somewhere in the south of Scotland. We bought a bulb from a Belgian man, for a gigantic flower I named the “pom pom”.

Look what is that in my hand?!
A bulb, hiding secrets from the earth.

Just take a look at what a difference a year makes. That is the bulb in my hand last year before we planted it into the earth. I did not see it until this year last week, when the bulb bloomed into a meter tall plant with a purple pom pom the size of a Big Mac.

What have you done in the pass year? Did you grow? Did you learn new things? Are you proud of yourself? Where are you heading? What are your hopes for the next year? Are you truly happy? Are you at your greatest potential?

The Best Decision
I am excited as Alex and I marched into our 4th year together. This sparks the longest ever relationship I ever had, one that I am most happy to experience. I often stare into empty space, nodding my head after a few seconds and saying, “Yeah, Alex is the best decision I have ever made in my life.”


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Thursday, June 08, 2006
Hello, hello. Are You The One?

No Woman, No Cry
~ Bob Marley

I guess I could have. Yes, that’s right. I guess I could have. I could have been with Swedish Love. If that was so, I would have had my pretty apartment in Södermalm – painted in pale cream with a high ceiling, antique wooden floor and ceiling to floor windows. We would wake up each morning and he would look at me as I open my eyes. I would smile and tap my foot to Bob’s tunes.

Oh yes, Swedish Love and I would break into “No Woman, No Cry” as song number five on the Bob Marley CD plays in the stereo. I would walk from the bedroom to the bathroom in my knickers, deciding what clothes I would wear to work. When I have decided on what I would wear, I would ask Swedish Love if he would like me to iron his work shirt for him and he would say, “It’s ok. Swedish boys iron their shirts. You do not need to do it for me. Thank you.”

Swedish Love would run downstairs for some fresh bread and the smell of coffee would saturate the entire apartment. Beams of sunshine would dance along the floor as the soft breeze gently caresses the curtains. There would be roast beef, cucumber and tomato slices, ham and cheese laid on white plates. I love roast beef best.

On Friday evenings, we would have Sushi Nights, where close friends come over and we make delicious sushi to eat. Sake and Sushi were über delicious in the company of good friends. On Saturday nights, we would take a cab to Mösebacke, a dance floor with open pub set on top of the hills of the south island in Stockholm. I would have my Vodka Limes and he would have his beers. We would laugh and dance with friends such as Annika and Byörn. And in the summers, the sun rises at 2:00 a.m. and it would be sunrise when we hail a cab to go home again.

Every few months, we would take a nice holiday. Perhaps to somewhere warmer, where we could walk around the quiet stretch of beach in our swim wear. Swedish Love would take a photo of me as I walk into the sea for a swim. He would bring me anywhere on earth and we would laugh as we dine together.

Yes, I guess I could have. I could have stayed with Alan. I guess if we were together, I would have had a child by now. Maybe even two. His parents would love me and we would return to his hometown on alternate weekends. We would have a pretty cosy home somewhere in USJ, with a nice patch we call our garden. A baby tricycle lined the front lawn.

At my insistence, our son would be wearing Adidas sneakers. Who cares about practicality when we can dress our little one in cutesy white sneakers with the famous three stripes? Each morning, we would get dressed. Water would gently cascade down our bodies as Alan and I take a morning shower together. I would let out a scream as I hate early morning showers. We would laugh and play, as the maid prepares little baby for playschool.

We would drop the baby at playschool and the maid with my mother. Then Alan and I would drive to our usual breakfast spot, where we greet the regulars there. The leaves would rustle gently and the sun would shine as we sit down for a warm bowl of noodles. My face would light up as my favourite fishball soupy noodles arrive at our table. Alan would tell me some stories and we would chat a little.

On weekends, we would go grocery shopping. A stroller with our baby, the maid, Alan and I would find our way to one of the many shopping malls, where we would purchase fresh produce for the following week. We would catch a movie and buy a new nail colour. Twice a year, we would go for a long holiday, preferably to somewhere cold like Russia or New Zealand. Sometimes we would bring his parents along. Sometimes mine. Sometimes we go for a mini honeymoon, just Alan and I, minus the baby and the maid.

Ah yes, I guess I could.

But yet, here I am sitting in the living room, a bird table no further than 3 meters from me. In the garden, there is a burst of colours as the poppies are blooming. Here I am a struggling writer and a business owner. I spend half my year in the UK when the sun is shining and everything is warmer.

I am at a point where I am tired of the travelling. I carried more than 40 kilograms through the airports, consisting of 5 pairs of shoes and sneakers, tonnes of make-up and facial stuff and 40 servings of Miso Soup. I have a thing for Miso Soup and Japanese food, I swear I must have been a Japanese woman in my previous life. Maybe even a Geisha.

Alex sleeps after me each night and I wake up before him each morning. Hot water would fill the bathtub as we sit down for 30 minutes of bath each morning without fail. We would chat and talk about things. I would tell him new stories I have brewing in this mind of mine. I would tell him about all my readers and what I am doing on About Nude, Not Naked. Alex would ask about the book. “Complete it by autumn and we’ll send the manuscript to some publishers here in the UK,” Alex would encourage and poke me along the way.

When he is at work, I would get ready for my day. I wear nice clothes. Being at home is no excuse to dress shabbily. I would greet our housemate, Ralph (pronounce as “Rayf”) good morning as he takes over the bathroom facilities. I would wear my trademark high heels and saunter downstairs to fix myself a cup of warm hot chocolate.

And yes, I would have my fishball noodles here. Alex asked what happens if I start working here and cannot prepare the fishball noodles as breakfast each morning. “I’ll be grumpy,” I reply. I smiled when I wrote the last sentence. You see, I remember Alex preparing a nice breakfast for me last year during the NEC flower show. I am such a breakfast person while Alex cannot eat anything before 11 a.m.

While I sit on the sofa, watching the news on BBC and deciding what I would write today, I would reflect on my life and all the lives that I could have lived. I could have had a child and maybe even two. I could have had a pretty house in KL or an apartment looking into the beautiful Stockholm skyline. I could have worn really pretty clothes and travelled to faraway places with Swedish Love. I could have been a person that I am not today and maybe be as happy as I am today.

Ah yes, I guess I could. I believed in all my heart that there was THE ONE somewhere out there waiting for me, like all little girls listening and believing in fairytales. I remember sitting with a very close girlfriend of mine when we were 14, wondering where our THE ONEs were. How ironic life turned out to be as I now subscribe to the “there are more than one THE ONE” belief.

HighSchoolSweetheart was THE ONE for me for many years. Alan was more than wonderful to me and most certainly made me feel that he was THE ONE. Swedish Love totally changed my perception of life and I am very sure that I would have married him, if I had not met Alex in Perhentian in 2002.

THE ONE is a romantic propaganda created by the media and Hollywood. It seems all so romantic and lovely that you wait your whole life for this one perfect person, who would sweep you off your feet and save you from all your heartaches. Like Cinderella or Rapunzel. And for all of us girls who grew up with the princesses in distress and the handsome princes on white horses, we are a little lovelorn for our very own Prince Charming, our THE ONE.

Things will turn out fine if you do meet your THE ONE and he turns out to be just like Prince Charming who kissed all of Snow White’s problems away. But what happens the years on by and still no THE ONE in sight? Should you press the panic button when you blow your 28th birthday candles and there is no THE ONE next to you?

What happens if THE ONE you thought was THE ONE turns out to be Not So The One? Do you still bite the bullet and swallow everything? Do you give him up? What happens if you give him up and there is no other THE ONE? After all, logically there is only one THE ONE!

Good news is, I blew my 30th birthday candles early this year. Even better news is I have had quite a few boys around me for the pass 30 years. Okay, that does not seem to come out the way I want it to. Let me rephrase that. What I meant to say was, I have been friends with enough boys and I have dated enough boys to know that there is more than one THE ONE.

Don’t worry if you think you have missed your THE ONE. There are more often than not, more than one THE ONE anyway. The only cause for concern is whether you are willing to let go of the old and allow your heart to accept the new. Each THE ONE is unique and carries a different possibility for your future together.

And you in turn, you could have been a thousand different person when you are with different men – a mother, a homemaker, a fulltime worker, a business owner, a lady of leisure, anything that your mind can imagine you to be. Just like there is more than one THE ONE, you have more than one choice in life. The choice is in your hand and you can choose what you want for your future.

So yes, I guess I could and indeed I did. I chose Alex, you see.


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