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Tuesday, February 26, 2008
The Evidence That The Party Exists And So Do I

The view of the frozen lake

Bachelors forever!

Listening to Milly's story

Birthday Boy got into many panties wearing this.
Viva la the '80s!

Male Bonding

Altogether we drank 6 litres of assorted wine,
48 cans of beer, 1 bottle of champagne + 1 litre of vodka.
Who said we aren't cultured?

Sharing is caring...

The reason why we can't do this every weekend anymore

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Monday, February 25, 2008
Milly’s Story

~ We're Not Gonna Take It, Twisted Sister

The old boys travelled for hours for a very testosterone filled party over the weekend. I, for one, sat in a car for 5 hours on Friday afternoon, to converge for this very special occasion. A 40th birthday celebration is a rather special occasion. Isn’t it?


‘I can’t believe he is hugging him!’ she gasped. She was the prettiest girl I have seen in the last three weeks. Which is a very fine compliment for a nation that is really challenged in the looks department. It has been three weeks since I lived here and I have not met a single man I had considered good looking.

And then there was Milly. She was blonde and beautiful. She was a show stopper, in her blood red coat, matching scarf, slutty red boots and a Gucci clutch.

‘Do you know that my husband hates men hugging?’ Milly said again. She rested her chin on her right hand. She observed her husband, Jerry and was caught by surprise. Her husband was publicly showing immense affection for his mate, the birthday boy.

Going old school, they played LPs on an antique recorder. Milly clapped her hands in delight (and utter surprise) when Twisted Sister’s ‘We’re Not Gonna To Take It’ played. The boys jointly stood up, gathered in a circle and chest butted each other.

‘I don’t understand why men behave that way,’ Milly said, just as the boys pointed their index fingers at each other and sang the chorus in unison. Birthday boy was singing into an invisible mic made out of his fist.

‘It’s male bonding. That’s how they… MEN… show love,’ I replied.


I have been caught by surprise twice since arriving here and going out with the locals. Maybe I value my privacy more than others. It is always surprising to meet people who are so honest and open during their first conversation with a person, who a minute before was a total stranger.

The first was the conversation I had with a 44 year old man, who is a confirmed bachelor for life. He talked about his relationship problem immediately after ‘Hi, my name is Tim’. His problem involved an ex-wife, 3 teenage daughters and a new slightly younger girlfriend.

The second was my conversation with Milly (with a short interruption by Lucca). Milly grew up with these boys. They were all friends, all part of the cool pack back in the 80s. They all laughed together, sang together and in the summers, swam naked in the lake together. And like ducklings taking to water, these friends naturally jumped into the sauna naked. Together.

‘Sometimes I feel that this isn’t happening,’ Milly said. ‘I am still very young. I wake up sometimes wondering why am I married to Jerry.’ She sighed, feeling almost at lost, in a situation that she had brought upon herself. ‘I’m going to divorce him.’ I am unsure if she was kidding or seriously considering the option.

She felt that she should not be married. Four years older than I am, she woke up one day and felt that the world was her oyster. She could be anyone she dreamt of being, if only she was free. Her life, according to Milly, was filled with ‘if only’-s.

‘If only I am single, I would be in another city’.

‘I love cats and would have a cat, if only Jerry was not allergic to cats’.

‘There are so many things that I can do with my life, if only I am free’.


‘Oh god, how long have we known each other?’ Lucca asked, after he gulped some beer from the fresh can.

The numbers popped up like mushroom after a rainy day.

‘Is it 10 years?’

‘No, it has to be longer. I’m married for six.’

‘Hmmmm, I think it was in ’93 that we met,’ Lucca said.

‘No, I was in college and I am sure to have met you before then.’

‘It must have been in 1989.’ Lucca’s voice trailed off as he reflected back in time. ‘Yes, on New Year eve of ’88’.

‘How long has it been?’ Milly asked aloud. ‘That would be 19 years now.’ She paused for a second before bursting out: ‘Oh my god! It’s been 19 years!’

And it was not a happy discovery. ’19 years and look what I have.’

Milly looked miserable. She bit her lips and looked at Lucca, who gave her a hug. ‘Look, I am with Mary for 7 years.’

(In all honesty, 19 years is a hell lot longer than 7 years but one must give the man some credit. He did try to pacify the realisation.)

‘Look, you have Mary for 7 years and you have a child together. What do I have? I have nothing for my 19 years.’

I glimpsed over to the noisy side of the party. There was Jerry dancing with the old boys. Oblivious to what was happening right here on the quieter side. Right here, where Lucca, Milly and I shared her story.

‘I have nothing for my 19 years. Jerry and I don’t share a child. We do not share a car or a house. I am 36 years old and spent 19 years with a man and I have nothing,’.


Now here is the strange bit. When it comes to love, human are ever hopeful. We talk about having each other in the evenings, sharing good times and building dreams and memories together. Ask yourself what are the benefits of being in a relationship and chances are you, like me, would quote reasons such as ‘hug each other’, ‘have fun together’ and ‘having a friend’.

We never talk about house mortgage or diaper duties. It is as if, a mortal sin, to talk about what you have gained (and shared) in terms of money, properties, pets and babies.

Here was was Milly, who equated her love to the above – sharing a car loan, house mortgage and lots of dirty diaper changes and milk puke. All the hugs in the world and “I love you” in the mornings do not carry the same weight at the end of the day.

Is it wrong for us to think what have we profitted out of a relationship? Does it mean that we are calculative (and thus insincere) in our love for our partners? Is it wrong to check our relationships and to ask what have we gotten out of the whole deal? Is it wrong to debit and credit our relationship, as if it is an account in the bank?

At the end of the day, what matters in our relationship? Is it the invisible rewards such as security within a (hopefully monogamous) relationship? Or does the crux lie in the very basic human needs – physical sustenance and fulfilment of human needs.


As the night wore on, I gave up whatever music standard I had and started to dance with the boys. Obviously they stopped chest butting by 5 a.m. which made it all more convenient. And from the corner of my eye, I saw Milly nesting her arms in Lucca’s. Nothing wrong there, to be honest since I cling onto MiniBoyFriend R every now and then.

Her emotional dam burst and quietly tears rolled down her pink cheeks. She cried, shook her head and cried some more. She got up to take a piece of tissue from the kitchen counter and walked back into Lucca’s arms. He gave her a light kiss and wiped her tears away. Their bodies were aligned into each other’s.

In Jerry’s shoes, I would have spent some private moments with Milly. To talk to her and to show her that she was special. That she was not like the rest of us at the party. He could have publicly indicated that she was someone special to him and that she mattered.

I would have spent some private time with my wife, especially after finding her riding another man like a horse. It was not a drunk stunt one would pull after 8 hours of drinking. It was clearly an attempt to win little attention from her chest butting husband. Jerry kept quiet and let it happen. Maybe he wanted to look cool, that it was okay for his wife to ride another friend. Maybe he did not want to make the issue bigger right in front of friends. Whatever the reason, Jerry either stood and watched without much of any emotion or ignored Milly with continuous head banging, chest butting and merry making with the old boys.

Would you be Milly, in Milly’s shoes? I am more of the “storm out of the party after slapping him” sort but this is Milly’s story.


By 6:30 a.m. Milly had her hands, legs and head on Lucca’s hands, laps and shoulders. Everyone created an alternate reality by smoking cigars by the frozen lake. I assumed that Jerry could not take another minute of everything because he went to the bathroom for the longest time. He emerged much later, on the floor. Milly laughed just as Jerry’s snores transmitted from one end of the living room into the other end of the dining cum kitchen area.

Her eyes were swollen. She still sobbed a little, with a tissue in hand. Her head was still latched on Lucca’s shoulders when we all sat at the table to fill our growling stomach. I left the party immediately after that, without much of a word. I washed my face while looking at Zach, who passed out cold on the bathroom floor.


‘What makes you crawl back to your wife after all these years?’ I asked a long time friend. He was married to his wife for more than half his life. ‘What is your secret to a happy marriage?’

‘I share a romantic house mortgage and 2 kids with her.’ Not the sort of romantic reply that I had imagined and expected. ‘I will be financially ruined if we divorced. Plus the kids are lovely’.


I cringed when I first heard my father’s most memorable advice: ‘Find a decent man who loves you. Get married and have his children.’


Reflecting on my own life, if I can have a moment of truth, I know Milly’s story. I understand Milly’s story because I was Milly. I am still Milly and I am not the only Milly in the world.

I am from a different generation of women. Unlike my mother and grand mother’s generations, I have all the freedom accorded to man. I stand on equal ground. As long as I am willing to believe that I can, I know that I can. There is no boundary and no limit to what I can do or achieve. The key is finding the space in my heart and mind to do it.

While some women define their worth by being with a man and having a family, I believe in finding my own place in the world. I believe in carving my own name and future. I never saw the necessity of a man to complete who I am. I admit that I find myself lonely at times and lost for most of the time. I am still trying to define who I am outside of society’s definition: grow up, be pretty, study alright, find a suitable family friendly (good enough a job to mention during parties but will not take up your entire waking hours) career, catch the most eligible bachelor, walk down the wedding aisle, have children and raise them well.

One of the reasons (if I dare to be honest with myself) why I am in and out of relationships is because there was never an anchor in the relationships. Aside from preschool crushes and highschool secret boyfriends, I had 5 relationships in my adult life so far. Barring the starter relationship being mad and destructive, all consequent relationships were wonderful and healthy. So why did the love not last forever?

On days when I dare to be true to myself, I would say to myself that there was never a single thing that tied me to my relationship. Sure, I had fun and the relationships were good. Sure, we travelled here and there, did lots and lots of things. Sure, we laughed more than we cried. But like Milly, I too feel that there is nothing in my relationships to seal the deal. There are no jointly shared properties in our names and no children to call our own.


Milly is a young and attractive woman. There will be many men queuing up to comfort her and hold her hand. There will many men to reaffirm her and tell her all that she wants to hear. She will be awoken and she will realise the many things that once clouded her head before.

And when the time comes, when Milly is ready, she will find the courage to share a mortgage and children with someone special. If it is not Jerry, it would be some guy named Peter. Or Andy or William or David. All she needs to do is put her mind to it.


I woke up at 11 a.m. to go to the loo. Zach was still sleeping next to the toilet bowl. I returned to my bedroom and sat there for the longest time, just watching the snow fall, covering the old, dirty snow with a fresh layer of white fluffy snow flakes.

Life is like a snowy morning. You are fresh, white and blameless again.

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Monday, February 18, 2008
When You Stopped Loving Me

To all the bad lovers in the world,
including the lousy people representatives of Malaysia.
~ Hit The Road, Jack (Ray Charles)

Like all other foolish 17 year old, I was blind enough to love you. You promised to love me. You promised to protect me and help me in my times of need. Like any young person, I promised that I will love you forever. I promised to be the best that I can be, so you can lift your head and be proud of me.

You were my hope and my dream. You were my everything. Being with you gave me immense pleasure and I missed you whenever I was away. I knew that you were always there for me. You promised to be true to me. You promised never to lie to me. You told me that I was special. You promised me the sun and the stars in the skies.

You promised to always love me. But you never really did. Did you? You did everything in your power to break my heart. You broke my heart then and you are still breaking my heart today. And now I am wounded. My heart bleeds and it will never stop bleeding.


I remember the first time you broke my heart. I was naïve enough to believe that you will love me. You said that I was special. You love her but you will love me too. That was what you said. But I guess you lied. Like how you lied to a thousand others.

I remember reading those rules and regulations. You discriminated against me – against my color and my race. You gave many others opportunities because they were the right color, professed the correct religion and were the so-called surpreme race, thus having the surpreme right. Do you not know it isn't your right? It was at the expense of MY rights as a citizen of Malaysia. You gave others scholarships to pursue education in other countries when they did not possess the right skills nor knowledge. And you left me out in the cold, to find my future all on my own.

I was not good enough for you. I was not the right color. I was not the favoured race. There were many others who converted to the favoured faith so that they might receive your love and approval. But not me. You see, I do not sell my soul to the devil. Your love is conditional and it is conditional in its worst kind.

I will never forget the day when you turned your back against me. I will never forget what I said the day when you walked away from me. Like all heart broken lovers in Malaysia, I rubbed my tears and promised myself that this will never happen again. This is the last time you will discriminate against me. You will never be able to break my heart again. I will rise up and stand on my own. And I will no longer love you because you have never loved me.

I would accept the fact if my results were not good enough but do not tell me that I am not good enough because I am not of the right colour. Or because I do not the same race box as you. You have failed me terribly. I hope you feel some form of shame.

Now you are calling for me to return home. You ask me to show some love and affection. You ask me to be loyal to you. You ask me to contribute my skills and knowledge. You need me. You need others like me. But like all bad lovers, you twist your words. Instead of taking responsibility and apologizing, you call me unpatriotic and self-serving.

But why should I love you when you had not loved me? Only a fool will continually do so. And I am no one’s fool and as a 17 year old, I promised myself that I would never be a fool for you.


Thankfully it was only you who failed me. I found other means to fund my tertiary education. I pursued a course of my choice, learning all the necessary skills that I need. Someone else loves me more than you do. Someone else appreciated my intelligence and skills as a person. Someone else gave me the opportunity to broaden my horizon and to gain the necessary experience that I needed.

I made another promise to myself on the day I graduated. No matter how you entice me with sweet nothings, I will never work for you. I could have worked for a government agency but I opened a business instead. And I promised that I will never bow down to you, no matter what happens. Do not underestimate the fury of a woman scorned. You have insulted me enough.

I am not going to join you when I know that you are discriminating against me. Why should I keep quiet and pretend to be the second best when I know that I am the best? You see, I might be young but I have got spine. I know that I will find a way to not only survive in this world. I will find a way to excel, despite all the hindrances you stacked against me.


It is more than 10 years since you last broke my heart. I do not habour any hope of reconciliation. We cannot reconcile when you have not changed. As a matter of fact, you have gone from bad to worse. When I was 17, your disloyalty was mere subtle. But now, it is blatantly apparent that you do not care for me anymore. You do not care for us.

Your lovers came to you with roses. A good lover would have listened to their complaints. You are not a very good lover, are you? You refused to commune with your lovers. Instead of love and affection, you doused your lovers with acid laced water and tear gas. Lovers argue and lovers quarrel. But lovers do not send the police to lock 200 up.

My darling, you have broken too many hearts. At 50 years, you are hardly the heart throb that you once were. And you no longer carry the glimmer of hope you once did.


I love you very much. I love you so much that I know what needs to be done. The cancer in your body is spreading like wildfire. I am a supportive lover. I am here to help you get better. We will severe the cancer-ridden parts, so you might re-emerge fresh and new. I know it will be painful but it is something that you must endure. It is something that all lovers must endure. I will be here for you and I will hold your hands through this difficult time.

We have a date on the 2nd Saturday in March. Do not forget our date. That is the date that destiny has appointed. I will rid you of your cancer on the 8th of March. Your other lovers will free you of your afflictions. Like all lost lovers, I hope that you will wake up, changed and humbled by the experience. You have 12 months to prove how you have changed. I really hope that you would change because hope is about the very last thing I have left.

I will feel sad if you fail this 12 month probation. I will be sad because I know that all hope is lost and I would have to end my relationship with you. 32 years of mistreatment and abuse of my love and devotion is more than I can bear. I will not put my children through the same relationship too. I will then have to say good bye.


You know that you could have had the best of everything? You could have my loyalty and love? But you abused my love and devotion and now it is too late. This is the not the end, my love. This is just the beginning.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008
The Day After You Die

Do you know what is worse than dying? Well I was kept awake two hours by this very question. What is worse than dying my dear friends, is the day after you die.

What happens if you died tonight when you sleep and wake up tomorrow, realising that you have left your mortal body? Some might figure that you will end up in either heaven or hell, depending on your deeds. Heaven would be bliss, I was told. No sickness. Only roads and streets paved in gold. Although I don’t understand why we are stuck on precious jewels and metals, which if you hadn’t notice, are coincidentally very earthly and carnal desires for material gains.

Why bother with a heaven that is paved in gold when money don’t matter anymore? Now that’s something to ponder tomorrow night before I sleep.

But as for tonight, let’s just stick to burning in hell and thenafter.

Shit would be finding out that you are burning in hell on the day after you die. Right?

Actually. No.

I think there is something worse than rotting in hell for all eternity. Oh yes there is, ladies and gentlemen. There is something worse than hell’s burning fires and Satan and Saddam’s dinner invite on alternate weekends. What is worse than dying and ending up in hell begins with a “R” and ends with a “T” with “EGRE” in between them.


It would be terrible to wake up the day after you die, realising that you have regrets while you were alive. And there is no turning back once you crossed the line.


I wake up in a puddle of sweat. Everyone sleeps soundly but like a watchman on his 2 a.m. round, I am alert. I am on guard. I lay still and keep watch over everything that happens around me. I pick and dissect today. What was good, what was bad. What went well and who the hell does the old geezer think he is, cockstaring me at the bloody traffic light?

My buttons are pushed. My shoulders are bruised. They knock me over and they never apologize. It is their god-damn right to push me around. I don’t belong here, I am told. I am an alien and my father eats pork.

Actually my family doesn’t eat pork since the day we adopted our 2 year contractual, extended family member. She is Indonesian, of course.

I am worried for my safety, like I have never worried before. I lived my whole life in a house where the door and gate are almost nearly 100% unlocked during the day. These days I check my locks a few times and I sleep without resting. I hear every creak and every little rustle in the trees.

Just the other night, the phone rang at 2 a.m. I never pick it up, so I rolled over and closed my ears. The phone died down and I rolled to the other side. The phone rang again in minutes and just as I was about to roll over and close my ears, I sprung up.

‘What the hell! It could be the bloody idiots testing if I am awake in the house,’ I said to myself. I rushed out of bed, ran through the house and switched on the lights. It was my signal to the outside noise that I am awake.

I am here. I know you are out there.


Have you thought of the legacy you leave for your kids? Maybe I am just a thinker. Or a dreamer. Or a philosopher. Most think that they are all the same person and that I am one. I have thought about what I am leaving for my kids and what I want to pass to my children.

I am not talking of gold nuggets and LV bags here. I am smart enough to earn my keeps and I am bloody sure that my children are as smart as their mother, if not smarter. They will never need anything from their mother, the same way I do not need anything from mine. My mother gave me skills that guarantees me a future and I will pass to my children the very same skills (plus-minus some miscellaneous stuff, which I politely decline to share. I am sure you have your private bag of emotional baggage).

I am not sure if many people think of what they are leaving behind. They enjoy today too much to care about tomorrow. And before they know it, WHAM! They’re dead and it’s the day after they had died. Which basically means it is already too late.

I am not here to preach world peace or animal rights – although I am passionate about both. Just like you, I have only 24 hours but I am thinking of ways to be accountable for mine. I am way too busy to bother with trivial matters.

I am only concerned about what matters most when I wake up on the day after I die.


I am worried about the future. I am worried for my children. I am worried about raising my daughters, especially. I am concerned for civil liberty. Especially these days when the basic block of my rights as a human and as a citizen seem to be chipped at, a little at a time.

I don’t read the newspapers anymore. Reading another day’s worth of newspaper is depressing these days. I don’t know if you have noticed but these are rare and exciting times to live. What we are witnessing before our eyes will go down in history.

History books might distort the truth of what really happened, as they are written and rewritten by those in power. But our minds’ account of history lives forever. Or at least until you and I are silenced in death.

We are witnesses to a royal inquiry into the accountability of our Malaysian judiciary. Whether it is true or false doesn’t matter. The damage is done. The legal system is tarnished and it will take years to restore the faith of the people.

It will take years to restore my faith in the Malaysian legal system, for the fact that its legitimacy is questioned.

The other worrying trend in the newspapers is the body snatchers. Now I seriously do not care for the world, what religion the body snatchers represent. The operative word here, for me at least, is ethics and there happen to be none (or very little of it). And this worries me a lot. Grieving families have the right to grieve and burry their lost without the interruption of strangers, who never cared for hoots for the dead until he died. I have a problem with that notion.

Death might be as sure as the sun rising from the east but be assured that no one enjoys watching a loved one dying. You have no control over what happens after someone die. The last few control you have is the body of the dead. Can you imagine losing the very last right to respect and bury your loved one?

I don’t mean to be mean but it can be likened to our prime minister finding out that some men claiming the body of his beloved wife, saying that she converted to XYZ religion and should be buried according to its rites. And he has no right to say ‘no’. They just take her body and bury her elsewhere – somewhere of no consequence to her or him. But mattered all in the world to the strangers.

You go justify that one while I write about another news worthy cringe.


I have never been this frightened in my life. It is not affecting me directly but I am affected by it nonetheless. I cry when I read about the lives of Revathi Masoosai and Lina Joy – women who lost the battle the day they were born. Revathi was forcibly detained and separated from her child for 180 days. She was detained against her will by a group of people who had no right to detain anyone, let alone someone who is not of them.

You want to talk about family values? What family values is there when you forcibly break up a loving, law abiding and functioning family compromising of a husband, ONE wife and seven kids (eg: Martimutu)? Who gave you the right to tell them what is right or wrong? Who are you to define their marital status? And who gave you the right to deprive seven young children of a normal childhood?

Marimutu’s children should sue the government for not protecting their rights as children in the country. Oh hell, they might as well sue the queen of England instead since chances are a court case not favouring the government or certain influential people (who merrily drank their way beyond recognition) would take years.

I am worried for my rights as a citizen of Malaysia. Every single day I read the newspapers and it is shouting that my rights are stripped, slowly but surely. What is stopping some strangers from taking a body of my loved one? There is no guarantee, is there? They might just spring a “He has conveniently converted 3 days before he died. Oh didn’t he mention? I am sorry but his body still has to go…”

Who can guarantee my freedom to express my thoughts and opinions? A weaker person might think that I am preaching hate here when all that I am doing is defending my rights according to the Malaysian Constitution, which states ever so explicitly:

Article 8
1. All persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law.

2. Except as expressly authorized by this Constitution, there shall be no discrimination against citizens on the ground only of religion, race, descent or place of birth in any law relating to the acquisition, holding or disposition of property or the establishing or carrying on of any trade, business, profession, vocation or employment .

Take note that the definition of “law” stated above is the Malaysian civil laws. All of us are entitled to equal protection of the law, by which these articles are bound.

There shall be no discrimination against citizens on the grounds of religion, race, descent etc - which basically means I am equally as entitled to all the privileges given to the bumiputras as the bumiputra sitting next to me.

The very same article states that my Muslim brothers and sisters are firstly accountable to the Malaysian civil court and are bound by its rules. Any other court or laws are secondary to the Malaysian civil court. The Constitution and its laws are the supreme law in Malaysia.

Article 11
1. Every person has the right to profess and practice his religion and, subject to Clause (4), to propagate it.

Read it clearly. Every person has the right to profess and practice his religion. The last I recall, even Muslims are “every people”.

Article 12
1. Without prejudice to the generality of Article 8, there shall be no discrimination against any citizen on the grounds only of religion, race, descent or place of birth....

It is like jackpot here. It is clearly mentioned again that there SHALL BE NO DISCRIMINATION against any citizens on the grounds only of RELIGION, RACE, DESCENT OR PLACE OF BIRTH.

Does this mean that we can sack politicians who ask us to “balik cina” or “balik India” in the Parliament? Asking me to go back to China appears to be a discrimination against me on the grounds of race.

3.No person shall be required to receive instruction in or take part in any ceremony or act of worship of a religion other than his own.

I am relieved when I read this clause. I am not required to receive instruction or take part in any ceremony or act of worship etc. I was okay with the mosque’s call to prayer with four speakers but I think it’s a little over zealous to crank up the volume and add four more speakers to the very well maintained existing four speakers. I don't understand how the other 4 call to prayers sound so melodic with the first one being the exception.

And if you can’t count, that's 8 speakers on a little village mosque. I really like its architecture and smile whenever I see it. It looks really beautiful until I am forcibly woken up for an hour every morning. Me no likes that at all.

In case you are saying I am prejudice against Islam, let me state that I agree that no bells should chime on churches, no ting tongs in Chinese temples and no ding dongs in Hindu temples. Which therefore makes me equally as prejudice against them lot.

4. For the purposes of Clause (3) the religion of a person under the age of eighteen years shall be decided by his parent or guardian.

Reversibly, does this mean that a person above the age of eighteen years have the right to decide his/her beliefs, faith and religion? I think it means just that but whether it is practiced here in Malaysia or not, depends entirely on the generosity of its people and the wisdom of its leaders to uphold the Federal Constitution.

I am losing faith in the sovereignty of the Federal Constitution. Which was written for me, to protect my right as a lawful citizen in Malaysia. Oh hell, if the newspapers don’t have much faith in the Malaysian legal system, why the hell are we talking about ideals such as our right as citizens of Malaysia?


My UK visa will expire in May this year. I was reflecting on the necessity to extend it. Can I plead with the British Embassy that I NEED to extend my work visa because my faith that my country will protect me is dwindling by the nano seconds? Do you think they will give me a two year extension on humanitarian grounds? That I believe that my basic human rights are slowly undermined?

I do not want to end up waking up the day after I die, to find myself buried by some unknown strangers in some unknown place. Who so happen, thought it would be fun to bury me against my wishes. Or against the wishes of people who meant the world to me.

I have a huge concern for the things we teach our children. I am worried for the future Eves amongst us. Five years from now, will Eve be taught to shut up? Will she be called evil because she was born female? Will her sports attire be any longer than it is today? Will her teachers spit at her because she has a mind of her own? Will she stand on equal ground with Adam?

I want a heritage for my children. I want a bright future, where my children are valued for their contributions to society. A future where they are judged for what they can do and not for where their great grandfather came from. Where they stand equal with the friend next to them, given the privileges that all Malaysians deserve. Where they have the liberty and freedom to share their views without fear of prejudice.

Where they will never have to fill up forms stating their race. Based on ethics, I no longer tick the box which requires me to state my race. I think it is none of their business whether I am Chinese, Indian, Malay (or worse, "others"). Where their government will not deny them of their rights as Malaysian citizens. Where they vote for someone because he is the right person for the job. Where there is efficiency.

I want my children to taste freedom and in order for that to happen, I need to do something today. I need to vote at the coming election. I need to show the world that I think. This coming election will be the trip of a lifetime. Mark it down in your diary for it will be a day for Malaysians to remember. It will be the day where every single one of our voices count.

I am not preaching religion. I am not preaching against religion. I am talking about love for my country and my duty to protect it. It is my duty to protect my country. Get rid of those people who tell you that patriotism is nodding your head to whatever that is thrown to you. I'm sorry but telling me what a good track record the government has had in the last 50 years doesn't cut it for me. Not anymore anyway. What is important to me is where Malaysia is heading in the next 50.

Don't even try to subtly mention how the country will fall into disarray if the opposition comes into power. I might misunderstand your intention and label it as threat. I don't care whether the candidate is for the government or from the opposition. I want to know who is best for the job. Now if Obama has the slightest hope of being the first black President of the US, then I think we Malaysians are ready to vote for the right person - without prejudice against gender, age, political aliance and especially not discrimination against a candidate's race.

Vote for people of substance. Vote for truth and justice for all. It is time to vote for an efficient leader. That’s neo-patriotism.


So have you thought about the day after you die? Have you thought of the name you leave behind? What inheritance is left for your children when you are gone? Is it the multi-million dollar business empire or the super expensive home? Will you sell your soul to the devil for a few good years of your life?

As for me, it is all about the ethics. It is all about basic human rights. It is the protection of my family and my neighbour’s. It is about bringing up children upright, not fucking them up with some sex segregation propaganda by certain quarters with ulterior motives.

I don’t want to wake up tomorrow, fearing that there is no tomorrow. I don’t want to face a day of regret, wishing that I did more. I don’t want to wake up one morning, wondering how on earth did Malaysia end up so fucked up. I don’t want to check the locks ten times before sleeping tonight.


Good night, Otto. Sleep tight and don’t let the thieves come in tonight.


Wednesday, February 06, 2008
The Red MG

Lina offered traditional massages and was very good with her hands. Everyone loved Lina because she was special. She not only could heal your body. She could heal your soul.

‘I didn’t want it to happen this way,’ I said, then breaking into silent tears. I drew my hand towards me face and wiped a secret tear away. I was lying on my stomach when we had the conversation. How everything breaks down after sometime and how I broke down each time. She kneaded my back, along the back of my spine. She started at my shoulder blades, slowly moving down and worked on my thighs.

‘Turn over,’ she said, lifting the towel whilst I turned around to lie on my back. She covered my breasts with a neatly folded fresh towel. I laid still, eyes closed as she oiled my hands. ‘You should find an older man,’ she said. ‘And don’t get married this year.’

I opened my right eye and looked straight at her. ‘What do you mean by “older”?’

‘Older,’ she said, then pausing for a second. ‘As in much older than you. Ten, eleven, twelve years older than you. Only an older man can understand you and allow you the freedom that you need.’

‘I am hardly going to marry someone this year, Lina,’ I said, the sighing. ‘I can hardly concentrate ten seconds on any man.’

She laughed, then she patted my head. ‘Listen to me, my child. You will feel calmer when you find that man. He is much older than you, so he will let you go and quench all the desires you have inside. A young man will never understand your needs.’

She moved her hands from the sides of my body, towards the center. ‘This is to centralize your womb. Makes you have good sex.’ I laughed when I heard that. I never knew old ladies were ever bothered about sex. ‘Oh goodness! Look at your belly button,’ she exclaimed.

I lifted my head to see the fuss surrounding my bellybutton. Is it bleeding? Is it dirty? Did I forget to wash my bloody bellybutton? I took a look closer.

‘Your bellybutton is special. Women with bellybuttons like yours make sex good for men. Tight inside. Wraps a man tightly inside,’ she said, then tapping the area surrounding my womanhood. ‘Now remember what Mak Cik Lina said. Find an older man.’


I was walking around aimlessly. Waiting, I was waiting for the cab to take me to the airport. I hate flying. I don’t know how I managed to like flying when I was younger. I must have been crazy then.

Actually, I am still crazy now. The backpack decided to slouch off my shoulders as I turned around to pace the space again. Sometimes I wished that I smoked. Then I looked normal when I pace. You see, smokers walk up and down three paces whenever they smoke and they have the most serious look on their faces. I had the serious look because I was seriously late for my check-in but I did not have the ciggie.

I hate cigarettes.


‘And what do we have here?’ His red car crept up like a cat upon a mouse. I did not hear it roll by. This is what you get for pacing up and down like a crazy homeless lady. A thousand things can happen around you but you would not have felt them one bit.

I peeped through the window. His MGB Roadster always looked exotic on the streets. ‘Who is that waiting for a cab?" He smiled when he said that.

‘Yes. I know that I am adorable, even when I am frantic,’ I said. He always had this calming smile. He pinned the cigarette at the corner of his lip, got out of the car and threw my luggage into the back. ‘Thank you, darling,’ I said as I got into the passenger seat.

Each of us has a role to play in life. His role in my life was always of the saviour. He and his red MG appear at the strangest and most difficult times in my life. It is as if he knew that I needed someone to carry me through the time and it was him who always carried me through.


‘I’ll take you for lunch,’ he declared. ‘I think you need something to fill that stomach of yours,’ he said as he poked my belly with his left index finger. He looked strange with the cigarette pursed at the corner of his lip. He looked like Popeye, the sailorman. Hey, that is quite apt seeing he sails in and out of my life.

‘No!’ I said. I crossed my arms in protest, like a spoilt child. ‘I am already late for the god-damn flight! And I don’t want to miss the flight.’

‘At this rate, you have already missed the flight. Don’t worry about it. You and I will go for some quick bite. I will get my PA to arrange a new ticket for you. Where are you going this time around?’

His car zipped down the street.


‘My whole life is like an hour on BBC World. It is frenzied with all emotions twirling and raging inside. My life is a drama and I am in a mess.’ I buried my face in my hands.

‘Oh it isn’t that bad,’ he said, then rearranging my brown locks on my shoulders. ‘You will make it through this one, like how you made it through your last one.’ Somehow his words were soothing. He soothed the pain away. And when I feared anything, he was there to sweep it all away. That was his role to play.

I told him how I got into this mess. How now I have to fly faraway to explain myself. How unhappy I am with everything despite having quite nearly everything. How I feared hurting people around me. How I wanted to be free. How I feared being alone but I could never feel comfortable with someone. I never trusted anyone more than myself. And when I fear, I flee.

He poured some tobacco on the paper. He had perfected rolling tobacco down to an art-form. Watching him craft the cigarette into existence soothed my soul. I grew silent and rested my chin in my hands. I sat entranced as he licked the edge of the paper. He lit the cigarette and drew his first smoke.

‘Now I have to go break-up with a person. I am telling you, I can’t do this anymore. My heart cannot take the heartbreaks anymore.’ I cupped my eyes with my hands. I cannot break down and cry. Not in the restaurant anyway.

He lit his cigarette and then he gave me a squeeze. 'Don't worry. I will take you there.'


I rubbed my eyes. It is 8 a.m. but it is still dark outside.


Monday, February 04, 2008
One Thing Man Should Never Do

What I love most about being away from Malaysia is, it challenges my daily routine. I find myself bewildered by what I normally take for granted back in Malaysia. A good example would be this morning when I got up and looked out of the window. Another good example would be the oh-so-ordinary trip to the neighbourhood grocer.

This morning I was up like usual. The definition of “like usual” would be 7 a.m. It is calm here; not more than the occasional sound of water chugging through the pipes. I took a peep through the kitchen window. The forest looked different. Ah yes, it is different. It snowed. A lot. The forest was pristine white, with dark chocolate brown lines marking each individual branch of each individual tree.


‘Are you free to talk, Miss Otto?’ Her left eye blinked through the small gap through my bathroom door.

‘I’ll be out in a minute. I just need to make sure the yellow eye shadow on my right eye matches my left,’ I said then plastering myself closer to the mirror in hopes that I could match my eye shadow as accurately as possible. No pressure.

If I were to name the culprit for my high (real or imagined) stress level, staying across my office would be it. Clients came in every hour of the day and I could never run away from the phone calls. I had a TV and Astro installed late last year but I was never able to watch TV from 7 a.m. to approximately 7 p.m. My bottom was stuck to the office chair from the moment my eye shadow matched each morning till I was too tired to type another letter each evening.

This morning, I am writing a story to you finally. Staying away from Malaysia means I am writing this to you while sitting on the loo. How different my day is after a 13-hour flight to a city where leaves sprout in late May.


I wasted a year of my life taking short breathes. Taking short breathes through tiny slits of imaginary air, before submerging myself into tasks that never seem to end, emerging only to take another short breathe.

Today is the first day I slowed down to smell everything around me. Today is the first day that I find time to take a slow, deep breathes, relishing in the air that my lungs received.

I am not drowning anymore.


‘Aiya! Why you don’t fly after the lunar new year?’ my mother asked when she found out that I had a ticket booked for Europe five days before Chinese New Year.

‘Nothing special happens during Chinese New year, so I thought I should fly,’ I said nonchalantly.

Which is true. Nothing ever happens. My family is small, consisting of my parents and three brats they call children. When we outgrew our cute phase called childhood, my parents babysat three siblings, who are equally as bratty as my parents’ real children. Reunion dinners never seemed important. Well, we have reunion dinners but it was a small affair consisting of two adult parents, 3 adult real kids and 3 more artificially adopted kids.

We don’t smoke. We don’t drink and heaven forbids if we ever learnt to gamble! Which left us with only one Chinese sin – eating.

I think Eve spends a typical Chinese New Year. It is family tradition for Eve’s father to talk about the bird and the bees to his three girls after having some Henessy. My family finishes reunion dinner by 6 p.m. We then do random non-Chinese New Year related stuff.

Three years ago, we tried to be our Chinese best. We learnt to play mahjong. We should have realised that it was a failed venture from the start. Even the blind can read the tiles better than my brothers and I.


To date, I owe the following to the following people:

1. My contractor, a sum of RM13,000 for building renovation on my office.

2. Alex, a letter answering his questions. An emotional debt.

3. My bank, a sum of RM20,000 for an overdraft.

4. My car financing institution, a sum of RM1050 for the pretty car I zip about in.

5. My credit card institutions, random sums of money for random manic purchases which now include a pair of ruby red Camper shoes and a gold bracelet that looks like an earthworm crawling on my wrist.

I will expedite payment before Chinese New Year, as I would like to clear as much debts as possible. One should start the lunar new year with as little debt as possible. It is like the act of cutting your hair. You always come out feeling lighter and fresher.


The sun is out and it is melting the snow away. A sparkle of jewelled water drops off the end of a tree branch.

Do you think the sun will melt my emotions too?


‘And that is why men should only tell women things on a “should know” basis,’ he said, then stumping the life out of his cigarette.

One evening, his girlfriend (ever so innocently) asked him how many girls had he brought home to shag on his bed. He now admits that it was a mistake to tell her the truth. He claims that anger seethes through her pretty rows of porcelain teeth. Sometimes she claimed magnanimity by saying that she was cool with it. (Seriously, who was she kidding?)

‘I knew it! I shouldn’t have told her. You should never tell women the truth. Just tell what is necessary, and that’s it!’ he said.

‘No, no,’ I replied, ‘Don’t ever do that. The one thing that a man should never do is hide.’


‘You will prefer to be nagged for something that you did than for something that a woman thought you do. At least the nagging is justified. She will make up an answer if you did not offer a satisfactory answer. So you might as well get flak for something that you really did. At least you are punished for your real sins, not imaginary ones.'

He lit another cigarette and nodded his head.

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