Thursday, August 31, 2006


Selamat Hari Merdeka to Malaysians everywhere.

God. I miss home (and nasi lemak, char kueh teow, biryani at Insaf, nasi kandar penang, lobak, mee goreng mamak, wan tan mee, nasi paprik.....).


Friday, August 25, 2006

Manglish Speaklah

My parents flew back to KL a few days ago. There's a sudden hush around the house. I call my mother. 'The house is really quiet', I mumble. There's a pause. And then she says, 'now you know how I feel when all of you leave'.


I had fun playing tourist guide, this being their first trip here. I had warned them about a few things. Girls will sunbathe in bikinis in the park. They sell condoms in public toilets. Do not accidentally enter sex shops, you may be traumatised for life. Better still, just don't go to Soho. I managed to shield them from a few things: Big Brother, the Sun Page 3, haggis, the thick haze of hash in Camden market.

Their favourite grocery outlet was Hoo Hing for all things Malaysian. Got taugeh and kaya summore okay. Everything Malaysian was of course superior.
Why the tube clanging all the time? Not at all smooth like the LRT.
You travel on this all the time?
If you stay in KL you can drive around, you know? Germs I tell you, all this public transport.

Again, everything in Malaysia feels, looks and tastes better too: the chicken, the prawn, the fish, the okra, the long beans. Exception made for tomatoes, cauliflower, mushrooms. Sandwich for lunch? You mean you eat bread for breakfast, lunch and dinner? Never heard of such a thing.

Wales, ah? A bit like Cameron Highlands, what? The country idyll merely reminded my dad of Kuala Kubu Baru (can you imagine?). Plus, fed on years of finest East Coast white sand washed beaches, they turned their noses when assaulted by the pebble beaches.

Canary Wharf like KL city centre only. East Ham, a bit like Brickfields but Brickfields better. Cleaner summore. Greenwich market? Like Bangsar pasar malamlah.

Okay. I get it. Next time, UK pergi Ulu Klang saja.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Cardigan Bay

'Now, I am quite prepared to believe that other countries can offer more obviously spectacular scenery. Indeed, I have seen in encyclopaedias and the National Geographic Magazine breath-taking photographs of sights from various corners of the globe; magnificent canyons and waterfalls, raggedly beautiful mountains. It has never, of course, been my privilege to have seen such things at first hand, but I will nevertheless hazard this with some confidence: the English landscape at its finest- such as I saw this morning- possess a quality that the landscapes of other nations, however more superficially dramatic, inevitably fail to possess...What is pertinent is the calmness of that beauty, its sense of restraint. It is as though the land knows of its own beauty, of its own greatness, and feels no need to shout it. In comparison, the sorts of sights offered in such places as Africa and America, though undoubtedly very exciting, would, I am sure, strike the objective viewer as inferior on account of their unseemly demonstrativeness'.

Kazuo Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day at 28-29.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

7 Bloggers Tag

I was tagged by 30in2005 to 'list seven bloggers that I do not know in real life but who I would like to meet and a hypothetical setting that would be ideal to meet them in'.

So, I am listing here bloggers I know only virtually unlike those people whom I've met online and have now become good real-life friends.

1. 30in2005 : Similar wavelength, similar age, similar new house moving madness. Oh, the stories to be exchanged about estate agents, being stuck on a property chain, etc. Regent's park would be a great meeting place.

2. Mint Chutney: She gives me hope that its possible to have it all-marriage, kids and career with a twinkle in the eye, homour in the heart and sarcasm for the soul. The ideal setting would be each others homes.

3. Masalachaii: She's so full of joie de vivre. Plus, there's the connection with academia. We could meet perhaps for chai at current favourite eatery, Saravan Bhavan. With some thosa as well.

4. May: May is just so sweet and funny. We've been planning to meet like forever and she's tops on my list next time I head KL. Of course with a foodie like her, its got to be over food. Maybe char keuh teow but I'll let her choose-this girl knows her food.

5. Starlight : The book connection. Some nice cafe, maybe in Bangsar Village. We could drag Sharon along as well.

6. Lydia Teh: Like, hello-she's a real life celebrity writer and everything. Again, we missed each other the last time. Next time, we must meet. Coffee at Kino will be quite nice.

7. Atenah: She has such a sense of humour about academia and the accompanying stress. Anywhere in Bloomsbury so I can take her around my hang-out place. An little Italian cafe in Russell Square.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

That timeless, mild, beguiling island of a town

I am off for the weekend, deep in Carmarthenshire, Wales to soak in the sights and sounds of the rural idyll. This is Dylan Thomas land and I am going to tremble and and recite 'do not go gentle into that good night'.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Flash Fiction

My friend Starlight sent a challenge via O magazine to : "to tell a story in less than 300 words or less. Something like, as O put it, a novel crossed with a haiku. The result was eight stunning pieces. Like exquisite hor'dourves".

After procratinating for ever so long, here's mine:

By evening, she was in love again. Not quite but mostly yes. Let us meet all over again, she must tell him. The planets would have moved to new astrological signs and may bode better things for their destinies. Surely time will pocket the aching residue of all the bruises? She sat waiting.

He was tired. Striding up her limbs, he groped with clumsy familiarity. The cold beer and tobacco slithered down her spine as the lazy sensitivities of her skin stirred.

In a few hours, she will open the front door for the morning newspaper and start breakfast.
(word count:99)


Kak Teh suggested that the Flash Fiction would make a good meme and I think that its a great idea. You can get a better sample of Flash Fiction at Starlight's blog but remember- no more than 300 words. So all of YOU are tagged.