Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Not ready to rumble

Last night, I was typing out a short story on my archaic laptop in bed and ended up falling asleep on the keyboard with the lights still on. As I was about to pull the trigger at Bush, I was rudely awakened by a faint throbbing in my chest. Weird palpitations, I thought. I waited a while for it to stop, and just when I was concluding that all those pisang goreng binges were taking a toll on my arteries, I opened my eyes and looked down.

My chest was rocking. Ever so slightly. In fact, my entire body was getting jiggy wit it.

I strained my ears to make out audible signals of midnight neighborhood construction... Nadda.

Mom pounding belacan in her mortar... Nadda.

Crazy kids cruising around with the soft top down and Megadeath blaring from the speakers... Nadda.

My dog can make a door rattle if she leans against it and scratches herself, but that effect on a bed would be unheard of unless she's secretly found a way to unscrew the lid off my tub of Fuel Mass.

What's going on?

Trying my best to not come off as fatigue-drunk, I called out to my sister who was studying on her bed at the opposite side of the room.

"Stephanie... Do you feel like something is... shaking?"

She slammed her Mandarin notes in her lap.

"YES! I didn't want to ask you anything because I thought you were sleeping and I thought it was just me, Thank God!"

She ran downstairs to ask my mom if she felt anything, which she didn't.

Shortly after, my mom and dad came up to inform me of a major eathquake that had just struck Indonesia, and that loads of people were calling up the radio station to report on tremors shaking up their homes.

The same town struck twice by natural disasters!? Where is all this sudden horrible unfairness stemming from? I demand to speak with Upper Management.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The Seven-Hour Itch

The thought of having seemingly a gazillion superstars in the humble city of Kuala Lumpur is a bit far-fetched to register. But with the immensely influential factor of the date of a charity concert coinciding with that of the Malaysian Grand Prix, the prefix was removed from 'unbelievable' for a brief moment in local cynicism.

I went to the Force of Nature concert with my ex-colleagues from CLEO, Stephanie and Sow Yee. A lot of stars made surprise turn-ups to add glamour to the already long list of red carpet arrivals. I regretted not bringing my camera - security wasn't tight at all, my Filet O'Fish got through clean. Not only did the whole event last almost double the time originally scheduled (seven hours, last performance ended at 3am), but the performances grossly over-justified the RM82 ticket I had paid for. I swear their contracts must have had some clause stating the phrase 'must be a crowd-pleaser'.

Paula Abdul - The first presenter. No-one knew it was her until she completed her monologue and introduced herself. Malaysian dweebs, and you all call yourself Idol fans.
Lance Bass & Joey Fatone - Whoa Joey, you really live up to your surname now. And we don't care about you backup dancers, we want to meet the guys who actually sing in N'Sync.
Alan Cumming - Didn't make much of an entrance. Girls were screaming mainly because of his Scottish inflections. C'mon people, doesn't the word 'Nightcrawler' ring a bell?
Michelle Yeoh - Looking stylish in a kebaya top, jeans, a completely unnecessary hat and a new un-Malaysian accent. No prizes for guessing why she's back in town.
Clay Aiken - Stepped out in spectacles and clothes which my dad usually wears for Sunday morning dim sum. He was easily forgiven after reading out a short passage in Malay, then addressed us as "Tuan-tuan dan Puan-puan" (Gentlemen and Ladies) in perfect pronounciation.
Ken Watanabe - He came out, mentioned something about being a force of nature, threw his fist into the sky, screamed out a few times and disappeared behind the curtains again. His appearance was the shortest, coolest and most bewildering. Gotta love em Japs.
Bai Ling - giving the fashion police a breather in some refreshingly decent clothes.
Esai Morales - "Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome... WYCLEF JEEEEEEEEEN!!" The entire stadium gave a simultaneous cringe.
Kimora Lee Simmons - The last presenter of the night. When she was introduced by the previous presenter as 'The First Lady of Hip-Hop', more than half the audience was expecting someone like Missy or Mary J. She was lovely anyhow.

Lauryn Hill - Mellow and lovely. Played some acoustic numbers, the only uptempo number was That Thing (Doo Wop). Loved her brass section. She was entirely immersing herself in her music. Her presence was ethereal. And her skirt was to die for.
Innuendo, V.E. & Ruffedge - Good attempt at keeping audiences entertained. Dug that synkronized knee-bopping. Played it safe with Belaian Jiwa.
Sheila Majid - The queen of happy songs! It was all going fantastic until Anuar Zain and Dayang Nurfaizah joined her on stage. Nevertheless, Ikhlas Tapi Jauh is a song I always enjoy live.
Boyz II Men - Left no ballad unturned. Medley of classics, including Water Runs Dry, On Bended Knee and End of the Road really got the crowd going. And who would have expected them to jump out with Motownphilly!? Whack!
Ruth Sahanaya - Indonesia's equivalent to Sheila Majid. She was a powerhouse! Then she called out a duet partner - her 'new best friend', Eric Benet! Their voices complemented each other surprisingly well.
Eric Benet - Sexy songs, sexy falsetto, sexy suit. I didn't know loose ties turn me on. I don't care if you're a nymphomaniac, just give me a piece of you and I'll die a happy woman.
Wyclef Jean - One of the best performances that night. He came out saying something like: "26 hours... It took me 26 hours to get to Malaysia! So you all had better get off your seats for Wyclef! I don't care if you're old or young. And if you don't get off your seats, Wyclef's gonna come down and get you!" He boogied with his bodyguard on stage. He ran into the audience to mingle with his fans whilst performing. And this dude just rocked the house. How much, you may ask? He told the entire stadium to wave their cellphones in the air and ordered the technicians to turn off all the lights to create a magical sea of dancing stars. He played his glittery guitar on his back AND with his teeth. Just when everyone thought it couldn't get any better, he got into a Fugee mood, invited Ms. Hill out from backstage, and together in sweet reminiscence, they strummed our pain with their fingers.
Jackie Chan, Nicholas Tse, & Yumiko Cheng - Sadly, the Hong Kongers stuck to their traditional format of crooning to minus ones. Even Jackie's commendable attempt at a ballad duet with Puan Sri Chelsia Cheng failed to draw an enthusiastic applause. To fill a gap of silence during Nicholas Tse's appearance, I called out his name in a blood-curdling scream and according to Stephanie, Nicholas heard it and looked a little freaked out.
Backstreet Boys - Cleanly executed moves, sugary harmonies, matching white suits. To the rapture of many girls and chagrin of their boyfriends, Backstreet's Back and they sure haven't lost it. They sang a few songs from their new upcoming album as well as some musically re-arranged old favorites. Although I sang along primarily for the sake of it, I will admit I did shriek at the intro of All I Have To Give.
Black Eyed Peas - Freestyle rapping and breakdancing by all the male members, note-twirling scatting and one-handed cartwheels by Fergie... Starting their set at 2am, their performance turned out to be the most energetic. Unfortunately, the audience was too burned out to jump around and cheer. Even I felt my knees giving way when shimmy-shaking to Hey Mama. People sat down halfway through Where Is The Love, but confirmed themselves a log-dead slumber by giving it their all to the concert-ending song, the ironically titled Let's Get It Started.

Stars who were in town but didn't show their faces that night included Carmen Elektra, Nick Stahl, Carre Otis and David Blaine.

The only things that pissed be off about the event was
1) The incident of Stephanie's bare back getting intentionally spat on for unexplained reasons while we were partying to BEP, convincing me that cavemen still walk the earth.
2) Not being invited to the after-party. I mean, you gotta think practical here... who was going to finish the fountain of melted chocolate?

Monday, March 21, 2005

Welcome to my life

I just made a complete tit out of myself on national radio.

I heard a Simple Plan contest cue-to-call announcement on the radio in my office, and remembering how eager my little sis is to enter one, I just gave it a shot. The line went through on the second try.

Warning: Following dialogue contains apparent profanity.

"Radio Four! Who's on the line?"
"Errr... M-m-my name is D-Da-"
"So are you a big fan of Simple Plan?"
"Well... yeah, I gue-I mean, yeah!"
"Okay, we're going to ask you some questions. How many band members are there in Simple Plan?"
"Ooh.. ooh... erm..." *Grabs flyer coincidentally lying on office desk and counts people on it*

*Puts on Simple Plan fan expertise voice* "That would be five."
"That's right. Now, can you name all five?"
"Erm..." *Flips to the back of flyer*

"Aw, darn it..."
"Woah, NO swearing on radio!"
"...Oh. Okay. Sorry. Erm..."

"Okay fine, I'll give you an easier question. When is Simple Plan's concert in Malaysia?"
*Flips to front of flyer & puts on Simple Plan fan expertise voice again* "That would be 29th March 2005."
"And what day would that be exactly?"
"Aw man, I'm not too sure, darn it lemme ch-"
"I said NO swearing, one more time and I'm gonna have to cut you off!"
"A-Aye Sir..."
"So do you know?"
"It's on aaaaaaayyyy... *checks desk calendar & gives up using SPFE voice after making it bloody obvious already that I am NOT a fan* Tuesday?"
"Do you have a calendar in front of you?"
"Uhh... No..."
"Anyway, that's correct! *Plays 20th Century Fox theme music* Congratulations, you have won yourself Simple Plan's latest CD, 'Still Not Getting Any' as well as an autographed poster, PLUS you'll be in the running to win two tickets to catch their concert, backstage passes for their meet-and-greet session, and a Simple Plan lunchbox!!"
"Yay. Awesome. Thanks."
"Rightey-o, please hold on the line..."

An hour later, 11-year-old "Emma" called up to ask for the Simple Plan CD, and she sang the ENTIRE first verse and chorus of 'Shut Up' - line for line, note for note. The deejay, thoroughly impressed, gave her the same prize which was meant for the next day's cue to call. I soaked my steam-ironed corporate suit in tears as Emma's esctatic squeals of gratitude shook my dismal cubicle. It's hardcore folks like her who should have gotten through instead of bored Assitant Events Managers feeling sorry for themselves.

Maybe it was an act of God after all. I hope He's happy. And as for Stephanie, you little fart, you owe me BIG time.

Friday, March 18, 2005


I saw this skateboard at the departmental store near my house. It was disgustingly cheap. That was the only reason why I wanted to buy it, apart from the fact that it had - lop off my legs and call me Shorty - ten bloody wheels.

Whoa whoa whoa hold up there young lady, how the hell are you going to find time to try out that thing? You haven’t touched your normal skateboard in months!

Don’t listen to her, man. That is one kick@ss-holy-shite-motherf%$#-you skateboard. You’ll be the talk of the park, the suburb, the city! Of course you’ll make time to ride it!
Excuse me? You won’t ever! It’s an utter waste of money which could more constructively go to a nice winter wonderland costume for your Shi Tzu…
She must have the memory of a goldfish to forget that Pepé suffers from heat rash.
B-B-But you’re a full-time working woman - you can’t even afford to land yourself in hospital!
Aah, but remember you’ve got that personal accident insurance student package which your old college is still giving you because you still haven’t returned your student ID card? You’re covered, dude. And I bet that if you don’t buy it now, you'll end up an 80-year old fogey telling her grandkids what a saddo you were for not buying that damn 10-wheel skateboard. In short, you will officially suck. And you wouldn’t want to officially suck, would you now?

Sir, No Sir.

Parents, lock up your children – this woman’s got a new toy.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

I can't graduate

I can't graduate because I haven't completed enough hours and was not properly informed about it. Yup, another classic case of someone sleeping on the job at another's expense. I've got three parties trying to shun responsibility: the American university, the middle-man institution in Malaysia, and the local college which I was pursuing my degree at.

Months after going round in circles, chasing for answers and spending a good amount to re-apply for transcripts as evidence, I only got a final clarification today from the American uni that I need 2 more classes to graduate... Not much but still, I was under the impression for the past year that I was done.
I called the local middle-man representative as early as November to check on the date of the graduation ceremony for this year. I was instead slapped with the marvellous claim that I couldn't even attend it... and this was coming from the same nincompoop who assured me at the end of 2003 that I had completed everything and that if there were any changes or problems, she would let me know. I didn't hear from her for the entire 2004 so I assumed everything was cool, and immediately started job-hunting.

Now, working as a full-time peon to help sustain my family, I find out after a flippin year that I need to go back to flippin college. And not only can I not afford to sacrifice the time or money, but it's screwed up my trust level with my dad again because he's thinking it's all my fault and that I'll never be mature enough to handle things by myself.


In other words, I'm going to appeal.


While I was having dinner last night, my little sis Stephanie ran to me from the living room to tell me some about some TV documentary that talked about a school of dolphins saving a man from a shark attack. She then promptly changed the subject, contemplating aloud about taking part in a radio contest to win tickets to the Simple Plan concert.

Thinking about the dolphins, my eyes started to glaze and I said in true Bill-and-Ted style: "Whoa... if that like... happened to me, man... it would be a crazy miracle, like... I would feel so blessed man... it would be, like, an act of God, man..."

Stephanie broke my trance:

"I didn't know you were such a big fan."

Monday, March 14, 2005

Name is Vina, Duuuuh Vina

Being a huge fan of Whose Line Is It Anyway, I treated my family out to an improv comedy show over the weekend. It's a very different experience when you're watching it live. Those Comedysportz players were masters of their craft - I found myself perpetually clutching my sides to keep my lunch from exploding through my epidermis. At one point I got ingeniusly conned into getting on stage to help play a game ("No volunteers? Ok, whoever is wearing shoes, please put your hand up...")

One of the players and I had act out a made-up movie scene and speak in a made-up foreign language, and the other 2 players would have to translate for the audience what we were saying. As someone who always acts stupid, always talks gibberish and always gets laughed at, I had never felt so comfortable on a stage before. Ah, it pays to be a born doofus. Watch your back Tolkien, I'll be creating new languages before you can say gofinaziteekamakamachameleon.

Friday, March 11, 2005

"Like, *ew*!"

Divas say the darndest things.

I was having dinner with a good friend of mine last night and I asked him if he was going to watch the Sound of Music musical. He found it a little hard to express himself, but it came out as:

"I don't think I'll enjoy it much... The woman who plays Maria is... so... so... fat."

We picked up his boyfriend after dinner and he agreed and added, "Her hair is so ugly and they dress her up as a Dutch maid! Why would I want to pay so much just to go see Maria as a Dutch maid?"

Earlier on the boyfriend had his foot run over by a motorcyclist. Limping around, the only thing he complained about was how his Converse sneaker now looked so dirty.

If I ever say I hate these guys, I'd be lying through my teeth.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Enter The Retard, starring Bruised Knee

My knee hurts when I walk. This is why.

Sunday morning, during the Cameron Highlands trip, my mates and I were chilling by the balcony of our longhouse chalet. I seated myself on the balcony grill and faced inside, as intricately depicted in the diagram below:

My friend Vig was initially standing in front of me, whom I leaned on for support. The moment he moved away, I tried adjusting my bum on the rail and I'm not sure how it happened exactly, but I fell off (thankfully not backwards 4 metres down).

My left knee hit the wooden plank flooring of the balcony. My right leg shot through between the grill bars and the lower thigh smashed itself against the horizontal bottom bar. If it weren't for the pathetic circumstances, I could have been mistaken for practicing the elegant One-Legged King Pigeon Pose.

My left leg barely suffered, but my right leg was a goner. Fiona dribbled some tea tree oil on the bump, and I whimpered like a loser.

15 minutes later

6 hours later

12 hours later

36 hours later

The blood clot has grown to the size of my palm. My friend Vicky wants me to massage it so it will heal faster. But I'm secretly cherishing this while it lasts. It looks all speckled and colorful, like something taken from the Hubble Space Telescope. Whenever I feel gloomy, I just pull up my trouser leg and marvel at the sheer complexity of my new cosmic tattoo, and all my troubles melt away.

It deserves a name. I think I'll call it Wilfred.

Spoiler in more ways than one

I've just been informed that a movie which I'll be involved in needs a fairly major script fix... Although the director had conceptualised it years ago and it's set for shooting circa January 2006, there's a local movie currently showing in cinemas that ends in exactly the same way as ours. Sometimes great minds think a bit too alike.

Monday, March 07, 2005


Vignes, an altruist whom I respect and adore, asked me to join him and a few of his motley crew from Raleigh International to make a weekend trip to Cameron Highlands to celebrate his birthday. I was initially skeptical about it as my parents detest him for the most laughable reasons (that's another story). If I wanted to go, I would have had to lie to my parents that I'd be going with other friends. Holy cow! Me, lie? To my mommy and daddy dearest? Could I have considered such a cold-blooded thought?

Hell, yeah.

I had only been to Cameron Highlands once before when I was a child, but memories flooded back the moment we reached the first part of town. I had slept for almost the entire 3-hour drive and woke up in an entirely different world. The scenery, the people, the soul of the land... Your five senses would feel heightened, the energy in the air could bring dead flowers to life.

Vig enlightening the village locals about the wonders of a digital camera (Fiona on far right)

Village boys holding their 'kite' - plastic bags tethered by recording cassette tape - waiting for the next wind to come.

Vig and Alan combing the tea plantations

The morning sun kissing the misty valley around our chalet

Birthday boy Vig, his crazy right-hand mofo Alan, wisecracking Michael (who farted so much I could've sworn he sold his arse to the devil), demure Lee San, tough Kiwi adventurer Fiona and I bunked out at an isolated longhouse chalet owned by the Malaysian Nature Society. We made sure we made the most out of our stay, even if it meant amusing ourselves with blankets, bananas and Alan riverdancing in his undies.

One of the highlights of the trip was when Alan took us to an abandoned air strip, which was utilized while planes were still being used to distribute sacks of manure around the tea plantations (before a non-fatal crash put an end to the practice).

Whilst taking a look around, we saw an empty blue plastic barrel hiding in some thick reeds. And when you pair a barrel with a 15 degree slope, a video camera and a gang of f***wits, you know it's time to pull a Jackass.

Alan trying to save my sorry @ss

Vig did it first and gave me his thumb of approval. I think I was going at no fewer than 2 revolutions a second. It got a little violent at the end, where you go so fast that your head starts slamming against the barrel and you start envisioning everyone else as anime characters running away from a huge spinning blur of blue.

But it turned out that everything was under control, and I emerged a new person who believed she ultimately rocked.

The rest of the eventful trip made me regret that I only had 16MB of space on my camera. My last photo would have been taken just moments before driving back to KL, when a patriarchal-looking dog roaming around our parked cars had stepped on top of a rock at the edge of the hill to scan the horizon, like a hunter of the highlands. It was a mindblowing personal Nat Geo moment.

You know that you're on a worthwhile trip when you feel happy and sad at the same time. Happy because you are having the time of your life, sad because you know it will eventually come to an end. It's strange feeling depressingly ecstatic, but it's highly recommended.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

He Ain't Heavy...

My relationship with my brother is decomposing before my eyes and I feel helpless about it.

It's his birthday today. Last night when I got back home after a movie, I saw him slumped into the living room couch watching TV. I wished him Happy Birthday. He replied with a soft 'Uh', his eyes still glued to the screen. I leaned over to kiss him on the cheek; he didn't get up to make it easier for me and I ended up collapsing on top of him. He didn't say anything, didn't move a muscle. He was almost comatose.

Today he and I left for work at the same time. We waited for the LRT together. When it arrived it was jam-packed. He managed to squeeze in but there was no space for me to step into the train. I knew there was nothing he could have done to help me on, but he didn't even have a look of care or concern on his face. Like I was just another stranger. His mask of apathy lingered around me long after my eyes trailed it inside the departing train.

I can't remember the last time I've had a decent multi-syllabled conversation with him. I've been waiting for him to come out of his shell for many years. I don't know what there is left for me to do to salvage this relationship. Granted that he is a man of few words and his communication skills at home are a little poor, but apparently he once mentioned that I'm the closest sister he has. What is the rest of the family to him when the unconditional love between us now doesn't even show, isn't even felt?

Happy Birthday Malcolm, I love you. I just wish things were different.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Sisterhood of Lost Expectations

I met up for a drink with a girlfriend last night, mainly to talk about a mutual friend who's been acting up recently. As the conversation progressed, interesting trivia surfaced bit by bit, skeletons danced out of their closets, and a completed jigsaw puzzle had been unwittingly unravelled. It felt like a scene ripped straight out of a corny chick flick.

We each, consecutively, had something going on with him. And he was being a wierdo with both.

At the cafe, our table had the least number of people and the largest contribution to noise pollution. It was a chair-shifting, mug-rattling, table-smashing ruckus. We compared experiences and pieced events together with hilarious results. (Although my friend has only known him for a fraction of the time which I have, their 'relationship' went deeper and longer than mine. With me, it was more of... erm, abusing a friendship. She doesn't want anything to do with him anymore, and I'm strangely still friends with him.) After the ordeal of revelations we ended up feeling used, but at the same time relieved and grateful that we opened up to each other. We passed his house on the way home, parked outside, peeped though his gate and fought the insatiable urge to hurl stones and expletives at his bedroom window.

It was a pretty fun night.

Yummy yum yum

I ordered my lunch from the usual chap fun (mixed rice) dude at the Midvalley food court yesterday. He offered me a free bowl of broth with my usual plate of veggies, I asked him what type it was for the day and he just said 'vegetables'. Fair nuff. So I grab a bowl and hop over to a nearby empty seat. I'm about to tuck in when I realize that the stuff floating in my broth isn't remotely leafy. I take a closer look...

It's a chicken foot. It was boiled as an ingredient. The shredded tendons at the end were waving around like how kelp would on a seabed. One of the claws was stained a blue-black, with the tip of the knuckle bone jutting out like a compound fracture. I prodded the jellified foot with my fork, wondering how I was going to get this soup down my oesophagus in the name of not wasting a good bowl which I was too embarrassed to return.

Damnit, I must not let down my Chinese ancestry!

I dipped my spoon in, closed my eyes and poured a little between my quivering lips, when a sudden mental image of a certain movie poster flashed before me:
Posted by Hello

As you might have figured, I didn't get very far past the first sip.