Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The end to one year, the beginning of another

Oh my goodness. Here we (or rather, I) go again with forgetting and lapsing and neglecting. Have had an immense amount of work which dictated 15 hours by the computer everyday for what seemed like a very, very long time. I barely had time to scratch my bum, least of all think of something intelligent to say. But hey, the good news is that at least I'm learning to be a bit more productive to society.

And so anyway I celebrated the end of work with a wonderful, fabulous, totally blissful Christmas weekend doing absolutely NOTHING! Really, there is nothing more exciting than knowing that there is are two whole blank days ahead of you. And then to add the icing to the already amazing 10-tiered cake, you turn off your phone and lie in blissful, estactic quiet. zing!

So I am a very happy bunny and looking forward to the end of a very long, crazy, exhausting year.... and bring in the new! (Will be in Bangkok, dancing, and running around the markets hooray)

Hope you're all having as fab a festive season as we are (Trisha is having a good time despite her angst and frustration at the whole country) and have a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR! *blows party whistle*

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Loving you is a dirty job....

Call me simple but I have realized (since my last post and promises of writing more often) that 24-hour electricity is of no use when you do not have easy access to the internet!

Anyways, I am now at the Toyota Service Centre and spied an Internet Corner so I rushed over.

Since I arrived home two weeks ago I have realized that:

1. Citibank SUCKS! The people in there are RUDE and patronizing. Yes I know some people never pay their bills but Citibank should get a grip and learn the difference between the people who are avoiding payment and the ones who are simply overdue because of valid reasons (namely me!)

2. Maxis also sucks. There are about 3 people who actually know their job while the rest languish about giving you this line "that is our procedure". This is in answer to ANY question you may have. Plus they terminate your phone line when they promised to SUSPEND it!!!

3. Driving sucks. People are even worse than I remember six months ago. We were nearly run over twice in ten minutes because some idiots do not remember how to use indicators.

4. Working out sucks. If you haven't been going to the gym regularly you'll really suffer at the Fitness First step class. I can't feel my legs at this point!

I know, I know, I'm bitchin' and whinin' but despite everything, I'm STILL glad I'm back home.

KL - sometimes loving you is a dirty job but someone's got to do it!!!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Too Big For My Boobs

I told you I'm going to write more regularly.... : )

Interestingly enough, despite the passage of time, some things have remained exactly the same in KL - for instance inept sales assistants are still alive and well! It seems that they're still adept at inadvertently insulting the ladies who dare to venture into the women's departments at the malls.

As proof, here's an account of my recent run-in with a typical sales girl at a Wacoal counter in Metrojaya

Me (holding up chosen brassiere): Can I have this one please?

Assistant Girl: You sure that one your size, ah?

Trisha: Yes, I just tried it on just now

AG (whipping out a tape measure): Wait, wait, lemme measure first…. I think that wan too big lah!

Trisha: No, its okay, I know my size…

AG (with a doubtful expression): Okay loh. You wan matching panty or not?

Me: Yes please. Can I have a medium, please?

AG (casting an all encompassing glance at me): I think you better take large lah!

Me: No, I want a medium

AG: No, large

This went on for a what felt like two hours but eventually the 'helpful' sales assistant decided that I wasn't going to give in and went prowling around for her next victim.

I would normally be ready to scream but I was so happy to be in the land of 24-hour electricity that even annoying sales girls cease to be annoying.

Some things never change… but despite the traffic jams and thuderstorms, annoying sales girls and lack of parking, KL is still home and there's no place like it!

Home

The best thing about going away is coming home again. Yes, I'm baaaaccck in K-to-da-L! Woo hoo!

It was wonderful when we touched down after nearly 16 hours and heard the announcement "Ladies and Gentlemen, we have now landed in Kuala Lumpur." After 6 months in a foreign land, that was the best thing I'd heard in a long time!


Sorry about not writing for such a long time but I've been caught up in a frenzy of reconnecting phone lines etc.



Since I'm now in a land of 24-hour electricity, I suppose I have no excuse not to write : )

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Confessions of a Virgin Camper

Now I know I can survive anything and I mean a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g!!!!

Drumroll please….. I actually went camping. Yes, Diva Trisha went on a camping trip and did all that back to nature crap! It was proper camping , as in tents, as in insects, as in scorching, skin cancer-inducing sun and most importantly, as in no flushing loo. Plus, it was my birthday. Horror of horrors!!!


I had to pee in the sea and since it was just an overnight trip, I thought it'd be best to hold out (and hold in!) and not even think about the other reason we all visit toilets. It didn't bear contemplating!!!!


Don't ask me how I got talked into it by some of The Engineer's and my new, very outdoorsy South African friends. Trust me on this, the orang putih South Africans take outdoor activities Very Seriously just like every other orang putih. Think about it, have you ever seen anyone other than the mad Mat Sallehs cycling uphill around Bukit Damansara in the Dead Heat at 3 o'clock in the afternoon in KL?


Anyway, I'm getting diverted here….to make a long story short, I found myself on a small albeit absolutely gorgeous jewel of an island in the middle of the Indian Ocean last weekend.

Here are some of the pics:



This is sunrise on the island...
and this is sunset...

the blue tent in the background was home for a night...

Despite all that beauty surrounding me, I felt anything but beautiful myself. I was truly astonished when I managed to survive virtually unscathed although I'm now quite a few shades darker (my mum's gonna kill me - sorry Mumsie I used as much sunblock as humanly possible!).


The fascinating thing was, once I stopped worrying if my Revlon powder/base was going to melt in the heat (hey, I know you think I'm insane but a true Diva never leaves home without her trusty makeup case) and whether my face was dripping oil like pisang goreng straight out the tea lady's kuali, I actually found myself having loads of fun.

So, now that I've earned my stripes, I feel qualified to impart my knowledge to other unsuspecting/terrified Divas who are thinking about (or perhaps more accurately forced to go) camping.


So here are Trisha's Guidelines for a Diva's First Seaside Camping Trip:



1. Always tell everyone that its your first time camping. That way, they will be far more patient if you scare the daylights out of them when a jungle insect crawls up your arm/ leg and you scream bloody murder in the dead of night.


2. I can't stress this enough - sunblock, sunblock, sunblock and use it, use it, use it like its going out of style. It wouldn't do if you came back from the trip not tanned and sexy but red and with patches of painful, peeling skin. Make sure you use the water proof kind if you're going to frolic in the sea but be warned - it leaves an ugly, white paste when applied on wet skin. People were petrified and kids started crying when I suddenly turned up with what looked like white war paint on my sun-darkened face.


3. Take your mirror with you and quickly nip to the tent now and again to check your reflection. You will, therefore avoid my mistake (see rule no.2 ) and you will feel comfort from performing this familiar ritual although you may not be too happy with what you see in the mirror.


4. Take as much time as you want before the trip to select a couple of perfect bathing suits. These should show off your assets and hide the unsightly, wobbly bits. If you are booby-challenged, look for a top with tons of padding, if you suffer from the dreaded Tummy Wobble, look for a dark-coloured one piece that hides it. If you have neither of these worries, stop reading coz you have a perfect bod and I don't want to help you anymore.


5. Take a pack of scented wet wipes with you and make sure it is always within your reach. If you feel like you are beginning to smell unpleasant (and this is guaranteed to happen) grab a couple and wipe underarms and other unmentionable areas, liberally. Have an extra pack handy to share with other campers. They will forget your diva-like conduct and remember you as the generous sweetheart that you are.


6. Choose your camping companions very carefully. My Girlfriend who's gone camping many times before was an absolute dahling and gave up her very comfortable blow up mattress for me (thank you, sweetie!). You need to surround yourself with understanding, kind people like these. Above all, never, ever go camping with other first timers. It will be like the blind leading the blind with all of you Virgin Campers attempting to set up camp. It will not be a pretty sight (pun intended). I went along with experienced campers who set up camp, turned on the Ipod, set up the bar AND cooked all the food before I could say Coco Chanel!

Those are my words of wisdom. If all else fails, wear a wide-brimmed sun hat, get huge Nicole Richie type sun glasses and proceed to drink yourself into oblivion. That way, you'll be too drunk and happy to notice most of what's going on and the time will pass quickly.


All in all, I must say I had a good time on the trip. I was lucky that the people I went with were really fun-loving and non-judgmental. They didn't care how I looked or what I did as long as I was a good sport about it. They were also extremely good-natured when I stood around in the shade whining about the heat while they sweated buckets getting everything organised (thanks, guys!).


Would I do it again? Surprisingly, the answer is yes…now if only Ralph Lauren would come up with an air-conditioned, designer tent…..

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Expat Wives

People have often envied my position as the so-called expat wife. Even The Engineer has joked that he'd like to exchange places with me sometimes but being an expat wife is by no means as simple as it looks.

I've resigned from work in Malaysia twice in 6 years to join The Engineer overseas. The first time, especially, I was only too glad to do it. I was an engineer then and work was a total draaaagggg. So the moment I had the opportunity to compose the resignation letter, I was only too glad to throw it at my boss and make a run for the door. Besides, it seemed so romantic to give everything up for love.

However, the life of the expat wife, much like that of the air stewardess ( let's face it, they're glorified waitresses who also double as toilet cleaners) is not as glamorous or as easy as everyone presumes.

Firstly, an expat wife has to battle loneliness from the very beginning. There is that constant feeling that something doesn't quite fit - imagine Lindsay Lohan in a Teh Tarik competition and you'll get the idea.

The farther you are from home, the more likely you're going to feel cut off from everything and everyone that you know. This might have been challenging or even fun when you're away in college but does not hold true later in life.

The only person to cling to is your husband/boyfriend. However, he probably has other pressing things on his mind like how he's going to keep his job and get over the language barrier and/or alien work culture. So, he has neither the time nor the inclination to be very sympathetic when you ramble on about power cuts or bad plumbing.

Meanwhile, you're also struggling to get around the idea that you're not working and therefore have no money that belongs exclusively to you. Of course, most couples work out finances and share everything but there is nothing like seeing your own name on your own pay slip at the end of the month.

Then you have to start changing the way you think and start doing things that you would have previously labeled as unimportant or irrelevant. So, instead of meeting deadlines or balancing company accounts, you will find yourself thinking up ways to survive power cuts in the middle of sweltering afternoons, haggling with local grocery store owners despite the language barrier and trying to fend of malaria and other life-threatening/exotic diseases.

Then there is the issue of having to deal with the stigma that is attached to being an expat wife. This is much like the one that's attached to being a housewife (despite the women's movement claiming that its all about having choices, people still view the housewife as a lowly creature barely hanging on to the bottom rung on the Ladder of Liberated Women).

The only difference is that the expat wife is considered to be a housewife - with money. Therefore people see them as vacuous creatures who fill their vacuous lives gossiping over gourmet coffee and going for spa manicures.

I admit it. I was formerly one of those people. I felt a mixture of annoyance and envy when I contemplated the expat wives in Malaysia - a feeling that arose when I was barely making ends meet while they seemed to spend their time languishing beside their pools in their lavish Mont Kiara apartment buildings.

I have since revised my opinion. The recurrent theme in the life of an expat wife seems to be loneliness, homesickness or just sickness in general. There's always some malady or other that strangely afflicts only those with foreign blood eg unexplained stomach trouble or a stubborn strain of flu that never goes away entirely.

Besides, for me at least, having a large swimming pool and endless spa manicures do not replace meeting friends at the local mamak at 11pm or driving over to my mum's house for some home made curry or crying on my best girlfriend's shoulder when I need to.

Still, expat living isn't all bad. Nothing bonds total strangers the way living in a foreign country can. So you end up making some really good friends, really fast if you can manage to drag yourself out of your cloud of homesickness long enough to meet them.

So, now that I can empathise with the foreign ladies courageously living in foreign lands, here's a prayer I found for them and all those who brave life in an alien land for love...

Heavenly Father, look down on us your humble obedient expat wives who are doomed to travel this earth following our loved ones through their working lives to lands unknown. We beseech you, oh Lord, to see that our plane is not hijacked or doesn't crash, our luggage is not lost or pillaged and our overweight baggage goes unnoticed.

Give us this day divine guidance in our selection of houses, maids and drivers. We pray that the telephone works, the roof does not leak, the power cuts are few and the rats and cockroaches even fewer.

Lord, please lead us to good, inexpensive restaurants where wine is included in the meal and the food does not cause dysentery. Have mercy upon us Lord if it be the latter, make us fleet of foot, to make the loo in time, and strong of knee in case we have to squat. Also give us the wisdom to tip correctly in currencies we do not understand.

Make the locals love us Lord for who we are and not for what we can contribute to their worldly goods. Grant us the strength to smile at our maids, even though our most treasured dress resembles a rag or they take bleach to clean our well-admired Persian rug.


Give us divine patience when we explain for the hundredth time the way we want things done and Lord if we ever lose our patience and thump them, have mercy on us for our flesh is weak.

Dear God, protect us from so-called "bargains" we don't need and can't afford. Lead us not into temptation for we know not what we do.

Almighty Father, keep our husbands from looking at foreign women and comparing them to us. Save them from making fools of themselves in nightclubs. Above all, please do not forgive their trespasses for they know exactly what they do.

And when our expat years are over Lord, grant us the favor of finding someone who will look at our photographs and listen to our stories, so our lives as expat wives will not have been in vain.

Amen

Source: Unknown


Monday, November 27, 2006

Gold Diggers

Remember Trisha’s posting/column about gold diggers? Well I got to thinking about it some more so I'm goin to vent my spleen about them.

The Boyfriend was talking recently about a friend’s sister he met. Within an hour of drinking at Luna Bar, he’d concluded that she was that “kind of girl who was in her early 40s, still single, but really only looking to marry someone with money.” I don’t know if the boy was just being perceptive (or jumping to conclusions) or if she really was that obviously frank about her chosen goals in life. In any case, it wouldn’t be that surprising if she was, now, would it? We all know the sort.

Granted, money is important – no matter how much you think money won’t make any difference because “love conquers all” blah blah blah, it can, and does in the long run. But I did start thinking about how sorry and sad it must be for girls whose primary criterion for a husband/partner/boyfriend was money. I wonder if this really makes them happy, this continuous, ardent, illusive, search for constant, unchanging abundance of money.

I have an Uncle who, when he was 39 married a girl (I call her Aunty M) who was 19. He was very rich then, and the whole family knew he made profuse promises to her that once they were married, she would spend the rest of her life in luxury and have everything she wanted. The smell of money must have been too overwhelming, so Aunty M left everything behind, ditched her family, left her job, moved country and set up shop here.

A few years later, stupid Uncle lost all his money in the stock market (stupid bugger) so now he couldn’t fulfil all those monetary promises to Aunty M. She got very upset and very depressed and whined and whined to my mother about how she wished she could have overseas holidays, and expensive meals, and a nice car, and branded handbags and international school options for her kids. She also told my mother how she has decided she must get close to another of the rich aunties because, “she has the money.” She was obviously also too dim witted to understand just how unsubtle she was being in her show of greed and obsession.

14 years on, she’s got 3 kids under the age of 12 and she’s no less miserable about the sorry state of financial affairs she’s gotten herself into. Not to mention the fat, stingey toad of my Uncle that she has to put up with, three monster children, no qualifications and having to live in Klang.

So perhaps you think me a heartless bitch for making such a mockery of her, but really now, I have little sympathy for people who are so obviously marrying for money. Sure, I understand people come from difficult backgrounds and they are looking only for security… but security (living extravagantly, even!) can be got individually, through a girl’s own hard work, intelligence and guts.

To me, gold digging stands for a life that centres itself entirely and only around the lazy securing of luxury and comfort for oneself, and signals nothing less than just how small-minded and unimaginative the girl really is. It isn’t just about the money – it’s the whole complacent, boring, unmotivated, self-absorbed attitude and utterly useless indulgence that drives my entire disdain for these sorts.

And see, what they forget to tell these girls in money school is this single, key fact: you can’t your money with you when you die (and let’s face it, every day you’re getting closer to it!). In the case of Aunty M, all the money disappeared even before she’d hit her mid-twenties so she also got the bonus life (and spiritual) lesson of impermanence. So isn’t it just that little bit sad then, that their whole life strives towards
a
big
fat
nothing?

It doesn’t work to say that surrounding yourself with money is a way of making the most of this life and really living it up – if you’re doing it on someone else’s money then you can’t really say you’ve really achieved anything for yourself. Totting up the total spent on jewels and clothes and overseas holidays doesn’t count because nobody cares, because you’ve made absolutely no difference to anyone in the world! (And so does this mean you yourself end up being a
big
fat
nothing
also?

I certainly couldn’t do it - no amount of cash could possibly make up for the painful blah of having to put up with an gargoyle for the rest of my days. And in any case, I’d like to think I could make my own way in the world, without resorting to marriage as a convenient solution!

PS I do know girls who’ve married into money in a HUGE WAY but the dosh is incidental, and they’ve used the money for hugely beneficial works in charity and giving back to the community. They live with the attitude, “Well, if I’ve got all this cash, might as well share it!” and they splash it around on the rest of the world as if money were free. They are totally admirable for what they are able to accomplish from the money they land into… which makes the gold diggers look all the more ridiculous with the way they’re living.

Friday, November 24, 2006

FUCK

I just wrote a massive blog entry (after a terrible absence) and the whole thing got deleted.

ARG.

THIS is why you must save your work.

See, it's all just so Thomas Hardy, isn't it - how the world is sometimes just a big fat laugh-in-your-face joke on us. Like, when I want to write a blog entry, it won't let me. And when I actually want to work, my laptop totally dies (all my files are inside) and my Internet modem got fried by lightning. And when I want to go swimming, it starts thunderstorming (and swimming while raining is gross. And the day I decide to finally go on my diet, an enormous cheesecake spontaneously appears in the fridge.

The world's irony has got my by the ovaries.

Too damn fed up to re-write the post now. pfft.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Back to the Gym

I just got back from the gym and feel so rejuvenated that I feel I have to write about it while its all still fresh in my mind.


To begin with, I never realized how much I missed going for classes but I should set the record straight. I'm not one of those who is out to bench press a Kelisa. I have no intention of achieving this look....




I mean, yikes!!!!. I'm more into this look….



Its the reason why I force my butt off the couch and into the gym, even though the one I attend here, in Dar, is not exactly what you would call 'a state of the art establishment'


Admittedly, the place is a little shabbier than Fitness First (alright, a lot shabbier). The wall to wall glass is cracked in some places and the steppers look like they have seen better days.


I thought I would hyperventilate when I noticed there was no air conditioning. A 3pm class in Dar es Salaam without air conditioning would be like working out on inside a sauna, in the middle of the Gobi Desert. Fortunately, they did have fans which turned out to be suprisingly effective.


The thing that really grabbed my attention was how small and personalised the class was and there was none of that strutting about and posing that you get in most fitness centers in KL. Remember I wrote about this before?

(Before you gym bunnies get all hot and bothered around your bunny ears, let me just say that strutting and posing is all well and good for some people but its just not for me. So let's just make peace that we have a difference of opinion and leave it at that, okay?)


I just didn't realize what bad shape I'm in right now. Today's class was -horror of horrors - Step. Now, don't get me wrong, Step is just great mainly because it really, really buuurrrnsss the fat away but boy is it tough when you're out of shape.


If Step classes were comparable to a school system, today's class would be kindergarten (as opposed to the ones in KL which are generally somewhere near Ph.D level).


But I still huffed and puffed through the class and had to drink copious amounts of water every now and again just so that I would have an excuse to stop for a few minutes! That's one of the problems of a small class, everyone notices if you're a weakling and unable to keep up with the rest!


I'm going back for more torture later this week, despite my weak state. If you don't see any entries for some time, I probably collapsed in the kindergarten-level Step class and am recuperating somewhere. Hope that doesn't happen though…think of the shame!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

I think I killed Botha!

I forgot to tell you guys about this one. Remember my trip to South Africa? Well, I was walking along inside the apartheid museum when I happened upon a picture of former President of South Africa, P.W Botha.


You can click on this if you want to know the role he played during the apartheid years in SA

I asked Girlfriend, who is Africkaner, what happened to Botha and she replied that he's alive and living somewhere in South Africa. Without thinking, I blurted out " After all that he's done, I can't believe he's still alive and living here!"


Well the very next day, we're walking merrily along in a shopping mall when we chanced upon this headline….(btw Groot Krokodil was his nickname and it means Great Crocodile in the Afrikaans language)





The instant we saw it, Girlfriend and I remembered what I had said the day before. For some reason, we just couldn't stop laughing (although my laughter was tinged with a bit of horror).

It was almost as if the old man keeled over and died just because I said so (despite my personal opinion of him, which was not good, I didn't want to KILL the guy!). He had lived through riots and hundreds of other life or death situations but it looks like he didn't bargain for Trisha and her big mouth!


Deciding to put my newly discovered powers to good use, I kept chanting "we're going to win the lottery" the rest of the day but I'm sorry to report that we had no luck. It could have been that I had used up my powers on poor Botha but I rather think it was because we didn't buy a lottery ticket.


Either way, I haven't given up yet. Now I've taken to chanting "I'm going to be a published author" and "I can eat as much chocolate as I want and never gain a kilogram."


I'll keep you posted on the former coz it hasn't worked on the latter!







Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Listen...can you keep a secret?


I think one of the most ridiculous questions to ask someone is: "Can you keep a secret?" Other just-as-ridiculous questions/statements related to secrets include, "Don't tell ANYONE, okay? and of course the ever popular but totally ineffective, "Okay, I'm going to tell you something but you've got to promise not to tell anyone. Promise!"


Isn't that stupid? Has anyone EVER said "uh, no, I can't keep a secret so please don't tell me?" Either you take the risk, tell your secret and get on with it or you just keep your mouth shut.

To be honest, though, I have been on the receiving AND giving end of the question.


Each time I ever asked that question, it was to assuage my guilt that at the very least, I had asked the person if they could actually keep the secret a secret. Besides, if the thing ever got out, I could always go back to the one I had spilled to and say accusingly, "Hellow….I thought you said you could keep a secret! Pshh!!!" Evil - I know!


Then there's the occasion when I've had someone ask me and inevitably replied, "Of course, what do you take me for?" without meaning a word of it. This has landed me in a world of trouble.


Like that time in uni, when a friend of mine asked me that exact question and in typical Trisha fashion, I blabbered yes…eager to hear what she had to say only to realize that the secret was about me.


Apparently, this guy, who we all thought was super cute, had confided to her that he'd never go out with me coz, "She's too immature." "What?!!" I screamed at my friend, how can you tell me to keep this a secret, I'm going to confront him RIGHT NOW!"


The poor girl pleaded with me not to as he had told her in strictest confidence. I suppose she didn't want to "lose her standing" with this guy ( I bet he started telling her with the standard stupid line "Promise you're not going to tell ANYONE, especially not Trisha!).


Anyway, I thought about it for, like 5 minutes, then decided that her standing with Cute Guy was not a good enough reason for me to not confront him about it.

To make a long, story short, I marched right up to Cute Guy and practically yelled in his ear, "I am SO not immature. How could you say that!"


In one quick move, I managed to ruin my friend's trust in me and prove Cute Guy right with respect to my maturity - that was NOT a mature move at all!!!


Anyways, I have (hopefully) matured since then but I have to admit that my ability to keep a secret still remains 50-50. It all depends on whose telling me and what its about.


So here's my unasked-for-advice, people - The next time you ask "can you keep a secret?" remember, its DEFINITELY a rhetorical question!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Civilisation - woo hoo!

Looks like Trixie and Trisha have been traipsing round a couple of continents. As you know, Trixie just got back from Gay Paree. I myself have just got back from South Africa and it may as well have been Jupiter as far as similarities go between Tanzania and SA.


I've been trying to convince myself that its always good for a city girl like me to get away from "bright lights, big city" and get in touch with the more natural things the world has to offer (fyi - for a diva like me, anyplace without shops and/or proper nail salons, qualifies as a natural environment)


Anyways, since Dar es Salaam in Tanzania not only lacks shops but basic amenities like 24-hour electricity, I thought it would be a good time as any to practice getting back to 'nature'. I even convinced myself, while I've been here in the backwater, that I was actually not missing the city - until I landed in Johannesburg, South Africa.


I almost got down on my knees and kissed the smooth, shiny, black, tar that covered the roads. That was how glad I was to sit in a vehicle that could run smoothly and where I wouldn't run the risk of having my teeth rattled out of my skull. One never misses tar-ed roads till they're gone, let me tell you guys!


Anyways, a good South African girlfriend of mine (who's also currently based in Tanzania coz her husband works with The Engineer) was with me for the entire week so I had a true-blue South African to show me the sights and we sure had a good time!

During the trip, I experienced a couple of firsts - first time I ever saw a jacaranda tree…they line the streets of Pretoria (suburb of Jo'berg) and are absolutely gorgeous:



First time I ever rode on a big roller coaster (aptly named the Anaconda coz it snakes in every direction)…..


Girlfriend and I decided that we're getting a bit old for these rides coz we had wobbly legs and wobbly tummies after the ride. I nearly chickened out from getting on in the first place but decided that I'll regret it forever if I didn't give it a shot.

Let me give you a piece of advice though - NEVER ride on a roller coaster after watching Final Destination 4! I could imagine a screw going loose somewhere and all of us plummeting to our deaths the entire time I was on it (as if hanging upside down and screaming my lungs out till I lost my voice wasn't bad enough)!!!! Despite everything, I'd do it again though!


It was also the first time I ever touched lion cubs - yep, actually touched them! They're SUPER CUTE. Just like normal kitties except they're the size of a child's tricycle at only 5 months. Here are a couple of them lolling about in the sun….


We dropped by at the Apartheid museum which was a somber experience. They actually hand out tickets at the gate marked "Whites Only" or "Non Whites" so Girlfriend and I had to enter separately although we eventually ended up in the same place. That'll really give you a taste of what it was like before 1994 in SA. The museum was built like a dark, dingy prison…


Other than that, we just went from one shopping mall to another which was FABULOUS for little 'ol me who has endured months and months living in a Land of No Shopping. Everyone in SA seemed really well dressed after the sloppiness of Tanzania and I felt like a cavewoman, acutely aware that I hadn't been to a facial or hair salon for close to 6 months - yech!

But cavewoman or no cavewoman, I sure am glad that I got a peek at civilisation after nearly 6 months in the cave!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Bambi

Okay, so here's something that totally threw me today.

I was chatting away to a friend online about The Desirable Colleague and he starts telling me that he's seen the way we interact.

Apparently an expert on body language he started outlining how I would stand slightly leant backwards and away, and The Colleague would stand all straight with his chest puffed up like Superman.

I was all, "Eeeww so mars and venus."

THEN he starts telling me all about my flirt technique. "You're like Bambi."

So I said, "Yuck. The only thing I think of when I think of Bambi is this dumb, clumsy deer who's all legs and falling everywhere."

He said, "Yah, but consider how clumsy you get when you're flirting."

I was thinking, gee, is that supposed to be a compliment, an insult, an objective observation? What? Good think this was all online, or I may have smacked him. I said, "errrrr okay, that's not very nice."

"Yah, but it's endearing, mah! You're like a banshee in bambi's clothing."

Fabulous. Not only am I a clumsy, dopey adolescent deer, but also a type of screeching, scary monster.

But anyway the insults are not what threw me. With this friend, you kind of get used to it - you learn to accept it as some kind of twisted truth. What did throw me was the fact that somebody actually saw me as being Bambi in the first place.

The whole endearing, shy girly-girl thing is so not me and I can't bear girls who do the giggling, and hair curling and gentle shoving. blek. And then, it seems, I am not far off. Not as bad but still, carrying some or any of those traits is frightening enough. Scary, that even the most independent of Independent Girls can, apparently turn all doe-eyed and ridiculous.

I was turning into one of them. Arg.

Ah but then, what's a girl to do when she has a silly infatuation? Surely, half the fun is in the theatrics and grand gestures and acting up? I just didn't quite think it'd be as bad as being Bambi.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Being pretty

Sorry for not writing in ages but this time I actually have an excuse that doesn’t have anything to do with me being disorganised and lazy.

I’ve been in Paris!!!!

(With the desirable colleague, hurray)

We were there on work which meant stress and worry a lot of the time, but we did end up having a free day to romp about the streets of Paris (with the desirable colleague, hurray). Here are fabulous, lovely, gorgeous photos of a city that far outdoes any in the world.

Les Deux Maggots, a pretty little cafe on the left bank where the likes of Satre hung out back in the day!

La Tour Eiffel! Comme c'est belle!

Pretty Parisien streets along the left bank. (bad dreary weather though)

Le Louvre! (And no, it isn't just famous because of a certain book)

It was a total hoot running around with four other Chinese people, eating until food came out of our ears. I dug up what French I remembered from A levels – enough apparently to impress the diners at the next table so that they kept staring at me, a strange looking Chinese girl ordering lunch for four. Hurray, all those French lessons avec Mme Mazeyrac in school were well worth it.

Funny though, how so much of the city runs like you’re in Malaysia. Time is very elastic there (as it is here), and road signs are a nightmare. You know how it is when you’re following a sign here, and then when you get to a crucial fork in the road, the bloody sign disappears? Just the same in Paris. The only advantage they have is that the streets are so very pretty you don’t mind getting lost.

Even Carrefour is exciting there. Our crappy version here isn’t a patch on the wonder that is Carrefour in France (well it better be good, considering it’s from there). You don’t think a supermarket could be that exciting until you go to Carrefour in France. Their chocolate aisle is like you’d died, gone to heaven, and booked yourself the most fabulous place next to the most fabulous angels with the most fabulous access to God (and I’m not even Christian). I think I must have spent about half an hour just staring at the chocolates. It was the biggest quandary I’ve ever been in – WHICH BARS OF CHOCOLATE TO BUY? I ended up with about 20 bars so half my luggage weight was from bars of cocoa and milk.

And because Paris is the way it is, even the desirable colleague loosened up and stopped talking about work for about two seconds. How very exciting for a dizzy romantic like me.

Then, as if through some weird psychic connection with Trisha’s last post, he started up some conversation about how he likes girls that are soft spoken and gentle. Independent, but not too independent so that, “they know when to be obedient.” I was like WHAT? And then, eeeeeeeewwwwwww! Obviously a far cry from loud-mouthed, gobby girls like me who never really know when to behave. Really, now, do men actually still use words like “obedient” to describe their partner of choice? Geez Louise. No matter how far exposed they are, how educated they are, how forward thinking they think they are, it seems men really do still prefer their girls to resemble pretty mantelpieces (i.e. to look at and which don’t say much). Bah.

I gave the colleague a great deal of shit for that the rest of the evening which probably just reiterated the point that I’m not ever going to be soft, gentle and ladylike. But I like it that way!

In any case, I was in France, and things were happy. Simple pleasures can, for a moment quell even the angst of my agitated feminist ragings!


Thursday, October 26, 2006

I've got the brains, you've got the looks.....

"Men don't make passes at girls who wear glasses (and who are smart)" - at some level, we women believe that most men don't dig chicks with big brains.




Big boobs, definitely, big brains - big question as to whether he'll stay or go.



It has to be true. Let's face it, why else would there be all that hoopla surrounding the size of a set of mammary glands? I sincerely doubt that women want a pair of 'perfect' breasts just so they can stand in front of the mirror admiring their own bustline. Surgery and silicone is ultimately for the attention gained from the opposite sex.

Big brains on the other hand can spell big trouble in the romance department of life. Something about smart, powerful women tends to put the average man off. They seem to prefer their women with a double D cup size but brains powered by a triple A battery - and if the battery ever dies, well, no harm done!


Men who appreciate women with brains do exist, though. After all, the fact that I know Barrack Obama is not a rare kind of coffee bean you can purchase at Starbucks but an African American senator whispered to be in the next US presidential race inspires rather than intimidates The Engineer.

But from what I know from my girlfriends and from my own unfortunate past, men like these are few and far between.
I know girlfriends who experienced a decline in dates, directly in proportion with their climb up the corporate ladder.

An ex of mine told me that he was dating me 'for my looks' and 'leave the thinking' to him. In fact, he used to sing that line from the 80s Pet Shop Boys song all the time "I've got the brains, you've got the looks, let's make lots of money."

It took me a while (I was like 20 then) but I eventually realized that "I've got the brains, I've got the looks and I'll make lots of money myself, thank you very much". Needless to say, I dumped him, grew up, adopted Destiny's Child "Independent Women" as my theme song and haven't looked back since. No regrets.

But to those girls who've adopted the 'blonde' act to get and keep their men - far from condemning you I say, more power to you. I think letting a man think you're stupid when you're actually smart involves a lot more brain power than most people realize.

So to all the women who're Independent or Not, Big Boobs, Big Brains or both - as Destiny's Child says it -throw your hands up at me!


Sunday, October 22, 2006

Ugly boys

I have this fairly shaming confession: I find the Chinese boys from Imbi Plaza really cute.

I had my fair share of SPG days at uni when I fell in lust with all manner of blond-haired, blue-eyed boys. What to do? I was in a university where there were only about two Asian people, of which I was one. Naturally, you'd start to find even the whitetest of white boys pretty hot after awhile.

So I came back to KL and hurray, suddenly found it totally exciting to see Chinese boys again.

I’m not really the sort to like the tall, dark, handsome sort. I prefer my boys to be about my height (“too short” as all my friends like to point out). And there’s something just so endearing about the way the Imbi Plaza boys are so damn nice. Okay, so I know they just want to sell me stuff, but it’s amazing enough that they put up with my crap Cantonese and answer alllllll my questions (there are many, as I’m a techno moron) and give me these big toothy grins all the way, and reassure me that I can come back if there's ever any problem, and tell me that my Cantonese isn't actually that bad. It's so nice! (and I'm a sucker for flattery).

I rang Trisha one day and said, “Hey, I’ve just been to Imbi and you know what? I think the guys there are cute!”

She sighed very loudly and then, “Aiyoooooo, it’s because they’re all short and ugly and demented lah, right?”

The sick thing is that she’s right.

I used to really fancy this guy from work, who Trisha also knew. She said he looked like a goblin and would get totally disgusted and fed up when I talked about him. In fact, all my friends find my taste in my pretty terrible (which is good, as I’ll never, ever have that problem of fighting with friends over a guy).

When I started going out with my current boyfriend, I was shocked that everyone around me approved and actually found him hot too. (They were totally shocked too – they never thought it possible that I’d like somebody who was actually good looking).

In defence of my terrible taste, I must explain this strange obsession: you see, it’s not just a matter of my falling in lust with any old Ah Beng (the ugly peroxide streaks, gold rings and long fingernails are a total no-no).

The Imbi boys are perhaps more of a passing fancy, something just for fun. The (supposedly ugly) guys I seem to find really attractive usually come with the added package of some particularly fascinating talent. See, they’re ugly, but they’re talented, or incredibly intelligent. And we all know that the brain can be one of the most erotic body parts.

There’s this guy I know that I used to think was all “Ewwwww” and when I found out that some friends were trying to matchmake us, I panicked and screamed.

Then I discovered that he was a photographer (but a very low profile one, as he seems the quiet sort to just get on and do his own thing). And then I saw his photographs and they are JUST.SO.SEXY. So, suddenly, he became sexy too. And now everytime I see him, I see his fabulous photos and get totally turned on.

The goblin that Trisha can't stand writes SO.DAMN.SEXILY. Even though he does look like he could give Quasimodo a run for his money, he's just so clever, he edits all my work so it sounds more fabulous that I could ever make it, and he writes these totally fantastic pieces that make me salivate.

It’s just so perverse, isn’t it?

Trisha (and most other people) thinks I need help… or that at the very least I should just concentrate on looking at my boyfriend, instead of perving on ugly boys. Hah.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Million Dollar Mistake

I've been feeling kind of ill for the past few days hence the lack of entries on my part. At first I thought it was malaria but I don't think it is - otherwise I'd be dead by now!


I was all set to curl up on the sofa and feel sorry for myself when I saw this piece of news and I was inspired to spread the word: no matter how silly you think you are, there's always someone sillier than you.


Right now this guy must feel like the biggest buffoon on Earth:


That's American casino mogul, Steve Wynn, who was all set to sell his original Picasso, the famous Dream, to an art collector for USD139million.





That was before he poked a hole in it - with his elbow! If I'd done that, I'd have broken my arm just so I could hit myself with it!


The guy was gesturing with his hands while showing it to some friends and accidentally elbowed it. Now there's a hole in it and the deal is off. Steve apparently suffers from some kind of eye problem that affects his peripheral vision.


He's being philosophical about it though. He's taking it as a sign that he's supposed to keep the painting.


You're fooling no one, Steve. We all know you'll be hard pressed to find anyone who'll pay RM5 for it now!


I think this is the best feel-good story I've heard in a long time.


I remember all those times when I've bought a top or something at Dorothy Perkins, paid full price for it and gone back the next day only to find it on sale.


It generally takes a while for me to get over losing RM50 or whatever but now my bargain blunders don't seem so bad anymore.


At least I didn't poke a hole in my priceless Picasso!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Chaos

This is the first day in absolutely bloody ages that I've actually had time to sit down, eat chips at my own leisure and blog. What luxury! It's been a totally chaotic week - sleep whenever, wake up whenever, run here, run there, sit at my computer all doing work while waiting further instruction for more running here, running there, more work, more exhaustion.

But it' s been the most fun I've had in ages!

Which got me thinking about how everything's more fun when it's a mess and when nothing is ever in order.

Like sex is always more fun when it's messy, isn't it?
Parties are more fun when they're chaotic.
Gorgeously messed up looking rooms reveal so much more character than staid, tidy, anal, stainless-steel everything rooms.

I knew people who totally despised the girls on Sex and the City because they claimed real people wouldn't look so ridiculously immaculate and perfect all the time. I was appalled at the time - how dare they say anything against my favourite four TV people.

But then it does kind of make sense. I started to realise that some of the most beautiful people I knew looked like they'd just stepped out of a gypsy ring - enviably dishevelled hair (the real kind, not the sort that salons deliberately try to achieve with lashings of hair product), scuffed shoes, absolutely no makeup, and a wardrobe that was so outdated it was back in fashion again (without even trying to be so).

They were messy people, but they were also the sort of people who were really passionate about eating big, happy, full meals (none of that tiny-portion and zone diet nonsense). You know they'd also be messy- but-fantastic sex people, and the sort that would be far more likely to take a risk than the prim, immaculate, proper girls.

My friends organised a garage sale for charity recently so I made cupcakes for sale. I was up to my ears in icing all day long and still couldn't make them perfect. It was a sorry little attempt to be a baking genuis but the cakes ended up looking a little wonky, some were dropping out of their paper cases and the most creative thing I could get was chuck on some sprinkles and stick a cherry on the top.



Then I turned up at the garage sale and someone else had bought over these magnificent looking, perfect, gorgeously decorated, tidy, not-falling-out-of-their-cases cupcakes. It made my poor clumsy cupcakes look very awkward and second class.



But hot damn, MINE KICKED ARSE in the taste department and everybody said so, so neh neh neh neh to the tidy Heidis. The chaos was all worth it.

[There's a distinction to be made between this sort of messy-chic and plain old slobbiness. The latter is never attractive - it usually also signals some sort grave personal hygiene problem/deficiency, and a total lack of responsibility to themselves, their work and people around them.]

Being "messy" or living life chaotically cannot be learned. It's something that just sort of "is." The beautiful messy people I know with their beautifully chaotic lives can never be emulated. It would never work to try to be them. The point about these people, the way they do things, their lives, and the things they produce is the spontaneity that comes with it, their refusal to waste precious time perfecting false eyelashes and rebonding their hair.

It is the carefreeness that appeals, and the surprises that are thrown up by living this way that makes it so exciting...

... which is exactly what has made crazy, chaotic, exhausting week such mad fun!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Pluto....you're fired!

Did you know that Pluto is no longer a planet? More importantly, do you really care?

Well, just in case you do you can click on this link. Pluto is now known as a dwarf planet. In other words, our solar system is currently home to only 8 planets.

I'm not that into astronomy myself, so from a personal standpoint, this nugget of information is only mildly fascinating to me. On the other hand, I find the absurdity of the entire debacle is far more captivating.

Thousands of scientists/researchers/ astronomers got together a couple of months back to engage in a lengthy debate on the status of Pluto - a planet that is so far away that it might as well be a figment of the imagination. These scientists heads are, literally, in the clouds.

Meanwhile, back in our own backyard, troubles never cease and are, in fact, multiplying. Hundreds of animals are on the endangered list and the global warming issue is at boiling point. Nuclear threat is alive and well and there is still no cure for Aids or cancer.

Air travel is now so complicated that its almost comical. It has come to the point where we girls can't carry lipsticks on board an aircraft. I suppose this is just in case we use Estee Lauder's Danger (it might signify our intentions) or Lancome's Invincible Platinum (perhaps they think it might actually be Invincible Plutonium) to blow up the plane.

All this is going on and our scientists are sitting around squabbling about whether Pluto should be a dwarf planet or not.

Time and money well spent? Not!

I say, let's mind the business of our own planet before sticking our collective noses into Pluto's.

I believe more people are going to care about this Pluto




as opposed to this one anyway!


The kids are the only Earthlings who're going to benefit from this fiasco. From now on, they'll only have to remember 8 names instead of 9 when they learn about the solar system

Hmmm... if they were going to demote Pluto, why didn't they do it when I was still in school?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Happiness Is..

I was feeling philosophical the other day and this thought popped into my head: happiness, what is it?

Is it...

Waking up on the first morning of a holiday and catching a glimpse of a perfect ocean through your bedroom window?



Gazing at a loved one over the flicker of a single candle?
Cuddling a kitten you just saved from an awful life on the street?
Watching your mother smile as she opens her Mother's Day gift from you and finds exactly what she wants?

Or is it....

Spending an all expenses week at the Burg Al Arab in Dubai (ensconced in their most opulent suite, sipping champagne and eating nasi lemak on silverware)

"The Burg is reportedly the most luxurious hotel in the world"

Having money that rivals the trust funds of Paris and Nikki Hilton combined?
24-hour electricity, plasma TV and 200 24-hour channels to watch?
Driving a Ferrari/Lamborghini/Porshe (fill in the blank) on the section of the Autobahn in Germany where the speed limit doesn't exist?

Or is it that we want every single one of those things on those lists and that's why we're never really happy for long?

Happiness is...someone to love, work to do and a clear conscience - I read that when I was a kid (It was engraved on plaque I received as a souvenir for performing the James Bond Theme on the organ. It was for a Christmas concert at my Yamaha music school- but that's a whole other story!)

While I've never forgotten those words, I find it really hard to remember them when I really, really need to!

Maybe happiness is elusive because we make it so. Maybe I should remember the time when performing the James Bond theme and receiving a souvenir for it was enough to make me happy - no matter how uncool it was!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Poor old Trisha

I know this is totally evil of me and she is going to really hit me with her giant heavy handbag when she gets back, but I actually find poor old Trisha’s lack of electricity thing quite funny (so many of you dear readers are gonna hate me for this too aren’t you?)

I mean, I feel really shitty for her too because I couldn’t last half an hour without electricity, but just thinking of gorgeous, darling, diva Trisha stuck in a place that schedules power outages is so ironic and tragic, it’s almost quite funny. (Also it's slightly irritating knowing that she can breathe in fresh air, so she won't need the air conditioning anyway - haze is just too awful over here at the moment and she sure dunno how lucky she is being far away by nice seasidey air!)

I suppose it would make more sense if you knew what Trisha was like – she is a Vogue front cover, all the time (and I mean that in a good way). And imagining Vogue in a place with no working ventilators, air conditioner, TV, computers or even coffee machine is so ironic and tragic, it’s almost quite funny, right?

Also, partly because a selfish part of me is like, “HAHA see, now you have to come back to KL and hang out with meeeee and 24-hour electricity instead of the lions!!!!” (I miss my best pal! *sob*)

Poor Trisha.

Come home lah. Tenaga Nasional loves you (and isn’t even that expensive to have).

Love,
Trixie xxx

Friday, October 06, 2006

The rather attractive colleague

It helps when colleagues are somewhat attractive - it gives you that much more incentive to actually do some work and look brilliant for a change.

Of late, I've been harvesting a silly infatuation with one of my bosses (well, okay, he's only 4 years older than me so the term "boss" doesn't quite work even though he is higher up than me on the work hierachy).

Of course, just me luck that he' s incredibly businesness-like and no-nonsense (which probably just makes the whole crush thing more fun lah). I bounce up to him at the office or whenever I see him and bellow out his name before cracking some silly joke or commenting on his hair (apparently, men like comments about their hair?!). He laughs a bit and then goes straight into talking about the last book, next edit, that brochure, this text.

Sometimes I come home from wherever and there's this blinky orange MSN chat window from him and I'm all, "Oh yay!!! I wonder what he has to say?" I think that everytime, and everytime, it's just an order to do more work or a diplomatic reminder to do something I haven't done yet. Like, what else could it be? Then I'm like, "Oh. Work. Pooey."

Then I start having weird dreams about him and in the dreams he's REALLY nice and REALLY fun and we're just hanging out, chilling talking and stuff. When I wake up I think to myself, "Oh my god, he's sooooo nice. I can't wait to go talk to him." And of course, when I do go talk to him, he's nothing like he is in those dreams and is looking distracted and stressed and totally not "just hanging out, chilling talking and stuff." Cheh.

But it seems to be working. It gets me working, I'm damnbloodyrajin and meet all my deadlines. Boss has to deal with lots and lots of shitty people, so I like to think that me meeting my deadlines and getting things done ahead of time (totally amazing for me) makes a difference. And it does cos the other day he was bitching to me about having to work with these shitty people and told me how much he appreciates working with me and the other writers. I was all *blush blush* and hurray.

It's so perverse isn't it? It's like a grown up version of wanting to be teacher's pet, except a whole lot more complicated and involving hormones. The thrill is just the same though - acknowledgement or those few rare moments of gentle flirting (if you can even call it that!) are soooo like the gold star sticker at the end of a spelling test!

So you see, crushes are good for the workforce, productivity and improving one's motivation to work - I recommend everyone find themselves someone to fall in love with from behind their desks.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Chest Hair aka Meaningless Poll 2

Okay guys - after all that bitchin' and whinin' bout the power, I thought its time to live on the lighter side for a while. Besides, Drama Queens are SO unattractive ; )

So, its time for (dddddrrrrrrr - drum roll) another Meaningless Poll!!!

Feel free to vote. It didn't take long to come up with a pointless topic for today's poll. After all, what could be more meaningless than chest hair?


Free polls from Pollhost.com
A sexier man is a man with....
A little hair on his chest (NB: I don't mean a hutan, just a little hair) A super smooth torso?

PS: Okay, I'll admit it. The real reason I posted this poll is so I could have an excuse to post those gorgeous chests....

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Power Woes - Again!

I'm SO angry right now, I could scream!!!



I know nobody in Malaysia is going to care but I just have to announce this: The management of the new apartment I'm in, which is supposed to have a generator switched on when there is no power, has decided to start rationing power.

This means that the generator will be switched off for 4-5 hours during the day which means that I can't use much of the kitchen, which means I can't watch TV , which means I can't listen to music and which means that I can only use the computer and the wireless modem as long as the battery lasts.

This-is-not-good-news.

I'm highly tempted to come back to Malaysia just so I can have 24 hour, uninterrupted glorious electricity!

I'm sure there's a rational explanation for the power rationing but to borrow Margaret Mitchell's words from Gone With The Wind, "Frankly my dear Tanzania, I don't give a DAMN!"

In fact, I'm the one who's going to be "Gone with the Wind" if this high-blood-pressure inducing rationing thing keeps up.

Girls like me, SO need to be NOT in a third world country!!!!

All you people at home, enjoying the fruit of Tenaga Nasional's labour, please spare a thought for poor little 'ol me...

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Too fat?

And while we're on the subject, what is it that constitutes being too fat?

It seems ironic that while it is such a part of Chinese custom and old tradition that fat equates to wealth, prosperity and beauty, some of KL's skinniest people around are Chinese! And darling, I'm quite sure not all of these skinny Winnies are "born like that." I've heard enough stories about girls surviving on latters and see enough obsessive thin-thin girls exercising themselves to death at the gym to pooh-pooh away that theory.

But anyway, this isn't just another bashing session of thin people. It's a bashing of people who love to monitor your weight and can't wait to point out how very fat you are.

We were properly, hugely clubbed down a few months ago when Trisha wrote this column and I posted this follow up blog entry was published. Remember?

Of course, in typical *ahem* plebian Malaysian style, the only way to get back at us was to hurl insults about just how fat we must be, how we will never be like the gym bunnies etc etc To the ignoramuses, calling someone fat is apparently just the most awful thing you could say to someone.

*Oh, we were so distraught we cried blood*

HAH.

Let's set things straight. I'm a US size6/Australian size 8/UK size 10 and in most local stores, I fit into a medium.

But in the eyes of most M'sians I'm grossly overweight.

Now logically, if I'm a "medium," this means I'm neither "large," nor "small" - it means I'm in the middle somewhere, average. But the logic doesn't work. I'm still fat and sales assistants tell me I should try a medium as if it were prescribing something very wrong.

Funny, because when I was in England, people would be genuinely amazed when I told them I felt fat and needed to lose some weight. Their big eyes (because you know how big Westener's eyes can get) widen big big in surprise and they go, "But why? You're already so small!"

I guffawed into their faces because at first I thought they were being sarcastic, but no, they really meant it. Took me bloody ages to figure that out, what with being brainwashed in this part of the world that I'm such a fatty.

Back for holidays one year, I sat bemoaning to my cousin and her husband about how it was shitty being considered fat back in here in Asia.

I wailed, “I’m so huge here. You know, in countries like Australia and the UK, when I go shopping, I fit into a small.”

There was a spasm of bewilderment from my cousin’s husband as he laughed so hard he choked into his pasta. He was appalled and totally disbelieving.

And then, WHY the incessant need of people here to point out that you've put on weight? Surely, any girl knows when she's put on weight - the fact that your clothes feel tight is indication enough. But just to make sure you really know, the kaypohchees must inform you, in different variations:

"Wah! You're fat already lah."
Or
"Eh, you put on weight issit?" (they ask gravely, like discussing death)
Or
"Waaah... you must be eating very well, huh?"

I even had a shop assistant from a store I visit quite often tell me that: "Eh... sudah gemuk ah?"

In any case, there are "bigger girls" who are absolutely stunning - like fabulous Sophie Dahl and gorgeous Kate Winslet:



Imagine if these girls came to M'sia - would everyone laugh them down for being " too fat?!"

All a matter of perception, of course, but the point is, why can't people just get over the whole damn hang up in the first place.

Who cares if you're too fat/too thin - what does matter is whether you're healthy. You could look gorgeous but be a wreck on the inside and feel like shit - and what's the point in that?

Recently, I got to thinking about which period in my life I was the happiest and most blissed out. I surprised myself by realising that it was during high school, when I was 20 kilos heavier than I am now, and couldn't fit into anything. But life was hearty, I'd eat a pizza whenever I wanted to eat a pizza and I was having the time of my life.

Fast forward 5 years when I was at my thinniest at university, had great hair, had my pick of the lot with the boys....and it actually all felt a bit ordinary.

So heck, down with the kaypohs, the boring (thin) stuff shirts who naysay cheesecake. I'm a size 10 and I'm going to learn to love it.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Chastised

I have been duly chastised. An annonymous reader has implied that I have sent out a rather mixed/negative message in my previous post.

My critic highlighted that some people are naturally thin or they might be ill and that could be the real reason behind their 'bag-of-bones' appearance, so who are we to judge?

Its true that we can't tell the real reason someone is extremely thin (or large for that matter) by just looking at them.

In a perfect world we would all be accepted just the way we are. There would be no judgment based on appearances and we would all wait to get to know someone before we decide what we think of them.

In a perfect world, a High Maintenance Babe with a bitchy attitude would remain date-less while a Plain Jane with a brilliant sense of humour would never find herself alone.



"Do Plain Janes with personalities get more dates than hotties with bad attitudes?"

But c'mon - this is not a perfect world and everyone passes judgment based on appearances (although some try harder than others, not to). Who are we kidding?

So, on this point I'm going to say that we are all entitled to our opinions (and judgment) and that includes Anonymous Critic - and me.
My critic's other issue is that I'm suggesting "thin-is-best" but only in the right places. In other words, its okay to be thin as long as you're not too thin.

This got me thinking. There is no universal definition of what 'too thin' is. Everyone's idea of what is thin and what is too thin is bound to differ.

As my critic mentioned, this confuses people who are only trying to keep up with society's definition of beauty. I concede - on this point Anonymous Critic is right.

So, hats off to my nameless challenger. Your comments are certainly insightful. Keep 'em coming!


Thursday, September 28, 2006

Writerly Angst

The shame! I lost hope in blogging ( cf. Trisha's clever entry ). After a spell of staying well away from the keyboard, I logged in and became totally (re)inspired by Trisha and her writing.

In fact, we had a long discussion recently about why it is that some blogs which (in our perhaps over-inflated snobby opinions) are nothing but drivel pull in hundreds of comments a day…. Which begs the question: is our blog that many levels lower than the drivel? Or too *ahem* clever/boring/intellectual/dry for the average reader?

Why is it that a blog entry on what some girl had for lunch/what she did at college/the conversation she had with a friend gets obscene numbers of comments? Are we that fascinated by the minute details of others' lives? Are we that voyeuristic?

Okay, so this thing about what makes art good bugs the hell out of writers like me who have big, fat, glorious ideals of wanting to win the next Booker, change people’s lives and rein in a cheque weighty enough to live unemployed for the rest of my life. Worth a mini rant, at least.

John Grisham, Dan Brown and Danielle Steele top bestseller lists and are probably so rich, they’re wiping their arses with 100 dollar bills. Sure, they tell a good story, they’re entertaining but aren’t also a little formulaic? Don’t they all get a bit predictable? And could you pinpoint even one beautifully written sentence in the whole 500 pages that really inspires?

Then there is really gorgeous writing – Jeanette Winterson, Alan Hollinghurst, Jamie O'Neill, Ben Okri… and I’d be quite surprised if you’d heard of any of them because as far as the bestseller lists and amazon.com ratings are concerned, it’s unlikely any of them will ever get right to the top.

Then:
There’s Mariah Carey with her plastic pop that has sold the most albums, gotten the most number 1’s etc etc etc and there are amazing indie singers that sweat poetry and reinvent music whose albums you can’t even find in this country.

There are mindless Wayan brothers movies and Jennifer Aniston romcoms selling out at box offices, while movies pushing artistic boundaries and reflecting bright, varied cultures and the real exuberance of humanity never see more than about 20 people dispersed around a cinema theatre.

Should it be something to be worried about that the world at large seems to prefer reading/watching/listening to what merely entertains but which barely challenges? Looks like we really are dumbing down, eh?

In any case, I better stop here. I’m guessing that this mere musing about the status of art will incite far less response than xiaxue blogging about her fake eyelashes so best save my lofty ideals for some other like-minded, angst ridden writer.

PS from what I’ve read, a deeply ingrained sense of cynicism and/or depression and/or despondent angst is what has fueled some of the best artists of our time (Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolf, Tennessee Williams etc). If that’s the case, perhaps I’m not that far off the track, eh?