Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Power Woes

Sorry for the long silence guys. One - I've just come back from a safari holiday and two the power cuts here in Dar are terrible and there are only 3 hours of power during the day every single day -damnit!!!

Promise to write again as soon as Tanesco (that's Tanzania's answer to Tenaga Nasional) permits. I swear Tanesco is the devil incarnate!!!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Misery loves company (so leave a message)

Sorry for the absence. I was away in Cambodia for awhile (hanging out, being holy at the temples of Angkor Wat, eating posh gelato in boutique hotels – as you do!) and since being back have been in one of those crappy moods. Was afraid that if I wrote anything, it’d come out sounding bitching and petulant so I’ve gone hiding under my duvet until better days.

All I’ve wanted to do is eat mooncakes (indulge that slightly Chinese part of my heritage), and watch cartoons. The unfortunate demands of work have required I actually get up and make a few phone calls to difficult people (which only serves to irritate further), but time has otherwise been spent trying to find order in the world through the rounded, happy storylines of cartoons.

Trisha has been sending worried emails from across continents. “Where are you? Are you alive? Did you get off that plane from Cambodia?!?!?!” That only reminded also of just how totally irresponsible I am, and self-absorbed.

Then I’ve been pondering injustices of the world – how people mistreat their maids, how my uncaring, slightly wicked aunt abuses her dogs, how unsuspecting teenage girls get tricked into prostitution etc etc Which all makes me get my knickers in a twist and want to cry.

Then again, being overly sensitive is a girl’s prerogative, no?

Woe.

*feels like a pink ostrich, and wants to just stick her head in the sand for a few weeks*

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Perfect Man

The Perfect Man - what can I say? As far as I'm concerned he's more elusive than a talking harimau.

Even the Marrieds will sometimes wonder wistfully if they settled for Mr. Less-Than-Perfect especially when Husband fails to empty out the trash or can't grasp that the laundry basket and not the floor is the place for dirty underwear.

But we all know, at the back of our minds, that the Perfect Man, much like the conversational harimau, is a myth. Anyway, wouldn't the Perfect Man also be perfectly boring?

I'm by no means advocating that we adopt the 'siapa cepat, dia dapat' attitude and marry the first man who asks. Its a delicate balance between knowing what you want and loving what you've got.

But for those who insist and persist on waiting for the mythical creature that is the Perfect Man, here's a peek on how you might end up...


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Makes Mr. Less-Than-Perfect seem a lot more attractive, huh?!

Results: Meaningless Poll One

Okay - from the response so far, looks like the majority find Paris a big yawn! Hmmm...totally did not expect this. I thought practically everyone loves her. There are even two of you who hate her guts.

I must say I'm secretly pleased because I absolutely can't stand her!

Prancing around being a Professional Rich Spoilt Girl doesn't deserve any limelight if you ask me and giving airtime to airheads is not going to end well for anyone. She's what Pink calls a
Stupid Girl and I totally agree.

Anyway, thanks for your votes in Meaningless Poll 1.

I'll be posting another Meaningless Poll soon. If you'd like a general opinion on something but were too afraid to ask in case people think you're a few fries short of a Happy Meal, feel free to suggest it in a comment.

If its meaningless enough and doesn't have 'unsur-unsur keganasan dan seks' , it might make it as the next Meaningless Poll question.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Meaningless Poll

For no reason whatsoever I thought it'd be fun to know what you guys think of Paris.



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Here's the poll - do vote!

What do you think of Paris Hilton?
Love her. Love her hair, love her face, love her music. Just love her
Hate her. Her 15 minutes of fame are up. Why doesn't she just go away?
Yawn. Couldn't be bothered about her.
Paris Hilton? Isn't that a hotel?
Free polls from Pollhost.com

Bad Fashion Knows No Boundaries

Its amazing how Bad Fashion has the evil ability to spread its ugly shadow across the vast span of the entire globe. Think 70s bell bottoms. For those of you who were still just a twinkle in your parents' eyes and don't know what the heck I'm talking about here's a pic:



See what I mean? Yuck!

Anyway, I recently discovered just how similar the bubonic plague is to bad fashion i.e it spreads rapidly and leaves a ghastly trail of repulsive looking victims in its wake.

I was having a chat with a couple of my lady friends here in Dar. One of them is South African and the other is Turkish and we're not even the same age (our ages are within five years of one another).

We were amazed to find that, back in the 80s, every one of us were proud owners of particularly ugly leggings, huge plastic earrings in some sort of hideous bright colour and wore tops with one shoulder exposed (we're afraid to even contemplate those acid washed jeans/skirts that we pranced around in).

If all that wasn't enough to make us look like something the cat dragged in, we all sported that AWFUL 80s hair ala Cyndi Lauper and/or Madonna.







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In other words fashion (specifically the bad variety) has a horrible way conquering time and space. So be warned - wearing anything that's red-hot-this-minute might have you burning your old photos in a couple of years. Bad fashion never dies!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Santan and Show offs

Don't you just hate Show Offs? Show Offs have got to be one of my pet peeves (the other major one being people who are at the front of the queue at a traffic light but take so long to move that when the light turns green they're the only ones who get through before it turns back to red again..grrrr!)

Show Offs are absolute bores because they keep talking on and on about themselves plus they're perpetually playing the "One Up" game - anything you do and anything you've achieved, they're somehow One Up over you.

For instance, if you've climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in 4 days, they'll tell you they did it in 3 and a half. If you've found a place that sells fresh seafood they've found one that sells even better stuff etc, etc.

The reason I'm going on about this is coz I recently met such a person here in Dar es Salaam. I regretfully report that the Show Off in question is a Malaysian.

I'm thousands of miles from Malaysia and am starved for the Malaysian 'lah' in conversations so I was initially delighted to meet someone who knows that 'sambal belacan' isn't an exotic tropical disease. I was so disappointed to find that this person is a particularly annoying type of Malaysian.

Looks like the only way for me to touch base with my home country, here in Tanzania, is to either hang out with the annoying Malaysian or use Buatan Malaysia Powdered Packet Santan (the only Buatan Malaysian product I've come across so far).


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I rather think I'll choose the santan!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

One Million

This is what a cool million looks like. Yep, ladies and gentlemen, I'm officially a millionaire….. I wish!!!



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This is actually one million Tanzanian Shillings and is worth about USD1,000.
Each note in the picture is worth TSH 10,000 which is approximately USD10 (about RM38.00)

I was counting it all out carefully when I suddenly realized that I had a million in my hands. I thought I'd better relish the feeling coz this is probably going to be the only time I'm ever going to have this much money - in cold, hard cash!

I actually grabbed a fistful of it and threw it up in the air (like they do in the movies) only to regret it instantly because the window was open and I narrowly missed losing a few TSH10,000 notes.

I was on the brink of floating into a daydream about being The Queen of The World and having a never ending supply of moolah when I was rudely jolted back to reality by a call from my travel agent.

You see, the only reason I'm having so much cash with me is coz Husband and I are about to pay for a trip to the Serengeti. My travel agent was calling to check when I was going to meet him and he totally ruined my fantasy. Darn that Manoj!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Baby phobia

There’s that thing when you’ve been in a relationship for a while (or even if you haven’t) where people start asking when you’re going to get married and if you’re going to have kids. Actually, no, they don’t ask. They just sort of state it as a fact. “So, going to get married and have kids already, lah!”

Gaaaaah.

I really don’t like kids. None of that googly-eyed, broody gushing when I see anything below the age of 18. I’m just not one of those people who know what to say to kids, how to talk to them, how to look interested – nutin’. It’s like putting a soft toy in front of me and expecting me to have a conversation with it (except, worryingly enough, I would probably have more things to say to a teddy, than I would to a kid.) I just find it really tedious and boring talking/googling to them.

So the thought of having one myself scares me to death, through to limbo and into a rebirth in some place with no running water. Also, quite bores me. Also, I just don’t fancy the bloating, constipation, big horrible labour pains and stretch marks from pregnancy. Also, I'm a selfish brat and sure ain’t ready to give up any of my free time or start planning college funds.

Blek.

So.
No babies for me, for now.

So when people bring up the kid thing, I’m all quick to go, “Errrrrr, nah, not for me right now.”
And they always, always look at me with a really horrified look, like “What?! Why don’t you want kids?” or they give this really sad, pitiful look, followed by, “Don’t worry, you’re still young. You dunno what you want yet. You’ll change your mind!” *smug look*

So damn patronising. Okay, so maybe I will change my mind and start my own little breeding factory; or maybe I won’t. Why do so many people go around making it their business, acting as if it’s such a must? Would it really be so bad if I didn’t change my mind? They all act like it’s so weird and so darn stupid not to want kids, like I’ve screwed up my whole life schedule.

Hmph. As if the world isn’t already over-populated. As if there aren’t already enough poor, unwanted kiddies in the world. As if I haven’t got better things to do than sit around planning baby names while I’m still on the pill.

It’s annoying enough when it’s someone older saying that; it’s even more annoying when it’s someone your age, acting all smug and pregnant.

And even worse is when these same smug people with their bagfuls of toys/milk/diapers/babywipes force their screaming, snarling little bundle of new organs into your arms, usually because they assume that just because they think their little terror is cute, everyone else will to.

So you pretend to be polite and make the obligatory ga-ga noise at them. And sometimes, by some unfortunate glitch in your luck, the howling monster will actually smile at you – at which point proud parent jumps up in glee and squeals, “Oohhhhhh! She liiiiikes you! Seeeeeeeeeee, it’ll be your turn soon too!”

So does being polite to a baby now rack up extra points for you with the stork? Well, I’m making sure that stork stays hell far away and if it does come a-calling, it better be prepared to suffer having its wings well clipped.

Anyway, if other people want to have dozens of babies that’s fine (as long as I don’t have to do that pretend-interest thing). In fact, despite my baby-aversion, I find this sort of strange, unexpected surge of excitement whenever I hear of someone I know and love being preggers.

But, look folks, I just don’t want one.

And what I want even more if is people didn’t try to convince me that I do want one.

Maybe I just get myself a pet. Far more agreeable and well behaved, far cuter and none of that rude teenage rebellion to deal with. Budgie? Hamster? Sea monkeys?

Monday, August 14, 2006

Tanz

Tanz (short for Tanzania) is the neighbour's cat. He lives downstairs in my apartment block and is a real cutie.

I really miss my kitty Charley who's back in KL with my mum and sis and Tanz is a real help to me.Like all kitties, he's really curious and will enter my apartment if he happens to be outside when the front door is open.

Today he walked straight in like he owned the place and proceeded to scratch the furniture. Thankfully he didn't leave any marks! Then he sniffed around the place and decided to leap up on my computer chair in the study after which he suddenly got this really thoughtful look on his face.
Here he is, contemplating the meaning of life….




He can be frequently seen padding round the perimeter of the apartment complex like he's guarding the place and follows his Brazilian owner everywhere. He even sits patiently at the edge of the pool while Raul completes his daily swim. I think he's convinced he's a dog!



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Sunday, August 13, 2006

False Judgement

Funny that Trisha seems to dead on right about first impressions and I so totally suck at them. (This isn't an entry about how Trisha's got it wrong, but about how damn clouded my own judgement is). I almost never get it right and so, so often, the people I think are fabulous end up being nothing special at all; and the people I can't stand within the first five minutes, end up being my closest bosom buddies.

Examples:

Sara, primary school friend - Because Sara was so disgusting smart and everybody loved her, I, of course, had to hate her. She was just so damn perfect in everything and she kicked everybody's ass in maths so actually we all didn't like her very much. But you know how kids are when they're 10 - fickle, stupid and terrible judges of character, I changed my mind pretty soon and we became, "like, best friends forever!!!" And despite her moving all over the world, and me being crap at writing, we're still in touch 13 years later, while in two far-flung countries.

Mika, uni friend - I found her completely unlikeable and unberable in the first week of university, I even found myself ringing home and ranting about how much this girl in my flat was totally doing my head in. I thought her arrogant, pushy, bitchy and completely in my face all the time. Eventually, we ended up being housemates in the 2nd year and hung out almost every all day, every day.

Eleni, uni friend - When you're in the north of England and an American suddenly shows up it annoys everyone, just by virtue of them being American. So when Eleni raised her hand and asked a question with her big American accent and totally perfect Californian blonde hair in our first MA seminar, I thought, "Oh god, here we go. Just what we need - a talky American. Just my damn luck to be in her group," and rolled my eyes to myself. I ended up travelling to Greece with her for 3 weeks and staying in her family home with her grandmother, extended family and goats.

BiBi, random KL friend - I'd heard a lot more BiBi before I'd met him so when I was finally face to face with him, I was all, "Hi! You're the famous BiBi, huh? It's real nice to meet you" (and I didn't even mean it sarcastically), and he just gave me this really forced smile like "Get out of my face, you stupid girl." And I was all, "Hmph, thinks he's sooooooo special. So damn sombong" and stayed out of his way. Then we ended up in Nepal and you know, all those temples and Tibetan tea and stuff makes everyone so aimable. Now I tell him all my problems, rant at him, and SMS him all sorts of random shit in the middle of the night, and vice versa.

I'm not sure if it's a blessing or not that the people I so instantly dislike usually end up being such great pals... Might have saved myself a lot of trouble though, if I wasn't quite so quick to judge, what with my crappy sense of judgement and all. In any case, I admit I do feel a whole lot guilty later when I remember how I totally hated them at first. Sometimes I tell them and we have a good laugh, and if I don't, well, errr, they're gonna find out about it now anyway now that I've blabbed it on a blog.

And well, if you do ever have the (mis)fortune of meeting us, perhaps you better go make friends with Trisha first cos I may just get it all wrong.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Blink of an Eye Verdicts

There's this guy Husband and I recently met here in Dar es Salaam. It took all of five minutes for me to decide that he's one of those 1 sen a dozen, run-of-the-mill Indian appus (brothers) who love booze more than their own livers (or lives for that matter!).

It wasn't the bloodshot eyes, the slight slurring of his words or even the faint scent of Jack Daniel's hanging in the air that gave him away (I didn't really notice any of this at first because my attention was on his cat that was curled up on his sofa).

However, it was all instantly apparent when he offered us a drink the moment we entered his house. This could have been construed as him merely playing Good Host except that he served us a real drink - an alcoholic beverage.Now, far be it from me to condemn those who drink. I enjoy my Pina Coladas and gin n tonics just as much as the next gal but there was a tiny problem with the entire scenario. It was nine o'clock - in the freaking morning for goodness sake!

So call me critical and hang me on a hook but I was slightly disgusted with The Alkie. I mean who offers guests booze as a substitute for coffee?Unfortunately, spending an additional 20 minutes in The Alkie's company did nothing to change my initial opinion of him.

For no apparent reason, the guy asked me my age and when I declined to answer, he proceeded to insist that I tell him the year I was born, which is of course, the same thing.It seems funny when I think about it now but when you're forced to converse politely with a man with bloodshot eyes and who is in dire need of breath mints at nine in the morning is ...it’s a little hard to see the humor in the situation.

Anyway, I couldn't help but think of him as some kind of Loser but maybe I was wrong about him. Maybe this guy is a religious, book-reading, community-service-performing paragon of virtue.But its so hard to refrain from categorizing people, isn't it? l label people all the time - Loser, Cool, Friendly, Pretentious, Obtuse...

I know we're not supposed to judge a book by its cover but I've never seen books on topics like Investment Opportunities in the 3rd World or the The Consequences of the Boer War wrapped in hot, pink, chic-lit type covers, have you? Book covers are designed to reflect the subject within and I think the same principle applies to people.I do realize that by labeling people, I may inadvertently keep away from someone who could potentially be a spectacular friend but you know what? Who has the time for giving everyone second/third chances to make a good first impression?

I've botched up first impressions myself. I often forget someone's name 5 seconds after they've been introduced to me (my number one flub) and its a sure-fire way to make people remember my name - for all the wrong reasons! People generally tend to remember my mistake and stay away. I've personally had precious few second chances in the first impression department.

So, despite the possible errors in judgment I'm likely to make, I think I'll stay with my usual way of sizing someone up. I believe I'm a pretty good judge of character and the friends I know have stood the test of labels and the test of time. So for now at least, I think I'll stick to my 'blink of an eye' verdicts!

Heatwave

Wooh, it's been far too hot to do anything, so I'm using that as excuse for not doing anything.

I did, however, drag myself out of the house today to go swimming. Typically, silly me decided to go at noon, when the sun was scorching down at its worst.

I love sun
I love sun
I love sun

I want to have a big fat tan that will make me glow in UV light.

So bring it on.

I just looooooooooove being tanned and tanlines are like little badges of victory. Hurray me for withstanding the heat and sweat and sunburn for a great all-over oliveness. (Am not one for those whitening things - they're scary! And I look green like a lizard half the time anyway, don't need any more help with getting pale thank you).

So I persist and slab on the oil and bake with my mind completely set on having skin as olivey as Ciara and as evenly coloured as Trisha (who has such nice skin that it's almost legitimate for me to hate her a little bit). Chinese skin lah, you know, is always so damn uneven and got that dull, horrid fair thing going.

When I'm in these sorts of moods I forget how shitty sunstroke feels so I go out and have little bikini celebrations, masochistically enjoying the pain of being fried.

Of course, today happened to be an extra evil sizzling, hotplate afternoon of skin cancer waiting to happen. And now, twelve hours after having spent only half an hour in the pool, I feel like leftover barbeque meat, and really, pretty horribly ill.

And I didn't even get tanned :(

Monday, August 07, 2006

Gravedigger/ Cradle Snatcher

In my bout of recent apathy, I've spent a stupid amount of time watching DVDs of House. All that mean, rude, cleverclever slap-in-the-face sort of bitchery makes for totally blissful entertainment because it's just so damn funny and somehow, rudeness doesn't count as rudeness when it's actually quite intelligent.

Also, have developed some sort of ridiculous infatuation with Hugh Laurie. You know, that whole caustic wit, the mean banter, the constant mockery he has plastered on his face - it's become a turn on, if a rather perverse one.



Add to that the fact that he reminds me of a maths teacher who I was gravely in love with for 4 years of high school. I only did ad maths because it would mean being taught by him (I went on to do English Lit at uni so it obviously wasn't for any sort of step up the academic ladder). It was so childish and so utterly daft, but such fantastic fun! I was so completely the fatter, 14-year-old, Chinese version of Jennifer Morrison's character, Cameron, in House.

Come to think of it now, it really was pretty stupid. First of all, even if I wasn't 20 kilos overweight (which I was, grossly), he was about 40 when I was about 14 and was married to the only PE teacher who was prettier than all the hot language teachers combined. Hmph. Still, it was a silent love affair in my empty little teenage head with a man who who as excited about Group Theory as I was bored shitless.

Funny, the things your head does to you when you're a kid.

Oh, but wait, not much has changed then, has it?

A close friend BB and I were SMSing furiously about how fabulous House is. I told her I'm in love with Hugh Laurie because he reminds me of my maths teacher.
She said, "Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeew! I never pictured you as a grave digger," (Ok, well I hadn't thought of it quite like that) and then,
"Grab 'em all! Someone old, someone new, someone present (I don't condone borrowing), someone blue! You must be "projecting" your feral instincts to me through our sisters' bond. Get outta my head! I KNEW I WAS PURE LIKE A FRESH FALL OF SNOW! It's all your fault! hahaha"

See, with friends like these, how could I be anything but not right in the head.

Anyway, back to that grave-digger thing. Yah, the older (as in old) man does have it's appeal. (though, like BB, I don't condone borrowing either - the dating married men thing is just so tired and people should so get over it already).

Old, very clever men with the sophistication that comes about only from having developed enough wit to make you feel uncomfortable and adoring at the same time are especially rare and definitely deserve to be worshipped by silly fillies like me.

Still, there's always that thin line between Dating an Older Man and Being Cradle Snatched. Charming Sophisticate? Or Paedophile?
Matured young girl? Or Lolita?

Anyhow, I'm getting ahead of myself. It's not like I'm even going to get to have dinner with Hugh Laurie least of all date him and have the world judge that age thing so may as well enjoy the infatuation while I can, eh. There's still 4 more unwatched DVDs in the box for when the next bout of procrastination hits.

And PS: speaking of paedophiles, Boyfriend and I went to MacDonalds recently and there was this really evil looking, child-molesting Ronald MacDonald sitting up front. Seeeeeee:


He's even got that creepy, "Come 'ere and sit on my lap" pose and sleazy grin on his face. If I had kids, and Ronald MacDonald was real, I sure as hell won't be letting my kiddums get anywhere near him.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Interior decorating

The Boyfriend and I are in the process of decorating an apartment we just bought. I have a friend who is 150% couply, absolutely no more sense of herself as an individual person, and she thinks that this sort of thing is The Most Exciting Endeavour Ever - you know, that whole thing about having more excuse to spend 150% of your time being couply, and making couply decisions like what crockery to have. Now, the first question she asks me after "How are you?" is "Have you moved into your apartment already?" *yawns*

Me, it makes me want to hurl a vase across the room, and then hurl on the floor.

Trisha was right. That thing about opposites attracting is nothing but a big pain in the ass. It's just so interesting when you're such different people - over coffee tables and dinnertime it's so anecdotal and everyone thinks it's fascinating. Bah.

But when you're trying to do something practical like decorate an apartment and one of you likes Contemporary Zen and the other likes Boho-Vintage, you're bound to be at odds at everything from tiles to curtain railings.

See, this means things like:
- he wants an edgy spanking-new living room out of Wallpaper; I want a vintage living room out of Vogue
- he wants neat, ordered, symmetrical corners; I want assymetrical, antique, worn-out furnishing
- he hates bookshelves; I love books
- he loves big impressive light fixtures; I love lamps
- he wants wood pannelling; I want retro mosaic tiles
- he wants big block curtains in plain colours; I want textured, coloured curtains

Ad infinitum.

In this case, it means that the finished product will end up being either 1) something that one person totally loves and the other totally hates or 2) something that neither really likes that much. So at the moment, if anyone tells me they think that opposites attract thing is endearing, I might just have to poke them in the eye with a fork.

Yah, yah, we know, compromise and self-sacrifice all that schtuff. But see, compromise becomes that much harder when Nothing At All overlaps. It's like Brave New World meets 1920s French Cafe. How?!

Anyway this whole thing is really depressing me - interior designing is supposed to be fun but at the rate we're going, I think I might begin to prefer having my teeth drilled.

Other alternative: don't move in together. Wheeeeeee! This property is just so draining. Take a leaf from yogis - go single, live in a cave and eat berries. Simplicity is key.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Bongoyo

I've been trying to drown my sorrows in the Indian Ocean off Dar Es Salaam, Tz after I found out the news about the column (btw thanks for your support...we really appreciate it, you guys!).

Husband and I went on a short day trip to Bongoyo Island about 20 minutes away from Dar by boat.

Its a tiny, tiny island and there's absolutely nothing on it save a couple of thatched roofs supported by circular wooden pillars but its so very beautiful. The water is so clear, you can see almost to the sandy bed of the ocean. I actually fell asleep under one of the thatched roofs.

There are a couple of local people who remain on the island during the day to look after the tourists and such. They're also in charge of meals which consist of freshly caught fish and prawns which they grill and serve immediately with a dash of salt. I swear, its got to be the best fish I've ever tasted!

The guys who clean the fish, do it on a little inlet of water and Husband and I saw some really creepy, prehistoric-looking creatures all crowding round for some fish innards. They turned out to be some sort of eel. Husband managed to take a pic but for some reason I can't seem to upload it...

Anyway, it was a good thing we didn't trip and fall into the water. I think those guys would have thought nothing of having our toes for lunch!

POST SCRIPT: I suddenly realized that the picture I posted earlier is really ugly. So I've removed it coz it doesn't do justice to the beach at Bongoyo. I shall post a better pic if blogger ever let's me download one properly!