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?

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Thin is not in

The saying "you can never be too rich or too thin" is being refuted. Well, the 'too thin' part anyway! Thin models are being banned from runways in Madrid where models who have an unhealthy BMI will be given their (cat)walking papers.

I'm all for it. I think the obsession with wanting to be thin (not svelte, not slender but thin) is at a dangerous level.

This is not to say that I haven't spent, what must be years of my life, being totally fixated on the numbers that come up on the weighing scale. In fact, I'm in the midst of a diet right now!

I just think that the obsession with looking emaciated has gone way too far.

When I was in my teens (gosh, I sound old!), I wanted to start a modeling agency with 'real people' as models. In other words, people who were not 7 feet tall, weighing 25kg and who had waists smaller than the circumference of my left ankle.

I mean who, in real life, looks like those models anyway? I don't know one single person who does.

My modeling agency idea never came to fruition of course but looks like the principle behind it is finally seeing the light of day.

I'm not saying that catwalk models should start stuffing their faces with jaffa cakes and kuih lapis until they balloon to hippo-like proportions. I'm just saying that there's slim (which looks healthy and attractive) and then there's skeletal (which looks like death warmed over and highly disgusting).

Nicole Richie is a good example of someone who didn't know when to quit while she was ahead. I admit, she did need to lose a few kilos in the first season of A Simple Life (at the risk of sounding bitchy, I'm going to say that she looked like a Friesian Cow next to Paris - hello!)


In fact, I think this image was digitally morphed so Nicole looked smaller than she really was at that time

I can understand her eagerness to shed the weight but I think she went one too far. She looks pretty ghastly now which puts her right back in the unattractive category. See what I mean?


Having a svelte figure is one thing but when your collar bone sticks out so far that it turns the corner before you do, its probably a sign that you should start re-thinking your diet and exercise routine. Besides, all this mania with being thin enough to fit through a straw has given rise to eating disorders.

So here's a shout out to Spain I sincerely hope the 'thin is not in' phenomenon catches on everywhere else.

This just in: I spoke too soon! Just as I was about to publish this post, an article on the Yahoo homepage caught my eye - apparently Madrid is the only place that stands firm on the thin ban. Thin is, sadly still in, in Milan

Monday, September 25, 2006

Who the heck are 'they'?

I feel rather serious today, hence this rather serious subject….

Whenever you've wanted to do or say something unconventional in your life, have you ever had someone tell you (or told yourself) : "You'd better not - what would 'they' think?'

Who the heck are 'they' and perhaps, more importantly, why the heck should you care what 'they' think? The illusive group, otherwise known as 'they', have featured prominently in my life.

I've made many decisions based on what 'they' would think. I contemplated dancing on a table once just because I felt like it (not because of the amount of alcohol that was imbibed, promise!). I didn't because of what 'they' would think.

When I wanted to wear a dangerously short, tight, skirt to an event (Ally McBeal was all the rage then), I didn't because I was afraid that 'they' would disapprove.

The skirt, like Ally, is SO not the new millenium so I can't possibly wear it now which means I just wasted good money on it.

In my mind's eye 'they' vaguely resemble a bunch of infuriating relatives. Its like having a group of old-fashioned, annoying aunties sitting on your shoulder everywhere you go, admonishing you - a truly terrifying thought! They look something like this except they're all Indian:



What is it about being human that makes all of us SO very susceptible to other people's opinion of everything we say and everything we do? We worry about other people's idea of us even if they happen to be nameless and faceless. It is a constant struggle not to take any notice of everyone else and follow our chosen path in life - even if it means that it’s a route nobody else has taken or will approve of.

This means that if your goal in life is to be a tattoo artist than a tattoo artist you should be. How horrible if you spent an entire lifetime trapped in the life of, say, an accountant when all you want to do is to use people's skin as canvas (okay, that sounds a pretty gross but you get the idea).

I think its doubly hard in Asia where pleasing your parents and fitting into the community are considered virtues of the highest order. How do you tell your parents, who want only the best for their darling son/daughter, that their child's sole aspiration in life is to be an RTM background dancer? (alright, bad example but there could be people out there who want that, couldn't there?)

Despite my best efforts not to, I still catch myself thinking about 'them' and their opinion . I suspect that the only way I'll finally stop is when I cease to worry about what others think of me. This will probably happen only when I myself am an annoying old aunty telling young people what to do.....sigh!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Blogging and Balding



I just saw someone wearing a T-shirt which proclaimed "Nobody Cares About Your Blog". I thought it was fantastic (the T-shirt not the fact that nobody cares!) but it did make me giggle a bit nervously.

I think blogging is therapeutic but it can often feel like an exercise in futility. Trixie and I have come really close to pulling our hair out in large clumps out of sheer frustration. We (like almost every blogger in blogosphere) are constantly worried that nobody really reads our blog and that we're just rambling to ourselves like a couple of loonies.

People who regularly read your blog are like real friends. The only difference is that they're unseen, unheard and generally completely invisible unless they leave some sort of comment. Either way, its always nice to know someone out there is 'listening'.

So, here's a thanks to all who have left a comment. You have no idea but some of you have totally saved us from becoming a couple of bald women - trust me!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Never annoy waiters!

Gosh! I'm finally able to logon properly. To be totally honest, I haven't felt like doing anything at all for ages and ages. You know how it is....you just get into a slump and then find it so damned hard to crawl your way out again. But I decided enough was enough when the idea of washing my coffee cup after breakfast felt like a huge task looming over my head. That was terrible. So here I am, blogging again.

Something funny happened yesterday (well, it wasn't funny at the time but it seems quite hilarious now). I called a takeaway place for the first time.
This is how the conversations went:

Me: Hi. Can I place an order please?
Confused Takeaway Guy: Is this first order?
Me: Yes
CTG: Can you tell name?
Me: My name is Trisha.
CTG: Tissue?
Me: Trisha.
CTG: Tissue?
Me (at a slightly higher decibel): No,Trisha
CTG: Spell, please.
Me: T-R-I-S-H-A
CTG: Wait, wait. Is it T-I?
Me (even higher decibel): No! T-R
CTG (sounding agitated): T-I ?
Me: No, its R not I!
CTG: U?
Me (at a eardrum shattering volume): No, R!!!!!
CTG (sounding annoyed):Huh?

On the verge of a losing my voice, I told him as calmly as I could that he could not speak English and would have to get someone who can. What I really wanted to say was that he is stupid and needs to get someone who is not but I thought the better of it at the last minute.

CTG didn't say another word but a far more cheerful guy who spoke much better English suddenly came on the line and took my order. Bonus: he got my name right the first time!

Lunch duly arrived and I was pretty pleased until, halfway through the burger, I wondered if the CTG had had a hand in preparing it. I'm given to sudden bouts of paranoia so I promptly lost my appetite coz I was CERTAIN that he would have added 'extra indgredients'. He might have licked the burger - or worse...horrors!

Binned the rest of the burger and decided that no matter how slow waiter/waitress-types are, its always a good idea to be extra polite. You wouldn't want to end up with a booger burger!! Yucccckkkk!!!





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Friday, September 15, 2006

Where are we?

For some darn reason, I can't view this blog!!! Is it lost? Has it been stolen? Or worse - has it been attacked by some sort of evil virus?

I shall try to log on again later....

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Back

I'm Baccckkk!!! Hello all!

The word 'all' probably doesn't apply anymore coz its either going to be only two people (namely Trixie and me) or three at most who are reading this blog since we've taken such a long hiatus.
So, to the third person who's still checking in - thanks for sticking around!

I've finally moved into my new place and more importantly, I now have internet access. Woo hoo!

Its apparently a broadband connection but the operative word here is apparently. Still, its better than nothing. I shall endevaour to post more often now that I'm finally online again.

The bad thing about the new apartment is that we now have satellite TV (its called DSTV and is an Astro equivalent). They have this channel called E! which we don't receive in KL.

I'm totally transfixed by the completely useless, utterly frivolous but absolutely delicious programmes they have on. Shows like "Girls of the Playboy Mansion" and "10 Ways to be Hollywood's next Starlet" are such a fabulous waste of time!

Two days of watching E! turns one's mind into mush so I quickly ran out and bought myself Time magazine. So far, E! is still winning when it comes to keeping my attention!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Ciao for now

I am Utterly Exhausted!!!



(Okay, I'm sure you've noticed that that lioness is not me. I'll confess - I'm looking for excuses to post a few more pictures of the Serengeti lions in this blog. Don't you thinks she's SO darn cute, though?!)

I've been carrying bagfuls of stuff up and down stairs the whole day today. We're moving to a new apartment in Dar. This one has a generator switched on ALL the time. Woo hoo!!!! Plus a nice view of the sea...lovely.

It looks like I'm going to be out of touch with the net for a while, though, coz they haven't installed the internet connection yet...sigh!

So I might be quiet for a while on this blog (good news if you're tired of me rambling on and on!) but I'm going to go to an Interent cafe if my net-less state drags on too long.

Anyways, here's saying a quick bye for now. I'm passing the baton to Trixie who has been hit by a bout of the blues (as you might have noticed in her last entry). Hope she cheers up soon - *hugs*

The only thing that's keeping me going is the fact that all that stair climbing and weight lifting is going to help me lose weight. The only problem is, it works up an appetitie as well and its so darn hard not to stuff my face! Wish me luck....! Posted by Picasa

Friday, September 01, 2006

The Endless Plains

I thought there'd be a power cut today so I sent out one-liner emails to everyone at top speed this morning but it turns out that the power is still on. Anyway, it might go at any moment so I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

If you're interested to know - there are power problems in Tanzania coz the country runs on hydroelectric power and there was a terrible draught for two years. So now Tanesco rations power. Being the HMG (High Maintenance Girl) that I am, all this translates to not being able to use the hairdryer when I want to! Okay - that sounds terribly selfish but its still true! Sigh!

As I mentioned, I've just come back from a safari. We visited the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater (which is essentially a collapsed volcano and a world heritage site) and Lake Manyara (which is a gigantic lake with tons of birds).

The HMG in me was appalled at the thought of all that driving around we'd have to do (albeit with an experienced guide) in a 4WD with no air-conditioning (horrors!). Plus the roads are SO bad that I thought my boobs would be jolted of my chest and I had to check to make sure they were still intact! But all that faded away the instant I saw the plains.

The Serengeti (which means endless plains in Masai language) isn't called that for nothing. The savannah seems to stretch to the end of the world.

Husband and I were lucky and managed to see the Big Five namely the elephant, lion, leopard, rhino and African buffalo. Unfortunately the leopard is an elusive cat and refused to get anywhere near us. Ditto the rhino and the cheetah so we had to use binoculars to see them from afar ( our zoom lens is crap so we have no pictures of the leopard or the rhino and only one of the cheetah).

Fortunately the lions have no such inhibitions and were frolicking right beside the tires of our car. We got quite close to elephants, giraffes, zebras, hippos and of course wildebeest.

I watched jealously as a Mat Salleh in a neighboring car pulled out a zoom lens so long that it practically reached the other end of the Serengeti. Husband and I had a chuckle together when we thought of what he was compensating for!

Still, we did manage to get some good pics with our teeny tiny camera so here's a few:

Pak toh Zebra-style!





Wildebeest: The biggest buffet ever




Big or small, a kitty cat is still a kitty cat




If you're worried about having a big arse - wait till you see this!


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At the risk of sounding nauseatingly soppy I have to admit that the beauty of the animals and the land were so breathtaking that I felt tears in my eyes at times.

I'm now inspired to go for other 'adventure' holidays despite being a HMG. My mum always says that the lions look like their manes have had a wash and blow dry at a nearby salon.

So, I'll make like a lion and go for the windswept look. Who needs a blow dryer when the wind whipping through your hair in the open plains is just as attractive?