Sunday, August 31, 2008


Hey folks, first posting from St Albans. The weather is nice, so don't believe everything that Vidic said.

Anyway, the journey went well. Left home at about 4.30am and finally arrived here at about 9pm local time. That's almost 24 hours of traveling altogether, inclusive of a 3-hour transit in Bangkok.

Anyway, the 12-hour long flight to Heathrow was marred by a yob who kept swearing loudly in every other sentence, and trust me that bloke talks a bit too much for everyone's liking. Big boy playing with big words, I wonder if his vocabulary extends more than 12 words (half of which are variations of the word fuck). Loud, vulgar and downright disruptive, he even threatened to slug some of the guys who told him off. Suffice to say, the flight was not very comfortable with this unwelcomed element on board. It started the moment he stepped on board, and he sat right near us, only a coupla rows back.

When we finally reached Heathrow, the Metropolitan police boarded and took him away in cuffs amidst applause and wolf-whistles from the rest of the passengers, I kid you not. And he resisted, it's kinda fun in a way seeing the two cops (bobbies isn't it?) pulled him out of the seat and dragged him off. Some of the guys who were threathened gave statements and all, it was very eventful indeed. How's that for in flight entertainment?

Oh it did not end there though. Once the sod was taken away, the Thai wife continued his charade. She kept going on about the people don't understand him and whatnot. Can't really understand much though, Thaiglish (you no understand, you come give money me not happy etc). Save it lady, we understood his unprovoked actions well enough.

Anyway, good news is that I have wi-fi in my room so I'll be able to blog and IM, so drop me a line anytime yeah? Gotta catch some sleep now, I feel so stoned already. Good night!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Lucky Number

F: Uncle, Proton Edar Desa Tun Razak pergi ka, dekat jalan Alam Damai sana?
U: Yes yes, masuk.

U: Keleta ada losak ka?
F: Ha'ah, pakai tak sampai sebulan dah rosak. Saya hantar servis sana, ni mau pergi amek.
U: Tak sampai sebulan ah, wahhh. Ini Ploton ah, kualiti talak ah.
F: Itu lah pasal, tengah drive skali dia mati pulak.
U: Itu macam ka? Manyak bahaya woo.
F: What to do, bad luck lah saya.
U: Lu talak ong la saya ingat, tapi tak apa. Manatau itu keleta punya nombor boleh menang besar punya. Itu jam, boleh guna duit itu buat bayar keleta la!

You crack me up Uncle, thanks for the joke (though he was deadly serious about it). So, 0389 can win big ah tomorrow, anyone willing to give a try?

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Final Straw

I bought a new car a few months back. Only last month it arrived. Now, it's in the shops.

It broke down thrice while I was driving on the road, all in 3 days. Sent for repairs after the 1st time, and called Proton Assist too every time it happened. After the 1st repair, they told me it's working fine now and should give no more problems. They also told me it was my fault, it happened because of my driving style. Now it happened again despite me following their new driving style recommendations.

Today it broke down again as I was sending it to the Proton Edar Service Center. It broke down just a coupla kilometers from the Center, so I called them for assistance. Their answer was "tunggu la kereta dah boleh start balik then baru datang sini, tak pon call Proton Assist ". How does that help me who were stranded in the middle of the goddamn road? Luckily my insurance company provides free towing service, so the car was towed to the Service Center.

By that time I was very pissed off at the dismal quality of the car and also the attitude of the staff. I've had to deal with numerous incompetent Proton staff ever since I paid the booking fee back in April. Of course, some are actually helpful like the saleslady Anne at Proton Edar Jalan Ampang and the guy who attended to all my calls to Proton Assist. Everyone else, especially those at i-Care are just a waste of space. i-Care? What a joke. I-Don't-Care more like it.

So I went back to the office feeling very furious, and started to send out some e-mails. Yes, I wrote to NCCC, and then I also wrote to The Malay Mail, The Star and Berita Harian demanding answers from Proton for the extremely poor customer service and product quality. After about an hour, The Malay Mail called me up for more details. They asked me to wait for Proton's reply once they publish it. I hope the other papers would publish it too.

I wrote about this in a forum for Proton owners as well, and someone told me that I'm doing a brave thing. Brave? If I stay quiet, I might not even be around anymore soon. I've been lucky so far that I've not gotten into any accident every time the car's engine just stopped running while I was driving, but my luck might run out. This is not bravery my man, this is self preservation.

I have stayed quiet for far too long, being too patient with Proton's incompetence. Not anymore.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Dalam Dingin Subuh

In 9 days time I'll be on my way to London. It's going to be for work, so I don't expect much fun and games though. After that I'm gonna go do a bit of travelling in Europe, my itinerary counts Barcelona, Paris and Venice as my future destinations. I'm still thinking of how am I going to be able to finance my travels, from my research Europe is definitely not for those with thin wallets (such as yours truly). But hey, I 'll worry about that when I return to good ole Malaysia. What better excuse to lose weight than not having enough money for dinner (since my Mastercard is creeping nearer to the limit after buying flight tickets and booking accomodations) right?

So Ramadhan will be spent several continents away, with a few friends for company and no ketupat or rendang in sight for Raya later too. By the way Raya will be spent in Paris, ooh la la. It would be nicer if we actually have the time to spend it with my friend T (she's residing in Paris with her hubby now), but tight schedule meant that my Raya will just be on the sidewalks of Paris. Care-bear said we could tie up some buns in leaves to substitute ketupat and use bolognese sauce as rendang, an idea which I'm filing away for use just in case I get in the Raya mood at Porte de Chatillon =D

I never really looked forward to Raya before this, but when I can't experience it as per norm (2nd year running, last Raya was also spent away from home) I kinda miss it a little bit. Human nature is crazy like that, sometimes. Maybe it's just my nature, but whose keeping score anyway? For the longest time, I've always loved the idea of Raya. The build up to it which starts around the same time as Ramadhan always gets me in the mood. Then you'll hear the evergreen Raya songs being played, and you'll start remembering childrood Raya celebrations which are always much better. You'll see certain fireworks being sold (illegally, of course I never bought any. Really!) and you'll start getting flashbacks of the time your sister poked your aunt on the arm with the sparkler, or rogue rocket mercuns going berserk in the dusun next to your grandma's place etc. You'll hear certain Raya songs and it'll have a special memory like Dari Jauh Ku Pohon Maaf would always take me back to schooldays when we would sing it at the assembly just before going back to our respective hometowns for the Raya break.

There's tonnes of things that makes waiting for Raya fun. Then it's already Raya, and for me the fun ends after the morning prayers. Raya has become anti-climactic. After that it's just a blur of food and handshakes and orange cordial. In a jiffy, Raya is a thing of the past. But since last Raya, I don't even get to feel the build-up. This will be another Raya spent like any other day of the year. Next year? There's a chance I might be in Hong Kong, so I can't even be looking forward for that one.

Excuse my rambling, I was hit by a sudden rush of nostalgic Raya moments.

P/S: I know you guys who studied overseas will think nothing of this, and I don't intend to compare. This is solely what I feel.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Everybody's Sin

I've found some very very good blogs of late, and some of them are actual writers. As I read their fluent prose and sentences, I started to lament my own shortcomings as an aspiring writer. Yes, I've always wanted to write for a living. Unfortunately I have nothing to show for even after all these years of aspiring.

For a while back then, I wrote poetry (yeah, laugh it up!). My mom wrote Malay poems which often reminds me of Usman Awang, whether she's aware of it or not. I wrote english ones, which upon rereading it now, reads like a bad attempt at Poe. At best. Dozens more remain unfinished, some are just one liners even.

I used to write short stories too, most of it left unfinished when I lost the plot midway. There were a few grand plans with Ainaa to write a collaboration-style novella which never saw completion. Nothing new there.

I bought the laptop with the plan of writing something worthwhile for once, so that I won't make an excuse that the PC is hidden behind a wall of junk that I can't use it to type out my premier work. Ahh, the follies of the lazy.

Perhaps, perhaps I'm not cut out to be a writer after all. My grammar is atrocious, my mom the English teacher has long given up on trying to correct it. I've always been told I have a good vocabulary, but even that is no longer my forte I feel. I'm beginning to go lazy and use the same old words over and over, leaving the more flamboyant or colourful ones disused. Left to rit and die in my mind.

I am 25, but not far from turning 26. Is this it? Am I going to accept defeat now and live free of the nagging feeling that I'm wasting my talents away. Do forgive my self-indulgent use of the word talent, since I subscribe to the mantra 'if I don't think highly of myself first, who will?'. Misleading? Tak kisah lah.

But then, the twist is, writing keeps me sane. I write because I have to. I blog because it's the easiest way to write now. I think I may have forgotten how to write with a pen. I write to let my thoughts out, lest they be trapped and go stale inside my mind. Stale thoughts are poison, mark my words. Thence I keep holding on to this dream of someday seeing something I wrote in print. It might be in the bargain bin after a few weeks, but I wouldn't feel bad about it. At least that one lifelong dream will be fulfilled at last - to be a writer.

You may say that I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. Right on, John.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


I just came back from watching The Dark Knight, alone. I avoided KLCC and the likes for the crowd tend to be suffocating, even on a weekday like this. Instead I drove the short distance to Galaxy, where I managed to just walk in 5 minutes before the movie started and still manage to get a very good seat. It might not be the best, but it's enough for me. Some 2 hours later, I walked back to my car. Deciding to skip dinner, I just drove back home.

I drove silently while listening to Pearl Jam playing softly in the car. Parked and went up to my unit, unlocked the grille and door and switched on the lights. The place blooms to life. From the foyer I can see my display rack overflowing with books, my couch that often serves as my second bed, the TV I've been planning to hang up on the wall but never actually done it yet and the retro carpet I got for cheap in Nilai ages ago - my living area.

Switched on the TV, nothing good on. Nothing new there. Out of habit I left it on as background noise, it helps to kill the loneliness. Bad habit, I know. Went to the kitchen to drink some water, and thought for a while about that kitchen cabinet I've been planning. Next bonus maybe, if there's gonna be one for me that is.

Walked back to the living area, past the dark wood dining table that mom made me buy though I wanted something smaller. Thank God I heeded her advice, now it doubles up as a utility table too. A small square table won't be able to hold my junk, and that's a fact. Mom always knows best, kids - listen to her.

Reached out to the switch on the far wall, and the balcony is bathed in a golden glow. I picked up the laptop and sat one of the chairs that I set out there, next to the table with a ponytail palm plant on it. Switched the laptop on and started typing this, just an entry detailing my thoughts. Sorry, nothing even close to be intellectually stimulating here today.

And at times like these that I thank God for everything that I have so far. I do feel lucky, Harry.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Bangkok Hangover

I've had the opportunity to visit 4 of our neighbouring countries in recent years and I must say, Thailand beats Cambodia, Indonesia and Singapore by a distance. So much so, I'm still nursing a Bangkok hangover 4 days after I'm back. Honestly speaking, before going I had reservations about spending that many days in Bangkok. I was proved so very wrong.

The 4 of us, though one can be mistaken for a ladyboy. And it's not me!

Me, I'm a backpacker. Lucky for me, I found guys who don't mind this form of travelling as well: Lemon, Mini and FBI. I set out for Bangkok only with some toiletries, 2 pair of shorts, 2 tshirts, a bunch of boxers and my camera. The idea was to buy everything else over there =P

We stayed at Thanon Khao San, where backpackers from all around the world converge. Highly recommended for you to stay here rather than Sukhumvit (which is pricier). It's a street lined with guesthouses, pubs, restaurants, massage parlours, tattoo parlours and stalls selling clothes, food and CDs. There several convenience stores open 24 hours too. Basically you can just live there for weeks without having to go anywhere else.

Bangkok is fun for so many reasons. Cheap stuff to buy, great cheap food (we survived almost exclusively on a diet of paw phia, phad thai, kao phat and fruits), lovely weather (it was neither too hot nor rainy when we were there), and of course the people.

The people are excellent! They must be the most polite and nicest people I've met collectively. Malaysia still have a long way to go to match them, seriously. Traffic jams in Bangkok are notorious but I seldom heard horns being blared, cars and tuk-tuks and bikes jostled for space on the roads but they are very tolerant of each other - giving space whenever possible. The people spoke softly and politely, like one would expect to speak to one's future in laws. Charming! One guy even slashed the price of his already-cheap Kiwi fruit shake just because I'm a fellow Muslim, how nice is that?

Of course, there are people trying to cheat you out of your money since you are tourists, expected to have wads of cash stashed somewhere. But show me a place with no such touts?

Then the parks, oh they are just so nice. Serene environment just a few metres away from the bustling streetscene of Thanon Phra Athit.

The massages we had was excellent, for only THB220, we had an hour of lovely Thai massage for sore feet and shoulders. We ended up going almost everyday. Manicures, pedicures, we did it all. THB200 for both, can you beat that?

Chatuchak weekend market was a chaotic blend of people and merchandise. Huge market plus a swarming mass of people plus sore feet and wallet equals to another round of massage!

It was all the more lovelier since we met some great Thai folks over there. My gratitude goes to all 'my friend me' over there: Chula, Mod, Nan, Min, Ang etc for making our stay there all the more better. 6 days was definitely not enough. We are already making plans to go again, next time just to chill and shop (since we've done the sightseeing this time around). The Bangkok syndrome is a hard one to cure, it seems.
I think I'm in love.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Khor Tot Krub

I've been away, not that far but away nonetheless.

Sitting on the well-kept lawn of Santhi Chaiprakarn, letting the wind blow my hair all astray, I felt happy. I sat, sandals askew beside me and my camera resting on the grass near my feet - unused. I watched an old couple sit under the tree on the opposite corner of the lawn from me, and shifted my gaze to watch the other people there.

Behind me the Chao Phraya is giving an endless supply of fresh breeze, and I sat there taking in the scene while listening to a soft Thai ballad emanating from a not too far-off speaker. A girl took up a spot under another tree nearby and took out her iPod and notebook and was soon immersed in her writing. I wish I had my notebook with me too, but all I had was my memory.

I then laid down on the green, and closed my eyes. This is why I travel.

But now I'm back. Goodbye hospitality, gentleness and grace, hello back reality. Kuala Lumpur, I'm home now.