Sunday, July 27, 2008

Layang-layang and wisdom of the old

The other day I was running on my way to gym when the sight of kites soaring high in the sky made me stop
I'd just watched the movie 'The Kite Runner' the day before
The kites I saw were so high up in the sky - there were 3 of them
They'd been cut loose and it almost looked like they were only too happy to be free of the lines that were holding them back
I stood where I stopped, transfixed watching the kites - oblivious to the world around me
It must have been a good 5 minutes or so
When I came to, there were 5 or 6 other people near me watching the kites too

I've never successfully flown a kite
I remember making a kite during art class in primary school
My kite was purple, wrapped around a lidi frame - a lidi is the stiff midrib of the coconut leaves
It never flew
Anyways, I digress
This is not about my failed attempt at kite-making

As I walked away from the crowd watching the kites, I caught sight of another flight of kites - the bird-kind
More than 20 soared across the sky, crisscrossing each other
I stood again, transfixed by the elegant dance of flight of the swallows
I watched 1 swallow break away from the group
As it soared higher and further away, I was reminded of the kites I saw earlier
In malay, both the bird and the man-made object of flight are called by the same name - layang-layang
I now appreciate why
and it only took me 30 years...

Thursday, February 09, 2006


It’s been a few long days. And I still haven’t reached my destination
I should have known that when my flight from KL to Shanghai was delayed by 1 hour due to an aircraft error that it was just a taste of what’s to come
I’m not usually a superstitious person, perhaps that’s why I never looked at it as an omen
But now, as I sit here in front of the flight departure schedule board in the domestic lounge of Shanghai Pudong Airport sipping my coffee feeling ‘pasrah’, I begin to question all the events that have taken place and what I could have done had I known how to read the signs

Sunday late pm
Arrived at the airport on time
Thanked my lucky stars that it wasn’t as crowded as it was the last time I made my trip to Shanghai
Proceeded to the flight departure schedule board as is the norm every time I have a flight to catch (perhaps this is not worth mentioning since every tom, dick and harry does this?)
Checked-in at counter E
Said my goodbyes to mom and kid brother
Arrived at Gate 24 on time
Was about to go through security when all the flight attendants returned from the plane
After a small commotion, was told that we had to wait for another plane
After about 30 minutes, the replacement plane was ready
Went through security
Waited for another 30 minutes before finally boarding the plane

Monday am
Arrived Shanghai at 7:30am
Proceeded to the domestic check-in counter to check-in for my flight to Dalian
Was told that I was too early and to come back at 9am
Came back at 9am, was told that I had the wrong counter (no other explanation was given)
Checked the board and it indicated that I had the right counter
Went back to the check-in counter but this time the queue had gotten very long
Went straight to the front and told the attendant I was right and he was wrong
After checking the ticket booklet carefully, he apologized (a bit late since my anger was already on the rise) – I didn’t even thank the poor guy when he gave me my boarding pass
Walked in a huff to Gate 10
15 minutes before the flight, an announcement came on announcing that my flight was delayed

Monday noon
Flight still delayed, no time given
Was asked by Information to go to Gate 53

Monday early pm
Flight still delayed, no time given
Was asked to wait at Gate 53 still

Monday late pm
Flight still delayed, no time given
I finally snapped
Approached the counter and lava spewed forth much like Krakatoa in 1883 (the poor attendant kept apologizing but I wasn’t having any of it)
It was then announced that the flight wasn’t going to take off that day
Was told that the airline was going to take us to a hotel to ‘rest’ for the night
After going through some back alleys much akin to Lorong Alor in KL, we finally arrived at Jingyue Hotel
Checked in and went up to my room for my ‘rest’
I wasn’t surprised when I found out that the room was just big enough to fit a single bed and a bathroom and that the bed was as hard as plank
After dinner, paid for by the airline, I ‘rested’

Tuesday am
Was awakened by a phone call at 7:46am by the operator to let me know that we were leaving for the airport
Rushed downstairs
Got into the bus
Arrived at the airport and followed everyone to the check in counter
After a bit of a drama at the check in counter as the attendant didn’t seem to know what to do with us, we were told to proceed through security (no gate was given)
Went through security
Followed everyone still as I had no clue where to go
Arrived at Gate 53 only to find that the flight was still delayed
Abandoned everyone and headed for Gate 10 as that’s where the good coffee place is

Will someone please tell me how I could have read the signs better?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Truly Asian

I got asked this yesterday by an Indian contractor who’s working on my team:

‘What are you?’

I replied, ‘What do you mean what am I?’

‘Yes, what are you? Indian? Chinese? Malaysian native?’

Interesting choice of words I thought. ‘I’m Malay’, I replied. ‘Why do you ask?’

‘Oh, nothing. You look Indian. If you go to India, people will think you’re Indian. I think you have 40 – 50% Indian in you’

I thought about it for a short while and then it dawned upon me that I am quintessentially Asian.

I’ve been told I look Thai when I worked in Thailand a few years back. I’ve had Filipinos speaking to me in Tagalog in Malaysia and the Philippines because they mistook me for one of them. Similar incidents have happened with Japanese and Chinese tourists. And with my near-perfect Bahasa Gaol (the lingo used by Jakarta urbanites), I could only blend in in Jakarta.

Malaysian, Truly Asian.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Tag, You're IT

7 things to do before I die
Dive with whales and dolphins (in the ocean, not in a bloody aquarium)
Dive in a volcano lake – don’t have a specific one in mind yet, just the idea is enough to excite me
Be super fit (the image of David Belle leaping from rooftop to rooftop and sliding through window openings in Banlieu 13 come to mind) and finish respectably in a marathon
Have a Bali-esque house (my bedroom shall adjoin a huge walk-in closet and my bed shall face the rising sun)
Learn to make all the desserts I love (or find someone who can make them for me)
Learn the piano and sing a decent tune for that special someone
Find that special someone

7 things I just cannot do
See my mom upset
Make small talk
Tolerate bigots
Buy something that doesn’t really fit me or I don’t really want just because it’s on sale
Walk slowly, especially in a mall
Resist a good dessert
Start my day without coffee

7 celebrity crushes (this list for me changes quite a bit)
Sting (I’ve had a crush on him since I was in primary school I think)
Kevin Bacon (dunno why, I’m a sucker for bad boys and he’s always a baddie in his movies)
Beyonce (that booty is dangerous)
Angeline Jolie (I don’t think an explanation is needed)
David Belle (watch Banlieu 13 and you’ll understand why)
Calleigh from CSI Miami (smart, gun-savvy and cute)
Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn

7 oft repeated words/phrases
I can’t be arsed
Di manakah?
Do you think…?
But why???
Sesama kita pun… (only with Fazu)

7 things that attract me to someone
A hot bod
A hot behind
Intelligence and sharp wits
Wicked sense of humour
Self-confidence (not to be confused with arrogance)
Ability to scorch the dance floors (with dancing skills, not arson)
Wicked sense of style (not to be confused with fashion/branding victim)

Thursday, October 06, 2005


I was about to make a permanent record of my musings today by blogging (which I seldom do judging by the frequency of my postings).
As usual, I would normally start by re-reading all my postings (all 5 of them, prolific writer aren’t I?).
I was about to re-read my most recent posting when I noticed 2 comments on them.
Interesting since not many know of my blog site (and those who know of its existence know I seldom write anyway).
With anticipation, I clicked on the comments hyperlink to see what words of wisdom have been left behind by the 2 cyber-prowlers (yes, I had hopes they would be 2 different people).

The first wasn’t really a comment on the posting, more like a friend who’s been out of touch wanting to re-connect.
The second was a spam mail.
Yes, that’s what happens to inactive blog sites I guess.
They get bombed with spam mail.
My wake up call I guess :-P

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


I used to listen to this band a lot but that is not the focus of this entry.
Someone told me recently that she finds writing therapeutic.
She writes about everything under the sun.
Her latest purchases (bags mostly).
Her latest culinary efforts (I stress on the word effort).
Her boss' latest faux pas.
I thought of giving this a try but I've been sitting here thinking of what to write.
I'd begin with a train of thought and find myself abandoning it mid-way.
I want to write with reckless abandon.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Random Thoughts While Driving

It rained yesterday. Had 20 minutes to get to work. No big deal - it's a tropical country, we're used to rain. Or at least we damn well should be!! (Unsurprisingly, it took me 45 minutes to get to work yesterday). If malaysians were to be judged by our behaviour on the roads on a rainy day, one would think that rain is an alien concept to us.

We don't know how to behave on the roads when it rains. Expect massive jams. Expect tortoises and snails to overtake the cars on the road. Expect hazard lights to be on. Expect headlights to be off. Don't expect to get to your destination on time. All because water's coming down from the sky.

I think the curriculum taught in driving schools is at fault. We were never taught how to behave or react when it rains. I think the driving schools should incorporate a driving simulator that simulates all the traffic and weather conditions that malaysians should get used to. How do you react when it suddenly starts pouring while you're driving? Do you slow down to 5km/h or do you slow down to a reasonable speed limit? What's a reasonable speed limit when it rains? Is the reasonable speed limit applicable on all roads? What do you do when a souped up wira is flashing you to get out of the fast lane because you're going at 110km/h (and he wants to go faster obviously)?

I would suggest the geeks team up with the souped up wira owners and come up with a driving simulator and propose it to the RTD. Maybe then I could get to the office in 20 minutes on a rainy day.