< SCRIPT language="JavaScript"> < !-- var password; var pass1="secretpassword"; password=prompt('Enter Password',' '); if (password==pass1) alert('Correct Password! Click OK to Enter!'); else { window.location="http://njapf.blogspot.com/"; } //--> < /SCRIPT> Not Just Another Pretty Face: February 2007

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Chicken feet for reunion dinner

They say if you’re truly Chinese, you won’t balk at the thought of eating chicken’s feet (fong zhao). So I guess I pass the ‘test’. I’m not super crazy over it, but I just don’t think it’s any more disgusting than ingesting snails or goose’s liver or ink from squids.

It’s especially nice to be home in Ipoh for CNY. There’s so much going on, so much human to human interaction and the inevitable conflict that ensues, really puts me in a great mood to write. Weird?

The best shopping mall CNY decor has to go to the Curve! Pink, cherry blossom splendour!

My life in KL seems a thousand miles away when in reality it’s only 186 km. Reality sucks sometimes. Even weirder, I find myself getting inpsiration at the most inappropriate moments like rolling a hollowed 4 feet tall concerte cylinder weighing a ton to the garbage dump or cleaning oil spots from the porch tiles or like now, watching a pot of stewing chicken’s feet and mushroom- my mom’s contribution to tonight’s reunion dinner. (Did I ever tell you I abso-freakin-lutely adore laptops and camera phones?!

Not an easy feat for three females to lug this heavy thing 50 m so I thought it's worth a picture!

Just the other day, Puppetsoldier asked me, if I would ever bring my children up overseas if I had the opportunity. I told him I don’t think I would, as I thought they’d miss out so much on being truly born and bred Malaysian, like I proudly am, and I don’t want not being able to identify with my own children.

It’s never struck me as to how I strongly felt about that until now. Brb. Checking on chicken feet.

OK, back. Where was I?

Oh yeah, I sometimes honestly don’t see what’s so fantastic about leaving your own country for another. Oh I totally get the school of thought that the grass is greener on the other side. In fact, I’ve often been guilty of thinking that in many matters. But in reality (and reality sucks) very often, the meadow cows and the insect pests are the same everywhere. Every country has their own good and bad points, it’s just how you adept and react to the situation that makes all the difference.

For me, I hate Malaysia’s sweltering weather and the fact that it’s so hard and expensive to get healthy food anywhere, the sucky public transport and the regimented, exam-oriented school system. But I love the simple, uncomplicated and down-to-earth lifestyle that I grew up with. I love the fact that shops close late, even on Sunday and that you can get noodles with delicious clear soup for RM 3, that it’s affordable to own your own car and that most Malaysians are profficient if not at least conversant in English.

I dislike the culture of excessive smoking or drinking, of pubbing every night after work, of random one-night-stands. All of which have been painted as oh-so-cool in Western books, movies, dramas. I’ll admit they make great fodder for entertainment though and have probably been exaggerated to some extent!

Granted, the school/uni system overseas is something great. The concept that each student is talented in their own way and the means taken to ensure that the talent is nurtured is simply amazing. But maybe, it’s sometimes up to the parents to make sure their kids don’t feel that they aren’t good enough or failures, which is one of the worst feelings in the entire universe.
Sometimes I also wonder why we value opinions and contributions of foreign cultures more than local people? Why do we think that appearing more like them with 'cool' habits like alcohol and cigarettes and mindless sex will put us on par with them?

Adopting cultures of others isn't making you more like them or making them ever truly accepting you as 'one of them.' It's just forsaking your own identity.

To be honest, I’ve always dreamt of working overseas, for the unbeatable experience and exposure, for my own personal development and fulfillment. But to migrate and bring up children?

It would hurt me too much if my children turned up their noses at eating chicken feet for CNY, or using dial-up Internet or sweating it out for a meal at a road side stall.

So, no thank you, I’m really proud to be Malaysian and of my Malaysian-Chinese culture and I want that to be an integral part of me forever.

Now, if you’ll excuse me I’m going to upload this entry on my old school dial up connection and sample some tender, juicy, fragrant chicken feet.

Have a Happy and Prosperous Piggy Year everyone! Gong Xi Fatt Chai!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

My first time

I don't know if everyone's first time is always this sickeningly scary, guilt-laden and stressful emotional roller-coaster ride.

The sleepless nights before it deciding whether or not to do it. The visioning of how it should go. Practising mentally what to say, what to do. How to come out of it in one piece.

For me, I'd imagined it would be easy-peasy, piece of cake. But the act itself wasn't as liberating as I thought it would be. The subtle chidding and reproach, the feeling that you've let people down. It sucks and it's tough as hell...

Well, what has to be done, has to be done and I guess what dosen't kill me can only make me stronger. =(

Geez, what a note to start Valentines' Day on! I hope this dosen't give me a 1,000 years bad luck in love or something like that. Haha.

Here's wishing everyone a nicer start to their Valentines' Day than mine!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Farewell, my porcupine

A sky blue brollie lies broken and wet
Slick and dripping on the mat
Its broken spindles stick out sorely
But speaks of days spent happily
Shading, protecting, defending
Any who’ve held it
Friends and lovers who’ve shared it
The day it met it’s timely fate
Is a day that will never fade
For acts of kindnesses are always
If not repaid.

They shared a lift down from their offices on the 28th floor.

Both tired and weary from the mental labours of the day. And shared the small talk of people who knew each other well, but not intimately.

“Any plans for CNY…Is your dear coming home with you?”

"Just family commitments and a good break, I hope!"

“I’m spending it a my girl’s place…my parents decided to fly to Shanghai for CNY…”

Just as the doors of the elevator opened on the mezzanine, the humidity and the scent in the air told her it was raining even before she stepped out.

They stood for a moment, side by side, looking at the torrent of rain falling from the leaden sky outside.

“I’m going to be so late to pick her up for her class!” he said, dismayed.

“Will have to dash through it…” But, he hesitated.

She took her compact, foldable sky blue umbrella from her bag. She looked at it. And then, she handed it to him.

“Here, use it. I’ll wait for you here. To pass it back to me, after you get to your car.”

He looked at her, surprised. “You sure?”

She just smiled which meant, yes, just hurry because I need to pick something up on my way home.

He gratefully took it and opened it.

The umbrella looked so silly and small on him, a stark contrast to his tall and well-built physique that she just couldn’t help a secret grin.

She watched as he dashed out into the rain.

He paused for just a second and turned back. The look in his eyes was unreadable. Surprised? Gratefulness? Wistfulness?

She waited for five minutes which became 10 and then 15.

And she began to wonder if he had forgotten her, or simply didn’t care.

She prepared to make a dash for it through the rain that was now lessening to a heavy drizzle.

And then she saw someone waving to her in the driveway, in a brand new car.

She went out and he rolled his window down. “Nice car!”

“Come on, hop in, I’ll drive you to your car,” he offered kindly.

She could smell the intoxicating scent of new car and leather seats through the open window.

In another time, another place, she would have gladly accepted. God knows, how she had hoped he would offer.

But now she said, “It’s alright, I’ll brave it. My car isn’t on your way home.”

He looked surprised and then confused and then silently handed her her blue brollie back.


She watched as he drove off. She opened her umbrella. Three of it’s metal spindles were sticking out at wild angles.

OK my little porcupine, I’ll be the last you shade.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

In a tulip frame of mind

It's unbelievable how much serious effort it takes to wake up some mornings.

Your head seems glued to the pillow, your limbs feel like they weight a ton, and the heaviness of heart and head of yesternight dosen't seem any lighter. The tightness of chest in the harsh reality of day, seems even tighter for some strange reason

It isn't that you're sleepy or tired. Your eyes open on their own accord for a pee at 6.30 am, after which you lie in semi-conciousness, ensconed in the peaceful hour of dawn. And your mind races actively, for a reason unknown to you

And though your brain is telling you to, "Get up, you lazy, slothful, unproductive, scum of humankind!"

Your heart and body are telling you, "Dahlin', burrow deeper into your blanket and pillows and sleep, sleep. You need moreeeeeeeeeee sleeeeeep"

And you gratefully cave in to the whims of your heart. At least in sleep, reality seems at a standstill.

But then, in the recesses of your befuddled brain, you know that you can't escape reality forever.

So you grumpily embrace the light of day and put your best foot forward and think of tulip bulbs awakening after a long winter of hibernation and how they must feel when Spring rolls around

Happy for the chance at a brief moment of vibrant bloom, that is at the same time elegantly simple ?

Or longing for the ignorant hopefulness of the dark that only comes with not knowing any better?

But, longing is all there is. You can never go back.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Will you ever get a second chance?

Yummy, fragrant chicken rice balls @ Melaka! I thought the balls would be much larger (about the size of a tennis ball!) but they were actually only the size of a ping pong ball...haha.

They were chatting over a lunch of chicken rice.

He was complaining about his fiancée’s “money-vacuum cleaner” of a mother and family. About how he was expected to fork out RM 1,200 for a lavish dinner consisting of dishes like ‘Buddha jump over-the-wall’ and other traditional Chinese delicacies for the girl’s family and extended relatives in just a casual weekend trip back to the girl’s hometown. And the blatant hints the matriarchal dictator had been dropping about gifts she wanted for CNY including, bird’s nest, shark’s fin, abalone…

“She’s not marrying off her daughter! She’s selling her!” he exclaimed in frustration.

“I really can’t afford this, I need to pay for the new car, the new house…”

Then he look at her straight in the eye and said enviously, “You’re so lucky, your boyfriend’s parents seem nice, not money-crazed! They'll never 'sell' their own kid. And definitely not your parents!”

Definitely not your parents.
Definitely not your parents.
Definitely not your parents.

She listened to his rants and then she said, “Well there was a chance, a possibility once, in the non-so distance past, that my parents could have become your parents-in-law.”

“But you weren’t interested then, and like most great things in life, if you let it slip by you, it's gone forever.”

“It’s too late to change your mind now. And you’ll have to live with the fact that you missed your chance at something that could have been the best thing in your life!” she concluded with a whimsical smile

That’s what she really wanted to say. Because of past rejections, past hurt, past disappointments.

But instead, all she said to him was, “Don't worry. Things have their own way of working out fine. At least your girlfriend has a job now and she understands your situation, right?”

Chances come and go in just a blink. When you pass one up and live to regret it, you should count yourself truly blessed if a second chance comes knocking on your door. If ever.

Many people just live out their lives regretting the chances that they should have taken. The missed opportunities.

But the big question at the end of the day is: How do you decide which chances in life are the rare gems not worth giving up?

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


Is what you scream when:

You are offered the chance to do something you’ve always wanted, when you no longer want it anymore...(Talk about irony!)

And when someone you hardly know (housemate for barely 1 month), asks you to ask your boyfriend to pay her telephone bills because she’s “lazy to get out of the house.” And when you ignore her, asks you if there is anyplace near YOUR office where the bill can be payed! (The nerve!)