Sunday, February 27, 2005

Of Wedding Dinners

Today is a very busy day for me. I attended Tai Lo's brother's wedding luncheon in Sri Kembangan, somewhere near Mines Wonderland. Later in the evening, I will be attending Emily's wedding dinner in Nikko hotel. In today's luncheon, we talked about how many wedding dinners we have attended. I have calculated the ones I attended and it was over 20+ dinners! That's a lot in years!

Some people said that wedding dinners are a happy occasion. We celebrate a couple's happy union. It is great and all, I know, but to me, Chinese wedding dinners are such a chore, especially as the guests. Note: I am not attacking the bride nor the groom. My following post is an attack at the Chinese wedding tradition:

1. Chinese wedding dinner is time consuming
Typically, the dinner reception starts at 7pm. You arrived at 7pm, shake the couple's hand, give them the ang pow (which is a form of "gift or blessing" in currency) and then sit at your designated table. One table sits 10 people. If the couple is a close friend of yours, you are usually assigned to a table among your other friends. If the couple is an aquaintance, then you will have to sit with 9 other strangers.

So you endure small talk and niceties with the people of the same table until the food is served at 8.30pm. During this time, you hardly get to meet the groom or bride. They don't have the time to come over for a chat. The amount of lines of conversation you get to make with the bride or the groom can be counted within 10 fingers. That's right, you attend a wedding and you have less than 10 lines of sentences with the happy couple.

When the food is served, you have to endure more small talk until the fourth or fifth course. On the fifth course, usually a prawn or a fish, the Master of Ceremony (MC) will go to the lectern and either tell you a long story of how the couple met, which hardly interest you at all (well, it's interesting at first but after the 20th wedding dinner, these are just, meh) and then a toast will be suggested.. er.. imposed. Now Chinese wedding's toast is not your usual speech by groom or bride or best man followed by a toast of drink. Chinese wedding dinner's "toast" is a roomful of people screaming on top of their lung for yum seng (which means cheers). Not just one time but 3 times.

After this, it's back to small talk for another 4-5 meals. I always wish the food will come faster so I can leave the ballroom. Anyway, when the desert is served, rejoice, it's time to say goodbye. Taking a glance at my watch, I am not surprise that the time is not 10.30pm, which means that I have spent 3.5 hours doing small talk and stuffing myself with food. Counting the journey from home to the hotel and back (and if you are lucky, there's no traffic), one would have spend almost 4 or 4.5 hours. Interesting way to spend the weekend eh? Ya ya.. I know.. it's once in a lifetime.. but not for me. I have attended 20+ dinners, remember? There's more to come I can tell you that especially since I have a big team at work.

2. Chinese wedding dinner is expensive
So, it's the couple's HAPPY day right? But why am I forking out rm80 for that dinner? I mean, I have already fork out 5 hours of my weekend. Why am I paying another rm80? The funny thing about wedding dinner is that the amount you pay depends on the type of restaurant and how close you are to the couple. So, if this particular couple loves to have high class wedding dinner at some fabulous expensive hotel, you, as the guest, is expected to pay around rm80 to rm100. You don't have to do it, but when you asked people, they will tell you that it is expected. The market rate is rm80 - rm100. MARKET RATE? What's this? Am I in KLSE or NYSE? Wedding dinner has a market rate? Yup.. sadly that is true.

If the wedding dinner in a normal restaurant, then the going rate is rm60. So, you see, we are not only celebrating the couple's happy occasion, we are expected to pay for their choice of dinner location. If they are high society, well, you'd be eating bread for the rest of the week because you will be really broke after the dinner. For my non-Malaysian readers, rm80 is equivalent to 15 lunches.

But but but... it's once in a lifetime wor! Why you so stingy? Well, I have attended 20+ dinners, remember?

BTW, if you can't make it to the wedding, you are still expected to give ang pow. The market rate is around 60% of the amount you'd pay if you are going. It truly is good business, this wedding thingy.

3. Chinese wedding dinner is fake
Like I said before, the guests hardly had a chance to talk to the groom/bride. People are there for a few reasons. One of the reasons is to give face to the parents of the groom/bride either because you are a relative or you have business dealings with the parents. Another reason is that these couple endured your wedding, so it is your turn to suffer. Most of the people go because it is some sort of obligations. Now, please don't contradict me. Be honest with yourself. Do you REALLY rather go to the dinner and not spend quiet time at home relaxing? And if you'd rather spend time with your baby at home, why are you here? Aren't you a fake, then?

4. Chinese wedding dinner is not a happy occasion, really
The couples are tired after the morning's ordeal (if I have the time, I'll write about this). The parents are tired too, because there was a feast in the morning at the groom's house and typically there are a lot of people cramped into a 22x75 house with no air cond and under the unforgiving heat. So, by the time they go to the hotel ballroom, they are probably exhausted, dehydrated and spent.

The guests are not exactly delirious with happiness due to reason 1-3 above. If the guests participated in the morning feast, then they are probably tired too.. and grouchy because they have spent one whole day for this occassion. In today's luncheon, for example, the friends of the groom (there were 7 of us) share a table. Then, a couple, the groom's cousin and his wife, sat with us. During the whole lunch, they didn't say a word because they don't know us and we talked about subject which did not interest them at all. And none of us made the effort to strike a conversation with them because we know we won't see them again after the lunch. I don't think these two are really enjoying this occasion.

The waiters and photographers are not really laughing either because it is hard work to serve 10 people in a table for 10 course dinner. There's plates to change, there's drink to pour and there's endless requests for beer, sodas, cutleries, chilies, etc

The MC or the ushers are not thrill because these people are the bride or the groom's friend and instead of enjoying the rm80 meal that they paid, they now have to do all the hardwork! The MC is probably too nervous to eat anyway. So, you paid rm80 and you feel like you are facing the executives at work when doing a presentation.

I think the only people who are really happy in a Chinese wedding dinners are the restaurant/hotel owners because they are the one laughing all the way to the bank.

Ok, that's about all I can think of right now. I have 30 more minutes to prepare myself for Emily's wedding. I wish I could have more time to write on my blog, but you know, duty calls.

And if you think I am cynical or that I don't have a big heart or if you think what I said is wrong, please comment in this blog. My only request is that you must have "endure" over 20 wedding dinners and that you never, in any of these 20 dinners, feel that they were a waste of time and expensive and that you went to these weddings willingly without any hidden agenda - that you are truly happy for the couple. If you meet all these criterias, by all means, shoot me down.

Heck.. I'll compromise and lower it to less than 10 dinners.
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Weather

Haze is a new vocabulary for Malaysians. I don't remember seeing haze 10 years ago. It seems to creep into our lives in the past few years.

Yesterday's haze was one of the worse I have ever seen. It covers the whole city. Visibility is less than 500 meter! I could not see the Ikea sign from LDP. I could not see KLCC twin tower from Concorde Hotel - I could only see the silouhette of both buildings. You can imagine how bad it is. When I go to my car porch, I could see haze and smelt haze! It has a rubbish burning smell. It's unhealthy.

Haze is a product of the immense heat that attacked us during Chinese New Year (Jan/Feb). The sun is so strong and the heat so unrelentless that the bush and forest caught fire resulting in this terrible haze.

Thankfully, there was a heavy downpour of rain on Sunday morning. That ought to have cleared the haze...

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Miser Redux

So today I joined the team for lunch. We went to this restaurant and ordered our food. It's not an expensive restaurant, nor was it the usual kopitiam. A bowl of noodles cost rm5 here and drinks go around rm3.

Anyway, I sat beside Mr Miser in this huge round table for 14. I probably have not mentioned it before but Mr Miser has dandruff problem. His hair is fulled of white dandruff. It was even in his shoulder. When he move, I can imagined dandruff flying everywhere. While it didn't worry me as much, it gets disturbing when the food arrived. Ugh..

Anyway after lunch, I asked for the bill. I decided to pay first since apparently no one is willing to take the first move. This is the time I miss the AA style of the Americans where we would be billed individually.

After paying the bills, the rest of the team started to pay me back. Mr Miser asked "do they charged for water? I don't think they charge for water, do they?"

"I don't know.. maybe they do," I said.

"I wonder how much is this water. Maybe it is free since it is not shown in the menu."

"Why don't you ask the waiter?"

Miser walked to the counter and came back looking dejected. "It's freaking 50 sen!" he said, and reluctantly parted with his beloved 50 sen.

I am like... what's wrong with this guy? It's just 50 sen! Maaaan!

Thing is, I heard that he has a very pretty girlfriend. Can someone please tell me why?
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Wednesday, February 23, 2005

No More Thank You-s?

Just the week before CNY, I showed mystic_grey where Kepong's Kedai Telekom is. She moved to this new place in Jalan Kuching and needed to go to Kedai Telekom to apply for a line. Like in most banks, we have to get a number from an information counter manned by a girl. While waiting for her number to be called I watched at the happenings around the information counter.

I observed that almost all (100%) of the people who asked the girl question never said thank you when they received an answer. They collected the number, gave a nod and walked away! Even after asking a question about how to fill in a form, for example, these people would just walked off. Not even a simple thank you. The girl was pleasant and smiling. She must have will made of steel to be able to smile when faced with rude customers. No wonder "never said thank you" was an entry in the Rude Malaysian contest!

When we thanked the man that helped mystic_grey, he was pleasantly surprise. He smiled, thanked us and said Happy New Year. That's probably the first time I heard someone wish me Happy New Year this past week in Malaysia. Hmmm... and it came, from a Malay who don't celebrate CNY. Makes you think what a simple thank you could do eh?

On a side note, the barristers at Starbucks have been very helpful and courteous these days which made the customer at Starbucks felt welcome and happy. No wonder I tend to hang out in Starbucks more than I do Coffee Bean. Make a customer happy and they'll be loyal to you, for life.

Click Me

Anyone interested in a trip?
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Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Of Ox and Dragon

The Chinese horoscope has 12 type of animals: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Snake, Dragon, etc.
The Chinese believe that there are some animals which don't get along together.. so when choosing for your significant other, you have to choose one who is born of certain years (and therefore of certain Chinese horoscope animal) and then, both of you will live in harmony.

I have always known that I have problem with someone who is a Dragon. Ox and Dragons don't get along well. The Dragon is a pain in the neck to the Ox. I remember one movie quote "how can one love a pebble in one's shoe?". People who are born in the Year of the Dragon are the pebbles in my shoe. I know, because one of my sisters is born on the Year of the Dragon and she gets on my nerves ALL the time .. heh heh heh... I think if she ever found out about this, I am dead!

Anyway, I was in adiscussion today when a slip of paper fell out of my notepad. Upon picking it up, I saw that it was a medical certificate from Bonnie. I glanced at the MC and found out she's born on the Year of The Dragon!!!

TA DAAAA! My theory is right! Just like Ancient Egyptians and their 5,000 years of Civilization revolved around worshiping God, the Chinese has thousands of years of history and beliefs and these cannot go wrong too! I am no good with Dragons.

I do get along very well with Ox, Rats and Monkeys, though.

Give me a buzz if you are any of those and we can set up a blind date :P

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Bloglines

I am evaluating Bloglines today. It looks to be a better newsfeed service as compared to Newsgator. The best thing is, there is a Bloglines Konfabulator widget, so you can see a widget showing how many unread blogs you have. How's that for cool factor?

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Jobs and Girls

Events in the last few days led me to believe that landing an oversea job is as challenging as getting a good girlfriend. There is a disturbing similarity between the two and only the most blessed people will be able to obtain it. These people must have done something right somewhere in their life to deserve such blessing. I must have screwed up somewhere along the way.

Like girls, overseas jobs are in abundance. The challenge is in getting the good ones at the right time, in the right place.

Once in a while, you do happen to chance upon an opportunity – similarly, sometimes you do chance upon the perfect girl. The stars are aligned. The interviewers like you. You like the job. The people you will be working with get along real fine with you. There’s chemistry between you and the new team. Everybody wanted you there.

You click with the girl. Both of you are comfortable around each other. You have so much in common. The stars are aligned. You thought, this is it. She’s the one.

Then, just when you thought you finally have the long awaited break, the bubble bust. Factors beyond your control seem to come into play. You have need time getting the visa for the job. The management of the company feel that it cost too much to transfer you over compare to hiring locally. The interviewer, your teamlead, apologized for leading you on, giving you false hope as in his excitement to recruit you, he has forgotten to consult the powers that be. And the powers that be think it is not worth it to go through all these hassle with the immigration department to have you over.

It's like when you tell the girl how you feel about her, she said, em, hold on.. she has this dream. Her dream is that she wanted a man who has the same faith as she is. Yes, you two do get along very well, and you are a nice guy and all but unfortunately, this is not it. Or maybe, you know, she has this unachievable dream/career that she wanted to obtain first before settling down. Or maybe, it was her fantasy to marry her first boyfriend and that she’s still holding on to that thin strand of hope that maybe, one day, he’ll return to her.

So, yeah… landing a great job overseas is as impossible (to some people, namely yours truly) as getting that dream girl. Sometimes, it is hard to remain positive when the forces are working against you.

Life is such...

* this is one of my blogs that I wrote some time ago but never published. I decided not to change the date and kept it as the date it was originally written. *

There was once I told myself that if I could not find "Anne", I would not want to while my life away just living normal. Anne is a name I use to reference my imaginary, future girlfriend/wife. The name was inspired from the lead character of a children TV show that I saw when I was young. It's called Anne of Green Gables. I can still remember the lead character declaring with determination that it is called Anne, spelt with an "E".

You see, there are many stages of a person's life. People who are attached lead a different life. People who are married live differently. They have their own unique challenges and pleasures at each stage. Greedy once said that she now have the role of a wife and a daughter-in-law to play and that each role has it's own challenges and rewards. For someone who have not found his significant other, his life would be constant.. or changing at a lower rate. His "life" graph is probably just a straight line or perhaps with a slight slope. This is what I didn't want. I don't want to end up living constantly for the next 20 years. I want a change and what better way to change than to try living overseas?

I have always wanted to experience living and working abroad, especially in a country with four seasons in a year. When I am 50, I'd like to look back at my life and be content that I had lived in other countries beside Malaysia. The world is so big. Why would anyone want to subject themselves to only a small part of it?

Have you ever imagined what it would be like to be able to go out for a day and yet not shed a drop of sweat? How about the experience of walking along the walkway strewn with red and yellow leaves fallen from tress during autumn? Or smelling the fresh and fragrance air of spring we read so much about? How about experiencing the quiet and cleansing moment when it snow during winter? Or the challenges of driving on ice and snow.. hehehe... These are life experiences that I wish I had the opportunity to live. I have had enough of constant humidity and sun. I have had that for 30 years. It's about time to change it, don't you think so?

Unfortunately, life doesn't work that way.

In fact, it works cruelly. People who are married with kids who are not willing to part with their family are given the opportunity to work abroad for a couple of years. These are the people who said they hated their lives abroad because they missed their children and wife and they wish they never had to go - and that they will never understand why I envy them. Sigh..

I guess our lives are always being tested. The married ones and the singles are tested differently - each wanting the other's lifestyle. Life won't be fun without challenges, will it? I guess the way we overcome the trials (and being successful at it) are what the journey in this life is about.
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Friday, February 18, 2005

Interview with Bosses

I had an interview with one of the Senior Managers of the company, someone Bahija know, whom she called Mr Soon To Be GM. Well, I had my own reservations about this interview as I am not sure how this interview will turn out. I am not sure if the Senior Mgr likes me or not as we do have a history of working together for a while when he was not a Senior Mgr. It turned out to be a really plesant talk, which lasted an hour. He mentioned a few things which I agreed.

One of them was that as we matured in our working life, any interaction with people is a piece of useful information. The interaction could be a 5 minute elevator talk or it could be a 30 minute coffee session. It could be with someone you work with.. or it could be with some people from another team. Nevertheles, this interaction, or exchanging of information, will somehow be useful one way or another.

He also said that at a certain level, people are no longer motivated by money. Most of the people of high level quit because they don't see progress in their career. It's not the money. I tend to agree with what he said. Does it sound strange to you?

He told me to buy some management or motivational books. He said he never believed in all these. He worked with the company for 12 years and has only taken to buying management book as recent as a few months ago. He said that these books will be able to give you ideas and things you never thought of. Our GM and other Senior Managers are true believers of books. As you climb higher, he said, you will end up with more readings. Interesting..

Mr Soon To Be GM said that he has utmost respect to my 2nd level mgr. He said she could "disagree with you in a very nice way" and that is one skill that he's trying to learn.

So, after the interview, I went to see my 2nd line manager, GK to consult her on an issue at hand. Again, this conversation was very useful. What I learned today was that when handling emotional people, never use the word "Why". "Why did the report show this?", "Why didn't you do this?" She said "why" will always cause the other person to be defensive. Instead, use other words like "What do you think the report is showing this", "Help me understand the reason the report came out this way", "What is your reason for not doing this?"... hmmm.. useful for managing Bonnies in our lives, eh?

She also mentioned that we must always manage our emotion. She said she has a lot of problem but she always put on a smile or laugh when facing the problem. Why did she do that? Because being upset and mad does not help the issue. In fact, this negativity will spead to the whole team and instead of solving the issue, it swallows the people down and they don't think about solving the problem anymore. She said, as a leader, we must put up a facade, so other people are not affected by it.

GK called me a few minutes ago. She asked if the herbal tea she gave me earlier helped my coughing? I said yes. She asked me to go to her place to collect some more. I am thinking.. what a great boss. Who else could ask for more?

Story

A few months ago, the Bomba chief told me a story:
Rain was falling non stop in this small village for days. The village began to flood. Everyon has started packing and leaving the village except this holy man. He remained in his house praying to God. Later, somebody knocked on his door and when he opened it, he saw a little boy. Little boy told him "Uncle, the flood is coming fast. You better pack and get out of the village like the rest of us." Holy man looked at the boy and said "Boy, I have faith in God. He takes care of his children. He will save me." Boy ran away.

The water rushed into his house. The holy man has no choice but to climb to his roof. While he's on his roof, someone came by with a boat. "Mister", the man yelled, "hop onto the boat. I am here to rescue you." The holy man declined saying that "My faith is with God. He takes care of me. He will save me! No thanks. Save someone else." The boatman looked at him and then paddled away.

The water level rose. It became knee deep (even when he was on the roof). The holy man started to be afraid. He raised his hand to heaven and exclaimed, "Lord, I have complete faith in you. I know you will not abandon me". The water level climbed rapidly and it is now at chest level. All of a sudden, a helicopter came. The pilot lowered a ladder and asked the man to come up. "Are you crazy? Hurry up and grab the ladder or in a matter of minutes you'll drown!"

He said "No, God will take care of me. Go save someone else."

The helicopter flew away and he drowned.

In heaven, he met God and said "God, I have been faithful to you. I have said my prayers everyday. I didn't do bad things like stealing, killing and raping. I did not even visit prositutes like some of my friends in the village. But why did you abandon me and save them instead? Why didn't you come to me?"

God looked at him and said "I did come to save you. First I sent a little boy to warn you. When you declined, I sent a someone with a boat. And when you rejected that, I sent a helicopter! What else could I do?"

The moral of the story, according to Bomba Chief, is that God works through people. There is no such thing as a spirit coming out of nowhere to lift the holy man out of the water. God always works through people. Bomba Chief said that today I am here to teach you about fire hazard, fire equipment and fire alarm. Perhaps this is a message from God.

So, I ended up buying a RM70 fire alarm to install in the house :)

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

No Talk

So, there I was, in the office yesterday evening waiting for 4.30pm when Bonnie suddenly walked over for a chat. She asked if I have any news or gossips... and I said I didn't have any. I think she's really bored so she wanted to come over and disturb me. I asked her if anything happened over at boss' house after I left (refer Day 5 of this post). She said nothing much except that she was pissed at this particular colleague. The colleague teased her relentlessly. Something about her bulging stomach. She said that she had to call her husband for help and saying that the shortie (that colleague was vertically challenged, you see) is making fun of her. She said she didn't feel guilty at all for calling him a shortie.

Then the conversation moved on to Mr Miser and we had a good laugh at him again. Somehow or other she mentioned about another colleague who was sick and did not come to work. She said she hope the colleague is feeling fine. I said that well, sometimes, you just have to take care of your body by taking vitamins and not laughing at people who takes vitamins. Bonnie and this colleague used to laugh at me whenever they saw me popping vitamins after lunch. I used to be pissed at them - I mean, wtf is wrong with these people? Is there something wrong in taking vitamins?

I took this opportunity to remind Bonnie not to laugh at people because what goes round comes around. When people take vitamins for health, don't laugh at them as you will get it one day. Otherwise, you will end up giving me MC slips non stop. As usual, she became defensive and started insulting me by saying that it was me who spread germs (well, I have sore throat yesterday and have been coughing). I said what does that have to do with this? She said that is why I don't need MC because even when I cough I still come to work and not stay at home.

I said do you notice that you have a very foul mouth? (I use the term "jin" mouth). Whatever that comes out of it are dirt and poison. This is not the first time you started personal insult at me. Maybe you don't really like me but why do you have to find fight? Naturally she gets pissed at my statement.

She said that perhaps she should not talk to me anymore. I said perhaps that is better for the sake of two of us.

We were pretty cool during this conversation. No raising of voice. Just matter of fact statement.

This morning, I asked her about some of the calls she's working. I said that the report shows that she has been closing some call in a different manner and is there a reason for doing that. She gave me a reluctant to speak look and again became defensive - "what you mean by closing in different manner? Isn't it BAU to close because of this criteria and that?". I said yes, I just want to find out. She wasn't looking at me when she said "I am doing it as per guidelines." Fine, thanks.

Later, we have a group lunch in KLGCC. Boss and I have been arranging this lunch so I told the team I need volunteer to drive 3 cars. I said I can't drive because my car is too hot to sit in. SG volunteered to drive. I said thanks. Then Bonnie said, with that disgust look, your car and SG's the same type. Why can't you drive? I ignored her and looked around for another volunteer. She kept on pressing the issue stating that my car is in the basement and I should be driving. Luckily SG said that I have problem with my a/c and therefore you wouldn't want to sit in ringgit's car. Deep inside, I was thinking, what is her problem??? How come I don't see you, Bonnie with that loud mouth of yours, volunteering to drive! In all other outings I have been driving. JEEZ!

So there goes my resolution eh. I really wanted to work with Bonnie. To start anew. But she's not helping me. Is this another test? I didn't ask for yesterday's argument. She started it by coming over to talk.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

5 days of hectic CNY!

How time flies. Before I know it, it's Sunday night, the 5th day of CNY and I have to drag my ass back to work tomorrow. How I dread going back to work.

Let's see what happened during CNY:

1st Day (Wed)
It is a custom of my family (and I think for most Chinese families) to reserve 1st day of CNY for visiting relatives. This year is a little different for us. As mentioned previously, my uncle passed away so his family could not celebrate CNY. We did not visit his place on the 1st day since it is impolite to do so. Another uncle (my father's brother) went down to Singapore to visit his son so we could not visit him either. This has cut our visiting down to only one aunt's place. This aunt is my mother's eldest sister, so a lot of the other cousins and aunts and uncles would visit her on Day 1, which means the whole family would congregate there to meet. It was an extremely busy afternoon with many children running around, screaming. The adults were all screaming to get themselves heard. The TV is at its loudest volume. Then, there's the February, CNY heat. The heat and the noise always drive me up the wall.

There's the usual ragging by relatives. Everyone asked if I am not ashamed to accept ang pow. One cousin's wife gave me the angpow and sniggered - I'm the same age as you. All these are done good naturedly, of course... Well, what can I do except to learn to dance myself away from these questions.

The day ended with 2 phone calls. One was from Joey. I was surprised that he called to send his greetings. The second call was from ST, all the way from UK!

2nd Day (Thurs)
The evening of Day 2 saw me visiting ZipD's house for the usual poker session with his relatives. For the past 3 or 4 years, Dogbone, Droolman and I have been playing poker with ZipD's aunts and uncles, the "senior citizens" as we used to call them among ourselves. The poker session began at ZipD's house. The following day, we'd adjourn to an aunt's who stays in Bangsar and continue our gambling. The next day, we'd gather at another aunt's house in Shah Alam. Each aunt will take turn to host the family. It's their tradition. We are guests or additional gambling "kakis" who invited ourselves. Ha ha.

3rd Day (Fri)
I spent the evening in the mortuary where the family gathered to pay respect to my uncle and his family before the burial ceremony the following day. Lots of kneeling down and "exercise"-ing while we went through the ritual. Ouch.. my feet hurt because no one mentioned that I have to do the ritual and I was wearing leather shoes!

4th Day (Sat)
I had lunch with ZipD, Dogbone, Droolman and wives. We didn't know what to do in the afternoon. Someone suggested poker again. "It's just among us.. no senior citizens", that someone claimed. We all went to ZipD's house and gambled again. Are we degenerate or what? But really, there's nothing to do in CNY except to gamble. Everyone does that! This session turned out to be one of the best poker sessions because all of us were free to scream, curse and spew forth foul languages since the senior citizens were not around. It was really fun. Droolman and wive won because they have some really good luck (four 6s in one game and three 6s in two games! Unbelievable, these Ipoh-mari scammers!)

I went to a reunion dinner with the MBS classmates at 6pm on the 4th day. I know I already had one reunion but this one was arranged by See Yau. To my dismay, a lot of people FFK (stood us up) and there's only 5 of us in the restaurant! Well, there were 9 adults and many babies. It's more of a couple's reunion than anything! I felt so left out. People talk about babies, breast feeding, breast pumps, houses, etc. Maan... I will make sure I ffk next time there is another "couple reunion". Fortunately, nobody asked me about when I am getting married. I guess my friends have all given up on me :)

Right after dinner, I went for poker in Shah Alam. This time I won big! Wooo hoooooo! I spent it on a new 512mb Apacer USB drive!

5th Day (Sun)
Today my 2nd level manager had an open house. Many people from my team went to her place. She prepared some of the most delicious asam laksa, mee goreng, kari ayam and otak otak. So, there I was sitting in the dining table enjoying my dessert when Mr Miser asked me, "eh.. boss gave ang pow already or not?". I was taken aback and I didn't know what to answer. Before I could come up with a response, Bonnie, who was beside me said "Given liow. You were too late." When Mr Miser went for his 3rd helping, Bonnie said indignantly, "where got people asked such question one???". We had a good laugh at Mr Miser :) He, ah, really.. I am speechless...

Ok. That's how my CNY went. Lots of activities.. lots of gatherings.. lots of fun.. and yet filled with longings and loneliness when you see all your friends with kids. What about your CNY? I hope you had a good one.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Eve

So, it's the Eve.

This morning my mother told me that her brother, my uncle, passed away. Nobody really know the cause of death. His friend won some money from lottery and threw a drinking party. My uncle went for the party, had lots of drink and came back. My aunt commented that people gave free drink and he drank his life away. He said rubbish. If he was drunk, how could he drive home in one piece in a motorcycle? I believe my uncle is a good drinker but he's also old. I am guessing around 65. Anyway, he was tired. He slept but never woke the next morning. He was peaceful, according to my mother when she went to see him. They suspect that he must have heart attack (he had had attacks before, previously). Because it is Chinese New Year and there are no monks available to perform some of the funeral rituals, the wake will be held on the 3rd day of CNY. He will be cremated and "buried" on the 4th day. I didn't really know my uncle well. I wish him a good and peaceful rest.

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So we had a small family dinner. Some "Holland peas" vege, huge prawns, abalone+mushroom (yucks.. I really do not understand why people paid so much for this piece of.. of.. whatever) and a home made shark fin soup. It was a good dinner.

We cleaned up after that and I was given the task of sweeping and mopping the floor. So while I was waiting for the pail to fill, it suddenly occurred to me that kids these days have maid at home. Do these little people know how to mop a floor? Or wash the dishes? Or do the laundry. I see some of my colleagues having maid at home. While the maid do really help in freeing one from the hardwork of cleaning the house, does she do any good in the building of the children's character? Will they end up being some spoilt brats that order people around? Hmm.. food for thoughts eh? Even when doing menial housework. Now, that's the character that my parents built! :P

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You thought you have heard the last of Bonnie eh? Well, you can't run away. Even during eve, we had some drama going on. It is such a long story I think I'll talk about it later. In a gist: She received a very bad peer feedback. She found out that I was one of the few people who gave the feedback. She said she's disappointed in me. I questioned if she things I am wrong. She said yes. Boss recommended her to take a inter-personal relationship class. Unknown to her, I enrolled for the same class (Disclaimer: I enrolled on my own, not based on recommendation :P). When we found out that we were in the same class, we looked at each other and someone from the team commented, is this a class for "problem child"? Hahaha, it's so funny that we burst out laughing.

Monday, February 07, 2005

CNY

These days, I am infected with a virus called "Writer's Block". I can't seemed to think of topic to write and I have almost exhausted my "Drafts".

So, a quick Gong Xi Fa Chai to all my readers. May the new year bring you Health & Happiness.

That's more important... not wealth, eh?


Friday, February 04, 2005

One Thousand and One Arabian Nights



All of us have heard of a few stories like Sinbad the Sailor, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, Aladdin and the Magic Lamp. But how many of us know that these stories are part of a collection of one thousand and one tales from Arabic folklore? How many of us know all the one thousand and one stories? I read a lot but I have never read the 1001 Arabian Nights. I was determined to read it and to my dismay I found that there were so many versions. The original version were written in Arabic but was translated to English by scholar However, it was a very old translation and the English used was Old English - 19th century English. These are not easy language to read.

Luckily for me, I discovered this version recently in amazon.com and bought it from kinokuniya. This book,by Geraldine McCaughrean and published by the Oxford University Press, was targetted at a more modern audience and I am happy to say that I was enthralled by the stories. I have spent countless sleepless nights on these amazing stories. Highly Recommended!

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Si Lai Sark Sau

The title is a term in Cantonese which literally means, Aunty Asassin. This term is used for a person whom old ladies fancy, not in a gigolo, sex-related way, but in a more maternal, I-wish-you-were-my-son/daughter/in-law way.

I am one such person. Any girls can take me to their home and their mothers will absolutely love me. My friends' mothers adore me. ZipD's grandmother always says she "sayang" me during CNY. And just the other day, ST, Anti-Ringgit's aunt's mother declared that I am like a god-son.

Hmm... this is *definitely* not the effect from the Egyptian oil. That one attracts young and pretty girls. So what could attract the old ladies? I wonder... maybe it's the innocent look or the proper manners. I wonder if this trait is even complimentary or a "you are a mommy boy" laugh in your face insult. Food for thoughts. Hmm...

Perhaps I can even start a business. Anyone who needs a temp boyfriend to appease the parents can hire me by the hours. LOL!

Economy is bad?

Have you noticed that it is very difficult to get home improvement work done these days? My roofing (pergola, to be exact) had some problem ...