Thursday, 31 December 2009

worth a thousand words

when i was in the city, yesterday, i had managed to get stranded on the local trains network (or line, considering there is not much of a network). although, the lack of punctuality and baseline services is not surprising, what is, is the fact that i had managed to sit myself beside a foreign journalist / photographer. checking one of those fancy slr cameras (something i am totally in the dark about), i notice he is trying quite unsuccessfully to do two things at once, and thus offer an assistance. obviously, this strikes up a conversation, and i am happy to indulge in one discourse that i can not find outside the academia i hold so dearly, and definitely not in the companionship of many.

indeed, i am no expert on the issues he is enthusiastically diving into, but with some ground compromise, we end up talking about 'pictures that changed the world'. which is what i chose to blog about today, seeing as it is thoroughly interesting, and that it allows me to post pretty pictures and forgo any typing. let's see how many pictures are familiar to the reader:








Tuesday, 29 December 2009

in which the second-in-charge takes lead

when the white man came to the western lands, when the white man came to the desolate isle of australia, they brought with them many things to tempt and seduce the indigenous people. perhaps, the promise of trinkets and the threat upon life were sufficient, but as all white men were, and some continue to be, there is no game in dissuasion, no certainty in false pretense, unless you have the proverbial ace in the hole. and that was manifest in cheap, adulterated and watered down beer. for the native americans, for the aborigines, for the indigenes of many aplace, your vice is alcohol.

when the world was young, and when people are not yet old, there are many predispositions on life that we do not conceive until age has bittered the mind and seasons have tainted the skin. as for those who dare to grow but resist to grow up, there is a special place in hell for us, and this place is known as earth. upon which we are continually, if not continuously tormented with a burden so harsh, so slate, that we have given it a name, and if you have not come to know of it, you will with age, and it is known as responsibility. for all men, especially those who assume power where they should not, for the presidents and ministers and kings and sultans, for the pharohs and maharajas, for the many among us all, your vice is violence.

when there was gender roles, unlike defined today, barring the homogeniety we falsely thrust upon the separate sexes, there may have been (i say with caution, in assuming the best in people, where i do not believe) irrepressible desire. and when the physique of man counted for more than what the tongue has to say, or the mind has to think, then by all purpose, intent and means, does the disinhibition of such longing take manifest. for the men, and man, sometimes to include women, but i highly doubt so, your vice is lust, and sex.

when there are many things to give upon us, the troubles and woes of the world, where indeed there should be none. where there is complication over the simplicity that is life, than many of us shall fall and have fallen, succumb to the nature of what the layman knows as stress. and for all the stressors in life, there is escapism, but unlike the indigenous and their liquid of lurid manifestations, there has to be something stronger, more potent and classier than simple, dousing potions - and the world introduces its brother: for the aristocracy of sinners, your vice is in drugs.

when there were things to consider, and decisions to make, we are often put in situations where the lesser of us are revealed, and the greater among us are rebuked. and all that comes with success is apparent (and apparently) not worth the sacrifices in idealisms. assuming one has any to begin with. for those who were pure, and righteous, and true, for those against whom a taint was never knew, your sins are aplenty, from foods, to words, to backstabbing, to knavery, to money - your vice is yourself.

when i am alone in this world, and a hand reached out is the same hand thwarted with emptiness, unbeknownst to even you, who glances passingly at it as if it were nothing. when i feel that there can be nobody else who can ease the haunted sleep and unwaking dreams. for me, my vice is my muse - and that is you.

Monday, 28 December 2009

life imitating fiction

last weekend i had attended a friends' wedding (congrats to the both of them for making it through from being highschool sweethearts!) and it was slightly surprising to see that i had a couple of readers in the midst of friends i had not even seen since way back when. aside from feeding my ego with the fact that in fact, there are actually people who read this blog, it added to the pool of data i had already had on what sells and what doesn't, and you'd be surprised at what people are actually inclined to read.

first off comes what strikes people off the bat - when i meet someone (or met someone at the wedding, for example), i expect to catch up on what's happening in their lives. and obviously, this is (generally) reciprocal, although there are exceptions (funny story, i should tell it sometime, but not here). in any case, one of the first few questions i get is: 'hey are you et cetera, and is your blog ... ?' by those who read. this is awesome (as per feeding ego) and slightly intrusive (in that my feigned anonimity wasn't as successful as i had intended). but, oh well, i cannot deny myself a serendipitous complement or two.

and they first mention the blog that they find most memorable, which is, contrary to any of my predictions - the one and only fictional entry i had written. now, i don't know what exactly about the post made it such that almost everyone who reads the blog refers to it first when meeting me in real life, but if that's really what people want to read, then by all means, i should give the (fictional) character more life and blog about him more often. or be half-assed and just make new ones up whenever i feel like it.

Saturday, 26 December 2009

broken-hearted buddha

hello, again, dear ardent readers. for those keeping track, i have been away for about a week, visiting the wonders of an historic siem riep, cambodia. what i thought would be an arduous and exhausting trip, turned out to be mildly tiring, if at all, considering it was a 3-day biking adventure, totaling about 120 km of dirt track, mountain roads and semi- to far-from-well paved tar streets.

for the low-down, you can visit the spiceroads cycling adventures website, and design your own adventure here, and i thoroughly recommend it as an outing for friends or as a family getaway.

i'm far too tired and slightly detached from my normally condescending mood (for which i expect many thanks) to detail the history of all that i saw; most of you know enough about the tonle sap lake, and angkor wat temple such that i need not elaborate, but i do want to point out that, apart from these two major attractions, i found the most beautiful setting for the many temples was for angkor thom, because it had been overrun with lush jungle and the blend of architecture meeting nature was something borne (and born) in fantasy and myth.

instead, i would like to tell you about a slightly peculiar encounter i had at the night market in siem riep - as i strolled down the alleys between rows of makeshift shops, waning in attention as the women of my family wile away the minutes (unerringly seeking thence-nerver-used trinkets and shiny baubles), i stumble across a quaint shop, specialising in the sales of figurines. there are many to its name, ranging from the hindu gods, mainly brahma, shiva and vishnu, to the many deities of folklore and religious mishmash, to the replicas of siddharta gautama. and as i pass, fleetingly my eye takes leave upon a particular figurine, that has in the place of its heart, a hollow, an emptiness where there should be none.

this is something new to me, as i have not encountered before, any reason for buddha's likeness to be represented with such absence, and i query the shop-keeper as to why this is so. in reply, i am told that, indeed, the normal depictions of buddha are whole, and justly this one should be as well. however, in the carving of this figurine, made of cheap timber, it was found that the raw piece of wood was damaged, probably due to insect or fungal infection. and hence, in product, it has come to be, my personal buddha with a hole where something was, symbolic of the yearning heart, and unbroken sheen of appearance, pretense to only a knowing of the resonant emptiness where a beating life should spring.

as per the shopkeeper, he would sell this to me for a 'cheap price' because it was, in paraphrasing his words, 'defective, broken and a mistake'. i only smile as i told him, buddha-san may be broken, but he is far from a mistake - he has passed a test of time, of himself, and to mend the abyss, all he needs is a little love.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

catching up

catching up, never though i'd find you here,
in the moment, disappear,
we all get lost.
i would wade, a little more than a hundred years,
in an ocean of faulty tears,
thence where you are.

under the blue mechanic light,
all my monsters dance in place;
in the shadows of your face,
the dawn takes flight,
but only for tonight,
yes only for tonight,
though only for tonight.

and wearily, haunt me in my dreams,
a reverie with stitched, burst seams,
there is no other that fuels this muse;
picking the ripest of superficial ennuis,
pockmarked, misshapen with eerie disbeliefs,
awakening to merely a feign, a ruse.

what more can i hope for, lightning, thunder; even as god would set sky asunder;
if the simplest request bequeathed with nay, when asked 'if only i could catch your number?'

Saturday, 12 December 2009


i read once, that nothing we do anymore, is original. everything that can be done, has been done, and we are just mixing and matching different concepts and ideas, to create variations of things already in existence. while this can only be answered on a personal level, depending on your interpretation on what is 'original' and what is 'hybrid,' there is little room for question that the concept is an interesting one.

on the one hand you have the adherent idea, that indeed, nothing is original. been there, done that. and for those who think this is far fetched, utterly preposterous, think again. a simple analogy comes to mind as a rubik's cube - it has been in the (pre-determined) perfect state at some point. and things have just been mixed up such that it seems random and disorder. but to the trained eye (or even mind, considering some people solve cubes while blindfolded), there is method to the madness. and coming full circle back to the analogue, the originality of each locus on the cube is permanent, even though the state of the locus is fleeting.

on the other hand, how is it that there is perpetuality in discovery? surely, if everything is 'known' and we just need to ruffle a few feathers to find the correct combination to answer specific questions, then someone would have come up with answers to those important questions. like where do you place your hand when you're kissing? or what colour of mascara says 'i'm affectionately sensitive' but avoids the 'emo' label?

but really, it's easy to create situations where both ends of the spectrum may hold true. maybe its duality concerning reality is where the truth lies, but that, again, i think is something to answer on a personal level.

what i do want to hear from people, is if you are unoriginal, or if you think that (independent of this idea) everything is dissimilar from what has been done, and everything anyone does, anywhere, is truly 'original' (returning to brackets because, again, it goes back to definitions), how do you cope with it? plagiarism and unoriginality is one of my personal pet peeves, which i can unbiasedly say is not shared by everyone, but still, i like to think that it's a question which we find disturbing on an ethical, if not professional level.

i think jean-luc godard summarised it best when he said:

“It’s not where you take things from—it’s where you take them to."


Friday, 11 December 2009

insulting one's intelligence

i watched '2012'. the neutrinos are mutating? seriously? wtfits (what the eff is this shi-)? wasn't a horribad movie, i guess.

i nearly watched 'new moon,' but princess, who is a big fan of the series (i kid you not, i think she watched the first installment 4 or 5 times. although that's nowhere as hard core as a friend of a friend who went to watch 'this is it' [you know, that michael jackson movie / documentary] 15 times. in 2 weeks. that's like once a day. what what in the what), tells me it's disappointing, and overall bad. dodged a bullet with that one, i guess.

then i hear of 'ninja assassins.'


i hang out with some friends on tuesday, because the pillsbury doughboy is getting married in january, and i, have the precedented honour of being a 'witness'. i'm not sure how the legalities of marriage work in this country, but having a different set of witnesses for marriage registration than that from the ceremony itself is... redundant? it's not a murder case, and it's definitely not watergate. but i guess there's no harm in it, and it didn't cost me a cent so it's all good. in effect i did get to wring doughboy of a lunch and high tea, so free food is a good motivator.

we end up talking about politics. just freaking, ugh. horribaddible. i guess we're all 'growing up,' but if part and parcel of it is sitting at a table with your best friends and talking presumptuously about things that are both out of your hands and beyond your mind's grasp, well i'd rather stay a kid for the time being (or forever; refer to peter pan syndrome).

bringing it all together: i want to say 'stop insulting xxx's intelligence,' where xxx does not refer to any form of pornography. however, i really can't say that considering the coherence of my post is somewhat lacking. ah well, you'd be surprised what experimental mauves can do for the idle mind.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

a daydream with my imaginary quartet

it's actually a sextuplet, but never you mind that (giggity). again, with the crazy dreams, and this time, although slightly less vivid than 'the shit rug,' there is a residual tactile hallucination that literally makes my skin crawl. to elaborate on the dream:

the setting is in a desolate area, and as i am currently watching a cooking show where jamie oliver is up to his shenanigans with some navajo native americans in the arizona desert, my mind quickly adheres to this picture and so we shall use it as the backdrop. this is not in truth, the entirety of the situation, as any american will be quick to testify that arizona is not as desolate as one would think, and the picture i have in my dream really is dry, dessicate and barren. nevertheless, we move along, now to the characters of this build: many men and women, no children, and the protagonist, yours truly, sitting atop a hill, bordering a caved summit.

and there, we find that a women (somehow thinking of an aunt or mother, something along those lines) has been devoured by some alien-insectoid things and has turned into a cocoon (or for those pedantic, probably a chrysalis, due to its golden-brown colour).

in effect, this has caused the arousal of the local military (notice how my dream has taken upon itself the guise of some third-rate hollywood alien-invasion fotm flick) and has lead to the lockdown of the locale. one thing leads to another, and most of the details are lost to my fleeting mind, but the next thing i know, the pupa / chrysalis / cocoon has burst, releasing an infinite swarm of the alien-insects. just imagine one of those scenes from indiana jones where you've got millipedes, centipedes, scorpions, leeches (which, although technically are not insects, but you get the idea). add in a few mites and praying-mantises for good measure, that's a pretty picturesque ennui, is it not?

anyway, the plethora of aliens are soon upon me, burrowing underneath my skin, and eating away at the sub-dermal layers of fat that anchor skin to bone (or parenchymal tissue, depending on location), and i jump out of bed feeling the itch everywhere on my body, even many minutes after i'm out of bed and into the shower. shit's nasty, i tell no lie.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009


i woke up today to find that my chessboard was covered with cat fur. orange cat fur, to be precise, which narrows down the choice of culprit cats to one of my three cats at home. upon closer inspection, all the white pawns were also smothered in velvety smooth sheddings (my sister had given all the cats a bath earlier in the week, and i must admit, it's not an easy task. one of our cats, which has a fond dislike for humans, seems only to have his misanthropy rivaled by his hatred for water. and considering a bath combines being handled for the duration of being soaked, well. this had not forbode well for either my sister or the cat. i digress.)

white pawns. and cat fur. interestingly enough, the cradle in which all the black pieces are holstered were clean enough, and the board itself was somewhat clean; had i not inspected the surface with more pedantic scrutiny, i would not have noticed the paw-prints which now cover the board in its entirety. i wonder, had i had access to a csi toolkit, would i have been surprised with the results of dusting the whole set? would there be some intriguing murder/rape case for me to solve? would i be entitled to don sunglasses and have my hands on my hips as someone in the background yells 'yeahhhhhhh...'? actually, i guess that's too cheesy, and nothing could warrant such blatant disregard for self dignity. but i wonder.

so i set up the chess set and leave it on the table where the orange cat, harry plopper, sometimes crouches. this also happens to be the same table where i set up my old skool laptop and do whatever it is we do on the internet. and so i go on with my daily routine, fully expecting plopper to start playing (as i had faced him the white pieces that he apparently prefers). ixnay on the hombre. no go. nada. zilch.

i go off to the bathroom and come back to see that the pieces have been moved (although not really in the stereotypical chess moves i have come to learn, but maybe this is some of those new-age versions of chess that i am yet unfamiliar with). and plopper is sitting there, caught red handed. or red pawed, whichever you prefer. with a black pawn in his mouth. staring at me with his unworldly ala-shrek-puss-in-boots saucer eyes, i can only imagine him saying: 'touche'.

later in the afternoon, i catch him, this time sitting on the chess board while facing the stairs, probably eagerly awaiting his next challenger (which, due to the lack of more cat fur, coupled with the fact that the other two cats we have are either too afraid or too apathetic to be involved with human affairs, i can only assume means one of us [humans] or the resident squirrels that sometimes jump in through the upstairs window.) and so i oblige him, warily humoring his feigned ignorance, by playing a game by myself as he watches on (sweet crustacian android jesus, i am getting really bored if i'm forced to play a chess game against myself). and as he slowly eyed each and every move, probably berating me for the simplest of mistake i had made throughout the game, i can but wonder if he's just playing me all along, having me gotten in a bit too much of his catnip.

or him and the mouse are secretly having a more civilised cat-and-mouse game, one which will spell the end of us all.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

there's a small matter of that $1.61

there's not many things that don't fly with me. however, some things just don't. like durian-flavoured ice-cream with whipped cream. like fake smiles. like cannibalistic acolytes who won't serve sweet carnivorous ewok jesus. like people who still don't believe in the end of days being brought about by genetically-enhanced super-velociraptors. but many of these things breach the realm of improbability (for example, amongst my listed, durian-flavoured ice-cream with whipped cream. really, whipped cream? why not just eat it with cholesterol extracted from myocardial-infarcted cadaveric atria?)

it's nowhere as delicious as it looks. at least with whipped cream added.

premise the 1st:
i went to the local grocery store and bought a bottle of that thai chilli sauce. labelled at $7.39, when they usually sell for ~$12 a bottle, i was happy enough to just grab a bottle and head for the check-out counter. note two things: firstly being that i intended to buy, and only to buy, a bottle of sweet thai chilli sauce, which is what i ended up doing, without diverging attention or coin to other products (admittedly i did browse the haagen-dazs ice creams for any new flavour, since i know for a fact that there is a new flavour out, dark chocolate and orange. but there was none, so we'll forget this slight sidetrack). and secondly, the bottle was labeled as having contents of 800 oz. this isn't 60's america, get with the times and start labeling in metric. the french, genevans and pretty much every other nationality in the world swear at you.

at the counter, while in line, i already count out my exact change to pay for the item, and i'm surprised to find that upon swiping the bar code, the cashier tells me it costs $9. now, before you can argue that maybe, i mistook the label per quote from the aisle, just, no. i check these kind of things at least thrice before even picking up the bottle to look at whatever it is i'm purchasing. so, just no.

to cut the story short (as i've got a second premise below), there's a small matter of $1.61.

premise the second:
at the local bookstore. and when i say 'local' this means i have to travel into the heart of the city, because there's no such thing as a good bookstore where i live :(. i'm searching for a specific book, lewis carroll's 'through the looking glass'. now, i've been to this bookstore, kinokuniya, before. many times, in fact, such that i know for a fact that there's a whole section of classics in paperback (hence, being cheap).

however, since the last time i've been there, things have been changed around a bit, and i have no idea where the classics are - could they still be under lierature? or are they now under classics? maybe they've just lumped all the associated books under the children's section? so i go to one of those electronic self-help stations and query the book, to find that there's at least 5 different versions of the book in question. being the pragmatic person that i am, i plot a course through the aisles. the first book i encounter is a combo of 'alice in wonderland' and 'through the looking glass' in the literature section. already having the latter book as a stand alone, i'm not too inclined to buy this book, but i pick it up anyway, and head to the next section, classics.

unfortunately, the whole section's been re-arranged and i couldn't make out where each book was supposed to be - i have to admit, i am still unfamiliar with the dewey decimal system, but this was supposed to be in trder of author surname, so...

off to the information kiosk we go, and i ask the lovely, although obviously uninterested and slightly annoyed girl (who can really blame her, as it's about 10 p.m. on a sunday night, when most people would be happy to lounge at home with their families or be out partying in some form or another). she types in a few words on her keyboard (far too little to be the title of the book i'm searching for, though) and clicks furiously for a few seconds before informing me that there's only one version of the book they have in store, which is, unbeknownst to her at this point, the one i already am holding in my hand concealed by the countertop. as she hands me a slip of paper directing me to the book, which is now not on the shelves anymore, i kindly inform her that i have already looked there, and have found the book she's mentioning; would she be kind enough to locate the other versions of the book in store that are cheaper and would be more to my preference. with a quick wave of her hand, straightly staring into my eyes, she says 'takde la encik, tu je yang ada' (i'm sorry, sir, that's the only one we have in store. i don't look that old to warrant an 'encik', do i? at least an 'abang' or something, i reckon).

anyway, i'm thoroughly unsatisfied with this explanation and effort (or, definitely, the lack thereof). coupled with the ample time i have in waiting on some people having dinner, i embark on a personal quest to find these other versions of the book. again to make the story short, about 45 minutes later, i end up with all 5 versions of the book, with varying prices from $8.50 to $35, the priciest being the one i had initially plucked off the shelves.

in the end, i leave the store with, instead of the one book i was looking for, four penguin paperbacks (with the standard price of $8.50 each, covering most of the classics that i'm interested in), and save one buck.

was the one odd dollar worth it? mos def.

joke of the day courtesy of my sister:

there's a toothbursh ad on telly:
'... with the ability to brush cheek and tongue...'

princess: why would you want to brush chicken tongue?

Saturday, 5 December 2009

i'm not sure...

where philosoraptor should be placed on the alignment chart.

Friday, 4 December 2009

adding up to more than 360

many people successfully separate their personal and private lives; we've all heard the phrases 'i don't mix work and pleasure', 'not between 9 and 5', 'what happens in vegas...' i think this is a very pragmatic approach to life, especially nowadays, when it's so easy to bring your work home on your blackberry or just opening your e-mail (or the opposite, when we spend hours of work time on facebook).

on the other hand, trying to do this has given me many problems - 'work' issues accumulate during my off-time and eventually start to overwhelm me on one of those black mondays. or was it black sunday? also, family and friends tend to judge (my) character based on the face value of my relaxation time. such common questions are 'don't you feel like doing some work?', 'wow, you've got so much free time', etc. i'm sure you've had that before and can relate.

it's particularly hard to explain this ideology to people who haven't the faintest idea of the separation between the two. for many people i know, work and play are just part and parcel of life - a duality of everyday existence such that, i've noticed, has caused the quality of both to be mediocre and, in my opinion, lacking as an overview. but, to each his own, i'm sure some people perform better with the adherence to such separation, whereas others don't, and all i ask is that one thinks about which results in what before jumping on the 'streaming movies at work' bandwagon because allocating work time for play is the other side of the coin that is 'once in a while checking my work e-mail on my iphone because it makes me seem like an important person in social circles.' or you could be altruistic and actually assume that person is truly compensating.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

in which 'kaya' smells like turpentine

suppose there is a bottle of your favourite spread, sitting on the tabletop. maybe it's jam, maybe it's chocolate spread, maybe it's 'kaya', or even mayonnaise. or if you're one of those crazy people who like lemon spread, or marmite, sure, whatever floats your boat. suppose, this is in a country where there is no change of weather, and it is constantly 25 degrees celcius, there's zero windspeed and the humidity is around 75%.

now, suppose that you open this bottle, and find that there is no cutlery around. nobody's watching so you dip a finger into the spread (not having washed it beforehand), and sample a bit to taste. and it tastes awful. not 'awful' in the sense that it's off taste, or it's a different flavour from which you prefer, but 'awful' here means that it's truly, undebatably horribaddible, with extra fail to boot.

now, go off with your twisted, but pursed lips, and wash your hands. proceed to re-cap the bottle, forget about it and leave it for about 3 months on the tabletop.

what taste, colour and smell would the contents be if you re-visited it? would you test the contents again? would you offer it to a friend?