Monday, December 25, 2006

To Add, or Not to Add..? That is the Question..

No, I'm not talking about Friendster. I'm talking about Skype.

I love using Skype. The emoticons are improving and voice relay is so much better than YM. I can chat and talk with friends outside Malaysia without paying for more than my internet connection. It's a great way to keep in touch with Abang, wherever he is. And it's a nice medium to chat on while you're working - especially if you just wanted to say hi. It can also be your phone and offers damn good rates for international calls - wherever you may be.

However, some people have begun to view it as a "Cari Kawan" or even "Cari Mangsa" portal pulak. Tried to leave a note on my profile, but found that it's a bit hard to say "I don't have time to waste on flirts with nothing better to do" without sounding like a righteous prude. Anyway, those flirts don't even bother checking your profile. Main request je suka hati depa. Like, people who have 106 contacts - buat collection ke hapa??

I quit accepting "Add to Contact" requests after that fiasco a few months back, but after a while, I started accepting a few and was quickly reminded why I probably shouldn't bother. The bit I hate most is the "ice-breaker" when the new 'friend' would ask me a gazillion questions, some of them quite personal and invasive. After a bit, you sometimes feel comfortable enough to chat with one or two of them every now and then. But most of the time, it leads nowhere. Or they turn out to be impostors or God forbid, con-men. Very few real friends to be found online, it seems.

As a whole, meeting people thru the net is already viewed as very risky, but you can't deny that a sizable number of couples DO meet thru the net these days. So I could miss out on some nice bloke who might turn out to be a keeper if I keep declining requests. But I really don't feel like wasting my time with the flirts either... What do YOU think?

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Peace... at last...

You don't know the pleasure of having your Saturdays off until you get stuck with a 5 1/2 day work week. Seriously.

Had taken the day off, planning to leave for Rantau Abang in the morning. However, due to rumours of banjir in Kuantan, plus Sali's brother actually getting stuck there earlier, 3 of us decided to cancel our plans. Feel bad about letting down En Razali and Eyeda, but I'd rather not have to take emergency leave in case it flooded on the way back. Also have an interview I'd rather not miss on Tuesday afternoon. Cari makan and all that, you know...

It feels good to be home with time to spare, actually. Managed to do a bit of this and that and finish reading "The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood". At first I thought it was some nonsensical book about idiotic American girls. The first few chapters certainly portrayed the girls as frivoulous, but it turned out to be an essential background to what the Ya-yas became later in life. If you read it to the end, you'll find the book to be very insightful and touching. Am now itching to get my hands on a copy of the DVD. Tu la, dulu benda tu on sale tak nak beli...

The past week had been busy babysitting my 3 anak buahs. Due to my brother being away in Taiwan and sister-in-law busy with an event, I was Shanghai-ed into picking up the kids after work and keeping them until sis-in-law makes her way home.

Once they were home, it was pretty easy - let them watch TV while I do other things. But my choice of 'things to do' had to change pretty drastically when you have 3 enfants in the house. Thank goodness they had already bathed at the babysitters', so I had one less thing to worry about. Getting kids to bathe when they want to watch Naruto is no easy task.

First, make sure they drink and have something to snack on until Mama comes home. The catch is, I don't have much in the way of kids munchies at home. So made do with fruits and milk on the first couple of days, then took them grocery shopping to get some suitable stuff.

Next, make sure house is germ free. I sure don't want the kids to get sick on my watch... So cleaning and mopping went higher up the charts and miraculously got done. Such is the power of necessity...

Then, figure out dinner. The main challenge is buying or cooking something nutricious that the kids would eat. Thankfully, Amar & Aina are sensible eaters. They love fruit, veggies & chicken. Only Anis a.k.a. Princess Pinky-Winky yang susah sikit. Getting her to even TRY a veggie is an accomplishment!

But by and large, it was more of doing whatever needed to be done. And using your wits to decide what is important and fair. Like whether you should buy them those doughnuts or buy Adik that party pack just so she wouldn't cry. Or play mediator when the 2 elder ones fight over my precious sleeping bag. Soothe the princess drama queen when she had a stomach problem etc.

Abang came home on a morning flight today, and the whole clan on the other side took off for PD for the weekend. So here I am, at home, with time to actually blog, and take care of chores, and read, and swim, and pay bills, and whatever else needs to be done. May watch a movie if I feel like it later. Might even buy some paint and deal with my moldy wall now that it's finally dried-up. It's kind of quiet though without the kids squabbling and crying every few minutes.

Hope I get that job in PJ. I don't like commuting and I like being close to base just in case one of the kids need a hand. Wish me luck, peeps :-)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Cinta

Went to MidV after work today and got tix for this show.

I'm sure everyone have read the reviews about this movie. No point churning them all out again. I really liked the little, little things that reach out to you. Funny but not slapstick. No bimbo acting the bitchy woman. It has dignity. It's touching. I like...

Seems familiar?

- Dyan pretending she was OK with being stood up yet again. And venting her grief in private.

- Taufiq watching the one he loves loving someone else.

- Dhani who balks at making a move, awkward conversation and a busybody troubador.

- Harris and wife - love type mismatch.

- Flaky Arianna and cool Taufiq.

Things that don't fit in:-
- mainly regarding the rich En Azlan la
1. Kemain kaya, ros sebatang je ke, brother? Bagi la sejambak, standard sikit...
2. The glamer budak kedai buku. Waa... classy dressing... Hrmm....
3. Mega romantic dinner. Well, we can all dream, can't we? Probably he bribed the MPO people to play for them...
4. Proposal on ERL. Kampung 'Azura' tu kat mana? Sabah??
5. Still on the proposal: In the context of Malay tradition - not done. Ye la. At least mention la nak jumpa her parents ker... Ada lak main sarung2 cincin cam tu...

Too cute/ weird: Sharifah Amani. Babe, grow away from Orked.

Awards:-

Dignity: Dato' Rahim Razali and Fatimah Abu Bakar. Excellent

Deep: Rashidi Ishak

Cute factor: Pierre Andre. He's sweet. Reminds me of someone.

Preciously priceless: Alisa

Fave Symbolism: Dream house washed away by the rain

Fave scene:
Lis nak apa2?
No.
Lis nak minum? Nak Milo?
No.
Lis...
Papa. I'm WORKING.

Father and daughter. Identical habits. Awww....

The movie is saying: Love isn't always equal. It doesn't always work out. It doesn't always last forever. But we want it. We need it. It comes in many different forms. It works in many different ways. Sometimes we find it, sometimes we make do with what we have.

Verdict: Very good effort. Not perfect, but good. The standard of our movies is finally improving. Yeay!

Falling in Love All Over Again...



Some of you may be familiar with these photos. They're my favourite view of D'Pangkalan, an eco-resort in Rantau Abang, Terengganu.

Have not been able to visit the place this year due to work. Finally managed to find some time to go over last weekend. Was supposed to go with Aizan and co, but last minute work matters forced Aizan and subsequently her entourage to postpone the trip. I went ahead to get the time out I craved.

Picked up G after work on Saturday, had lunch and headed out to the East Coast by 2.30 p.m. The road was thankfully nice and clear. The weather was good too and we arrived in Kuantan by 5.15 or so. Poji was waiting for us in Paka and we had a very nice dinner there.

Arrived at D'Pangkalan by 8.30 p.m. As En Razali was away in KB, we were warmly greeted by his caretaker, En Harun's wife Iza and their son Amrul. En Harun came back a little later. Settling into the room, I found the bathroom a little below par but the room itself was fine. We chatted for a bit at the main hall before going off to bed early that night. It was perhaps the first time I actually slept in the room, I usually sleep on the beach!!

After Subuh the next morning, went out to catch photos of the rising sun, but left a little late and failed to get the first rays. Also fumbled for quite a long time with the raft's lock which had rusted a little and was hard to open. They had to chain the raft because kids had recently 'borrowed' it and took it quite a ways upriver where it was found!

It was pretty hard work pulling the raft across on my own. The main rope that went across the river had caught water weeds and some parts had become rough. There were knots where ropes were connected and these snagged on the guide rope that linked the raft to the main. Once I crossed the river and got to the beach, I was instantly reminded why I loved the place so much. Heck, who cares about the rooms? We want the beach and the river!! Took photos of the sun, plants and sea as well as videos of the crashing waves. Man, they were scary! I kept a very respectful distance from the sea...

Eventually, I remembered G and went back across the river to pick him up. It was easier with one person pulling and me keeping the guide rope clear. We walked along the beach for a bit before going back for breakfast, courtesy of the staff. Too lazy to go food hunting, just pay a little extra for catering. After the long and lazy breakfast, we slathered on sunblock and went kayaking up the river.

The water level had risen so much that the river was much wider and deeper. G was initially apprehensive of kayaking, but he relaxed once he felt how stable the double-seater was. It has a flat bottom and a good keel which made it very stable and easy to maneouver. Very safe, I like.

As expected, the river was very, very calm, and it was great to paddle slowly upriver with the refreshing breeze in our face. We took breaks from paddling and just relaxed sometimes. Went much further upriver than I usually do, mainly because we COULD. Decided to turn back before we got too tired to paddle our way home. At one point, drifted close enough to a common kingfisher sitting on a branch by the river; we were so quiet! Found that going downriver a little more difficult since it was high tide and the current was actually flowing UP! We managed, and landed on the beach side and wandered some more, picking up some shells for G's niece. Found a number of beached jellyfish on the sand. Tried to put them back in the water but the surf kept sending them back!

After a while, we decided we wanted our cameras, so paddled landwards and returned the canoe. Got our gear and used the raft to get across again. Took our shots and returned hungry for lunch.














After a good meal, I decided to take a nap and kind of overslept. By the time we had packed and settled the bill, it was almost seven.

Forged ahead and left for KL, wanting to get home before I was too tired to drive. Unfortunately, was already tired from the day's activities, so from the Kuantan rest stop onwards, I asked G to drive. I did feel guilty about sleeping, but nodded off anyways, waking up with a start every so often. Wished it was P driving, I always feel safer with him at the wheel. But I had no choice and I was too tired to drive myself... We switched again after Genting Sempah. Felt much better after a coffee and had no problems getting back to KL.

By the time we got to BTS it was already 2 a.m. But I was soon home and fell asleep almost immediately. It was a good trip, all said. We paid only RM40 for food and lodging, plus the use of the facilities. Add in petrol and toll, it wasn't too bad.

Sali is dying to go during Christmas. Aizan & co will be going then. Poji is intrigued, so will invite the Kertih clan to join us. Anyone interested is welcome to join us. En Razali has already promised a kampung turkey for the festivities. I'm trying to justify going there again so soon, but may end up going all the same. Come la, it's going to be so much fun!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Red Kebaya

Watched this movie last week with a bunch of people in One-Utama. And my opinion keeps changing as time goes by. Even checked out comments at Suanie & Sultan Muzaffar’s sites.

Firstly, I love the cinematography. It’s cool. And I like the first bit with close ups of – what else? – the red kebaya and special effects when the rooms transform. Really nice.

Costumes – I like…

Acting – very theatrical. Well, all of them are from the theatre scene anyway. I won’t say too much about this. It’s exaggerated, like theatre on film.

Realism – because it’s basically “offstage theatre”, they took lots of artistic license with this film. There’s one scene where it’s supposed to be “Maghrib” but it’s terang benderang out there. Plus the “call to prayer” is actually bacaan Quran. And seriously – our journalists DO NOT ask the kind of questions like in the movie. Totally fantasy, pure fiction. Some things just came out of thin air. Like the Chinese boy – who was he? And one key scene is totally illogical, it just isn’t done. Guess they needed it la, otherwise the whole story couldn’t proceed.

Memorable scenes - There were a few hilarious scenes in the movie. Good slices of Malaysian humor there.

Storyline –It’s an art movie, no doubt about that. You have no choice but to read between the lines. At first I thought the movie was rather pointless, like – “That’s it? Like, what’s the point here??” There are no clear-cut “Here’s the crisis” and cumulating “Yeah, you’re the hero” sort of thing here. There’s no hero, even; just the main character. You need to stew over it a little before it makes any sense. Now I can see that it’s more like a short story, the kind that tells you about a certain episode in someone’s life. An enlightening episode. It doesn’t make major changes, but it answers questions the guy didn’t realize he had. And he simply feels good after. Works for me…

As for comments – saw one guy totally hating the movie on Sultan Muzaffar’s site. Said something about glorifying the orang putih and Malay chicks “giving out” (his exact words are simply too crude to put here) to white losers. I so disagree. Nak comment kat situ, it’s a bit late in the day la. I don’t think this movie glorifies whites at all.

Because in this movie, the orang putih not even hero is a lembik, hen-pecked, civil service husband whose only redeeming virtue is his gentleness and sincerity. No Malay guy with a shred of pride would stand for the ridicule he was letting his wife get away with. What I see is that his growing affection for a Malay woman, Azizah, helped him become a stronger person who is willing to stand up to his bitchy wife. I think it’s actually a tribute to Malay women, because she is portrayed to be a sincere, warm and sensitive woman who accepted the poor old mat saleh as he was.

In any case, what’s the problem with this guy? We’re not all SPGs la. Wish he would look at the reasons why many local guys turn us off. Seriously. Besides, the gatal half-Mat Saleh who happily takes advantage of the locals was also portrayed. He was NOT the hero though he played a part in bringing her into the picture, literally.

Azizah did not condemn her deceased ex-husband for abandoning her. Instead, she blamed his idealistic passion. She probably loved the Mat saleh for his down-to-earth behaviour, his connection with her son and his obvious adoration for her. Consider that by supporting her and her son, he is liberating her from an unsavoury job. This protection is a significant proof of his love. Can’t fault that, can you?

Interestingly, the producers have cleverly made it such that there were no scenes that portrayed adultery between the two. The son was always present in the scenes. Even if he was not, there was nothing of an overtly sexual nature in their behaviour. Of course it is quite obvious that if someone moves in with another party, something HAS TO BE going on la. Don’t be so na├»ve, right? But then, it is a large house, they could have slept in separate rooms, could they not? Even in the last bit, the son was sleeping on the bed occupied by the orang putih. Does this mean the mother will be sleeping elsewhere? Hear no evil, see no evil…? There is no proof that she is the gundik what… Ha ha. Go figure. Clever, guys.

One thing that strikes many after seeing this movie is that there wasn’t anything much to do with the red kebaya, actually. Using it as a title suggests that it’s a key element in the story, but actually, it’s not. There IS a red kebaya, but it is not the FOCUS of the story. Unless… hmm… Unless, the red kebaya symbolizes the RELATIONSHIP. Red is the colour of love. The garment, which is demure yet at the same time sexy, suggests a beautiful relationship which retains a sense of the traditional. As such, the kebaya is not the POINT of the story, but an UNDERLYING THEME for the short story it is based on. Hmm… this movie has many layers… most interesting.

I may be guilty of disclosing too much here, sorry about that. For those who have not seen the movie, pergi tengok la. It’s not perfect, but it’s a refreshing change from the usual rubbish we usually get… I like!