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Archive for March, 2007

Chinese Rapper (Muar Style)

March 31, 2007 Leave a comment
This has got to be a Jin thing. Damn fine rap for those who understand Chinese and Hokkien.
Note: First appeared in Youtube here.

 

 
 
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Categories: Music

First Stop – Gunung Tahan

March 28, 2007 Leave a comment

Length: 04 days
Period: 13/08/2006 to 17/07/2006

My research stated: “Gunung Tahan at 2,178m is the highest point in Peninsula Malaysia. You start off at Kuala Tahan (63 km away) and trek for seven days. Along the way, you will climb twenty-seven hills, cross seven rivers, hug a cliff-face, clamber up steep slopes and endure cold temperatures (sometimes single-digit temperatures) near the summit. Then you get to do it in reverse order on the way back.”

I had a vision as I read those words. I would fearlessly stay the path even as the jungle mocked me with ominous obstacles: sheer cliff faces and frothy rivers that down me with prat falls and broken legs, unruly elephants squashing insignificant humans, long thirsty marches through thick and unfriendly forests while fending off blind blood-hungry leeches.

I was the Energizer man who never says die.

I would clamber, climb, crawl and somehow get over everything thrown in my way. I near the summit and shrieking winds would set my teeth shivering and limbs shaking. Nevertheless, I will make it to the top, survey the land around me in satisfaction and return the way I came.

I would then write home and deride everyone’s pitiful city existence. I would quietly acknowledge my heroic sufferings to a captive audience. Never blabbing nor boasting too loudly. Modesty is a fine virtue to have, especially when I am the hero.

Bollocks.

My first slope was a ball-buster. I bounced upwards for a few meters on jutting roots and thought “Hey! This is easy!” Then my backpack turned into a fucking ball and chain. I struggled and fought to make that next step. I tried everything that I could think of: I leaned forward to shift my weight forward and almost squashed my face into the earth. I pulled myself up on a branch and nearly left my shoulders hanging on the branch. In the end, I CRAWLED upwards using my hands and feet like a crab learning to walk forward.

At the top of the slope, my legs screamed bloody murder and I couldn’t feel my shoulders anymore. I huffed and puffed so much that any dog would have been proud of me. I should feel proud of myself. I had, after all, successfully climbed up one hill.

There were twenty-seven hills left to go.

If I could think coherently then, I would have turned tail and ran back the way I came. Instead we (me and my guide, Ali) clambered over the remaining hills and made camp in the middle of nowhere.

We broke camp at dawn and struck on again the next day.

Once more, we scaled up and down steep slopes. My legs shook at the prospect of each climb and descent. Fortunately, I managed it with some dignity. Then I saw my first river crossing; it was far wider and more daunting than flyovers criss-crossing Bangkok. I had to cross seven rivers filled with clear beautiful water gushing down from the tips of Gunung Tahan.

The day was hot. The river gurgled and bubbled happily in front of me. I needed to cool off but not by falling into the water! I kept slipping and sliding on the wet rocks underfoot. Each time I went into the water, I’d bang my shin against oddly shaped rocks. I’d rise up from the river; an undersized swamp monster clutching at a bashed shin and cursing loudly. The river didn’t care a whit for my scolding. It merrily flowed between my legs and onwards. I’d fall again into the river because I’ve been massaging my bruised shin.

We covered thirty kilometers at the end of that day; just a little under halfway to the mountain foot.

“Ohhh. Tomorrow harder than today. Must go straight up like tree.” Ali spoke. He’s been easy company and straight with his words. Those three sentences hung heavy around my neck. We pitched our tents and built little fires to cook our dinners.

“Ali, tomorrow we go back.” He nodded. I wondered privately if he was glad of my decision. He kept harping on the ‘boringness’ of climbing Gunung Tahan. Apparently, he and his fellow Orang Aslis are in charge of clearing the path between Gunung Tahan and the Park HQ. That means having to climb up and down and up and down the mountain.

Regardless, I had made my decision and we would turn around tomorrow morning.That night, I heard him laugh loudly to himself. “Has he gone mad?” I thought.

“Hello.” He said from inside his tent. “Hello.” He wanted to catch my attention.

“What’s so funny Ali?” He was snorting away in laughter. The sweet tobacco that he smoked drifted towards me; scaring away mosquitoes as it did.

“Sometimes the other Malay guides would bring (tour) groups to my village and tell them when Bateks marry, the Asli big chief must sit on termite hill.” He chortled. “It’s not true but I relax. It’s ok. I don’t know why they say that to tour groups.”

 I laughed out loud and it felt good.

Categories: Uncategorized

Basketball on Saturday

March 27, 2007 Leave a comment

I played basketball yesterday at the old NIE (Evans Road). I was nostalgic for gravity-defying and acrobatic leaps into the air; pin-point passes bouncing off the length of the court and good old-fashion pain.

There was pain indeed; injuries to my knee and back had taken away most of my game – I could barely get off the ground or match sprints on the court. I am stronger than most of them and shoved them out of the way. But they always shoved back.

A little nostalgia of a different sort was thrown in for good measure. Two players disputed a foul call and became lawyers on court.

“You can’t do that!”

“Why not! I just took two steps!”

Blah blah blah. The game went on and someone lost.

The loser pleaded his case to others.

“It’s not like that when I played in competition! The referees won’t let you do that! Kan Ni Na. Chow Chee Bye.” Those on the sidelines commiserated and nodded. He kept cursing and illustrating his point with extravagant, sweaty body motions. His eyes widened a little more with each demonstration.

Learn from ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Galaxy’ page one: Don’t panic. Take a deep breath.

It’s not a competition. It’s just a game. It has no bearing on the other things that we do. It is, as much as I hate to admit it, inconsequential. I would have never realized that fact, not until I was injured and injured badly. Then, I got into other things – this posturing and debate turned meaningless.

I look back now and wonder how I could have wasted so much time.
No more wasted time for me.

Categories: Observations

Macdonalds @ Jurong Point

March 27, 2007 Leave a comment
Macdonalds is a temple to burgers, bad coffee and new gods. I’ve come here to drink in the information godhead; the ever-knowing and ever-judging internet. I am ultimately a parasite. Remember! Parasites do not have civil rights! We gave them up in order to go wireless.

There is a woman with her father in Macdonalds. They are sitting across me. The woman resembles Mrs. Potato – a potato decorated with cartoon features and matchsticks for limbs. The father is old and wasted. He totters on insect-thin legs when he got up to buy something from the counter.

 
She speaks in rapid-fire, eardrum-bursting Hokkien to her father. It sounds like she’s scolding him. He is distracted by the runway of people outside Macdonalds. She’s throwing money – green five dollar bills – at the old man. It bounces off his chest and onto the floor. He turns on her; all smiling and wrinkled.
 
She annoys me. She should be terminated. A foot planted into her mouth and teeth would fix it. But this is a temple for all – what rights do parasites have?
Categories: Observations

The first time I saw a man who wasn’t a man.

March 26, 2007 Leave a comment

I was eighteen and had just posted to another military unit – school of military medicine (SMM). We were allowed to go home at night and to enter / leave the camp in civilian clothing. These little things seemed like a big deal to me back then.

A lot of little things seemed disproportionately important to me back then; like fitting in. I had never been able to fit in. The longer I stayed in the unit, the angrier I got. And it was about to break over others. I willingly went to see the military psychiatrist. He diagnosed me as normal – someone who’s growing up.

That’s when I first saw a Khay Toey – a ladyboy. No, it wasn’t the doctor.

I was waiting in a white common room. There were several other people in the same room: a detainee from the military prison stood hunched in a corner. He was handcuffed and smiled slyly at nothing in particular. Military policemen stood at attention beside him; one on each side; a lean and lanky boy on a couch. He was daintily turning the pages of a fashion magazine; there were others and we ignored each other as best as we could.

The door to the doctor’s office opened.

Our heads whipped up. A tall woman strode out of the door. I couldn’t see her face. All I saw were her legs. They were slim and muscular beneath a tiny black skirt. Oodles of milky goodness covered those legs. I could clearly see her bra strap through the sheer white blouse; a thin strip binding her back. What a back she had! Long and lean; a slinky panther prowling on the carpet.

She gathered up the lanky man and giggled something into his ear. They laughed and sashayed out, arms interlinked. As they walked though the door, I saw a piece of paper in her hand and heard her giggle, “I’m getting out.”

How can a man be that beautiful – at least from the back?

Categories: Love or lust

Morning at Macdonald’s

March 20, 2007 Leave a comment

Dreary morning. My view from Macdonald’s is decorated by knife-like water droplets. Vehicles make that “SHSSSHHH” sound on the wet roads. Genders are reversed today; boys carry floral umbrellas and sashay slowly while girls swagger urgently from shelter to shelter.

 

I’m at Macdonald’s throughout the morning. The staff recognizes me by my penchant for coffee. I want to throw up; my stomach churns from the sour, puke taste of coffee. But it keeps me awake and industrious. Surf the internet for tutorials and the scoop on companies. Surf the internet for jobs to do. Surf the internet while waiting for replies to my million and one emails.

Categories: Observations

My first kiss

March 1, 2007 1 comment

In my youth, everything was my play-thing; objects were subjected to wanton destruction or excessive love. I remember playing at an imaginary death and mourning. I remember hitting my brother over the head with a cast-iron soldier. He bled and told on me. I felt bad about it and afraid that I’d be hit with the CANE.

I grew older and got interested in girls. I didn’t know how to talk to them nor did I know how to make friends with them. They were an alien species to me. Even now, with a quarter of my life gone by, they are still alien to me (but for different reasons)

It was a shock when I got acquainted with a beautiful girl who lived near my house. She was an Indonesian-Chinese. She had flawless skin and large almond eyes. Her smile dazzled. I longed to hold her waist and feel her curvy hips under my palm. We’d often meet on the way home from school. I was in white and she’d wear a tartan-like skirt. We walked the same way back but we’d never say a word to each other. We’d smiled and nod to each other though.

I thought of her incessantly and wanted to be more than an acquaintance. Sometime later, I dreamt of her. It was an erotic dream that made me come in the middle of the night.

In my dream, I didn’t see her naked at all. I didn’t grab her budding breasts or enter her (it could be that I didn’t know the mechanics of sex back then). It was midday in the dream. The sun was white and bright. I was in my bedroom and had walked through the toilet into another room. I saw her in front of me. We talked about something, I don’t remember what, and we kissed.

We kissed that night in a dream room where the sun was bright and white. She tasted of sharks fin and candy bars. Her lips were softer than the tiny careworn bolster that I had since I was five. It was my first kiss; a virgin kiss given away in a dream. I kissed her once and thought that I was the luckiest boy. Then I kissed her again.

I woke up. I stayed on my mattress, befuddled by sleep. Increasingly, I grew more awake but the ‘incredibleness’ of that kiss lingered on. I made a resolution that she would be my girlfriend. Then I got up and prepared for school.

It was too embarrassing for me to act on that resolution. I never did anything about it. After a few months, I never saw her again. Maybe she’d left for another country.

I stayed in Singapore, of course, and remember, now and then, the first kiss that I gave and received in a dream.

Categories: Love or lust
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