Monday, January 31, 2005

I cannot think properly. The noise outside is insane. There are 5 men outside our room area setting up more office partitions. Sounds of drills, hammers, the irritating clank of metal against metal *shudder*

Construction and renovation works in and around the office should be left till after office hours. It's understood! Event coordinators at shopping malls wait till after 10pm to set up booths, put up decor, etc. When planning an event for a client at a hotel, our set up for stage, sound and light usually start after 10pm, when the previous event ends.. and rehearsals (should there be one) can sometimes happen well after midnight! So why can't people who do renovation for offices start work after we knock off at 6?


I found something really interesting in the Star Metro section today. The whole of page 16 was a listing of all the fabulous and yummy restaurants around town, categorised by cuisine served. On page 17 was a full page ad for Cenosis, advertising their Chinese New Year slimming promotion. Page 18 was a restaurant review with a picture of the chef alongside his various creations. Page 19 was a full page ad for Sensualite, again with another slimming programme that screams "I lost 11 kgs in 2 weeks!" by some Ms. Nora.

I found it funny. What do they call it.. when two contrasting sentences are strung together.. a paradox is it? C'mon, eat! Stuff your face, pig out, it's OK to indulge. Don't worry about gaining weight.. cos hey, there are so many slimming centres these days!

According to a Feng Shui expert from Singapore who was interviewed and the article in the papers today, I must carry 88 grains of uncooked rice in a red packet and a gold pendant all year round for good luck and protection. Feng Shui experts have said that this year, the Year of the Rooster is rather inauspicious for most of us.

As much as we are today, being heavily drugged with Western influences and ideologies, I still am quite fascinated by these feng shui and Chinese superstitions and beliefs - to a point whereby I actually contemplate following experts' advise on what to do and what to avoid. This is not to say that I'm a big fan of Lilian Too. Never bothered with her yet. Mainly because I don't like the way she speaks. Every time I hear her voice, I cringe. I know, I'm evil.

Back to that feng shui and Chinese astrology beliefs, I would rather follow and take some precautions and 'safety measures' to at least prevent bad luck if not bring good luck. I mean, it's a whole year we are talking about! I daren't risk exposing myself to all the bad and evils that are lurking around.

Off to count 88 grains of rice now.

Posted by Doreen at 3:45 pm


Friday, January 28, 2005

I know that the magazine CLEO isn't much. The articles are recycled over and over again over the years (my collection proves it!). The fashion tips are recycled over and over too. And so are the Q&A Life, Men, Sex, Health sections (a.k.a Dear Thelma). But yet, every month, as I stroll into bookstores, I fork out RM5.60 for it. I wonder why. I read others too, like Female, Marie Claire and once in a while, a US Cosmopolitan for a treat. But CLEO, I buy every month *stares at the February issue on my desk*

I don't know what I see in CLEO. It's light-hearted and entertaining I reckon. And I like looking at pictures of all the pretty little trinkets, accessories, dresses, beauty products, etc.

Oh well. Turns out I'm just like any other girl next door. As much as I want to be different, be eccentric in my own ways, I fall into being mainstream. Now I know I'm NOT different, I'm NOT eccentric, I'm just NORMAL. Everything about me screams "NORMAL" *bawls*

Went to The Actor's Studio to watch the comedy Mr. Kong & Mr. Kay last night (click HERE for synopsis). I was disappointed. Terribly disappointed.

Throughout the entire 2 hours, I only saw 3 faces on stage.. And that to me was boring. I don't like to watch something with too many characters for fear of getting lost and not remembering who is who. But 3? 3 is just insufficient. It got boring 10 minutes after the intermission.

I wouldn't say that it isn't funny. Sure, I laughed a bit in the beginning. But I soon got tired. And bored. When you do the things over and over again, and when people can almost predict what's going to happen next.. err.. did I mention how boring it can get?

It's predictable, and the jokes are cheap. Lily Chee who played Gabriella Kok also messed up a wee bit. We all saw her fumbling for a bit and then let out a laugh when she was supposed to be angry.

I came out feeling like I've wasted money and not to mention 2 whole hours of my evening. I still believe Actor's Studio produce brilliant plays. Maybe this one just does not suit my tastebuds. I ought to go watch Hamlet next week.. It will be Faridah Merican's third attempt in directing this play in Bahasa Malaysia.

Gavin Yap is Hamlet while Christina Orow plays Queen Gertrude in the Actor's Studio's Malay adaptation of Hamlet.

I wonder if I need to bring my Dewan Bahasa kamus along? My BM is rusty. I'm ashamed to say that of course. How can I not speak BM fluently as a Malaysian? Sigh.

Shame on you Doreen!

* Kamus - Dictionary
* Photo courtesy of The Star Online

Posted by Doreen at 4:26 pm


Wednesday, January 26, 2005

The last weekend was indeed special. It started off with me sitting in front of the computer on a Saturday night thinking "Yep, I am getting old!" and I expected it to be a slow and boring weekend. Then Raymond came online.. and 6 hours later, I found myself at the Pudu bus terminal, looking out for a guy whom I've not seen in the last 9 years!

It was all so fast I had a hard time trying to contain my excitement! Raymond was a classmate back in highschool, and yes, it's been 9 long years since I last saw him. Originally from Hong Kong, Ray was in Singapore for some visa matters and found the island to be boring since he had no where to go and didn't know anyone there. Seeing me online, he found out that KL was about 5 hours away from Singapore by coach. And almost immediately he went offline, and the next thing I knew, he was already on a bus departing Singapore, and will be arriving at 6am in the morning.

It has been really good meeting up with high school friends, and I've met 2 in the last week! And I'm talking about dudes whom I've completely lost touch with, not knowing their whereabouts, no emails, no phone calls, no nothing! Never in my life I'd ever imagine seeing them again! And suddenly, we're spending the afternoon drinking gallons of beer, and uh... I needed 'assistance' to get to the car when it was only 8pm! Well, we started drinking at what.. 2 or 3pm! Heh. I had fun. So much! At midnight, when I hugged Raymond before he boarded the bus to Singapore to catch his flight the next day back to Jakarta, it was like "Dude, will we ever see each other again?"

Now if only I can meet up with the girls. For the past 8-9 years, we have been emailing each other, yes all 9 of us linked via Yahoogroups. We call ourselves NRJIICDS (which stands for Natalie, Roselle, Jaclyn, Christine, Choyette, Doreen, Dora, Sella and Shreya).. and it also reads Energy To See The Ass. I know, I know, juvenile yeah? But hey, we were like 14 or 15 when we came up with this!

Us girlies during our Year 10 Graduation Dinner (From L-R: Natalie, Roselle, Jaclyn, Choyette, Christine, Dora, Doreen, Sella and Shreya)

Our notorious sleep-overs

The entire line-up.

Mucking around in the hallways.

Trying on graduation robes.

Girls rock!

I somehow miss our uniform...

Natalie is currently in Italy. I've always liked saying that - Natalie in Italy. Heh. She's still in uni finishing up her degree in Tourism and she's like the baby of the group. Always soft spoken, innocent and girlie. Of mixed parentage, Indonesian mother and Italian dad, she's da bomb yeah! Nat is always excited and full of vivacity, and she was always running, skipping and hopping about the hallways in school. I remember she used to always had these pretty little hairclips and hairbands which she'd wear in her long brown hair.

Roselle is a Filipino, and is currently in Manila finishing her Medicine degree. She was the celebrity-crazed one that girl, always having extensions to her name to signify her many "other half" from Hollywood. There were too many to remember, but I recalled Devon Sawa being one of them. You know, the little teenybopper who played Casper alongside Christina Ricci in Casper? I remembered sitting next to her, Year 8 or 9 I think it was... and she was super-neat! Her handwriting, her notebooks and all.. Man.

Jaclyn, ah.. My fellow Malaysian! Jac has always been petite and sweet! Now this girl, she's the artistic one! You should have seen her pieces and works done for Art class! Today, she's also within the Klang Valley, and man, we should have met up ages ago.. but what is stopping us? *sobs* Jac, despite her size, can be loud and opinionated.. and I love her for that. She's also very witty and ooh, she's HOT too! Heh.

Christine or Tong as we fondly refer to her as.. Heh, she's our mother! Originally from HK, Christine has been in Jakarta for a very, very long time too. She's forgetful, bubbly and extremely smart. She goes ga-ga over mushrooms and sushi and drools in delight if any of our classmates lunchboxes carried these items. Today, she's in Singapore working for a clothing label. Ah, Tong! Miss you so!

Choyette is a Filipino currently working in Washington D.C. with the Filipino embassy. She had this mob of dark, jet black curly hair which I always find fascinating... the way she pulls it up in a neat bun. She's got a thing for words and I've always enjoyed reading her essays which she wrote for English or Literature classes. She's ultra smart and has a way with words. Choy's smiles never fails to light up a room.. it's bright and very inviting and people naturally warm up to her. At 15 or 16, she already was in touch with her womanly and motherly instincts, claiming to want .. 6 children was it? She even had names for them back then! Today, she's happily dating Bryan, also a Filipino based in Atlanta. I wish them happiness. And 6 children! *grins*

Dora was one of those mysterious girls... but mysterious as she was, she was definitely a crazy one too! Inside her small frame is a girl bursting with ideas, knowledge and energy. If you wanted updated Chemistry / Physics notes, you go to her. She loved to doodle a lot too. Today she is back in Hong Kong and is now a graduate in Biotech & Sciences (I hope I got this right?). Did I mention she made real short hair look so cool? If she's a musician, she's like quirky Sinead O' Connor, or Gwen Stefani or the likes. But I AM GWEN STEFANI! No one else can be her! Heh.

The other D in the group is of course me.. Ah me. You know all about me don't you? I'm just an average one I reckon. I wasn't extremely smart in the books department, I loved to play. My favourite subject was PE and Art class. And I love going to the clinic to have a lie on the bed cos I wanted to be excused from classes *lol* I had nice hair back then.. till I fell trap to the brightly coloured advertisements selling hair dyes *sobs* Oh well. Today, I think I'm the wild child among the lot.

Sella is an Indonesian lass who's tall, fair, pretty and real smart too! Her father's a dentist, so she had funky colourful braces! She's currently in Melbourne finishing her Medicine degree. Like Dora, she's the one who you went to should you need notes for Biology, Chemistry or Physics. Or anyting else really. She plays good basketball and she laughs real loud. I remembered her always having sweaty palms. It's not nervousness or anything.. and it's always icy cold! Oooh, she was the one who started coming to school with pastel coloured nails. Heh.

Shreya is another ultra smart gal from India. She had these round specs back then with long curly hair. She looked cute. Heh. Her voice puts Mariah to shame. I remembered her doing a rendition of "Hero" for one of those singing competitions held at school. She's currently in Melbourne working for a huge kick-ass company. Good on ya girl!

Scattered all over the world as we are.. I miss them dearly and write to them every other day! All I ask for is to be able for us all to gather and have a cuppa and just talk! Gosh, how I wish for that. Girlfriends - you just need them so. They help me keep my sanity. Sometimes my emails are of nothings, but I write anyway.

One day, we will meet. One day when we've got the time and money. I think we'll probably meet at one of our weddings. Choyette, hurry! Get married! *grins*

Posted by Doreen at 10:13 am


Wednesday, January 19, 2005

OK, I know I desperately need to update my blog, yet I keep putting it off, day after day, after day... So typical of me. I procrastinate. Big time. And I feel ugly about it. I don't want to, but can't help it at times.

When I don't blog, I still make it a point to visit the other blogs I just have to read everyday and continue being a voyeur. When I read Pok Ku's blog today, which led me to his daughter's blog here, I suddenly thought of Christmas night back home in JB recently.

I was 21 and in Perth when I finally realized how much I've missed them. Where did all the years go to? I only remember seeing us as fighting and arguing. A lot. When the time came for us to be gossiping about boys, sharing clothes and make-up, discussing MTV and Brad Pitt, I left home for college, university, and now my career.

Sure, during the years away from home, there were the occassional emails, phone calls, birthday cards.. but I never gave much thought to them. I figured "Yeah, well I think that's what sisters are supposed to be doing!"

Yes. But now I think we could have done so much more! But it's slowly changing. We're all now in our early 20s with Serene, my youngest sister who is turning 18 this year. I think our bonding is a wee bit late compared to most siblings, but hey, better late than never!

It was Christmas Day already as 4 of us sisters sat on the bed at about 2am in the morning. Maybe the whole "family togetherness" got to us, it being Christmas day and all. It was a good "sisterly bonding session" which lasted till almost 5am in the morning and our eyes were so sticky, either from fatigue or from tears, both happy and sad.

You'd think, 4 girls in the family where the age gap is 6 years between the first born and the youngest, imagine the fun we could have had! But I missed it all. I missed growing up with them. And no matter what I do, time ain't gonna be going on rewind mode now.

I caught up recently with a high school friend from the days back in Jakarta. He, like me, were among the few Malaysians at GMIS. After 8 years of disappearance, bless Friendster for reuniting old friends! Catching up over cigarettes and coffee at a Green Coffee Giant outlet in town, it was indeed a nice, warm feeling. Perhaps the weather had something to do with it. Curse the heat!

However, as we got started to get reacquainted... much to my surprise, K told me he had a crush on me while we were in Year 10. That was our last year in GMIS. We didn't speak much in school, just the 'Hi' every now and then the juvenile teasing and jokes. He was in the "bad ass" gang of boys who gathered behind the school gym by the what-GMIS Management-called-the-soccer-field and smoked their Marlboros. I was in the preppy group of girls who took our studies rather seriously and we hung out at shopping malls and did sleep-overs.

K asked me out today in the you-know-what manner saying that he wants to now do what he didn't have the guts to do back then. All of a sudden, I felt so small in my swivel chair as I stared at our chat box. Yes, it is very sweet of him, but dude, "I just wanna be friends you know what I mean" I uttered in many, many sentences which fortunately, he understood (bless you!).

I had a good time catching up with him. And I believe we're going to have so much fun when we go out this Friday night... and many, many more fun outings in the future. Imagine the uproar we will cause amongst our school friends who are now scattered all over the world. I can envision a Bulletin Notice on Friendster announcing that K and Doreen are officially dating in KL. HAHA. *shudder*

Anyways, welcome back to my life K!

Posted by Doreen at 4:07 pm


Friday, January 07, 2005

One's identity is not very often debated, that is, until the question crops up. Only then do we begin to realize that it is not so simple to put ourselves into "categories", especially when we consider the three different and largest ethnicities of Malay, Chinese and Indian that we might belong to, while at the same time holding onto the identity of being Malaysians.

So I then thought to myself - which is more important? What do I say when people ask me "What are you?". I suppose the answer to this question has to take into consideration where the question is being asked, and by whom. If in Malaysia, I would say "Chinese" because it will most probably be coming from a local who can't quite point a finger to my racial origins. However, when abroad, I will proudly say "I'm Malaysian" period.

Sometimes, to think of it, it is rather sad. In this modern day of globalisation and modern civilisation, many are still ignorant about the world's culturally diverse population - yes even within a country!

I remember Frank, my Australian housemate back in Perth during university days, upon telling him I'm Malaysian then asked me "So you're Malay?" Not the first, and certainly not the last of such experiences. "No I'm Chinese, third generation Chinese in Malaysia," and I further go on explaining about the cultural diversity within Malaysia and how the three predominant races make up the Malaysian population. "Aaahh," said Frank with a nod as he emptied out a packet of frozen stir-fry into the pan and begin to stir it nonchalantly. "Do I need to add more oyster sauce to this thing here?" he asked.

Friends from Hong Kong will call us ma lai yan (Cantonese phrase which literally translates to Malay). Of course, here goes the long and confusing explanation of ancestry and the multi-racial and multi-cultural nation we live in. "But you're still ma lai yan lah!" they will finally say.

The question now is - Do we feel that being categorized as one or the other does not project a true image of our identity? Are there then ways to portray oneself to avoid prejudices and misconceptions by others?

If I were to say "Malaysian Chinese", I would have to agree that it is not too general, and yet not too specific. It also will not lead to long and confusing explanations of ancestry in the homeland, and the migration of our ancestors to Malaysia. By saying "Malaysian Chinese" also has it's pros actually. It conveys freedom of race and religion, peace and harmony within a multi-racial Malaysia.

However, by just saying "I'm Malaysian" will also lead to confusion, especially for our Western counterparts who are not so informed about the varied Asian culture, especially in South East Asia. Will our ethnicity lose its cultural essence then? But, identifying ourselves as Malaysians will signify unity of all the ethnic groups in Malaysia and how they are inextricably linked to one another.

Will we one day be able to just say one word - Malaysian - and have people acknowledge, realize, and embrace the fact that this term encompasses and should thereforereflect the pretty colours that make up our country?

I'm still undecided though. "Malaysian" or "Malaysian Chinese"?

Posted by Doreen at 3:01 pm


Wednesday, January 05, 2005

I have finally reached a milestone in my driving skills - to do a perfect reverse and parallel park. I remembered when I first got my own car a few months back, I would shudder and get cold feet at the mere thought of not finding an 'easy park' lot, and would end up having to do reverse parking, or parallel parking, and have a long line of vehicles behind me waiting! That was horrdendously scary.

Every time I go to crowded shopping malls, I pray fervently for a nice parking space where I just have to manouvre the car head on into the parking space - fuss free, no hassle. Because of my fear of reverse parking or parallel parking, I have, more often than not, gave up parking spaces and end up circling the area for ages before I come across another one that I deem suitable.

But being in a city like Kuala Lumpur hardens you, it makes you face your fears boldly and take them on, it dares you. After seeing the smirk on faces of the people in vehicles who were waiting for me to park properly and not obstruct traffic, I decided that I had better do something about it.

I am proud to say that I'm now a certified reverse and parallel parker! Makes you wonder how I managed to pass my driving test eh? But yes, it took me 2 tries before I passed - but only for the "on the road driving" bit. I cleared the parking bits first time round. But it was easy then. The instructor will give tips like how many turns of the steering wheel that is required, to count the poles and whatnot. But who's counting the number of turns you make on the steering wheel when you're trying to park in a dingy parking space in KL? And there ain't no poles for me to count and hence make my judgements either!

Quoted from an article in the papers today - "If men are from Mars, women are from a planet where they don't have roundabouts...". Speaking of roundabouts, I am also proud to say that I've also conquered my fears and problems in navigating around the circular junction.

According to research, the article noted that women get panicky when entering or leaving a roundabout and this sex are usually the ones who end up with accidents at roundabouts. The reason being that they hover too long and finally going at the wrong moment usually because of impatient male tailgaters.

"Women tend to be in more accidents at slower speeds, where cars are close together, while men have more high-speed accidents"... and this I daren't deny for yours truly has been in a couple of such cases. I remembered scraping the sides of a divider in a parking lot which resulted in the bumper of the Kancil being dislocated. I almost pissed in my pants because the car was not mine! Thankfully a genius mechanic drilled a hole somewhere, attached a gigantic screw underneath and voila! It looks perfect! (Psst. It only cost me RM5 too!)

Then of course, the recent 3 car pile-up where yours truly was squashed between a tough Volvo and a Proton Saga - in a traffic jam *chuckles* OK, squashed isn't exactly the scenario of course, just had dislocated and dented front and back bumpers that's all.

But after much grief and panic because of parkings, roundabouts and accidents, I hope that I've now matured into a better driver, and here's to a worry-free driving year to all women out there! *grins*

Posted by Doreen at 4:25 pm