Wednesday, September 26, 2007

In Rome

I know.

I didn't major in Cultural Studies for nothing you know.

Then again, if you were to ask me right now, right here - What is culture? I'll say, "Do you have time? Can I buy you a cup of cofffee?"

OK, fine, fine. If you insist. Very superficially of course. Culture is a way of life. It could be the way we dress. The person we shag. The way we speak. The food we eat. The way we work. You know.

I'd say I'm pretty open. And when I mean open, I don't mean "Hello 25/m/KL looking for open minded girls who know how to have fun" kinda open. Openess in the sense of my acceptance of differences, understanding that these differences create cultures, and to some extreme-the need for differences in fact. Like religion, like Mat Rempits, like homosexuality, like goth, like fat people, like skinny people, like Akademi Fantasia, like punctuality issues, like fraternity boys, like anorexics, like Hollywood celebrities.

Culture is shared and it thus provides a sense of identity as a group, a sense of belonging. You cannot go to a nudist beach and tell everyone to cover up their titties - you need to take off your clothes. You cannot walk into a AF party and shout "Aku benci Mawi!" - you'd better know the words to some of his songs (but seriously - why DID you go to an AF party in the first place?). You cannot go to America and call the beautiful game football - you need to use that S word.

In other words: When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

But what if I don't want to do as the Romans because I think their way is just.... ARGH. Stupid?! And what if it isn't so easy to get out of Rome?

Disclaimer: Rome and Romans are being used metaphorically. In no way is this post condemning Rome and/or its citizens. For God's sake, I've never even step foot there.

Posted by Doreen at 6:39 pm


Monday, September 24, 2007


When I finish work late into the night, I hate walking across the deserted road leading to the deserted parking lot in front of my office block. Pepper spray in one hand, car keys in the other, and I try to walk confidently to my car. But before I walk out of the building, I also make it a point to tell the guard to listen out should I scream. So far I've been safe, and the only time I screamed was because some scurrying rats scared the bleeding shit out of me. Whatever it is, I am scared.

Driving alone late at night used to be something I take pleasure in. I enjoy cruising along the streets of KL when traffic is minimum, left alone to my own thoughts while soaking in the lights that dot the city bright. These days, I try and avoid driving alone at night because of the dangers that lurk out there. I was once surrounded my about 30 mat rempits at a traffic light while driving solo, with them banging on my window and asking me to join them in their fun. When the lights turned green, I so wanted to to ram into all of them but I merely froze. That shook me up pretty badly. And all the stories you hear in the media, the things that happen to people while driving on the roads.. and now, I just hate it when I have to drive alone. Yes, I am scared.

I get scared in broad daylight too. When I walk on the streets, I hold my bag close to my chest. I would prefer to move about without a tote if possible, but when you have 2 handphones, a purse, tissue, wet wipes, make-up, tampons (on menstruating days), a bottle of perfume and car keys - it's impossible to not carry a bag innit? I get paranoid when I hear a motorcycle nearing me and always turn back to look. Then again, the last time my bag got snatched, they did it from a car. It's scary.

When I walk to and from my car in basement parking lots of malls and office complexes, my trusty pepper spray and car keys will be ready, and my pace is always quick, usually leaving me panting and perspiring once I reach my car or the building. I never park next to a stationary van or truck. I never park at the end of a row, especially when the end of that row means having to park next to a wall or a dead end. I am scared.

On the rare occassion when I'm required to take a cab, especially at nights, I try to avoid flagging a cab from the roadside, but instead call for one. I check out the driver's ID, and if the photo is not a match I get worried. But some cabbies have explained to me that they rent it from another cabbie to do night shifts. Others have merely said, "Itu gambar lama!" I also call friend/boyfriend/colleague/ whoever that is waiting for me at the destination to inform them of the taxi's vehicle registration number including an approximate time of arrival. What if there is no one expecting me at my destination? Simple, I stage a call. I call (and not SMS) because I want the cabbie to hear and to know that he'd better not try anything funny. Yeah, I'm a scaredy cat.

Sometimes, after a night out, I end up in a dodgy situation, clad in unappropriate attire. Like stopping by a burger stall in a dress with a plunging neckline, where a few blokes are hanging out, and obviously paying me unwanted attention. If possible, I make my order from the car and wind up my window quickly while I wait. Even after driving off, I perpetually check my rearview window to make sure no one is tailing me. Dressing up for a night out makes me happy. I wear what I like, I wear what I'm confident in, and I wear what makes me look good. But what I wear makes me scared sometimes.

Seems like I'm constantly living in fear.

Condolences to the Jazimin family, and to little Nurin, rest in peace.

Posted by Doreen at 3:05 pm


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Old Woman

In my late teens, I'd read CLEOs and Cosmopolitans and PMS was and still is a favourite topic in these mags. The same story on PMS could be recycled and recycled, all attacking PMS on various angles - what is it? How to alleviate the pain? Do chocolates curb PMS irritability? You name it, chances are it's been written about.

The fact that the severity of PMS, including the symptoms, varies from one woman to the other made it all the more baffling, and as a growing girl, I wanted as much info as possible, and somewhere along the lines, I might have gotten disillusioned about my symptoms - was it there or not - because I wanted to be normal, like the example in Cosmo.

So I read about the tenderness in breasts, and my hands automatically flew to my own pair to examine. Soft or not? Erm. Not quite sure?

And then I read about the cravings- anything from chocolates to sushi to fried cempedak - did I have such cravings? They all sound pretty damn delicious to me any time of the month, no need to wait for cravings to have them right?

Temper? OK, I admit to having use this temper and PMS thing as an excuse more than once when I flare up over something trivial. So? Sue me.

See, I used to read about these symptoms and then start to wonder if I go through them before the start of my menstruation cycle, and I never could quite pin-point it as it is.

Anyways - thing is this - if I was perhaps disillusioned about my symptoms in my late teens, I have noticed that the symptoms have become more noticeable and more severe as I grow older, and this sucks.

Then I hit mid-20s, and all the damn symptoms are yelling and blaring their horns in my face. Dammit.

In my recent bout of PMS...

Breast-tenderness and swelling? Check. Yes, I quite enjoy the fact that for about 2 weeks in a month, my boobs look bigger than usual. But I don't know if the plus factor can outweigh the pain that comes with the tenderness. I cannot wipe my chest dry after shower but rather pat it dry cos it hurts.

Mood swings? Check. Speak to the boyfriend for more information.

Bloating? Check. My jeans felt super tight - as though just washed, when in actual fact, the last wash was about 8 wears ago.

Migraines? Check. A huge serving of it too mind you! It was just there, pounding and pouding at the back of my head. Painkillers? I think I should stop popping them as though they're Happy 5s. So this time round, I just tahan the pain lah. I almost carved the walls with my nails.

Lower back pain? Check. Ah, this is actually quite new to me too. I've only been experiencing it in the last 3-4 months. This pain sucks. I actually feel old and can envision my bones creaking with each step I take.

Being a woman is hard as it is.

But being an ageing woman is even harder.

Dear me.

Posted by Doreen at 12:55 pm


Tuesday, September 11, 2007


It's close to 11:30pm, and I'm still at the office.

Life sucks.

Tee hee hee.

I'm easily amused like that.

Posted by Doreen at 11:26 pm