It’s That Time Of The Year Again Although It Doesn’t Mean Much To Me

Yes, yes. The fireworks display was so-so. Youngsters would be happily racing the roads of virtually all major and small towns in Malaysia before they either get stopped by the cops, or somehow find a way to MERDEKAkan their brain from their head when they go cartwheeling off their motorbikes. Wifey’s asleep next to me while I am browsing through both our blogs…reminiscing on how we first met.

“Anyway, if #4 comes along she’ll have to be in her 30s, single-divorced or single-widowed. I don’t want single-single because I’d rather they go learn how to stay married with a single-single guy. Hotpants or not.”

That was what I commented on her blog on September 6th, 2007, when she wrote about older men with sexy protruding bellies. And she replied:

“SD, glad that there’s someone out there who still thinks that single-divorced ladies in their 30s are still bankable 🙂 “

Little did I know, at least, if not we know, that we were embarking on a long journey of subtle “online flirts”. In subsequent postings, she would almost always write a line dedicated to me, be it a question or a suggestion, or just a friendly banter; and I would always have a comment or two on each posting of hers that sometimes I would hijack the posting’s comment box altogether.

Wifey had been a silent reader of my blog (previously on another URL), and had made her first comment just two days prior to the day I made the above comment. Several times we were supposed to meet up, especially during the fasting month, but they never happened. I was off to Redang on the third day of fasting on a dive trip, but managed to go online to chat with her. Then, on Monday, 24th September 2007, I got to see the real person for the first time, and it was Spena’s doing. Spena had invited us to break fast at Wifey’s place. We didn’t say much to each other as I was with someone else, and she was busy with her corporate gifts and hampers.

A week later or so was when she asked me to meet her somewhere in Kelana Jaya because she needed someone to talk to. That was the second time we actually met, but we were closer than ever, in a platonic way. She was down emotionally, I was getting into that too; victims of idiots who felt fine playing around with our heart. Anyway, that short meeting was just superb. After that, I met her at some butcher shop just before Hari Raya that I never celebrated, but I wished I could just drive down to her hometown to celebrate that auspicious day with her.

And I never saw her again until November when I had lunch with her and Spena at The Curve. I was so glad to see her. I was emotionally down that time, but on that day, I was the happiest person alive. It was just so good to be able to see her again.

Wifey and I at The Curve, November 2007
Wifey and I at The Curve – November 2007

And I never saw her again until the 12th March, 2008, when we had Burger Night at her place. Two days later, we realised that we actually feel love for each other.

Wifey and I - Burger Night, 12th March 2008
Wifey and I, Burger Night – 12th March 2008

The rest is history.

Now we go back to almost a year ago, when she first commented on my blog. This was what she wrote:

“sd, i’ve been a silent reader. OK, this is beyond pathetic but am actually crying reading your end of a great journey entries. ya i know, i have to get a life.”

My reply to her among others was:

“I have not given up. This heart, albeit damaged, still believes in a last shot at the ever-so elusive happiness.

I just want to die happy.”

To which she replied one last time:

“and so you shall be/die happy.”

And so here we are now…as one family.

Wifey and I with the kids in Tioman - 24th August 2008
Wifey and I with the kids in Tioman – 24th August 2008

And true to her words, I am truly happy now…

It’s Been One Hell Of A Family Trip – Part 1

It has been a week now since our trip to Tioman, but I still find its memories exhilirating as nary a moment there was boring. It started off with that drive down to Mersing on the 20th August 2008, meeting up with Gombak and Rainmaker at the Ayer Keroh Overhead R&R for a quick cuppa, before making another toilet break at the Ayer Hitam toll plaza, arriving Mersing at 3.30am.

We were at the Mersing ferry terminal at 7am. The ferry, however, did not depart on time, but about an hour later.

Wifey and kids at the Mersing ferry terminal
Ali, Wifey, Hana and Fazira at the Mersing ferry terminal

The journey was eventless, it rained midway until we arrived at the first stop, Kampung Genting. En route, Rainmaker, armed with a carton of Mr Potato, chatted up a university girl, while Gombak was busy sending his last will and testicles testament to Liverpool Babe via SMS.

Rainmaker chatting up a university student
Rainmaker chatting up a university girl

There were several reasons for the trip. Wifey and I were moving to JB for good, so we thought it was best for us to take a break with the kids. Furthermore, Wifey had been working ridiculously hard, being over-utilised as a company resource; a pawn in her boss’ fight with another for a more senior position in the stupid company. It was also our wedding weekend, as covered in a previous posting. My daughter, Hana, hadn’t dive since our trip to Pulau Bidong in June 2007. It was the right moment for her to do her Advanced Open Water course, with me instructing her. Gombak was on his way to become a full-fledged Open Water Diver.

Hana’s first dive was at Batu Malang – a checkout dive, to see if she’d still remember her emergency drills, and other skills, before she did her Peak Performance Buoyancy. It was a nice dive for me too, as it was my first in more than 2 months. While we dived, Wifey, Ali, Rainmaker and Fazira snorkeled above us.

Hana and I at Batu Malang
My daughter, Hana, and I, at Batu Malang

Ampheprion ocellaris
To celebrate my return to my realm, I took a photo of this Nemo – something I do not normally do

My second dive was at the Soyak Island. I dived alone because the currents had picked up, and Hana had elected to stay topside. I had hoped to bump into the resident Blacktip Reef Shark, but bumped into a nasty Titan Triggerfish instead.

Liverpool Babe, Rina and Gemgem arrived on the second day, and together with the Master Snorkelers, they went snorkeling at the Salang house reef, while I took Hana for her wreck dive module, and we did a shore dive, swimming out about 400 meters before descending upon Roger Wreck, some 25 meters beneath the surface. I have always loved this wreck although it is just the wreck of a former fishing vessel; the irony of it is, this vessel that used to scoop up marine life is now hosting marine life in abundance.

Fazira, Ali and Wifey - Master Snorkelers
Master Snorkelers – Fazira, Ali and Wifey

Roger Wreck
Roger Wreck

On the third day, Spena arrived to join us. She and Gombak got onto another dive boat, while Hana and I on the other. We were supposed to do our first dive at Tiger Reef, but some idiot had cut the marker buoy, so we couldn’t find it. In the end, we had to dive at Labas Island. I took Hana on a nudibranch spree, and also swam through some of Labas’ many caverns. After doing a 45-minute Surface Interval Time (SIT), she did her deep dive module at Genting Bay. I gave her some calculations to do on the surface, 20 minutes before the dive, then asked her to do the same calculation at 30 meters underwater. She did so well, and answered correctly in the shortest time. After that, a strong current hit us, and Hana and I drifted for a while before we surfaced on the north point of Pulau Tulai, and waited for the boat to pick us up.

While the rest played volleyball, Wifey and I spent the evening watching the sun set.

Wifey and I watching the sun set
Wifey and I watching the sun set

Hana out of a cavern at Labas
Hana after swimming through a cavern

A Chromodoris coi laying eggs at Labas
A Chromodoris coi nudibranch laying eggs at Labas

Jorunna funebris at Genting Bay
A Jorunna funebris at Genting Bay

Juvenile Hypselodoris bullockii at Genting Bay
A juvenile Hypselodoris bullockii at Genting Bay

Hana doing her maths at 30 meters
Hana doing her maths at 30 meters to check her Nitrogen Narcosis tolerance level

Wifey showing off the bling-bling ring on her finger
And of course, Wifey got to show off the wedding ring on this trip

To be continued…

Many Miles Away…25 Years Later

Murakami's Model of Synchronicity - ESMHome

“Daddy only stares into the distance
There’s only so much more that he can take…”

Somehow, 25 years later, everything sung above has come true. I always find myself staring into the distance trying to rationalise life as a whole. The meaning has been lost in translation, and things thought simple are often translated into real life as something so complex. Man is no island or so they say. But I would give anything to be able to live on one now. Virtually free of want, free of the dog eat dog situations that urban life commonly presents. Best of all, while urban folks have aquariums to help them relax, I can always dive into one.

Everyday the newspapers have only politics on the first five pages; the alternative ones are no different. I am so sick of reading about politics that I find it easier nowadays to eat without having to read a newspaper. Malaysians are so fired-up by sensational news that common sense no longer prevail. There are more important matters in this life of ours than to worry about whose ass is being dicked, or whose daughter was blown up for blackmailing someone, or whether or not some clown is going to make it as Prime Minister of Malaise-sia. And just now, some jerk driving a Beemer, overtook a car from the left and almost hit wifey and I traveling in our car. And the bastard had the cheek to display his anger at me. How I wished I was alone in the car. I’d turn his car into a pulp and him into cannon fodder.

“Another working day has ended
Only the rush hour hell to face
Packed like lemmings into shiny metal boxes
Contestants in a suicidal race…”

And I remember those days, driving home from work…it was okay to expect the children to rush to greet me; but the thought of an imminent quarrel with the (now ex) wife was always a damper to what could have been a good end to the day.

And to think that the wheel would turn that way again…

“Daddy grips the wheel and stares alone into the distance
He knows that something somewhere has to break
He sees the family home now looming in the headlights
The pain upstairs that makes his eyeballs ache…”


Sempurna – A Dedication To My Wife

Wifey and Spena
Kau begitu sempurna
Dimataku kau begitu indah
Kau membuat diriku akan slalu memujamu

Wifey at the Teluk Keke jetty
Disetiap langkahku
Kukan slalu memikirkan dirimu
Tak bisa kubayangkan hidupku tanpa cintamu

Both of us at Tony Roma's Sunway Pyramid
Janganlah kau tinggalkan diriku
Takkan mampu menghadapi semua
Hanya bersamamu ku akan bisa

Wifey and I at Naili's Ampang Point
Kau adalah darahku
Kau adalah jantungku
Kau adalah hidupku
Lengkapi diriku
Oh sayangku, kau begitu
Sempurna… Sempurna…

Wifey and I after a wedding reception
Kau genggam tanganku
Saat diriku lemah dan terjatuh
Kau bisikkan kata dan hapus semua sesalku

Wifey and I at Onagi on my birthday
Janganlah kau tinggalkan diriku
Takkan mampu menghadapi semua
Hanya bersamamu ku akan bisa

 On board Bluewater ferry to Mersing
Kau adalah darahku
Kau adalah jantungku
Kau adalah hidupku
Lengkapi diriku
Oh sayangku, kau begitu

Komar putting henna on her hand

The wedding ring on her finger


With This Ring I Thee Wed

“Honey, it’s beautiful!” she gasped, when I showed her the ring. It was still at the jewellers’ and I was checking out wedding rings or bands, moving from Cartier to Tiffany & Co. 2nd August 2008 was the date, and KLCC was packed with people going to the PC Fair. I half-regretted agreeing to go to check KLCC out but I thought it was best we took the opportunity to check things out.

I asked for a final price from the person and got it, and told her I’d be back before the end of the month. “Yeah, you and thousands others,” the lady would have probably said in her mind.

Several times she would lament the price. “Honey, but it’s too expensive!” she’d say. “I’d be happy with something a lot smaller and cheaper!”

I’d caress her cheeks and kiss her forehead and go, “Look, Honey. You’re worth it. I’ve been waiting for you for 42 years now. And for the price I’ll be paying, you’re worth far more than that.”

After meeting her uncle to inform him of our intention to get married, I went back to the jewellers’ and paid for the ring in cash. Then, I purposely made her wait for me to pick her up from a meeting, the traffic jam added extra effect to it. The mood was foul inside the car and I put on my usual “I’m pissed” look. Then I took my camera out, and put it on display mode, and showed her a photo of the ring.

“Honey, dia orang tak marah ke you ambil gambar ring ni?” she asked, puzzled.

“No, they did not,” I replied, stone-faced. “Why should they? I’ve bought it.”

She paused, breatheless for a moment, then hugged my left arm, almost in tears, said, “Thank you, Honey. It’s beautiful!”

“You’re beautiful. And you’re worth it,” I replied, kissing the top of her head.

Life can only get better. And I love you, Honey. With all my heart.

The wedding ring

I’m A Racist

I am a racist…

…towards my own kind.

I was having breakfast with Baby at a certain bistro in Setiawangsa, KL, and there was this group of malay boys…hardly 15, puffing on ciggies while having breakfast. They looked as if they hadn’t had a shower for the past two days or so, and definitely lack sleep. One of them, whom I do not think is even a secondary-school-goer, heck, I don’t think he goes to school at all, was struggling to stay awake. Another was very hyper, looks as if he’s had too much of herbal ciggies the previous night.

Question: where the hell are the parents?

You will see this familiar scene anywhere in KL, but you will only see the malays do it. Mat Rempits are malays, obviously, otherwise they’d be called Muthu-bikers or Beng-cyclists. No, bad branding exercise there. So Mat Rempits describes the illness. Although I would prefer calling them Mat Bodohs and let them try glorify that title.

“Wei, aku proud giler, aku Mat Bodoh!

No, you won’t see that happening.

What’s happened to the parents? Too busy working that they no longer have time to inculcate positive values? No time to monitor the progress or regress of their children? There should be a law to jail parents of children involved in criminal and other unhealthy activities. Maybe even to the point of slapping them with fines when they come to bail their kids from the police lock-up.

Just two nights ago, in Century Gardens, JB, I saw a young chinese kid sitting by his original-imitation DVD stall. He was around 16. Although I do not condone the sale of pirated DVDs, at least this young kid is learning to earn money the hard way, that is: money does not come easy!. Once clubs close for the night, chinese kids are seen to head back home, and will dilligently try to complete homeworks and assignments on a Sunday, while the malay kids, may not have gone home, let alone having a shower even.

Then you also see underaged malay kids on motorbikes without helmets. When they get dragged more than 100 meters by a trailer with the head smashed into smithereens, and half the torso stuck in between the trailer’s wheels, the parents will blame the government for allowing heavy vehicles on the roads near their abode. When teachers cane their children, the teachers get beaten up by stupid parents. Then the malay kids will become trash, and the chinese kids excel, and then the former will claim their seat in a local university, and may not even graduate; or, graduate because the university’s administrators deemed it necessary to lower the passing mark so more malays could graduate albeit with third class degrees. Then, government departments will be filled with half-baked administrators whose English at best would sound like, “IS, ARE, IS ARE”.

Well, what else can you do about the Malaise if they themselves do not want to change?

Punches And Punctuation

The great Harvard economist Joseph Schumpeter once attested: “Politicians are like bad horsemen who are so preoccupied with keeping in the saddle that they can’t bother about where they go.”

How true. Five months after the general elections, none or very few of the politicians can be seen working. The ones that have formed the government are living in denial whilst the ones opposing are bent on proving everything’s wrong, or busy trying to form the next government. All these are being done at the expense of the people, you and I, who want the parliamentarians, no matter which side of the fence they’re on, to do the work they have promised us up until midnight on elections eve.

I no longer read the first few pages of the mainstream media, let alone read anything else I’ve passed as the tun of fermented hogwash. To even delve in reading anything on politics nowadays would give me nausea.

You and I have all been put into the backburner as these politicians push and shove each other to gain political mileage and hopefully power. And as we all know, power corrupts. Prove me otherwise.

You and I no longer pose any importance to them until the winds of the next elections come our way. You and I are now subjected to drowning in their litany of lies and rhetorics. You and I have been reduced to mere elisions and oft-abused apostrophes to represent us in their text and speeches. You and I are just pawns in their games of power-grabbing.

Although this treatment (or, mistreatment) of us is not a convention that is newfangled, the idea that the voting population’s IQ is still at the level of the people of the 1950s is something they, the politicians from both sides of the fence, need to rethink. This is the age where the ones subjugated are the ones who chose the ones elected to serve. The people will no longer accept that political leaders are masters, but are ALL mere servants of the people.

Wake up, politicians. The new dawn in Malaysia belongs to us, the people.

Kamasutra Position #831

Yeah, I wish I could do Kamasutra position #831, but I know it really is position #830 only with an added feature: WITH THE FINGERS CROSSED.

A peacock would do its ritual dance to mate, an Asian Koel would whistle its more familiar but taken-for-granted tune. And Baby and I made an elaborate preparation last night. We went to pasar malam (night market), had the crappiest authentic Johor dinner, went home early, turned off the light before 10pm so we could start early – AND WE BOTH FELL ASLEEP! Good God! What a damper! This always happens when we plan something nice. Maybe we both should just keep it simple by NOT planning, and let things happen spontaneously.

Anyway, talking about authentic Johor food, there is this most-frequented outlet somewhere in the Keramat area that boasts having authentic Johor food. We were contemplating on eating kuey teow initially, but Baby had forgotten which stall it was that she went to. I even thought of backtracking to Kelana Jaya but remembered that kuey teow is only served during lunchtime there. So, we decided on having authentic Johor food.

After parking the car, we walked to this outlet. The first thing I noticed is the way Nasi Bariyani is spelt there: NASI BERYANI. If I remember it well, it is always spelt as either NASI BARIYANI or NASI BARYANI in Johor. I thought to myself, “I don’t think this place serves good Johor food.” The second thing is the absence of Kacang Pool (Johor’s own chilli con carne using Fowl Beans…not foul beans). Then of course, the absence of other Johor favourites like Cikong (Johor’s name for the Len Chee Kang but don’t ask me how they gave that name) and a few more stuff.

Baby ordered the Mee Rebus while I ordered a Nasi Beryani (see how I’ve spelt it as) Daging. First, they delivered Baby a Mee Bandung – WRONG!!! Then they sent me my order, which really was Nasi Minyak with Daging. The Nasi Beryani tasted nothing like the authentic Johor Nasi Baryani, and used common rice!!! It really tasted like the Nasi Minyak we’d have back at the Malay College that is usually accompanied by condiments like Ayam Masak Tomato that tasted like chicken in oily sour paste, and dalca sans isi.

I think I am qualified to talk about Johor food, given my love for Johor food since the late 1970s, and further more, aku dah masuk Johor. Just don’t ask me how I masuk la!

Anyway, I am never going back there again…ever! I’ll stick to having Johor food in Johor, as I would stick to having authentic Thai Tomyam in Thailand.

I’m starving now. Maybe I should go for a nice hotdog from 1901, laced with extra mustard.

Now, where is Baby? It is Kamasutra night. I hope the mustard won’t cause me any problems tonight and derail my plan yet again.