Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Projected productivity.

I will soon be met with five days of doing absolutely nothing. It's a public holiday on Wednesday and Friday, so I decided it made sense to also take the Thursday off. It's going to be bliss. Except that I don't think it will be because I'll be alone. Mom is away and so will Jimmy be from Days 2-4. I'm left with Buddy who's probably really bored with me as a human. I don't take him out much. Not because I don't want to. The rain this past week doesn't allow for evening walks without us getting drenched.

And so I've come up with a few things I could do:
Day 1 - tend to new home stuff, take the doggies to the park
Day 2 - go for a jog, tend to more new home stuff, have dinner with a friend
Day 3 - get some swim time in, bake (Christmas is coming up, time to test some new cookies/cakes recipes), visit the grands
Day 4 - laze
Day 5 - laze some more

There's a high possibility all that I'll end up doing is binge watch TV shows for the next five days in my pajamas. Maybe if I feel like it, I'll sneak in a shower or two. Girls are gross too okay. And lazy. I'm a gross, lazy girl. Urgh. 

On a serious note. I really should get all those done. Will report back on Day 6. Maybe.

Friday, October 10, 2014

The future is overrated.

Last night, someone asked me a question: "what do you look forward to in life?" I laughed the question off as being frivolous. There was no time to ponder about the meaning of life because it's an early day for me the next day and it's way past my bedtime. In reality, it bothered the shit out of me, this question. For I did not have an answer.

Existential crisis. Damn you.

If it was once acceptable to be broody about life and the meaning of it (ie in my 20s), it is now a nuisance. Like a pesky millennial with a bloated sense of entitlement needing to be acknowledged. And just like how I treat each pesky millennial, I decided to brush this one aside. But the truth is this - just as there exists millennials and whatever it is that will come after that, so does existential crisis in different forms of annoyance over the years past and to come. There will be no escaping this.

And so, I spent a considerable time thinking about it. I thought about this on the train ride to work. Reached my stop, got off the train, trudged to the office. The only thing I looked forward to was going home after work, lazing the weekend away with the family and Jimmy, playing with the doggies and tending to the final touches of my new home. Then waste whatever's left of the weekend watching TV shows. Maybe throw in some baking time. The creature of comfort in me rejoices at yet another repetitive, uneventful weekend ahead.

But I'm some kinda restless too. While I love my comforts and I'm contented, there is a desire to do more - meet friends, rediscover my city, learn a new skill, volunteer my time, etc. The funny thing is though, I'm not bored. Or left wanting. Everything is in its right place, but yet something is missing. A purpose, I suppose.

It shouldn't be this complicated. So I spent lunch hour putting down things that I actually looked forward to in life, with a few parameters in mind. First, they have to be somewhat achievable by some way of my own doing, so as to avoid disappointments should it depend on another person. Second, they cannot be unrealistic like world peace.

1) I'm looking forward to retirement. And hopefully at an age where I still have the energy left to do the things that I want to do, with enough finances to do them.
2) I'm looking forward to when I'm done paying for my mortgage. But it might just outlive me, which means #1 won't be anytime soon.
3) I'm looking forward to having a family. Then again, given the world as it is today and the fact that we're down to our last antibiotic...I don't know anymore. Plus, I like life as it is now.
4) I'm looking forward to visiting Istanbul, Morocco, East Malaysia, India, Japan, Greece, more of China...but first, let's pay grandma and grandpa more frequent visits.

Perhaps I have this all wrong. Perhaps it's not about what I look forward to in so much as what I want to accomplish, or put more an effort into doing. Or perhaps it's about being okay with looking forward to nothing in particular. Because I've been told life is not a destination. It's a journey. *Ba dum tish...* how cliched. Tsk.

There are people who will tell you there is always something better ~ Halloween, Matt Pond PA

Friday, September 5, 2014

So farty.

There was a point in time when I wanted to study Art History. I couldn't draw or paint, sing or dance. I wasn't particularly good at making anything with my hands, except maybe a mess at the potter's wheel. Nor was I one to spend long hours at an art museum/gallery. Which then makes it all very strange that I thought about being an Art Historian for a career. My lack of talent was compensated with curiosity. I wanted to understand art. I wanted to know why an artist drew it this or that way and I wanted to understand what the painting meant in that time, the historical and social setting. I wanted to understand the style that is applied and I wanted to know the artist's background, his/her motivations, etc. I wanted to know why it was worth a damn.

Like all traditional Asian parents, mine was quick to shoot any lofty ideas of being a snotty Art Historian down. "It's not a proper job. How many Art Historians do you know?" I told them I could be an art appraiser, dictating the opening price of a piece of art to be sold at an auction. Or even be a curator for a museum. Museums are great educational places after all! Even if I tried to convince them that I'd work as a lecturer and eventually work my way up to be a professor of Art History (you know, teaching being a noble profession and all), there would be no more discussion of it. So a list of more 'legit' degrees presented itself before me.

I do still enjoy the occasional visit to an art museum or gallery. I think it's more envy than interest that brings me back. The envy of being more right-brained than left. But then there are also times when I see a piece of art and wonder...what the heck.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

More than just eggs.

Unlike my other fellow Malaysians who were celebrating patriotism on Merdeka Day, I decided to take a short road trip south to Seremban town, hometown of my late stepdad. They say death brings people closer together. Perhaps it is true. His brother, my uncle, lives there and we only ever made visits to Seremban on Chinese New Year. This would be the first time I visited on a non-occasion, together with my mom and Jimmy.

We left after lunch, reaching in time for tea. My uncle's house is one where bananas grow free and in abundance, so there's always some kinda banana cake/bread available. This time, we were greeted with gluten-free banana cake. It's really not as pretentious as it sounds. It's just that my uncle and his wife are food and health conscious. And especially after my stepdad's cancer, I try to be as conscious as I can, when I can afford to be.

Speaking of affordability, here's why I like small towns. We had lunch in KL at a cafe in one of the suburbs. We had a pasta dish, a sandwich, pork chops, calamari rings, and coffee for three of us. Jimmy forked out RM109.60. Not too bad, he thought. Then we had dinner in Seremban at a Chinese restaurant, seven different dishes for six people. Dinner cost me RM109.50. Very not bad at all, I thought.

I don't know much about Seremban except that it's the home of siew paus and its name in Chinese is 'Fu Yong'. Yes, like Eggs Fu Yong. Incidentally, my stepdad's family were egg traders in Seremban back in the day. I never did see where their shop was located until this trip. It is now an electrical goods store.

The Seremban wet market is another must-go stop for me. It is home to cuttlefish bee hoon, beef noodles, and Hakka mee. I'm pretty sure there's a lot more to eat there (and in Seremban) but it's the only three things I default to each time I'm in town. Although this time, I skipped out on the Hakka mee. Age has limited my ability to stuff my face.

My aunt told me of the Indian spice shop in the market, run by a lady and her son. You tell them what you want to make and they pinch the spices and pastes to make a mix for you. I'm happy to note that my mom has decided on a chicken and fish curry respectively sometime in this next couple of weeks' menu.

Some other things we did at the market - buy a lot of beetroot and buy a whole tray of kampung eggs. It's a lot cheaper here than in KL. After that, we went to the Siew Pau Empire (yes it's a whole building dedicated to the making, baking, and selling of golden siew paus), which you can see on the highway to and from Seremban. And then we had ourselves some chendol before heading back to KL, where eggs are a lot more expensive. 

The end. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

To know Malaysia is to love Malaysia.

Recently, Malaysia celebrated it's 57th Independence Day. We learned about the country's independence in school, but I don't remember anything about it except the date - 31 August 1957 - and from whom we got our independence - the British. The education system ingrains it in your head that it is a very important event in Malaysia's history. I get that; however, Independence Day means nothing more to me than a national holiday. I don't pretend to be more patriotic on this day, nor do I feel much pride about it, mainly because I did not fight for my country's independence and I was not there when it happened. That's not to say I'm ungrateful of all that has been done for us to be a nation of our own. But the truth is, I merely inherited the knowledge of what happened on that fateful day.

Then again, what do I know about the real Malaysia today? I do not volunteer my time for the less fortunate in my country. I do not give to Malaysian charities. I do not stand up to injustices that happen. I do not fight for any policies to make even my neighborhood a better place. I do not care about politics. I do not waste my time at rallies for freedom of what have yous for Malaysians. I do not stand in solidarity with the rest. I do not contribute my stories. I do not make any effort to [...insert whatever it is that people do these days to instil and encourage a more Malaysian Malaysia]. And what's worse...I ditched this joint for a bit to greener pastures across the causeway. Shame on me.

I think being Malaysian is completely lost on me. But hey, there is hope for me yet. Every once in a while, and especially on 31 August of each year, I am reminded about how I come from a wonderfully diverse nation - the language, the food, the geography, the weather, the culture, the whatever-else feel-good-factor that makes me 'uniquely' Malaysian. There are exhibitions in urban Malaysia that I can go to to check out other Malaysians' stories about being Malaysian. And if I'm feeling particularly lazy to even budge from the comforts of my bed on a public holiday, I need only look to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc, on my smartphone for an outpouring of positive Malaysian vibes. Because, you know...like very many things in this world, day, and age, I only really had time and capacity to digest and accept the nice bits about Malaysia.

So here's hoping you had a wonderful public holiday! I sure enjoyed the extra day off :)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

This may cause drowsiness.

What shall we talk about today? What shall we indeed?

Well, we can talk about how this cough I've been having is persistent and refuses to leave after a week and two prescriptions of cough and sorethroat medication plus a bajillion lozenges. My mouth, tongue, and throat now has this icky metallic rawness to it and everything else I eat tastes medicinal. It's an annoying cough, the kind that bugs you throughout the day in small doses and then when sleep comes, BAM! You're suddenly coughing non-stop, and violently, at about 4am.

Funny story at the doctor's. I described what I was going through and he nodded in agreement to all my symptoms. When I was done, he asked what medicine I would like. Erm. Aren't you the doctor? "Well, people these days do their own research and have certain medication they believe will be better for them. Sometimes, it's better to let them decide." He says in a forlorn jest in what I think is a reference to the pervasive self-diagnostics and self-medication that happens today thanks to Dr Google. That said, I do know this cough a bit too much - the last time I had one this persistent, I was given some kinda pills that immediately stopped it after two pops, once a day for two days. It's a scary thought - pill the size of two rice grains stopping a cough that lasted weeks. Ever thought about the kinds of chemical reaction and the 'power' of that reaction from that small a size to your body? Anyway, I no longer remember the name of that pill and I didn't have a preference for it. I just know I don't want antibiotics.

Speaking about antibiotics, have you read about how we're now entering a post-antibiotic era? The WHO issued a 200-some page warning "about increasingly unbeatable pervasive infection agents." It's worth a read, but if you're too lazy, look up commentaries and summaries of the report. I don't know about you, but it's gotten me a little worried. Imagine dying from a scrapped knee. Or worse, death by paper cut. The horror. I'm serious. Just think about what it means and how much we've taken a simple discovery - penicillin - very much forgotten by today's generation, for granted.

Sometimes I think it's the world resetting itself. It has to somehow, what with all our plundering, over-producing, and abusing of its resources. Sometimes I think the theory of evolution is flawed. We've not evolved to be more enhanced. We've evolved to be useless sacks of carbon-based humanoids dependent on everything around us to help us function and survive. How does this make us a more successive generation than the last? Imagine all of humanity wiped out by a microbe the naked eye can't see.

"Are you tired of all that coughing yet?" asks my manager sitting across from me.
"Yes, I am." I replied.
"You should go see the doctor. Again." he says.
"I'll be fine." I said. "It's not the end of the world. Yet". I hoped.

Monday, August 25, 2014

We live to dance another day.

I would recap the weekend, just to fill space here. But then it was mostly uneventful.

How about a haiku for the week ahead? Sure, why not.

Monday to Friday.
Work, work, work, work, work, work, work.
Weekend. Dance, dance, dance.

I think people hate on Monday too much. Mondays for me means I still have a job. I may not like it at times, but it pays the bills.

The average person with a lifespan of 75 years will have about 3,600 Mondays in his/her lifetime. That's almost 10 years of anyone's life! Geez louis.

So let's be practical people. Don't hate on Monday no more.