Why I Write ...

Purely as a form of expression to the emotions that run riot in my life at different junctures. This blog has seen several title revisions that also reflect the state of being and evolution I am constantly in. If one were to remain stagnant in hope of never changing their temporal present, one will awaken someday to much regret. Life is about living, evolving and adapting to the constant changes all around us.

My spot on the web is essentially a journey along with my monologue ramblings of my coherent mind accompanied by the incoherent thing called life. Read me if you like ... if you don't it is not the end of the world. I am at the very least a believer in humility lifts us further than pride.

Happy trails

30 September 2008

Festive Cheers and Sorrows .. Sept 30, 2008

The traditional Ops Sikap is in the 17th chapter and as of day 5 we've had 63 deaths ... and mostly bikers heading home for the Eid holidays.

Now what truly amazes me about this is that it's like an annual census ... people without fail during the Eid festivities will somehow or other manage to voluntarily kill themselves ... Just yesterday evening heading home I saw 1 motorbike death, 1 skidded car in the ditch, 2 remnants of an earlier accident and one maniac punk driver in a super powered car weaving in and out of the moving traffic for kicks I guess or perhaps the fact that the Ramadhan month was at its end, he might have wanted to die a fasting martyr or something ...

Then there's the bits about houses burning down, fingers and face and other bits and pieces blown off thanks to aspiring chemical engineers who decide that whatever is in the firecracker should be explored further and it's effectiveness further compounded into something more deadly or limb and eyesight disabling ...

YES YES Welcome to the annual pre-Eid madness in Malaysia.

As an aside, there are the glutony inducing Ramadhan bazaars where every imaginable delicacy is up for sale ... me thinks the general population of Malaysia actually gains several unhealthy kilos during the fasting month from all the 'Muhibbah Buka Puasa' sessions, everyone everywhere is attacked by an uncontrollable desire to tuck in ... who could resist since the fusion cuisine in this country is totally unmatchable anywhere else in the world.

But there's just something about being in Malaysia. So many reasons to celebrate and so many opportunities to cross racial, cultural and religious differences and immerse oneself in absolute symbiosis of peoples. But damn it we have the fooking politicians and their personal fooking agendas to spoil all the good and great things about this country.

I remember that integration back in the pre 80s was not something anyone had to harp about. It came naturally to the various people who colour Malaysia. Listening to my mom and her brothers tales of their school days and the mischief they got into collectively with the neighbours of all races is something as I grew up, I saw diminish and now it's almost extinct except for those tourism billboards that proclaim Malaysia Truly Asia.

You don't see kids of different races mixing. Let alone respecting each other differences, cultures or religions. You have to look really hard to find the true muhibbah spirit with feeling the undercurrents of 'keling' and 'babi cina' type sentiments ... and it really saddens me.

My two girls are forever asking me why the Melayu girls in class keep reminding them that they are not Melayu. I have no answers because I have idea what the parents of these little 8 and 6 year olds tell their kids that at an age when children should be least concerned about cast or creed, kids are segregating themselves and creating divisions that stick right through their adult lives ...

What the fook is wrong with the education system? The economic system? The plain human interaction values in this country today???? I dunno ... but I do know I still have the same excitement about every festive celebration in Malaysia. I remember my Lantern Festival walking round the neighbourhood with kids from all races and ages ... I remember the gatherings at Chinese New Year, at Eid, at Diwali and at Christmas and how much joy it brought to share in these celebrations with all my other friends.

I still have my doors open every Christmas. We all cook and entertain guests who come by .... sometimes on a whim an old friend drives by and suddenly 20 years is bridged because of the seasons joy. But this is not something everyone shares ... some have over the years come to see themselves as a superior class, and joining in the celebrations of 'infidels' is demeaning to their existence ... all I can say is I feel sorry for your narrow minded thinking.

Malaysia is losing her charm and beauty because of the blinkered thinking of these sadly growing numbers. And as another chapter in the year past draws to a close, it is my fervent wish that Malaysians will somehow find that balance that without a doubt puts us back in top form as a representation of Truly Asia ...

All our forefathers contributed to making this country what it became and they trusted the future generations to keep their dreams and visions alive, let us not disappoint them.

I am Malaysian and proud of it ... and I hope my daughters too will always feel that sense of belonging for this is our home ...

Selamat Hari Raya AidulFitri ... maaf zahir batin ... and please keep safe and for safety sake, buckle up behind.

28 September 2008

Congratulations China Astronauts ... Sept 28, 2008

To the people of China and the 3 brave men - Congratulations and welcome back!

China no matter what scandals rock their image - the current being the melamine in the milk, always manage to create something to refocus the attention ... but it was a far more exciting and moving experience watching the 3 emerge from the capsule than I can say for the poster boy we sent on the space tour of a lifetime ...

And Uncle D ... I'll give it to you this time la ok ... the Chinamen made it before the Indians ... but you know for sure we're going to do too and we'll do it better *kih kih kih* ... but for the 12.5% Chinese blood in me - am proud of what they achieved!

Again Congratulations China! ... good on you

25 September 2008

OBB Gets A 'Keling' Riled Up ... Sept 25, 2008

I have to laugh out loud you know.

(wait is this seditious??? will I be counting bars with RPK? given 'dog food' like Teresa? should I quell the need to speak out because I am afraid??)

This morning when I heard this little snippet on the radio, I envisaged Syed with a cock stare, looking down what he hoped would be a contrite and submissive 'Keling' as he in his most Ketuanan Melayu stance screams "OOOI Keling, diam atau keluar!!!!!"

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA who would have thought that the little Indian boy he was hoping to intimidate would come out with a whammer response like he did ... don't mess with emancipated 'machas' ok ... we've more marbles between our ears than you can ever hope to collectively put together.

Read on ... extracted from TheStar ... and you wonder why the country is in such a mess ... look at the kind of leadership the maority voted into power!!!

GAWD ... I feel sick ... my small joy was the 10sen reduction on petrol - let me do my little jig again ... for every full thank, I now save enough to get me 2 roti kosong and a teh ais! - WOW such small pleasures derived - should I thanks the goman here??


Syed Hamid: Mind your own business

PUTRAJAYA: It is inappropriate of Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department T. Murugiah to interfere in the affairs of another ministry.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said Murugiah’s action in speaking on behalf of Seputeh MP Teresa Kok on complaints she was not served proper meals while in detention was akin to being a spokesman for the Opposition. (.ani: what the fuck is this man?? If we speak out means we are Opposition? where did this guy crawl out from????)

“What he has done is not right. I hope he knows how to look after his own turf. He should not interfere in other people’s affairs. That is not his work. (.ani: ooooooooooo it's a turf war now)

“If there is a problem, he should take the matter to the prime minister,” he told reporters after a breaking of fast with employees of the Immigration Department and orphans yesterday.

On Monday, Murugiah met Kok over her claims that while in detention, she was served meals which comprised just two boiled eggs, cucumber and gravy. - Bernama

Murugiah to Syed Hamid: It IS my business

KLANG: Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department T. Murugiah has hit back at Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar for asking him not to “interfere” in his ministry.

Murugiah said he was surprised to hear such comments from a senior minister because he was merely doing his duty -- attending to complaints and solving problems.

“His statement asking me not to interfere in other people’s affairs is asking me and 270 staff in the Public Complaints Bureau to close shop. (.ani: hahaha 1 point for Muru!!)

“The bureau has received an average of 180 complaints about each ministry from January to August, and how can I do my job if I can’t ‘interfere’ in another ministry?” he said.

“The Public Complaints Bureau is above all ministries when it comes to handling complaints,” he said after visiting SJK (T) Batu Ampat in Jalan Kota Raja here on Thursday.

Syed Hamid was reported as saying that it was inappropriate for Murugiah to interfere in the affairs of another ministry.

He also said that Murugiah’s action in speaking on behalf of Seputeh MP Teresa Kok on complaints she was not served proper meals while in detention under the Internal Security Act (ISA) was akin to being a “spokesman for the Opposition.”

Murugiah added that Syed Hamid should talk to him directly instead of making comments publicly. (.ani: I agree - what's with all the public fiasco .. you're on the same side la chis!!)

“I’m trying to do something good for the general public, treating everyone fairly regardless whether the complaints are from the Government, the Opposition or members of the public.

“As a junior minister, I will always accept with a open heart if he (Syed Hamid) would like to guide me or show me the best way to do my job,” he said.

This is the second time Syed Hamid has hit out at his Barisan Nasional colleagues for “interfering” with his ministry.

Earlier this month, he slammed Barisan leaders for criticising his decision to detain three civilians -- including Kok -- under the ISA.

Down 10sen??? Sept 25, 2008

This morning, I had to fill my tank to move Charles and me to work. And despite the shoddy service at the particular petrol pump (if I weren't orange light already would have driven 16km further to fill my tank) when I was filling, I looked at the meter and was like eh?

Blink blink .... 245sen/liter? Lean over to my right - says the same on that pump and the one behind ... OOOOOOO now that's a pleasant surprise ...

Than I hear it on the radio that petrol is down 10sen ... it's still a long way from 192sen/liter ... over even 110/liter (do you even remember those days????)

But it's a welcome relief on the petrol tab ... hope it stays at this a wee bit longer than just till Raya is over ...

Drive safe everyone and buckle up behind (BUB) ok ... so that next Raya, same number of people are gathering again.

~.ani has to get back to work!! ~

17 September 2008

Varese, Italy Part 4 ... Sept 08, 10 and 11 2008

Sightseeing On Wheels ...

Laveno which is in Lake Maggiore area is awesome on the eyes ... I have taken loads of pictures after we took the cable car up (look out for the Funivia station) and take that ride up to believe the view that will unfold before your eyes as it rides up 1000+m . You can parasail or paraglide from around 750m up in the hills ...

This picture was taken not at the peak so I guess you get the idea ya ...

Next on was the list of cities on wheel we visited was Milan and Verona and finally Venice ..

I cannot begin to tell you how lovely these places were but they simply took my breath away ... When you're in Milan a must is the Milan Cathedral aka The Duomo .. what an amazing cathedral and you can spend hours in there listening to the explanations of the architecture and the artworks ... if you like an you're on facebook, am loading the pictures there but here's one of everyone outside the Duomo ...

You're not supposed to take pictures inside, but everyone else was and so the kiasu I am ... I took quite a few. Not all come out very well because of the lighting inside (maybe the photographer is crap heeheh) but try to be there before noon so that the mind boggling architectural feat at the main entrance which tells you which month (via zodiac drawing on the floor) and a hole in the roof that cuts across the floor at sharp noon - amazing!!!!!

Next on after lunch and some soveniour shopping, we began the drive to Verona ... everyone knows about Verona if only to visit Juliet House - made famous by Shakespeare in his play Romeo and Juliet. Tim got us an amazing hotel (Hotel Milano) which was right next to the ARENA ... man this was awesome in the evening with the lights and all ... and it felt like gladiator times :)) - there was even one dude dressed in Roman guard like outfit standing on the sides ... guess it was a photo opportunity ... which I kinda missed (picure came out too dark!!)

I was too late in the evening to get my hands on Juliet's boobs (eheheh no I am still quite straight!) and I guess I missed my serving of Good Luck and Love ... gedangit!!! oh well make do with whatever comes my way then I guess ... eheheheh. And this is where I'd have been in the day ... had I gotten there early to get me grubby paws on that poor statue like gezillion other hopefuls ...

It's a bronze statue me thinks ... hey how'd I know I saw it at 9pm from about 100m outside the closed iron gates ... *sigh*

After a lovely dinner out on the streets of Verona, it was goodnight to the world as Venezia was next on the map for these intrepid travellers ... kih kih kih ... intrepid my ass but I guess you get the meaning ... The evening was too short a time to catch all the sights in Verona and I have to go back there again someday ... maybe alone, just to soak in all the atmosphere and ambiance. I might just be reaching out for Juliet and accidently meet my 'Romeo' haahah - well we all live in hope don't we (I know someone is rolling his eyes right this very moment!! yes yes I am aninolife!! what'dya expect??)

After breakfast we head on off to Venice. Now if you've not heard of Venice - where the hell have you been all this while??

San Marco Square is a must and then there's more hop on hop off - but we were a little over stretched with all the travelling so we kinda soaked up this place for half a day ... like I said, I have to go back. I need to go an immerse myself in the architecture and the artwork and the people ... am sure it be even more an amazing experience ...

So we did 3 cities in 36 hours ... ahahah talk about zooming through - literally ... and then we drove back to Varese and prepared for departure home. But not before a meal with friends on the Saturday evening and a lot of packing and stuffing things into the suitcases.

On Sunday the 14th, it was time to leave Varese, and head back to Zurich to catch our flight out. That's another small adventure and I will continue it in my next blog piece plus some contemplations over the 2weeks I was in Italy ...

~to be continued~

Lorenzo Bertocchini... Sept 18, 2008

Lorenzo Bertocchini also known as Gogo is quite a name back in Italy and a Varese homegrown boy (if I am not mistaken) and he and his friends sang at my baby sister's wedding. (When I googled him, I saw this in one of the results "Lorenzo Bertocchini concert for Varese PRIVATE PARTY on Saturday September 6" - heehhe I know which private party this was - I WAS THERE !!!

The video is a song he wrote, about an Indian actress Mallika Sherawat and recorded in the US. He's also shared the stage with some big names like Bruce Springsteen aka THE BOSS and Elliot Murphy.

Please feel free to share his music with friends ... and he's got concerts all over the place ... but I guess not in Malaysia. Me thinks he's got a fan in me eheheh one he struck me a 'Keith Urban' look alike, two I loved his voice and on that very special evening at the Villa Concordia, via Solferino 6, Varese, Italy - this place just takes your breath away ... he sang all the numbers I grew up to from the 70s through the 90s ... it was such a beautiful evening made more amazing with the beautiful music from Lorenzo and friends ...

Enjoy the song and look him up on myspace, youtube and his own website ...

9 September 2008

Varese, Italy Part 3 ... Sept 07, 2008

Post wedding day, I got a text message from me sister telling me that we the witnesses had to go back to church to sign the document as the Padre in all his story telling, had us sign the Marriage Register but not the Marriage Certificate - ahahha so all 4 witnesses had to troop back to church and get that done.

Running down to the car, I saw the girls with the even bigger bread van packing their suitcases in and readying to leave for Rome via a few pit stops ... so it was a round of hug hug kiss kiss and keep in touch. A drive to the church, sign sign and then its off to lunch - a group of 13 - it's shrinking now as everyone is heading off after the wedding ...

Then it was off to lunch Ristoro Agrituristico La Nuova Fattoria - what a mouthful and mind you the food was awesomely porky pork again eheheh and the servings I cannot even begin to explain. This was a tourist stop on a farm - everything you ate except perhaps for the gelato (aka ice cream) was home grown and reaped or slaughtered for the table ...

By the end of lunch, Aarathi and gang head off to Lake Como, Verona and then to Venice ... we reminded them to all get a grab at Juliet's breast - apparently it brings good luck ... kinda sounds a tad bit sleazy grabbing a statues breast but if it brings me luck - what the hell am all game to use my squeeze too :)) who knows what might transpire from that strange act ... But Verona is not yet in our itinerary ...

After such a feast, we had a light left over thrown together type dinner and then the heavens opened and pissed on us again major big time ... Thank God! it didn't the night before - the whole evening was rather enchanting ...

The 4 of us head back to Vecchia Riva, and snuggle into bed for a night's sleep and me on medication as I've picked up a nasty cough and sinus congestion (me thinks it's due to the cat fur from the apartment's resident cat ...

We have plans to go sight seeing tomorrow ...

~to be continued~

Varese, Italy Part 2 ... Sept 06, 2008

On the 4th, my sister's oldest friend Aarathi arrived in Varese in her little bread van which was to be used to ferry her mom, 2 aunts and hubby when they all got into Varese. We all herded out to Varese Centro (town) and had ourselves a lovely pizza lunch - we are in Italy afterall and the size of the medium from Pizzahut back home is the size of an individual meal here - hahaah GOD! I have pizza popping outta my ears by now and we're into day 9 in Italy.

The 5th was a last minute dash to the town for this that, everyone here there ... it was crazy ... the momentum for the next evening was building. By this time 5 more friends had rolled into town with their scary stories of totally 2 jaguars within a week :) - yes yes they be all ladies in the car ... but these were some scary stories :)) ...

The whole troop, including Guiseppe, Anna and their son Davide joined us making it 28 very merry happy pre-wedding night dinner with friends that Babs and Tim had organised. It was at a lovely restaurant La Matranella (I think) where the food just kept coming in - here starters or antipasto as it is called is unlimited amounts of pork in every imaginable form of salami, ham, bacon, sausage - if you are a 'paandi' fan - this is heaven for you :)), if it is not, you're in awful lot of trouble trying to get something else more to your palate.

Dinner with a lot of noisy was over around 11pm, and everyone scurried back to get some rest for the next day - the evening had been one of constant intermittent drizzle, and I could see a little worry on the couple's faces as their reception was an outdoor garden event at a Villa.

Cometh 6th morning and the skies are dark, cloud overcast and then by noon there is rain. Tension is a little high now ... the wedding service is at 4pm. Finally with all the house in full frenzy and the Bomberdali Apartment was the bride's home away from home, we managed to get dad into the car, and the flower girls into the bride's car which incidenttaly was a BMW convertible (ehehhe do I see you drool) and we got to church about 15 minutes past 4pm - me thinks Tim might have thought Babs had changed her mind last minute or something.

The Padre who has known Tim all his life often went off the 'scripted' service with his lengthy reminesces of Tim as a boy which naturally was all in Italian - which had some of us non Italian speakers in a blur ...

It wedding was beautiful, and there were several comical moments but after the wedding, it was just simply blessed to see blue skies and happy clouds ... the caterers had brought out their best and it was simply too mouth watering to describe the food that was served during the cocktails before dinner, the dinner itself and the desserts during the cake cutting ceremony post dinner.

Here in Italy, you can invite people to the cake cutting and not invite them to dinner - no one gets offended (I think Asians esp. Indians need to learn this) and the crowd post dinner was even more huge.

There was life band, with the singer Lorenzo (he's played with Bruce Springsteen aka THE BOSS in New Jersey in 2006) and he's a good pass off for Keith Urban maybe even Keanu Reeves (hehehe yummylicious me thought!!) - he sang loads of songs from the 80s and a lot of good numbers that had a lot of people tapping their feet, even jumping in for a jig or two ...

I caught up with Bern and Sergio who drove up from Genoa, enjoyed chit chatting with Hanim, Ann Lee, Cynthia, Amelia and Wendy, Aarathi, Devan and the mom and aunts ... Emanuela was really funny and Sara too ... the Italians do try even if they cannot converse in English.

Irma and Angelo who have been the total darlings in lending their apartment and their car(s) to us, Lele who is an absolute darling even with the Brat Angels (me thinks the girls have got a soft sport for Uncle Lele) - all that chatter in Italian, but even though the language is foreign, the warmth and love from these people has been extremely touching! ... I wish I had spent some time learning simple Italian, to express how much I have enjoyed my days here with them.

~to be continued~

Varese, Italy Part 1 ... Sept 04, 2008

It has been quite a while since I blogged or even commented on anyone's blog (AD might be going into withdrawal symptoms by now ehehhe) but I have been busy in Varese, Italy.

Yuppers people, I hopped on a SQ flight with Mom, Dad, the BratAngels and Auntie J to Singapore on 30th August and headed out from Singapore to Zurich, Switzerland - there were no direct flights available to Malpensa which is the closest international airport to Varese. It's the end of summer and the Europeans were heading back.

We landed in Zurich, 20:30 local time which was something like 2am back home in Malaysia. We were met at the airport by my sister, her fiance Tim and his 'twin' or gemello called affectionately Lele. The night was spent in a Allegra Hotel in Zurich - very close to the airport.

On the 31st after breakfast, we hopped into 2 cars and all the luggage piled into the booths to the max and we started our drive to Varese (the town is about 10km or so from the closest Swiss border) - this took us about 3+hours with a stop for lunch midway.

The scenery was awesome, all the hill slopes minus the snow that makes it so famous for ski enthusiasts ... I must have taken literally hundreds of pictures which am loading slowly online.

We we've had sorta 2 homes homes in Varese, Auntie J, the kids and I stay in Vecchia Riva - an awesome hotel on the banks of Lake Varese and we have an awesome view of the lake from our room. Mom and dad have been housed at the Bomberdali Apartment via Aussimo - the apartment belongs to friends of Tim who graciously loaned us their apartment with everything at our disposal, and their Mercedes-Benz A-Class (eheheheh) but I can't drive it - it's a manual *sniff sniff sniff* -which shuttles us around Varese.

The few days prior to my sister's wedding, it was pissing like hell here in Varese - you could hardly step outside - it rained rained rained ... one evening when the sun shone for a while, we did a walk up to Sacre Monte and managed to cover 7 out of the 14 stations before kids got tired and grouchy and we turned back - plan to complete the remainder stations and take more pictures - the view from Sacre Monte is amazing!

~to be continued~