You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2006.

When ordinary decent citizens are starting to have temporary breathing space from Israeli bullets and mortars, something else chased them back into hiding. Again, bullets and mortars but this time from fellow Palestinians. The never-ending scuffle between Hamas and Fatah. Hamas held majority of the Palestinian parliamentary seats earlier this year. President Mahmoud Abbas from Fatah wants another election as soon as possible to oust Hamas’ majority. Bla bla bla, bla bla bla, and the next thing, bang bang! People lay dead on the streets. Stupid.

The story is the same throughout the world. The difference is the excessiveness of the situation. That’s the story of men and their quest to conquer the corridors of power.

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I bought Radiohead’s OK Compter last May. The last album before Yorke and Greenwood went into a temporary idiotique phase. I was in Australia at that time and the price for selected original cd was $8. It was dirt cheap. My initial thought was buying it for Syd since that was his kind of music. So, the cd was his. Months later, I started to miss Paranoid Android, No Surprises, Let Down and Karma Police. I downloaded the whole album from the net but it was just not the same. Buying a new one was not an option except if it’s a really rare album. I called Syd and asked him if I could borrow the cd for a while. He said ok but that was two months ago. I never really got in touch with Syd after that. Mainly because he was busy with his new interest. A girl.

let down and hanging around,
crushed like a bug in the ground.

Good old Mr Avaya was back from his ritual deep sea fishing a few days ago. This time it was the Maldives, famous for its blue and yellowfin tuna. He brought back quite a catch. Saved some fillets for me but haven’t had the chance to collect.

Tuna is a very difficult fish, cook-wise, for me at least. It’s not as easy as opening a can of oiled/mayonnaised tuna and spread it on to bread I tell you. Last time Mr Avaya brought back some from the Andaman Sea of Koh Adang. Two large fillets of fresh yellowfins. I tried the simplest of cooking methods, grilling (sashimi tak kira ah!). With just pinches of salt, pepper and a dab of butter, I threw it on to a hot pan. It sticks, it breaks and it became a nasty sight at the kitchen. It was absolutely horrible. What did I do wrong? I’m not going to tell you. If I did, it wouldn’t be a surprise if I had to cook for you one day. The rest of the fillets, I cut it into chunks and masak gulai. Yeah, like the one in your nasi dagang.

After observing Oliver, Bourdain, Lawson, Kwong, Keith Floyd and even the dude with weird hairdo from Surreal Gourmet, minus the fat cook and the surfing duo, I think I’m ready now. Still a bit nervous but I think I can manage. If I fail, there are always leftovers for gulai, masak lemak, kari or even asam pedas. Tomorrow, I’ll go get them fishes.

“My name is Ban. But I’m not James Ban. My codename is not 007 but I will take over office in 07.” Those were the official first three sentences of the person taking over the most impossible job on earth. Ban Ki-moon from South Korea will be the new UN Secretary General replacing Kofi Annan. Could he make a difference in this world? Well, the veto powers (read; the US) would like him to be just another secretary while oppressed nations would really want him to be a general. What ever happened to the no-nonsense breed of officials? People like de Cuéllar or Boutros-Ghali. I guess we just have to wait and see. My bet, he’s just another beautified puppet.

Another quote from his speech yesterday, “I’m making a list and checking it twice. Gonna find out who’s naughty and nice. Ban Ki-moon is coming to town.” Very fucking funny.

I lost my grandfather on the 4th of November last month. He died of health complications due to old age. He was 77. That day I was at the hospital. It was my turn to stay for the night. My mother and my youngest brother were in the ward just about to leave when he asked my mother for a glass of water. Then he looked at my brother, touched his face and passed away with a smile.

I spent twelve years of my childhood living with him. I remember him taking me to the mosque for Zuhur and Asar prayers each and everyday after school. I even remember eating his Rothman’s cigarette buds from his porcelain ashtray when I was four. Because of that incident, he quitted smoking. The first time I was caught skipping Ramadhan fasting was by him. The list goes on and on.

Even though his condition is poor, he insisted on going to his annual Umrah last Ramadhan. That was when he fell. He fell while he was walking to the Masjidil Haram. He spent last Eid sitting in his lazy chair, ignoring the guests. Once in a while he would take a glance at the main gate, hoping to see his eldest son. But it didn’t happen.

At his death bed, he still asked for my uncle. His only son, which never came.

I’m stopping right now because if I continue, tears will fall. My tears. May Allah bless his soul.

People are talking about the film, Cinta. Some say it’s good, some the other way around. I wanted to go see but haven’t got the chance. Maybe the desire was not that high. So, I decided to download the film, if there is any. My expectation; somebody recorded a cinema copy and shared it in the net. Blurry picture with horrible sound and people’s shadows pop up once in a while. I found Cinta’s torrent in some website and started downloading it. Two days later it was completed. I tested the movie file.

To my surprise, it was a master copy leaked out from the company responsible in editing the film. The picture quality was perfect, slightly below DVD quality. The sound was crystal clear. The only thing missing was the end credits. I didn’t know what to feel. Well, I’m kinda pleased that I got an excellent download. But I was feeling rather sad because people in their own industry are ripping themselves off. The cry for stopping piracy was like a shout without a voice. An obliterating inside job.

I haven’t watched the film properly. I’m not Mr “I Got Time” Mohan. But what I can be sure is that, I will despise Sharifah Amani’s acting.

From BBC World this morning, recent studies in Africa found out that circumcision on heterosexual men can reduce the infection of HIV virus up to 50%. It is said that the foreskin of the penis contain cells that are prone to the transfusion of the virus. At this instant, in the sub-Saharan continent, circumcision is the latest craze. Mothers queued outside local clinics to circumcise their children.

A WHO spokesman, Dr Kevin De Cock (the irony) said that this finding was a “significant scientific advance”. Well, our men from religious convicted families have been doing that since long ago. This is not something new for us Muslims. I questioned the significance of circumcision when I was little. An imam from my local mosque told me that the foreskin of my penis is dirty. “Kulit kamu tu banyak kuman”. It made perfect sense to me now.

It is the school holidays here in Malaysia. Weddings and circumcisions became part of the season’s package. I guess the latter may become the world’s school holiday ritual not long from now.

I remember walking along the sidewalks of Central Market in the middle of the 90s. They were there. Them buskers.

From Wikipedia, “busking is the practice of doing live performances in public places to entertain people, usually to solicit donations and tips. Those engaging in this practice are called buskers.”

So, in conjunction of the so called KL Buskers Festival, I took a drive to Jalan Doraisamy last Friday night. I was told that the Asian Heritage Row was one of its venues. I was having a difficult time to imagine the act of busking at that particular location. When I arrived, I knew that I was definitely right. The main road was blocked, a stage was set-up in the middle of the road and the people there (apart from the buskers) were either drunken males holding Heineken bottles or scantily clad females groping each other. And there were also some kutu parking and a few cops. To me, it was way off course from the true meaning of busking. Luckily, the next day I went to the right place. Central Market. There, I got the chance to see a dude from Colorado performing his original songs followed by Adnan Blues. A Bob Dylandish set with harmonica and bluesy acoustic solos. Words from the streets; Adnan was a legend in Kuala Lumpur’s busking scene, so they say. Unfortunately, Ariff Akhir ruined the set with his rockstar attitude. Sorry Ariff, you’re a hell of a musician, but you’re just not busking material.

So, next time if you have the chance to encounter these buskers, don’t brush them off. Try to listen to what they have to say/sing/do.

What is the root word for enjoyable? Is it enjoy? Or is it joy? I remember one time when I was in standard five. An English exam question was asking this question. I put in joy as my answer when everyone else put in enjoy. Suddenly the teachers were disputing among themselves, arguing about what the answer was supposed to be. After a few days the exam results were out. My English teacher called me to the front of my class and said, “Ayyub, for this particular question, I have to give you wrong for an answer. It’s because if I concur, you’ll get a 100%. Let’s just be grateful with a 98%, ok?” Without giving a damn about my scores, I asked her about the real answer to the question and she said, “I really don’t have a clue.”

I was suddenly reminiscing about the event and realized, up until now I don’t know what the answer is!

While rummaging through the jungle of words in the internet for my daily consumption, I stumbled across an interesting quote by RPK,

“…A heart specialist who recently examined me for my chest pains lectured me about my smoking and said that if I wish to live to a ripe old age then I must give up smoking. When I explained that my smoking helps me write, he suggested that in that case I should then give up writing as well. Hmm…giving up smoking may be easier than giving up writing. I suppose I could give up writing if those who walk through the corridors of power will give up screwing up this country and better-manage our economy and development. Then, maybe, I will be able to give up smoking.”

I like it when he said, “giving up smoking may be easier than giving up writing”. And so on. Anyway, he quits making resolution to quit smoking. His new resolution is to keep on saying, “I’m a Malaysian!” Not Malay, not Bugis, not Chinese, not Indian nor Mamak, Jawa, Mendeling or even Minangkabau. I can understand how hard it is when the political heart of Malaysians is close to race and religion. *Sigh*

Good luck!