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“Why are you so nice to her?” a friend asked. “She’s treating you like shit. I know she’s your landlady and lives on the top floor of your apartment and all, but come on, you’re not her slave!”

I kept quiet. Yes, I’ve been doing stuff for Rosmah, the fat, grumpy old lady whom I called my landlady. I cleaned her house, carried up her groceries, washed her car, trimmed her bushes (in her outdoor garden, mind you!) and even cooked for her sometimes. I started doing all that after her husband ran away with a younger woman recently. But Rosmah was not a kind person, not now nor when her husband was still around. Her voice was like a needle piercing my eardrums. Her slit eyes reminded me of a female version of Muammar Gaddafi. She never said thank you. She uses her irritating voice to command more chores out of me. Other tenants shun away, minding their own business, at least until the end of each month. But I obliged, like an evil spell has been casted upon me, shackling my free will.

“So, what do you have to say for yourself? Aren’t you gonna stand up for yourself?” the friend skeptically questioning me. He grew frustrated with the recent lack of time spent on our bromance liveliness.

“The younger woman that Rosmah’s husband ran away with, well, I introduced her to him!”

I wonder if evil Rosmah had already knew.

EXT. CHARLESTOWN COMMUNITY GARDENS – DAY

The sun shines across the garden. We see the New Town projects behind Doug across the water and a soccer field populated by immigrants mid-game behind Claire.

She digs in the dirt as Doug watches her, sitting on a wood beam.

*****

“This sound woke me up. At first I didn’t know what it was. Sounded like an animal that got trapped. I’d never heard a man cry before. I came downstairs in my underwear. I see my father in the kitchen. First thing I remember was the ashtray. Must have been a hundred cigarettes in there. Ash like a little mountain. He stopped crying and was just sitting there watching TV on our little black and white. No sound. I think he just didn’t know what else to do.”

“He looked at me standing there in the doorway in my Underoos. He said, ‘Your mother left. She’s not coming back.’ Just like that. Smoking cigarettes and eating a TV dinner at six in the morning.”

(beat)

“We lost our dog the year before. I wanted to make these posters in case my mother was lost, someone could call us like the guy who found our dog. To this day my father will tell you he helped me make those posters. But he didn’t. He sat in the kitchen, drank a case of beer and I went out by myself on School Street asking people if they’d seen my mother.”

(beat)

“Her name is Doris. My grandmother had a place that’s a restaurant in Tangerine, Florida. So I used to imagine maybe that was where she went. Then I came to terms with the fact that… doesn’t really matter, you know? Wherever she went, she had a good reason to leave here. She didn’t want to be my mother anymore and she wasn’t coming back.”

 She has stopped gardening and has been listening to him.

 “And now you know a little bit about my family but I’m still not showing you my apartment.”

 Claire laughs. Tension released.


Credit to Peter Craig, revision by Chuck Hogan, Ben Affleck & Aaron Stockard

With all the babbles about the economy, welfare and all that is wrong in this country, I forcefully kept myself muted. Moan all you want, but it won’t change a thing. After all, we’re all at the mercy of the imbeciles. Yes, I am a pessimist. “I am blessed because I expect nothing. Therefore, I shall never be disappointed”. No, I didn’t come out with that captivating statement. Alexander Pope did.

In spite of everything, I’m only 32. I have another sixteen years to relish every single drop of cynicism in this world.

A few weeks back, I was confident and extremely convinced that I had everything that I needed in this world. I was solitary, I was free and I was happy. Then a good friend of mine who called himself Morpheus came to me with a proposition. He offered me a red pill of uncertain extreme pleasure. The probability for it to last a lifetime was fifty-fifty. It took me five seconds to decide to take the red pill. What do I have to lose? Absolutely nothing! Or so I thought.

I gulped the red pill and waited for the aftereffects. The effect was quick, pleasant and filled with rainbows and unicorns. But it didn’t last long. After approximately a week, my life was dull, even murkier than before I took the red pill. Funny thing was, I didn’t lose anything from before.

“Yang dikejar tak dapat, yang dikendong masih ada”

I am fucking miserable but I still have everything that I need.

What is this devilry??!!

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Come to think about it, as far as I’m concerned, Sikhs that I encountered in my lifetime are all good people. Hell, I can safely say that they’re the most successful people in this country. Career wise, they are your doctors, lawyers, accountants, teachers, national hockey players, tv newscasters, etcetera and etcetera. You name it, they’re in it, and doing a bloody good job at it. Basically, they are excelling in every profession that your mom and dad told you to be when you are small. Although, back in the day, mom and dad have a very limited vocabulary when it comes to future professions for their children.

The Sikh youths are in no way contributing to the social malfunction of our society. They don’t do drugs. They don’t dump babies. They don’t involve themselves in gangs. They don’t gang-rape school girls. Have you ever seen a Sikh teenager skipping school and loafing around shopping malls, being an insolent nuisance?

When you read the papers, Sikhs don’t swindle money. They’re not involved in corporate or political scandals (none as far as I can remember, I don’t read the newspaper that much though). You can never see a Sikh hobo/drifter/beggar. They are just nice, hardworking people. P. Ramlee acknowledged my point in his movie, Seniman Bujang Lapok (1961). Mr. Singh the film studio security guard was an honest, polite human being with a high level of integrity. The Sikh character acts as a proponent, or a bond in a multiracial civilization.

But wait, I’m talking about the turban wearing Sikhs. The moment they disregard their turban and neglecting their Kesh, Kanga and Kara, they are just as impudent as the rest of us.

*Somebody eventually asked me about the relevance between the title and the content of this entry. She said that I was just trying to have an eye catching, lame pun. Well, in a way yes, but truthfully, Sikhs are low profile people. They seldom expose themselves in the limelight, hiding away from the sinful mainstream. Maybe it’s because of them being a minority or maybe not. It’s just what they do best, lay low and be a Sikh!

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Don’t tell me about the answer because then another one will come along soon. I don’t believe you have the answer, I’ve got ideas too. But if you’ve got enough naiveté, and you’ve got conviction, then the answer is perfect for you.

 

Credit to Encik Greg Graffin

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Hi there, wanna go for a ride?

Bujang Lapok was released in 1957 and was the film that kicked-off the Bujang Lapok movie quartet. In the movie, Aziz Satar’s character was a lorry driver who rented a room together with his friends, Ramlee and Sudin, and the story goes on. But, look closely at one of the scenes. Notice the lorry Aziz was driving? Compare it with the picture above. Well, it may not be exactly the same, but it’s similar. Immediately you can assume that both vehicles come from the same generation. Maybe with a gap of 10 years, maximum (and I’m being generous here).

My point is, that type of lorry is still operational nationwide, 50 plus years later. It’s everywhere. With wooden doors, wooden cab-protector (headache rack), rusty exhaust stacks that’s puffing black smog, exposed rear axel, clouded break lamps and headlights. Hell, there’s no third break light for that matter! If one of these lorries break down in MRR2, all hell will break loose. A decent, frustrating day on the road will turn into an apocalypse. And it happens week in, week out.

So, although the proposal has been retracted (or delayed, or whatever crazy bullshit that comes out from the regime’s mouth), examples should be made by eliminating these ancient and hazardous relics first. If someone from JPJ, SPAD or Puspakom ever to read this post, I bet they will produce official, lengthy, circulars or directions stating the disownment of these vehicles on the eyes of their respective agencies (or maybe there’s no such thing). But these hideous piece of automobiles are still roaming freely on our roads, waiting to scratch the sides of our cars during a bottleneck, breaking down in the middle of an uphill climb, blocking motorists on fast lanes, etcetera and etcetera. Like lori hantus haunting us, the regular insolent road users of Malaysia.

Just forget completely about the abolishment of all 12 year old vehicles. Do this instead. Eliminate Aziz’s lorries from the face of the earth. Enforce the elimination! You can do it oh “mister big-shots in the heritage regime”. I know you can.

But wait, I forgot. As per usual, you misplaced your will power again.

Ok. And as per usual, we accept your excuse, again.

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Help! They are everywhere.

Do I play the BPL Fantasy Football league? Wait, before that, let me rewind a decade or so. I don’t play Eidos’ Championship Manager series. Subsequently after the split, I also don’t play Sports Interactive’s Football Manager series. So, go figure.

Nothing against those games or the people who play the games/apps or whatever you may call it nowadays. But personally, if I were to play the fantasy football game, considering I’m already rooting for a specific team, I will feel extreme conflict. Rivalries between the Yids, Scum, the Rentboys and the Bin Dipping Wall-Pushing Mugsmashers (to name a few in its derogatory form) lost its intensity. Apart from the actual football, the fun slowly died. Every player on form is an asset or a target, regardless of which team he comes from. Be it from a closest league position rivals of your favourite team, or a local derby rivals of your favourite team, or to put it plainly, from a team you just fucking hate. I just can’t stand it. BPL football fans have lost their sense of ruthlessness.

*****

In actual fact, I just hate it when hanging out with friends, 70% of the time will be accommodated for fantasy football discussions. We usually hang out on Friday nights, so, again, go figure.

I’m being left out! You sissies!

Malaysian football is a different horror story altogether. Maybe, it’ll be discussed later.

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Since the recent years, reading the local news was an apathetical routine. And yet, like a zombiefied carcass, I did it anyways. Just to maintain my reputation as an insightful person in the eyes of my peers and to meet the expectations of our ailing society.

From the naked eyes perspective, no one in the regime is taking matters earnestly. Holes are being covered with soil dug from larger holes and the process continues without guilt. Monkeys are out of their cages, throwing feces at will, while zoo goers are locked behind cages with a rotten banana each, coupled with muddy water in rusty pails. Our so-called dwellings are no longer tranquil. I’m not saying that it was in the previous age, but the idea, hope and will are there to keep its inhabitants motivated.

So what do we have to do?

Do what we have been doing for the last thousands of years, survive!

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On top of a phone booth at the edge of Jalan Raja Uda, opposite a row of wooden shop lot, a crow was flapping its wings rigorously, removing drops of moisture from its feathers in the cold and wet Sunday morning. Eventually, it squawked horribly to its fellow species, signalling that it’s time to fly away and do some racketeering in other parts of the so-called beautiful city of Kuala Lumpur.

The year was 1990 and the inhabitants of Kampung Baru were just finishing their breakfast either at home or at the local Javanese or Minang coffee shops. No souls were seen at the guiltless, run down phone booth for the time being.

Minutes ticked by. At 8:30am, a young teenager named Mail was hastily and anxiously walking towards the phone booth. The handset was lifted. He dug deep into his tight jeans pocket and produced a handful of coins that was then hastily inserted into the coin slot. After dialling, he waited. A mere few seconds of the ringing tone felt like a lifetime.

“Hello?”

“Is it you Lin?”

“Yes, this is Mail”

“How are you?”

“No, I’m fine. Have you had your breakfast?”

“Hey, how about we go out later today?”

“Anywhere is ok”

“It’ll be fun. I promise”

Little that he knows, a fat middle aged lady was standing behind him for a good five minutes through his conversation. Makcik Mon was looking a bit restless. There was a frown on her face, maybe it’s because she was eager to use the public phone or maybe the morning sun was directly shining into her face.

“Dik, can you please hurry up? I have an important call to make”

Mail was stunned by the sudden interruption of his romantic conversation. He turned and looked at Makcik Mon’s chubby, frowning face and signalled with his free hand an internationally acknowledged signal of ‘wait a minute’.

“No, there’s somebody here to use the phone”

“So, 11 o’clock at the Coliseum Theatre?”

“At the main entrance, yes”

“Can’t wait to see you. Bye”

Mail replaced the handset to its holster and walked away from the phone booth with a smile on his face, gleaming from a cut-short, yet satisfying conversation with a young girl living just at the other end of the road from where he was staying.

Makcik Mon opened her purse and began inserting several pieces of coins into the public phone’s coin slot.

“Hello Tipah, this is Mon”

“You know my neighbour Peah right?”

“Well yesterday, she bought a set of brand new furniture you know”

“Last week she bought a new refrigerator, today it’s the furniture. I wonder where she got all the money to buy those stuff. Her husband is just a low level clerk at the General Hospital”

Makcik Mon paused and looked around the perimeter of the phone booth, making sure that nobody was around listening to her gossiping. When the coast is clear, she continued.

“Even if combined with her income of sewing baju kurung, I don’t think she can afford all those things”

“I bet it’s all instalments. Typical Peah, trying to act rich, but burdening herself with debt”

“I pity her husband! Hahaha!”

Makcik Mon laughed so hard that a stray cat wandering nearby jumped on its feet and ran away as if it was chased by a pack of stray dogs.

As Makcik Mon was inserting more coins into the coin slot, the gossiping topic changed to the midnight nagging of Cik Embam towards her husband that could easily be heard by the neighbours in the vicinity radius of fifty metres. By the time the Cik Embam topic was reaching its climax, a man in his late 30s, was already standing behind Makcik Mon. Like the people before him, he too was showing anxiousness on his face. But his anxiousness looked more like a person extremely frustrated at something.

The man cleared his throat loudly, signalling that gossiping time was over for Makcik Mon. His aura of male dominance was too much for Makcik Mon to argue with. Maybe it’s that, or maybe it’s just because Makcik Mon preferred not to gossip in the presence of other people.

Makcik Mon replaced the handset to its holster and walked away from the phone booth with a smile on her chubby face, gleaming from a satisfying dose of early morning gossiping fix with another middle aged housewife living just at the other end of the road from where she was staying.

Karim was the next patron at the shabby phone booth. At first he was inserting coins into the public phone. Then suddenly, he was banging the phone’s innocent body because a coin was stuck inside. After a few bangs (and a few curse words), it seemed that the phone was back to normal. He then dialled and waited.

“Hello Ali, it’s me, Karim”

“Have you checked the papers?”

“My Magnum 4D number didn’t come up! I put 3512 and can you believe it that the first prize number is 2153?!”

“Yup, my number backwards. No damn luck brother!”

“I didn’t even get the consolation prize”

“OK, that’s all. I’ve got to go now. We’ll meet tonight at Teratak Dangdut. 9 o’clock sharp. Don’t be late”

Karim walked away from the tattered phone booth with a slight grin, somewhat satisfied after blowing off steam with his best friend, Ali. He then headed to a Javanese coffee shop situated at the opposite wooden shop lot. He would later sit there in the coffee shop drinking cups of kopi ‘o and loafing with the other patrons mindlessly until midday. During that time, the VHS player at the coffee shop was for the umpteenth time, playing a recording of Wrestlemania VI where The Ultimate Warrior defeated the incumbent champion, Hulk Hogan for the WWF Championship.

*****

“Mail, I’m sorry”

“I can’t meet you today”

“My mother met Makcik Mon earlier. Makcik Mon told my mother about our supposed meeting today”

“You know how my mother forbids me from befriending you right?”

“Again, I’m sorry. Oh, how I really, really hate Makcik Mon and her big mouth!”

Lin replaced the handset to its holster and walked away from the exact same phone booth without a smile on her face, gloomed from a short and less satisfying conversation with a young boy living just at the other end of the road from where she was staying.

She walked slowly, dragging her legs reluctantly towards home. In her hand was a bag of kelapa parut that her mother asked her to buy from a grocery shop at the wooden shop lot, opposite the shabby phone booth.

It was already 10 o’clock in the cold and wet Sunday morning.