June 10, 2008

it’s only words

Posted in Random Ramblings, Snapshots, Strange Feelings, Uni at 10:36 am by meldee

Taken with my Baby Bazooka (a.k.a. Canon EOS KISS and my ‘nifty fifty’ lens) at the Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum, Kanchanaburi, Thailand.

Sometimes words are so arbitrary.

***

So I’m back from my brief holiday, sunburnt as hell and supposedly reenergised.

It was pretty good fun! Pictures are up on Facebook if you’re my Friend, if you’re not then you’ll have to make do with this one πŸ™‚

At the risk of whingeing (again), I’m not feeling reenergised, not really. I came back to news of the passing of one of the country’s best known feminist activists due to cancer, crazyhigh jacked up petrol and diesel prices, the fact that Rodham-Clinton’s out of the Presidential Race, and a 4,500 word 60% assignment which I am dying at 3,800 words because I’ve run out of things to say.

See? The arbitrariness of words. I really don’t see why we have to say things at times that are already known. Skipping nimbly to another topic, the problems with blogs is that so many people are talking, but nobody’s really listening. Are they?

Am just rambling. Talking, and listening to myself.

***

I got given a pair of home-grown avocadoes today. They remind me of giant scrotum. Maybe I’ll keep them on my desk at uni as a talisman.

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November 25, 2007

finding a voice

Posted in Friends, Happenings, Malaysia, My Home, Snapshots at 6:27 pm by meldee

I’ve barely been home an hour from the AWAM WWRP5 Workshop in Armada Hotel in PJ, and let me say (gloat, rather), I have never had so much fun, or been so pampered, or felt such an incredible connection with people before—that is, until the last time I said such a thing, which was probably my World Vision Trip (see Permalinks by the side :P).

This is it la, folks. My raison d’etre. I have found my kindred spirits and I am almost bouncing off the walls in glee and unadulterated excitement in having had such a mindblowing experience. Digression: My friends who signed The Book published by AWAM, Young Women Speak Out, said I have a lot of energy. A lot of energy meh?! It’s only about 5 cups of coffee!

Anyhoo, briefly. The 4-day, 3-night live-in workshop, generously funded by the European Union required 20 (15 participants, 5 facilitators/trainers) almost complete strangers united in better understanding human rights and women’s rights issues in this country, to live, eat and sleep together. Write together. Grow together. We talked about things like the Malaysian media, representation of women in the media, sexuality and rights and responsibilities, especially within the context of the Federal Constitution.

Dry and boring, you might think? Hell no, I’d yell! The speakers were all lovely and fiercely intelligent and smart (yes, I felt about 5 inches big at times) and I guess we all walked away with something new that we’d hopefully carry on with us. Now I know why so many people (er, well, ok, just two) have said that the WWRP is one of the funnest things, like, ever! Think about it right, a room full of smart, witty, incredibly driven and compassionate young women who are beautiful inside and out—chuck in a mix of sleep deprivation, caffeine and alcohol, and there you have it, the recipe for fun fun fun! πŸ˜€

One of the specific skills we learned was how to write Letters to the Editor—an extremely empowering thing to do (apparently!). It was really quite humbling for me, especially since I’ve been writing and working in social justice issues on/off for the past few months, to realise that there’s still heaps out there I don’t know and still have ages to go.

Apparently I also looked really sad at certain points of the discussions/forums; something I guess I do is wear my heart on my sleeve. Social justice issues are a big part of me and always have been I guess, though I suspect I often very unfairly expect others to also feel the same passion I do which is not very good, to say the least!

But I shall save all this termitty-terms for my actual write up (which I shall link after I write it and it—fingers crossed—gets published in R.Age) and yibber on instead about the fun times. Mainly because I am still running on about 4 cups of coffee (feral stuff it is, I don’t care. As long as it’s got caffeine, I shall consume it! I am utterly not discerning this way) and am excited. And pissed off that my mum’s camera pictures didn’t turn out too good. Maybe because I forgot to set them to high resolution (dammit, you’d think I’d have learned my lesson by now!), or because the lighting was not good.

This is why I need my giant phallic DSLR.

Ahem, excuses excuses. Anyhow, I will upload pictures, not too many though as both Flickr and Dropshots have shat themselves over the volume of photos I’ve uploaded *sniffs haughtily*. And I refuse to pay for space ya, mainly because I have no credit card. But if anyone wants to fund my upgrading, please do so la ok I won’t say no πŸ˜€

BUT I HAD SO MUCH FUN. *runs around chasing imaginary tail* I met new people, recognised old friends, formed new ties with people over so many different things and I am SO EXCITED at the idea of working with them in the future.

BY THE WAY, TODAY IS INTERNATIONAL WHITE RIBBON DAY*! (*see previous post, or Google it, dammit) The NGOs in Malaysia will be organising 16 Days of Activism (again, Google this, as I myself have yet to) starting today and ending on December 10th, International Human Rights Day. Again, please remember to wear a white ribbon, guys! Do your bit to raise public awareness for the elimination of all forms of violence against women πŸ™‚

There’s gonna be a peaceful march on December 9th at 7am from Sogo in honour of international human rights—I’ll keep you guys updated ok because I am super excited πŸ˜€

I think I really need to cut down on my caffeine intake by the way. I am practically buzzing. Now! For picca-tures *beams*


A room with a view! Sarah, my roomie and I, quietly discovered on our last night that not all the rooms were the size of ours (and Shazana and Jee Wan’s—heh!) with our bathtub, sofa, two writing tables and ample space! I regret not taking photos of my room now so I can gloat πŸ˜› Anyway this is a view of the Federal Highwa, Amcorp Mall, and KL in the horizon.

We basically had about 12 sessions, usually from 9am-10pm (I know), but we were (extremely) well-fed and the hours went by really quick for most of the part. 3.5 days of intensive and intense (and at other times, not so) discussion on current affairs, activism and social justice. Nyummy πŸ˜€


Gayathry from the Centre for Independent Journalism gave us a talk on the Malaysian media. Most sobering, and very very provoking. At least for me it was.


To wake us up at one point, we were divided into two groups and had to spell ‘Mississippi’ with our bums in unison! This was a hoot, especially since my bum has gone on a sabbatical and hasn’t quite come home yet. But, aw, look how happy we are πŸ˜€ L-R: Anna, me, Meena, Chian Yi, Apsara.


Our ‘Social Session’ on the second night, which involved playing funny-silly games like Big Fish, Small Fish, Truth or Dare and Charades πŸ˜€ Things are so fun when the people you’re with are not stuffy and stuffier!


In most cultures, purple is the colour of homosexuality; in Malaysia it is apparently the colour of the feminist movement. Woo hoo, I say! Also, this book, edited by Alina Rastam (an incredible role model I am now gawping up at) is one of AWAM’s babies. You (yes you, my faithful reader!) should get your hands on it as it is filled with writings and poetry from wonderful writers and friends of mine, namely Dahlia, Pramila, Vizla, Tze Yeng and Yi Xing, at the very high risk of name-dropping and coming across as a snob.

Also, observe the two chocolate thingamajigs! THEY ARE AWESOME *salivates*. Crunchy crumbly pastry with a rich, moist chocolate filling, lightly dusted with sugar *dies and goes to chocolate heaven*.


Eva Diva, my Orientation Week Buddy (whom I fled from, poor thing, as I already knew the campus at Sunway) and now my fellow booty-shaker every other Saturday with the WAO CCC kids.


Group pic! πŸ˜€

On our last night (yesterday), the session ended at about 10. As the previous two nights we hadn’t done the usual sit-around-yakking-all-night thing, we decided it was about ruddy time πŸ˜‰ After being chased out of the conference room, we headed to the in-house bar/pub type thing in the hotel—whereby we were eyeballed and ogled by Dirty Old Men (yeeeccchh) and subject to moldy music sang by a group of scantily-clad girls o_O After we discovered the beers were RM18, we decided ‘screw this’ and decided to buy our own drinks from Kiosk and head up to someone’s room and talk all night πŸ˜›

It was the funniest thing, crossing the bridge and streets. Being a large group of females walking around PJ at close to 12am, we were subject to many looks, of course—but we were hollering and scampering around, “Watch out people, feminists crossing the road!” We didn’t mean to be pains, of course, we were just in high spirits you understand, later to be high on spirits, which was in fact just me, really πŸ˜›


I am such a closet alkie. Remember what I said in a previous post about not drinking anytime soon? Ha-bloody-ha. Anyway here I am with Malati, Jee Wan, Chian Yi (and her lemon juice), Alicia (and her Root Beer), Eva and Seetha. Who is actually from SMKSU too, and one of the founding members of the Interact Club! *marvels* She left school in ’97 though, meaning we never met as I only started at SU in ’99 πŸ˜‰


I think people on that floor must have hated us. First, when taking a photo, we yelled ‘breasts!’. For this one, it was ‘vagina!’ πŸ˜› Others who came later told us it was ok if they forgot the room number, as we were laughing loudly enough to guide them from the point where they exited the elevator πŸ™‚


We are women, hear us roar!


Anna, an intern at CIJ as part of her degree program in Canada, and me. By this time, I was buzzing quite high as I had had four drinks, including some Cointreau+Apple Juice earlier, and the remainders of Jee Wan’s green apple wine cooler.

Whee!


Before we left, we took more photos in the dining area, in our lovely yellow shirts! πŸ˜€ The colour of freedom of the media! And assembly! And sovereignty! And God-knows what else! I love what it says on the front though, “Speak. Write. Fight. For Women’s Right”. So empowering πŸ™‚

And that concludes it for my brief photo-entry; I smell grilled lamb downstairs and I am about to pass out from exhaustion. I’ll most def blog more later on, especially more insightful entries than this fluff *looks at self disdainfully*, but take this as a teaser for more, and better, things to come.

In terms of writing, but of course πŸ˜‰

P/S: Have yet to find out about Hindraf Rally. Am glad the BERSIH one has set a precedent of sorts to the media not totally blacking out on coverage of these issues. Bravo.

November 3, 2007

singkawang sojourn day 3 & 4

Posted in Friends, Happenings, Kids, Snapshots, Social Responsibility According to Me, Travel and Adventure at 12:47 pm by meldee

Imma back for Part II. Am going to take my time doing this, as I need to conserve energy and witty quips for my other Singkawang/WV write-ups, and I need lunch (and coffeeeeeeeee) and want to run over to the Child Care Centre in PJ with some party dresses of my little cousin Celine in time for Deepavali so in case the older girls haven’t got any new dresses yet, these might do πŸ™‚

Day Three began with breakfast. We had traditional Dayak food (as most of them are Dayak), cucur and…somethinglikelemang. And coffee. Man, these people like their sugar! I had two cups because after the tossing and turning, I needed the caffeine fuel to keep me going. But it turns out that that wasn’t breakfast, that was just an appetiser! Real breakfast consisted rice, more fried chicken, more pork, fresh cucumber slices (damn sweet!) and bamboo shoot kerabu. We were stuffed!

After breakfast, the lot of us jumped back into the 4WDs for the village of Sibale where we visited one of Kalimantan’s most renowned elementary schools. This place, Sekolah Dasar Subsidi Sibale, is different from the others, so we were told, because of the school spirit there, and attitudes towards learning. It has 167 students with many others on the waiting list, and is a private school of sorts because they get no government assistance.


The kids there welcomed us with another dance! We were then invited to sit in their classrooms πŸ™‚


Yeah baby I was there!


There is something almost Communist-like about this photo, haha! But they’re not, I assure you. They were just lining up for a special assembly where we handed out more exercise books.Β  The kids then sang their school song for us, the bridge of which is stuck in my head: “ohh…I love Sibale..”

After sweltering in the sun accompanied by frantic fanning, we took off for the area of Sabau to the small sub-village of Tawang. About 7km from the town (if one could call it that) of Samantalan, we had to disembark from our comfy air-conditioned vehicles and trade them for motorbikes as the roads were BAD. Thank goodness it hadn’t rained, because we’d have gotten stuck in the red clay! I was really excited about getting on a bike again as the last time I did I was probably about 9 years old, and I was riding around Melaka with my late grandfather. I had the offer to go with Tim’s Stepdad Grant on his Ducati when I was in Bega but it never manifested 😦  Nevermind, next time.


Anggoro and I! Lemme just say it was an Experience, riding along these roads at a rather fast pace with no helmet, the hot sun beating down on you…it was about a 2km bumpy-lumpy-umpy ride, one of those which my Gran would remark: “Kalau pregnant memang tu baby sudah terkeluar!” (“If you were pregnant the baby would’ve come out already!”). You can see already from this photo how baked I am πŸ™‚


Another welcoming committee!


But this time, with a garland of fluvvers! *heart* Ugh, my hair’s growing longer again and losing its shape already, bah!


The two main WV projects here was the clean water to every house, and this study hall sort of thing where the village kids could study, learn nature appreciation, dance, play games, etc πŸ™‚ Most of the kids were barefoot here, which was kind of sad. There were also lots of farm animals wandering around aimlessly and pooping all over the place; one of the leaders told me they’ve been asking the government for the longest time about getting funding, or materials to build fences for the animals because it’s so unhygienic for the kids to be wandering and playing around fecal matter :/


The kids singing while others watched on.

After watching more performances, more speeches, and another huuuuuge lunch (where somebody mentioned there was dog meat if we wanted it, eeps!) it started to rain so we needed to take our leave before the roads got worse. So some of us squeezed into Pak Tom’s jeep while the others had to rough it in the rain on bikes (which I am very jealous about because I wanted to ride the motorbike in the rain! Hmmf!).


More cucur and somethinglikelemang, served with hot diluted condensed milk as appetisers.


It’s a miracle I managed this photo at all! The ride was about 10 squillion times more bumpy in the jeep! That’s (clockwise) Siew Ling, Su, Su Ting and me. And the bumpy-lumpy-umpy road.

After this, it was a huge sigh of relief to be back in the 4WDs on proper (this is highly debatable, but everything is relative) roads. One thing I should mention about the roads, they’re all full of potholes and are not done properly, at some stretches even the bridges are makeshift ones—our driver told us it’s because of the rife corruption among government officials. Hmm, sounds familiar…

Anyway we headed back to Singkawang, another close-to-2-hour drive. Hurrah!Most of us passed out for close to 2 hours after rejuvenating showers. Mmm, nice clean bed…


Group shot on the steps of the hotel foyer while waiting to go for dinner.

Singkawang is known for being the ‘Hong Kong of Indonesia’. It’s population is almost 70% Chinese, so you can imagine the overabundance of Chinese eateries. Combined with yowling sounds of bad karaoke and tacky CNY decorations that are never taken down, it was just like being in parts of Ipoh or JB! There are lots of Hakka people here, my kinsmen, yeaaaah.


It was Phoebe’s birthday the next day so we had an early birthday celebration for her with cake! After that was a short drive around the town (it’s actually pretty big!) before heading back to the hotel to pack, bum around, and get more shut eye.

The next morning, after breakfast (and extremely crunchy fried noodles, gaah), we headed over to the WV Singkawang office for a de-briefing session.


That’s Pak Tom talking, and explaining to us how the families for to-be-sponsored children are selected. It’s all very democratic, apparently talks go on for as long as 5 days. All the villagers are gathered and separated into groups where they begin to discuss whether each and every one of the families in the village qualify as impoverished, poor, moderate, or well-to-do. They are also given a list of criteria, of what qualifies as impoverished, etc. Each village has their own standards, so it’s all relative. I was extremely happy at this πŸ™‚ We then each had to give a short speech on our feelings and thoughts, and a few of us had tears in our eyes as we spoke of what we’ve seen. Sadly for me, I didn’t understand most of it as it was in Mandarin, so I had to go with the short translations that came whispered my way.


After that, we very very very quickly made a stop at some places to buy goodies (and in my case, coffee, wahahaha!) before commencing our 3-hour drive to Pontianak to catch our flight back to Jakarta, then home. That’s our driver, Mas Hendrik (I think) doing the thumbs-up sign unwittingly as I snapped this photo πŸ™‚ The coffee smelt yum! They ground it freshly before sealing them up. I bought a kilo of it πŸ˜€

Most of us slept in the car again. Haha.


After about an hour and a half of driving, we stopped off at Sungei Pinyu for lunch at another Chinese restaurant where we had fried noodles and pig’s insides *cringe*. I mean, the fried noodles weren’t bad, but I gingerly picked out the liver, intestines and huge chunks of pork lard. Gaah. I am so not Chinese ok.

We got to the airport just in the nick of time! We didn’t have to wait at all, just check in, have a quick toilet break, pay airport tax (Rp 25,000 – about RM10) and a compulsory donation of Rp 5, 000 (to which I indignantly exclaimed “It can’t be a compulsory donation, this is more like extortion!”) before we were allowed to go through. Oh wells, it’s only RM2 -_-”Β  But still, it’s the principle of the whole thing, no?


There’s always time for a photo! Me and Jia Xiang a.k.a Fatino having our celeb-plane-boarding moment.

A quick flight later and we were back in Jakarta! We said our goodbyes to Imelda *sobs* and proceeded to hunt for dinner, waste time, etc before our 8.20pm flight. Which was brought forward to 8.15pm. Which was then promptly delayed to 9pm.

I couldn’t find my Krispy Kremes 😦 So we had A&W for dinner instead. I kept to my word, no more fried chicken! I had a rather yukky fish burger instead. Digress: if they have beef, chicken and fish burgers, how come no one has duck burgers? I mean, I don’t like duck, but I’m sure others do. Why why? And also, why do they call them hamburgers if they’re not made from ham? Were hamburgers created in Hamburg the way sandwiches were created by the Earl of Sandwich?


While waiting for our shuttle bus to take us to the international terminal, Siew Ling and I wailed and scratched furiously at our assortment of bites. Here we are with our saviour, Mopiko! *three cheers* Now that I’m home, I’ve applied Calamine Lotion to my bites, so I look like a leper -_-” Yes, verrrrrrrry sexy.

Phew! Thus ends my 56k Killer post. Apologies if it isn’t as wordy as yesterday’s, but I’m sitting in a mighty uncomfortable position on my bed (mattresses, more like) and I’m dying for coffee. So I shall end this here, and add more notes, entries, etc as I go along. I will permalink these entries on my sidebar (if I can ruddy figure out how, bah—should be a breeze though) to enable easy access πŸ™‚

In summary, how I found my trip though? Amazing. I was touched by the warmth and gentleness of the people, how readily they opened their hearts and homes to us. I was touched by them taking the time to put so much effort into planning our welcome ceremonies, meals, accomodation and all round comfort. I went there thinking I could teach the youth there a thing or two (me being highly successful and all, ahem), but it turned out the other way round.

They taught me how to be humble, how to be thankful for what I have and will have by virtue of my position of birth in the economic strata. They taught me good humour, to look at things with continuing wonder because life is something to be marveled at. They reminded me to hold on to my dreams and pursue them diligently, because they have it so much harder and yet their drive to succeed is almost as great as mine, if not greater.

This trip was a blessing. I say this without pomp and ceremony, and without further elaboration because in retrospect, too many things and epiphanies occurred for me to properly, cogently word it. So….yeah πŸ™‚

I’m very very happy, and would love to go back there again.

Prepared with mosquito nettings, Ridsect, and a sleeping bag.

November 2, 2007

singkawang sojourn day 1 & 2

Posted in Friends, Happenings, Kids, Snapshots, Social Responsibility According to Me, Travel and Adventure at 7:33 pm by meldee

So I’m back, huzzah! Back home, back on Facebook (gaaaah!), back online *strokes modem affectionately*…back to being worked up about the same old small things like my TAC requests from BOTH my online banking accounts not showing up, which is horrible because I have absolutely NO CREDIT left on my phone. Bah humbug!

But this isn’t about banking, though my banking stories could possibly entail a whole new entry in itself. I am quite fascinated with banking; it’s a strange fixation not even I understand.

This is about me finally going off on a mini-break, humanitarian trip, and journey of self discovery of sorts to Western Kalimantan, around the Pontianak region. And let me just say, 4 days sure as monkeybottoms was not enough!

For those who don’t know this, Pontianak is a vampire of sorts in Malay folklore that comes about when pregnant women die in childbirth—they come back to haunt and terrorise other pregnant women at night, wooo~ as Suet would say. But this was Pontianak the town, and it is located near/on the Equator πŸ™‚ So at 12 noon, nobody has a shadow! How cool.

I’ll just give a quick summary of travel details before you fall asleep on me, I’ll explain more as I add photos πŸ™‚ You better damn right hope my bandwidth hasn’t been exceeded for this month! (note: Gaaaah. Gaaaaah. Dropshots is still being a royal pain, have gone back to Flickr. This one also limited. Rawr!)

The Malaysian World Vision (henceforth known as WV) Malaysia entourage consisted myself, two WV staff (Susan and Su Hsien—yes, another one! Haha what a coincidence), two other youths (Jia Xiang and Stephen, both from JB), a journalist from a local Chinese travel mag (Siew Ling, my new friend *heart*) as well as a local celebrity (and supposedly some sort of icon in the Chinese-speaking world, which I am undoubtedly excluded from—she’s a DJ, presenter and singer too) , Phoebe, and her assistant Su Ting.

Everyone spoke Mandarin except me -_-” Thankfully I also have the ability to tune out almost immediately should conversations commence in said language, unless everyone’s pointing at me and laughing whereby I would then proceed to either very aggressively demand to know what is being said, ignore them even more, or sulk.

Anyway.

From KL’s LCCT, we took a flight to Jakarta where we met Imelda from the World Vision Indonesia Jakarta office who was to also accompany us on our trip. From there, we caught another flight to Pontianak (flights from KL-Kuching-Pontianak were too few and far between). From Pontianak, it was a bumpy, crazy 3 hour drive to Singkawang which was our homebase for this trip. Honestly, in the heavy rain, the driver was going at 80km/h around bends and bumps, and they have no seatbelts in the back seat (believe me, I kept reaching behind frantically for it!)—they also have a strange system with their indicators and their honking. Want to overtake, honk. Vehichle in front (car, bike, pedestrian) going too slow, honk. Going round bends at top speed, honk. See someone you know? honk.

Malaysian drivers seem really considerate and gentle in comparison, which is really saying something. Heh.

Anyhoo, you with me so far? Ok.


Our transit at the Soekarno-Hatta Airport. On the shuttle bus I saw a Krispy Kremes and let out a little yelp—Su Hsien (who studied in Perth) asked me why and when I breathed “Krispy Kremes!” she literally grabbed my arm and with wide-eyes exclaimed “Where?!” but it was closed, and we couldn’t find it again after. Sob. Anyhoo, I loved the giant chandeliers they had—and the wood carvings and all that! So pretty!


After that was the Supadio Airport in Pontianak—this place was a madhouse. Indonesia has a strange Smoke-Anywhere policy—you can even smoke in non-smoking areas, go figure.


Because of all the smoke and people, the three of us escaped outside to—you guessed it, more smoke. That’s Siew Ling, the journalist (I later found out she’s also a Pisces, has had similar relationship troubles to my good self and is same blood-type B! Plus I totally want her job ok! She’s been to Japan, Sydney, all sorts of places! Only problem is, me no speaking/writing Chinese) from Let’s Travel, me (I deflate in heat) and Su Hsien, who works in Publicity and Communications in WV Malaysia.

After the crazybumpyscary ride to Singkawang, we arrived at the Mahkota Hotel. I’m not sure if it’s a chain of which there is a branch in Melaka which I stayed at over Chinese New Year this year, but I was honestly expecting something no frills, no fuss, even a little bit dodgy. So when I saw this, I was pleasantly surprised—and felt guilty. Was I not supposed to be experiencing poverty and destitution?!


The dining area where they had live performances every night which consisted of a few people yowling and dancing to musty old English songs like ‘I Beg Your Pardon (I Never Promised You a Rose Garden)’, etc. Thankfully I blotted the sound out by watching StarMovies and HBO πŸ˜€


The reception area. There was Pak Tom and Feliki (sp?) from WV Singkawang there to look after us, and Susan from WV Malaysia in the centre. I had the least luggage of all—which frankly made me quite worried when I saw that even the guys had bigger luggage than mine o_O


After a full day of travel, we headed out for dinner. Su Hsien has a sponsored child, Rita, who traveled three hours that day to meet her. Su Hsien had a load of stuff for her; maths books, pencils, etc—I chipped in a balloon from a packet that my dad told me to bring along and give to the kids along the way. I was initially quite skeptical but when the balloons went down like a ton of bricks with the kindergarten kids especially, I regretted not bringing more.

Anyhow, this was a picture of us at dinner. Clockwise: Su Hsien, Rita’s teacher (I forget her name), Su Ting (Phoebe’s assistant), Phoebe, me (bah!), Stephen, Jia Xiang, Siew Ling, Imelda, Pak Tom, Anggoro, Susan and Rita. Rita’s 8 and she’s really really tiny! My brother looks like Godzilla in comparison to her. She was also really shy. Dinner was great—I’ve also discovered another tendency among the people we visited, to always, always, have fried chicken. I’m swearing off fried chicken for a month, at least.


Day #2 of our visit, kicked off with breakfast in the hotel! I had way too much coffee (as usual) and as the result was remarkably bubbly at the ungodly hour of 6-something in the morning. The sun rises really early there, and they’re one hour behind Peninsula Malaysia time. With Stephen, Jia Xiang and Su Hsien, taken using the timer *beams*.

Before we headed off to the villages,we stopped by the WV Singkawang office to pick up some stuff—exercise books and clean water, etc for the children and us.


Check out that beautiful shade of blue sky *marvels*.


Myself and the guys. Though there was a slightly bigger communication challenge between myself and Jia Xiang, conversing with Stephen wasn’t as bad because he’s in his third year doing Biotech at UCSI. Jia Xiang is still doing the Chinese school equivalent of Sixth Form in Batu Pahat. They’re both really incredibly jovial and high-spirited and made the trip that much more fun, as I am quite boring around strangers.


The WV Malaysia entourage and Rita, Su Hsien’s sponsored child. You can learn more about sponsoring a child here. Mind you, I said sponsor, not adopt. When you sponsor a child you don’t just give them money, it goes to a pool that benefits the entire community your child lives in. It could go towards building a new school, a new well, pipes and materials, and training teachers so that your child has a better shot at a brighter future.

You know the saying about giving a man a fish a day to feed himself, compared to spending a day teaching him how to fish? Or something like that? Yeah, that’s what WV does. I personally really like the idea of teaching the communities self-sufficiency as opposed to the spoonfeeding most governments and some charities do.

The first village we went to was called Sijankung, about an hour’s drive away, where we visited a kindergarten jointly funded by the church and WV for children aged 3-5. It was literally, four rooms in a row. It makes our schools here look so…pompous.


The kids were so good! Though they gave us a naturally curious once-over, they remained fully attentive to their study. Apparently they’re quite used to visitors, and love love love taking photos. In kindy they learn the basics of reading, writing and ‘rithmatic, as well as 10 core moral values to help ease the transition into elementary school.


The kids. Awww…look at their lickly iddy widdy uniforms *spasms with delight*. We were celebrities of sorts there, really, because the mothers kept insisting on taking photos with us πŸ™‚ One of the mothers I talked to kept gushing over how good WV has been in helping them out, especially with her having 10 kids (gasp). She was really lovely *warmfuzzyfeelings*. I hope I’m that good natured especially if I have 10 kids! LOL.


Me and the kids’ outdoor-learning classroom.


The next kindy on the visit list was the one at Sagatani where all the kids wore bright pink! So cute! There was an adorable little boy there that absolutely stole my heart with his twinkling eyes and gap-toothed grin.


Their headmistress, Ibu Yenni (in purple) giving a mini-speech before the kids started singing and dancing for us.


“Who wants something special?!” The kids all reacting joyfully, but none more so than my little boy (look carefully, he’s the one with the huge grin and is up on one arm elevating himself above his peers). They had to answer really simple questions like “which animal has a trunk/long neck?” and they got sweets, pencils, and balloons (from me).

I love ickle kiddies. There’s just something about them that’s so full of awe at the world that we adults are so weary of and jaded about that’s breathtaking in its naivete. I reckon we can all learn something from them.

After two kindergartens, we upped it a level and proceeded to the village of Sibaju for lunch and to see the kids at the elementary school. While the two kindergartens had clean running water, Sibaju didn’t. The community here was so excited about WV coming in to help with building them a school and getting clean water to each home that they actually gave their land to build the school! Here we also met two other sponsored children, Santo (sponsored by local artiste Michael Wong) and Orisius (sponsored by Lite FM DJ Non). The kids were lovely, they welcomed us with huge smiles, enthusiastic greetings and a traditional dance.


They’re camera-lovers! They found every way to entertain us to ensure photo-taking πŸ˜‰ Here a boy on stilts tottered around for me while his friends crowded around to get their 15 seconds of fame;)


Phoebe and the kids. She even taught them the “ke ren lai, kan papa” song. If my phonetic-ising of it is wrong, shaddap I don’t care, as long as you get the picture.


Me and the tiny dancers πŸ˜‰ The girl at the far left of this photo and in the centre were amazing dancers. You couldn’t take your eyes off them! They had amazing grace and rhythm, and it was a pleasure to watch πŸ™‚ Of course, when the lot of us got dragged up there to emulate their dance moves, guess which two-left-footed numbskull ended up massacring the steps -_-“


We also had fresh corn for a lunch appetiser! Believe it or not my pale-as corn beat Su’s orange one in terms of taste and texture hands down, hah! We were also making (lame) jokes about how it’s not the person that chooses the corn, but the corn that chooses the person (yalah okwe are very lame, go away).


I love this shot! As we sat down to lunch in their tiny seating area of sorts a little girl was peeking up at me talking to some of the other people, and I snapped this picture of her. Needless to say shortly after she was very rudely pushed to one side by her bigger peers also trying to pan-cute for me. Sorry guys! πŸ˜›


I don’t remember his name but this boy (aged 13, with one eye :|) followed me into a classroom and wrote this down on the blackboard for me πŸ™‚


Naughty naughty! This bubbly cheerful little girl skipped school that day because she heard visitors were coming to this school, so she popped by to say hello and amuse us with her stilt-walking antics πŸ™‚


As guests of honour, we got to give out exercise books and pens sponsored by WV Indonesia to the kids! It was an extreeeeeeemely hot day, mind you, so discount how I look like.


Me and Siew Ling, and the yummiest lunch ever! There was sambal belacan, bamboo shoots, fucuk and potatoes, and pork with onions, nyum nyum. I don’t know how they made it but lemme tell ya, it was damned good! It was so good I’ve even decided that it’s on par with my grandma’s cooking, which is really Saying Something.

After our lunch, we went to the homes of Santos and Orisius to give them gifts from their sponsor fathers.


The girls. The kids all followed us to his house cause they wanted to see what would go on. Orisius’ sister is seriously so emaciated, I think she’s about 10-12 and she has to do the cooking and cleaning sometimes. They live in a tiny two room wooden hut with no electricity and running water, and no furniture at all. His father left his mother when she was 7 months pregnant with her youngest child, so she has three kids to take care of and the barest minimum income to cover it. Sigh. She couldn’t have been more than 35 years old, but she looked so utterly worn out and defeated that it made her look twice her age.

I honestly cannot imagine living under such conditions, and to do so with three kids depending on you, no husband and no outside, good grief.


I distracted myself with taking a photo of this giant-piant spider (as opposed to eensy-weensy). Izuan, any idea what this species is?:)


Their kitchen. Observe the peaceful puppy and kitten! Also, try to imagine cooking for your family of four, day in day out, under such conditions.


Village kids (and Imelda in the stripey top) seeing what they could see (me, in between scratching viciously at the horrid insect bites and slapping away at Aedes mozzies).

After this house, we had to trek about another 15 minutes to the house of Orisius, who is Non’s sponsored child.


That’s Su with Orisius (in yellow) and his parents in the background. Mind you, while this house looks a lot better than Santos’ (they had electricity, a TV and VCR player), their family has 8 kids, of which Orisius is the second-youngest of. His parents work as farmers and tap rubber, and have to walk three hours each way in a day to get to work. His mum Marina was telling us, the only reason why their house looks ‘nice’ in comparison to others was because a few years back, when they reared pigs, they sold the lot and built the house. But they don’t have toilets or pipe water, and all the pigs died because of disease, so their burden is at times too heavy at times that they can only afford to let 5 of their 8 children go to school.


Me being a jakun with their last giant pig. I didn’t dare get too close because it looked so fierce! It was so fat, too! Imagine if anything had happened, the headlines: ‘Death by Pig’?! *shudder* That’s like Hannibal. I’m kind of afraid of actual pigs (but not of eating their meat, har har!) after reading Hannibal.

After this, we headed over to the village of Sendoreng where we would spent the night, interact with the youth there and sit in on a discussion/open forum between WV and the village elders (all male, needless to say).


One of the village elders had very kindly let us bunk at his place. We were told we wouldn’t need to bring anything cause it would all be ‘taken care of’…little did we know what awaited us…


Ta-daaaaah! Our room, to be shared between me, Su, Susan and Siew Ling. That was it, folks—a few mats on the floor. No pillows, no bedsheets, no blankets, no mosquito netting (to our chagrin at 4am when each of us were fighting a losing battle with them vicious jungle mozzies). We gave the boys our single tatty mattress because their room looked like…urm, a haunted room in a haunted house. It had cracks in the floorboard and all, so the lads stayed up till about 3am chatting and looking at the stars until they totally crashed at about 4am.

Meanwhile us four became blood donors—I had no pillow or blanket (Susan came prepared with hers, hmmf!) so had to roll up a few of my clothes as a pillow, bummed socks off Siew Ling and used my hoodie as a blanket of sorts, reverting it and using the hood to cover my face because those damned mozzies wouldn’t leave me alone! Gaaaaaah! They even flew into my ears! We woke up the next morning ragged and exhausted, but thankfully we all were good-spirited about it πŸ™‚ That night has been nicknamed ‘The Night of 1001 Sleeping Positions’, of which I probably contributed to about half of. I was sleeping kneeling down in yoga positions!


Heh, anyway, the rest of the house. They had a little pool and an alcove of sorts that had an image of Mother Mary inside, which I found incredibly beautiful. Close-ups later (as in, another entry).


The youths of the village, who were the raison d’etre of Jia Xiang’s and my presence on the trip. They were lovely—shy at first, then after a while they got warmed up. The girl in the solid baby blue shirt, Magdalena, has an amazing voice that can totally transfix you. She sang an Indonesian song at my request. My request, because Jia Xiang (who gave himself the Indonesian name ‘Fatino’, LOL, because of the difficulty in pronouncing his name) were divided into groups and we had to show them pictures of our lives here, and talk about our experiences and interact with them—we were talking about ambitions and hers was to be a singer, so I asked her to sing something for me.

When she did, it blew me away. I told her shakily how she’d better not let go of this dream and to hold it close to her heart because it might someday come true—I dunno why but something tells me she will succeed. She’s 18, and is the only one among the group of about 20 of them who can speak passable English. I hope she gets the chances she deserves, she and all her friends.


The next morning (ragged, sleep deprived, sore and blood-drained) with the wonderful people who took good care of us in Sendoreng *heart*.

I’d just also like to say that insofar as I am grateful to be sponsored this trip, my judgment hasn’t been (completely) clouded over in gratitude, etc—but I really, really, really do admire the work that WV does. Especially the fieldwork: the meeting with village elders, sourcing materials, getting to know the people and children—it’s really draining and tiring, and I imagine, quite disheartening at times when it doesn’t work out.

And I find it swell that even though this is a Christian organisation, they in no way tried to make myself (or the other non-Christian travelers) feel uncomfortable with conversion-speak and whatnot—it just goes to show really that at the end of the day, religion is just a personal choice, a vessel if you like, by which we each become good, useful human beings. Of course there were the obligatory pre-meal prayers, but I understand completely that it was a show of thanks for the food (amen!) and companionship; I’m all for being grateful for this (esp. the food).

But what I like best about their work is that they don’t just give the people that need it the money; they equip them with actual skills and knowledge, like saving (and banking, woots!), teamwork in building the kindergartens, wells and community areas, and of course, child protection rights. Which is amazing, because not even here in Malaysia where we view ourselves as ‘advanced’ and ‘civilised’ do we actively educate our children in their rights. In fact, some of us are even told by our own parents that we have no rights *ahem*. But that’s an old story—I’m feeling all warm and fuzzy because of WV’s actions.

Because there is no excuse for abusing children; not culture, not “Oh I’m Sorry I Lost My Temper”, not financial problems, nothing. As Pak Tom put it, the money just serves as a catalyst to get things going; sadly as much as we try to disassociate ourselves from it, money does make the world go round. BUT it’s not the only thing; there are also the core values I found myself reminded of during this trip: comradeship, love, altruism and the sheer might and power of the human spirit and heart.

Will continue this post tomorrow πŸ™‚ More pictures then!

September 22, 2007

56k killer: monash ball – film noir

Posted in Friends, Happenings, Snapshots at 3:32 am by meldee

Aaaaah. First of all, brace yourselves for a 56k killer. Seriously. There are 55 shots here and since I’ve just washed my hair (it is now 2:30am) and I’m too lazy to dry it, I’ll have to wait till it air-dries so I might as well upload pictures.

But the news I’m sure you’re all curious about: no, I didn’t win πŸ˜›

I had heaps of fun though, and by the time the results came out I really wasn’t arsed because I’d had so many people come up to me telling me how they voted for me and how they hoped I’d win. So in my eyes, that makes me a winner (though I am admittedly rather sore about missing out on almost RM2,000 in prizes—boo. Plus a sash! Beejaysus, me’d have loved a sash to collect dust in the corner of my room. Huff!)

And secondly, yes, I was wearing the same vintage cheongsam I wore for my MUFY graduation. Feck it lar, I spent a grand total of RM10 blowing my hair for this ball—everything else is old, or paid for by someone else πŸ˜› So I am rather happy. And feck off, I’m not spending RM300-plus on a dress, blablabla. Recycle, reuse and reduce.

Besides, since I can still fit the cheongsam (plus, it’s loose!) I might as well because after I pop out a football team of kids I may only be able to fit a tent. So I’m being optimistic.

PICTURES!


My svelte new silhouette while getting ready in Sue’s room.


I love this shot of her. Sue, you’re so sexy.

Many thanks to Eugene for pimpin’ it and driving a carfull of three gorgeous girls down to KL! I finally got to enter the SMART tunnel and almost started crying because of the claustrophobia. Brr. I’ve decided I don’t like tunnels now.


With Joanne! Yes, darling, I was Oriental Noir. As opposed to Occidental Noir, which is pretty much what everyone else went as.


Red lipstick! With Kathia, who won best dressed! πŸ˜€ She had her funky headpiece custom-made and flown in from a real milliner’s in the UK.


Us and a very pleased-looking Zhen Yau.


I *heart* these women! Cheryl Yab-ba-dabba-doo, Kathia, and Tems. I look like I’m sprouting alfalfa out of my head, oh wells.


ETHANNNN! ❀


Table 12 πŸ˜‰ Ethan had a lovely touchy-feely jacket on so I was raba-raba-ing him. Not like he minded. In fact, he even invited me to caress his…hair! Hehe.


With Shuffy.


With the engineers—Tien Loong, I’mSorryIDunnoYourName, Ee Way, Nick Chew! My boss Kon.


We’re a happy threesome, whee! Ethan and Tasha.


With Vincey-Wincey! Haha he has this habit of calling others by funny pet names. He calls me ‘Dee Dee’ or ‘Mel mel’, Kon is ‘Kon Kon’, Yee Hou is ‘Hou Hou’…:P


I had the whole Oriental thing going on, baybee. Edward Said 1978, Orientalism. Zomg. I can’t even tune out for a minute. Gaaah.


COMMIES!


Ethan and Tasha, who sang beautifully tonight. They sang the song I wanted for my wedding since I first heard it! So it doesn’t matter when I get married, etc, I just want that song. But I’m not gonna say which cos you might steal my idea. Pfft. They’re gonna sing it for me! πŸ˜€


With Dennis (yes, from So You Think You Can Dance). I know him from the TQ/YS days of the Subang Jaya Buddhist Association πŸ˜‰ Good times, good times.


With Mei Sim, from high school, who recognised me and called out! She was accompanying her boyfriend tonight πŸ™‚ It’s always so lovely to see familiar faces.

And none more familiar than this one…


TAM HAO JIN, of the Volleyballing “I blow you up, I blow you down!” halcyon days of high school. Hah! I’m not such a fat porker now am I, coach!

Keeping with the SMKSU tradition…


GE HUI! Who’s back πŸ˜€ I was so happy to see her again ❀

From SMKSU to SMKSJ…


With William, whom I once mistakenly referred to as Charles, because I knew his name was one of the Windsor royal family. Heh.

…and back to SU!


Wen Bin!


MUFY girls! *koff mutter blush* Someone, Charmaine and Sue.


A fecking kau ugly shot of a very indignant me as I was explaining that one of the young whippersnapper contestants for Mr. Monash actually unzipped the back of my dress on stage. He was trying to ‘demonstrate’ how he’d sabotage the other contestants, by making everyone vote for me due to my state of undress, wtf. I told him off after that because while my dress did not fall down, it is besides the point ok. Some things are just plain tasteless.


Not like Justin’s funky orange suit though! He’s got an orange fixation, this boy does πŸ˜‰


Eugene wanted a picture with my sexy pose πŸ˜› Thanks for driving us there and back safely, hun!


With Kam Taikor from MUFY, who was mighty pleased to see us.


So pleased, he presented me with his white rose as a good luck talisman. Aww! I really like this shot. Observe my pretty pearl earrings, a gift from my aunt who went to Shanghai. Just call me Shanghai Baby!


The Comeback Kings who had us all in stitches with their infamous Cockroach Dance.


Two of the sexiest beasts πŸ˜› Ethan and Kathia.


Kathia reapplying her lippie while Cheryl scrutinizes her.


Aaah. The Good Old Days. The Double-N-Hyphenated-Potato-Lovers πŸ˜› Shuf, Sue, Song.


With Eunice, Cheryl, Sexy Rachel and Tems.


As Yee Hou would say, “Harro! We are from the Erections Committee!” Ahem. That’s Elections to you. Me, Vince, Nisha and Kon.


My pear tart landed in my strange sago, startling me so much even the waiter standing nearby burst out laughing.


*Koff mutter splurt* Someone, Jimmy, Dahlia, Kathia, Jason, Trudy, Zhen Hui and Nisha as Kathia walked off with Best Dressed πŸ™‚


Me and Yian Yian, the Ms. Monash of 2007 πŸ˜‰ Now, when someone campaigns hardcore for a solid month, has a Multiply page devoted to this cause, and who cries after winning the title, I reckon they really deserve it as opposed to me and my half-baked low-budget plans. Haha. *sad sniffs* I’d have loved the prizes though. Enough retail sponsorship to get me a working wardrobe. But oh wells.


Dancers.


Cheryl and Ethan. The term of the night was ‘clit monger’, please do not ask my why for I too do not know.


Me and Nick Chew! My gosh, those high school days seem so so so long ago…:)

Now, ahem, brace yourselves for some mighty stupid shots. Because we felt like it, and I have friends fabulous enough to entertain me.


With Sue and Ms. Polystyrene CutOut.


Me and my Mustang, baybee.


Rajiv the prop and Charmaine. They have an awesomely grotesque photo with Eugene but due to its nature I fear for you, gentle blog reader, and have thus decided to spare you the agony.


Charmaine and Eugene and the rose Zhen Yau gave me (aww :D) which featured very often in photos from then onwards.


Nick. Hehe.


Our Fugly Shot. Hahahahaha.


I jakun mah. The last time I was in Mandarin Oriental it was to meet Mariah Carey back in 2004!


Jeremy.


Pik Yi, another of the Ms. Monash contestants.


Sue waiting to be picked up? πŸ˜›


Three fatt hou girls.


Do your own textual analysis!


Hahahaha.


“You’re way too beautiful, girl…you’ve got me suicidal, suicidal…”


Charmaine! Haha.


Me flashing a little leg, while Eugene’s butt hogs the rest of the camera frame.

If you thought these shots were lame, you might as well close this browser window right now because it only gets worse. Yes, it’s possible!


Sue-Ann, the Plastic Flower Whisperer.


*whistles*


Suren trying to be chivalrous and me acting spastically coy.


So cute. Sue-Ann vs. The Rose.


“She loves me…she loves me not…” Eugene emo-ing.


Eugene budak bodoh! Hehe. Him trying to pull a Crayon Shin Chan.

And now for the scariest shot of the night….


Just because I could. Yes, I have no shame.


Hee. Symmetry and good lighting, we like. And fluvvers, too. *heart*

And on this happy note I bid you all a good night (morning, more like). I had such a wonderful time πŸ˜€

Many thanks to all of you who voted for me, gave endless support and cheered and hooted for me while I embrarassed myself onstage and, heh, everywhere else by taking shots like these, for instance.

Twas a good night πŸ™‚

July 11, 2007

edi&lipeng’s 21st/musings

Posted in Dahlings, Friends, Happenings, Random Ramblings, Snapshots at 1:44 pm by meldee

They’ve been together since the middle of Form 3, are each others’ bestest friend, and their families get along so well.

It goes without saying that we all think Edison and Li Peng were meant for each other, because they look so adorable, and because their joint 21st smacked of pre-wedding feelings. They even had a registration counter, and instead of a guestbook, there was a huge card which they’d frame.

Held at the Atrium Cafe in Sunway Hotel with a scrumptious buffet spread (I ate mostly fish, hm. I love fish!) and impressive array of cakes, it was worth not eating all day.

It’s been ages since I’ve seen most of these people; folks like Hsu Yin, Phing Phing and Mun Sin whom I haven’t seen since Form 5 ended (eeps!). This photoblog entry is more for the benefit of the rest of the Dahlings who aren’t here (you know who you are)—we miss you all heaps and loads and want you all to come home ASAP!


Mun Teng, LiPeng&Edison (because they are one, heh), She Dee, Teng Choon (my funny Canberra friend! <3), me.

I’m wearing my new Shopaholics top that arrived in the mail on Monday πŸ˜€ And my new pair of RM95 MNG jeans—woots! I know I said I boycott MNG but I was in KLCC yesterday, and all alone, and depressed cos I tried on a gorgeous pair of jeans in Topshop but I refuse to pay above RM100 for a pair of jeans or a dress, and RM50 for a top. The KLCC-MNG crowd is more civilised compared to the ones in Midvalley or Pyramid—bah! Oh, I’m also pleased to announce that my ass has shrunk a size (hence the reason to buy new jeans—I can fit both my hands down my old jeans, all of them!) to an 8 now. Huzzah!


Heh, no offence—Jia Jun and Guan Siang are the worst photographers ever! They were just randomly snapping!


Hsu Yin—my first friend in secondary school, whose grandparents used to live up my road, who is now a second year med student in freaking -30 degrees weather in Moscow!


A fairly huge group photo of all the ex-Subang Utama peeps—and Ji Yang’s (Jay, hahahahaha) token white guy friend Alan from Melbourne, who was astonished to realise that I have a filthy mind and can make v.unladylike statements.


She Dee, Mun Teng, Ji Yang—me, Chien (love her hair! Aaah!) and the birthday girl (whose birthday was in April, heh).


Crazy women.


Me camwhoring and She Dee trying to make spoil—see, woman? Serves you right—try to kacau my picture, now you look like a ghost. Pfft.


A final group picture—thanks Edi&LiPeng, for a wonderful night catching up with old friends and reminiscing them good old high school days πŸ™‚

***

Do you believe we meet people for a reason?

I have always thought, even without discussions about past lives and karma, that certain people come into and touch our lives for a reason. You know how you can just automatically click with some people and talk about anything and everything for hours on end and feel a shared connection that’s so strong it’s almost spiritual, while with others, you take one look and dislike them instantly?

I’ve made a new friend recently, and we clicked almost instantly and got on like a house on fire. I met her (yes, it’s a she) at an event I was covering, and have been in touch regularly. We’ve been talking and sharing details about ourselves that I suppose not many others know or could know—our loves, our personalities, our shortcomings, our families. And a big part of this is astrology—we’re both huge astrobuffs and have been analysing and picking each other apart πŸ™‚

And it made me start to wonder, seriously, whether this is more than just a mere coincidence. I’ve always been in awe of her (she works with a famous NGO and is a regular columnist in a prominent daily) because of her commitment to others and utter selflessness—much as I aspire to do greater good in life, I also acknowledge that I am a little (too?) self-absorbed. I do get heated up over certain issues, but mostly ones that directly concern me—I’ve always, always found it amazing how others can extend so much goodness and time to people and causes that have no direct implication on their lives.

If I could wish for something and have it granted, I’d wish to be more selfless. Give more, take less; do more, talk less; smile from my heart; tell the stories of those who do not have the voice to tell it themselves. I am already so blessed in this life, for all my seemingly ungrateful whingings, and would love the chance to give back to society, as cheesy as that sounds.

Is this a calling? The aspiration to want to extend my hands to others, something I am yet still so reluctant to do? Could it be that I have met this person who is actively encouraging me to do what I want to do, and who does not judge me even though I have disclosed many deep, dark, embarrassing secrets about myself?

Perhaps it’s a sign that I am not who I really think I am; a sign that I am meant for other things.

Talking to my friend, about kids, animals, the less fortunate—it made me seriously reconsider my future life path. Would I really want to write for flaffy magazines all my life? Not really, honestly. I want to be a teacher, and perhaps, not in a conventional way. I remember the best teachers I’ve had were the ones who were always encouraging, always patient, always ready to listen, and I think that’s the biggest blessing you can have—a good teacher.

And not just in terms of academia, but life; yet, I am afraid because I don’t think I have the patience, or a heart that’s big enough. But maybe after meeting her, and another person who has astonished me by how much we have in common (another writer, heh), perhaps this is a sign that these times, they are a-changing.

I like to think this is the dawn of a new era in my life πŸ™‚ I’m at crossroads though, and confused—perhaps that’s why I’ve met two new teachers, who will help me find my path and walk it at my pace.

July 9, 2007

goldsoundsystem @ maison

Posted in Friends, Happenings, Snapshots at 12:45 pm by meldee

Ok so I’m supposed to be *working* yeah, that’s why I went to Maison again in the first place. But sadly right, I’ve been cracking my head over what to write for a 300-word review on their goldsoundsystem night, which plays house music. I mean in my honest opinion? It was ok. O-K.

Nothing fancy, the four of us (myself, Sue, Elaine and Mun Teng) didn’t even get remotely high and happy on the shared jug of Long Island Iced Tea (because we’re all broke, especially me, since I felt it my responsibility to pay for a larger proportion of costs because it’s my fault we had to endure bad KL traffic and have a crappy night out, boo hoo).

In fact we spent the one-and-a-half hour in Sue’s car beremo-ing to Sue’s emo CD, hitting replay on Bruce Springsteen’s Secret Garden and loudly reciting the lines from Jerry Maguire. Everytime after it ended, there’d be silence in the car as we all pondered our guy-situations (or lack thereof) and heaved huge sighs that could have possibly served to propel the car backwards (which would explain why we took so long to get to Jln Yap Ah Shak, heh).

Upon getting there also, the folks there didn’t even have a press kit waiting for me! What the hell. At least give la some old-ish press releases, or a list of the DJs playing in July. That one also I had to steal off the table upstairs. *grumpy face* What I did have though, was a giant, giant media tag with the words ‘limited access’. Strange right? Shouldn’t it be unlimited access? Oh wells.

We didn’t even get free drinks, or discounts. But me being the wuss I am, didn’t even ask, or protest, or insist. (this is because I feel like such a fraud. Everybody knows I’m not hip enough to be doing nightlife reviews! Give me fashion, or education, or even social issues. I just don’t feel this vibe :/ But gotta be a first time for everything, no?)

I was bored. I mean, I like house music, just not played at ear-splitting volume. Plus the smoky environment made my eyes water. I wanted to go home, or better still, be vegetating on one of the couches in Walker with Tim and lots of junk food and the prospect of curling up in bed and sleeping for 12 hours.

Plus, everyone in Maison is so young! I felt like an old fogey. Hand me my cane, young ‘un, and get me a glass of water so I can take my pills. Sigh.

Gripes aside, here are the first lot of photos. My Nikon’s seriously on its way to camera heaven; my Dad gave me a new set of rechargeable batteries and I’d charged them for 20 hours; 27 photos later the batteries were flat out deceased. Grr. Second lot of photos will be from Sue πŸ™‚

(I dunno why I feel such a compulsion to prove that I am happening. I then proceed to contradict myself by making statements about how bored I am, and how old I feel, etc. I’m a big old whinger)


Maison.


While I quite like Maison’s interior, especially the spacious upper level, I found these things tacky, tacky, tacky.


DJ Afen at the turntables.


The upstairs bar—the place was damn empty till about 1am, but by then the four of us were dead bored and wanted to go mamak (“the highlight of our night”, Sue predicted).


My girls πŸ™‚ Sue, Elaine and Munty.


Long Island Iced Tea! My new fave drink πŸ™‚ (it was a little too much ice and too little drink, though, we reckon. Boo)


Me and my gigantoid media tag. I’ve not been this sober at a club since…well…not like I go clubbing a lot, so pfft.

Wait for the second batch πŸ™‚

/edit

Got ’em!


With Sue and Elaine.

We’ve seem to run into a strange fascination for pretend-kissing. Let’s just say the guys at Maison seemed pretty appreciative,but then don’t all guys dig girl-on-girl action?


Sue and her Personal Party Planner Elaine.


I heart my clubbing kaki.


Hell, I love everyone.


Lodsa lurve going round, uh-huh.

I still haven’t gotten the Cherry Picture from Sue yet. It was so sweet, she loves those preserved cherries and we were trying to fish them out of the jug for her. One of the bar attendants saw us, and tried to give it a go, then he had an epiphany and told us to wait a moment. We thought he’d gone to get a bucket or something to pour all the ice out—but a few minutes later he reappeared with four individual cherries in four glasses! So we posed for a picture and them gave them all to Sue.

Thank you, cherry-fetching Maison bar attendant πŸ™‚ We like you.

***

OnΒ  asking Munty to give me ideas for a pseudonym, she suggested Pat Poh. (Ethan remarked the other night I am like the Pat Poh News Network (PPNN) because I was updating him on Natalya Molok, who has been M.I.A. since her return to the tanahair.)

This completely cracked me up.

If things with Tim don’t work out (choi!) and I end up marrying someone with the surname Poh, our daughter is so gonna end up being called Patricia.

Pat Poh for short.

Bwahahahahahahhahahahahaha.

Ok, I’m done now.

July 1, 2007

AWAM’s Count Me In! Walk & Wheel

Posted in Happenings, Malaysia, My Home, Snapshots, Social Responsibility According to Me at 1:10 am by meldee

In the sweltering late afternoon Malaysian heat we gathered. Pouring with sweat, beneath the majestically billowing Jalur Gemilang. Dataran Merdeka, exactly 2 months before the 50th Merdeka Celebrations are due to be held. Coincidence? Perhaps.

I think it’s wonderfully symbolic, how citizens from different walks of life came together today in a show of solidarity to promote a shared cause—to protest violence, crime, and threat to our personal safety.

Now, I am normally a cynic when it comes to some things; but this time, I had this swelling urge up in side of me wanting so badly to make a difference πŸ˜€ I know this is going to sound incredibly soppy but I really do think if we all united we could really make a difference, you know? Because would you want to someday raise your own family in a society where violence and threat of danger is rampant? Could you let your own daughters out of the house without fearing for their safety?

I think it’s awesome that AWAM’s done this. Seriously, no sucking up intended whatsoever. Because as a public transport taker and often a walker around, I know I fear for my own safety. I yearn for a time when I can go out about my business without the thought of imminent death/mugging/rape looming on my mind!

Sadly, all this was quashed rather abruptly by an ironic twist: some of the participants of this Walk & Wheel to promote safe spaces free from physical and verbal threat and abuse actually hooted and made kissy-kissy sounds as I walked by. Ugh! It just irked me. Start with yourselves, you twats, before you pledge allegiance to larger issues. Stop harassing women!

Grr.

Other than that, I had a pretty good time, actually πŸ™‚ It was a rather small crowd (only about 1,000 present I reckon), but the positive energy was just so palpable! There were disabled persons, Orang Asli, women and kids from shelters, volunteers, families…and, er, me. Wandering around aimlessly trying to take artsy shots with my dinky old Nikon, jotting notes, talking to people.


The courts! I know, I am such a tourist, but it’s ok, I’m with the media. I have an excuse *makes snooty face*.


See? Dataran Merdeka. In big words too.

Haha y’know in Hollywood films, whenever you see a hero with an American flag waving proudly in the background, you involuntarily gag and go ‘Gaaaah..propaganda, propaganda‘…no? Ok well maybe it’s just media students. But this is my own patriotic moment. Jalur Gemilang in the centre and the Wilayah flag especially. I’m a Wilayah Baby and proud of it!


This was one of the moments that touched me—everyone formed a circle signifying unity, holding white cloths to symbolize purity and sacredness, chanting ‘Count me in!’ in English, Malay, Tamil and Mandarin before entering this sacred space.o_O


I quite like this picture. With everyone holding on to the white cloth together, the sunset and the words ‘Bukit Aman’ (Peace Hill?) in the background, it could be interpreted as a hope, or a wish, for the future. Peace, unity and…er, propaganda? No lah, please. But if jadi, I’ll be a very happy chickadee.


The four Sharifah sisters, Aleya, Amani, Aleysha and Aryana reciting this really moving poem as Michael Voon interpreted their words and expressed it through a very graceful dance. I seriously had goosebumps, eeps. Heh.


Volunteers cheerfully leading the disabled and bearing messages on placards as they begun the Walk & Wheel.


Arm in arm, side by side: this evening, forgetting our hang-ups, our problems, our socioeconomic status—we all walked together as Malaysians for a cause. *heart swells with pride*


An AWAM volunteer with the Orang Asli ladies in their personalised t-shirts.


Oh, just one more πŸ™‚ For posterity.

I know I, among many of us out there, feel immense frustration at times with the way things are run in this country. Some policies seem unfair and just plain stupid; there are endless laws confining freedom of speech with no hope for any immediate revamp (as was in the papers a few days ago); women still suffer discrimination even in the laws and statutes.

We are arguably more racially polarised than ever before. We feel our differences so strongly but cannot verbalise them; we protest so vehemently the course of action taken we often decline the golden opportunity to make a difference by voting during general elections (another one of my pet peeves) while resigning ourselves to bitching about election results; we kutuk the government like crazy but yet offer no solutions.

But for all this apathy and self-centredness, I maintain we all really do love this land. We honour the previous generations that worked this land before us and enjoy the fruits of their labour, we love the food and cincai attitude of our fellow citizens. And as much as this may sound very peppy and mushy and whatnot, I will also maintain that this is our country. (Like it or not) It’s ours to live in, to build futures in.

While you may like things the way they are (or not?), ask yourself, is this the country you want your children and grandchildren to inherit from you someday? Give them something to be proud of.

Kubunudu* πŸ˜€

*: (High School) Bear Gibberish for ‘I’m gonna do it!’

June 30, 2007

happy birthday, dahling/new campus/AWAM walk&wheel

Posted in Dahlings, Friends, Happenings, Snapshots at 4:10 pm by meldee

To the ever-blur, innocent, side-splittingly funny, caring, sweet, girly and romantic Abby–

Happy 21st Birthday, Dahling πŸ™‚


For the endless amusement and joy you bring, the late night talks, the comforting cheesy phrases, your unwavering faith and your big, wonderful heart. *hug.kiss.love*

On another note, I wandered over to the new Monash Campus in Sunway because I thought the MUSA meeting would be there *tsk tsk Dahlia*, but it turned out to be at the old campus. Oh wells, I got trigger happy—but not much. (My thoughts are too sluggish, it’s 36 degrees and I’m dying)


The sign leading up to my new second home πŸ˜€


We have a sky bridge! It’s carpeted, too.


Another supercool view of said sky bridge over the main entrance.


Um. Random pic.


Hello, pretty new Monash campus! About bloody time we get a nice one here thank you!

As a member of the Wom*n’s Affairs Collective (WAC) we also get a pseudo-office πŸ˜€ Now how cool is that. Plus with Black (Scrap) Metal coming in, I’m going to spending a lot of time here without the resentment of taking the bus! Huzzah!

After going to the new campus to help MUSA move in stuff, I popped by my old apartment to search for my old shoes. It’s been very distressing because I love my shoes, and not having them for a year and a half made me very upset. After tearing my old room apart for over an hour I found them—in the box closest to the door, because that’s how irony works.


Eeps I also found this! My teeny tiny fluffy dressing gown from when I was living in Bournemouth πŸ˜€Β  Aah the memories..

I raced home after grabbing my shoes and stuff because my mum needed the car.Β  I ran upstairs immediately, pouring with sweat.

Mum: Where’s the fire?

Me: I need to take a family photograph. I’ve missed them so much.

Mum: Who?

Me: My shoes.


I have 8 pairs of ballet flats. Not excessive also, right?


And another 8 pairs of heels (two not seen here).

And a pair of boots. And 4 pairs of sneakers. And 3 more pairs of sandals downstairs.

And this is just my Malaysian collection. I have easily 8 more pairs of shoes at Tim’s. Heh.

I told you I put the ‘Mel’ in ‘Imelda’.


Oh shiny red Reebok sneakers! I’ve missed you. I don’t care if people say you’re lala, I like you just as you are *hearts*.

So I’m going for the AWAM Walk&Wheel thing at Dataran Merdeka later. Will be alone, crycry, because Dahlia has come down with a flu and I have to go anyway because Star’s already sent a photographer and I have to do a write up for both them and Youth Malaysia.

Oh wells it’ll be fun anyways I reckon πŸ™‚

Will post pics and update later. It’s too hot to write or think coherently.

June 24, 2007

twilight action

Posted in Friends, Happenings, Snapshots at 9:20 pm by meldee

Heh so finally, I’ve been out with the uni mates. Retro music, flashing strobe lights, really expensive alcohol (I HATE DRINKING IN MALAYSIA OK) and them putting the ‘action’ into Twilight Action night…phew! Made for one helluva time πŸ˜€

Through the traffic, the rain, the laughing in the car with Chansky, Elayne and Munteng, Chansky’s coughing and the serious lack of a crowd when we got to Loft at Zouk, it was seriously damn fun πŸ˜€

Of course, the two tequila shots after my Malibu Coke and sips of watered-down brandy at Ethan’s insistence helped heaps πŸ™‚

Since I’m guessing nobody wants my ramblings (it’s too damn hot anyways), I’ll go straight to the pictures.


We are just too cool. Commies Tems, Cheryl Y., Lynette and myself in my uber-retro halter minidress from my dad’s friend and cardiologist who has a 16 year-old son and two younger daughters o_O She passed down heaps of her Zara/MNG stuff to me once. Woots!


Me, Munty, Elayne! Three of us in retro-print slinky desses, ooowee πŸ˜‰


With sexy Ethan and Kathia!


Dennis was happily pimpin’ it. He got quite a few envious glares from guys in passing cars as we drove into KL LOL.


I love Munty! Hehe if you’re going to point out that my lips aren’t actually touching her cheek, it’s cos I just reapplied my lipgloss and it was mighty sticky. Don’t want to leave sticky residue all over her porcelain skin πŸ™‚ *haha ZOMG that could be taken so wrong*


LOL I know, I look too happy. But what to do, Sexy Munty was giving me a kiss! A real one, too πŸ˜€


The Mad Comm bunch–me, Zeck (who was quite gone by this stage, LOL), Cheryl, Tems and her sexayy pout, Lynette, Kathia, Ethan and Tasha (who weren’t looking, humf!).

Er, oh, that’s all I have. Heh. Actually got some highly incriminating photographs but that’s not for your eyes.

Eh next time anyone goes out ajak me along okayy πŸ˜€ And Munty my new clubbing partner—she’s my new Amanda! *heart*