Friday, July 29, 2005

Somewhere Only We Know

By Keane
I walked across an empty land
I knew the pathway like the back of my hand
I felt the earth beneath my feet
Sat by the river and it made me complete

Oh simple thing where have you gone
I'm getting old and I need something to rely on
So tell me when you're gonna let me in
I'm getting tired and I need somewhere to begin

And if you have a minute why don't we go
Talk about it somewhere only we know?
This could be the end of everything
So why don't we go
Somewhere only we know?

Hotel Rwanda

I'd wanted to upload Keane lyrics but stumbled upon this interview on the genocide in Rwanda.

And since we were on the subject of movies - I was compelled to mention Hotel Rwanda after reading the interview by this journalist who witnessed the mass killings and genocide in Rwanda.

For those who haven't watched this movie yet - it is highly recommended. Not for it's aestheticity but for the very real message of Rwanda -how we as human beings would respond when we stare evil in the face. In the case of Rwanda, nothing was done. Do pick this up and then read the interview after.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Trois couleurs:Bleu

Yesterday's film at the Asia Europe Institute was another thinker-considered a 'major triumph of European Cinema"- interlaced with orchestrated music and visual themes. Trois couleur Bleu is the first of a trilogy by Krzysztof Kieslowski which examines the French ideals of liberty, fraternity and equality. The role of the woman dealing with the loss of her husband and child seemed made for Juliette Binoche who is absolutely in her element.

In the informal 'toilet debriefing', I mentioned to Amy and Yin Li if I or a lay-Malaysian would appreciate this kind of movie if it were played on a DVD instead of being shown on a big screen of an institution of higher learning amongst literati, academics and students. The answer is I that would - attesting to the fact that the musical score is already imprinted in my mind and Binoches bleeding knuckles scraping the stone wall is still playing in my head. Which I would like to allude my gratitude to organizations like the Asia-Europe Institute for planting the seed of appreciation in our culture-starved soil via these movie features.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Money, Status, Power

He called in last week regarding his case. Actually it was the manager who didn't know how to deal with the request who pushed the phone call in a beep via receiver that pushed his story to me.

The request? To transfer his brother's customers (who was a former terminated sales person) to his name.

He walked in - short, aging, dark skinned 50+ Chinese man with big spectacles.

"Very busy ar? Sorry to come in this time but my case very urgent"

Well, I know your case is very urgent, isn't everybody's own case very urgent?

"You don't know my story -let me tell you ar..."

I stopped him there. I knew exactly what his story was after checking various sources from other departments. Apparently he came in once before a few months ago to plead his case - he did not qualify for the requirements to have the assignation. The manager in charge then tried to help him but they couldn't transfer the cases due to the system limitations (in-built rule in the mainframe) After being explained to, he still wasn't satisfied and was coming in again now to 'try his luck. So I let him talk.

"I am a member of the Union, I know the people there. I will put this in writing and it's only a matter of time before I put in a formal complaint. I'm not happy with the way the management run things. They're always hiding things from us which is not transparent.If you want me to talk to your boss I will.. " yada yada yada

I've heard these lines many times - over and over again. Like a broken record. Don't these people know that their song have been sung by others before? To the same tune?

Then I wondered what it would be like in his shoes. He must be really desperate for money to take over old customers of a terminated sales man. Also, to bear the humiliation of going from one person to another just to get a few pittance in commission. Now he has to deal with a young upstart like me to get his case through.Money - no; Status -no; Power -no. The most pathetic thing is that he tried to use name dropping and co-ersion to get people's attention to his case. And I wonder if at the age of 56 how long and how far would I go to get a few sen in my pocket....God forbid.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Speed of Sound

By Coldplay

Look up, I look up at night
Planets are moving at the speed of light
Climb up, up in the trees
Every chance that you get is a chance you seize
How long am I gonna stand
With my head stuck under the sand
I'll start before I can stop or
Before I see things the right way up

All that noise and all that sound
All those places I have got found
And birds go flying at the speed of sound
To show you how it all began
Birds come flying from the underground
If you could see it then you'd understand

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Zouk Girl's Night Out

Mambo Jumbo night - Olivia Newton John & John Travolta's "Grease Lightning" ,Kylie Minogue "I Should Be So Lucky", Rick Astley "Never Gonna Give You Up" basically the good stuff from the 80s and early 90s, guys from Perth trying to get lucky, old friend with her colleague, mini skirts, halter necks....etc

- Inventory list:
1 Glass of Wine
6 Sex On the Beaches
4 Tequila Shots
2 Malibu Rum and Pineapples
1 Beer
1 Big Fucking Hangover

It's a blast - Someone still proves that she can really handle her alcohol (which I greatly admire and still get amazed at). Two still has to go to work today (which they were late for)- two having a big mega headache and puky feeling(and the other doesnt ) Hallelujah hallah hallah

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Parking Meter

The parking meter stood at attention every morning. "Yes Sir -Park Here Sir-Thank You for the Change Sir-Have a good day sir!" But every morning, the cars park there and gives the money to the 'Jaga Kereta'instead. That scrubby grubby darkie with the I-swear-they-smell clothes who waits by the side of the road waiting for the next 'car victim' to come. He ignores the poor parking meter and his brothers who stand there faithfully every morning and robs the very sen under their noses from the 'car parkers'. The 'Jaga' knows his stuff - the moment a car comes up the road he runs to the car and motions them like a true professional car park jockey. 'Turn this way' 'Turn that way' 'Reverse a bit' 'Yes Sir this is good' 'Only 1 ringgit park here' 'I take good care of your car'. The drivers look suspicious most of the time but most reach into their wallet to pay the 'Jaga' (in case he does something maleficient to their cars which would ultimately cost more than the 1 ringgit) They never see the parking meters.
Moral of the story:
To get a sale, you can't expect people to put money in your mouth -to get a sale, you have to reach out to the people and take the money.
Look authoritative -people most of the time comply. If that doesn't work, look threatening.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Bastille Day

Yesterday, July 14th (14 juillet) was Bastille Day. We celebrated it at the Ambassador's Residence, Ambassade de France in Jalan Ampang with Champagne and Kiwi Brandy - nice. There were plenty of French people there and the occasional non-French - SPG type girls, a few Indians hovering over the alcohol dispensary and even saw Anna L'italiana there. Also met a pleasant French girl who was Philippe's ex-schoolmate - she works in Alcatel, Wisma Denmark down the road from AIA. Observed the people there (did this amidst trying to act busy - you can only do so much whilst standing and pretending to understand what people are saying). Over the occasional "oui","non","moins","enchantee" - which were the only few words I could pick up - on the flat screen TV a minute of silence was observed in Paris during the celebrations for the London bomb attack victims - cigar smoke blowing in my face - chatter chatter chatter dans le Francais - heels elevated stressing my achilles - live band belting out 'You're Too Good to Be True". A Bastille Day to remember

Thursday, July 14, 2005

After the Break In

I opened the car boot to put in my carried paper bag. 'Hey, why is there pieces of glass in my boot? I don't remember carrying anything made of glass' Then I noticed that my boot was empty. Turning to my left, I see the shattered glass, half dangling inwards.
'Oh shit' I exclaim.
Running into the side, I see the locks have been lifted up. Inspected the front for anything missing. Car radio still intact, steering lock still in place. Open the dashboard, everything looks the same. Look at the CDs - they're still there.I run back to the boot.
Losses discovered - missing golf bag - main thing I notice. 'Dammit!'(later on there would be more - Nike shoe box, Sarah's CDs and DVD)
I call Philippe and then the Perodua sales man Kevin.
" It was dark mother. I tried, I really tried but it was too much for me. I had no choice but to break. He and his friends came from nowhere. It was dark. They hit me again and again. Your alarm rang, but they reached in through my broken body. I wanted to cry "Stop! Stop!" but I am silent - torn - only a shattered piece of glass. A man walking pass. He peers at me, inside me. I'm afraid he will reach in. By now I can do nothing. He stops only for a second. Then moves on. Now I am nothing. But mostly I am sorry. I've tried my best and this is what I could give"
There's that car again. Let's do it tonight. No one around. It's dark. Where's the stool? Here it is. Smash it quick. Alarm sounding. Fast fast fast. Put the hand in. Lift the boot lock knob.Open car boot. Grab the golf bag. Grab the shoe box. There's a black plastic. What's inside? CDs, a DVD. Grab that too. Someone's looking. Run, run run.

Obituary Of A Car Window

Quarter Car Window
Born February 2, 2005
Died July 11, 2005

Little Quarter Car Window, you will be sadly missed by Kenari, Brothers Front and Back Windshield, Sisters Left and Right Side-windows and mostly Car Owner Fiona. Thank you for protecting the inside of Kenari from the sun, dust, rain and preventing mosquitoes coming in. Your deeds will not be forgotten

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

And so you want to be a writer...

"And so you want to be a writer eh...?" says the old man to him.
"Yeah I do..." he replies unconvincingly.

What is it about the people that value the process - you don't get to be egoistic and proud enough to want to follow it through. That's the problem with the little people -they're there to do the work but not to get the name. And which side of the coin is worse? The egoists or the hardworking cowardice? (I'm writing this on computer while being interrupted on the phone - it's true what my creative writing instructor says - that on the keyboard you tend to want to go back and delete what you've written - and methinks the office is not the most convenient place to write anyway) And going back to the young man;

He walks down the street pondering on the old man's question "So you WANT to be a writer eh?"....Gone were the times when he used to bind his own little notebook with the scribblings and doodles which carried the pregnant weight of his thoughts.

"Yes I do want to be a writer -I AM a writer" he thinks.

But he also thinks of the sweat, the tears and the rejections of publishing.

"Oh well, at least I could give it a try"

But he knows in the back of his mind that he will start this pursuit with frenzy which lasts but a few months and from then on it's back to square one. He realizes this but he also holds on to the motto that 'You have only one life to live, so live it!' He also hopes that this time, it would not be just another trivial pursuit.

"Who knows, I'll make it this time - I'll promise myself that I'll keep at it -I'll persevere as I've never persevered before. THAT would make the difference" he mutters to himself.

And so he hurries to the nearest bookshop, full of determination, to get the whitest bound paper weight from Popular bookstore and the smoothest black roller ball pen (and a few other colour pens too since colours stimulate the right brain) and hurries home.

Monday, July 04, 2005

My First Book Reading

Last Friday I attended my first ever book reading at Sharon Bakar's. And boy, it was by far one of the most memorable of my Friday nights.

I was hesitant whether or not to go as it wasn't one of my best days at work. However I made my decision to come since it was so nearby Tropicana Golf and Country Club after the agent's product launching and I needed a quiet but meaningful activity where I can sit and contemplate.

Thing was, Sharon forgot to email that the reading was off since there were only 2 respondees. When I finally got there, it seemed awfully quiet. Sharon's husband answered the door (didn't seem too pleased at my intrusion). Sharon was surprised - I'd just interrupted her musical recorder concerto. But she was really nice and even poured me a glass of wine AND gave me an impromptu performance of her recorder skills.

Not only that, she managed to get Jaeson Iskandar (reader/performer/artist) on her mobile and he was a sweetie - actually gave me a reading from Brokeback Mountain via the MOBILE. Yes, Wyoming, America came alive for 30 minutes for me via the handphone over Kebab dinner. about great first timers.