Monday, June 27, 2005

Pontianak Menjerit

A horror story.

There was a time I stayed for about two months in Kulai (WORLD!). That time I was working for a palm oil plantation company. Their palm oil mill there had problems with the water treatment system. I was sent there for the rescue.

In the midst of the palm oil plantation there was this cosy little community set up for the workers. It was like a little kampong. Mill manager was the penghulu and plantation manager was the vice-penghulu. I must say that the place was beautiful. All throughout my stay, I bunked at the mill assistant manager’s neat little bungalow. He was a young Chinese fellow who claimed to have been malaynised. I was to call him Awie (his Chinese name was Ah Wee). His girlfriend stayed there too. I got along very well with them. Nice people they are.

When I say their water treatment plant is giving headaches, I mean it in every sense. The treatment pond had evolved into something like a fermented dodol, except it was worse. Far worse. It breathed laboured breath and you could see bubbles forming and exploding on the surface just like thickened dodol on fire. Birds would mistake it for god-knows what and they would get stuck on the merciless pond. And they suffered long smelly death. The pond was dying but it did not want to go alone. It wanted victims.

It was giving the management major headaches because the Department of Environment did not look kindly to the blackish final effluent that went into the rivers.

It was giving me the mother of all headaches as I stood there by the pond trying to breathe, in the heavy stench that was exhaled by the monster-pond.

‘Awie, what you want me to do? Revive the dead? And kill myself in the process?’ Mission almost impossible.

Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to do. In my expert knowledge as pond-shaman I would say that the pond was dead. That… thing that was still breathing was no more the pond. It was the hantu raya of the pond or something.

Headache. Inside outside upside down all around. Thinking was impossible. Even breathing was not a preferred activity. The smell, omigawd… it felt like the hantu raya's invisible hands were at your throat choking you, daring you to survive it. I needed something to cover my nose if i were to go by the pond again. And so I left it and headed back to the office.

The smell followed me and everybody at the office had to stifle vomit when they come near me. The smell of the dead. It refused to let go of you. It trailed behind you like a shadow, menacingly.

I headed back to the bungalow. Nobody could function at the office, with me smelling like that.

The smell had stuck on even the undies. It was terrible. Peeling off everything, I dumped them all in the washing machine. Put generous amounts of detergent and put the cycle to max. If I could put myself in the washing tub, I would too. Instead, I headed to the shower and scrubbed off the smell of the dead pond.

Refreshed after the shower and smelling like a human again, I was pleased to note that the washing machine had stopped. Great! I didn’t bring plenty of clothes. I could hung them then and hopefully they would be dry soon and I could wear them again tomorrow.

Opened the tub.

Lo and behold, what was that little teenie weenie whitish soft pieces stuck on almost every garment in the tub. Peered closer. Picked one up for closer inspection. Looked like… tiny hands? Cannot be. Lifted spectacles for better zooming. 20k, zooming 10k, zooming further in…. and then it dawned on me what it was.

‘Blendered’ lizard!!!!!!!!

A lizard must have been inside the washing tub when I put my clothes in, the lid was left opened since last night (Awie! I am so going to kill you). The max cycles must have shred the lizard to pieces!! And then I saw bits of its’ head and other limbs.. Eeeeeuwww!!! (And scream scream scream scream and jump and run and jump and run and into the shower again and screammmmm).

I can’t even begin to describe to you how hysterical that got me. Now I know I claim to be a superhero. But lizard to me is like kryptonite to Superman.

Demam terus.

(psst, washing machine is a killing machine. One time my brother in law washed clothes with a rat trapped inside. The rat came out dead and BALD!!!!)

Sunday, June 26, 2005

TerHANGAT di pasaran.

a-a-a, careful now, dont touch your computer screen.

Yes. The banner has just only been put up (by.. not sure who, she was a bit blurry). The design is done by who-else but THE maknenek. Now now now, i told you not to touch. It is still so very new, fresh from the oven. Paint still a bit wet behind the ears. Panas! Panas!

As for anything as eventful as putting up banners, it deserves a day to be declared as public holiday. I declare today to be it. Will not be capable to be doing any work anyway. I will spend the rest of today just basking in the brilliance of their work.

Beautiful banner, dont you think? MakNenek, i owe you one, MAJOR BIGTIME!
And my blurry contractor, thank you for the extra renovation too. I like! I like!

MakNenek & KakTeh, mmmmmmuah you big-fat-wet kisses left right center!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

The Ten Queues

Image hosted by
Compliments are a form of gifts. And as any gifts, the pleasure of giving is equivalent if not more to receiving. I know this. I get a high from giving too. Priceless. It is just that I am not comfortable being a recipient of gifts especially when they are in the form of compliments. Makes me awkward, and embarrassed and downright uncomfortable.

I was chatting online with Intan, my school friend, yesterday. We were discussing blogs. And she mentioned how Atenah’s and BlueScrubber’s are spots that she visits so regularly it is almost religious. Likewise, Intan, likewise. Some spots I visit for the humor (eg.Hana Kirana & Artco & Leen Ashburn etc), some for their experience (all of the makciks), some for the beauty of the language (Maya & Susan & Tuang AG etc) and some for their wisdom (Atenah & BlueScrubber etc), some for their different perspective on things (Aisehman etc) and the rest simply because I like the sincerity, the warmth and the champagne-bubbliness of their personalities that just tickles my senses. I am in wonderland alright.

And then Intan said something nice about my spot. Luckily she was thousands of miles away so she was spared from seeing me squirm and shift and shuffle shuffle my feet. And as usual, I could not receive the compliments aka gifts as gracefully as anyone should. Which I think is rude. I too would be hurt if my gift is thrown back at me. I wouldn’t want to be deprived of the pleasure of giving too. And I know that a ‘thank you’ when complimented is not a sign of perasangitis. The art of saying ‘thank you’ should be taught in school!

I am sorry Intan. Thank you for the compliments. I don’t think I am deserving of it but I am flattered that you think I do.

The other day, a friend complimented how I looked. ‘You look nice today.’
Instead of a simple thank you and a smile I responded by saying, ‘Airbrush effect je tu.’

When hubby said, ‘Cantiknya mini abang’, I would say something about how rabun he must be or how biased he is or how perasan.

When omak-in-law said something nice about my culinary skills and speed, I would steer her away from the subject and started rambling about the prices of chicken and fish!

Maybe because I was once involved in a very emotionally abusive relationship, I handled abuse better. Make fun of my hair, laugh at my shape, poke jokes at my work, throw dirt to my door, I can handle, but niceties?

Maybe I lack that specific genetic code, CGAT*empty*CGAT which function is to make one accepts gifts with a simple ‘thank you’ and to not doubt the sincerity when kindness is offered.

Maybe my brain is damaged left right center so I have not the skill to accept sweetness gracefully.

Maybe I am just plain rude. An ingrate. With a heart so dark and mind so warped and screwed up. Frankenstein at its clumsiest.

Haiya… all this, just to say thank you for all the nice things that anybody ever thought/said/given to me.

Haiya, so difficult.

Thank You and Smile.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Left Right Wrong ~ The Sequel

This piece is dedicated to Anonymous and Jedi, Kak Teh, Anedra, Ely, Anne75, AuntyN & her hubby, Hogtied and Lady Jade. I found this from

If i play doctor i diagnose myself having brain injury at parietal and tempral lobes. Yamtuan, if you are reading this, dont la marah-marah anymore when i am forgetful and give you wrong directions. I am .. cough cough... not well. Highlighted in green is my 'observed problems'.

All the activities we perform each day, whether physical or mental, are directed by different parts of our brains. The brain has many parts including the cerebral cortex, brain stem, and cerebellum. Below is a list of functions and deficits or problems revealed when injury occurs at particular locations.

Frontal Lobe: Most anterior, right under the forehead.
How we know what we are doing within our environment (Consciousness).
How we initiate activity in response to our environment.
Judgments we make about what occurs in our daily activities.
Controls our emotional response.
Controls our expressive language.
Assigns meaning to the words we choose.
Involves word associations.
Memory for habits and motor activities.
Observed Problems:
Loss of simple movement of various body parts (Paralysis).
Inability to plan a sequence of complex movements needed to complete multi-stepped tasks, such as making coffee (Sequencing).
Loss of spontaneity in interacting with others.
Loss of flexibility in thinking.
Persistence of a single thought (Perseveration).
Inability to focus on task (Attending).
Mood changes (Emotionally Labile).
Changes in social behavior.
Changes in personality.
Difficulty with problem solving.
Inablility to express language (Broca's Aphasia).

Parietal Lobe: near the back and top of the head.
Location for visual attention.
Location for touch perception.
Goal directed voluntary movements.
Manipulation of objects.
Integration of different senses that allows for understanding a single concept.
Observed Problems:
Inability to attend to more than one object at a time.
Inability to name an object (Anomia).
Inability to locate the words for writing (Agraphia).
Problems with reading (Alexia).
Difficulty with drawing objects.
Difficulty in distinguishing left from right.
Difficulty with doing mathematics (Dyscalculia).
Lack of awareness of certain body parts and/or surrounding space (Apraxia) that leads to difficulties in self-care.
Inability to focus visual attention.
Difficulties with eye and hand coordination.

Occipital Lobes: Most posterior, at the back of the head.
Observed Problems:
Defects in vision (Visual Field Cuts).
Difficulty with locating objects in environment.
Difficulty with identifying colors (Color Agnosia).
Production of hallucinations
Visual illusions - inaccurately seeing objects.
Word blindness - inability to recognize words.
Difficulty in recognizing drawn objects.
Inability to recognize the movement of an object (Movement Agnosia).
Difficulties with reading and writing.

Temporal Lobes: Side of head above ears.
Hearing ability
Memory aquisition
Some visual perceptions
Catagorization of objects.
Observed Problems:
Difficulty in recognizing faces (Prosopagnosia).
Difficulty in understanding spoken words (Wernicke's Aphasia).
Disturbance with selective attention to what we see and hear.
Difficulty with identification of, and verbalization about objects.
Short-term memory loss.
Interference with long-term memory
Increased or decreased interest in sexual behavior.
Inability to catagorize objects (Catagorization).
Right lobe damage can cause persistant talking.
Increased aggressive behavior.

Deep in Brain, leads to spinal cord.
Heart Rate
Reflexes to seeing and hearing (Startle Response).
Controls sweating, blood pressure, digestion, temperature (Autonomic Nervous System).
Affects level of alertness.
Ability to sleep.
Sense of balance
Observed Problems:
Decreased vital capacity in breathing, important for speech.
Swallowing food and water (Dysphagia).
Difficulty with organization/perception of the environment.
Problems with balance and movement.
Dizziness and nausea (Vertigo).
Sleeping difficulties (Insomnia, sleep apnea).

Located at the base of the skull.
Coordination of voluntary movement
Balance and equilibrium
Some memory for reflex motor acts.
Observed Problems:
Loss of ability to coordinate fine movements.
Loss of ability to walk.
Inability to reach out and grab objects.
Dizziness (Vertigo).
Slurred Speech (Scanning Speech).
Inability to make rapid movements.
Obtaining a general understanding

Monday, June 20, 2005

Left Right Wrong

I am of age. I can tell right from wrong. Knee-high boots are wrong for kebaya and eggs are wrong for spaghetti bolognaise. I know stilettos are wrong for sprinting (or walking, it's just a plain cruel invention) and big alleycat hairdos are wrong for Y2k. I know geek-y thick rimmed glasses are right right now and rimless glasses are so not. I know punk-y accessories are in. I am 'mumayyiz' alright. I know the rights and I know the wrongs.

But I cant tell right from left.

I was watching Fear Factor last night. It was Couple Fear Factor or something. The man was supposed to drive a car up on a ramp onto a moving trailer. The catch was he was to drive blindfolded. The woman was to give instructions to the driver as to how to get the car up and on the trailer.

Couple 1
‘Left! Left!’ and the man swerved to the right.
‘I said left!’ she screamed high pitch. We are talking US1 million here babe. I would be hysterical too. And the blind (aka stupid) went further to the right.
‘LEFT!’ I think she was about to smack him on the head.
Now the man didn’t take orders from a lesser gender, no ma’am. He did not appreciate being hollered at, especially when he was following instructions. By now they were out of the highway, stranded in a wetland beside it.
‘THIS IS LEFT’ he screamed back, this time waving his left hand.

Couple 2
During the interview with the host (Joe Rogan issit?).
‘I have to teach my husband again which is left and which is right. Our 3-year old would have done better.’ There you go.

Couple 3, 4, 5, 6
Almost all of the men were not able to tell the direction they were going when they were blindfolded.

Me? I cant tell left from right even when I am NOT blindfolded.

Dot was sitting infront of me. I was offering her some fruits. And as she was about to reach for a piece, I noticed that she was using the wrong hand.
‘Hah, use your right hand!’ A garang mommy in action.
And Dot quickly switched to the other hand only to have Yamtuan screamed back at me.
‘She WAS using the right hand!’
Oh… sowiii..

A friend was coming over to our house and she called me for directions.
‘After the traffic light you turn right. Go straight until you see a Petronas. Turn left. About 100 metres ahead you will see our compound on your right.’
She couldn’t find my place. I got all the left-right wrong.

I always use the right hand when I eat and the left hand to clean toilets. That has become a habit, so no problem there. But I get confused very easily. It takes a conscious effort to tell left from right. I cant tell if you are using your right hand or your left hand if you are sitting in front of me. I can tell better if you are beside me. I have to face the direction to be able to read the map.

When I was little, I had difficulty telling a ‘b’ from a ‘d’. My mom would have a jug of water ready for every lesson. She would pour the water on me everytime I get it wrong.; which was all the time. It helped. I grew out of the confusion and so I learnt my alphabet the aqua way.

But I still can’t tell left from right.

Mak, pour some water on me (def leppard).

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Severe Warning

It was 1997, the year the economic bubble burst. I was in-between jobs. Having resigned my engineering job, I found it wasn’t easy finding a new one. Construction companies and contractors were retrenching, not hiring. Through an employment agency I got a job as data entry clerk at a management consultant company. All I had to do (the whole day) was to key in potential client’s address and phone numbers into their database. Gone were the days of steel-toe safety boots, jeans and bundle shirts. The job was so boring I could kill myself. But hey, I got to wear high heels and skirts. I could dress to kill (many died).

I made friends with Elizabeth almost instantly (we even went for haircuts together).

One day, as we were leaving office together after work ~ me in my big hairdo (it was in then), and Liz in her new short-short hair ~ a man came from behind and tugged hard at her necklace. This was in broad daylight on the busy ground floor of Dayabumi (same floor as McDonald’s).

I cannot give chance one. The superheroine in me just could not let a villain get away, so I took off after him. Picture this, the thug in front, chased after by one man who took off with me and myself. I was wearing a real tight floral pastel long skirt, with high slits on both sides. I was also wearing 3-inch stilettos. It was not a pretty sight. I was wearing something not meant for sprinting at all, not meant to go kick ass too. But adrenaline took over common sense. I may be running wibble-wobble-ly (tight skirt and sharp heels) but run I did. Was it a bird? Was it a jet plane? No…. it was super-me.

And I ran and ran, intent on catching the thief. The man in front of me had managed to catch up with the thief but instead of walloping him, they laughed together and turned back looking at me. They were COMRADES!! There I was, all 150cm of me (inclusive 3 inches of heels), facing them, not quite knowing what to do. That time we have ran so far we were at the outskirts of Tasik Perdana. The only thing on me that I could use as weapon was emm… my stilettos? But they were the strappy type and would take a few minutes to remove! I wasn’t wearing my superhero spandex suit and I did not have my super gadgets with me too.

And so heroic-me made a quick u-turn and ran back towards Dayabumi. I swear I heard them laughing. Luckily, they let me be.

Puffing and panting, I walked as steadily as I could to Liz. Kontrol macho.

‘What were you thinking? You think you hero ah?’ What an ingrate!
‘I just (pant... pant) wanted to (pant ... pant) get your (pant... pant) necklace back.’
‘He never did get my necklace, you know. It broke and fell right into my bra.’

How was I to know?

Anyways, I will share my secretest secret. I come from Kluang of Johor. In the old glory days of Bruce Wayne, Kluang was known as Gotham City. He has long since disappeared and I have lost Robin’s handphone number (he changes his number so often, youngsters! Hah!). Kluang Man is around but we are not exactly in the same circle. Besides, he operates from Tampoi, JB.

Years have passed since my kick-ass days and I don’t fit into the spandex and leather suit anymore (can-lah but will take me hours). But my heart still pumps heroic blood. And i still have The Whip.

To snatch thieves out there, be very afraid. Don’t mess with me. I don’t give chance one.


Monday, June 13, 2005

The Wedding

My wedding was nothing like Ujang's. Mine was a very simple affair. If i had it my way, we would not even have the bersanding and berdulang. Maybe not even the nasi minyak whatnots. The simpler the better, i thought and Yamtuan too readily agreed.

Yamtuan's brother, Ujang is different story altogether. His wedding was on such a grand scale. Theories why it became such a big event.
1. Maybe because Ujang is 38 and had 3 broken engagements before, and EG is 36 so their union is an event that both families were really looking forward too.
2. The families are neighbors. It had been such a long time since the kampung had its last arranged marriage from within the kampung. All the old folks were excited at the prospect of having a procession between the two houses - just like the old times.
3. Both families are adat-strong. One Selemak and the other, uppish suku Biduanda.

I was ultra excited too. I have always been a stickler for adat, budaya and language. I so looked forward to a proper pepatih wedding.

Nikah was to be done at the kampung's mosque. But Ujang was to wait at home for the bride's representative to come invite him over. And so we waited at home. Ujang with his light yellow baju melayu and the rest of us in our best baju kurung and head covers. We had 'lelangit' ready in one corner in the living room. A pink piece of fabric were hung up high covering the ceiling and there were skirtings as well to cover half the walls. A 'peminangan' was put underneath it. Peminangan is really just a set of tepak sirih. It looks very old, solid brass i think. Must have been handed down over many generations.

And then they arrived, with keris and their own set of peminangan. Sirihs were shared and chewed diligently and the bride's family asked whether Ujang would honor his promise. I think, at this point, no one in his right mind would dare change his mind, what with the keris and the misai and the muscles of the men sent.

At the mosque, proper ayats were recited and the Imam read from a book, 'dan takutlah kamu kepado Tuhan kamu dengan setakut-takutnyo, sesungguhnyo, Dio lah yang etc etc...'
And so Ujang wed kak EG, with janji bersaksi, ijab berwali.

That night they had a berinai ceremony, complete with caklempong and pantun/puisi recited spontaneously in the beautiful language of 'o'. I love it! I love it!

For bersanding the next day at EG's place, all the Undangs attended too. Twelve flags, for each of the twelve suku(s) were erected. The twelve flags were sandwiched by two lembings. The lembings were most interesting to me. There were locks of real human hair tied to the lembings near the blade! I asked Yamtuan the story behind the lembings and the flags but he could not answer. Were the kampung folk cannibals? Whose hair is that? Why?

Bersanding ceremony at our place, the female members of EG's family came in their baju kurung and samping songket. Interesting. After the tepung tawar and all, there was a 'menyombah' session ~ Ujang introduced his bride to all the female members in his family. For each, there were gifts of penganan ~ dodol and wajik.

I love it. I love it.

'bang, kenapa kenduri kita tak macam ni? Takde keris, lembing, bendera, undang, penganan?'
'kau oghang takdo suku'
'anak kita suku tak?'
'nak masuk suku, ado adat eh. Kono berkadim. Budak-budak masuk suku, kau soghang takdo suku'
'mini boleh kadim-kadim tak?'
'tak buleh. kalo nak kono bosunat laie.'

Ohhhhh, maybe not lah hoh?

Thursday, June 09, 2005


Where is the darn thing?

I used to have one huge glob of grey matter in my kepalahotak. When I was younger, my head was swollen with having such a big brain. I had so much of it that it would sometimes come out from the nose and ears (Gross!). To sit for exams I would only read my notes at the most twice. Three times I would be bored. During lessons I did not even take down notes. Had no time for it, I was more engrossed in listening to the new stuff to be bothered with writing them down. Ahhhh... the good old days when I still had brains.

Now, my head has shrunk considerably smaller and it feels lighter too. Sometimes I think what I have upstairs is just vast empty space. Vacuum. RAM the size of baby peanuts.

Today I forgot to bring my purse. I only have RM9 in my pocket (thank God), which I will use RM3 for the train fare later today. That leaves me RM6 only to lunch. Okay. If only my office has a canteen like that of a school ~ with 50 cents can buy a plate of mee kosong (or mee bodoh as I used to call it) and a small guppy plastic glass of sirap.

And I forgot to bring the keys to my office too. So this morning I had to go to the maintenance office and get the boys to help open my door.

Yamtuan doesn’t know that on more than one occasions I have almost burnt the kitchen. Eggs have exploded, rice has turned to charcoal, and pots and pans have been cremated. May they retire in peace. Sometimes I would remember to remove the pots and pans from the fire but forgot to turn the fire out so the gas would be wasted away. Every time we leave the house, I would be beside myself with worry; whether I have left anything on the stove or if the iron is still on. Whenever we reach home, I would look at it the first possible second and be really glad that the apartment was still there, not burnt down.

Too many times I would go into one room to get something and could not remember what it was. And then I had to sit down and think. Sometimes I would peel onions and garlic, crush ginger and then had to sit and think what it was that I planned to cook. Everyday i would have to remind myself that the two makhluk bersaiz halus in the house are my children. 'What is your name again, kid? Wear nametag can?'

When my memory fails me, my system just goes ‘hang’. I don’t go blur, I hang, yes. More often than not, Yamtuan has to reboot me. Painful!

What is my memory size I wonder, it must be a lot of GBs? I have probably used up most of the space with junk. I can’t seem to remember things that matter. Junks I have lotsa.

Sudirman’s Toyol (kepala botak matanya terbeliak, giginya bertaring merata-rata) and Sudirman’s Maya (sayangku maya, tak pernah ku lupa padamu, kau comel kau manja temanku, selalu kita bersama),
Filofat and Fatafil (matchstick cartoon character, no dialogue),
the Man from Atlantis,
Combat’s Vic Morrow,
Mona Gersang,
Boney M’s movie ‘it’s a holy holiday’,
the movie Champ starring Faye Dunaway,
Kak N-Abg Ghani-Cik Bad-Cik Tam of Cumi & Ciki,
Adam Ahmad (my first crush… ),
Tom Howell,
Santokh Singh,
The Electric Company,
High Chapparal,
Eight is Enough,
Who used what shampoo/cleanser/soap back in school,
Boyfriend No.1, 2, 3…..∞,
etc etc… tell me how all these junk are going to be of use to me? Clutter my brain only! I cant delete them though.

Maybe i should load myself with ginko biloba, it is reputed to help boost the brain. Maybe i should change my life theme from that of sitcom to perhaps horror or drama. Someone told me that too much laughing makes you forgetful. Maybe that's why.

But then again, my head is empty, it's light, makes me giddy, makes me laugh like hyena. How?