Monday, January 26, 2004

Hi Hi Bye Bye

There is this lady who works with me in this company, but I don't know which department or desk she is attached to. In fact, I don't even know her name.

But she smiles a lot. And she is a character one can easily recall simply because of her smile - it's sincere, it's given first, and it's always given back should you be the one to smile at her first.

I remember when I first started to work with the company, she was among the first to greet me with her smile. No "Hello, I'm [insert a Malay woman's name here], nice to meet you.", but just that smile made me feel all welcomed, and that this old company - though famous as the feeding area for makan-budak senior staff - isn't so bad at all.

After that, each time I bumped into her, she'll flash me that same smile. Sometimes I get to beat her at it - I get to smile at her first! And of course, get a return smile from her.

And today, almost three years after that first smile, we bumped into each other again. This time around, she came to me and held both hands towards me. I caught her salam and she began telling me - in a manner as if we have been on talking terms instead of just-smiling terms - that she's retiring this Friday.

I was caught off-guard. I asked her if there is such thing as an optional retirement in the company (ala government), but she said she's turning 55 soon, and she's glad that it's time to go.

I told her she didn't look nearing 55 at all! She replied that I was not the first one to say that to her.

Me: It must be cause you smile a lot!

She: (LOL) Probably..?

Me: Sure it is, I remember you were among the first to smile at me during my early days here.

She: Really?

Me: So thanks for that.

She: Well, you are most welcomed. It's not that hard to smile, but it's not that easy to become memorable simply cause you do.

And I finally found out her name: Hamsiah.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

I wanna! I wanna! I wanna watch a play!

Gian is a Malay word that means "crave". Right now I have a craving for a sit-down-watch-a-play session.

It's been a long time since I last caught a play. And I remember that last year I went to sit for several plays, but most of it happened during the first quarter of 2003.

So it's no surprise that my craving has reached its peak. But everyone's going back to their respective hometowns, or have a function to attend, or broke (unlike me, I am broke but refused to act like it! Oh when will I grow up and stop thinking that money grows on trees?).

So I have no one to go with (well most of them had replied my email and no one says a confirmed "Yes, let's!" yet. A maybe came from Fiza, but she said it was Juan who wanted to go and if they do go I don't want to be a third wheel.

I killed time by reading up reviews written by arts-oriented bloggers like NZ and SultanMuzaffar. Not that positive, generally, but they say Liza Othman's performance was superb - ooh... my soft spot's talking me into begging people to catch it with me!

At the last minute, I got a reply from Intan - it seems like she got a free ticket for that play, and agreed to meet me tomorrow! Phew! I just hope I will get to sit next to her (hopefully her free ticket isn't the most expensive - yeah, yeah, I remember, I'm broke and I'm supposed to save & invest mo money - but as Sue would say, whaddahey!)

Monday, January 19, 2004

The pile of old newspaper

Before you think of me a sloppy idiot, let me just clarify this: things happen.

You never plan for it to happen, you never see them coming, you never thought that those stuff will ever happen to you. Things happen.

I, have a pile of old newspaper, slightly untidily, steadily making it's presence felt, not just to me, but now, as it is reaching a height closer to a metre, to others in the office as well.

This pile of old newspaper is not something I ever planned to built, nor did I ever expected it to grew up to this height, and it wasn't even a hobby of mine to collect them. It just happened.

I was trying to pull the issue that was lying at the bottomost (ugh, pardon my bad English) of the heap - just so I know when did this thing started (yeah, I was supposed to write that review on a Samsung handphone but...).

But a metre-in-height's worth of newspaper ain't that easy to lift. If I insist on pulling that particular issue at the pile's feet, the whole thing might just topple over.

And I didn't want that to happen - and this surprises me! Reservations over seeing the thing crumble, deconstructed, seems as if I have feelings for the pile! Why should I? It's just a pile of old newspaper produced by the co I work for!

Is it cause I have respect for the product? Naah... I remember how I used to enjoy sitting the thing when it was just three-quarters of a metre in height.

Come to think of it, I am beginning to remember why the pile became a pile in the first place: At one time I could not stand anymore hovering by the Ed, the Loudspeaker who sits opposite me and the Ah Beng who sits across the Loudspeaker - yup - they all simply love to hover around my desk when I blog and work.

It would still be tolerable if the reason they hover around like vultures over carcass is to talk to me, but most of the time they wanted to talk to my desk-neighbour! When I could no longer stand them talking to my neighbour and use my head as a mic from the 1940's, I began to lay a pile of old newspaper right between the partition behind my back and my desk.

And hey! My plan worked! The pile of old newspaper next to my chair protected me. And as it grew, it become more than just a protector.

It then became a spot where I get to put my drinks and food stuff on when my table's too messy. It became a spot to put on the gadgets I reviewed just so that I can see what they look like in "real situation" (I don't really know if you get what I mean, but suffice to say the pile did assume another role besides being a coffee table).

Aimie my office mate even thought it was cool that I'm cultivating a stool for her to sit on while we have our daily little chats (and when we were dissing about the Co it feels much better when one of us has our butt squashing on it too!).

And when it reached the height that was almost a metre in height, I love to sit on the thing more than Aimie. I began to sit on it more often - probably it was too tall for Aimie to climb on by then, but the fact that it now sways was more a reason than anything else.

Now, as this pile of old newspaper reached its one-metre height, looking just like the Petronas Twin Towers (cause there is a stack of old press kits about the same height right next to it), I'm beginning to enjoy the heap as an elaborate hand rest (except on the days I wear white though).

And here's the main dish - when I put my left arm on the pile, it gives me a warm feeling thinking that I had read the thing (ok, ok, I read only the nice parts) and it had been there to accompany while I work and blog and it had endured my 48kg weight and let me sway on the thing when I have nothing else to do...

Yep, I have grown fond of the thing - this pile of old newspaper I call friend. Looks like I'm going to let it stay there for quite some time before someone (most likely the big boss of the co) says it's time to part and make me do it.

Oops! If you read this entry up to this point, sorry for wastin' your precious time, precious! I'm just too lazy to write that review on that Samsung handphone and that Jin Xin (now call me branded but with this name can you really blame me for not being all excited to review the..) MP3 player!

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Prosperity Burger is back again!

It is that time again - that time when your office receives boxes and boxes of mandarin oranges, and Petaling Street is filled with cherry blossom and money plant, and bookstores stock up on red packets for sale. For me Chinese New Year is an event to look forward to.

Not just cause I'd be able to visit my Ah Lek who used to bring grocery for us, "Uncle Hollywood" my kuay teow chef extraordinaire, Tang Kau the old taxi driver and Su Yin our ex-dressmaker. Though it's a sure thing that I can get at least RM5 from each one of them - I know Tang Kau would give more if his mind wasn't stuck in the '80s.

Not just for all the cool Cantonese movies they'd be showing on TV. Though now that Channel 9 and 8TV are operating regular hours I have five channels to flick across in case ASTRO's down.

Not just for all the lovely Chinese gal friends I'd be bumping into at Jaya Jusco Ipoh soon. Though many of them are here it's still more fun to come across each other in our own hometown.

To me Chinese New Year also means the comeback for McDonald's Prosperity Burger! I know by right I should not be associating a simple fastfood item to something as auspicious as a festival celebrated by more than a billion people in the world, but I can't help it!

If you know me well enough, you know how much an item as ordinary yet versatile as food means to me. Even if you don't know me, my email address includes the word food - doesn't that tell you something?

I love food but I love good food even more. I find new delicacies very exciting. I find destinations that offer lovely gastronomical selection worth the trip. I find authors who use food as simile brilliant (check out Rosie Haslina Nasir, Roald Dahl and Peter Mayle). I even find my job, which entails a lot of discussions and info grovelling over hors d'oeuvre, worth waking up in the morning for.

Tender piece of meat, dipped with spicey gravy, laced with onions, clapped by halved buns, hot from the griller. Count in the twisty fries and the peach-orange sundae. Down it with Vanilla Coke. And that, is the beauty of the Prosperity Burger meal... don't miss it!

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Will there be a repeat performance?

Today the PM28ers (that's my U mates, same batch, same course, and we all went through the same shit at MCC and PPP/ITM) received two more wedding invitations through our e-group. First from Aru, second invitation from Giant.

My initial reaction: The economy must be really picking up! I mean getting married nowadays is not cheap: one friend of mine, Wan Saba who did all the decorations and paraphernalia (e.g. bunga telur, bunga pahar, hantaran etc) still spent about twenty grand for her wedding!

My secondary thoughts: Aru and Giant! Of all people! Granted I don't know these guys that well - I mean, I'm not their best friend or part of their clique last time - but somehow I always associate these guys to be ones who will party all night till they're 30.

At least that's the impression I have upon them, based on the times I had spent with them in college and U, which include that fun BBQ trip to Port Dickson right after our last day at U. Man, that was one cool trip - though we all were stuck in the same college and U for like 4 years and a half, it was only on that day that I saw the other facets of their personality, more than what they tend to show during group discussions, presentations and bump-into-heys.

Now: I'm kinda worried that this year might be a repeat of last year - I mean 15 weddings attended (21 invitations altogether, in fact), whaddaheck?

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

New Year Resolutions, in black and white (see if this works)

Wish me luck, cause this year I'm hoping I'll be happier than last year (though last year I got a lot to be grateful for, but I'm only human - and one is rarely truly satisfied), and I'm actually penning my resolutions in black and white like this:


1. Eat more carrots to control deterioration of eyesight. I fear the end of my comfy contact lenses days are over as they are now that Bousch & Lomb's phasing out SeeQuence! Am considering laser correction surgery... but need a lot of dough for that... Carrots! Carrots! Carrots!

2. Invest more! ASB's dividend is record low this year - 9% plus only if I'm not mistaken, this is not good! I gotta figure out how a tiny bilis in a big expensive pond called KL can survive and still have fun! Am considering Maybank's Bumiputra loan for ASB, as well as Unit Trust under SBB... Gotta check out deals at Bank Rakyat as well for I heard "katc-ching!" [sound accompanied by RM signs in bold clouding my eyes] stories about the bank. Hmm... suggestions/two-sen's worth, anyone?

3. Travel to new destinations - yeah I know I just said I wanted to save more dough, but how could I, when I only earn so little yet still aspire to see Sabah, Thailand and Indonesia? Cut back on B-grade movie flicks (gotta control my obsession for 6-bucks day), cut back on yakking on the kannikku, I guess! Anyway, the I-must-get-there-this-year destination: Sabah!

4. Learn a new language. Am considering everything - Javanese, Japanese, Spanish, Cantonese, German, Gaelic, Greek.. anything man! Must also go through the Speak Easy: Thai book I bought on my last birthday...

5. Curse less, please, (in Malay and English, that is, for curses in other languages will be considered as OK due to learning licence) thank you very much!


1. Event of the year: Family trip to Penang (Sept 29 - 30), have to thank Shamsul Ghau Ghau's Destinasi Budget for this..

2. Most incredible personal feat: Attended 15 weddings! Whaddaheck! What am I tryin to prove anyway? That I'm a sucker for ayam masak merah? Please!

3. Most worth-my-money theatre: Hikayat Sikit-sikit Banyak-banyak (June 2), not cause Ruv's in it, but it was really, really funny!

4. Most happenin' gig: sorry Linkin' Boys, it's Konsert Eksklusif Bersama Gigi (Sept 26) - us right in front of Thomas, backstage - I'm still recovering...

5. Most cool gang-activity: Lord of the Rings Marathon (Dec 19) - 'nuff said!

6. Most fun whaddaheck-it's-Saturday-night: Night Safari at Zoo Negara (Dec 6)

7. Most surprising outcome: Hari Raya Aidilfitri (Nov 25) - cause I enjoyed it more than Puasa (it's usually the other way round)

8. Most number-of-times-watched movie: Pirates of the Caribbean - I saw it 3 times on big screen (once on a free seat on a pre-premiere show, in fact), and I still want another swig at it!)

9. Most oh-suddenly-I-know-politics event: Tun Dr Mahathir's resignation (Oct 31)

10. Most kelakar/pleasant surprise news: My cousin Kamal (he's my age, dressed all seventies, religious bloke) said to his parents, "Oh, Mama, saya mau kahwin..."

p/s: MATTA fair is happening at PWTC this weekend. Maybe I should go and check out if anyone's got a nice package deal for a trip to Sabah...