Where fore art thou?

Four months. The time I have not written anything. Reason? Busyness is a popular excuse, so I’ll use that. Lazyness is another one that’s popular. So, I’ll use that, too. So, what started me writing today? Thanks to Lydia again.

Ever heard of “Honk, if you’re Malaysian!”? It’s a book by Lydia Teh, who writes in The Star weekly. What can I say about the book? It’s funny, it’s observant, and it’s entertaining. And guess what? It’s already sold more than 10,000 copies! It’s going into its sixth print.

So, that’s a cause for celebration (and the cause for me writing this entry today…to double my chances of winning!) . Lydia’s organising a contest which ends on 20 October and she’s giving away vouchers to the lucky winners! You can either feed your brain (MPH cash vouchers), or your tummy (McD’s cash vouchers). Joining is a simple matter of writing a comment in her blog here.

So, fancy getting your hands on something worthwhile. Head on over there now!

Super book

You know the kind. Plush foamed plasticky pages with a myriad of wacky but wonderfully matching colours. With a 24 point typeset at the very least, and only two or three sentences per page. Sometimes, there’s only one. And it can be on anything from little green speckled frogs to little ships that go sailing by. Yup, it’s the ultimate indestructible book – the untearable – absolutely – waterproof – non – creasing – can – last – forever – even – if – you – buried – it – for – 100 – years book: the plastic baby book.

I was watching Adelle going through her usual motions with a book we had bought for her : not reading (she’s only six months, afterall) but putting it in her mouth. Getting a real taste of knowledge (literally!), as I like to put it. This got me thinking. Why don’t publishers produce similar books for adults?

Let’s face it. Not all adults know how to handle books the right way. I cringe when I see some turning the pages by pinching the middle of a page with their thumb and middle fingers, and flipping it over, and in so doing forever leaving an offending crease on the once-pristine page. I think it’s a prevalent issue. Visit your local library and randomly pick any book and turn to any page. What greets you are creases, pencil markings, tears, and (gasp!) even entire pages gone! So, what better way to eradicate this scourge of book lovers than by borrowing an idea from the makers of children’s books?

With the availability of such books, the brutality heaped upon books will be a thing of the past. Sure, storage may be a problem. With books being as thick as the length of a car, it’d be hard to keep all your prized possessions. But, this problem can be resolved easily enough. Since the pages are padded with foam, just compress the entire book by sitting on it, and then tie it with a string. Voila! A condensed book with unabridged content! And if you’re still short of space, well, there’s always underground…

And for added enjoyment – press the book to hear it squeak!

So, who would like to be the first to produce squeaking books for grown ups?

Retail therapy? No time la…

shopping trolleyHere’s something interesting I read at Bernama: Malaysians do not have time for shopping! According to the news report, almost half of Malaysian can’t spare any time for shopping due to “family commitments and demanding work obligations.” You wouldn’t have thought so, would you? What, with the plethora of shops, hypermarkets and malls that litter the area, especially in and around KL. (Read the complete news report here)

During the school holidays, we spent about a week in KL (actually, at my in-laws in Klang, but we went out often enough), and we did our fair share of shopping. Go to KL, of course shop what, right? But, we stayed away from the shopping complexes as far as possible during weekends because of the crowds that pack the popular malls like Megamall. Even so, the times we went to places like 1 Utama and Bukit Raja Klang during the weekdays, there wasn’t any shortage of people milling about doing their share of window shopping and retail exercise! More than a few times, I’ve thought: Aren’t these people supposed to be working? So much for Malaysians not having time for shopping…but, I suppose the school holidays may have a part to play for that.

But, I suppose there is some truth to the news piece. After all, why else would Tesco be open for business till 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays if people didn’t come, right? And I guess the people who actually patronise these places at such hours would be working people. I hear stories from friends about getting home from work at about 7 pm, then it’s family time for a bit and some rest, and only after the children are asleep are they then free. And what better time to do a spot of shopping to replenish supplies at home by going to your bright-huge-with-free-parking hypermarket, especially with the weekend finally here. I guess that’s the price for being part of the rat race.

But, why be part of the rat race, anyway? Here’s a quote from Lily Tomlin, actress extraordinaire: The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat.

Think about it.

Nuggets o’ wisdom

“Don’t play right after eating…otherwise you’ll get appendix (sic).”
“Don’t drink cold water in the morning…you’ll get sick.”
“Don’t walk under the rain if the sun is out…you’ll get sick.”
“Don’t call a person by name when you’re in the jungle…you’ll get lost.”

Heard any of them before? They are all advice that is supposed to keep you away from bad things. They are commonly known as old wives’ tales (“cakap orang tua”, as my grandma would put it), inherited wisdom, that has been passed down from generation to generation. No one quite knows who actually started them, or if there’s even any scientific basis to any of them. But, they’re passed down nevertheless, and dispensed without the slightest bit of hesitation and generally regarded as truth. Old they may be, but such sayings and beliefs are very much alive and kicking today.

I remember my late maternal grandma insist that we always nibble a little rice before leaving her place if we hadn’t eaten anything there, just so that nothing happens on our journey back home. “Tapun,” my grandma would say, and we’d all go to the rice cooker and pick a grain of rice and eat it.

Apart from the ability to ward off bad luck, some people even purport they can tell whether the baby in the tummy is a boy or girl, just by looking at the shape of the bulge. When my wife was pregnant with Adelle, we had decided not to find out the sex of the baby in utero, and so we had people coming to us offering predictions on what they think the baby might be. If it’s “sharper” (whatever that means), so they say, and small, it’ll be a boy; if it’s round, and rather big, it’ll be a girl. Most said that our baby would be a boy, but we sure proved them wrong!

Here’s one that I’ve never come across before until my wife said it to me:
“Don’t take a shower if it’s raining…you’ll get struck by lightning.”
It doesn’t matter that I’m in an enclosed shower area, in the bathroom, inside the house. It can happen, she says. Well, if she’s lucky, it’ll go down the annals of history, and this blog’s here to show its origins. ;-)

Burning the midnight oil

    What makes a person addicted to something? Is it interest, passion…or pure insanity? Well, I think I can officially say that I’ve just been hit by the addiction bug. To blogging. It’s well past my bedtime and I’m still awake typing this. Yup, the blogging bug has well and truly bitten me. My wife’s gonna kill me…

I guess I have Lydia Teh to blame for this. In her book “Honk! If You’re Malaysian”, she talks about how she started her own blog, got addicted to it, and had to put in place some self-control mechanisms, just so that she actually has time to spend with her family! I’ve actually been thinking about starting a blog for some time, but never got around to actually doing it. But, here’s to you and your book. Lydia. Thanks for pushing me over the cliff and helping me lose my beauty sleep.

Arrghh! Enough….shutting down now.

What’s in a name?

We’ve all had our share of being taunted. Kids (and adults even) can be so creative, sometimes. Take for example, my name, Perry. Seemingly no obvious way to twist and make fun of. Yet, such a simple and innocent name can be turned into p*l*r (in case you can’t guess it, it refers to the appendage of the male body in Malay). How the connection was ever done is beyond me. The mind works in mysterious ways…

As if that wasn’t bad enough, parents sometimes actually create the problem! Here’s something I picked up in the June issue of Reader’s Digest:

The new scourge in Malaysia is ridiculous names, and the government is cracking down hard. Agence France-Presse reports verboten names include Ah Gong, which means Unsound Mind; Sum Seng, Gangster; and Chow Tow, Smelly Head.

So, parents please don’t make your children suffer. If your surname is Loo, please don’t name your son, John or else a he’ll probably be a victim of constant toilet jokes.

The letter of the law

There’s this community message that comes on over the radio now and then talking about driving and using the handphone, one which I find quite funny. Sure, talking on your handphone while driving is dangerous. I myself have been involved in near-accidents because of that piece of vibrating, ringing plastic candy. And we all know that men aren’t very good when it comes to multi-tasking, unlike our seemingly more prodigious progeny from the fairer sex. Notwithstanding that fact however, I think the main reason we aren’t supposed to talk and drive is the distraction from the purpose we are seated behind the wheel: to drive. But what happens if something other than your phone distracts your driving? Something like eating an apple or combing your hair? Would the police pull you over and give you a ticket? Apparently, not.

My wife once told me a story about a church friend of hers. He was always well prepared , and he had everything he needed in his car – even a toothbrush. One day, he decided to shave in the car since he didn’t have time to do it at home. So, there he was driving and shaving off his overnight stubble to oblivion, when a policeman spotted him and proceeded to immediately wave him down. I’m not sure what exactly was said between the policeman and the supposed offender, but it’s not too hard to imagine:

The Offender: Hi, Datuk. I do something wrong, ah?
Policeman: Ya-la. That’s why I stop you. You use your handphone just now while driving, isn’t it?
The Offender: No-la. Where got?
Policeman: Got. I saw you just now. I saw your one hand on the steering and one hand on your handphone. Don’t bluff la.
The Offender: True. I never use my handphone.
Policeman: Is it? Show me what you’re holding in your right hand.

At this point, the supposed offender raises his right hand and reveals an electric shaver.

Policeman: Oh…shaver is it? Next time shave at home-la!
The ex-Offender: No time-la. In hurry la
Policeman: Ok-la, ok-la. Go.

And my wife’s friend then continued his journey to work, and his quest of ridding himself of unwanted facial hair. Buzzzzz…


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