Tuesday, June 30, 2009

USS Ronald Reagan, Changi Naval Base, Singapore


The USS Ronald Reagan

Every once in a while I get lucky. Yippe kaye lucky. I had to postpone my trip to KK over the weekend because of a last minute meeting in Singapore. I got a call late Friday saying that the meet had been postponed to Sunday. I was pissed as I had no time to change my flight. So had no choice to fly in early and spend the night in the city state.

My contact who probably was fearing a Grumpy Attack from me managed to get me on a tour of the the US Navy aircraft carrier the USS Ronald Reagan that was docked at the Changi Naval Base on its tour of the Asia Pacific.

The docks at Changi Naval Base. On the left is the USS Lake Champlain, part of the Carrier Strike Group (7)

What can I say y'all... :D. How often do you get this chance to get on a nuclear powered city? It was a PERFECT day. Bright sunshine, blue skies, the gorgeous South China Sea and enough firepower to take down a drunk Decepticon.


One of the hangars within the ship.


The hangar with the jets fuel tanks stored above. This whole scene just made me think of some Battlestar Galatica hangar scene. Seen here are a Prowler aircraft and a Sea Hawk chopper.


F/A-18F Super Hornet.


The smaller of the two Hawkeyes on board (so I was told)


A Prowler flanked by two F-18s


I know the Navy uses Sea Hawks. I was told they also have Nighthawks which I assume would be black so this must be a Sea Hawk.


View of half the lenght of the runway.

Part of Commander Carrier Strike Group 7


The USS Lake Chaplain. Go HERE for more info.


The USS Chancellorsville. Go HERE for more details.



Go HERE to the official site. But you might get a more concise info on Wikipedia HERE. All in all good fun although because of time restrictions (we were held up at the security check point for H1N1 testing), we did not have the chance to get into the bowels of the ship. BUT STILL, breath taking!

Quick Facts :

1. The Navy employs a buddy system when the crew go off shore for R and R - if a seaman gets into trouble they both get penalised wheather the other sea man is innocent. The crew cannot be on the streets of any port town they are in between 2am and 6am. The MPs patrol the streets looking out for wayward sailors.

2. There is a height restriction on the crew that work on the deck. Guys who are shorter than the height of the aircraft wings are preferred for obvious reasons.

3. The crew is normally at sea for 6 months before heading back to base for 6 months

4. The ship is a floating city with it's own hospital, police dept, Starbucks, etc.

5. It has 5,000 crew members.

6. Its nuclear reactor runs the ship for 20- 25 years before being replaced.

7. The planes do not always stay on the carrier if there are air bases nearby that they can use. Singapore was of course too small for this.

8. The crewmen are young. Very young. Some of the 19 year olds operate on the bridge. Its like a little United Nations with American from all manner of ethicity from home bred farm boys from Iowa, to American born Vietnamese, Puerto Rican, Indians, etc.

9. The cost to build the USS Ronald Reagan was about USD4.5 BILLION BUCKS. If they gave the plans to our Malaysian copyright pirates we would all be able to get an air craft carrier each in luminous colors that would they would exchange anytime if the nuclear reactor was faulty.

10. An F-18 Hornet costs about USD30 million each ~insert joke about USD30,000 wrench~.


The Singapore Navy's 'stealth' mine sweepers docked nearby.

Monday, June 29, 2009

AirAsia Oakland Raider Airbus A340



The first question on anyone's mind is - WHY IS A MALAYSIAN/SOUTH EAST ASIAN lot cost carrier sponsoring a American football team, in a country it does not even fly to?

The Malay Mail blasted AirAsia for not sponsoring Malaysian sports and instead sponsored teams from abroad. Here be the reasons why?

1. The sponsorship of the Raiders, like Manchester United is a long term marketing campaign to prepare when AirAsia finally flies into the US. Based on the Manchester United sponsorship model where AirAsia sponsored the English football club 3 years before they stated flights to Stansted in London. This simply meant that by the time AirAsia started their ad campaigns for actual flights, the English already knew about AirAsia. Its strictly business. And really good long term planning - something most Malaysian companies do not do.

2. Sponsorhip of Malaysian sports is NOT sponsorship in the real world. Here when a company sponsors a sports its strictly CRS - Corporate Social Responsibility, as most of our sports are in a state of utter rubbish. They are definitely in NO POSITION to offer any marketing or branding clout to any potential sponsor.

So when the Malay Mail hit out at the airline, it was a poorly written piece with not much research done - AirAsia last year paid RM 1 million to the Football Association of Malaysia, and recently sponsored the Hockey Junior World Cup in Kuantan to the Tune of RM500K. And that experienced journo kept saying that the airline did nothing.

Ignorance or sensationalism just to sell more papers?



Moving on - the AirAsia X Airbus A340 with the Oakland Raiders livery is dubbed the 'Xcellence'. It was unveiled to regional media last Friday at the Low Cost Carrier Terminal in Sepang.


The nose inspired by the grill(is that what its called?) of an American football helmet.



The rights side of the plane is painted with the imagery of the Raiders cheerleaders, the Raiderettes and.....


The left has the images of some team members.

Align Center
Group CEO of AirAsia with staff and members of the Oakland Raiders which included Raiders legends Ted Hendricks, Rod Martin and Cliff Branch. Some of the Raiderettes were also in attendance.



The livery is not as loud or colorful as the other AirAsia painted aircraft as the color scheme of grey and black is sombre but the strong imagery of players and cheerleaders gives it an elegant look after a few looks.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The End of Neverland

Surprisingly, I was quite blase upon reading the news this morning. It shoulda been a shock, followed by a sense of disbelief. But instead, the I just flipped to check my email on updates on a proposal one of my colleagues was supposed to send me over the night.

After the freak show that was the second half of his life, I guess the world has moved on without Peter Pan of Neverland, The King of Pop.

RIP Michael, you made my family stay up waiting for the 'live' debut of the 'Bad' video on TV, me and the cousins queued for hours to get into Stadium Merdeka for you concert in Malaysia. You made me wonder why the Hell would Michael Jordon turn up in one of your videos.

Thanks for showing me one one little boy can accomplish and how far a King can crumble.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Transformers - Revenge of The Fallen Movie Review



You leave the movie theater with a feeling of mental overload. It's typical Bay - explosions galore, frantic camera angles and Megan Fox. Straddling a chopper. Straddling Le Beauf. Running. Running in slow mo. Getting leg humped by a tiny Decepticon turncoat.

The attempted comic moments are lame. Bay has no heart. Just friends with huge budgets. So the light hearted moments do come across as cliched or strained. But....

As Peekz said "I need to watch it again."

Why?

Well, it has some of the best action sequences this year. It has giant robot slug fests that are furious and violent. It has car chases and more tanks, guns, gatling guns, laser swords, gutting, disemboweling than any other movie in '09 (and these are just the robots kicking each other's ass).

The robot to robot fight scenes are not really well done. Too much close ups and too many urgent camerawork leaves you confused trying to distinguish the diff between a Transformer's head and his ass during a fight scene. The complex robot designs don't help especially in close ups. There is just too much going on.

The bottom line?

A typical fun summer movie - it just checks all the boxes. BIG ACTION. HOT SEXY WOMEN. BIG HOT EXPLOSIONS. Great fight sequences in cities, forests and deserts. Go watch it. Have a few frozen margaritas before just for that extra buzz.

Some random thoughts:

Megan Fox is SEX.

Spielberg should dump Le Beauf as his Muse. The boy has the on screen presence of a used condom. Indy 5 with Mutt? Disaster. The Transformers franchise should dump him for Megan Fox who has more balls and screen presence than Muttboy ever will.

Megan Fox is SEX.

Pity they turned Jetfire into a grumpy geriatric fart - they seemed to want to cater to 6 year old boys here for the light laughs. C'mon, turning a Blackbird spy plane into a joke is blasphemy - the first Transformer I know with a beard. WTF...

The Primes look like Lego Bionicles!

I await Transformers 3: The Fall of the Mutt and Rise of the Fox.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Suit On A Sunday

I had to wear a suit today. For an event. For 6 hours. I now sit here, a psychological rash on my ass the size of Madagascar (penguins not included).

85% of my working life has been spent in jeans and sneakers. When a suit is called into action it thankfully means a special occasion. Very rare. Haley's Comet rare. Heaven forbid if I would have to wear a suit to work everyday. I can only assume that I would develop a Hyde personality that would ninja kill kittens with splinters from disposable chopsticks.

But it then brings me to sadly acknowledge that this is a fickle, material world we live in. Folks judge us by what we wear. First impressions ARE a deal maker/breaker. Recently I bought some shirts that I liked from some upscale shop in Bangsar (sale - 50% off!) Only LATER did I realize that these were shirts meant to be accessorized with cuff links. Cuff links. I hear that to some women they can be as heady an aphrodisiac as the sight of a set of keys to a Ferrari (its a SIGN of your Ringgit Rating or social taste and standing. C'mon who ever heard of a hobo with good taste?).

Anyway, being blessed with the mental capacity of of a 6 year old I move toward the direction of a pair cuff links in the shape of pewter rocket ships (very retro cute. seriously). A friend of mine makes some disapproving sounds.

"Umm...."

"What?"

" Those aaahhhh......"

"Look I'm not getting you a pair dude!"

"NONO.............yeah,.... well at least someone in your position you can pretty much wear whatever you want. I wouldn't recommend any junior executives of mine to turn up for a meeting with Tin Tin rocket ship cuff links."

"WTF.....?"

"Seriously bro, LOOK at these things...."

I bought them. And for my next meeting with my buddy with HIS staff I'm going to wear it and flash it around the room. No one disses Tin Tin's rocket.

The clothes make the man. Only if you're a junior little droplet of executive sweat struggling up the corporate ladder. If you're the emperor, well, pretty much anything goes doesn't it? Richard Branson could turn up in Raquel Welch fur bikini at any BBQ for fund managers and folks would still shove cash down his fur lined underwear.

I've gone into meetings with people openly looking at the watch on my wrist, the brand on my shirt collar lining, peeping through the window to take a look at my car, etc. Is that what's we've come to? To judge on face value? To place one's faith in physical appearances when it is the easiest to change and adapt to? You can't take the asshole out of a man but you can sure hide the asshole from other men with a well cut suit, shiny shoes and a borrowed car.

I've had experiences where women who had no interest in me perk up and give me the once (twice, thrice) over whenever I bump into them after a key meeting where I had to dump the Levi's and Nikes for a shirt and tie. They normally would then suggest catching up for dinner/drinks/coffee soon. In normal circumstances it would be, "say hi to your plants at home for me sweetie!" followed by an airy wave of a well manicured hand before they run across the street.

I'm told I clean up real well. Actually no, its this suit and tie thing that makes EVERYONE look good ESPECIALLY if they never, or rarely put it on eg, an orang utan, Bigfoot or me. Then the shock factor kicks in and you're in like Flynn. Sin in a suit and you still look good doing it. Ninja kill kittens with chopstick splinters in a suit and you're cool. Chat up your best friend's wife in a suit and you're just a devilish rogue. If I were to wrestle a bear in a suit I would get voted the next president of the United States (it beats swatting a fly yo!). But then again who REALLY wants the responsibility of that job? If I SAID I blogged in a suit would you think of me as a classy blogger or just a retard? 

Yeah, that's what i thought...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Where Are We Headed?



UPDATED 2.27PM, 17 June 2009. - inspired by S'wak 's comment I changed the original heading and added the poster from that classic from the 60's above.

ORIGINAL POST
I'm not part of Malaysian intelligentsia nor am I politically active or even politically motivated. My motivation stems from an ice cold beverage during Happy Hour, the odd Star Wars action figure and Neil Gaiman's latest literary adventure.

But lately it makes me wonder where are we really going with this party? We have a stronger Opposition but it basically feels like invited guests to your house party turn up without the second 'B' in BYOB. They're just draining the house keg and polishing off the chicken wings while the curtains are on fire.

The Federal boys too seem to be doing their best to remind us that we need a better, stringent education system so we have more informed citizens.

Below are some signs that we will never reach any so called vision or dream set out by political agendas in the next 10 years because there is not enough grey matter to share among those who represent us:

Solving the Mat rempit menace - "Lets train them to be pilots." Because at 30,000 ft they can't do the wheelie? Because you think cowards and thugs deserve better than those living below the poverty line?

Preventing H1n1 flu - "dont shake hands. Just bow your head or put your hand on you heart when greeting people." Holy frak. When Australia is doubting heat scanners will prevent or detect the flu and China is doing 100% checks ON the planes before landing at the airports (where they still have to go through the scanner) WE in all our wisdom are resorting to 'bowing'. -_-

The early stages of the haze (denial) - as usual the normal yearly bullshit lie - " the weather is hot so the air is HEATY." ?????????????????????? I woulda believed it if she said "all the cows in Malaysian farted at the same time". IT'S THE HAZE! Step out your air conditioned house, office and car and TAKE A DEEP BREATH woman! AND its not the Indonesians doing the open burning all the time.

"Go back to teaching Maths and English in Bahasa" Yes why not? Globalisation means driving from Perak to Kelantan to buy keropok lekor?

It's going to be an interesting time in the years to come...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Palmist

I was killing time around KL yesterday. I had to wait for some dude to confirm a meeting after it got delayed. I decided to visit a friend nearby for a quick coffee. She's specializes in palmistry and numerology. I never really paid interest in what she did, just comfortable enough to know how she made her living but not really wanting to know in depth at her trade.

We chatted for a while and then I followed her back to her shop to just browse about. Suddenly I was curious. There were charts, a calculator and a note book on her table. I asked her how she got by as there seemed to be zero customers.

She looked at me funny. "Chindy, you do know I'm quite well known? I mainly do personal consultancy at homes and most of the time it's over the internet. My clients are in Europe and some in the States."

"Um... wathcatalkingbout?"

"My dear, I am quite OK. Dont worry. I've been doing this for 10 years"

"Really? Hmmm... Hey how much to read me?"

"Depends on what you want. I can do either a health, business or love reading. Each one is RM138."

"Do business for me?"

I can't remember ever getting into my fortune told ever in the past except when my mum took me to see her regular Indian numerologist about 5 years back. It was something she wanted so I placated her by going. A lot of us believe in our future foretold in the pages books written by monks centuries ago, or the ancient art of palmistry OR if you're drunk at noon outside a Seremban coffee shop you will let a little budgerigar bird pick a playing card from a deck that will tell some tales of your fortune.

There were some slight miscommunication. I don't claim to understand this craft. I do know there is something to it. The miscommunication seemed to come about when she tried to interpret vibes or feelings from my hands.

"It's funny, on the outside you're so outdoorsy and gung ho but inside you're timid." she said a bit confused.

"eh....? wtf..." I normally keep an open mind. I've paid my money so I'm not going to distrust the words of the person I entrusted my money to read me. But all the while i was trying to match me going after people on a futsal or football pitch who've wronged me with the word 'timid'.

"yeah you're so timid. Its like you travel everywhere but you always come back to your center. maybe your home or your hometown. That's where your heart lies."

"yeah.... um wait you mean timid means always coming back to my home?"

"yes, yes, you always yearn for your comfort zone.."

"Oooohhhh.... OK." Mentally I replace 'timid' with 'unadventurous to leave home/no long term plans to go abroad'. Till i find a better word for it.

"Oh....no one should mess with people you care for." she looks like me very seriously.

"yeah what, that's normal right."

"No Chindy, you will do whatever it take to protect them. No matter how extreme."

".............." I'm trying to imagine what the hell I would do in those circumstances. Admantium claws pop out of my hands? I turn green and rip my factory outlet boxers? Or just switch on my laptop and post an angry rant on this blog?

"You must make plans to have business outside these lands. This place may not have anything for you in the future."

"You've been dealing with a lot of people whom waste your time. Whenever you help people they in return suck your energy"

"You can give unconditionally. You could keep giving for as long as possible to someone who would not even care for you as long as you cared for her" (yeah we slipped into 'relationship reading' for a bit - no charge :)

"You've given up on your creativity Chindy. You used to live by your heart, now you've let you mind take over. Please Chindy let your creativity come back."

So what are these readings? Not quite the mumbo jumbo to unbelievers but there is something that binds us together. It's the Force, the Matrix and the One Ring combined. It's the chemistry between two people talking across the table for the first time, it's vibes and energy that revolves from within and without between plant, mammals and sometimes even politicians.

Well, what do I say to that? She didn't know about that 9 year relationship that crashed and burnt even after i knew that i loved her more than she cared for me?

And as I've mentioned I've strong gut feelings (being a Jedi that wrestles bears before breakfast and all). I may not necessarily listen to it all the time but I SOMETIME work on it.

Whatever she said corresponded to what my gut has been pleading me to do over the past one year. - I'm already planning at least one small investment abroad. Its nothing major. Even an investment into a chicken rice stall in Bali is enough (Nex! that was why I was pushing for Bali!). That dream about that bar my the beach is not some stupid yearning. I want that but am willing to compromise on it. A five foot way counter selling illegal moonshine can suffice.

I've already been putting together a rough plan to harness this so called 'creativity'. The writing for magazines has taken on a more fulfilling challenge. New magazines and new editors now keep me on my toes. Its still a hobby though. As this blog still slums around mediocrity and that fat arse Kenny Sia rings in the millions, I am resigned to the fact that it will be tough to get 20,000 hits a day. There are not that many smart people in Malaysia :P To resort to those numbers I would have to resort to posting naked pictures of politicians who make stupid remarks. And in Malaysia this could be a daily affair( wft man, giving mat rempits pilots licenses????? Andres - Mat rempits - coward biker gangs who prey on the weak)

And yes, friends have used me. I've cut them out. Some just drain my energy through sheer complacency and indifference. I've had to bail out so many idiots in the past that I am drained. The Good Samaritan quota is done. Fin. The next time you need some shit go see someone else. The Chindy Charity ended last year.

So anyway. It was an interesting half hour spent. I might go back for a health reading. Or should I do LOVE?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Treks Begin


Gunung Lokon, North Sulawesi

So I've gone and done it. Just booked my holidays for the year although it wont seem like a break. I figured if I'm going to wait for a slow period to take time off its not going to happen. It never does. So i just booked my flights to Manado, Surabaya and Bali. I have no idea why but I want to do 3 volcanoes this year. My body is of course not ready for this. Both the knees with the torn ligaments have never recovered. The left knee has been screwed since that last futsal tackle 3 months ago. The back that was half an inch from a slipped disc can't take loads for extended periods. That ankle which I broke long time ago has a dislike for unstable ground.

This is DEFINITELY NOT going to be a relaxing holiday. It's going to feature sweat and tears with copious amounts of pain thrown in for good measure. Hopefully any blood spilt will only be from a paper cut from flipping the pages of my passport too quickly.

So in July I hit Manado in Sulawesi to get up to Gunung Lokan, the active volcano on the island. Manado is more popular for muck diving but I dont have much sea legs and much prefer the sights and sounds above water. Its a short trip, about 4 days but should be able to do it.


Bromo

In August I hit Bromo near Surabaya in Indonesia. I'm taking 6 days off for this. I want to get to the furthest end. Should be fun.


Agung

Finally because I'm on a prescription of Stupid Pills I'm taking on Mount Agung in Bali on my birthday. This is going to hurt. It's 6 hours up and 5 down. I'm am going to be in so much pain when I come down. I know my knee will not heal in time so I just need to strenghten it as much as I can. The plan is to start the climb much earlier than the rest and budget for a 7 hour climb to the top and maybe even 6-7 down. Maybe the knee will hold up. Maybe the back will take the 12 hour plus load of my back pack. Maybe I'll get smart and just hit a beach in Bali and forget about this.

Anyway the plan to reward my fool hardiness is to check into an expensive spa in Ubud after this. Hot single women who wish to pamper a Chindian in pain please feel free to sign up for this trip.

Agung is not a volcano, its a mountain. I have one more volcano to do before the end of the year. I might go to Lake Toba! Haha maybe it's cheating but its still a volcano. I might bump into little old ladies there but I'm going to trek the circumference of the lake so that's like a 100km. I'll consider booking the flights later as the stupid pills are wearing off now...

I'm going solo on all trips except Manado. Dharma the Hardcore Hippie is tagging along for that. Wish she was coming for Agung. She's fitter than me and would probably easily carry me down any mountain.

Now I've got to fix my knees, back and that dodgy ankle within the next two weeks before Manado. Nice.

Its fun being stupid isn't it?

Monday, June 8, 2009

Broga Hills, Semenyih, Selangor



"Ohmygawd! It looks like a secret rave party!" gasped the Princess as we pulled up to the parking area at the beginning of the trail up the hills of Broga. The entire palm oil estate seemed carpeted with cars of all shapes and sizes. This was quite unexpected as all the photos I had seen were of quiet idyllic grass covered hills against a back drop of stunning sunsets or sunrise.


There were people EVERYWHERE. It seemed like someone was giving out free coupons to a Leslie Chung concert. There were literally lines of people snaking up and down the hill. It was amazing as I had NO IDEA that it was this popular. It was annoying getting up the hill.

The view is not bad from the top, but in a way progress has marred what would have been a spectacular view as there are a lot of construction going on in the western lands below the hills and the forests and green lungs are pock marked by patches of industrial intrusion.

I have to admit the hills are the prettiest trails so far I have been around the Klang Valley BUT its only about 30 minutes to the first look out point. In all you can get to the top in about 45 minutes without taking too much time out from dodging on coming human traffic or cam whoring about the various rocks and ridges.


One of the first things you notice is the large numbers of amateur photographers scouring the hills for that perfect shot. Of course the cam whore to amateur shutterbug ratio is 5:1 on hills of Broga.



Pwetty twails in the sun light...


Its easy enough to get up and down the hills but the earth is hard and compact with a soft sandy over coat making it somewhat tricky to get a solid foothold. There are some parts which are steep especially for lady folk. But nothing some scrambling about cant solve. Recommended are shoes with grip - running shoes or trail shoes as you will need the grip on the descent.


A boulder with a crown of green.


I'm somewhat blase about the hills. Probably because of the insane carnival theme park crowd that was swarming all over the idyllic hills. Probably that I kept thinking this would be perfect if only the trails were much longer, instead of the ridiculously short climb up to the top. Maybe I couldn't take in as much as I wanted to. Anyway, I guess it would be good just to climb up at least once in your time. Its nice enough and the scenery if OK. The wind is cooling and I think it will best be enjoyed at sunrise where the early morning's mists comes out from the forests and caresses the hills in a soft embrace. (what the....?? hmmm... getting emo.)

And it's well, yeah well that's it. Broga Hills. Nice.

Getting there - take any of the roads that head to Semenyih which is after Kajang town. Just after Semenyih town, turn left at the sign that says Nottingham University or signs that say Rabbit Funland (a macabre joint where they serve you Rabbit satay). Drive straight down until you see Rabbit Funland on your right. The road to the beginning of the trails will be on your left.

Eating out - actually this was the highlight. Coming out from the parking area, turn left and head towards Broga town. Its the normal quaint little rustic rural town with a few Chinese coffee shops. Nothing better than a brunch of cold Carlsberg, 'loh mi kai', cha siew paus and pan mee!

I didn't see any mamak or Malay restaurants though for our muslim kakis. You will have to head to Semenyih for your halal grub.

Medan, Indonesia

I dont know how I get myself into these things. How I ended up flying to Medan for a day trip on a SUNDAY is beyond me. Chalk it down unconscious bad planning. I woke up and about 5 am for my 7.30 flight. I just got back from the airport. A good trip but bloody tiring. I had some time to kill so I actually pampered myself with a massage. Musta been good as I feel asleep halfway thru.

Medan is a funny old place. It's my first time there and at first glance it's just another dusty little town. But then you realise it has some great buildings that very well mantained and it actually has a fairly large Chinese community. This was a weird trip as I ended up having lunch in a Balinese restaurant with Indonesians called Heryanto who spoke fluent Hokkien! So much for taking in Medanese/North Sumatra culture and cuisene.

It's also the gateway to Lake Toba so I know that I will be back. I hear you can even take a half hour boat ride to Medan from Penang Island. Nice.

The only picture I have is from this trip is of a rat that was chiling out at the Palanio Airport so didn't bother to post it. We have bigger ones back here.

OK eyes closing now. Shall attempt to snooze.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Conversations with Kuma

We sat under the hot morning sun under umbrellas, surrounded by the gravestones of long passed on clan members. We were waiting for the joss sticks to burn to a decent level before packing up to leave.

There was a slight breeze in the air as my aunt, the oldest child from my father's family and I sat back and let the spiritual meal for my grandfather and his two wives to take place.

"She was buried in the Rasah Cemetary" , she said , motioning to the older of the two women in the old black and white picture on the headstone that symbolised the resting place of both my grandfather's wives. "She wasn't happy there, so she came to Second Aunty in dreams saying she wanted to be closer to Ah Kung. We brought her bones here and cremated them. She's now resting in that mausoleum over there. The younger wife is buried further away in town."

And so it started. Broken Chinese from me asking tentative question about the family from the past. This post is more of a remainder of my family history than anything else. I don't keep an old school diary (I did keep one when I was 12 and I think it's lost to the world) and words flow better when I'm tapping away on this laptop.

SO, my grandfather came over to Malaysia from China at the age of about 19 or 20. He was married to his first wife in China at the age of 14. He came over to work in the tin mines. Times were tough and even more so after the Japanese invasion. He kept a low profile during the Japanese occupation. He planted vegetables to sell and also moonlighted as an ice cream seller. He would go all the way to Lukut town in Port Dickson from Seremban to sell the stuff. If the ice in his container melted then the ice cream would go to. And on rainy days the ice cream would go to waste. He would bring back the melted ice cream where they would mix it with wheat flour and bake it and my aunts and uncles would eat it so as not to waste it. They lived a hard life. Slum Dog/below the poverty line even before there was a poverty line poor. Slightly more than half a bowl of rice would have to last one person for the whole day. Sometimes they would have vegetables that my grandfather planted. If they did get their hands on meat it would be considered a huge treat, small strips of pork or chicken. Plain rice porridge was the go to meal of the day for the family. Every day.

Grandad's wife from China wanted to come to Malaysia but for some reason he didn't want her to. Kuma did not want to go into details but I assume that money was tight. One of my uncles in Singapore footed the bill for her. By then Gramps had married Number 2 in Malaysia. Number 1 was OK with it seemingly. Guess she was happy enough to be on Malaysian soil.

The Japanese occupation was tough on all of them. They did not have money for food or more importantly medicine. We lost family to sickness because we couldn't afford medicine. Number 2 wife died early from cancer at 35. An uncle also passed on because of lack of meds.

My grandfather would normally take on two jobs at any one time. He used to deliver papers in the early mornings, waking at 4am every day. Once done with his rounds he would head off to the construction site. He worked in construction for almost 15 years before a fall hurt his back. He then took on basic carpentry.

"I think Ah Kung's done eating. Go say your prayers and let's pack up", my aunt breaks her recollection of the past.

The smoke is in my eyes. I Hope Ah Kung's not too pissed at the Chinese tea that I spilt earlier. I say my prayers in English, realising my grandfather is probably rolling his eyes at his grandson who still cant string a proper sentence in Cantonese after decades on this earth. He turns away to address his laughing buddies from the old China who are now asking him what gibberish is the grandson entrusted to carrying on the family name talking.

Note to self: Next Chin Beng/Chin Ming buy Gramps a paper Star Trek Communicator. Maybe then he wont think I'm such a total retard. (Nex, can make me one?)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I'va a Good Sense of Things

I have a good sense for judging people. Well, OF and ABOUT people to be exact. I'm a semi decent judge of character. No, actually I'm a damn good judge of character. Actually I can be Jedi like when my Chidi-Senses start tingling.

Of course I'm not going to shake your hand up front and say "firm shake motherfucker. your outward blustering over compensating for a noodle sized pecker?"

No, no. I have some restraint. And its mostly this FEELING. Which gets stronger the more contact I have with a person.

The Chindi Senses have a few varying degrees of um... tingliness. It ranges from:

-pure outward irritation to a person who turns out to be the President of the Arsehole Association (normally reserved for arrogant sods who have no respect for others)

to

- quiet uneasiness when I just can't get a 100% grip on something thats wrong (like PEEKZ NOT LISTENING TO ME!).

I'm quite good at interviews and have been blessed by having hired the equivalent of the X-men/Jordan era Bulls/Chuck Norris combined.

So if I tell you your boy friend is an arsehole. LISTEN TO ME. You're just his trophy wife. Apple and Fanny are waiting every Friday at the Imperial King KTV Lounge.

If I tell you to lose some weight as women are supposed to be beautiful. LISTEN TO ME. Your body speaks volumes when you're not well.

If I tell you that manager from the other department is 'helping' you for the wrong reasons, LISTEN TO ME. It's because its a big project and he wants in just to share in the glory. He WILL bail on you when the shit hits the fan.

Of course I'm not perfect. I'm an eternal optimist and THAT screws with the Chindi Senses.

An arsehole walks into a conference room and:

the Chindi Senses of "A-hole! A-hole!" and...

the Hippie Optimistic Senses go "nah... no way he's going to back out of the deal. He gave you his word."

HIS WORD. Maybe in the time of our grandfathers that would carry weight.

Back to MY Chindi Senses - I dont give out lottery numbers but yeah I can read people pretty well. So send me those suspect girlfriends, your business partners, future wives, mistresses, husbands, etc. for an evaluation. Payment in the form of Sideshow Toys Premium Format Collection of Star Wars statues. Just one piece per consultation is OK.

Been looking at this budget for the last hour. Nothing seems to seep in. Damn.


Monday, June 1, 2009

Getaran Jiwa

Fuck me timbers! I've been in and out of Penang airport for the last 6 hours. I had 4 mugs of Coffee Bean brew AND one Penang 'kow' coffee. Not good. feel irritated/hyper/ antsy/ restless. I need to walk it off. dammit no one is answering my emails. i'm stealing the silver kris VIP louge wifi signal which is weak. keep getting disconnected occasionally. another 90 minutes to boarding. My batteries are on overload. I feel a beer high and a Red Bull Power Ranger Megazord action jackson super 'chi' action feature. Maybe need to walk it off, shag a bear, wrestle a Pussycat Doll, etc. 

wait.... 

SHAG a Pussycat Doll.