Friday, February 7, 2014

Source: other-worldly tumblr

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

scenes from lunar new year...

Gong Xi Fa Cai! Welcome to the year of the wooden horse! By next year, I hope to be proficient enough to write Chinese New Year greetings in Mandarin. According to Joey Yap's calculations, today is an inauspicious day for those born in the year of the rat to commence work but I had no choice; I actually had urgent work to complete. Bummer...please don't let the rest of my year be doomed. I am acutely aware that people born in the year of the horse do not get along well with people born in the year of the rat but don't forget that we have to take into account the element as well. 2014 is year of the wooden horse and I am a wooden rat so perhaps this will work in my favor. Just my humble two cents as a feng shui novice! 

My CNY break was quite good although I did have a minor spat with my dad on the 2nd day of the new year. He made a callous remark about me and I went on a defensive mode, raising my voice but thankfully, it did not lead to a full blown argument. Otherwise, this would have been terribly unfortunate - to be fighting on the 2nd day of the 1st month in the new lunar year, at a time where families are supposed to gather, give ang baos, eat kams, gamble, be merry and do nothing else. 
The steamboat pot is an ancient relic. 
Straits Quay before the sun sets

Cai Shen in Kelawai Road, Penang

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Monday, January 27, 2014

How is it possible that I have busier weekends now that I am single compared to when I had a boyfriend?* The list of things to do never seem to end. Or maybe it's the festive season. Spring cleaning, making sure everything is spick and span, ensuring that the house is ready to welcome the year of the horse! 

I managed to catch "Her" on Friday night. I was alone and had to bump into an author whom I am currently working with on a book. I was stuffing a hotdog into my mouth when he saw me. Talk about looking undignified and greedy. I thought the movie was interesting, and quite sad. But the part where Theodore said "I will never love anyone as much as I loved you" (don't quote me on the exact words but he did say something to that effect), I cringed. I can't understand how he could have fallen in love with an Artificial Intelligence, I mean how deranged and crazy do you have to be? I understand that he has fallen in love with her but to say that she is the person he loves most in his life seems rather far-fetched. She's not even human. And I was under the impression throughout the entire movie that his ex-wife was whom he clearly loves. He fell in love with Samantha because he was lonely and depressed over the divorce. 

I went for a 45 minute swim yesterday, did laundry, waited for the courier guy to deliver my study materials, had an appointment in town at 2pm, ate Korean food for dinner, came back and cleaned the house. Today, I brought my car out for a wash, changed the light bulbs at home, cleaned some more, took a nap in the afternoon, went for yoga class, had dinner with some friends and now, I am back here. 

This week will be a short one at work as the lunar new year holiday starts on Friday. I will be taking the bus to Penang on Thursday morning and I hope the traffic is kind and forgiving. As per traditions, we gather for reunion dinner on the eve of lunar new year. Last year we had steamboat but I am not sure if we are having this again. Sometimes, we have rice and dishes instead. After that we hang around (I hang around, my mother and aunt will be busy doing last minute cleaning) and wait for midnight. Once the clock strikes 12, we will pray to the altars in our house, greet each other, make positive statements, drink, munch on cookies or eat kam (Mandarin oranges) watch tv, talk. These traditions have been in place for as long as I can remember and things have never really changed. It was certainly more exciting, noisy and fun though when my brother still lived with us as he is the jovial one in our family. Years ago when my grandfather was alive, we burned fire crackers outside our house. In fact, the rest of our neighbors would burn long fire crackers as well and I remember our streets roaring with the merry sounds of joy. Those were happier, simpler times and I was a mere child. 

*Well technically, G (name of boyfriend) and I are on a break from our relationship due to a few unresolved issues. But since we have not been in touch I have no idea if he has moved on so I rather tell people I am single rather than having to explain the complicated nature of our relationship. Or worse, say I am attached and find out months later that my boyfriend is already with someone else lolz. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Monday blues...did not have a productive day at work. Spent most of my time reading feng shui stuff (I bought a cut out of a dragon in red to put in the office, so I was reading up on where I should place the dragon for maximum luck. Dragon symbolizes many things in Chinese culture - among others, prosperity, abundance, success, power, courage...). I also need to buy a metal photo frame (it has to be metal and not wood, that's how specific it has to be) and I must place this at the east of my desk, and the dragon should be no higher than eye level. Feng shui must be done correctly (as in you must place the correct object at the appropriate place) otherwise it will not yield positive results. 

I did some reading in the train today, had salad for dinner, scrubbed my toilet and I am now waiting to watch Criminal Minds on television. 

I was just thinking yesterday, once I am done with my CPA exams (hopefully I pass my last paper which I will be sitting for in April), I am planning to enroll myself in language school to learn Mandarin. I am done with a lifetime of not understanding my mother tongue (although I speak proficient Hokkien this does not count as it is merely a dialect). 29 years of denying such an integral part of my own cultural identity is embarrassing and this ignorance has got to end. 

A police stopped me yesterday for making an illegal U-turn yesterday. He blatantly asked me for a bribe and then had the nerve to ask me to be discreet while passing the fifty ringgit note to him. Corruption in broad daylight on a Sunday afternoon - another ordinary day in Malaysia. And we speak of progress, transformation, fair and transparent governance...all these are theories and concepts derived from books and speeches. When push comes to shove, we her citizens are all dishonest cheats.  

Monday, January 20, 2014

I had a pretty eventful weekend, considering that I was expecting a quiet one. To kick off the weekend, I went for a morning swim, came back and bummed a little, was on the internet doing unproductive shit for a few hours, did some laundry, headed down to town because I needed to purchase bus tickets, came back and rested for a bit. In the evening, I hauled my ass out of the house, went to a nearby mall to grab dinner (aglio olio) and booked a movie ticket (The Lone Survivor) for one. I thought the movie was too sentimental. I am an avid fan of war movies (and books for that matter), however this one fell a little short, in my opinion. I felt that the background music was a little out of place and distracting. The movie is based on the true accounts of the surviving SEAL who went on an operation that obviously failed (the SEALs made a fatal mistake that compromised the mission and cost all their lives, and more, except one. Don't they know that the needs of many outweigh the needs of a few? I quote Spock) so it is interesting to see the Afghan war played out on the big screen. I have seen many movies on WW2, but not so much on the ongoing war in Afghanistan. I wonder how many more US troops will have to die for a war that is not even theirs, before it ends. 

The movie only started at 9.20 pm and I was early so to kill time, I went to the arcade to shoot some hoops. I scored 15 goals (at least). 
Solo Saturday night fun!

Today, I met my landlord for lunch (nasi dagang), hung out with her at home, went for yoga class and to the temple after that. I spent about 30 minutes at the temple (praying and communicating to a higher power) and I know I wrote previously about my inability to believe and trust God but sometimes, one gets hopelessly lost that religion seems to be the only answer. 

I am disappointed to say that I did almost no reading this weekend. I will have to catch up on the book I am currently reading, Jeffery Eugenides's The Virgin Suicides). Books I have read so far in 2014:

1. Life of Pi, Yann Martel (Reread)
2. Atonement, Ian McEwan (Reread)
3. Fault of Our Stars, John Green  

I hope you are well and happy. It may seem futile for you to know this, but I think of you most before I fall asleep. In the silence of an eternal night, I succumb to loneliness and I am consumed with unspeakable sadness that I drift to sleep with tears on my pillow. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

I know I need to do something and change my life (my job especially!) instead of moping around, stalking random people on FB but it is so damn hard trying to break this habit of obsessing. I had a mini meltdown today at work. One of my colleagues kept asking me nonsensical, redundant questions like how was breakfast, how was lunch, how was dinner... I went over the edge and told her off. On g talk of course, nobody talks face to face anymore.

In case any of you reading this think I whine too much and do too little, for the record, I have been applying for jobs online. It is not my fault that the job opportunities for editors are so few. There were a couple of prospective employers (namely The Edge and RHB) that called me up for interviews late last year but due to a negative leave balance, I had to decline their invitations.  And it is not in my character to take a last minute MC (mostly due to fear of being judged and subsequently ostracized by my peers. For your information, I was given the silent treatment by my bosses and peers alike in my previous company when they found out I was leaving. My termination was 2 months so they pretty much shut me off for that amount of time. In their eyes, I was a traitor and I was beyond redemption. On my last day, my perpetrators continued to ignore me. In fact, the Queen Bee of the group wrote on her g talk status that she would never accept me as a group member. I never recovered from that trauma and this explains why I have this insatiable desire to be liked). In hindsight, I should have taken the risk (of being treated like a pariah) and gone for the interviews anyway, especially the RHB one. I am so unhappy at work right now that it eclipses the pain that follows a broken relationship. 

I guess this explains why I hardly think of you all that much. And even if I do, the thoughts are predominantly negative ones. I remember wanting to push you down the building of a mall, screaming in the parking lot, I remember not wanting to take selfies with you, not allowing you to drive my mother's car, I remember arguing over a diverse range of both serious and frivolous issues - the ethics of abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, my negativity, your optimism...My memories of the time we spent together (5 years in totality) are becoming unreliable because at this point, I can't seem to conjure any happy memories and I know we did have some. Oh here is one, we used to make fun and laugh at other couples for their public displays of affection. 

Sometimes I feel incredibly lonely at home, especially on a Friday night like tonight. The silence is incredibly deafening even for someone like me who appreciates peace and quiet. I spent the last weekend not speaking to anyone (except for cashiers at shops and virtual communication with friends) and this weekend is likely to be the same. I could call some friends and hang out but I rather not as this would mean I’d have to be social and entertain their intrusive questions. I am certainly a walking contradiction – I am lonely and yet I hate people.

I instant messaged my boss at work today and told her I’d like to exchange books with her. I hope she doesn’t think I am sucking up to her. I genuinely want to get to know her better. I told her I’d bring ‘Life of Pi’ for her on Monday. She said she doesn’t like profound books as she doesn’t like to think too much and life is depressing enough as it is, but I told her to give it a shot anyway. I personally think Life of Pi is a sad story although Pi survives, because he lost his entire family and had to endure months of misery, lost at sea. The book talks about religion, and argues for the case of God’s existence, but if I was Pi and if I had to go through what he did, I would have lost my faith long ago.

You used to tell me that you could never understand the fundamentals of suffering, even as a believer. But in our limited human ability to comprehend, it is not up to us to question God’s ways. I desperately wanted to believe you; that we are all one lifetime away from paradise, but I never could and I envy you, because you do and you are a much happier person for it.