Archive for the ‘flashbacks’ Category

September 7, 2017

the balcony

*long post, wrote this composite post in a few sessions.

The hot afternoon breeze combs through the patch of sun baked grass, and carries with it the smell of a long lost memory that was buried deep inside me. Not forgotten, just lost. It brought me back to the time when I was alone in my old single room flat, at the balcony which overlooked the biggest cemetery in Penang. When I was in my elementary schooling years, my mother traveled a lot, and I spent most of my time alone at home. In that home, the balcony was my special place.

It was about 8 x 3 feet small, with glazed brown tiles adorning the floor. Because the flat was so small, we had to put the fridge there too. Up near the ceiling, there was a shelving for my mom to keep her unused items. There was once, a family of sparrows nested at the shelving, and some crows came to feast on the birdlings. It was a grisly sight. Separating me from falling 8 floors down to the ground, was a railing made of iron rods, painted over with several layers of glossy paint. I’d peel the paint off some parts of the railing, revealing its history of colors from decades of my family’s presence there. It had been blue and red and brown, before it was grey. Hanging out of the iron rod railing, was a suspended iron rack made by my mom’s brother, who welded it up as a gift for her to put her plants. My mom would keep her potted plants on the rack for many years. Over the years of water damage and exposure to weather, the iron rack rusted very badly and flakes of rusts would drop on our neighbor’s awning. But it still stood when we left the flat for another home.
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December 30, 2016

2016 roll up

People have been saying 2016 is the year of the Death. Lots of people died. One of them was my father-in-law, he lost his battle to kidney failure after 1.5 years of battling it. But I wouldn’t blame it on the year. It wasn’t the year’s fault. If you would nominate a title for the year of the death, you people should read about the history of the World Wars, black death or even the era when Genghis Khan laid waste to half the world in his conquest for greatness.

Anyway, I’ve fulfilled one of my pledge this year to start travelling the world. It was a plan my wife and I hatched back when we were childless, only to get delayed by a conception of Regine (we had to cancel a trip back then, due to the pregnancy, I recall). So the plan was held up until my daughter is big enough to appreciate finer things in life, and it became a family thing. Our first trip was to South Korea a few years ago, and then again to Hong Kong as a second trial for my daughter. She passed with flying colors. This year, we decided to kickstart the whole thing at full speed – we went to Germany and hiked the Alps in June. Then we hiked somemore at Taiwan’s Taroko Gorge in December. We saw cities, people and cultures. We ate weird shit and we mingled with the locals. And we walked till we almost drop. And this is going to be a permanent thing. I hope I’m going to be around until I’m at least 60 years old, or too old to walk (which I hope by then, someone has invented an affordable exoskeleton suit for old people to hike/walk without tiring out).

My daughter Regine has turned 10 this year. She’s officially a teenager now. She started to get annoyed at shit, and before long (hopefully not soon), she’s going to have her period. Some of her friends have already started to bleed, and she’s currently worried about that. My wife has prepped her with sanitary pads in her school bag in preparation for a sudden doomsday since a few months ago. She’s also started to bitch about not having a cellphone, and demanded faster wifi access. Looks like my life has entered another stage with tougher boss-battles and more complex enemy A.I.

2017, going to need a better camera lens, and a better physique to walk the world. Still wanted a bike. I hope I don’t need a shrink (or a heart doctor) from having to deal too much with a teenage daughter with rampaging hormones.

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September 14, 2016

the milk project

If you have been schooling in Malaysia in the 80’s, you’d probably know this term – ‘Projek Susu’. It literally translates to ‘the milk project’ in English.

I know it sounds kinky but no, it is not a porn theme. It is actually a program introduced by the semi-retarded government of Malaysia (then and now) to battle malnutrition amongst the poor students by selling them cheap chocolate milk. Yes, believe it. They’re not free, but were actually sold at a cheap price (hence the ‘semi-retarded’ handle).

At 40 cents a pack (a regular sized 200ml pack), it was none of those branded stuff you find in the grocery store. It was of an unknown home brand, and it had pictures of happy students on it. Clearly a convenient arrangement with a seemingly noble theme aimed to benefit the local cronies more than to nourish the skinny ass children… but what do we know? We kids were crazy about it. Like, who doesn’t love chocolate milk? That thing probably had melamine or antifreeze in it, we loved it all the same.

A couple of times a year (or a few, I can’t remember), the school teachers would give out forms for students to order this stuff. And those rich kids, would order by the dozens. And the poor ones like me, could only watch in envy as my fellow rich classmates getting help from the teaching staffs to carry heaps of those chocolate milk by the cartons to their desks. With only 20 cents a day as pocket money, I couldn’t afford even 1 pack of this shit. To buy a pack means I had to refrain from food/drink for 2 days at school and that’s just sad. And I certainly could not ask money from my mom to buy some because I’d get spanking instead of money from her (trust me, it doesn’t sound that important to your nutritional needs when you tell your mom that you wanted money to buy some ‘chocolate milk’).

But on and off, I’d manage to steal some coins from my mom’s piggy bank to buy myself a pack – and that was how I found momentary happiness. I’d savor it by sipping so slowly like it was brewed from an ancient cask, and absorb whatever fucking nutrients milked from a local diseased cow in a farm somewhere in Selangor and experience kid orgasm at the same time. Those rich kids probably never tasted the ‘projek susu’ the way I did back then.

Today, I can afford shitloads of these chocolate milk, and drink till my joints are inflamed… but they never taste as good as those that I’d bought with those stinky old coins from my mom’s piggy bank.

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August 10, 2016

my hairdressers

Through the years, I’ve had no less than a dozen hairdressers servicing my head before. I change them like how Ted Mosby would change girlfriends.

My first ever hairdresser was of course, my own mom. Mom would strip me naked in the toilet, and cut my hair as she saw fit. As style wasn’t an issue for me yet, I gave very little shit about how she’d want me to look. And I was content with that until I started schooling.

When I started primary school, mom stopped cutting my hair. She instead, sent me to the local Indian barber at the Rifle Range neighborhood – for RM 1.50 per haircut. The place had white tiles, like a fucking toilet. Indian barber would make me sit on a plank that was placed across the armrest of the old as shit barber chair, and cut my hair with a pair of mechanical hair clippers (which mom fondly referred as ‘the crab machine’).

Then when I moved away from Rifle Range, I started to patronize a ‘unisex hair salon’ outlet near my new house. The place was located next to an whorehouse, but was fucking air conditioned and was as hip as shit. The hairdressers there were chicks with cleavage, and it was a far departure from the hairy Indian barbers. They charge RM 5 a pop, including scalp massage and a hair wash. Considered expensive back then, but it was a worthy expenditure for a little style and some tits to ogle at.

About a couple years later, when I got my first bicycle, I ventured further from my home in pursuit of a cheaper haircut and better style (got bored with the ‘whorehouse hair salon’ quickly, especially when they weren’t really that good at giving haircuts). Recommended by a classmate, I found a porcine middle aged housewife who operated illegally at a low cost flat near Batu Lanchang. For just RM 3, the housewife could cater any request including the popular Aaron Kwok hairstyle (hah! try asking an Indian barber to do that, you’d get a ‘wokek’ chide).

And she was goooooood, but there was a problem. She was too popular. Her illegal hair salon was as packed as fuck. Throngs of housewives would flock to her joint every day, sometimes I had to wait for 2 hours to just get a haircut. That was why I ventured a lot of different outlets when I was around 15 – 17 years old. One of them was another illegally operated joint (I don’t know what’s with me patronizing illegally operated hairdressers…) at Macallum Street (had to take a bus there) operated by this terrifying old queer who looked like an overweight Richard Simmons. I only went there once, needless to say. Then I also patronized a hairdressing college near my tuition center. For only RM 2, you could get your hair cut by aspiring hairdressers. Plenty of hot chicks and tits, but the hair job was lousy and took forever (I was once late for my tuition).

I went hither and thither until I had my first motorcycle. My dad introduced me to his friend who started a salon, whose wife was a Thai (the hairdresser). If I had to describe her, I’d say she looked somewhat like that funny manicure/pedicure lady in Legally Blonde (but now she looks like geriatric Snorlax). My dad told me she had a degree from France or something like that, so it did a lot for her credibility then. But most of all, it was just RM 3 a pop, the cheapest haircut I could find then. As a bonus, the place was deserted most of the time, which was perfect for me. I patronized the outlet for many years (yes, it’s the same one I wrote about here), until about 2 years ago, when they increased the hair job to RM 20 a pop (through the years, it was increased from RM 3 -> RM 5 -> RM 8 -> RM 10… so on). That was when the straw broke the camel’s back, and I said – “FUCK IT! I’m going to look for a new joint!”.

That was how I ended up at this chain store of a hairdressing place inside a hypermarket. For RM 16 a pop, it was a better deal for me than Snorlax’s hair job. Operated by 2 and a half women, the place was easily accessible and high tech (they have one of those vacuum machine to clean you up). One was a young chick whom I would refer as ‘warm hands’, because she has warm hands. Like she has high viral fever. Fair skinned and common ah lian lookalike, her styling sucks. She’s my least favorite (I like her hands though). Then there’s this middle aged skinny ass lady whom I’d refer as simply ‘goddamn old aunty’ (‘si lau ee’ in hokkien). She has a talking problem. When asked for a style, she’d go technical like she’s about to write a thesis to cure herpes. She wears this goddamn belt with scissors and clippers (one of them blunt) around her waist, and would switch clipper heads stylishly like it fucking matters. Not surprisingly, her styling sucks too. The best is this tomboy with a long face (hence, the half woman). She might not be a looker, but she has great skills (she looks pale like a terminally ill tuberculosis patient). Of all 3, I like her hair job the most. Quick and nice. Tomboy would be my first choice every time I wanted a haircut there. But the problem is, it all depends on luck because of their stupid rotation system. That’s why I always have to scope around the joint before I walk in, just to double ensure that it is tomboy’s turn. I’ve had hits and misses over the months, for I’ve ended more times getting my hair cut by that ‘goddamn old aunty’ than the tomboy. And to rub salt to the wound, they’ve recently hiked the price to RM 18 a pop.

I’m gonna have to look for another joint soon.

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December 17, 2015

2015 roll up

At the end of 2014, I made a vow for to do all kinds of things. I hate to break this out but, I must be drunk at that time. I don’t even remember what I wrote until today (I was writing in 3rd person, wtf). None of those shit happened. No I didn’t fork out anything to renovate the fucking house. No I didn’t enroll myself in an MBA program. No I didn’t get a bike, or got my shit together either. I didn’t do jack shit in 2015.

2015 is not entirely fucked up but, it sure hell is boring. The pace of life at Company T has been slow as fuck as well. In my ex-Company Y, I was THE SHIT, running 8 – 9 portfolios, had 50 over reports in a week, had round the clock meetings, 10-minute lunches (with on-off food poisoning), multiple concurrent projects and I had to deal with terrorists. Time passed in warp speed. In Company T? It’s like a 900% regression of what I did at Company Y. That’s like switching from a illegal V8 street drifting race to a college USB-powered drone cum science fair. My time management skill is hardly needed and I had to deal with a lot of whiny pussies instead. Life literally is moving in slow motion for me in 2015 and I fucking hated every second of it.

That is probably the reason why I recently have gone back to gaming. It is the only way I could get my mind off on how shitty the year has been. That and tonnes of TV series I’ve been watching. I’d probably go back to more writing, but I have to see on that. I’d been planning on a long vacation somewhere in June 2016, might make it a yearly ritual. But for now, I’m going to just waste the remnants of 2015 away with more gaming and hope for a better 2016.

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