Thursday, December 31, 2009

We Three Kings

Well, that's me and my other two colleagues.

Could all be stupid prejudice on my side of course but the first thing I noted about the both of them? Not myrrh and frankincense from miles afar, that's for sure.

Religious robes and agama schools. Turbans and islamic mantras. Perhaps I am exaggerating - though only a little - but I'm already freaked by the pious duo. Took only one frightfully enlightening conversation to have me wigging out.

Zannah : The children are going to the religious school.
Paul : There is one here? Is it a good school?
Zannah : It's a religious school.
Paul : Good school then?
Zannah : It's a religious school.
Paul : Good teachers?
Zannah : It's a religious school.

And obviously that is that.

Praise the Gods.

Would have thought of mentioning the dubious prospects of students from religious schools ( where do they go actually? ) but I figured it was a moot point. So what if the school's possibly indoctrinating the next Osama? No doubt the mere whiff of pork from the nearby native eateries would have them run screaming into the night.

Something that the pious duo seriously mentioned to me as they'd spent a week searching for suitably halal restaurants in town. Good luck to them since I think there are only three establishments serving kosher food in town.

Even Ebullient Eve is just a lil perturbed by their holy presence.

Wildly prejudiced I know! They could be perfectly rational folks. But what is it about religious fundamentalists that - ironically enough - strike the fear of God in me? Extremism scares me. Has anything good ever come of it? If you're thinking I'm biased, even Christian fundamentalists waving bibles and burning crosses freak me out. Same goes for the Buddhists, animists and etcetera.

Nothing like a pinch of the devout to make me realize how secular I really have become. Till now I still think school uniforms should be uniformly secular regardless of religion. Without exception. If not, they should just allow everyone to wear what they like. Can my child claim to be in a self-proclaimed nudist religion? Or how about dressing in Goth-like black?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

That Crack

For the past few years, Lanky Lex has crazy birthday parties that we all talk about for at least a week. And that's a long time for inane gossips like us. Half his party dissolves into a wailing South American melodrama while the other half is too wasted drunk to notice. Sometimes it's both.

Of course no one expected how wild his party this year would get.

None of his guests bitch-slapped each other over presumed differences. None of his guests slid down unconscious into a bubbling puddle of vomit. In fact no one was actually hurt at his party which was a first.

At least that we know of.

Quite possibly a few guests slipped unbeknownst through the cracks.

Prince Naveen
Welcome to the party! Step right over here folks, away from the crack on the floor.

Yes. You heard it. A deepening crack appeared right in the centre of the party floor. Right as we were indulging in shocking dishonourable vices.

Unlike terrified lil Japanese businessmen chased by raging Godzillas, we didn't run helter-skelter like suited mice with matching briefcases. In fact we didn't run at all. Just stood there staring agog with fascination, kinda like the idiotic drivers who can't take their eyes off road accidents.

The widening chasm on the floor just snapped and crackled ominously as we helplessly watched our relentless slide into impending doom. Almost biblical and practically 2012 in the making. With my peculiar taste for the macabre, I at least managed a chuckle over the sinister turn of events. Had a wicked flash of foresight where I wondered which hapless folks I'd hold out a helping hand for - and which ones I'd probably shove happily to their untimely deaths.

Or at least nudge to the ghastly preternatural black claw that will no doubt emerge from the hellish gap.

Which didn't happen obviously else I'd be publishing this in the tacky tabloids.

Fortunately the crack remained as it was. While the building stood untouched. Though we all hurried out as soon as possible - clutching crucifixes and amulets - after regaining our footing. Lex certainly throws eventful parties.

Still. Crack on the floor. A foreboding omen?

Or is Lex's disapproving Tradimum ( traditional mum for the uninitiated! ) cackling over a bubbling cauldron right about now?

Monday, December 28, 2009

A Lush Christmas

It has been a long time since my friends - the Lushes - and I met up. Getting together has become quite a logistical nightmare recently. What with Fabulous Fiona away in Shanghai playing with needles and moxibustion, Statuesque Sarah avoiding bomb-wielding terrorists to rescue the needy in Iraq and Shameless Shalom desperately finishing her final year thesis.

And Lissome Lorelei vacillating between work and a life-time commitment :)

Of course not forgetting me stranded in the faraway island of Borneo.

Cam Gigandet
And yes, we'd like some of these for Christmas. No need for matching wrapping paper even.

So you can imagine that it's been a while since we've sat together at the same table. So it was a miracle indeed that they all managed to come down to my place for Christmas. Since we'd been communicating regularly online with the minutiae of our lives ( some better than others! ), catching up didn't take all that long.

After all I had so many things to share about the eccentric vagaries of the folks in Miri :) From the endless roundabout dilemmas to the dour-faced service staff.

Then Statuesque Sarah managed to add a few shocking titbits about her time in post-reconstruction Iraq. Bullet-ridden houses and blown-up victims? Sounds horrifically traumatic. Instead of heading for the hills after her harrowing experience there, our intrepid Sarah only seems revved up for more. No doubt I'll soon be hearing of her in some war-torn God-forsaken banana republic.

Biggest shocker was the news that Fabulous Fiona's brief acupuncture stint in Shanghai has actually turned her on to sultry almond-eyed Chinese fellas. After her experience kissing frogs from every other race and nationality, this comes as a welcome surprise to her doting dad - who is no doubt congratulating himself on coming up with the acupuncture suggestion. Have no fear, we will turn her into a patented rice queen yet.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

That Bump on Christmas Morning

There was a bump just before Christmas.

And unfortunately, it wasn't a sexy Santa creeping down the chimney with a big package all tied up in a thong just for me. I wasn't that lucky.

Prince Naveen
Fuckity-fuck. A fender bender.

If you've been driving for a few years there's a good chance you've experienced it too, that sudden sickening crunch of a fender bender! Well it happened to me just as I was leaving for lunch. Just that split second of distraction to admire a brand-new attraction ( damn that restaurant ) was enough for my car to slid forward into the next during a standstill.

You'd expect the entire motley crew of passengers in the backseat ( and I had more than a few ) to start a raving ruckus but no. Civilized bunch surprisingly. All my trusty wingman could do was whisper sotto voce in my ear.

Calvin : Stop. There's a car in front of you.

Though he's a mild-mannered soul, perhaps that was the right time to shout a warning. Had me thinking it was a whispered sweet nothing. Obviously I didn't listen. So with a slid and a bump. And that sickening thud that signals a car crash, I had an accident.

And though my lawyer buddies would be screaming deny all responsibility with written disclaimers, I claimed all wrongdoing the minute I stepped out of the car. All the time praying hard that I wouldn't meet an irate road psycho.

Turns out the owner of the other vehicle wasn't at all surprised. Seems he'd been in one too many unfortunate events to quibble over such a small misdemeanour. The father of two didn't resemble the deliciously ripped hottie I pictured above at all but I'd take all the little mercies I could get by then.

Obviously my mechanic was only too glad to see me.

How time changes though. It was the inconvenience that actually irritated me more than the cost of repair. Not saying the repair bill won't sting my wallet of course but I know this little dent won't break the bank. Fortunately.

Better my wallet than my bones. Or the ones I love.

But it was definitely a bah-humbug for the day before Christmas.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Frog Prince

Still have my reservations about kissing frogs to find a prince. Imagine the flickering tongue. God only knows where it's been.

Prince Naveen
Wait till you hear his peculiar accent!

But if it's the remarkably sexy, laid-back Prince Naveen from the Princess & the Frog, I just might take a shot. What the heck. Even in slimy green, the dark-eyed smoothie's charming enough to make me reconsider. After all, what's a little gooey mucus between guys! Not like I'm going to shriek in horror when he spills other bodily fluids on me.

I might even welcome it.

Glad to see Disney back with an animated, hand-drawn fairy tale though. A charming twist on the tale, the Princess & the Frog has the girl turning into a frog after sharing a kiss. To the amazement of the frog prince obviously. Thus begins their search for a cure as they befriend a trumpet-playing alligator and a hopelessly romantic firefly along the way.

Not since the delicious Eric from the Little Mermaid have I gotten such a hard-on for an animated Disney prince. But Naveen's certainly yummy enough. And for the first time, I don't mean frog legs lightly stir-fried with ginger on a platter.

Certainly far livelier than the yawn-a-minute politically-correct heroine, Tiana - who works double shifts as a waitress to save enough for her dream restaurant selling beignets and gumbo. Our gritty Tiana's the most driven girl in the Big Easy, no damsel in distress, waiting for a prince to come to her rescue. Alas sterling qualities do not an interesting character make.

Hell, I preferred her best friend, the dizzy blond bombshell heiress Charlotte. Determined in her own way to land her dream of a prince charming, Charlotte pulls out all the stops. But far from being the prerequisite ugly, back-stabbing stepsister, she certainly proves her loyalty by sticking to the phrase bros before hos ( or chicks before dicks as it may be ).

She deserves a happy ending of her own. The creators at Disney should have dropped stick-in-the-mud Tiana in favour of feisty Charlotte instead.

Still wonder why the Disney folks seem to adore Randy Newman! Seriously. Apart from the Toy Story theme songs, has he written anything wildly memorable for the other movies? Though the songs in the Frog ranged from twangy zydeco to full-on jazz, I don't think anyone's going to find them irresistibly catchy in the least.

Nothing with pizzazz! Nothing as crazily entertaining as the dancing candelabra inviting the audience to Be his Guest nor as lushly romantic as Kiss the Girl in the Little Mermaid.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Slave to Books

When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.

Certainly far too true for me! Fortunately I am lucky enough to have my fair share of both! Came as a sudden realization that I might have had too much of a good thing when I had to unpack the entire lot this weekend. You see, I had the movers stuff all my books into huge boxes - hoping to one day catalogue the entire staggering library.

Turns out it's practically the Bibliotheca Alexandrina.

Kayky Brito
Wait. You'd rather examine this dusty book rather than check out my etchings?

Can't believe I managed to finish the whole catalog in two years - with the exams looming back then! Must have been crazy. Have I really been reading all that much? Emptied the boxes to find about 150 books. And that's not counting the boxes I shipped over to Miri. Or the ones I'd been slowly transporting in random shipments back home.

Let's not even count the dusty volumes I've left back home on the shelves. And the drawers. And the dining table. And below the stairs. I don't even dare unpack those.


Guess Arnold Lobel had it right.

Books to the ceiling,
Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I'll have a long beard by the time I read them.

Obviously I need to unload more than a few books. Have dropped a couple of choice paperbacks on Charming Calvin's head - so that he can finally achieve his new year's resolution of reading ten books this year.

My New Year's Resolution? To get my books catalogued! Any cute librarians about?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I'll be Home-Stay for Christmas

Well, who said you can't bring the mountain to Muhammad?

An adage certainly proven wrong by the recent spate of guests over here in Miri! Once Fabulous Felix and I ( and not forgetting self-described Picky Patty ) figured that geographical boundaries would forever keep us away from the social engagements in the city, we decided to transfer them to us instead.

Thank God for economical flights.

And I'll have to admit we've been keeping our social calendar pretty busy the past few weeks with friends and relatives coming over in regular intervals. And that's not counting the various events held in this surprisingly lively hamlet here. Obviously the local yokels need to have their own entertainment as well.

Kayky Brito
So where do we go today?

Obviously I'm not the shy, retiring wallflower I always thought myself to be. Especially after talking their ears off. So far - apart from family and our respective spouses, we've had two bintulu bindi babes, a city cockerel and a humble hobart.

Throw in a partridge in a pear tree and we might have a theme song.

From the boondocks at Bintulu, the beautiful Bindi Babes boarded a broken bus - barely breaching the borough boundaries before breaking apart. Fortunately they managed to survive the harrowing trip cross-country to make it to my place as the first home-stay guests. Hardly any payment needed apart from a bit of storytelling. With the information gleaned from their experience in the neighbouring town, I breathed a sigh of relief knowing that I picked the better of the two evils.

And also found out that buses from here do travel all the way around the island to far-off exotic places such as Pontianak and Entikong.

The charming City Cockerel came calling at the city center craving for a career change. Stranger he might be but that cute bubble butt made him instantly recognizable to all ( or at least we all hope ) at the pick-up point. Despite nursing the beginnings of a flu, he sang for his supper beautifully with tales of harrowing work experiences and axe-wielding ex-boyfriends. Would have sympathized a lil bit more except for the fact that we like our cute guys away from the creepy crazies :)

With the last meeting up with Humble Hobart. Strapping local fellow came along for dinner only to be overwhelmed by the crazy likes of us. Was afraid for a second that our wild boisterousness ( and our marked predilection for eligible hotties ) would scare the poor kid away! Which would be a pity - since it turns out this lil seahorse city does churn out its own cuties after all.

Well at least more than the one I'm already seeing.

So who else is dropping by for dinner?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

That Wasted Vagina

Guess even girls can get all anal these days.

Or should I say their boyfriends?

Remember when I mentioned that straight fellas tend to be really curious about the sexual habits of homosexuals? Sure they might be a bit skeeved about the suspicious man-on-man bits but they're always helluva nosy about the butt-fuck bit.

Obviously nothing will do to satisfy the rest but a test-drive.

So when a couple of girls posed the question to me, I found myself non-plussed. Fielding that question with straight fellas has become quite the norm but it's different when girls want to know why their perv boyfriends want to go where no man have gone before. Far from being the unmentionable taboo I'd once imagined, this forbidden topic seems to have cropped up regularly.

Girl : My boyfriend wants to try anal.
Paul : Umm. Why? To promote incontinence?
Girl : Just try loh. Gay men seem to like it.
Paul : Short of having a vaginal transplant, I don't think gay men have much choice.

A challenge perhaps? The final frontier that only a brave and curious handful have gone before. Kinda like those intrepid explorers of the deepest reaches of Africa.

Or at least that's what they hope themselves to be.

Seung Jun
Somehow I don't think she'll agree to having me tour her backlanes.

Of course innate homophobia prevents them from reaching out to those who might be a lil more receptive to the anal suggestion. A little wary about travelling the infamous anal route with a fellow homo ( a fear of reciprocal anal play after the act? ), some adventurous men tend to risk that loaded question with their girlfriends.

Which begs the question : why take the low road when you have what's essentially a simple God-given highway to heaven? Has frequent unending traffic up and down Vagina Street caused it to lose its allure? Has persistent promotion for the Hershey Highway by the gay boys - erroneously touting a tighter, more pleasurable drive with a regular stops at the male G-spot - caused the susceptible breeders to lose their collective senses?


Monday, December 14, 2009

A Series of Troubling Uns

Forgive me Nervous Nancy for I have wronged you! For surely you can't be the sloppiest dresser around. Not after last night.

I forgive you even for the ubiquitous Crocs you strut around with.

That's nothing compared to Pig-Pen. Such an unflattering sobriquet but seriously I can think of no other more apt name. At close to midnight, Pig-Pen lazily schlepped in with a haggard expression on his scruffy face, his wrinkled shirt ( dotted with unidentifiable stains ) haphazardly buttoned over a crumpled tee and his dusty pants half-zipped. His shaggy longish hair knotted with a dirty old rubber band possibly taken off the snack he was munching on.

Kerry Degman
Don't hate me cause I'm a fucking mess.

Unkempt. Unbuttoned. Unironed. Unwashed. Uncut. Just a series of troubling Uns.

Would have thought him a recently dispossessed vagrant in search of his missing cardboard box - if not for the identifying stethoscope ( fortunately clean! ) looped around his neck. Fortuitously I noted the shiny stethoscope before dropping a few coins in front of him.

And he's a doctor!

For one of the few times in my life, I was speechless. I'd have imagined the bedraggled fellow had just rolled out of bed. In a makeshift tent in the unhospitable Taklamakan desert. Before being dragged across the dusty highways of Central Asia.

Don't think of it as dust. Just think of it as the dirt and dust of far-off lands blowing over here and settling on 'Pig-Pen!' It staggers the imagination! He may be carrying the soil that was trod upon by Solomon or Nebuchadnezzar or Genghis Khan!

Tried my best to be charitable and think the Charlie Brown way but I couldn't. Seriously. I don't think I've ever looked that grungy in my life. Not even after a harrowing 48-hour shift.

Like the iconic Henry Higgins with his lamentable muse Eliza, I wanted to dunk Pig-Pen in a vat of boiling water ( or bleach ) to remove the excessive gunk. For want of a better word. Not to mention the various fleas of misfortune. Trust me, besides Pig-Pen, our Nervous Nancy practically shines like Eliza Doolittle at the ball.

Even in her Crocs.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Parade

The first hint that things are vastly different over here in Sarawak could be the fact that very few colleagues actually wanted to apply for leave during the Hari Raya festivities. Turns out there aren't all that many Muslims around which is surprising in a Muslim-dominated country.

At least in the rest of the country. Over here in the Land of the Hornbills, Christianity rules the religious roost with the largest number of believers in the state. Judging by the number of ardent devotees last night at the Miri Christmas Parade, I'm inclined to believe the statistics.

Talk about enthusiastic.

Not only did Christmas arrive on these shores in October, we have been continually inundated with carols for the past month. Everywhere we go, fir trees glistening with ornaments abound with the prerequisite Santa hats on every other head.

Cam  Gigandet
Pa-rum-pum-pum. Yum!

So why not join in the fun? According to rumour - and the notice pasted on the church bulletin board ( yes, contrary to popular belief I do go to the rare Mass ), they have an annual Christmas parade in town. With Fabulous Felix and my home-stay guests - more on that later - in tow, we made our way down to the city fan to enjoy the show.

Felix : You sure non-believers won't be struck by lightning?
Paul : No worries. As blasphemous as I am, I think I'd be hit by one first.
Felix : OMG. Look at the Three Kings.
Paul : And that slutty Mary in a miniskirt! You're not fooling us with that blue wimple, lady!
Felix : Wonder if they have a lil donkey!
Paul : And a drummer boy!
Felix : Wait, is that the drummer boy?
Paul : Ooh I'd love to play with his drumsticks.
Felix : Waitaminute, Mary's closing in on him!
Paul : Skank! Go back to Joseph!

Obviously the naughty Marys here subscribe to the prevalent Ah Lian fashion as well. Trying to acclimatize religious icons to local traditions no doubt.

Starting off at sundown with a handful of prominent pastors leading the show with fiery speeches proclaiming the Glory of God in three different languages ( and yes, they do refer to Him as Allah ), the obviously electrified crowd from all the different Christian denominations seemed almost raring to go. I was almost a little afraid of the shockingly passionate fire-and-brimstone preacher screaming out Yesus Kristus at the top of his lungs!

So red in the face I thought he was close to an apoplexy.

Till they were dampened by the sadly lacklustre choir.

Rather than pick peppy, energetic tunes such as Santa Baby, the dull schoolmarm-ish choirmistress chose songs better suited for the sleepy octogenarian set. From the weepy Silent Night to a boring rendition of Away in the Manger. Doubt anyone would be swayed by their carols. Seriously. These soporific songs are meant to fire up the rapturous crowd for a candlelit march down the streets?

I almost dangerously nodded off into my candle.

Would have thrown a cross-shaped lantern at the lacklustre choir ( an ensemble made worse by the sad lack of hunky baritones ) but the disapproving Christian mob might not look too kindly upon such heathenish behaviour.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Tween Romance

Gosh, I'm feeling quite the cantankerous fossil these days.

Not only am I dealing with kiddie house officers youthful enough to still carry teenage acne, I also have junior colleagues who can barely recall September 11 because they were busy squabbling in playroom. And now I have teenage problems to contend with as well - especially when a friend's tweenage brother inadvertently dropped a bomb on us during dinner.

He's dating.

Jenny Eric
I like you. You like me. Let's be boyfriend girlfriend!

This youthful James Dean wannabe of fourteen is dating. Holy Jenny Humphrey! Sure the world is rapidly changing with pimpled mean girls indulging in shockingly adult recreation but isn't fourteen far too young? Could have sworned I'd had my head buried in my books back then, far too obsessed with the coming exams than pretty girls in short skirts.

Not that I ever was interested.

James : I'm dating a girl.
Paul : Sounds like you'd better be careful. Are you alright with your schoolwork?
James : It's fine. She can help me. She's in the upper forms.
Paul : An older woman? Are you being careful? Are you using protection?
James : No! We're not doing anything like that.
Paul : That's what they all say when they're in luuuurve. Now tell me what you know about condoms. Do you need some?
James : OMG. Eeew! No!

At least James is still young enough to be shamed into red-faced embarassment in public. Obviously we won't be dealing with oops I did it again teenage pregnancy. Yet.

So my friend and I proceeded to give him reasonably paternal advice on tween romance with a slight detour to chide him about his less than stellar performance at school. Seriously. Told him that level-headed cheerleaders don't date brainless losers. Told him that reasonable colleges don't pick applicants with lousy academic results.

Not that he listened much. Oh yes, I do know teenage boys will just ignore well-meant advice.

Of course what I really wanted to say was... 'Bloody hell, you scored with a sophomore! You go, dude!' Obviously far too inappropriate a comment for a matured, seasoned veteran like me. Though I'd have been jumping ecstatically if I'd had the opportunity to score back in school. Hell, I'd have fucked a letter box. Imagine if I'd had a hunky teenage quarterback to play ball with after school.

Hot damn.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Let's Talk about Lego

Love : Baby, you put down first la.
Love #2 : You put la. You first la, honeybuns.
Love : No, you la.
Love #2 : You go first la.
Love : You first!

A nauseating tableau frequently reenacted around college campuses way before cellphones became a ubiquitous accessory. Doomed lovers separated by time and circumstance connecting through the telephone booths. And I've often been the barrier to communication as I stand there tapping my foot while aiming dagger looks. Come on, wouldn't you feel like strangling those cooing idiots?

Photo booth
Get a room dammit!

Unlike most couples who seem to be calling each other every second of the day, we don't actually spend our time exchanging lovey-dovey messages. Not even in the first flush of our romance. Don't think our conservative fellow Charming Calvin would even agree to a naughty sexting!

Just messaged this morning to apprise him of the recent state of overcrowding in my Legoville. Seems the newbies in town - and their shockingly large apartment block - have proved too much for the lil piece of real estate they're squatting on.

Paul : Wonder whether the gay couple should move to the apartment above the grocers.
Calvin : Ooh. A step down on the social ladder. You want them to start selling vegetables instead?
Paul : Just that the apartments over at the grocer's look bigger. Then again they could purchase the entire building right next to the farmer's market for their own.
Calvin : But the floor above the grocer's meant for the illegal immigrant workers.
Paul : Trust me. The apartments above the gro├žer's pretty glam. And no way the wealthy granddaddy who owns the building would lease it to indigent coolies.

Yes. We have the oddest conversations.

And now I have my pal Preity Posh joining me in the toy craze as she plans to build her own suburban Lego dream. Guess I'm not the only deprived kadult undergoing a second childhood.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

English in Medicine

Judging by the overwhelming Malay-isation in this country with the added emphasis on culture and language, you'd be surprised to know that the medical faculty by and large ignores all that nationalistic dogma. Surprised even me to find that our medical notes have always been written in English. And it is in English - despite the fact that our horrid handwriting and the liberal use of incomprehensible medical jargon tends to confuse the laypersons.

Always been in English. Probably ever since the first practitioner of western medicine set foot on our tropical shores. No doubt a fair-skinned colonial Brit horrified by the primitive circumstances after being shipped here. Quite possibly appalled by the level of English spoken by the heathenish barbarians ( i.e. witchdoctors and snake-oil salesmen ) here.

I can even recall a stack of notes in the hospital library written about beri-beri by an intrepid physician in the last century.

Though the art of medicine has certainly improved by leaps and bounds since those early days, I doubt our proficiency in the language has done the same.

What gobbledygook is written here!

In fact we've actually gotten much worse. There are times I've felt the urge to hunt the wards with a dangerous red marker ready to circle the obvious gaffes.

In spite of the fact that we actually received extra lessons in medical school! Seriously. English in Medicine. The most boring classes ever. I could barely keep myself awake in the mornings as the awfully pedantic lecturer explained how we should introduce ourselves to the ailing patients.

Lecturer : Repeat after me. How do you do?
Class : How do you do?
Lecturer : Say it again.
Class : How do you do?
Paul : By George, they've got it!

Yes, how kind of them to let me come. I was this close to breaking into song - something about the rain in Spain staying mainly in the plain.

Check out this hysterically funny article by an esteemed colleague as he pokes fun at the general use of the language at work. I laugh but I'm pretty sure I've made a couple of mistakes myself. Easy enough to fall into that particular pothole. After all we all follow the same erroneous templates at work without much thought - whether it be an interdepartmental referral or a patient's orders.

So we tend to make the same grammatical blunders. Repeatedly.

Please do the needful? For your kind attention? Referred for your expert advice? And tripple inotropic therapy ( why the added p )? Oft-repeated phrases that have become so common that it has become a medical cliche of its own.

Most don't know any better. And the rest - possibly like me - find ourselves far too lazy to correct everyone else. Or find such boo-boos such a ready source of hilarity that we wouldn't want to change a thing. Nury Vittachi, eat your heart out.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Playing Truant

I have never actually played truant a day in my life.

Well, almost. With teacher parents, I hardly ever missed a single day of school. Short of a debilitating bout of pneumonia confining me to bed ( sop terribly rare! ) or an unprecedented natural disaster damaging all the possible avenues, I would be promptly left at the school gates by 730 every morning. Without fail. Even until the very last day of school when only freaks and nerds abound.

And after that in medical school, I didn't dare miss a day. With all the monstrously diligent Gungho Ginnys around, it was all I could do to keep up. Not only do they take down endless notes for everything, they also revise them over piles of economy rice during lunch.

Scary. How not to be kiasu like that! Keeping up with the ambitious Ginnys meant attending every single lecture given.

No playing hooky back then.

So obviously I'm making up for it in spades.

The expression on everyone's faces.

To the astonishment of everyone I know since I rarely do so. Witness the consternation on my colleagues' faces seeng me skip class.

Ginny : You're skipping class?
Paul : Yup. Errands to run. Chores to do. Gifts to buy.
Ginny : Right now? But the lecture isn't even half done.
Paul : Sorry but being bored out of my skull isn't an option these days.
Ginny : But it just isn't done!
Paul : Watch me.

What a scandal.

Even Charming Calvin finds it a little reprehensible - and like any good lil Chinese boy, he can't help but remind me of it.

Calvin : Aren't you supposed to be somewhere?
Paul : I am somewhere.
Cavin : Somewhere else.
Paul : Which is here.

So no, he's not approving of truancy. Good to know. Me, I've come to realize that a few days off doesn't hurt anyone. Just disregard whatever your parents and teachers say. Trust me, skipping one day isn't going to cause your entire scholastic career to go down the drain.

Maybe I'll actually consider giving my kids two days off every year. For no reason at all but to stop and smell the roses.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Every Man for Himself

Let's say you have a lil village set on marshy lowlands prone to recurrent floods.

Unimaginative folks would have uprooted to higher grounds instead. Others would have their houses on stilts. The more ingenious engineers would have diverted rivers and planned canals. Hell, the ambitious Dutch even have built dykes to keep back the sea. By sheer grit, hard work and gotong-royong, we would have somehow made it through the floods.

Built an ark if need be.

Especially if the floods come every year without fail.

We would make plans. We would prepare for the worst. Though our tactics might fail numerous times, we definitely wouldn't just sit around waiting for forceful nature to take its course.

Yet there are some hapless folks who sit in their houses waiting to be drowned by the veritable tsunami annually. Desperately wringing their hands in despair calling out for divine intervention every year when the monsoon rains slam into the vulnerable coasts.

Foolish beyond permission. Wicked scientists would no doubt call it natural evolution weeding out the weak-minded.

Justin Hartley
Unless you have this strapping fella come save you of course.
I find it very hard to argue with that statement myself. Seriously have no patience for idiots who don't bother to lift a finger to save themselves. Of course natural disasters that occur without any possible warning can't be helped.

But monsoon floods that come and go as regular as Swiss clockwork?

You wanna know what God wants to say?

Villagers : Help us God! Save us from this unnatural calamity that comes every year without fail.
God : I gave you centuries to prepare and still you can't do a thing? Drown then.

Surely you don't expect Him to move rivers just for this. Short of vengeful ancient Egyptians with swords and spears in desperate chase, don't go praying hoping the sea will part.

God gave you a brain. Do something about it.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Ye Olde Christmas List

Guess it's about that time again when we all come up with our own lists. As practical as the gift may be, we can't very well get ties and shirts every year, can we? So it's safer to come up with a gift list rather than depend on blind luck. Pretty long list since I still like the element of surprise.


Umm... sir, you mean I have to type naked again?

So what do I want Santa to bring down the chimney this year? With added responsibilities at work, a hot, virile blond personal assistant at work would be great but I doubt Charming Calvin would look kindly on such shenanigans :) So here goes my PG-13 Christmas List.

Antique white birdcage from Ambiance
Brittania cushion from Laura Ashley
My Prescription for Anti-Depressive Living by Jonathan Adler

Know exactly where to place the Brittania cushion. Would go perfectly with my peacock blue bedroom. If not, I'd sure Jonathan Adler would find just the right way to display the cushion.

Moleskin notebook
Jack Spade Messenger Bag
My Bad: A Zits Treasury by Jim Borgman and Jerry Scott
Peter Pan: A Classic Collectible Pop-Up by Robert Sabuda
Frostbitten by Kelley Armstrong
Angelic by Kelley Armstrong
Unleashed by John Levitt
Monster by A. Lee Martinez
The Spy Who Haunted Me by Simon R. Green
Band Fags! by Frank Anthony Polito
Drama Queers! by Frank Anthony Polito
Changing Pitches: A Novel of Love and Baseball by Steve Kluger
My Most Excellent Year: A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins, and Fenway Park by Steve Kluger

So why the Moleskin? Figures that since I'm gonna be the de facto head of department next year, I'd better buck up and get more organized. At least try not to forget as many appointments! And obviously the bag for the book :)

Lots more books on my list but I figure I'd have already gotten half of them by the time Christmas comes around. Better leave it out just in case.

Tarkan Audio CD
Glee : The Music Volume 1 and 2 CD
Emma BBC 2009 DVD
Glee, Vol. One: Road to Sectionals DVD
Monarch of the Glen Season 2 and 3 on DVD
Little Men DVD
Brothers and Sisters Season 3 DVD
Nurse Jackie Season 1 DVD
Early Edition Season 2 DVD
United States of Tara Season 1 DVD
Desperate Housewives Season 5 DVD
Private Practice Season 1 and 2 DVD
Star Trek (Two-Disc Digital Copy Edition)

A whole collection of DVDs to while away the time in the boondocks. Seriously. I've had quite enough of driving in circles around town looking for entertainment. Perhaps it's time for some vegging out at home with the tv.

Careers Boardgame
McFarlane Spawn Series 34 - Neo Classics:Pirate Spawn
Pop Life Ken
Jazz Diva Barbie
Lego Cafe Corner 10182
Lego Green Grocer 10185
Lego Castle Medieval Market Village 10193

Careers is a classic boardgame. Have mine at home but it looks pretty dilapidated. Think even the board is giving way already.

And yes, I've obviously gone into Lego in a big way. It's terribly addictive!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Point Zero

A mother finds herself in a vaguely incestuous affair.
A girl finds herself in love with her sister's fiancee.
A whore gets herself a makeover from an aspiring director.
A virgin gets himself a guardian angel who just happens to be gay.
An actress finds her chance at stardom.
A dancer finds the love of his life.

And it all happens on a small circle barely two feet in diameter somewhere on the streets of the Puerta del Sol in Madrid called Kilometre Zero.

Or Km.O as it's termed in the movie.

Always been a sucker for spicy screwball romances that occur due to alarmingly misdirected meet-cutes. One feel-good Spanish movie I've actually been searching for quite a while - though for some reason the dvd pirates keep handing me an obscure war-time film from Iraq.

And does it exceed my expectations? It certainly does! Is it of any gay interest? But of course! Seems like the sweltering heat on Madrid's hottest day is getting to everyone. Not only do we get to see a sweet average joe - a schoolteacher no less - fall head-over-heels for a sizzling Spanish dreamboat but we also have a straight groom-to-be bumping horns with an audacious gay confidant.

Which reminds me I better start looking for Spanish lessons somewhere close by.

A meet-cute in progress. Guess who's gonna get lucky tonight.

Of course not everyone meets their future partner after mistaking them for an internet hook-up. Hardly that memorable.

Far from that actually. Evidently Charming Calvin seems to have forgotten the first time we met! Though I haven't. Fortunately we have a thing called a blog these days. Pretty sure almost everyone has forgotten what it stands for but it's actually short for weblog. So yes, I get to commemorate this date.

No funny chat-up lines. No unlikely coincidences. Just a simple appointment where Calvin came down by train to meet me straight after work. Standing at the bus-stop with his impossibly dilapidated workbag ( fortunately retired! ) and a gift-wrapped present in hand. One striped cream and chestnut tie that I still wear to this day.

Did we have fireworks in the sky? Did we have weeping violins in the background? No. Shame to admit but no, I didn't fall in love at first sight. Didn't even fall after the prerequisite two hours given by romantic comedies. But I did find a nice rhythm going with Charming Calvin - something certainly worth risking that second date for.

How about that for a meet-cute?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Party Like It's 1997

Halfway through my Gilmore Girls marathon, I realized that I have a significant void in my past. As Rory Gilmore rang in her 21st with much aplomb, I tried to think back on what I did but drew a total tabula rasa when it came to my own birthday party. What did I do way back then?

Surely I celebrated some. At least a lone cupcake with a sad candle? Hell, it's more than a decade ago but surely I'd remember some details.

Now this is the kinda birthday I would remember.

Unless it was damned boring of course. So sickeningly dull that I blanked it from my memory. Maybe I knitted woollen mittens on that day.

Paul : Why didn't I have a 21st birthday party?
My ISO : Sure you did!
Paul : Was it a nice dinner with a cake?
My ISO : Oh yeah, you did that with your parents. Then later you came out with us.
Paul : Are you sure? Why can't I remember it?
My ISO : Because you're senile. And ... umm.. because you were passed-out drunk.
Paul : You're lying.
My ISO : Knew you would say that. I have pictures to prove it.
Paul : It could have been London.
My ISO : The 21st candle is imprinted on your forehead.

Trust my oldest friend. Glad to see that someone does remember.

Hmm. Which reminds me that I need to blackmail him for the photos.

Friday, November 27, 2009

My Style

So what do we do on long weekends over here? Apart from the odd outdoor excursion of mountains and caves which isn't something I would go for, there's not much for a dedicated urbanite to do around here. Seems like I've exhausted every possible avenue of retail possible here from the native markets to the occasional weekend jumble sale held by the expats.

Seriously. We desperately need a new mall here.

Fortunately the internet means we're never really left all alone - whether you count that as a blessing or otherwise. And it's almost impossible to get bored with the millions of websites at our fingertips.

When I have way too much time on my hands, my mind tends to wander. Even started to think of decorating options for my office. Though I don't have much of a choice since the entire operating theatre - and my office - is painted a horrid sickly pastel green. Seriously makes me think of mould. And they have that matched to dull, lifeless gray office furniture. But I shall prevail. Hoping a light shot of orange and a flashier shade of green would bring the place to life.

I think the floor needs a carpet. Maybe in a shade of green.

As it turns out I really am Blair Waldorf incarnate when it comes to decorating. I'm an Elegant Classic. At least that's what this interior decorating quiz says.

Paul, you are an Elegant Classic.

You have a refined sensibility with an appreciation for history and tradition in your furniture and your rooms. You value beauty, things that are well crafted, and family heirlooms. You are visually sensitive and understand how symmetry and a formal layout give order to a room, and hence your home is refined and calming. You are not taken in by the trends of the moment. You go for things with a timeless appeal, and appreciate old-fashioned virtues like manners and handwritten notes and making a home that is welcoming for others.

You value creativity. You are stylish and fun loving, and can be an inspiration to others. You have a natural sense of drama, and you know you have to be willing to take risks—whether with colors, finishes, furniture choices, or ideas—for your home to stand out. Your home can be happy and lively and the place all of your friends want to be.

After letting you pick from a range of differently styled rooms and furniture sets, it then extrapolates the style that you'd go for. So go try it, find your own style at Homegoods.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Bridge of Silence and Sighs

Certainly no need to travel all the way to Venice to admire the infamous Bridge of Sighs. After all I have my very own Dirge of Sighs over here - chanted by our chief mourner Nervous Nancy. Out of all my junior colleagues, she seems to be the most problematic at the moment - hence her recurring status on my blog.

So how does she sigh? Let me count the ways.

Nancy : I have this case. Sigh.
Paul : Yes?
Nancy : This patient just got admitted to the Emergency Dept with a complaint of... ( insert some horrible untreatable malady here )... Sigh.
Paul : So what are your plans?
Nancy : ...
Paul : Hello?
Nancy : Sigh.
Paul : Hello? What are your plans?
Nancy : ... I might do... umm... Sigh.

If only I had a penny for every sigh. Seriously. How do I solve a problem like Nancy? A flibbertijibbet! A will-o'-the wisp!

Though certainly much too serious to be a clown.

Paul : So how do we solve a problem like Nancy?
Eve : I'd like to say a word in her behalf, Maria makes me laugh.
Paul : Many a thing you know you'd like to tell her.
Many a thing she ought to understand. But how do you make her stay and listen to all you say.

Wonder if Nancy even notices that she sighs at oddly inopportune moments. Almost reminiscent of Tourette's. Even caught her doing so during a hospital presentation making her sound like a sadly melancholic speaker lamenting the loss of her slides. Had the counsellor asking me whether she was on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

Frankly I have no idea. With all the moaning and sighing, all I hear from her are hmms, hehs and sighs. Nancy claims to be trouble-free though I seriously doubt it.

At least I do know who I'll be sending on a stress management course :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Secretary for Hire

Didn't really hit me until today that I might be in charge one day.

Certainly makes it sound as if it's some uncertain date in the far misty future - rather than by the end of the month.

With the previous head of department still hanging about the hallways before taking her final leave, I still have a bit of leeway. The bulk of the administrative duties are still efficiently carried out by her - with the trifling remainder being slowly trickled down to me. In comfortable stages.

Rather than an entire avalanche.

Till today when I got handed the unenviable task of preparing the annual budget and financial forecast for the next year. Seriously. Crunching numbers might be the domain of other more mathematically-inclined Chinese fellas ( just like my brother ) but didn't I join medical school just to avoid such pointless accounts? Could there be anything more tedious than going through criss-crossed bills, dusty invoices and endless numbers?

Could that be the real reason why our bosses are always so crabby come quarter day?

Patrick Dempsey
Bloody accounts!

Even the astonishing number of zeros behind each sum didn't serve to keep me titillated for long. One million's quite the same as another when I can't use it for my own selfish personal gains.

Unlike my disastrous experience with accounts in high school however, I just hope the numbers actually tally this time. Imagine having to depend on unmathematical me for a bit of financial planning! What a horrifying prospect. I can't even balance my own accounts.

Paul : Dammit. We need to find enough cash in the department just to pay a fucking accountant to sort all this out.
Nurse : Or a secretary?
Paul : Yes, a sexy one sitting on my desk.
Nurse : In a short skirt?
Paul : More like one with broad shoulders and a loosened tie.
Nurse : Oh.
Paul : Now that's one number I wouldn't mind going through again. And again.

Still - after struggling with an ancient calculator old enough to pass as an abacus - I managed to turn the accounts in before the allotted time. Maybe I could get my new personal assistant to come check.

Monday, November 23, 2009

How I Became a Mullah

Looked at myself in the mirror today and still couldn't find the resemblance.

Seriously. Didn't I get mistaken for a porn-obsessed sexual perv just a month back? When did I suddenly turn into a turbanned and mustachioed religious cleric?

Then again it was dark, I'd grown a beard and I was eating kosher food.

Mullah : Excuse me, good sir. Would you like to try this CD?
Paul : That's a nasyid CD.
Mullah : Really great. Sung by a band of god-fearing brothers. It will strengthen your inner spirituality.
Paul : Mother of God.
Mullah : Peace be upon you too, my brother.

This close to replying in kind - except I was too tongue-tied to come up with an answer. Despite his shoving the religious items at me, my religious inclinations weren't in the least bit swayed. Didn't feel any urge to toss my Bible out the window. Even my crucifix remains intact, albeit in a lil box by my nightstand. After all if your religious beliefs are apt to waver significantly after a persuasive spiel, they weren't all that strong in the first place.

Obviously not everyone thinks the same.

Thanked the peddler politely but shook my head to say no. Now isn't it fortunate how wonderfully tolerant I am? If the roles were reversed - say a naive bible-toting preacher innocently selling traditional hymns to a Muslim - I can already imagine the crazed jihad-like uproar that would ensue. Torches and pitchforks I swear.

Latter days
Maybe if they looked as good as Mormon boys, I might reconsider!

But I guess it's interesting that I actually got mistaken as the aspiring mullah with four submissive wives and twenty hopeful children.

Talk about diversity! Interracial mixed marriages have become so common here that it's almost impossible to peg someone's racial heritage just from one look. Even the stereotypically fair Chinese here have turned permatanned like the mocha-skinned natives. Which is wonderful. Perhaps that's the road our country should be heading towards rather than headlining race and religion on our identification cards to further divide us. Just a thought.

May we all be mistaken as mullahs one day.

And vice versa.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Don't Stand So Close

Very few things make me squeamish. Okay, maybe torn hands dangling by the ligaments. And possibly tapeworms.

But ever since I came over here, I've found another bit to add to my list of ickiness. Or at least things that make me go ick. Enough to make me squeal like a sophomoric girl.

Lizards. Seriously. To call this lil hamlet the Lizard Kingdom could only be an understatement. These wet slimy creepy-crawlies seem to peer out of every nook and cranny in the building with their wickedly sinister eyes. Let's not even talk about their slithery tongues and the eerie snap-clicking sounds they make. No doubt the sweltering heat of this baking seaside village only helps the deceptively small reptiles proliferate in shockingly large numbers.

Obviously just waiting for me to run wildly amuck and start vacuuming the entire heinous lot into a bag for the hospital incinerator. Just the thought of a multitude of nests clustered behind corners makes me itch for a flaming bazooka. Cleansed by holy fire!

It's payback time, bitches!

So you can imagine the painful consternation on my face when I found one in the cabinet just as I was clearing it. A lizard adhered to the edge of the cabinet. Upside down. Not moving. Practically posing for the runway with it sticky webbed palms akimbo.

Who knows. Maybe it had a heart attack. Do lizards even have hearts?

Paul : OMG.
Felix : What is it?
Paul : Look at that!
Felix : OMG. Eeew. Why is it not moving? Is it dead?
Paul : Why don't you go ask it?

Could have sworn I let out a manly yelp but to Fabulous Felix - also in attendance - it was a high-pitched shriek of girlish horror. Seriously couldn't get the broom out fast enough.

The resourceful Glee members came up with just the right song for the occasion.

Don't stand so close to me.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Gay Man Scorned


It's an ugly, selfish emotion that has crept up on the best of us. Even knightly Arthur himself wasn't spared the sly, green-eyed demon when Lancelot made the moves on his queen. Jealousy certainly drives men to certifiably insane lengths. But to chop the heads of anyone vaguely suspicious, assassinate entire families and order castrations?

After all, how else would a resentful sovereign - with all the power solely in his hands - react to such a betrayal?

At least in dynastic Korea, he does. At least that's what the visually stunning historical epic Frozen Flower suggests, ostensibly based on a true story from the Goryeo Dynasty in Korea. Where a homosexual ruler - with an enviable bevy of beautiful boy-toys - realizes his inability to sire a legitimate heir could signal the end of his reign. Trying his best to shake off the dominance of the neighbouring Chinese empire, the king bides his time by playing the puppet ruler, even consenting to a dynastic match with a Chinese consort.

But that's as far as his sacrifice goes. Balking at the thought of sexual relations with his queen, he hatches up a scheme with his devoted bodyguard-lover. Rather than lie down, close his eyes and think of Korea, the ingenuous king orders his slavish boy-toy to render that one last service for him. Of course you can imagine that such a ridiculously improbable plan to have his devoted bodyguard-lover impregnate his queen would be doomed to fail. Especially when the bodyguard-lover finds the charms of the queen quite as alluring.

The King and His Bodyguard!

Simply put.

King : I want to be king. Damn the overlord. But I need an heir to maintain legitimacy.
Queen : Come sleep with me.
King : No. How many times have I told you I'm gay! I'd rather you sleep with my boy-toy.
Boy-toy : Yes, my liege. Though I won't enjoy it.
Queen : Umm. Alright.
Boy-toy : You know what, I was wrong. I'm actually enjoying sex with you. Variation on a theme.
Queen : Thank the lord I'm no longer a virgin! Baby, fuck me harder.
Boy-toy : Now I'm torn between two lovers!
Queen : And I might be getting pregnant.
King : Bloody hell. I am getting jealous.

Apparently that's when all hell breaks loose. Seriously, hell hath no fury as a gay man scorned. So desperate is he to get his bodyguard-lover back that he commits a vicious string of atrocities from mass beheadings to castrations.

Despite being touted as a shockingly controversial movie for depicting a gay romance, don't expect too much homoeroticism from it! Though the bodyguard-lover seems to have more chemistry with the king, he keeps going back for more with the horny queen. Trying to pander to the largely heterosexual public, there are dozens of explicit shots featuring the lusty queen ecstatically performing her breeding duties with the shockingly willing sperm donor. In comparison there's only one pathetic sexual interlude/quickie between the king and his erstwhile bodyguard-lover.

So does the bodyguard-lover prefer the king or the queen? Hard to tell when he's brutally impaled ( and not in a good way ) at the end. Draw what conclusions you may from the last significant look he shared with the king.

Nice however to see a powerful gay man risk it all for love. Despite the fact that the king could be so utterly foolish at times! Rather than risk his boyfriend straying, why didn't he just join in the fun to keep an eye! Hasn't he heard of threesomes? The king should have turned the breeding session into something so coldly clinical with written cues that the boy would need an overdose dose of viagra just to perform.

And doesn't he already have an entire harem of men ( interchangeable Korean pretty boys really! ) at his disposal?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Old Porn Becomes New again

Just today, I stumbled across an old porn film that I first watched years - and years back. An incestuous lil gay porn that involved three virile, highly adventuresome ( and shockingly inventive ) brothers. Certainly brought back a wealth of cum-soaked memories of my initial brush with porn.

Sure, all-boy schools are rife with heterosexual porn! Seriously, forget about mindless government censorship. Magazines and videos furtively passed around the back over hushed giggles with centerfolds of pomelo-shaped titties and gaping-wide vaginas aplenty to spare. Tried my best to appreciate the sensual possibilities of a busty broad lying on a haystack - but even then I had to resist the unmanly urge to yawn.

Much preferred the amateurish drawings of a naked man in my biology text instead.

Maybe I already had an inkling about my sexual proclivities back then. However there didn't seem to be all that many opportunities coming my way to confirm my budding theories. Hardly any magazines available. No videos in sight. The internet still in its relative infancy. Way back before we actually had gay torrents freely available, there seemed no easy way to lay my hand on a handy source of porn.

At least till I found my way to my cousin's flat in London. Practically a bachelor's pad with my cousin a high school student ( and his parents away minding their Chinese takeaway ), it seemed the perfect place for a porn extravaganza. Hell, Trusty John even offered me his Blockbuster card to rent a few videos out.


Damn, wouldn't mind having some porn right about now!

Trying my utmost best to look impossibly nonchalant, I made my way unhurriedly to the gay entertainment section in the Blockbuster store. Ah the vagaries of youth. I'm sure the store clerk had a nasty chuckle watching the nervous ingenue trying to keep his cool in the restricted section.

It was like gay porn heaven. In every form, position and fetish possible ( and some inclinations even I shudder to contemplate! ).

You can already guess the title I took. But it wasn't the only one. Think a crazy splurge on gay porn. Practically covered every naughty fetish availble then. Had to furtively sneak it into my coat as I walked into my cousin's apartment.

John : So how was the dvd store? Great right?
Paul : Umm. Yeah.
John : So what did you get? I brought out some popcorn!
Paul : Umm. You wanna watch too? Aren't you going to class?
John : Still a while more to go. So what do you have?
Paul : Umm. An art film?

Seriously. Shit.

Had to make up all sorts of implausible excuses just to get rid of the poor fellow. Practically gave him a kick to send him on his way. Was it that hard for him to take a hint?

Sure Trusty John seemed surprisingly mature for his age but hey, he's still a susceptible minor at only 16 years! Had a feeling he wanted to sneak a peek as well - hoping that boobs would be the main attraction - but I wouldn't want to sully the poor kid with nightmarish images of incestuous buggery. Had a feeling even then that unlike me, our breeder boy John actually leans towards the heterosexual side of the Kinsey scale.

Monday, November 16, 2009

That Dirty Lil Scorpio

Seems even the fates are conspiring against us. Feel terribly victimized with our already tattered reputations slandered and besmirched by those who don't know better.

Seriously. We might sue.

Bad enough that the horoscopes tend to place us at the murkiest of ends. If you're disbelieving of the entirely perverse nature of those born in the month of November ( and the few of us in October ), look no further than my workplace.

By a new initiative recently engineered by the bureaucrats up above, the nurses have been placed into different teams in charge of certain sections of the hospital ward. Then cleverly tagged with the names of horoscope signs to promote harmonious teamwork. Aries got the waiting room. Sagittarius got the changing room. Even Taurus got the pantry.

Somehow by the luck of draw, the Scorpios got the Dirty Utilities Room.

Oh, is that the Dirty Utilities Room!

Really. Somehow it just makes sense. Dark, dank and secluded backroom of the hospital where obviously everything dirty gets tossed. Or was it cleaned? Rumoured to be used for the occasional illicit make-out session.

At least from what I heard.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Take A Slice of Pork

With an education partly based on the misguided teachings of Islamic-inclined tutors, there has been much argument on the feasibility of consuming pork. Supposedly it's unclean, unworthy and contemptible - at least in their eyes.

Having rebellious students like us, that particular exhortation only inspired an immediate backlash of pork-infested feasts following their lectures. Seriously, haven't they read about the temptation of Eve? Of course their supposedly evidence-based teachings seemed to be proven right with the recent swine flu scare a few years back.

Which led to people steering away from pigs in droves.

Oh, for a slice of pork!

Let's not even talk about the skinny socialistas who flee from the thick gelatinous layer of pork fat dripping in oil. Or my similarly pork-fearing mother-in-law :)

The poor maligned pig.

So it was with some amused relief that I found out that not all of us think that way. In fact for some, pork is evidently a panacea for all illnesses.

Only learned that when a hypochondriac aunt of mine decided to seek traditional treament - read snake oil salesman - for her mysterious heart ailments. Repeated arguments for her to stay away from such predatory crackpot mediums seemed to have no effect.

Aunt : So what do I do for my problems, doctor?
Quack : The first commandment. Thou must taketh vegetables and fruits.
Aunt : I have been doing that.
Quack : Verily thou must partake of steamed chicken. Kampung chicken only.
Aunt : Yes, doctor.
Quack : Behold this my most important commandment! Most importantly, thou must eat pork!
Aunt : Eh?
Quack : Have pork and ye shall be healed, my sister!

Obviously Charming Calvin - a staunch advocate of pork-consumption - would be pleased to learn that.

Cure for acute pulmonary oedema? Evidently we don't really need diuretics and beta-blockers anymore. Just a slice of pork a day will do. The astonishing image of patients in the cardiac care unit voraciously munching on endless quantities of bakuteh boggles the mind.

Wonder whether it comes in a pill.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Ten-Dollar Weekend

Start cracking those books, kids. Cutting coupons to buy groceries simply isn't fun. If there's a valid argument for studying smart to get into an economically viable course such as geology ( forget about medicine which is purely altruistic! ), it's that being poor actually sucks.

Seriously sucks. With my finances at low ebb after the Shanghai tsunami and the annual Christmas blowout just around the corner, I've been tightening the belt just a bit. Not forgetting the small fortune I've spent redecorating my new pad.

Yeah, my accountant's been calling non-stop.

For this month I might actually owe the credit card monster which is a scary thought since I have been pretty good about regularly covering all my expenses. Borrowing from my trust-fund baby ex seemed a possibility but I decided to save that for the times I actually need to outrun the creditors ( or ah longs are they are called here ). Even thought of having a garage sale. Pity I can't sell the pumpkins I'm growing on Farmville.

Fortunately I had my brother's endless lectures on financial frugality to remind me so I knew exactly what I had to do.

So I decided to scrimp and have my ten-dollar weekend. Fortunately I already have all the mundane essentials covered from laundry to housing rent ( cardboard boxes are hard to get! ) so I only needed to spend the remaining on supplies for the weekend.

So what do indigent bachelors ( well, sort of ) get up to on weekends?

Be charitable dammit!

Stay home obviously since petrol for the car costs! And it would stop me from giving in to the sudden impulse shopping bit. With Christmas decorations already up here for the past month, it would definitely be safe to avoid them. After all I already have my super-cheap economical Christmas tree at only thirty bucks.

Definitely no eating out for the day of course. Fortunately I have a surprisingly well-stocked pantry. You know those week-old leftovers? Just nuke them, pray hard that salmonella's only in the imagination and dig in. Nothing like mooncakes and peanut butter jelly cream crackers for lunch. Of course I try to splurge a bit for dinner which means my regular three-dollar kolok mee and tea.

Actually that only comes up to less than three so I can actually eat twice on a good day.

Then of course I accept any freebies given out. There's nothing quite like depending on the kindness of strangers! And with Fabulous Felix testing out his new oven, it's easy enough to just over to his soup kitchen. Of course standing in line with a rusted spoon clanging on the metal cup tends to lose its charm - but what's the poverty-stricken to do!

Care for a donation?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Once Upon an Ex-Gay

Seriously. Forget about saving the whale. Forget about saving the orang-utan. Forget about staying away from shark's fin soup. We have an even more endangered species quietly disappearing from the earth.

Yes, you heard it here first. Gays are going extinct.

All leaving in desperate droves after caving in to sociocultural pressures to join the ex-gays happily ensconsced in nameless suburbia. Not only did Smiley Sam cross over to the heterosexual side a few months back, I just found out another friend of mine followed in his reversion wake.

Straight into a wedding. With a woman.

Friend : Did you know Simple Seth's getting married?
Paul : That's great. Finally. Hopefully married to a woman and not to the blow-up doll he purchased on the internet?
Friend : It's a woman!
Paul : You sound surprised as well!
Friend : Wait. You didn't know he was gay?
Paul : OMG. Seth was gay?

Oh yeah, I also found out Seth's gay on the same night I found out he turned straight.

Lick me
Last time I do anything gay, I swear.

Fact is I always thought Simple Seth was happily heterosexual. Unlike the rest of raging queendom, I don't agree to the maxim that every other man is gay until proven otherwise.

And after all, Seth repeatedly insisted that he was straight, even after being starved, beaten and interrogated for hours under a painfully bright spotlight. Throughout the years in college, he doggedly carried on with his heterosexual crusade, maintaining his breeder boy values - despite the fact that it was obviously hypothetical since he never actually dated anyone remotely female.

Despite the fact that all the rest of us in the gang - from Eye Eddie to Doubting Danny to me - somehow turned gay along the way. I blame the water supply in the dorm, always looked suspiciously murky.

Despite the fact that he stubbornly remained seated in a Dutch sex cinema eventhough two horny fellows were going at it incessantly onscreen ( with another dozen or so busy groping in the subdued audience ). Sweaty, hairy-backed, grunting fellows so impossibly soaked in testosterone that it would be impossible to mistake them as women.

Even if Seth had flunked anatomy. Which he didn't.

Supposedly Seth broke down with his secret gay confessions one drunken night far away from the rest of the gang only to have the information leak my way several years later. Obviously finding out the rest of us had turned gay must have scared him off homosexuality.

And now that I finally learn he's gay, he's gone straight. Figures.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Pride & Prejudice

We come to love not by finding the perfect person but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.

Surely it has to be greatest of compliments to be likened to a dashing figure of romance such as the incomparable Mr Darcy from Jane Austen's tour de force Pride and Prejudice. Even sweeter to have it come from your peerless boyfriend. Seems Charming Calvin sat through an entire weekend of the BBC television remake - after obviously giving up on ever finishing the print version - and was reminded of me. No wonder he wanted me to pen something appropriately snotty for the blog a while back.

Yet Scorpios are certifiably nuts. Bet half the drooling psychos throwing themselves onto padded walls are born in November.

And unexpected compliments do make us highly suspicious. As in bring out the binoculars and secret spy camera suspicious. Scorpios could probably find hidden menace in an interview with the late Mother Teresa.

Did I hear someone referencing dashing British gentlemen?

Time alone here had me thinking about Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy. Sure, our fine gentleman turned out to be surprisingly perfect in the role of knight in shining armour at the end of the book but wasn't he an arrogant, condescending prick in the beginning? Wonder whether he meant I was the Mr Darcy before or after the miraculous transformation.

Or was it because the taciturn Mr Darcy kept his feelings close to the vest? Or was it the way Darcy trotted faithfully into the lil village to make fun of the provincial yokels? Or is he saying that I love to butt in like Darcy did with his friend Bingley and Jane?

Or waitaminute, Calvin also caught Bridget Jones's Diary before that. Does he mean I look good in a reindeer sweater?

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Farming at the Touch of a Button

It's almost midnight on a weekend and I'm still busy in my garden patch planting my pumpkins and squash. Sweat is dripping off my brow as I plow the soil - manually by hand since I can barely afford the shockingly expensive tractor. The pink cow's probably ready to be milked by morning. Which gives me about 6 hours of sleep before getting up at the crack of dawn to tend to the cows.

And harvest the wheat.

Fortunately it's all at the touch of a button. Despite my little foray with gardening, I don't do perspiration.

Unless it's sex with a sexy post-juvenile gardener on the muddy ground.

Could I help plow your fields?

Fortunately we have Farmville since the sweltering heat here is killing every green thing I shove into the ground. Or it could be the endless dust balls choking them.

Obviously a yearning for the pastoral life since it seems like I'm not the only one harvesting tulips at inordinately late hours. Half the online facebook world's doing it as well - more than 62 million actually - tilling the land and harvesting their vegetables on Farmville. The other half is reputedly making Farmville art, arranging hay bales and farm plots to resemble expressionist paintings.

Seriously. Mona Lisa in brown hay bales.

Addictive enough that folks are even leaving early from their dinner dates to check on their pattypan squash.

The game starts off simply enough : Land is handed out in plots where seeds can be planted, harvested and sold. Crows and bugs can attack but fortunately neighbours can step in to help. As the finances improve, things can be purchased from the market from basics like rice and pumpkin seeds to the truly superfluous, like elephants and hot-air balloons. If only I could hire fresh-faced country boys to help out in the fields.

So hey, go give me a tree.

Friday, November 06, 2009

A Fishwife's Tale

Ever been on the wrong side of a crazed rant meant for someone else?

Virago : You sir! I have things to tell you!
Paul : Umm. Hello strange lady?
Virago : You boss true? I have many things, oh many things to say.
Paul : Umm. You came to the right place?
Virago : Go tell that bitch intern of yours that she's not fit to scrub my toilet!
Paul : Umm. Duly noted.
Virago : Unprofessional she is. Terrible!
Paul : Could you speak a little louder? Think they didn't hear you in Timbuktu.

As calm as she looked before, who could have known that I'd be jabbing a hornet's nest!

Angry would be putting it mildly. Judging by the throbbing vein on her wrinkled forehead, I half imagined I'd have to save her from an impending stroke. And she went on for at least ten minutes after that though in a slightly lower decibel.

Before the crazy comes in!

For a fellow who comes from a pseudoWASPy family where we barely raise our voice above a whisper during a conversation - other than my toddler nephew who insists on speaking in an entirely audible yell all the time, you can imagine what I thought to have this relatively ferocious virago harangue me in public. Short of stuffing her mouth with tape, I doubt we could stem the overflowing dam of frustration. Even then I was this close to yelling 'shut the fuck up'.

Come on, the patients in the clinic didn't come here for a floor show.

Fortunately it wasn't about me in the slightest. Though I do pity the one it was intended for. To think that the crazed termagant had years of pent-up frustration ready to explode at a moment's notice. Curious to see who else made her insane hit list.

That she-devil was this close to running amuck. Probably would have if I'd continued poking her with a sharp stick. Makes me wonder whether I actually transform into an unreasonable shrew when goaded. Seriously doubt it though. Get so much quieter the angrier I get so I usually don't participate in screaming matches.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

For the Love of GPS

Some boys prefer sappy love songs and poetry.

Some boys prefer wine and roses. Some boys prefer leather and chains.

My proof of love comes a litle differently in the form of some good old GPS action.

Remember when I talked about the nifty car Charming Calvin purchased a while ago? Otherwise better known as charming outdoor decoration? Well the lil automobile that could doesn't move all that much, it might as well be an ivy-laden pergola.

Umm... I think I might be lost!

Till I took my leave of Calvin of course. Seems that his surprisingly independent car has been making the rounds lately. Of course I immediately pictured Calvin mapping out his route the night before with charts, maps and alternative paths. Mr Spontaniety he ain't.

So when I wondered blithely how to get back home while I was in the city ( with my car in the boondocks )...

Calvin : I'll drive you.
Paul : You're driving?
Calvin : I said it.
Paul : Wow. You said that without a single hint of passive-aggressive rancor.
Calvin : I now have GPS.
Paul : Global Positioning System? The one that costs a small fortune?
Calvin : My new baby. iBlair needs a sibling.
Paul : Wow. iBlair's barely walking yet.

At least we've somewhat resolved the big yellow taxi issue. Or totally avoided it.

So not only did Calvin manage the drive ( probably much against his principles! ), we were also accompanied by a deep-voiced basso profundo who gave us directions all the way. Our roundabout choice of routes confounded the poor GPS - who had to recalculate every five miles - but it finally managed to point us in the right direction. Oddly enough though the GPS fellow tried impressions with every change of language. Could have sworn the Hakka-speaking impresario sounded distinctly feminine.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

In Omnia Paratus

Not all friends should mix.

Another argument for keeping parts of my life separate and compartmentalized? I suddenly came to the realization that a large number of my friends - at least the ones I regularly share discourse with - are all affiliated with one another. Not only do we have an entire newsletter online keeping us informed of our goings-on every day, we also try our best to get together at least semi-regularly.

And that's all great.

Who should I call?

But like all friends, we do have our little squabbles. Far from the monumental handbag-slugging, hair-tearing catfights of Serena and Blair in Gossip Girl but it's close enough.

So you can imagine how impossible it is when you're feeling a lil pissed with no one to vent to. Not royally pissed that you need to demand am urgent confrontation at high noon but just angry enough to need an outlet. Over something so silly and embarassingly inconsequential that it needs just a quick queer rant to get over.

So who do you call?

School buddies are scattered all over and my uni mates are crazy busy at their respective hospitals. Without the prior history, my junior colleagues over here won't understand the conundrum so I'm stuck with my Lego figs to talk to.

Paul : I'm a psychotic bastard.
My ISO : Tell me something I didn't know. Wait, you called me just to tell me this?
Paul : I'm pissed.
My ISO : Did you miss your stale coffee this morning?
Paul : Let me vent, bitch.
My ISO : Can I skim through the daily news while you rant?
Paul : Yes. Forgot the papers today so butt in with some of interesting headlines.
My ISO : When you're done, can I then bitch about brainless clients?
Paul : Take a number.

Yes. In lieu of a newspaper, ex-boyfriends are surprisingly good for opinions and headlines. Not to mention the occasional comic section.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Stealing Light


Speak of it to no one but it seems as if I've been breaking the law.

Thoroughly unbeknownst to me, I've actually been living on borrowed electricity. Well, borrowed as in my shady contractors have connected the power line without informing the source. Oddly enough, the said electric company doesn't seem to be in any hurry to correct the problem.

Let there be light?

Even when I found it timely to inform them a month ago that the power bill hasn't arrived in my post box for several months! Rather than call out the dogs, the call centre only told me to twiddle my thumbs and wait in the most cheerful manner.

So I decided to pay them a visit only to meet Neon Ninny - the surliest customer service personnel ever. With my insistent questions eating into her regular afternoon siesta, she was probably this close to frying me with an electric tazer. You can imagine how frustrated Ninny got when I pestered her to scroll through her lists for my account.

Neon : Seems like there's no registry of your application in our system, sir.
Paul : The forms were filled up three months ago.
Neon : But it's not in our system, sir. I checked twice. There should be no electricity at your place. It was cut off a year ago.
Paul : Oh. You mean the lamps I've been using are powered by magical moonlight?

Obviously that spark of humour didn't serve to amuse the sour-faced puss. Ah, the customer service in Miri. The envy of no one. Only slightly friendlier than uncouth barbarians blithely bashing skulls at the borders.

Far from offering any help, Ninny seemed more inclined to turn herself off. So I threw a minor bitch fit. My enlivening tongue-lashing certainly made her face light up like a neon light. Certainly gave her an electrifying shock.

Fortunately her immediate supervisor - who came running with apologies - proved far more benign.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Don't Try This at School, Kids

You know those television ads where they warn kids not to try ridiculously dangerous stunts at home? As unpolitically correct as I am, well most of the advice I'd give should carry that very same warning. Seriously. Don't try it.

Being the new girl in school, it's quite obvious that my lil niece Chatty Carmen is gonna have to deal with some chilly alienation at least in the beginning. They don't exactly call them mean girls for nothing. Forget about the welcome bandwagon, these nasty mini-socialistas aren't about to hand out free cupcakes for fresh newbies.

Ouch. Well, at least she didn't get egged like poor Jonathan did in Gossip Girl. Those Upper East Side mean girls can really pack a carton.

So what to do when a kid comes crying in such instances?

I know the sensible fatherly thing to do would be to wipe their tears and offer sage advice to passively turn the other cheek. It's the rational zen Jesus/Buddha/Gandhi thing to do. After all, such snotty, superficial bitch cliques wouldn't be the sort of crowd I'd want my child to have. There are many other children with warmer, generous hearts who would welcome them gladly.

At least that's what I would say. Though I would have to bite my tongue. Hard.

Since I'd want revenge so bad. I'd have gotten mad. And gotten even. Don't believe in taking such things lying down - short of having a hot fella on top. Although I might not have been the reigning Queen Bee in school ( even if there was such a thing in an all-boys school! ), I certainly gained a reputation for demanding an-eye-for-an-eye. And maybe a torn, bleeding ear so you learn not to step on my tail again.

Jonathan and Eric
Are we going to take revenge?

Such a sinful taste for vengeance certainly helped me remain largely unmolested throughout my school career. Getting egged? Back then, I would have dumped an entire garbage disposal of eggs and feathers down into your car. And your locker. And your schoolbag. And egged you twice.

Just to get even.

Not exactly what's been taught by the kindly Dr Seuss in his kid-friendly books. Hopefully I've grown out of that entire Spirit of Vengeance insanity. At least I do know I can't teach such horrific values to the impressionable children! Guess I'll have to bite my tongue!