Friday, February 27, 2009

Cops &... Doctors?

Contrary to popular belief, doctors are far from the most law-abiding citizens about. In fact, most of the physicians I know break the law with quite alarming regularity.

Traffic laws that is.

Haven't we all heard about that colleague who ran a red light on the way to dinner only to claim anxiously to the wandering copper that she was rushing to a medical emergency? Or the one who parked illegally on a yellow line only to exclaim righteously that she'd been sent to check on an ailing octogenarian on the 28th floor of a nearby flat?

Seems like I'm about to join that lawless band of hooligans.

Bad boys?

Last time the medical degree saved me was a few years back when I inadvertently attempted an illegal turn only to encounter the long arm of the law. Fortunately I didn't even have to say a word since the stethoscope displayed prominently on the front seat spoke loudly enough. Managed to get off with a kind reproof from the elderly cop who reminded me that driving at the speed of light to make a turn wasn't in my best interests.

Then today the boys in blue caught me again midway through an offence - go figure - easy enough to mistake with the recent chaotic change in traffic system. Being the law-abiding citizen I hoped to be, I was all ready to take the summons. Hell, I already had a bunch of speeding tickets, what's one more?

With the recession already looming large, the unsmiling police officers were obviously hoping to make a buck in bribery.

Cop : License and registration, sir.
Paul : Well, here it is.
Cop : That street just turned into a one-way last week. Didn't you notice the road sign?
Paul : Sorry. Just came back an hour ago.
Cop : I could turn a blind eye. Where do you work?
Paul : The hospital?
Cop : You're a doctor?

I nodded. Obviously a clincher since he immediately smiled, handed me my cards and gave me a friendly warning. Couldn't have been more the helpful neighbourhood lawman. Even offered to show me the way to my destination.

Turns out being a doctor is good for one thing at least.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Does Your Mother Know

Maybe she does. Maybe she doesn't.

Seriously. I think my mother is playing some wily Jedi mind trick with me.

Though I've come out to most of my friends, a number of my colleagues and my brother, I haven't actually confirmed the fact with my doubtful parents. Although I've laid just about dozens of clues for them - just waiting for them to bring up the taboo question.

Starting to be a guessing game. Pretty sure my father knows since he drops hints quite as often as I do but my mother's been pretty closemouthed about the entire affair.

Although it's getting so painfully obvious these days that you'd have to be particularly obtuse not to notice. Here I am parading this particular fella in front of her on every possible occasion - while deliberately eschewing the company of eligible females. Not only do we coincidentally go everywhere together ( something I'm not personally apt to do! ) but we stick to each other like peas in a pod even during trips to the shower. Hell, we even retire to the same bed at the same time.

Suspicious, no?

Simply platonic?

Just when I think there's absolutely no bloody way in hell that my mother doesn't know, she then throws me entirely off my stride by asking me when I'm about to find a girlfriend and settle down. Lulling my growing suspicions for a little while so I drop my guard assuming that she's perfectly oblivious to what's happening between Charming Calvin and I.

Not for long though. Obviously preferring to have me on anxious teeterhooks, she then does a complete turnabout and invites Calvin to a cosy family trip up north.

Paul : You want him along for the cemetery-cleaning day? What's he gonna do there?
Mother : Well it's a picnic, isn't it? He's practically family.
Paul : Huh. Really?


At least I'll have someone to beguile the dull journey with - if Calvin doesn't sleep the entire journey away.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Sweetest Taboo

Seriously. When did gay become a dirty word?

Overzealous censorship in all its forms always gets me on the soapbox. Oppressive Big Brother regimes! Nothing worse than a puritanical prick who believes that suppressing information for your own good seems to be the best way. When they cite censorship of certain words such as scat, fuck and whore to protect suggestive juvenile minds, I can still tolerate that fact. Certainly wouldn't want a potty-mouthed toddler screaming swear words in between sucking milk bottles!

Toddler : Muthafucka! Get that bloody tit over here and gimme me my cunt-sucking milk now!

Not a pretty sight.

But when it comes to a primetime show like the Oscars with a presumably adult audience, I find it hard to believe that fanatical censorship still holds sway!

Deleting the word gay?

James Franco
Got Milk?

Though honestly I gotta say it couldn't have happened at a gayer Oscars! Not only did the ever-droolsome host, Hugh Jackman lead a singing-dancing troupe ( with jazz hands! ) touting gay rights on a soapbox for the Oscar-nominated movie Milk in the opening act, he also suggestively leapt into the lap of another man in the front row. And with the presence of a movie like Milk - about a passionate gay rights activist who fought for equal rights - you can imagine how many significant bleeps popped up!

And all over the little word gay.

After being paraded through seamy downtown bars and annual city-wide parades, has the homosexual association with the happy word somehow tarnished its reputation? You mean these days even schoolchildren can't scream the dirty word gay without having their mouths washed with soap? Has it become taboo?

Seriously. What's the rationale behind their scissor-happy actions of our censorship board? Will saying the word instantly turn the audience gay? Will the whisper of gay marriage instantly have dozens of rabid male couples storming the city hall for a certificate? Hell I knew homosexuality was allegedly infectious but I never knew the rate of onset could be measured in milliseconds.

Obviously India thinks the same.

So? Do we ban the word rainbow next?

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Shower

With naughty nurses and sexy surgeons, I've just about reconsidered my opinion that the hospital was a dull, sterile place! Don't even get me started on the straps and the stirrups! But remember when I thought the masturbatorium had to be the kinkiest thing ever?

Well, I was wrong.

There's a close contender to the crown and that's a shower head the size of a pizza with a metal pull chain. Situated just outside the oncology unit. Took a while for me to regain my composure as I stood there sniggering at the sight.

Bleeding Love
Get wet with me...

Last time I saw a shower like this was in a gay club. Really. All complete with virile, muscular boytoy performer all ready to get wet with a tug of the metal pull. Just switch on the glowing backlights, toss in a swinging cafe chair and you'd be just about ready for a naughty burlesque act on stage. All very Flashdance. Surprised they didn't already have daring performers clamouring for a show.

Obviously not what it was meant for. Officially the overlarge decontamination shower was set up to clear dangerous radioactivity after playing with chemotherapy isotopes.

But hell, I could think of other uses.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Woman Wronged

Poor Elizabeth Wong.

Having lewd, incriminating photos being circulated around by her unscrupulous enemies - obviously so sadly inept that they have to stoop so low - can't be easy on a single lady of her political stature. Of course what makes it worse is that she's handling the matters all wrong by knuckling under the relentless pressure and resigning from all her posts.

And then running away.

Just as if she'd done something sinfully wrong.

Therefore walking straight into the hands of her enemies as planned - she might as well hand them a noose to hang her with! Not saying that she shouldn't be allowed time to grief over the gross invasion ( and betrayal! ) of her privacy. My sincerest sympathies to her as I personally feel only the lowest blackguards would deal with such underhanded, perfidious machinations. But as a political figure of some note, hiding out in the sticks at this critical juncture wouldn't be in her best interests.

Lick me
OMG! Did anyone see me?

Seriously think it's time political parties hired brainy fellows to man a spindoctor team for just such occasions! Don't they learn anything from the examples of previous political scandals?

Now is hardly the time for her to slink away from the rumours and accusations swirling around her. Rather than milk the public for sympathy as the victim of betrayal, all this does is allow more heinous rumours to creep out from the deepest cracks.

What would I say to her if I could?

Elizabeth : I was betrayed. Now everyone's spreading terrible rumours about me. My reputation's in tatters.
Paul : Honestly, fuck them. Not saying you did but... really, so what if you slept with a thousand men? You mean the rest of the politicians are all consecrated holy virgins? You're not married. You're not a nun. Why shouldn't you be dating men? And they should mind their fucking business.

So what should she do? Hire a PR team! Get a spindoctor! Anything but run away.

Have a press conference and make a statement! Appear on talk shows! Face down her detractors dammit! I'm sorry but the silent tortured martyr act isn't going to cut it in the dog-eat-dog media world today. Let's be frank, all the world's a stage - and the gullible audience so adores a good show. They expect a weeping betrayed victim. Give them that, milk them for what it's worth.

And in between shedding tears over the perfidy of man, pepper the disgraceful bastards ( whoever the sinister shadows may be ) with as many painful shots as possible. Roast the buggers. Perhaps I'm a vindictive monster but if I'm going down, I'm gonna drag everyone else down with me.

And their lil dog too!

Elizabeth, you were wronged. Cowering in the shadows is only tantamount to a sign of defeat. Stand up and hit back. After all hell hath no fury.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Rags to Rajah

If you haven't seen this, make sure you catch it. The rest of the contenders for the Oscar might as well take a really fearful step back since I doubt they could compare with the sheer visual spectacle of Slumdog Millionaire स्लमडॉग करोड़पति as he goes from rags to rajah.

The film - ostensibly based on the novel Q&A - begins with a teenage orphan from the ghettos of Mumbai just one question away from winning a staggering 20 million rupees on a game show! But just as the show breaks for the night, the police arrest him on suspicion of cheating; how could a unschooled chai-wallah like Jamal Malik know so much? Desperate to prove his innocence to an initially unappreciative police inspector, Jamal tells the frenetic Dickensian tale of his life in the slums where he grew up with his irascible brother, of their adventures together hustling and stealing on the road, and of the girl he meets along the way.

All for you Latika!

Well, wasn't I lucky they only asked those questions to which I knew the answers?

As he tells the story, each chapter reveals a clue to the varied questions asked during the gameshow ranging from the Hindu god Rama to a US hundred dollar bill. And along the way we're treated to the amazingly vivid sights, sounds and smells of a changing India from the desperate slums of the metropolis to the crowded commuter trains snaking endlessly through the subcontinent.

Not forgetting the unforgettable soundtrack by A. R. Rahman.

Certainly brings back memories of my district posting for medical school - where we spent endless summer days going through a treasure trove of Bollywood films from Taal to Kabhi Kushi Kabhi Gham. Just like one of the ads advocating racial harmony, we had colleagues from all different races sitting down to catch these movies! We even had a Malay girl - in a burqa no less - who could perform every song in Taal.

Despite the worldwide accolades for Slumdog Millionaire, not everyone's as happy with the treatment of it. The Indian nationalists might balk at the poverty porn shown in the movie - highlighting the misery, depravity and violence in the slums of Dharavi - but I don't think it actually hurts to give everyone an eye-opening view of what actually goes on there. Reality bites.

And come on, seriously is there any way of making the slums look like a wonderful place to live?

So makes sure you watch the movie. Especially this shockingly gross scene of falling into a steaming pile of crap. You might have thought of it but the cruel reality is so much worse. I should know. :)

Is this my cue to fall into a disgusting pit?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Groom Jitters

No man is an island.

Although we all get married for a myriad of reasons, the simple truth is most of us are looking for a companion to walk with us till the very end. So usually when an old buddy calls up to announce his upcoming nuptials, I'm all ready to offer hearty congratulations, give some good-natured ribbing and finally begrudgingly nod in agreement to be punctual for the dinner. If not for the actual bachelor party though brawling, boozing and bragging about clits isn't exactly in my line.

Of course there's sometimes the reluctant yes to be one of the tortured groomsmen - think of the endless gauntlets thrown down by the bridesmaids.

But today I was left speechless not knowing whether to congratulate the groom in question - or to commiserate in his evident misery. My college bud Smiley Sam really left me no choice in the matter.

Lick me
Hard to think of a name when all I can recall are his nipples against my tongue.

Have to admit it made me feel like a cad for a moment when I blanked out on his name till he reminded me about a night four Decembers ago. All I could recall was that smile, those arms and the cigar. The name escaped me for a moment but the memory surely didn't. I'd first thought that Smiley had gone through his entire black book to spread the news of his matrimony but it seems as if he'd randomly stumbled across my name.

Smiley : I think I'm going to get married.
Paul : Great news! Who is he?
Smiley : It's a girl.
Paul : Is this a prank call? Am I being punk'd?
Smiley : Really. I've been seeing this girl lately.
Paul : You're going straight? Have you been to a conversion camp?
Smiley : I don't want to be alone. So I've been trying to go straight lately.

Going straight seems to be an understatement.

Just past his thirties ( and feeling lonesome out in the sticks ), Sam has been having recurring thoughts of putting down roots, settling down and starting a family. In the more traditional heterosexual manner. So out goes the endless merry-go-round of homosexual one-night-stands. And in comes the marriage of convenience with beard of choice.

Shades of the Wedding Banquet anyone?

Something not uncommon in our conservative country - since sham marriages abound judging by the number of married fellas searching for man-on-man action! Knuckling under relentless sociocultural and religious pressures, gay men here hunt for the perfect submissive bride, get summarily hitched and thereafter hide their instinctual lusts in the proverbial closet.

Only to surface in the weekends on their park outings.

Did I try to talk him out of it? A few years back I'd have immediately decried his conventional choices - coming up with a dozen fiery reasons why such an institution wouldn't work from the lack of feeling on his part to the sheer injustice on her part. After all, doesn't the poor beardbride deserve something more than a loveless marriage? Let's not even talk about pandering to our overly mainstream sociocultural norms.

But at my age - thinking of home and hearth, I can hardly find the heart to argue with Smiley Sam. After all, he's just a guy who doesn't want to walk alone till the end.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

That Dasher

What do we do in the event of a breakup?

Some moan and wail along with sentimental karaoke weepies. Some commiserate with friends over rocky road and rom-coms. From supporting shoulders to comfort food, we all find our individual ways to cope with the devastating loss. Then there are the regular dashers who start flitting here and there and everywhere.

Such as Dashing Dan.

Punch em
No more moping at home! Time for a new socialite me!

Determined not to fall into a melancholic decline after his recent breakup, Dan drew up a detailed mission statement to expand his social circle beyond the familiar faces of the ton. And so he did just that, transforming from unsociable bluestocking to the latest socialite in town. Hell, I hear his Facebook friends jumped exponentially after one week. Just a month after, he's already out gallivanting, throwing extravagant soirees and painting the town red with several choice spirits.

Calvin : My dear, have you heard the latest on-dits about our dear compatriot, Dashing Dan?
Paul : Surely that graceless scamp didn't fall asleep at the wheel again!
Calvin : Far from it! A little bird has whispered to me that he's been out celebrating his recent bachelorhood in all the wrong places!
Paul : The meat market? My word! And I thought our puritanical friend eschewed such decadent pursuits! Has the world actually spun off its axis?

And what's this I hear about Dan's ear getting licked after trolling at a notorious gay bar?

Obviously this eligible bachelor isn't only out looking for platonic relationships :)

This from a lazy fella who could barely keep his drooping head off the dinner table just a few months back. And that's with an entire jazz band - and crooning chanteuse - playing barely a few feet away. Not to mention a dozen rowdy boys in bowties.

An unsettling change to be sure - is something dosing him with fortified ginseng? - but I kinda like the new Dan. All I say is bravo. Wonder what other surprises he has up his sleeve! Chances are I'll find out soon that he has jetted off with his circuit party queens to decadent Ibiza for the weekend. Or possibly found in his cups in a seedy joint after a neverending pubcrawl.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Manic Morning

His brawny hands reached for me - whether in threat or supplication, I know not. Rather than risk having my neck wrung by an inebriated - and built! - six-footer, I decided not to risk finding out. Eager to make his escape, the enterprising fellow had tugged out his restraints - and the accompanying monitors - with hardly any effort, I doubt tossing me across the room would be much of a strain.

Could have sworn getting my head smashed wasn't in my daily roster this morning. Damn. I'd have taken a second shot of caffeine if I'd known Mr Burly was here waiting for me.

Punch em
Knocked him out in far less appealing circumstances unfortunately.

As he stumbled forward drunkenly, my hand - bearing a 5 ml syringe full of sedative goodness - aimed for the perfect spot on his flexed arms. Just a twist, a shove and I had the drugs pumped in.

I was no Dr Peter Brown with a thousand and one ways of maiming a fella - but I made do with what I had. The internal clock started in my head as I took a significant step back counting the seconds. It wouldn't take long for the effects. As he clutched his head in seeming agony, the nurses shoved a chair to catch his fall.

All in a day's work.

How to deal with a violent, mentally challenged drunk who detaches himself from the bed. Think Rainman on drugs and alcohol. Dangerous combination.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Lady of the Baskets

Ever since I crossed that threshold between child and adult, the relationship between my parents and I has changed. Far more casual than Confucian values would dictate. Our everyday dinner conversation these days borders on the irreverent - and would probably shock the staunch conservatives listening in.

It wasn't always this way though. When we were kids, my parents were stern taskmasters who ruled pretty much with an iron fist - though they would deny it vehemently ( character assasination they cried! ) if asked. Hell, the both of them are regularly spoiling the grandkids rotten these days, sparing the rod plenty.

Knowing my mom, she probably threw out the old cane.

Of course once my parents realized that my brother and I weren't turning into scrappy juvenile delinquents, they relaxed the house-prison rules a tad.

Hence the more informal rules at our household. Although some rules still hold - dinner's still a time when we all gather together at the table to catch up on the events of the day. Certainly no munching on a bucket of fried chicken wings in front of the tv.

Mother : You're not dumping me here, are you?
Paul : It's a retirement home with a golf course. If it comes with a mall, say sayonara.

Since my mother half-suspects that I just might be a heartless bastard, she spends this time trying to offer a sly reminder every now and then with her daily parables. Think of it as a regular dose of chicken soup for the soul - with an unsubtle emphasis on filial piety.

Not that I listen all that much.

Mother : See that poor woman abandoned in a retirement home. All she sacrificed for her children and see what she gets. So sad, so tragic.
Paul : Hint duly taken.
Mother : I'm not hinting anything. I'm just an old lady watching the movie.
Paul : Like I'm gonna do the same.
Mother : That's what you say now.
Paul : Yeah. That's because you're going into a basket that I'm leaving at the temple steps. Cheaper than the retirement home.
Father : Make sure it's a comfortable basket for two.
Paul : For you dad, it'll be air-conditioned.

Irreverent much?

Always makes me wonder what my brother has to say about the issue. With him safely away in foreign climes, I guess he's safe from the daily parental interrogation.

My mom can rest easy. Despite my untraditional lifestyle ( dating a man and all! ), I've gotta be the most conservative fella around. Blame it on my upbringing! Family duty comes first and it would never occur to me to abandon my parents at the retirement farm. Despite the superior amenities and care they supposedly offer, I doubt it could compare with the comforting presence of family. Three-to-four-generation households are common in my family and I don't think I'd change those rules.

And honestly I've seen tons of patients turfed from one of the numerous old folks homes that dot the city. Downtrodden, depressed and nearly departed is what I call them. Not sure I'd want my parents to join their dreary, dispirited ranks.

BTW if you didn't get the grumpy geriatric in a basket reference earlier, it comes from a cautionary tale of the doko basket ( with tons of variations on the theme ) on the importance of caring for the aged.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Word

I'm far from the most religious fella around. In fact I'm this close to joining Atheists Anonymous - if not for the all-important fact that I actually think the Almighty really does exist. But you won't catch me thumping any religious tomes anytime soon.

So sometimes what gets my goat are the illogical religious fanatics who insist on basing everything they do on the Book. The faithful lemmings eat, sleep and work according to the strict tenets written in the Book, unquestioningly following every act, chapter and verse laid out without much thought.

Of course is this hot mormon came by, I'd me more amenable to his teachings.

Is that right? I know faith defies logic sometimes - but there are several secular issues that bear at least a moment's thought. We can't simply refer to the Book as the preeminent decisive vote on every lil question!

Paul : Why do you cause a ruckus over female entertainers playing to our crowds?
Fanatic : Because they should be clad modestly from head to toe. Seeing their nubile figures will drive the passions of our men wild.
Paul : Can't they wear blindfolds instead?
Fanatic : The BOOK tells us that virtuous women must be protected at all costs! Allowing such licentiousness could lead to moral decay and the end of the world as we know it. So says the BOOK!
Paul : So we go back to that? Should we stone adulterers too?
Fanatic : I just did that last week. You should have joined in. We have extra rocks.
Paul : And is that right?
Fanatic : Well the Book said so.

He might as well have said because God said so - as if that's the end of the matter.

If God had intended us all to follow his rules blindly, He would have made us all unthinking automatons. Why go to all that trouble to give us free thought and imagination instead?

Then again there are some out there who seem to have missed out on a brain. So much for Cogito, ergo sum.

And lest we all forget - and try to push our values on others, not everyone believes in the same Book as we do. Just because you think your Book is the be all and end all doesn't mean the rest of us believe it. Who knows, they might have some other Book that preaches the opposite doctrine.

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Early Valentine

Other than the impromptu - wholly unplanned - Valentine celebration last year I don't think I've ever done the entire formal dinner-rose-wine deal. Doesn't mean I've never gotten my share of dedications though.

Back in my schooldays, Valentine's used to be the one time of year the wily convent girls would trot over to swindle gullible young gentlemen into handing over their meagre pocket money - all for the sake of sending a wilting rose to their designated ladies fair. Granted their sweethearts had to be in the convent as well - or else the point was moot.

Obviously my wallet remained pleasingly plump. Sure I had my fair share of crushes but I doubt anything short of a knockout punch could get me close enough for a passionate liplock with one of the guys. Certainly not a bouquet.

At least that's what I thought till I received a rose one year. Though I have my niggling suspicions, I never actually confirmed the identity of the sender. I find some things are better left a secret!

Turns out not everyone's as eager to keep their feelings quiet.

A few years back while I was serving in my hometown, I actually kept company with a hillbilly country cousin. Just call it a relation by marriage. Since Chatty Christy was fresh out of the sticks and new to the city, I felt a brotherly duty to keep her pleasantly entertained by squiring her around the local sights. At least that's what I thought.

Since she was... intellectually unstimulating and babbled endlessly about nothing n particular, I'll admit I sometimes felt it quite a chore - but I nonetheless persevered with the task at hand. After all, she's family - sort of.

Here comes Christy. Where are my earplugs!

Obviously Christy saw things in a far different light. Somehow three dinners, two phone messages and a movie turned into an epic love affair worthy of note to her anxiously awaiting parents.

Fortunately I had my cousin Lispy Lori around to keep watch for me.

Lori : How are things with you and Christy?
Paul : Me and Christy? Oh God, rescue me. That girl doesn't have two thoughts to rub together!
Lori : And I thought you guys were almost hitched already.
Paul : Heaven forbid.
Lori : Her mom asked about you.
Paul : What about? My health?
Lori : Your wealth and eligibility actually. Seems like you're quite the catch on the marriage mart.
Paul : WTF. Tell her mother that I'm a depraved alcoholic who goes around deflowering virgins, starting fights and causing a general ruckus.
Lori : Still doesn't trump the doctor card.

Seriously though, I swear I never even touched her. Hell, I actually kept the far from alluring Christy at arm's length most times since her inane, mindless chatter made me feel like throttling her.

What was I to do knowing that I'd been practically married off - without my knowledge! - to her in the eyes of her exacting family? Like any other commitment-phobic fella, that very rumour that I was allegedly courting her had me heading for the hills! Went into hiding for quite a while since Christy turned out to be quite shockingly persistent.

Seems she finally got the message though since I haven't heard from her in months. Till today.

Christy : Be my Valentine.

I almost keeled over at work after receiving the message. Other than a curt thank you in reply, I found myself somewhat non-plussed. Surely she didn't think I was in the least bit interested!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Showing Hands

Finishing work early today seems to be reason enough to take the rest of the day off for a spot of brunch, gossip and shopping in Bangsar with the girls. The Lushes had news aplenty to share since they'd spent a weekend away for a hen party.

While I slaved away at work. Damn.

They certainly got me caught me with the twisting grapevine though including what's been going on in their hectic lives. However the one piece of news that really caught my attention was Fabulous Fiona's recent scandalous dealings with a notorious hand-holder!

Fiona : And you know what he did! He.. he reached for..
Paul : Your boob?
Sarah : OMG!
Fiona : No, even worse! My hand!

An anti-climax?

Not really once you think of it. You'd have expected something far more outrageous to get Fiona's goat but it seems an aspiring beau tried to get fresh with her by trying to hold her hand. A PDA gesture so sweet, innocent and simple - yet it sometimes holds far more significance than the obvious steamy carnal act. After all in these casual days of post-sexual revolution, complete strangers making out on the first date - if not more! - seems almost commonplace.

I wanna hold your hand!

But the act of reaching out to intertwine fingers symbolizes an intimate connection - and a commitment - that underscores the simple gesture. Holding someone's hand is a way to communicate that you are finally off the market.

Unless you're a foreigner from the Arab-Indian subcontinent walking hand in hand with a couple of friends.

And even that budding bromance is suspect sometimes.

Obviously Fiona's new fella must have missed the sheer importance of hand-holding in dating chronology. So when he made a determined grab for her hand on that very first date, she almost flinched. Knowing that forcibly tugging her hand away would only succeed in making an embarassing scene, she gritted her teeth, closed her eyes and thought of England.

Not exactly the way you'd want someone to hold your hand.

But seriously. How do you make that first move? Do you nervously inch your hand across the table hoping not to be summarily slapped away or try for that sudden uninvited leap?

Questions that had me trying to recall the first time I held Charming Calvin's hand - since it's quite possible ( in my ardent enthusiasm ) that I reached for other parts of his anatomy first! But I do remember trying my luck a couple of dates in, reaching out across the car seats to brush his hand. Rather than squeal in virginal horror as expected, he actually linked his fingers to mine.

A habit I indulge in quite often these days - a surprising fact pointed out to me in passing by the sharp-eyed Statuesque Sarah last Christmas.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

If I were a Boy

Listen to the airwaves and you'll catch the delicious bootylicious diva Beyonce wailing about the endless benefits of being a boy - and how she'd change things if she could.

If I were a boy
I think I could understand
How it feels to love a girl
I swear I'd be a better man
I'd listen to her
'Cause I know how it hurts

I'm here to tell you, girl, that if you were a boy - and did all of the above, you'd be one sad lonely boy. Sure you could roll out of bed and throw on what you wanted, hang out with the boys and all - but hell, you'd find it pretty hard to score with any girl out there.

I'm a sweet fella. Really!

Sure that's what the girls - and Beyonce - think they want. Listening and understanding? Being the sweet, sensitive, gentle and understanding beta hero? Do all that - and that's how you're gonna land the role of the secondary best buddy, that glorified backbencher who never gets the girl at the end.

Sensitive new age guy? Get ready to be the pathetic sap sitting waiting at the bus stop as the girl rides out in search of the bastard who dumped, betrayed and broke her heart.

Beta boy : Are you feeling alright?
Girl : That bastard alpha dog slept with my skank of a best friend!
Beta boy : Oh. That's terrible. How do you feel?
Girl : I hate him! Really! How could I even think of going out with him?
Alpha dog : Yo, babe. Come over tonight. I'm sorry.
Beta boy : I really don't think she wants to be with you right now.
Girl : Shucks, we all make mistakes. I forgive him. Let me get my coat.
Beta boy : Wouldn't you rather be with me?
Girl : Waitaminute, aren't you gay?

Which has to be the worst slap of all for a straight fella in love.

Let's face it, unfortunately girls don't want good boys. Warped by the endless barrage of Gothic romances during their sophomoric schooldays, girls usually expect a smirking bastard of a tough guy. Bad boys do have more fun. Paperback novels insist that the love of a woman can reform a villainous rake. Hence the girls - in a bid to emulate their intrepid heroines - repeat the same sad pattern of dating unsuitable assholes hoping to change them.

Anyone else they'd term as a pushover wimp.

Certainly not easy finding a middle ground. Getting harder to envy straight guys ( with their burden of expectations! ) these days.

Monday, February 09, 2009

The Twitch

Seems like my colleague Timber Tom might have a thing there when he claimed that the hospital's a rampant hotbed of homosexuality. Especially since I've managed to confirm a number of his telling suspicions the past few weeks.

Such as Marvy Maarof.

Just the other day I walked into Marvy Maarof - sans wife - with an even hotter fellow in tow. Seriously. If I ever found Maarof simply doable, his pal looked even better spread invitingly over a table. At least that's what I immediately imagined in my libidinous mind.

Obviously I had to say a friendly hello.

Needless to say, Maarof nearly keeled over in fright at the sight of me walking his way ( obviously not expecting a fellow zombie physician stalking the malls ) but managed to retain some semblance of composure, mumbling a muffled greeting in reply to my overly hearty one. His supposed friend stood by smiling helplessly as I gave him the curious once-over.

Of course that's not enough for a homo-conviction. After all his friend could have been a long-lost buddy who just happened to be in tight jeans, tanktop and perfectly coiffeured curls. Who also happened to be walking suspiciously close - close enough to be regarded as an invasion of personal space by heterosexual male definitions.

Bleeding Love
B-but I-I'm not g-gay...

So I had to catch the shockingly reticent Maarof alone in the changing room the next day after work. I seem to be confronting a lot of folks in changing rooms. :) Was hoping the tanned cutie would be astonished enough to drop his scrubs pants but obviously he was made of sterner stuff.

Paul : You guys looked really good together.
Maarof : Thanks.
Paul : Especially your cute friend.
Maarof : My f-friend? Oh yeah, my friend.
Paul : And he's only your friend? Nothing else?
Maarof : Umm... y-yeah. He's only a friend.

Perhaps I could have beat around the bush a bit - perhaps hoped for a slip - but impatience is making me sloppy these days. I even had to add sly emphasis to the word friend with a raised eyebrow though I stopped short of making air quotes.

So what's the verdict? Surely any hopelessly straight fella would be the first to deny the accusation vociferously. Flat out without qualification. No ifs ands or buts. The slightest hint of hesitation reeks of homo-suspicion.

And then Maarof's eye twitched tellingly.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

The Demon's Lair

I see the old cartoons and always wonder... why does Skeletor deign to live in a hellhole? Why does Dracula live in an untended drafty castle awash with dust and cobwebs? Why does Maleficent live in the middle of a creepy crawly forest without a single wardrobe change?

Seriously. Would a crafty villain actually consider living in such sadly unsanitary conditions? Why would a crazed megalomanic with grandiose delusions live in something akin to a stinking hell pit?

Don't believe the sweet fairytale lies they have been feeding you. Villains aren't stupid. Surely by hook or by crook ( either through theft, blackmail or murder ), he would have pimped his decadent crib. After all, that creepy Gothic look is so last century.

Wouldn't he have blackmailed a couple of hip interior decorators ( dangling them off his balcony gargoyles! ) to tzsuj up the place before he invaded it? Maybe shore up the bubbling lava pits, exterminate the infectious vermin ( roaches, rats, salamanders and such ) and refurbish the crowded dungeons? Maybe toss the old creaking settee made out of the bleached bones of enemies with the spanking new Ghost chair?

Bleeding Love
Welcome to my housewarming! Admire the foliage!

Replace the seething cavernous walls dripping with blood and algae with some pretty avantgarde wallpaper more in keeping with his maleficent stature - perhaps with charmingly vile old-world crytographs depicting innocents being tortured, virgins being ravaged and cities being razed to the ground. Just the regular daily life of a successful arch villain.

But maybe keep the quiant lamps made out of the tanned hides of his mortal enemies - after all they are so hard to come by these days.

And what about the household help. Let's not even talk about the ugly, misshapen henchmen. Wouldn't a demonic overlord prefer to have delicious pretty boys clad in leather loin-cloths catering to his every whim?

Of course that's all happening in fantasy world only. In real life, it's the evil heartless moguls who run soulless multinational corporations - hence affording them a sinfully lavish lifestyle with picture perfect mansions featured on the architectural design magazines.

While the average heroes have to subsist on minimal wage ( who hires absentminded folk who fly off at the slightest emergency a continent away? ) with a broken down suburban dump barely three months away from foreclosure.

Really. Short of heavenly intervention, being a saint doesn't pay.

Friday, February 06, 2009

The Paul that Could Have Been

We always wonder about that road not taken.

Sometimes when I see an art installation or walk through a design exhibit, I suffer a pang for the childish dreams that I never pursued. Unfortunately my work these days in the hospital doesn't leave much scope for any creativity. Whatever artistic impulses I have these days is channelled purely into my writing - hence my prolificness - and the various inventive death scenarios I've planned for my archfoes.

But perhaps my omniscient mother did something right in nudging me ( otherwise poked, prodded and pushed? ) towards the path of medicine! Certainly wouldn't have turned out the man I am right now if I hadn't seen the suffering of others in far more desperate straits than I - life-changing events that managed to milk that last precious ounce of human kindness in me.

That ounce that would probably have been lost otherwise. :)

So when I start getting maudlin, I have Charming Calvin around to paint a horrific picture of what I could have been if I'd dropped medical school.

Chuck Bass
Chuck through the Looking Glass?

Without the throng of patients to worry about - and only me, myself and I, I might have been a monstrous Miranda Priestly. Pandering to the stereotypical tortured artiste, I would have probably been far more vain, self-absorbed and narcissistic - and way more mean for sure. Not to mention suffering bitterly for the sake of my art while hacking up a lung from all the imbibed cigar smoke.

Though I'd be stick-thin since I don't eat anything and when I feel like I'm about to faint I eat a cube of cheese.

Certainly wouldn't have met the wonderful bunch of people I know now - since I'd have been too mean to befriend anyone. And possibly been murdered long since.

Starting to sound like the road not taken's got a few discernible bumps and potholes as well.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Pandora's Box

Girls are regular pandoras.

Just try out this social experiment. Leave a gift-wrapped box - owner unknown - on the table and soon you'll have the girls gnawing their nails in curiousity. While the guys might leave it on the table untouched till a layer of impenetrable dust settles a year later.

Pandoras. They just can't stand a mystery lying around.

So a new boyfriend's like an enigmatic puzzle they can play with to find out what actually makes him tick. Why else would they find such wicked delight in trying to pry every secret out of their boyfriends' muddled male minds? How often have we heard of girls going about asking their boyfriends oddly personal questions only to leave wailing with their hands wrung after the honest reply?

Snoopy Sally : During our breakup, he slept with Mindy!
Paul : So?
Snoopy Sally : But she's my sworn frenemy!
Paul : So? You're broken up. You knew he dated around! In fact you asked him to.
Snoopy Sally : He didn't have to date her!
Paul : You broke up. You didnt have to ask either.
Snoopy Sally : But I had to know!

Reminds me about the time my friend dug around in her hubby's drawers only to find his hidden stash of porn. Much to her puritanical dismay.

Curious to know what makes me tick?

So why ask about such torrid affairs if you're not prepared to know the sordid answers? Seriously, what straight boys do behind your backs? Or miles away in the red-light districts of Pattaya? Sometimes - at least if you want to retain any semblance of healthy respect for him - you're better off not knowing.

Me, I'm a right curious bastard! But even I know some things are better left unsaid. Ye old Victorian ladies had it right when it came to turning a blind eye to their husbands' past peccadiloes. I certainly wouldn't want to know if Charming Calvin had torrid orgies with rough trade in his sordid past.

Unless of course it was with someone extra hawt. And then I'd want uncensored home videos in high definition. But then I'm kinda kinky and accepting when it comes to raw sex.

The girls I know? Not so. The very thought of their significant others ( even after a break! ) going out carousing with other ladies would have them biting nails.

So why keep pestering the man to kiss and tell all? Curiousity killed the cat, ladies.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


These days playing games such as Mafia ( where you pinpoint the perp out of a list of usual suspects ) can prove to be quite a sad tribulation since everyone I know seems bent on pointing the finger at me. Forcibly tossing me in the dock without trial in spite of the fact that I had been an innocent bystander at the time of the purported murder.

Villagers : He killed the mayor! It's Paul!
Paul : Get real. I wasn't even in town on that day!
Villagers : Who else could have perpetrated such a heinous crime. It's Paul!
Paul : Aim the bloody pitchforks the other way, village idiots. I was a thousand miles away that day. I have a ton of alibis.
Villagers : He hypnotizes! He does black magic!
Paul : And I have a flying carpet too?
Villagers : Yes, he flies!
Paul : WTF.

You can imagine how limiting my role in such a game can be - especially since I get tied to the hypothetical stake not long after the riled villagers mount their lynching party. Not easy denying the irrational allegations once the fire's been lit.

As you might guess, charbroiled victims don't have much to say.

Obviously I'm one of the few around capable of committing shockingly reprehensible acts - at least by reputation. Google nasty conspiracies and you might just find my name in the list somewhere. Scorpios everywhere can be proud. But hell, I've been typecasted. Think it's about time I started practicing my wicked archetypal villain laugh ( so much beloved by overly dramatic chinese serials ).

Am I really that bad?

Well as they say... life imitates art.

So when one of my colleagues at work received a poison pen letter, they obviously ( reflexively! ) bandied about my name as one of the main suspects. When my trusted informants returned to me with the whispered accusations, I stared in shock unsure of whether to be insulted or amused.

Seriously. Me playing such games?

How dare they implicate me in such an ill-conceived scheme! Bah! Is it possible that I could come up with such a naive, simplistic plan with neither style, grace nor panache? So sadly unworthy of my evil genius. :P Please. If I wanted revenge, it'd be a dish served cold. Frozen in fact. So chilled that no one would even see it coming. And it'd have my patented signature all over it in dripping blood-red.

Now that's a plan.

cue evil laugh

Monday, February 02, 2009

He Ain't Heavy

Though the new year signifies a time for reunion, we all know that brief familial idyll doesn't last forever. Inevitably the time for separation arrives not long after the earlier fanfare.

This time however the new year also marks the year my brother finally takes his leave for work. Obviously curious to see if the grass really is greener on the other side.

Me, I think it's a desert mirage.

When my brother told me about this momentous decision a few months back, I found myself literally agog. Life without a brother. Years back as a kid sharing a room with an occasionally fractious sibling, I might have thrown a party at the very thought.

But hell, I haven't thought about that eventuality in a really long time. Like everyone else, I was pretty sure we'd live apart after a while - possibly sometime in the misty future. And I certainly never imagined it to be thousands of miles away in some foreign oasis.

Brother : See. The future.
Paul : Hello. The grass is so not greener over there. The sun's a scorcher though.
Brother : Bitch bitch bitch.

So what would it be like without my elder bro around? No one to bug me, that's for sure. He doesn't have to intentionally twitch the paperback out of my hands or poke to rile me these days - but he still knows what gets my goat! No one to spread hints - or drop financial manuals - to suggest that I should curtail my endless shopaholic spending. No one to read the operation manuals from front to back, that's for sure - since a techno-himbo like me couldn't be bothered to.

But without him around, I wouldn't have that buddy around to reminisce about old family gatherings. The guy you trust to recall some silly familiar joke in our shared past.

And I'd be missing my person. Yeah, that person. That go-to fella in case something goes wrong. The personal number you give in case of an emergency. Though my brother might be crabby as hell, I'd still trust him to step in to save me ( from whatever unfortunate misadventure I might land in ) without question.

Though I'm sure he'll have plenty to say afterward.

Fortunately ( being relatively self-sufficient if I may say so myself :P ) I've never given him any just cause to play the knight-errant. Usually try my best to extricate myself from the godawful messes I make - and then hastily hush up the entire embarassing debacle if I can! But it has been pretty comforting to know that my shockingly competent brother's always been around barely a stone's throw away.

So what would life be without a brother? Certainly much less.