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!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

How Do You Solve a Problem

Like Nervous Nancy.

Seems she takes just about everything casually. And I think it's time we put a stop to that. Isn't that casual attitude being carried just a litle too far these days? Seriously. Better to be overdressed than underdressed! Dressing in a cheap tee, tattered shorts and neon-coloured crocs for a day out can only be acceptable at a beach party, a night market - or if a recent disastrous fire has razed all your belongings.

Otherwise, no.

Gracious. Might as well strut about on the streets in ratty pyjamas.

Don Draper
How times have changed.

See what this apathetic insouciance has led to? Even weddings have become way too laid-back. At least for our unconcerned Nancy.

With a wedding set two months from now, she has neither invitation cards nor a guest list. Hell, she doesn't even have a proper venue for the momentous event.

Nancy : Oh, I'm sure I'll be able to find a decent table.
Paul : In your hometown? I seriously doubt it. Unless you're keen to toast to your wedding with teh tarik at a mamak stall? Maybe send instant messages to your guests for the place.
Nancy : Not that bad mah. You think I should get my dress done too?
Paul : At this rate, the only ensemble available for you should be the ones reserved for runaway teenage pregnancies and one-night-wedding skanks.

Isn't she in need of a proper lesson in marriage etiquette? Where have all the wickedly proper mothers-in-law gone? Have they all died out leaving me with the only specimen left?

I know folks are getting casual these days but it's getting a tad ridiculous when a hurried engagement's cobbled together in a couple of weeks. What happened to making the wedding day a once-in-a-lifetime event? A beautiful memorable occasion to be enjoyed by all?

Seriously, if it's such a bother why go to all that trouble anyway? Why not just stop off at the city hall on the way to work and purchase a certificate from the marriage machine?

And they say it's the gay men sullying the institution of marriage. Think again.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pass Thirty and Collect $500

Marching inexorably into your mid-thirties is far from a reason to celebrate. Just about everything's starting to sag, your vaunted metabolism just isn't what it used to be and that sexy barista you just flirted with could be young enough to be a ... nephew.

Short of having shockingly premature sexual intercourse - or indulging in pedophilia, I couldn't possibly be lusting after someone young enough to be my son.

Zac Efron
Nephew mine?

But thankfully there are some perks that come with age. Career-wise, it couldn't be better. We're finally up there - not at the top yet somewhere right smack in middle management - and we're rightly able to stroll nonchalantly out of the office without a nervous qualm. Notice I said stroll out and not sneak. Certainly no reason for furtiveness when everyone else on the floor depends on you for that all-important year-end bonus.

At least that's true for my more fortunate ( and not medically-inclined ) peers.

So there you have my ISO, the Beercan Boy and me. Carousing over brunch at barely 11 am on a full working day.

My ISO : It's your birthday but there's something even more momentous. Beercan Boy actually crushed an assistant.
Paul : Tell me more!
Beercan : No, I didn't! I just told her that her work needed improvement.
Paul : Ouch.
My ISO : Yes, from you that's a major spanking.
Paul : That's like me saying 'If you don't get better, you can take an extended leave starting tomorrow.'
My ISO : Or 'Buck up bitch,' from me.

Seriously. Beercan has a personal assistant. When did we get here along the way?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Lego People Watch

I like to people watch.

With my seriously antisocial behaviour, I might not be a people person but I still like observing. Watch folks in a bus and imagine how they relate to each other. Or even a lovey-dovey couple doing their weekly shopping in a supermarket. Immediately I'd concoct an entirely improbable story based on their looks, their immediate closeness and the varied contents of their shopping basket.

Hell, one devious suburban witch even hatched plans to cook up an enormous turkey dinner for her cheating husband with a side dish of caesar salad and arsenic-laced wine.

So you can imagine the complex storylines behind my mini Lego street. And yes, I do mean street. Still don't have enough for an entire city unless you count my sadly tragic population of only 9.

Wonder what's gonna happen to us today!

First on the row you have a navy blue apartment complex with the prerequisite gay couple living on the first floor. One fella's a blue-blooded physician from the city ( obviously! ) who's come to hang up his shingle in this inconsequential lil hamlet. Lower ground floor has been converted into a doctor's office. His better half's a zen-like elementary school teacher who's actually secretly a retired secret agent.

Yes. Secret agent.

He also publishes the town paper but that's another story.

Then there's the moody artist in the attic who paints his 'French women' on his balcony on weekdays and spends the weekends drinking it up with his best friend, the doctor.

Occasionally their weekend get-togethers are joined by the grouchy owner of the grocery store next door. Despite plying the skintflint shopkeeper weekly, they still don't get much discount for the fresh vegetables though.

Then you have the antagonistic yet loving father-daughter combo running the auto shop half a block down with the younger slacker son running deliveries for the pizza deal next door. Of course the expert chef making pastas and pizzas - who mastered cooking at the knees of her blessed Italian mama - has the hots for the shy but devastatingly handsome bus driver who comes by every morning for his coffee.

And I've got my Market Street by the way.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Suzhou Courtyard

Sitting reading poetry in a courtyard under the glow of moonlight with a cup of green tea. Bamboo leaves being rustled in the late evening breeze. Just short of the classical robes of a Ming Dynasty scholar, I certainly would not have looked out of place in a historical Chinese drama.

If not for the iPod at my side playing jazz by Buble. Unfortunately I don't have any suitable guzheng music downloaded! ALthough this would have been perfect.

What can I say? The Sung Dynasty poets have it right. Even now, there's a heaven on earth and that's in Suzhou. 上有天堂下有苏杭. Even second time around, it hasn't lost any of its quaint charms. Tranquil classical gardens with narrow cobbled streets and slow meandering canals. Little market shops peddling wares much as they have for hundreds of years ( though now probably mass-produced by the fantastic Made in China factory ).

No surprise it took a surprisingly modern high-speed train only minutes to traverse the distance between Shanghai and Suzhou. Something that probably used to take days by horse and palanquin now takes little less than half an hour.

Whoa. I think we have come to the right place!

To suit the spirit of the occasion, we registered online at an old-fashioned inn situated by an ancient canal. A place that far exceeded our expectations.

Our rooms were situated in refurbished wooden apartments hidden right at the back in a private courtyard. Seriously atmospheric. Just think back to every historical Chinese drama you've ever seen with white-washed pavilions, classical rock gardens and bamboo outcrops. Half expected battling wuxia fighters to come flying down from the blue-tiled rooftops.

Fortunately it all came with the basic modern amenities. Wouldn't appreciate such scenery if it didn't come with indoor plumbing.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Messages off the Bund

Electronic mail. Instant messages. And now twitters.

Seems like the more advanced technology gets, the more distant we get from each other. And yet we try our best to connect with the increasingly sophisticated means available to us. Without the usual communicative nuances present during a face-to-face conversation however, quite a lot can be miscontrued through such electronic devices.

Case in point, our wandering sea urchin Lissome Lorelei who tries her best to maintain contact with her prince waiting by the distant shore. Daily messages and nightly phone calls are the best she can do since she's stranded miles away from him. Despite ( like all her mermaid ilk ) having a morbid fear of commitment, Lorelei has defied all expectations by remaining steadily landbound in his castle for quite a while.

Last I heard she's even considered buying new tiles for the castle ramparts. With no talk of stealing away for the deep blue sea.

Lorelei : I see the sea. Maybe I could make a run for it.
Paul : Not on your life, missy.

So much so that we've started teasing her about connubial bliss. Could it be that our naiad has given up her roaming nomadic lifestyle? If only we'd known that our jests could turn out to be shockingly prophetic.

Lorelei : Oh My God. Look at what you guys did!
Paul : What happened?
Lorelei : See this message. See what he wrote.
Paul : Oh My God. Is that a proposal? He wrote.. 'It says you're engaged.'
Lorelei : Engaged! Married! I wanna see the world. Up where the people are. I wanna see, wanna see 'em dancing.

Obviously she went to her happy place.

Seriously though. Our little sea urchin was this close to leaping impulsively into the Huangpu and making for the wide open sea. Practically had to jump to hold her down before she could make her hasty escape from the Bund.

Since they've been walking out for just a while, it wouldn't surprise me if her young prince felt the same. No wonder his immediate reply came just a brief second later stating that it was sent by accident. Can already imagine him slapping his forehead in horrifying dismay after mistyping the information.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Shanghai Jazz Divas

Note to self : Like all furry gremlin creatures, do not bring the boyfriend out to jazz bars after midnight.

Or at least something close to midnight.

As China's coolest and most cosmopolitan place to hang back in her heyday, Shanghai experienced a jazz boom during the 1930s and 1940s and was the undisputed jazz capital of Asia. After all jazz was the perfect complement to the dissolute, opium-tinged Mafia underworld of the period with dance hall hostesses, emerging crime bosses and foreign devils sharing the stage.

The turbulent years that followed however saw a decline with the closure of dance halls and the virtual disappearance of the reputedly western bourgeois music from Shanghai. However with the changing political and social trends, things have started to pick up again with local establishment offering jazz performances to patrons.

Bloody hell. We are lost.

Of course Charming Calvin didn't appreciate being dragged several miles in the dark searching for this mysterious establishment. Unfortunately - let's face it - jazz bars are usually located in such nondescript lil corners. Armed only with a tattered old map, we skulked around the French Concession looking for the hole in the wall. Tree-lined boulevards and avenues with lovely colonial-era townhouses just don't seem as romantic in the dead of night.

Of course it was far creepier to find the shady dive sandwiched between a Hot Pot and a Bon Bon.

I kid you not.

Busty handmaiden clad in a slutty-casual version of the chipao stood at the dark entrance bidding us to enter while offering spirits at a shockingly high premium. Calvin pulled a face. The fact that the stygian interiors of the club was shrouded in a thick fog of cigar smoke didn't exactly help endear the place to him.

But once I saw the stage, I was hooked. Husky-voiced jazz diva on the cosy platform with a dozen or more patrons unhurriedly sipping their preferred brand of moonshine. A Miss Billie Holliday wannabe with a sassy tongue to match.

Though her predominantly Chinese patrons didn't seem to understand the half of what she was saying.

Paul : You look bored. If you wanna leave, we'll sneak out after the next set.
Calvin : *cough* So dark and smoky I doubt they would even notice.
Paul : You gotta be kidding me. Miss Billie over there would probably clobber me dead with her stilettos.

Seriously. Those wicked eyes of witchcraft sussed out every customer scaring the lights out of those who dared leave.

Lemme oil my pipes for a while, ma bebe.

Sultry jazz in a smoky bar in the French Concession. Could it get any more perfect?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Chinese Curses at People's Square

The mainland Chinese certainly display a healthy sense of curiousity. Faced with an unprecedented event, rather than glance surreptitiously like everyone else the meddlesome locals here will stalk right up to stare quite openly. With eyes wide open.

Well as much as our slit-eyes can open :)

Even the sounds we make when we speak in a foreign tongue are enough to arouse their curiousity. So during our frequent rides in the Shanghai underground, we've gotten used to the inquisitive stares aimed our way from the other folks in the carriage. Goggling curiously at us like we were freakshows in an carnivale. Looks Chinese. Feels Chinese. And yet speakee in foreign devil-tongue like laowai!

Look closer. They might not be whispering sweet nothings.

So much so that Lissome Lorelei and I joked that we could talk absolute rubbish without them understanding a word. Since we had an appreciative audience, we might as well play up to them.

Paul : Good God. Your bloody second aunt fucked a donkey in a filthy back alley?
Lorelei : And after that barbecued the donkey for dinner to serve to her husband.
Paul : You know something. We should just learn some swear words in Chinese. Could come in handy.
Lorelei : Intersperse the words into our conversation!
Paul : So Calvin?
Calvin : 我认识你吗? ( Do I know you two? )

That didn't stop us though. After tying him down and tickle-torturing the fellow, he finally conceded to our insistent demands and offered to teach us some words. That we then used liberally to pepper into our conversation.

Paul : 臭婊子! ( Smelly bitch! ) 狐狸精 ( Slut! )
Lorelei : 混蛋! 混球! 混账! ( Bastard! )
Calvin : 我认识你吗? ( Do I know you two? )

Is it any wonder that Charming Calvin stood several feet away from us on the platform trying his best not to glance our way?

And I haven't even talked about the time I got mistaken for a Frenchman in Huaihai Lu. Parlez-vous français? Thought I was French-Vietnamese perhaps?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Qipu Quarrel

In the event of an uncertain situation, the adrenaline hormone forces our body into a flight or flight response. At least that's the precept generally taught in our medical schools.

Evidently in China, there's an additional reaction. The come-and-stare response.

Didn't exactly surprise me to be a reluctant witness to a minor scuffle in Qipu Lu. Yes, that does sound like Cheapo Lu. And just like the name, the area contains warehouse-sized malls hocking shockingly cheap knockoffs at bargain basement prices ( after some degree of savvy back-and-forth bargaining ). Relentless hordes of loud-mouthed locals immediately descend upon the unwary passerby promising branded goods straight out of the factory lots.

Not exactly what you'd call the epicentre of culture and poise.

I was only mollified after learning that the thrifty boys who come in search of a bargain for clothes have no choice but to strip to their skivvies - with changing rooms in seriously short supply. Impoverished comrades always have the best abs.

Hope no one's looking!

Unfortunately my friends were far too distracted to admire half-naked men.

I'll admit the ladies do go a little crazy with all the dresses, handbags and accessories on sale. Evidently crazy enough - with the strict authoritarian regime ruling China - to line their pockets without payment. Obviously not even the imminent threat of a firing squad can put the fear of God into them.

So what does a brazen petty thief do when confronted by an irate shopkeeper? Instead of begging piteously for tender mercies with tales of a miserable childhood, the thief immediately started hurling abuses instead.

Generally any sensible fellow would have fled the scene lest the flying fists and feet of the combatants ( and whatever sharp projectiles they can lay their hands on ) inadvertently miss their aim. The more intrepid fellows would probably try their best to separate the dueling opponents.

Not the Chinese.

In the event of an imminent scuffle, the earlier hordes peddling their wares immediately drop all their worldly goods to rush to the scene. Not only do they crowd around to watch ( and cheer? ), they immediately start a rallying cry for their comrades to join the worthy cause.

Calvin : I think there's a fight.
Paul : Damn, should we leave?
Fiona : Wait a minute. Hey, all the native peddlers are going closer for a look.
Paul : Should we join them?

Glorying in schadenfreude, the eager spectators crowded closer barely inches away from the escalating quarrel. Could have sworn they were taking bets! Knowing the propensity of the Chinese to place wagers on anything, they were probably just that close to starting a gambling den.

I'd have staked my wager on the surprisingly audacious thief though.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Ye Shanghai

Seems like everyone's going Ye Shanghai these days.

So my friends and I - the Lushes - figure we might as well join the hip, happening crowd making their way to that great metropolis of the East. Providentially enough Fabulous Fiona's been busy studying the arcane art of acupuncture in a local university there so room and board's taken care of.

Despite the open invite, I actually thought it would be only Charming Calvin and me walking the streets of Shanghai. Didn't think the impossibly fickle Lissome Lorelei would actually stick to the original plan to travel together. Even at the last minute at the airport, I half wondered whether she would make it :)

Paul : Good God. You look terrible. Are you sure you're well enough to go?
Lorelei : Always!

But undaunted by her persistent flu-like symptoms, Lorelei persevered. Obviously trying to prove to us that she's not the frequent flyer ( fong fei kei ) we're starting to think she is.

Lorelei : I am *cough cough* here.
Paul : Obviously so is the seasonal flu.
Lorelei : I am *hack hack cough* fine.
Paul : You look like death warmed over. Make that just plain death.
Lorelei : I am... *ack*
Paul : Was that sign language? Did you just lose your voice? Are you sure you won't be deported?

Even after losing her voice, our capricious mermaid made her opinions clearly known with an upturned middle finger.

So it was that the three of us travelled to Shanghai. Lorelei sans voice of course. Possibly hacked out half a lung on the way as well.

Fortunately Fabulous Fiona stood waiting for us on arrival with acupuncture needles at the ready. Supposedly a remedy for hoarseness of voice. Of course the sight of pointy sticks aimed at her LU10 Yu Ji Acupuncture point proved too much for our ailing maiden and Lorelei fell into near hysterics. Resisting the urge to offer my Five-Fingered Palm of Recovery, I decided to offer myself as a guinea pig for Fiona's amateur acupuncture show.

Turns out it wasn't as amateurish as I imagined. Once the needle went in ( and yes it was ouch ) seriously I could actually feel chi flowing. Certainly cleared my lung heat.

Then again it could have been my screaming nerves.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

What's the Anti-Matter?

What's the matter, you say?

Well an incident this weekend proved my point when I have said repeatedly that ex-boyfriends and current ones don't mix. Ever the eternal optimist, my sweet innocent friend committed the relationship faux pas of the decade by thrusting his ex and his current boyfriend repeatedly together. Might as well toss in some mud, place some bets and ring the bell for the fight to start.

Never the twain shall meet, I say. For a while now Charming Calvin has been making noises about meeting my ISO - and I shudder at such a momentous yet catastrophic incident.

Let's see... what could possibly happen if they actually meet.

Maybe they'd armwrestle.

First they might end up enemies. Think Turkish bloodbath. Forget about being perfectly politically correct.

Isn't it already an unwritten rule that exes and currents should always loathe each other? At best you get a cold war. At worst you end up calling the emergency room. And if so, you'd be inadvertently caught in between - the unfortunate referee wedged between the dagger-drawing combatants hoping they don't come to physical blows across the dining table. Squashed between a rock and a hard place, not exactly a comfortable place to be in.

Placating either one would only mean certain disaster either way.

Or even worse... they could turn into best friends. Really terrible if you think about it. Fellow compadres separated at birth. Not impossible since they would presumably share some similarities and possibly some interests. After all they did date the same fellow - poor you - for a certain length of time.

Exchanging numbers and tweets, they'd meet secretly to share horror stories of their respective time with you - and then later gang up on you when least expected.

Calvin : And he loves to abandon me by the sidewalk.
My ISO : Damned irritating the way he walks, like a bloody speed train.
Calvin : I know! Leaving me in the dust. Horrid.
My ISO : What happened to smelling the roses!
Calvin : Probably trampled all over them in the hurry.

See. No good can possibly come of it.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Leave Your Crocs at Home

Really. What happened to dress codes?

I know work culture has become shockingly casual these days but since when has it become acceptable to strut around in crocs at work! Even more astonishing to see Nervous Nancy clambering up the stairs in startling pink ones.

Paul : Good God. What are those?
Nancy: Crocs?
Paul : You're going to sail the wards in these boats?
Nancy : Yes, they are comfortable.
Paul : And looking terribly professional, I might add. Please stand five feet away from me, okay.
Nancy : Oh, you want me to change to sandals instead?
Paul : Let me remind you, sandals are not shoes.

Seriously. What shockingly egalitarian, fashionably lax convent did she go to? Have the wicked mean girls taught her exactly nothing? There seems to be some slight confusion as to what shoes are appropriate to wear with a skirt at work. Pumps, stilettos, flats - all seem perfectly fine.

But colourful plastic clogs?

Sorry, darling.

Clogs? Really.

Of course their avowed proponents - including our very own Nervous Nancy in their overzealous ranks - keep raving deludedly about how the overpriced plastic foam molds perfectly to the contours of their feet making it surprisingly comfy. But seriously? What a croc! Comfortable? Have you ever tried walking in these ridiculous plastic clogs? If I didn't have to do so at work to avoid falling metal instruments, I would throw them in the garbage disposal.

And let's not bring up how hideous they really are. I'm sure this one quote should suffice.

Since beauty and impracticality often go hand in hand, it seems likely that many will have taken one look at the Croc and decided that it must be incredibly practical.

Far from the arbiter of personal style so I grant you the right to wear it out anywhere you want. After all it comes in so many unfashionable styles and garish colours these days. Croc lovers with their indiscriminate predilection for silly shoes have worn them to beaches, to malls and to gala society events.

But to work? Really. Fuck casual Fridays. We have to draw the line somewhere. Now if Nancy starts buying jibbitz, I just might have to strangle her.

And throw away her shoes.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

The Falling Underwear Tree

During my tramp through the fields every morning, it's rare that I find anything to disturb my serenity. Really hard to get ruffled at all with Corrine Bailey Rae humming contentedly in my ears. Till this past week.

An oddity has come my way. This queer lil tree that I have started dubbing the Falling Underwear Tree. Reminiscent of an Enid Blyton fable yet far too naughty for children's consumption. Hell, it's far too kinky even for me.

Instead of shedding reddish gold leaves with the coming fall, this particularly bizarre tree has colourful men's unmentionables scattered arounds its gnarly roots. Like an underwear shop sale, it started with a pair of blue briefs in the morning. Then by the next evening, I found a green g-string and chequered boxers. One enchanted morning I walked by at least four articles of men's underwear from a couple of neon-coloured tanga briefs to one pink thong at the least.

You'd immediately look up to see whether the tree hosts a dozen naked men, wouldn't you?

Another victim of the underwear thief!

Puzzled me for a day or two. Several ludicrous possibilities came to mind but were hastily discarded.

Hidden cameras for a reality tv show waiting to entrap a punk'd victim? Gay lovers disturbed during a clandestine tryst? Sacrificial rites to the falling underwear tree? Wondered whether it was a perverted ( but woefully clumsy ) thief with a wicked fetish for men's knickers. Or whether this was a special bio-engineered sapling that grew cotton briefs as a forbidden fruit.

Do underwear companies really harvest BVDs straight from a tree?

Then one day I decided to investigate. Walking around the Falling Underwear Tree, I searched for clues but found nothing. There wasn't a hidden gnome busy stitching skivvies in the knothole. I had to widen my search perimeter before I finally found the culprit. Looks like the male surgical wards - with the hanging clothesline on the upper floor - lies at least half a kilometre away from said tree.

Seems the hurricane-like sirocco winds over here keep bearing aloft undergarments from the laundry line hanging above. Odd that male underwear seems to be the preferred choice. The maternity wards with dozens of hanging bras right next to the tree seem surprisingly untouched.

How queer.

Monday, October 05, 2009

God on Facebook

For all you godless non-believers out there, come listen to what I have to say! For I bring proof of the existence of an Almighty! If the fact that Chris Evans walks the blessed earth ( or at least his backyard ) in his sublime natural state wasn't enough of an evidence, I present you with the holy facebook.

What? Did you expect the parting of the Red Sea? Been there, done that. Obviously.

Chris Evans
Whoa, dude. Is that God?

And for the faithful who despair that God has turned His back on this wicked technologically-inclined modern world, oh ye of little faith! For He is all around. All-All-knowing. All-forgiving. And obviously All-computer whiz as well - since in this age of wonders, He has come to speak to us on facebook!

The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth. (Psalms 145:18)

Just yesterday I asked and was answered - at the surprisingly pedestrian click of a button. Certainly no blaze of heavenly light followed by angelic bells ringing ( where's the road to Damascus when you need one! ) but I could have sworn the computer screen shone just a tad brighter. Even the cached porn seemed slightly less tawdry.

No worries, I'm not going to claim to be the next holy messiah with a message. I'm just a friendly follower helping to spread the word. So lo and behold!

On this day of your life, Paul, we believe God wants you to know ... that it is time to finally forgive yourself. You've carried the guilt, the shame for long enough. You've kept your wounds open for long enough. The time has to come to let go, to heal. Keep the lessons and let the pain heal. Yes, you know what we are talking about.

See my message from up above? The guilt? The shame? God speaks to me!

Absolution at last! No idea what I have to be ashamed about ( since my litany of sins run longer than the Old Testament! ) but it's good to know that I'm finally forgiven. And thankfully without the urgent need for a hundred Hail Marys!

Enough to turn anyone into a true believer. Now I've gotta start searching for God. Literally. As in online. If I can add Him to my list of friends, maybe I could superpoke Him on a daily basis.

Wonder if God twitters yet.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Miss Independents II : Buttons & Bows

Miss Independents these days are so eager to conquer the world that most have forgotten entirely the power of being all female.

Trust me, girls, the battle of the sexes isn't going to be worn by a pants-wearing dominatrix trying outman the guys. Rather than march right up the fella demanding your rights in a strident voice - right before punching him, isn't it so much easier to flutter your mascara-ed eyelashes, whisper your secret wishes and have them present it to you on bended knee?

Now whoever said feminity was weak?

As the flirtatious femme fatales down the century have proven, bows, ruffles and lace work wonders on the male ego. And it doesn't make them in the least bit submissive.

Something I evidently had to prove to Piratin Patty. Trust the gay fella to talk the girl into buttons and bows. Just like the tomboyish Peppermint version with the same name, this Patty's very much into supposedly conventional masculine pursuits such as cars, machinery and the outdoors.

Pink teddies and frilly bows? Not so much.

Still despite being permatanned in khakis and tees, this fabulous girl still manages to snag some Grade-A hotties on her own. So imagine what Patty could pull with a decent makeover.

Or at least a touch of lip gloss.

Time to take you shopping, Patty!

Having her luggage ( and her unfortunate collection of beige dungarees ) impossibly stranded at sea certainly gave us both an excuse for some shopping. Unfortunately as it turns out Miri's pretty slim pickin's for a fabulous makeover. For the Gossip Girl afficionados, think more trashy Jenny by way of Shinjuku than Upper East Side Blair. Seriously haven't seen so much bling and taffeta since Madonna rocked it in the 80s. Sleazy street fashion that if worn might possibly have you mistaken as a cheap hooker on meth.

So you can imagine that Patty and I had to diligently scour through every little ( an admittedly small number ) backstreet boutique in this town. Or should I say every tacky wannabe store purporting to be a boutique! Still we did manage to find a presentable ensemble after much effort ( and some shocking lowering of standards! ). Headbands instead of rubber bands. Skirts instead of khakis. Stilettos instead of running shoes.

Only to hit a snag when Patty refused to put on make-up. And you know my thoughts on make-up. Giving her no room for protest, I shoved her into the only available make-up store and point-blank ordered the reluctant salesman to perform some magic.

Patty : But make-up's so difficult. And wastes so much time.
Paul : You can't be one of those delusional folks who actually believe in natural beauty! For what God hasn't provided, he sent us make-up dammit!
Patty : Umm.

After much persuasion - and lots of arm-twisting, Patty finally submitted to some lipstick and eyeliner. Though she drew the line at foundation.

For this, I stayed away. Though I love the effects, gotta admit I'm a little afraid of make-up. Pretty sure the eyeliner was created by a devious opthalmologist who hoped that errant females would inadvertently poke their eyes out. Even the thought makes my eyes water.

Certainly not a problem for Patty who found that a lil touch of lipstick really never hurt no one. Get ready, world!

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Mirror Mirror on the Wall

Who's the fairest of them all.

Yes, we do wonder occasionally just exactly who's the fairest. Nothing like shiny mirrors to tell us the truth. Though most of us - after listening to the depressing answer given by our unflattering reflections - don't immediately order bumbling woodcutters to rush off to retrieve the bleeding hearts of the fair.

I certainly don't. Far from being a bosom friend, the mirror's more like a passing acquaintance for me. Honestly I find it hard to pursue any sort of cordial relationship when the mirror hardly gives me any good news. So it's just a brief cursory hello and goodbye in the mornings when I leave for work praying that my unruly hair doesn't look like I've been stranded at the edge of a hurricane.

Some of us have a more antagonistic love-hate relationship with our mirror.

For others though, the mirror's practically a lover. Someone they share their deepest darkest secrets with - while vogue-ing with exaggerated pouts ( or constipated frowns ) to find their best camera angle. Practically a clandestine affair conducted right in front of their loved ones.

But how would I know that when I'm barely in talking terms with my mirror? Fortunately I have Fabulous Felix to read me messages from other side of the looking glass.

Paul : Good God. You realize James always looks off angrily into the far distance to his right. Would that be a passing gazelle on the African plains?
Felix : That's his best camera angle! To find it, all you need is a good torchlight and a full-length mirror.
Paul : Good God. The only thing I ever did with a torch and a mirror was to make scary faces.

Seriously. Turns out in a bid to find their best shot, folks actually spend their time with torch in hand and a mirror before them. Practice it enough that when a stealthy camera sneaks up on them, their heads automatically snap to that correct angle.

Dammit why didn't my mirror tell me that earlier!

Now to go find a torch.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Beyonce Protest

So they are protesting.

Predictable buggers. Poor Beyonce obviously didn't learn her lesson after scrapping her proposed concert several years back due to a strict dress code enforced by the Malaysian government. Oh no, the intrepid diva has decided to risk her chances again by coming in October to stage a leg of her world tour in the capital Kuala Lumpur. Obviously Islamic groups in the country have already expressed their opposition to the upcoming concert and say they will send a protest note to the government.


I think it's become so common to see these religious zealots protesting - well everything from clothes to concerts - that I've become almost inured to their badly written, grammatically incorrect signs. Let's allow them their day in the sun since in a true democracy, every ass is entitled to an opinion after all. The real fools are the spineless ones who actually pander to these narrow-minded bigots.

Justin Timberlake
Bet they wouldn't mind me half-naked!

Let them protest. Doesn't mean you have to listen.

And let's face it, boys and girls, is a concert even worth going if the boys at Persatuan Kebangsaan Pelajar Islam Malaysia PKPIM ( that would be Islamic Students Association natch! ) don't protest? Hell, if these wannabe imams actually support a government-sanctioned concert, you can bet its gonna be seriously dull. Think tacky third-world stage with flashy neon lights and cardboard cut-out backgrounds. Acne-ridden adolescent boys belting out religious verses with zombie-eyed burqa-clad background dancers tripping up the stage for no apparent reason. Talk about a yawn a minute.

Maybe it's time we protested their lack of taste instead.

Zealot : They should ban the concert. Imagine Beyonce exhibiting herself in that scandalous scrap of cloth.
Paul : Yeah I'm sure you're imagining that booty in your dirty lil wet dreams, repressed straight boy.
Zealot : And it goes against our eastern culture.
Paul : What eastern culture? Yours? Mine? Don't equate your culture with mine. And has there ever been a consensus on eastern culture?
Zealot : We must protect our young ones from such avid licentiousness!
Paul : You don't want to come to the concert because of its licentiousness? Stay home, lock your doors and knit crotchet with your naive babies, scared lil bitches! We like it. And you are not our daddies.

Even if the crazy zealots actually stay home with their banners and knitting needles, I doubt we'll see Beyonce shaking her bootylicious self in this.

You know her womanly curves in a black suit would only drive the repressed buggers insane with lust.