My English Is Rotten.

The first time I chat on the internet was with this American guy, in 1998. I was still in the university, and he said my English was even better than anyone he knew around him. That was high compliment, coming from a person from an English speaking country.

Then I got to know a few penpals, from Germany, Papua New Guinea and Canada. We exchanged letters (yes, that's what penpals do, this unfortunately extinct hobby) and we have no problem understanding each other because we use proper English in our correspondences.

I lost them all when emails became the next best thing....

I read excessively. Sometimes walking and reading at the same time. (I walked everywhere because my dad thought it would be dangerous for me, even to ride a bicycle in the city). I stopped reading books for fun in the national language since I was 14. To me, the description and expression in English seems far superior.... Or it was just me.

Anyway, I write BETTER than I speak. Nobody is quite willing to strike a full English conversation with me, to my regret. Even chatrooms nowadays are filled with short-handed words that will make any honourable English teacher cry. (Like today, I just learnt that NSFW means 'not suitable for work').

Oh, and I used to stutter when I was very young.

I feel like my grasp of the language is slowly slipping. I don't have much time to read properly now, and I really hope I can finish all the ebooks I downloaded recently. Being here, reading all your blogs helps a lot.

So sorry if my recent entries are without pictures. I am not sure how to add them using this iPad of mine....

Evil Teacher Quotes....

I looked at the sky.
I looked at you.
I rather look at the sky.

R.I.P. My Friend.

I got back this afternoon, turned on the tv and watched a slew of Japanese animations on satellite tv to blow off some steam. We had a meeting earlier this morning and I hate to be burdened with paperwork. But that will be another story.

So I lazily took my iPad, Paddington from the coffee table and flicked on Facebook as I watched the cartoons. Hurm... As I went through some messages and a few tagged photos, one status update caught my eyes as it began with condolences...

A friend is spreading the news that one of my alumni guys was involved in a grave accident and was dead on the spot. He was grazed by a car while riding his superbike, fell and was hit by a trailer behind him. He was dragged under the heavy vehicle for a very long distance.

His head was crushed by the tyres.... I have seen these because there were pictures of the accident and the body all over the news and the internet. Horrible terrible pictures.

This guy used to bunk next to me when we were in boarding school. We weren't that close (mainly because I was the resident psychopath and social leper all rolled into one) but we did get along well. He was a funny guy, had a lot of close friends and very active in sports.

He was married, and had a three year old kid. I never knew his family because we drifted apart after boarding school. But I got a glimpse of him once in a while in Facebook when some friends uploaded the pictures of their activities, mainly futsal and alumni dinner (which I never attended).

He was my age, 33. So much promises and vigor, yet cut short by fate.

Sometimes I felt that I can live forever... But at a moment like this, the thought of our own mortality is a very bleak road to go.

Rest in peace my friend. I will always remember your smiles way back in school.

The Witch Doctor Will See You Now...

I have a mixed view about traditional remedies and treatment. It's all great with natural herbs and exotic spices, but when it comes divining illnesses and shady practices (in my point of view) I avoided them like the plague.
Last Sunday my mom asked me to accompany her and a few friends to a 'bekam' session. BEKAM is an ancient tradition, where blood is sucked out of the skin at some points of the body. A needle (or lancet) pricked the skin at a particular spot and then a container was placed upon the tiny wound, vacuumed so blood can be drawn. For every few minutes, the container will be removed so the trickle of blood can be wiped off the skin, and then replaced. Each session might last for one and a half hour, and the amount of blood drawn vary for each subject.
My mom and her friends finished their sessions (hours!) as I read a very thick book, outside waiting for them. Then my mom asked me to take the treatment as there was no one else in line for it. As a dutiful son, I obliged, took off my shirt and trousers (a towel is provided) and had my blood drawn voluntarily by the practitioner.
It was one of the most boring few hours of my life (this new year).
As I walked out of the small treatment room, I saw my mom and her friends listening to another practitioner with rapt attention. Oh, oh, I smell a money trap.....
And I was right. My mom had ended up spending a few hundreds ringgit on medications I don't think she really needs. The girl was also trying to bait me by asking about my health, and even had the NERVE to guess my illnesses through reading my palms! Major quack clackety clack!
But I played it cool, and smiled at every foolish noises that came out of her mouth.
Like I said, I am a dutiful son ;)
And this quack prescribed me a bottle of the essence of garlic of all medication! I ate garlic on a DAILY basis, girl! That's why I am healthier than the next person. But I kept my mouth shut, and took the prescribed bottle gracefully (my mom paid for this too).
On the way back, my mom chirped at how much better she was after the treatment. She said she felt lighter and her hands trambled less. I nodded to all, but the same cannot be said to me.
I felt nothing. There was no improvement, or anything less with me after the treatment.
Maybe my body refused to believe in such a celebrated treatment (prescribed medication notwithstanding).
Or maybe my guardian angel wont let me get influenced so easily.
My mom wants to return soon. And I will drive her there.
I am a dutiful son, yessiree!

P.s.- i tried to find a suitable picture to put here.... But I don't think the lot of you will appreciate me for it :p

The Rarest Sight In Town...

This morning, my housemate asked me to accompany him to the bank to ask for a loan. As I have nothing to do at home, I obliged and took a book with me (David Eddings' The Tamuli Trilogy, all 485 pages), knowing that I'll get bored waiting for him at the bank. I didn't want to use my iPad @ Paddington because... some might say it would be SO pretentious :P And I just got it, didn't wish it to get stolen yet...

So he parked his car a few hundreds meter from the bank and we continued on foot. As we were crossing the road, something hit me... Here am I, walking to the bank holding something that I've never seen anyone carrying in public, ever! Not this town, this district, even the big city. A story book!

This made me laugh out hard, in the middle of the busy road. (Yes, I do that sometimes, suddenly laughing at hidden jokes)

My housemate asked me why and I told him. He had no comment on this.

I love books. And I envied those of you who lived near good bookstores and huge public libraries. I'd hate you even more if you got SO MUCH money to buy every book you desire.

Books (that I want) are quite expensive here.... Cheap local books, mainly with tales of love and crappy matters are of no interest to me. Well, one man's poison might be another's bread eh?

I've seen people who read EVERYWHERE on tv, at the bus stand, waiting for their turn at the bank, picnic etc. A culture which reads is a great culture. 
The first verse in the Holy Quran ever dispatched by Gabriel to the Prophet begin as thus; "Read! In the Name of your Lord, Who has created all that exists." This shows that even God has a very high opinion to the culture of reading...

Ah, this is me rambling again.... Maybe the book owners of Malaysia read their books exclusively INDOORS, in the private safety of home or whatever. ebooks are not really popular here because they are so hard to get for the less computer savvy people.

Out of 10 youngsters here, 4-5 would have mobile phones in their hands... The age of MTV had killed radio stars. Cell phones had replaced books for the role of mobile amusement.

What a world we live in...

p.s. - anyway, the bank was CLOSED as the 1st of January fell on Sunday. We forgot about this and spent the rest of the morning amusing ourselves at the nearest Tesco...
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