Sunday, January 27, 2008


flowers: god's perfect masterpiece

The naturalist, J. B. S. Haldane, was once asked by a cleric about what he might infer about the Creator, based on his wide ranging study of life. Haldane supposedly replied that the creator had "an inordinate fondness for beetles"

i can't recall how and where i first got this from (most probably from that most likeable of tv naturalists sir david attenborough) but in any case this is one of the very few things i actually learnt when i was an entomology student many many years ago. while there is only one species of human beings - despite all the different sizes, colors , racism and fightings seems to suggest otherwise and our anthropomorphic hubris claiming that we the homo sapiens is the most prefect and best loved creation of god - the fact is there are perhaps about half a million species of very fascinating and lovely beetles from the scientific order coleoptera crawling and flying all over the face of this world. and that's not counting all the rest of god's creations and the remaining millions of the rest of insect species.

by this very fact alone it seems logical to infer that god loves cockroaches, bugs and worms a lot more than us humans. i can imagine the old god sitting there on a log somewhere and lovingly fashion one species of beetle after another and when it comes to homo sapien's turn , took a clod of clay and sculpted a human form and then exclaimed; oh fuck, one species is enough! even with this just one species alone human beings will go on to breed evil and create mayhem and destroy this lovely world that i created . and old god would get very depressed and stopped creating and went straight to bed on the sabbath. the seventh day. and i think he has been dozing off ever since. or at least that's how some religion seem to view creation more or less.

but as they say, the jury is still out whether human beings is the most perfect creation. and we may never know the real answer although for my money i would bet otherwise. i can't see any logic in it. how can human be perfect if we can breed the like of hitler and george w bush? and you asked; why george w? but here's the thing. human is doubly imperfect because most people can't see the evil in george w bush despite him wreaking two sovereign countries merely to hunt one man with a long beard. well, that's basically the big picture.

but you can give this to god. he has truly created at least one masterpiece which everybody agrees on.. flowers! nobody in his right mind will disagree with this. you can argue that god has created all kinds of wonderful animals , but not many will say that hyenas are lovely animals unless you are david attenborough. almost all will agree that tapeworm is a useless creation and very repulsive unless you're a helmithologist and everybody will agree that AIDS virus is something we can do without and so on and so forth.

but flowers? they are all perfect. it can be from the most exuberant orchids, roses and lilies or the lowliest creepers or grasses, it can be big or minute it can be brightly colored, or mere pale sepia, they can be in all kinds of shapes and contortions, simple, compound, single in bunches or infloresences, in spikes, racemes, umbels, male, female even hamophrodite , they can have the most pleasant smell or the most foul odour but without exception they are all perfectly beautiful. i for one have never seen a flower that i don't like.

except this. the only flowers that i don't like (and in fact hate) are plastic flowers. but on he other hand i absolutely love flower paintings. so, that's my faminine side truth be told. and whenever i have the opportunity to visit great art museums like the MET, Chicago Institute of Art, the Louvre or London National Art Gallery i will make a special point to go to the less visited rooms where they hang old still lifes and especially those dutch and flemish genre paintings of the 16 th and 17th centuries. and i'd stand there marveling at the beauty of the vanitas, still lifes and flower paintings . the rachel ruyschs, bosschaerts , de heems and the rest. I like them so much that i in fact bought copies of some of these paintings from those touristy art shops in ho chi minh city where they have young artists copying well known paintings from art books . from the impressionists to the ubiquitous boteros , gustave klimts and the lempickas and yes, some dutch flower paintings from the 17th century.

Two of the paintings that i bought several years ago were by jan van huysum (left) and jan davidz de heem (right) the original of which you can see below.

When not visiting museums i make up with buying art books and happy to say that i now have well over 200 coffee table books on artists ranging from chardin to holbein to popova and picasso and pollock to van gogh and many others... from great classical paintings to still lifes, from the impressionists and up to the expressionists . and that's where i stop. i detest pop art and most of surrealism. no warhols or rauchenbergs for me. and i collect exhibition catalogues and have quite a few lovely ones such as this one and this one which has a very lovely section on 'plants , birds and insects' with some of the most delectable watercolor of plants and roses that rival or even better than the best of Redoute's roses.

and i had the good fortune to accidentally stumble across an fantastic exhibition 'Empire of Nature" at the singapore national museum in september last year. if you have been to this museum you'll notice that there is a small room devoted solely to natural history water colors . There are perhaps around hundred or so of these lovely pictures idiosyncratically painted by unknown local artists hired by william farquhar the founder of singapore a couple of hundred years ago. i guess this is periodicaly changed in a revolving exhibition. it's my favorite room in the singapore museum. but this 'empire of nature exhibition' is a truly magnificent showpiece as it exhibited ALL of the collection for the first time and i was esctastic.

human beings may not be god's perfect creation but sometimes human can, like god create works of supreme beauty and i can't complain much when men imitate god and paint god's prefect creations of plants and flowers.

and oh there are books! and i bought this sumptuous book the naming of names a week ago full of beautiful paintings and woodcuts and prints of plants and trees and flowers. i don't know when i'll ever get to read it but just looking at these beautiful plants and flowers painted hundreds of years ago make my heart full and make me forget for a while all the sad events of the world. i can go on and on but i'll end here.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


jihadists and nudists

martin amis had a new book out. this review puts it very well what the book "the second plane" is all about so i'm not going to say anything about it anymore. i'm not even sure i'm going to read it. not unless i happen to find it in remaindered bins and at a giveaway price of one dollar or less. this is rather a turnabout for me because he's one of the authors i quite like. the way he handles words can be mersmerizing. but post september 11 he's getting more and more tiresome and virulent on his attack on the 'islamists' . he even coined a new word horrorism (which doesn't seem to be taken up by anyone ) to describe his horror and disgust at all these atrocities perpetrated by muslim suicide bombers as though this is particularly unique to 'muslim terrorists' only and conveniently forgetting the kame kazi bombers and tamil tiger suicide bombers to name just two.

and i'm surprised and somewhat saddened at his failure to properly delve into the psyche of these unfortunate idealists and his refusal and inability to understand the other side of the argument. for a writer of his calibre, this is dissapointing. he tried, albeit with a very one sided partisan view in a short story which i could barely managed to read past the second paragraph. this was published in the guardian unlimited online a few months back.

and here's the interesting thing. one would have thought that the average jihadists are fanatics zonked out with religious zeal hell bent on killing themselves in the hope of getting seventy doe eyed virgins in paradise. well, there are some of these, but there are others. and these others can be as hedonistic and irreligious as an average secularist. just like you and me. and given the wrong(or right) circumstances i could easily be one of them. but thank goodness god makes me a coward and a pacifist. in all honesty, i couldn't even kill a fly. i'd make a good jain devotee if i was born in india.

and last night i met one islamic jihadist who peddles pirated porn dvds on the sideline. i was in baclaran pasay city and one thing i love to do when i'm in manila is to visit this night market place where most of the shopkeepers, hawkers are maranao muslims who come from marawi city in mindanao. and just beside this night market is another sector of manila's underbelly. a really seedy place with rows upon rows of cheap bars and ktv lounges and a few crappy hotels with nude shows. the three song & dance routines. first fully clothed , second only with panty and bras and the finale completely naked gyrating and humping to a loud crappy old pop songs.

i ended up buying one glass of beer after another to this singer who happended to "work" in singapore several months back. so we had a lot to talk about.and i learnt a thing or two. and that's me. observing things and life's underbelly is fascinating. and the reason i discovered this crappy place was thanks to the porn peddler jihadist. i was checking out his collection of porn, some of which were very2 disturbing and nasty stuff and some were plain revolting gay stuff and we got to talking. i asked him if he likes abu sayaf. he said no and i asked whyt not? i love abu sayyaf i declared. ah you're jihadi? fisabillillah? he asked me. not really i said but every muslim with balls should support abu sayyaf and osama ben laden i said. forget about these fucking muslim moderates i said. these are bush cock suckers. i said. he laughed. and said his uncle is a commander of MILF. oh congratulation i said. may you have success. and then i said, so, where's a nice good place i can go where there are no fucking white men fondling filipino pussies? and that's how i ended up at that crappy bar with the three song and dance routine.

Monday, January 07, 2008


the land of the mughals

i missed my morning flight to new delhi today. probably by about 5 minutes but that few minutes make a whole world of difference. life is very funny in some ways. sometimes hours and days - or months even - can go by without any consequence or significance and suddenly a few minutes late and your world goes upside down.

but in this case i am lucky as MAS has another flight in the evening so things work out fine. but if this happens on other days when there's only one flight per day, i'll be screwed.

india is one of the most fascinating place on earth and delhi has it's share of history and fascination (and agra with the taj mahal is just a short train ride away) and for me as an extremist muslim at heart this place is almost like spain to the moors. well, almost. delhi was the seat of the great muhgal empire with a line of interesting mughal emperors as you can see if you happen to read books such as abraham eraly's emperors of the peacock throne and my muslim blood seeth and boiled when i think about the way the british decimated this great kingdom. i feel sadness as i also feel the pain of the muslims' loss of spain. reading about the demise of the spanish muslim kingdom and the plight of the moriscos in henry charles lea's the moriscos of spain make me very sad .

and now travelling to new delhi this time around i bring with me only two books . one is lonely planet's India (of course) and the other is william darylample's the last mughal about the demise of the mughal empire . this book will get me mad again i know ...but i'll try to sooth my feeling by revisiting all the key islamic architecture left behind and try to imagine the former islamic glory and achievements of these great people again ...and go and buy that folio of miniature erotic mughal paintings in that little shop in the covered arcade of the red fort that i saw the last time i was there several years ago...

Saturday, January 05, 2008


oh britney! (you did it again)

i never thought i'd write about this. britney spears! her life is getting madder and sadder by the day as today's news shows.i used to think only silly pre-pube girls listen and adore her. but i can't help myself liking some of her songs. and she's getting more and more interesting by the day. she's becoming the female equivalent of wacko jacko.

what a turbulent life! and she's not yet thirty! starting from an innocent mickey mouse groupie graduating to become one of the most likable teenybopper singers with catchy tunes and naughty titles like baby one more time, oops..i did it again and stardom. and from there on it's a ride fit for a coen brothers movie (sans the murders, that is). running away and on a whim married an old childhood friend and promptly divorced him two days later... and went on to marry that asshole kevin ferderline who is a fucking nobody. ok he used to be a back up singer to famous artists including britney herself (if that counts for anything). and he was an aspiring rapper and HIP HOP singer ! and if there's anything i hate it's this ghetto music. (to be fair, there are some good hip hop songs , but these are exceptions...)

the thing is, i can not see what made britney to be besotted with kevin federline. my theory is this. i hate to say this but taken as a whole (some) women are very stupid (or stupider than most men) . and due to their stupidity they all too often fall prey to men and on matters of love they generally fall for two basic reasons. one, good look and big dong and two: MONEY!

we've all seen many beautiful young things married to old men that look like gorillas simply for money but with regards to britney and old kev, it must be the former. i bet the lucky bugger had a what you might call a whopper and really gave it one more time to britney that made her smitten and fall in love with this rake. but this kind of love won't last and it did not.

the trouble really started for ms spears when she divorced this asshole and she was not given the custody of her two young children...and then her life starts to unravel messily and gets very interesting .... it spiraled into a succession of small tragedies and scandals. she was (and is) an obviously highly disturbed poor girl. shaving her head , getting in and out of hospitals due to substance abuse, beating a paparazzo with an umbrella and top of the list was baring her beaver for the whole world to see. ironically as much as i love this kind of things perhaps i'm the only person who've never seen britney's er beaver. why, even chua soi lek may have seen it.

i may not be "pro-women" in most people's eyes but i'll say this. small children should not be separated from their mothers , even if you think that they are not good mothers. britney may be a wacky pussy and an unfit mother but kevin federline is no better and a right bloody bastard in my eyes. anyone who, like this guy who ditched his fiancee when she was eight month pregnant just to marry a bigger celebrity could not be anything but a dickhead and anyone who's willing to marry a guy like this just like britney did must be a silly bimbo. so in a sense they deserved each other but all the same when children got into the equation tragedy is unavoidable.

what surprised me is that with all her money why can't she hire good lawyers. if o. j can get away with murder and micheal j can get away with sleeping with little boys, one would think that child custody battle should be a lot simpler in comparison. and she can have ten or twenty maids to take good care of her children. and it is a bigger wonder to me how the judge is so blind to award the sole custody to the father when clearly the mother is going mad missing her children .

anyway, goes to show that celebrity, talent, beauty and money do not guarantee happiness. her life reminds me a little of that fine book by henry james a potrait of a lady.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008


promising start to a new year

today is the first day of 2008 and it already started with a bang! a real promising start to the year but what an ominous start to malaysian politics! today's big news as we all now know is the health minister chua sui lek caught in what's the word? flagrante delicto in a hotel room with a woman who is not his wife. in simple language he was caught fucking in a hotel room. and the thing is, it was caught on cctv (and as described by some news, from four different angles!, kinky!) cctv in hotel rooms? that would get half of BN ministers worried now!

i hope somebody put it up on youtube soon. i googled it just now and the only thing that came close to it is this. bloody hell! , funny, but not exactly what i am looking for...

i gather it goes without saying that the coming few days will be hell to this poor minister personally but from political perspective he shouldn't feel too bad. he is in good company. and MCA and BN as a whole will not be kicked out in the coming general election just because of this. (malaysians are too stupid to think that there are alternatives to BN, malaysian voters have a collective brain power of a herd of fresian cows and simply unable to think that others can rule(or misrule ) as well as BN...but i'm digressing again...)

in this dark hour he should take solace from the fact that people like rahim tamby chick who was alleged to do a lot worse (and with an underaged girl at that) was not only cleared by the court but completely rehabilitated and now sits happily as a member of umno supreme council! instead, a few teenagers were hauled to court and found guilty of banging the same girl in some hut in a durian orchard somewhere but were set free and not given a jail sentence, if i recall correctly. (i thought banging under aged girls will get you mandatory jail sentence, but sometimes strange things can happen when your life somehow get entangled with umno politicians)... and why, there was a furious forum discussion on quite a while back about khairy jamaluddin who was alleged to have a right bloody good time with this chinese girl while he was studying in oxford or wherever the hell he studied at . in plain language he fucked the girl and got her pregnant, or so the forum said....and some said he recently had a naughty hanky panky with maya karin. good luck to him! ( i envy his dark look -but not his dark heart..) ...and what has all this done to him! nothing but good. as we all know he is now our malaysian prime i mean our prime minister's son in law....and the list goes on...why, it has been said that our PM himself brought his current wife to australia before he was married to her, and in strict islamic sense even in the hadari version this can constitute as khalwat...and by right he should be hauled to syariah court and tried and what has this done to him? nothing but good....but all these are very tiresome... sex is good! why should we get so damn uptight about it all?...the problem with chua sui lek and the like is merely this. they got caught.

i think he is not worried at all politically speaking, or even from the family front. in fact his wife already forgave him in public. (poor but brave wife, not exactly in the same league with hilary and clinton...but it's exactly the same situation)...
i think there's only one thing that is potentially very worrying to him. it's the small matter of the size of his pecker. if the dvd shows clearly that his is what some would called a whopper , well then he has nothing to fear at all. but if as i suspect his is just an average size of an asian pecker , which unhappily i must admit is on the smallish side - by world standard - well, he should be very worried indeed...

and if the video clearly showed that his pecker just look like a shrivelled prune , on that basis alone and nothing else, he should resign from his cabinet post! otherwise he'll be forever tormented by his cabinet -ugh- members' snide remarks and sniggers behind his are such vain animals, they can tolerate a lot of things but get very touchy when it come to the size of their johnsons.....

and that's the only reason why it is crucial that someone put the clip on youtube... then i can advise him to resign or not....

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