Tuesday, November 25, 2008


what i think about this and that....

i thought to myself, whoa, how come i hardly say anything about my own country here? or not that much. i was thinking about this because recently one of my foreign friends told me he saw that tourism advert on astro in the hotel and he asked me what does it really mean? malaysia truly asia. the question stumped me. i can't give any good answer to that. so i thought i'd put down here my thoughts on a few things about my country malaysia. i don't talk much about my own country because well, you hardly notice things that you're familiar with . you just take it for granted. you hardly notice anything in your own backyard so to speak. but i'm going to put things under a microscope . i will pretend that i'm interviewing myself and say what i think about this and that.... my thoughts on a few things about my country...

so what is this place called bangsar then?

oh i dunno... it's a place about ten minutes drive from my work place. used to be very trendy about ten years or so ago. half of the people living there are assholes and the other half are wogs. i hate it.
these days a lot of other areas are aping this place. you know, malaysian population can be divided into...

yes , chinese, malays , and indians (not neccessarily in that order)...

no , i mean to say malaysians can be divided into several kinds of fruits...bananas, coconuts , ubi keling and assorted nuts... racists, fundamentalists ....

ubi keling isn't a fruit surely? but coming back to the three major races...

yes, it is actually a type of tuber with black skin and white flesh. and yes, it's true you know about that joke that goes something like this; if there is one chinese, you see him working hard to make money, but if there are two of them they will start gambling. if there is one indian , you see him drinking toddy, but if there are two of them they will form a debating society. if there is one malay , you see him sleeping, and if there are two of them they will start having a kenduri.

i think that nicely sum up the saliant traits of the three major races in malaysia.and explains the state of the various races in the country right now.

you mean the chinese although a minority is controlling the economy , the indians....

you know what one american collegue of mine once said ? he said if it's not for the chinese the malays will still be living in trees... the fucker is a racist bastard i know- he married a local chinese- but there's a grain of truth to what he says. and lately malays have been grumbling and whinying about how they have been left behind and all that. the malay papers are now full of this whingeing and wringing of hands. malay chauvinist blogs too. one guy by the name of KJ (that is kadir jasin) even penned a poem lamenting the sad plight of the malays in their own land. you can read it for yourself here. i was moved to even post a comment. check it out . you may learn something. (from my comment i mean).

that is interesting. so the malays, when they are down they write poetry? are the malays a very literary people?

well, i was reading the golden chersonese and the way thither by elizabeth l. Bird quite recently. this is quite an interesting book about her travel in the the malay archipelago in the nineteenth century. in her brief introduction to the country and the malays she mentioned that the malays don't really have a literature of their own. she is actually half correct because all the classic malay literatures are basically either derived from hindu mahabarathas or the arabic sources including the one thousand and one nights stories.

but we have a very nice and unique poetry form called pantuns. my home state goes even further. we still have a vibrant dikir barat shows which uses impromptu two line pantun rhyme somewhat akin to rap music of the western world. but it's much more complex and varied than rap. and they think nothing of covering famous songs in dikir barat versions. one of my favorites in the old days was a song called pasar malam. the first lines goes like this...

wa pergi pasar malam
wa beli seluar dalam
lobang lobang....

and it is sung to tom jones she's a lady.
in those days some dikir barat can be very risque or downright pornographic but our great leader tuan guru nik aziz put a stop to all this nonsense. he didn't even need to give out a fatwa but we all listen and obey him whether we like it or not.

that's interesting about nik aziz, but we'll do that one some other time. but how about today? do we have any good literature in malay?

these days like anything else to do with malays, we are fucked. malay kids these days, if they read anything at all, they only read silly malay romance and malay chick lits which are probably ten times worse than sophie fucking kinsella. i may be wrong. i haven't read a malay novel since my school days which seems like a hundred years ago. probably the last malay novel i read was shahnon ahmad's ranjau sepanjang jalan...and i remeber it was a very very intense and boring book. think of some of the worst booker shortlist books and you get the idea.

looks like nothing seems to be right in your view. you remind me of the book a confederacy of dunces and the main character, that fat ignatius reilly....

funny you say that. i read that book about a year ago but half way through i accidentally left the book in the hotel limousine on the way to shanghai airport. and i just bought another copy recently and now resuming from where i left off before. don't call me that or i'll punch you in the nose. i think we should end the conversation here before i get mad....

Wednesday, November 19, 2008



i guess this is no country for old men. I think i'm now truly on the other side of the generation gap. take this word pengkid for example. I've never heard of it in the whole of my life until a couple of weeks back and that only because there was a little storm in a teacup about some people wanting to protest in the nude because they disagree with the fatwa on pengkid. protesting in the nude in malaysia?? where?! i'd dearly love to come to one (just as an observer of course.) but malaysian authorities are not only incompetent and corrupt assholes , they are also boring and sour puss. they ought to encourage people protesting in the nudes!

pengkid. i wonder where that word comes from. that doesn't sound like bahasa malaysia to me. the media sometimes translate it as 'tomboys' and sometimes as lesbians! and as so often these days, the easiest way to know anything is just to google it. and when i did, i get this. harmless enough i think and i personally have no problem with either tomboys or lesbians . in fact i find them quite sexy but here's the thing. i don't fight with fatwas. i RESPECT fatwas.

and another thing. non muslims have no right to comment on fatwas. this is the realm of islam and for people professing islam. let them fight and bicker among themselves but others, please stay out of it. you see, i don't think it's my business and would never think about protesting against christian religion for example for making nuns 'the brides of jesus' and make them celibates (if i were to be unkind i'd say; what a waste of good pussies). and so by the same argument, non muslims should refrain from poking their snouts into other people's affairs.

one thing i learn about religions. philosophically ALL religions are GOOD . but as they say the devil is in the details. ALL religions have at least some astoundingly stupid and ridiculous aspects . some are completely demented in in their dogmas and belief (eg christianity) , some in their practise (eg my own religion Islam) and so on and so forth.

and take hinduism for example. i'm currently reading Huston Smith's The world's Religions and i find the philosophy behind hinduism amazingly logical and beautiful (and to be fair so are the other religions too). but then i came across a very interesting article in a not so recent the New Yorker issue about devadasis. these young girls dedicated to the goddess yellamma would be deflowered as soon as they reach puberty either by the temple priests or the highest bidder in the village who usually are the village head or the rich who are invariably much older than the poor devadasis. and so you'll get a sixty year old man having sex with a twelve year old girl. such is life and fate for the devadasis. they will ultimately end up either as temple prostitutes or more often than not these days end up in mumbai in the 'cages' in kamathipura, reputedly the biggest red light district in the whole world. this article Serving the goddess by william darlymple is on line and you can read it here. and for a less prurient and more balanced article on the subject, probably this 52 page academic write up Devadasis-sinners or sinned against by Anil Chawla is a good start as any.

i've never been to mumbai but i can well imagine what it's like. several years ago i was in kolkata and one day i took a taxi and asked to go to sonagochi , the largest red light district in this city. unfortunately the taxi driver happened to be a pious muslim and refused to escort me to go around the warrens and alley ways of this hell hole. but sometimes next year i'll make sure i visit mumbai's kamathipura. i may bring a bag of condoms and pretend to be one of those boring NGO persons working to save the world. and i'll make a point to look out for those young girls with the distinctive necklaces. the devadasis.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


the man who wasn't there

That evening, I went to the video store and almost rented “Wuthering Heights,” then switched to “The Man Who Wasn’t There,” then, feeling haunted in a dumb way, ended up renting nothing at all.

well, her loss really. that came from a short story that i read in a back issue of the new yorker (March 24, 2008) a couple of nights ago. it's one of those literary sci-fi short stories that got you hooked because you wanted to know 'what happens next'.

i've not been reading much fiction lately and come to think of it i've never finished any fucking "booker fictions" since god knows when. the last one i did was many years ago . it was the folding star , a great book by alan hollinghurst, much better than the line of beauty in my opinion (which i managed to read half way through before other books hijacked my interest away from it). i'm a bit tired with all this smart ass writing with no real meat in it but that doesn't mean i am out of love with good writings. it's just that the moment someone says 'literary fiction' i feel like throwing up. it's not them . it's just me . i think i'm getting stupider by the day. to finish a 400 page 'literary' fiction these days seems like a very daunting task and is a torture rather than a pleasure as it should be. but i won't be touching any sophie fucking kinsella any time soon. not in this life time anyway.

and as a compromise i suppose, i go and read short stories. good literary ones i might add. in the new yorker or story or granta ...all those good literary weeklies and quarterlies. and as i said i read this story The Region of Unlikeness by one young lady with a very exotic name. Rivka Galchen. i know absolutely nothing about this writer so as usual i turned to the net bible (the wikipedia) and an entry about her is there. so i suppose she has arrived as a somebody. a writer in this particular case.

and while i was at it (googling wiki) just for fun i typed a few big local names - or probably more appropriate to call them 'glocal' personalities- a term derisively dismissed by just about everybody (except umno assholes) coined by that guy najib tun razak in a fit of inspiration a while back to describe this kind of successes. and there it was. tash aw is there. but preeta hasn't yet. or may be i just misspelt her name. may be i spelt it as preeta rasamasam. that can't be right?! but amir muhammad(director) is there. so this man with so much potential but despite everything managed to make some of the worst films in the world has arrived. well done!

but to tell the truth i'm greatly dissapointed with amir's films. yes i've never seen worse films in my life. however i must say this . it has to be just me. or it could be because of my worse half. (one good advice; always blame women for any wrongs in the world). one time i went to watch an amir muhammad movie at the matic (i think that's what it was called) under the royal selangor club padang which is now no more - i think.. the whole place was flooded several years back in one of those famous kl flash flood. the unfortunate thing was this. i went to see the films ( lthe big durian , mona fandey and one or two other local art house movies and documentaries) and for some forgotten reason me and my worse half had a 'war' - as one of my vietnamese goat friends refer to the usual family tiffs- on that night.

and on my way back this worse half of mine kept on chiding me for bringing her to see crappy movies where perverts sniffed shoes etc ( amir muhammad's lips to lips). and another time when i brought home a pirated copy of lelaki komunis terakhir (the last communist) she just said; you and your shoe sniffing movies again. i said, it is not! it is a good movie. lets watch. but she just went and make bubur kacang in the kitchen within ten minutes. and she was right. it's one of the worst documentaries i've ever seen . it's certainly no crumb.the only thing i find mildly interesting is the scene where this guy was explaining different varieties of petais. but what the fuck petais have anything to do with chin peng our great last communist was beyond me.

i don't get it. i couldn't get it. it must be me. i own up, all these art house movies are beyond me. i can't remember but i've already mentioned somewhere . all art house movies are like watching turtles fucking. the idea of watching sex act is always interesting , but turtles fucking? and that's how most art house movies are. they are the equivalent of, yes, literary fictions. both are variations of turtle fucking.

but just like literary fictions, art house movies can and do grow on you. if you perservere , and be patient enough to give your full concentration turtle fucking CAN be very interesting and you don't have to be david attenborough to enjoy it. and that brings me back to that sentence in the short story above. i don't know about wuthering height (the movie) but i sure as hell know "the man who wasn't there". this black and white coen brothers' film is the quintessential art house/turtle fucking movie. but a great one at that. it won the best director award and was nominated for the palm d'or at cannes film festival (2001).

i first watched it on singapore airlines on the way to new york quite a few years ago. and by the way, singapore airlines is my preferred airline. singapore may be the most boring country in the whole of the universe, but you got to give it to them. they have the best airline in the world. MAS? i avoid it like a plague.

i was sitting beside this guy in business class (company money mah) and to be friendly i just asked what line of work he did and he mentioned someting about 'investment banker'. so i just shut up and clicked the remote and out of the 80 or so films available i just watched the man who wasn't there TWICE all the way to NYC. that was how good it was.

but if you want to watch the ultimate turtle fucking movie i think nothing can beat Bela Tarr's satantango. a seven hour plus hungrarian film in black and white. incidently a guy with a strange monicker pan tat ( which translates as "cunt") posted a comment in my recent post with a very good turtle fucking movie discussion blog site and the last entry was on bela tarr.

i may not get too many comments in my blog but one thing is for sure. i sure get interesting people visiting mine. people with brains! i don't get ball licker assholes like those that post comments in dr M's hugely popular blog che det. i imagine mahathir must be quite dissapointed with so many apple polishing retards hanging around his blog . i would if i were him.

ps;, i found out that the new yorker story i mentioned is available on line . you can read it here.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


black america!

who would have thought we get to see a black man as the president of the united states. not in my life time, or so i thought. just think, a few years ago, if mr obama were to jog around a middle class white area in any average white suburbs of america he would probably be chased after by a policeman . and now he's the president of the usa!

if truth be told when i first saw him on tv about a year ago, i thought to myself. why, he reminds me of one of my drug addict friends back home! and i have an instant and instinctive and incomprehensible dislike for him. but to quote that idiot character Chad (brad pit) in the hilarious movie burn after reading - in the scene in the car before he got socked on the nose by the foul mouthed Osbourne Cox ( john malkovich)- "osbourne cox, appearance can be deceptive"...and how true it is in the case of mr obama. and i distinctly remember one japanese girl interviewed on cnn declared that she will not vote for obama -because he's black.

but that was a year back which now seems like so long ago. and now the whole world seems to be madly in love with him. it's like beatlemania. or a mawi mania multplied a billion times. the level of world interest and excitement leading to this cycle of US presidential election is absolutely phenomenal and the level of support for obama as reflected in this on line voting is universal.(i stole this from crankshaft). Out of a total of 868,144 unique votes from 213 different countries obama won with a landslide majority in ALL the countries except one, macedonia. and another place called Niue which i've never heard of before where there's only a single vote and this is for mcCain.

the world seems to be truly fed up with bush and his bullying ways and everyone hungers for a change. for a new america which is more benign and sympathetic to the world at large.
but if it was a person other than obama, say hillary clinton against mcCain would the interest be the same?

and now that he is the president would obama be able to do any thing different? or would it be more of the same packaged in a different way? i am not optimistic at all and not too hopeful but all the same i wish him all the best to bring CHANGE.

ps: this morning i shoot an e-mail to a collegue in Indiana and here's her comment...which i think is very realistic and well said.

Most everyone you talk to is thrilled that Obama won. McCain was a good man, but a lot of people thought that a vote for McCain was a vote for the same - and the American people are really fed up with Bush. The only reason he was re-elected four years ago was because of the person that ran against him. Therefore, it was not a vote for Bush but a vote against the Democrat that was running. He was not good either. We knew what we had with Bush, which wasn't good, but it would have been worse with the other guy. But, I think we ended up being wrong, but because things got worse and worse. I just hope that Bush is removed before everything goes to pot here. He can't get out of office soon enough for me.

It will be interesting to see what and who Obama puts into his cabinet. That will make him or break him. The next few months should be very interesting. I hope he chooses good and educated people, and not people that he needs to reward for helping him gain the election.

Any way - I'm hoping this is a new beginning and change really is in store for us.

Sunday, November 02, 2008


burn after reading

i finally got hold of the coen brothers' latest movie 'Burn After Reading' last week. i was hanging around nana area , one of the the hell holes and cesspits of bangkok watching ugly white men having fun with ugly and sorry looking prostitutes and on a whim stopped at one sukhumvit roadside pirate DVD stall and pleasantly surprised to see that the movie was available. I've been searching for this movie for ages here but none seems to even know about it. not even my regular pirate. and so i was naturally very excited and went straight back to my hotel room at emporium suite on sukhumvit rd and played it straight away on the video player. in case you have not stayed at this hotel but willing to part with around rm500-600 per night let me tell you that it is a great place to stay as it has a really huge room and a living room with complete audio video system with flat screen tv and video player and hi fi. and it comes with a kitchenette too . very convenient for a family. a much better hotel than much more expansive hotels around.

like most much anticipated things in life that you have waited for so long to come your way, the first time i watched this movie, i was mildly dissapointed. what was all that about i thought to myself. is that all? and the rather poor quality of the dvd did not help. but as with ALL coen brothers' movies i have no problem with repeat viewing. and on second viewing i liked it much better. it was hilarious. the dialogues is classic coens. and as i said before watching coen brothers movies is the closest to reading literary fiction in film form. it is pointless for me to say anything about this movie as everything has been said already. critics have written all sorts of things and compared it to different coens' movies but for me, this film resembles their great and first film blood simple most, not so much in the story line but the tone and feeling. anyway, if you're such an ignoramus, i guess this wiki article is as good as any for a start. and the excerpt below basically described the film.

The Coen brothers said idiocy was a major central theme of Burn After Reading; Joel Coen said he and his brother have "a long history of writing parts for idiotic characters" and described Clooney and Pitt's characters as "dueling idiots." Burn After Reading is the third Coen brothers film for Clooney (O Brother, Where Art Thou? and Intolerable Cruelty), who acknowledged that he usually plays a fool in their movies: "I've done three films with them and they call it my trilogy of idiots." Joel said after the last scene was shot, "George said: 'OK, I've played my last idiot!' So I guess he won't be working with us again." Pitt, who plays a particularly unintelligent character in Burn After Reading, said of his role, "After reading the part, which they said was hand-written for myself, I was not sure if I should be flattered or insulted." Pitt also said when he was shown the script, he told the Coens he did not know how to play the part because the character was such an idiot: "There was a pause and then Joel goes...'You'll be fine.'"...

and by sheer good luck i managed to get another pirated copy with perfect quality from a saigon mall on dong khoi st yesterday and for only half the price of that from nana . and i've now watched the movie again (with high quality picture) for the third time and i still don't get tired of it...the movie grows on you with repeat viewing.
go watch it...and if you don't like it , i can safely say that your brain waves don't quite synchronised with mine...which may or may not mean anything really.

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