Credit to Ipoh

With the Budget 2010 announcement that every credit card that I have will be levied an RM 50 tax, I’ve been in a dilemma for the past week. The dilemma being, although nothing serious, is trying to figure out which credit card to cancel.

My reactions to the Budget speeches are always the same – divided. On the one hand, the economist me is rather pleased that the implementation of the levy is intended to stop errant spending. On the other hand, the shoppaholic in me is rather unhappy that I have to give up one of my cards. I have four cards and I only use two at most and on some months, none at al.

But I have one of each: a Visa, a Mastercard and AMEX. And I have a silly reason for holding each – Visa because it’s a Visa, as a kid, I always thought credit card equals Visa. Mastercard because, for everything else, there’s Mastercard. And AMEX is for a corporate hot shot – which I’m not anymore – but holding an AMEX makes me feel like one.

They’re all ridiculously sentimental reasons which should have no bearing on what should be a rational decision. So three of them have to go, but which, I really don’t know. Gah. Any ideas?

***

Ipoh is often spoken of in sentimental terms in Malaysia. There was that highly irritating song by Jacqueline Victor, where she sings ‘Ipoh Mali‘ (Coloquial for ‘I’m from Ipoh’)  over and over again. And then of course there’s that stereotypical belief that if you’re an ethnic Chinese in Malaysia, you’re probably from Ipoh (of course, if you’re an ethnic Malay, you’re from Kampung Baru, ethnic Indian, you’re probably from Brickfields) and people talk about the food. The glorious food.

Over the years, I’ve been inundated about the awesomeness that is Ipoh that I would have thought that the streets were lined in gold, and there were ghosts of our colonial pasts sauntering in the streets. Like randomly bumping into our old Imperial masters as we cross the street.

What I didn’t expect was well, not to like the town very much. It was a lot like Kuantan, in some parts. A lot like Penang in the more plush parts by the palaces. But the roads at night were dark and bumpy, and I thought it looked tired rather than historical. Ipoh just didn’t fill up my soul with any kind of sentiment the way other old quaint towns in Malaysia did.

In the morning, when the sun rose, and light streamed through the limestone mountains and set against blue skies – that feeling was still nothing. Don’t get me wrong, the limestone caves and hills were stunning and I would probably return to give Ipoh another chance.

It could be that I expected too much from Ipoh over the years. Or it could be I’m just rebelling against the awesomeness of Ipoh since everyone had been harping about just how awesome it is.

Somehow, I left Ipoh this morning a little depressed with the city.

***

So…Shiseido introduced their new line, Girly Erotica (Majolica-Majorca). My mum thought it was the most hillarious thing ever, that a girl would wear make up branded Girly Erotica.

What I do know is that I’m so buying the line, because hey, it’s Shiseido. This is a bit like Hermes making a plastic bag, like yes, I would so buy it. It’s Hermes after all.

Advertisements

Losing Your Addiction

I hate it when this happens to me. This being losing interest in my current addiction after I’ve spent good money to fuel said addiction.

It happened with the Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden series. I picked up one of his books, spent a good few hours cracking up over his rogue wizard cum private detective series and was thoroughly addicted at the end. The next day I went ahead and bought the second novel. I finished it in a day. And then I could not sleep, I was shivering from withdrawal symptoms until I got my hands on the third book – and I devoured it overnight.

By the fourth book, I thought I was sufficiently addicted enough to pay a good RM 200 to buy most of his series.  I was so pleased with myself as I walked home with almost the entire collection in the bag.

Except some time in book 5, I suddenly found myself irreverently bored with the series. No matter how hard I tried, I could not finish the story about how Thomas, the sexy vampire was involved in the porn industry that Harry was hired to investigate. I just couldn’t.

Now I have a bunch of books in my Billy bookcase (alliteration! ahah!) I have not yet completed.

I worry I’m losing interest in Bones as well. I picked up Bones because it fueled my hunger for a murder mystery that is darkly comic. I loved it, it was smart and sassy, I couldn’t wait for the next episode.

Again, I bought the second season without thinking. Except two episodes in, I find Bones tedious – I really don’t care about Camille Saroyan (I know she improves later on – watched the other eps on Star World) and am irritated with Booth criticising Bones endlessly. Yes, she doesn’t get it. We know. Yes, she’s smart but clueless about life. Stop hitting us on the head with it.

I’m not really looking forward to the next episode. The wit from season 1 has disappeared somewhat – it’s not as fun as it used to be.

Bah, more money spent on things I’ve lost interest in. So despite being darkly fascinated by Mad Men, I’m going to wait till the sister comes back with the DVDs. I’m not going to spend any more on a show that I might lose interest in halfway.

Other than that, it’s been difficult to blog lately because life has become rather dull. My cousin got engaged recently *yay* and I’ve been hassling vendors for my own upcoming nuptials *boo hiss* – nothing worth blogging about. Oh! Oh! I’ve been trying to read more. I’ve finally picked up Crime and Punishment that I abandoned a few months ago. I picked it up from the dark and cobwebbed corners of my bookcase where it was squished between recipe books. I lovingly dusted its jacket and right now, it’s next to my bed so that it can be ignored prominently.

And editing. I’m up to my eyeballs with words…it’s hard to concentrate working on drafts. I’m a little bit enamoured with posting my ahem fanfic. Plus, it’s fun to get reviews! So do read it! And leave a message! You’ll make me a happy bunny.

Winter Theme

Now stupid Facebook advertised that there was a Malaysia Airlines competition online whereby all you needed to do was capture winter in a photo and you could win two tickets on MAS to any destination of choice.

I had perfect photos of winter on my PC from *gasp* six years ago which I impatiently uploaded in my efforts to win this competition. Of course, it was only after hours (read: ten minutes) of agonizing which photo would be the winning shot and then after pressing the submit button did I realize the competition deadline was umm…29th September.

Meh. A message for The Star and MAS: DON’T ADVERTISE OUTDATED COMPETITIONS  ON THE SIDEBARS OF MY FACEBOOK! YOU’RE WASTING MY TIME.

But anyway. Looking at the old photos gave me a chance to traverse down memory lane, and surprisingly, instead of leaving me depressed with a hankering for tequilla (which I do not drink – but it sounds like the appropriate liquor of choice to drown your sorrows away), I looked on at the photos with a smile, remembering just how good things were and how good things will be.

I think I’m starting to look forward to the future again and not terribly miss my time in the UK. I think that’s a good thing – to not feel burdened about what I had assumed to be better past than the now and feel a little more assured that the future is well, something not too bad. Let’s see how long this bout of peace and contentment will last – I’m a writer. I need to feel angry and upset all the time. Fuels the writing.

Or so I say.

Anyway, without further adieu: Winter in Warwick

P1280169

David and Eizwan – Young and carefree

P1280156

I’ve no idea where I put that hat now :-s

P1280158I love this picture – we didn’t have classes and we played around in the snow. Awesome times.

Murder Wall

Lately I feel that a sense of restlessness and guilt that I associate with the non-completion of work and projects on my plate. As you know, and I’ve been harping for nearly a year now, I’ve been writing what has been my first draft of my novel.

I’ve finally completed it. *Yay*

Now it’s time to edit it.

See, the thing is, while the novel is lying beside me (figuratively, it’s actually on a hard disk) I can’t seem to do anything else. In most cases, I’ve allowed my social life to slide – it’s hard to make the effort and meet friends when I have this behemoth sitting next to me, making googly eyes and taunting me.

My novel looks a bit like a shaggy elephant, sort of like Snuffleupagus, but only meaner and smaller (small enough to fit my room).

But as with countless of writing manuals have said, at the end of the first draft – put it aside, pick up knitting, train for a marathon, anything, to forget about it so that you could look at it objectively when you do return to it.

So I tried not to focus on the novel, decided to go back to doing umm, other stuff like Tanjong Ole and *cough* fanfic *cough*. There was one thing that I couldn’t resist doing despite it being connected to the novel.

About a year ago, I published a photo of my plot wall, or more accurately, the first part of my plot wall. Over the next few weeks, it grew to something more akin to this:

Plot blurred for obvious reasons

Plot blurred for obvious reasons

Yes, it took up my entire wall, the plot did. I slept next to murders and conspiracy for about a year.

But as most writers can attest, the plot I started with was not quite the plot I ended up with. Halfway through the novel, I had already decided to rework the plot during the edits and so, despite the note cards keeping me company for nearly a year as I toiled away on my laptop, it was mostly redundant by the end.

But I really liked all the notecards on the wall, it gave this student-feel to my room. And it reminded me towards the goal I was striving for. But , it’s weird to leave something up there that was no longer relevant.

So after much deliberation, I made the painful choice of bringing down all the notecards from my wall. Out with the old, in the with the new as the cliche goes.

Naked wall is naked

Naked wall is naked

I felt so naked, sleeping next to a bare wall.

But.

The wall wasn’t naked for long. Actually, from the moment I decided to bring the cards down, I’ve already decided on a replacement. I’ve designated the wall next to me my Novel Wall, and I wanted to create something that would give me a feel of the world I was living in. Inspired by the inspiration boards that are all the rage in wedding blogs, I started creating my own inspiration board with photos that I felt could have come from the world I created. I’m really pleased with the end result, it does feel like it’s starting to come together.

A new sexy beginning

A new sexy beginning

So there it is. Wish me luck on the first round of editing!

P/S: If you’re wondering what the green thing is, it’s a mosquito net, a traditional way of keeping mosquitoes at bay. Fucking hell man, the mosquitoes here are persistent!

Eid Mubarak

We're excited. We all are. Really

In Raub. It was fun. Really. Don’t get me wrong, we were just hot.

Eid had come and gone. This year’s Eid was not as exciting or as meaningful as I had hoped it to be – although, more likely my expectations were heightened a little ridiculously. Somehow, in the recesses of my brain, I thought that it being the last Eid with my family (that came off a lot more morbid than I intended it to be) it was going to be all meaningful and touching etc.

Instead, aside from the morning prayers, which I always like, the rest of the days were pretty much like other festive seasons. Relatives visiting and eating. Food I  mean, not eating relatives. There were lots of food, including my aunt’s famous nasi dagang. I may have put on all the weight I had lost during fasting month just in that sitting alone, but I do not care. Some exceptions must be made in life for happiness’ sake.

I always feel guilty when I admit to myself that well, you know, Eid could have been better. Facebook is filled with countless of albums from my friends accounting how brilliant their Eid was. My Eid was meh.

Nokia Camwhoring 023

Perhaps I’ve been hanging around this cat too often, I’m picking up his grumpeh moods too.

I brought it up with my mum, she reckons it might be because we did not bake Eid cookies this year. Or cook enough. Or hang up fairy lights. Because really, it is fairy lights that maketh the festival. I reckon it’s because we’re boring old farts who have lost the excitement that children seem to have for the holiday.

Still, it did not stop me from arguing with Eizwan on which house we’re going to spend the first Eid after we get married. So far, the compromise we’ve come up with is a flip of the coin – and might be our final and practical solution.

Eid Mubarak everyone. Hope yours was a better one than mine.