Tour guide

October 29, 2006

Anyone can be a tour guide, or rather, anyone can show his friends round his OWN city- Check out the sights, steer them to popular restaurants, trip up some tall building to check out more sights from high vantage points etc.

I find it hard to balance it out with what I WANT to do. If I were to kill a saturday, I could lunch in a nice sidewalk cafe with an open book, leave the car to take a train – peer out of train window and observe life go by, hit another cafe for coffee, go to the bookstore, check out the art scene or just sit in a park. I reckon these are hardly activities a visitor would want to indulge in.

My friend Y was in town for the weekend, with his “family” in tow. She was/is insufferable. The kid suffers under her micro-management. Y gestures me to be tolerant.

Kuala Lumpur is not my city, I need a GPS to get around (no i have not). The city however has its charms. Besides the usual arm-leg places where you’d pay good money for great ambience/food/drink/view/music/dancing/girl-watching, which one could probably get in any big city, I have found quieter, cheaper and intrinsically interesting pursuits.

Monkey watching at Lake Titiwangsa is great. klmonkey.jpg

Looping around in the LRT is a sublime study of the Malaysian in transit, and to a greater scale, society in movement.

At Chinatown I’d sneak in to a busy kitchen to observe the cooks in action. There are little cafes where young musicians play a guitar and sing chinese folk or pop songs.

I could take salsa lessons at various locations in the city, and if I’m confident, there are many other places I could show off my skills (notably Little Havana and QBA Latin Grill).

I could take microlight lessons out of Subang airport for RM 150/hr.

I did a mental count of the places I lived in for at least a year: Johore Bahru, Kuala Lumpur, Fukushima, New York, Boston, Manaus, Sao Paulo, Singapore. I’ve found a home in each and every one of these cities. Home IS what you make of it.


October 27, 2006




Picture upload test No.2

I had a black labrador named incredulously, Ah Wong.  Perhaps it was his name when we took him in.  He was elegant, passionate and tremendously good with kids.  I remember constantly hugging him, not letting go.  At the end of his years, he was frail and visibly worn-down.  During that time we had 2 other dogs, much younger.  One of them I think was mentally unstable (i remember staying away for fear of getting bit), and they fought a lot.  Ah Wong had a calming effect on them – I liked it as a 10 year old seeing how much respect the other 2 had for him).

I was 3 feet away when they injected something in him for him to sleep forever.

How to make good compost? The whole process takes about 6~8 weeks, requires patience, dedication, a nice yard, perhaps some trees, space and other factors like rat-free environment etc, Cut your own grass!

But I hereby lay out strategies, perhaps a future guide to apartment dwellers with pretentions to “tend gardens” :

1) Find space in your life for this compost. You live in a building, with many common areas, whatever you do with your potentially rotting shit will potentially screw up relationships with your neighbours.

Talk to the janitor about your plans and see if he could give you a dedicated space somewhere near the barbecue pit but far from the pool.

2) Get a nice, low compost box, or a plastic bin. Large surface area is nice, and I think you’d need at least 30 cm depth to this thing. Find a piece of cloth to drape over the whole thing. Some pegs would be nice.

3) I recycle my glass, metals, paper and plastics. Here in my city it is virtually impossible do this properly. There is no legislation where you are forced to recycle, no fines to pay. Even if there is, it would be virtually impossible to police. Moreover, society has more to worry about than to recycle baby diapers or out-of-style paraphernalia.

but recycling of cardboard boxes, those cardboard tubes out of toilet paper, eggs boxes should be easy if you have the proper motivation, in this case your objective is a world class compost heap. Cut them in litttle pieces. Keep.

4) Talk to the gardener downstairs about giving you some fresh grass cuttings – come to think of it – you might not need to ask.

5) Weeds. Do some weeding while you’re out jogging. These are good activators. Some fallen leaves while you are at it.

6) Fruit and vegetable scraps. Save and put in fridge (or go downstairs and dump in heap).

7) Tea bags and coffee grounds.

8) If you can get your hand on REAL SHIT like chicken or bird droppings, it’ll be excellent. NEVER dog or cat litter. There are good shit and bad shit, dogs and cats, or refuse from your own child, is bad shit.

9) DON’t use newspapers or meat or fish or leftovers from the dinner table.

10) Line them nicely in the compost box. Put twigs or branches in the bottom layer to promote circulation of air. Websites like this one teaches good stuff, but if you are like me, a bit slow and requires picture cards to remind yourself of life’s important things, just remember leaf-type things one layer, organic household stuff next layer, then leaf-type things, and so on.

11) Wait 6~8 weeks, occasionally you may want to top up the heap, which would diminish in size over this period of time. You’d want to mix well, soggy and dry parts. In the very end, you would get earthy type stuff in a nice rich earthy colour, with a nice earthy smell. Composting is thus complete. If you’re not in a hurry, wait to mature (1~2 months) like fine wine. Now you’d have enough to ingratiate yourself to the whole building for the entire year.


October 26, 2006

The problem with existential reasoning is summed up by; when the tree in that forest that falls, and nobody around to hear it, did that tree really fall?

Were I to blog to nobody, does this blog exist? Does that letter to my brazillian friends, or my birthday wish, lose its meaning if they were not meant to be read?

Of course it’s bloody stupid.

But somehow I just can’t bring myself to scream, hey, read ME!!! Indulge ME!! Post yo comments!!


October 26, 2006

Para meus amigos brasileiros, e Serge, meu compradre e ex-vizinho em SP.

Sempre queria fazer um blog, queria escrive em portugues, e manter esse link com aquele parte da minha vida. Depois do 2 anos, quando visite-o em minha mente, as memorias voltarem, em tecnicolor; as lugares, conversacoes, saos suspendidos em tempo, nao se diluido, nunca perdido, sempre esta, sempre.

Hoje visitei um site brasileiro, specificamente UOL. Surf um pouco. Senti falta. Tinha uma epoca quando eu comencei de ler menos dos sites (em) ingles, e mais em portugues. Na sua “turning point”, quando eu percebei mesmo, claramente, foi uma revelacao. Eu lembro pensando: Hoje me tornei brasileiro, hoje eu entendo meu povo.

A nostalgia queima nos coracoes dos mais fortes.


October 26, 2006

3 ages of woman

Picture upload test No.1

This used to hang on my apartment in Vila Mariana, Sao Paulo.  The 3 ages of woman by Klimt.

all the fragilities
of 28 years past
Will you now
hold the future in your hands
Will you
laugh with the careless abandon
of a girl
wearing her first summer dress
catching her first waves
at the sea
wearing teardrops cast in silver
on her neck

Will you at 30
incite a generation of men
to riot
Will you at 40
be mother
to the happiest child in the world
Will you at 50
and flowers bloom. still
at your words
Will you
at the end of your years
look back
and find the world a better place
because you were in it?