Dal niente

May 16, 2010

It was one of those days when I decided on a pre-determined state of mind-I was going to be sad. It’s hard to suddenly find yourself alone when after cessless travel and endless meetings that a lull in the schedule throws you off kilter. Maya is only coming sunday; My silverlit was bent out of shape- I have to get a new plane; the next interesting art installation will only be next week (when I won’t be in town); nobody of note is playing this weekend; and I can’t seem to get anybody out.

Called W – Tried to get myself invited to his new house in Bangsar, but he was gallivanting in god-knows-what hick town with his new mistress. Contacted J- but it’s awkward when you don’t treally know her well and she has a family. Thought of calling D – but the thought of picking him up in Cyberjaya put a halt to everything.  

So the plan is good – be sad.

Fumbling for anything because I was driving, I mistakenly insert quite possibly the only music I know from the last 20 years that never failed to stir my soul, strike the core of me. Ginger by Arcane. Running more than 12 minutes, Ginger features Simon Jeffes of Penguin Cafe Orchestra, Nigel Kennedy, Andy Sheppard, Alex Grifford & Nana Vasconcelos in a masterclass by world class jazz & classical musicians. Layering aural textures with bass, percussion and twin guitars in the background, Kennedy’s violins & Shepard’s saxophone comes in and goes en dehors, pitch perfect, dueling like swordfighters, building up to heart wrenching sforzandos. As always, I imagined myself playing.


Drawing with Maya

March 4, 2009

Maya with green eyes and her teddy bear

Maya with green eyes and her teddy bear

Maya flipping pages of soon-to-be mutilated book

Maya flipping pages of soon-to-be mutilated book

We spent the afternoon drawing with crayons.


March 4, 2009

Kafka’s “metamorphosis” was my first encounter with an out-of-the-box way of story-telling, and has in retrospect been responsible for my acquiring a taste for extraordinary and imaginative writing, culminating and settling for garcia marquez’s magic realism as my favourite form of literature.

Magic realism permits me to take flights of fancy while grounded to familiar sights and sounds. Magic realism has been defined as “what happens when a highly detailed, realistic setting is invaded by something “too strange to believe. 

The speaker passing resolutions under a raintree

The speaker passing resolutions under a raintree

As it is, yesterday’s Perak government siitting under a tree outside the parliament house has the feel of an unreal storyline unfolding, where a revolution, abeit peaceful, seems to be taking place.  Critics have of course dismissed the legitimacy of this congregation, but we the Malaysian people hold our collective breath.

After my business meeting in Singapore in latter half of last week, I went for a little R & R in Johor Bahru.  Major roadworks have been completed since the last time I visited, namely the customs & immigrations area & the huge flyover at the Tebrau/Pasir Gudang/Johor Jaya intersections. For all that it is, traffic was smooth and purposeful.

We had dim sum and went shopping for pirated dvds.

Home was cosy with my mother there. Took a nap, had my laundry done (mom).

We played some pool

We played some pool

and sang some hokkien songs

and sang some hokkien songs

Playing truant

October 23, 2008

On our way back to KL, and we would have been able to get back to the office by 1630 hours, but we decided to detour to Genting Highlands for coffee (and eventually a side of lamb pie as well).  From the highway it took us 24 mins (15 kms) to reach the summit.

It’s a windy day. And cold.

But we're working!

But we're working!

Went into the casinos.  Each of us shelled out RM 50, and we had a pool of RM 150.  Played 2 turns of baccarat, lost RM 100.  Then played 3 turns of a dice game called “big-small”. You bet on the outcome of 3 die; 4~10 is small, 11~17 is big, and triples don’t count (another payout).  We won RM 150, for a net profit of RM 50, or RM 16.67 each.

Then we stopped playing, and went home. Our total playing time in the casino was 4 minutes.


November 5, 2006

There are days when you feel especially confused, when you can’t settle an emotion, or rather, it takes you over like a roller coaster, and you are helpless untill it stops, and you have nothing to do with the when or how.

A day like that I would wish for it to be over.

Will tomorrow bring about new perspectives?

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.