Archive for December, 2013

Sparrow, teach me to fly,
I’ll teach you how to write poems.
Teach me how to build a nest,
I’ll show you how to find a publisher.
Give me your feathers,
I’ll give you my coat.
Give me your fear,
I’ll give you my cat.
Give me your branch,
I’ll give you my bedroom.
Sparrow, if you give your life,
I’ll give you my cage.

Rodaan Al Galidi is currently my favourite poet. He was onstage at George Town Lit Fest 2013 — I saw so much joy and play in his reading, it reminded me of theatre practitioners and their particular brand of Philippe Gaulier joy, le jeu.

I was happy when Rodaan read his poetry, and he remains one of my clearest memories of 2013. His poetry is quite unlike the usual styles I prefer, and I wish he had more work translated. Still, that seems greedy. Maybe I should just be happy with what I’ve found so far.

Dodgy Maggi + rotten eggs = kinda lucky.

I tried to cook Maggi mee for dinner (Assam Laksa flavour is the best, if completely removed from the reality of the actual dish). By “try”, I mean I was increasingly less successful as time went by.

When I tore open the soup packet, the MSG came out in wet chunks. Turns out the Maggi I recently purchased was already past its expiry date. Thanks, Hero Supermarket!

The instant noodles only expired in November, and I was pretty damn sure the date given was only a suggestion. The sticky clumps where there should have been fine, toxic-orange powder —  merely a gentle warning. To be heeded by people who did not grow up eating Asian street food, and have never spent RM40 on lok lok in one not-even-alcohol-fuelled session.

Carelessly added crabsticks to the boiling pot of noodles and water. So far so good; if somewhat possible that I may have added shreds of plastic wrapping to the soup. I figured it would melt and I wouldn’t be able to tell. If I could, even better, I can avoid eating plastic by accident.

Cracked an egg into the pot, and woah. The egg came out with a solid-ish whole egg yolk, and it was partially still stuck to the shell with what looked like a green layer of mold. This was new. I sniffed it. It didn’t smell bad at all. Actually, it didn’t even smell like egg, so maybe my nose was just too clogged up. Or maybe, as my friend journalist Rhys seemed to be obsessed with, it was a fake egg. However, the last time we were together and found a dubious egg at an Indian grocer’s shop, we thought it might have been fake because the shell was wrinkled. Turned out to be a real egg — possibly laid by a Kegelling hen. Or sick hen. Either way, he was disappointed and I could never unlearn that chicken eggs can come out really weird because, duh, not all hens lay perfect supermarket eggs, and not all supermarket eggs are okay.

Was worried all the eggs I purchased (also fairly recently) had gone bad, so I cracked another egg into the pot to check. It was okay.

The clock said I had nearly an hour before the show I was watching would start in DPAC, which is just 10 minutes away from my place…if I drive slowly. Decided to head there early and grab a sandwich from 7-11. Was worried if I left the Maggi there, my scavenging housemate Zheng might actually eat the noodles in the pot without knowing the egg inside had gone bad. Kind of like how he leaves purple Vitagens in the fridge and I drink them all. I should clean up, but if I wanted time to grab a sandwich, I shouldn’t waste any more time. Considered texting him to warn him off the food in the kitchen while en route to DPAC, at the first red light I encounter. That said, what if I hit a wave of green lights? I’m a fairly lucky driver, it’s possible.

My solution: throw away the dodgy MSG soup base. After all, the full Maggi experience is magic. Maggi without the seasoning is just water-clogged bullshit noodles. No one will eat this! Irresponsibly left kitchen full of dodgy cooked food, and drove off to DPAC at 8PM.

Ten minutes later: In the lift, pulled out my phone to turn it to silent. Noticed it was actually past 830. WTF? Suddenly late for show. Yesterday, my ex-housemate Adri had stayed over at my place and borrowed my iPad charger. Today, the battery on my usual time keeping device was flat and I was using the house clock today to keep time. Turns out, that clock is running out of battery too.

Quickly made my way up to the Black Box and was told the show had juuuust started. So I’m kinda lucky I only missed the first few minutes of the first show of Miasma. If there had been no dodgy moldy egg*, I would have missed most of the show**.

*I actually kinda think if I weren’t pressed for time, and there were no witnesses around, I might have eaten the egg. And also if I weren’t very allergic to penicillin and totally unsure of what kind of mold grows in eggs. As you might be able to guess by now, I can be fairly low maintenance. I have cried on occasion from sheer disappointment of having to eat tasteless food, but turns out my standards are nonexistent if there is enough MSG to cover how unhealthy what I’m eating is.

**Miasma is made up of four separate short theatre pieces.
There were some bits I liked of the first, but I mostly cringed my way through the uncomfortable topic — two straight women fussing over a baby’s name to the point of unrealistic crayness. Quite enjoyed the following three, found them interesting. The second one was an intense story that was also the saddest, because it offered no solutions, only foreboding that bad, pathos-driven decisions would lead to a child being abused. The third was the story of a hundred dollar bill travelling through the hands of many quirky characters, I quite liked how geeky the geek characters were, if too condescending. The last was the most interesting for me — a guy, possibly gay, tries to talk to his mother. He enjoys the single life, but ends up announcing his upcoming wedding instead.The scenario kept changing, but I liked it. There was one scene about a man’s world that exoticised sex work and I’m not too sure about the content or message, but it was a short-lived skit and watcheable enough.

I have to be up in under 3 hours for a company photoshoot in Kuala Lumpur. Great, even the cafes won’t be open for coffee then.

Haunted House

Earlier in the week, at about 4AM, I heard footsteps above my room. Or rather, the heavy thumping noises sounded like footsteps. Now I live in a townhouse area that is not immune to burglary, and more importantly, my unit is on the highest floor. There are surrounding units that go up higher next door, but on my block, my duplex unit is the topmost unit. I was naturally quite worried. Rang up my security guards, and one of them promptly arrived at my door and marched through every room to check for suspicious, lurking individuals.

  • Lainie: The noise came from upstairs, at the roof, not in here.
  • Guard: Maybe it was just a cat?
  • Lainie: I don’t think I’ve ever seen a cat that could possibly sound so heavy*.

He promised the check around the perimeter of my place and take a look at the roof. The next day, I saw him walking around on patrol near my place, and asked him what happened during the perimeter check. To be honest, I didn’t think it had actually happened because while I didn’t hear any potential burglars lurking around, I also didn’t hear any security guards either.

  • Guard: There was nothing up there.
  • Lainie: Oh, that’s good I suppose. I wonder what made that noise…
  • Guard: Maybe you heard something because the condo unit on the immediate next block (one floor higher than mine) isn’t occupied.
  • Lainie:

Can’t help but wonder how many crimes have been explained away by accusing the spirit world. That said, why pay for a trek through a carnival’s haunted house when you can live in one.

*My friend Annu pointed out that she had a similar experience and it turned out to be civet cats. I’ve not seen one in this area before, but there are monkeys and the like, and I do live next to a forest reserve…


  • Lainie: Good morning, Annie Hariharan
  • Annie: I’ve never heard you say those words before

Trying to train myself — I’ll never be a morning person, but I might be able to keep most of my waking hours in the day.

On the down side: Projectile vomited like a drunk teenager outside KL’s latin dance club El Nino’s circa 2001, after one Vodka Pop or Tequila Pop too many.

On the plus side: I no longer feel nauseated.

On the 30s side: I’m not even drunk. Or tipsy. I was drinking water to keep hydrated. I have gentle classical music playing in the background, and Ylang Ylang & Lavender aromatherapy burning. I think I may be more grandmotherly than any of my grandmothers ever were/have been.

On the young side: I am still sprightly enough to fling both cat and blanket off me, jump from bed and run to the toilet in time to hurl. Granted, my spewing aim was terrible, but bidets are for washing down bathrooms the lazy way.

On the thinking-too-much side: Should I say nauseated (dictionary-correct), or nauseous (not-an-asshole-correct)? If I use the former, it’s kinda pretentious. If I use the latter, I am dictionary-saying I have the same effect the idea of a One Direction squeeing marathon might have on my friends.

On the sad side: I throw up and I feel compelled to type about it, but am too self-conscious to post it on Facebook. So here it is on the blog I presume no one reads.

On the paranoid side: I’ve been ill for over a month, and heard too many diagnoses in my 5–6 doctor visits. I am starting to worry there is something very, very wrong with my immune system, or that I have one of those super-infections where the germs are immune to common antibiotics.

On the manja side: I wish I have a roomie. I don’t mean someone in my bed, but the last time I threw up like this I had a best friend pressured into making me feel better (because she got me drunk in the first place, and we shared a room).

On the reminiscent side: I think of some of my friends all the time, but I don’t call any of them. I should. I was in George Town Lit Fest and every other book I saw I was thinking “My friend hates reading but she would love this book if she read it! Maybe I’ll mail her a copy and see if this strategy works!”

On the Never-Learning side: Giving books as presents to friends who don’t read is as effective as when my friends give me sporting equipment because they believe I will learn the joys of exercise one day.

On the blur side: I have no idea why I threw up.

On the cat side: I think my cat thought I was hacking up a hairball.

Speaking of hair, my hair is now purple and green/blue.