Archive for January, 2014

Hari Jadi Ibu

So I discovered, during my mother’s birthday dinner, that my family (and extended family) will be travelling within Barcelona in May. Without me. And they will return a day after my birthday. I mean, FFS, I’m more unhappy with how it looks than anything else. I know my family doesn’t care about birthdays in general, but seriously?

Anyway, speaking of not caring for birthdays:

  • Lainie: Haha, you’re 28 now Deb!
  • Mum: Debbie, are you 28?
  • Debleow: Yeah.
  • Lainie: Ma I’m three years older than Deb Leow.
  • Mum: You mean you’re 31 years old?

My strongest memories of my birthday are:

1) In Japan with chitoo, (happily) unable to celebrate at night because we were so full from Ramen Jiro lunch.

2) Getting an SMS while in university, from my father: “Happy birthday Kim, love, mum, dad and Gazel”. Turning to Risha and saying “Did my family just spend 5 sen on me for my birthday? Or, about 1 sen each?”

3) The beginning of Risha and I competing on who could spend less on each other’s birthdays. I gave her a stick of Wrigley’s chewing gum that had specks in it (not the whole pack). She thought I gave her moldy gum. She gave me fresh air and sunshine. Where she found the fresh air in Subang SS15, I don’t know. She might still owe me the fresh air. Anyway, I spent less than the cost of an SMS on her so I think I will probably always win. WhatsApp these days makes it easier though.

4) My teenage birthday, being taken to the food court next to my school, crying into my food as I was impatiently instructed that not only was this my favourite food, but I was to finish all of it and be grateful. My sister sulked. My mother was upset at me. I didn’t think my family’s occasional attempt to celebrate each other’s existence could be so dismal, but it was.

5) Coming home from school as a kid, being surprised with a birthday cake by my family.

6) Having my friends in crutches race each other away from the Japanese BBQ place after dinner. It was wrong, it started accidentally, but it was quite funny when it happened.

Hrm. No wonder I don’t usually pay much attention to birthdays. Or have so few memories of them. Because the majority of them were spent with family, and unfortunately, not many great years there. These days, I just go for dinner with friends and call it a day. Mum’s actual birthday is tomorrow, on the eve of CNY.

Eneng

  • Eneng: Lenny macam ni ya bila tak kerja? Xde kawan?
  • Lainie: Saya…sedang kerja.

Feeling guilty and overentitled as I lift my feet out of her way so she can mop the floor while I type on my laptop.

Kang Kung Hei Fatt Choy.

I went for an open house earlier with some friends, where I had lou sang, played mahjong, ate roast duck, won a Bingo prize (but only because they kept playing til everyone got one), was butted on my boobs by a giant lion head during a (pretty good) lion dance, looked at some art and generally had a good time.

I also ended up talking with this guy — a group of us had met earlier last year to plan ways to commemorate Malaysia’s 50th year, and he was one of the artists involved. We were talking about racism against Indians, which I said was appalling, because hello?

And he shrugged and told me with a smile “Sometimes I’m like that.”
When I asked him what he meant, he said he was raised that way (to be racist) and sometimes he couldn’t help it.

I’m conflicted. On the one hand, you’re way past the age of reason and you can’t deal with learnt racism?

On the other, are you “sometimes like that” as in you’re always racist but only occasionally have the opportunity to indulge?
Or are you “sometimes like that” as in sometimes you’re a better man and other times you may or may not be working on your racist inclinations?

Either way, why would you tell me like I’d be okay about it? Hey, you’re casually racist, great.

I wanted to ask how he felt about people who were raised to believe homosexuality is wrong. Did he believe all nurtured discriminations have a place in society?

“Can I hate you if you’re gay because someone older said so?”

I didn’t get a chance to ask him because he was busy making sure everyone knew this Chinese New Year’s tagline is “Kangkung Hei Fatt Choy”. I eventually got distracted telling the other people in the party about a very mysogynistic article published under the pen name of Lord Bobo, mascot of “Malaysian Centre for Constitutionalism and Human Rights (MCCHR) a.k.a Pusat Rakyat LoyarBurok”. Yeah, I’m a party animal. The article begins with the title “What to get your man for Christmas” and pretty much plummets to cock cock cock cock, fellatio fellatio, cock cock cock fellatio etc.

Speaking of party animal, I suppose I could have been more skeptical of a human rights group whose emblem is a monkey. Maybe I won’t be so pissed off by this utter fail.

Then again, I get angry because I expect adults to not be racist; human rights lawyers to recognise human rights; and publications to practise media ethics. So when a mascot for a group of lawyers linked to a human rights group (quite unapologetically) publishes what is essentially an advertorial telling women to suck cock and go shopping (for Lord Bobo merchandise, no less) for things to please their boyfriends with, I tend to get fucking angry.

My friend said I shouldn’t get too worked up because a man who sounds like he can’t get his cock sucked or be funny has enough to deal with. But that’s the thing, it’s not being dealt with. It’s just sitting there on the internet like some desperate whine for sex and sales. No retraction of the offensive article. No apology issued, much less to its women rights allies in the NGO world. It’s just there because hey, freedom of expression and media ethics must be mutually exclusive.

I don’t think I have particularly high expectations, but apparently, not everyone lives in the age of reason.

Singapura

Am in Singapore with some colleagues to check out the Biennale, the M1 Fringe Festival (I’ve learnt “Fringe” is this case is a noun) and Singapore Art Stage. The last time I was in town was either for very lesbian things, or when I cried because I wanted a pafu pafu bun so badly. Anyway, it’s always good to be back. On our first day, my colleague threw down a suggestion for our team of three: during our stay we would find ten examples of how Malaysia is better than (moneybags) Singapore through our experiences there. It took us two minutes to turn that into a less ambitious group list of 5. I had struggled and come up with two points, but neither were really accepted:

We are always in shopping malls and I don’t like that. We are dirtier and trashier, and some people like that.

I feel like both points are valid, but my colleagues appreciate shopping as a pasttime and I think they thought I was kidding about the second. Let’s face it, we’re only so huffy when tourists rave about Singaporean food because hawker food is the only card we hold over Sg. In the last few days I’ve been here, public restrooms have either been spiffy clean or an acceptable compromise. I’ve walked everywhere with little fear of robbery. and much less sexual/verbal harassment compared to any street in KL. Middle-class to fine dining is clearly superior to KL and more affordable, and there is good hawker food if you know where to find it. The weather is much better for walking around, there is a good startup/tech scene, and the arts is well funded. Singaporeans can be found in their own arts events. On our third day, over drinks at The Spiffy Dapper, we finally found one example of Malaysian win: we can torrent files in Malaysia without a huge risk /fear of being caught. Several excellent cocktails later, as the conversation progressed towards dubious realms, we found another point! We can throw raucous parties in abandoned houses without the police coming by (probably) — it helps that there are probably no abandoned houses in Singapore. Clearly all problems should be solved with the aid of great cocktails — the bartenders at The Spiffy Dapper did such a great job we literally applauded one of them (only because the opportunity presented itself — Hilda deserved applause too). The #worstbarinSingapore has #thebestcocktails in town. Some of the drinks we ordered:

Whiskey sours An interesting cocktail Something to calm an angry girl down A manly drink

I love a place where the drinks aren’t ordered by names but by feelings and adjectives. We went for pork mee suah for supper, and it was delicious.

  • Juria: what is this place called?
  • Adri: Uhmmm…“closed on Sundays”.

Seriously, those were the words on the stall’s  signboard alongside the photos. I love being in Singapore. I’m so Malaysian, but Singapore has been quite a fun trip so far because of all the art, friends, food and Adri being on-call for recommendations and introductions.

I just realised two of the people I kissed about ten years ago have passed away. Both did not look conventionally mighty, but were larger than life. To borrow from Dr Who, “bigger on the inside”.

I think I’m experiencing lesbian bed death. Largely because there are no lesbians in it.

Die Abenteuer von Prinz Achmed (The Adventures of Prince Achmed). 1926, Germany.

The world’s oldest surviving animated feature film, by filmmaker Lotte Reiniger. The film uses a silhouette animation technique she invented that owes much to Chinese shadow puppets. Possibly also to Quirino Cristiani’s cardboard animation feature film, if the two had survived.

Also: I once sat down and measured the ratios/proportions behind (Indonesian) wayang kulit puppets. There’s some interesting stuff going on there. It’s not just randomly elongated limbs or body frames.