Sun sea sand

Sun sea sand

Monday, September 25, 2006

Eyes on Stalks

I have a stalker. An honest-to-God stalker. No, really. I’m not being paranoid, well maybe not much.
I was a bit paranoid when I got home late the other night and opened all doors and looked into all corners of my apartment in case he was lying in wait for me. This is a bit irrational as he couldn’t really get into my third-floor unit unless he jimmied the lock on the grilled door (this would have made too much noise), stolen my keys, turned into Spiderman and scaled the wall or abseiled from the roof (not probable in his case but what I would definitely do).

However, I have not been imagining that he has been standing for minutes at a time in the compound of the Shell station in front of my apartment building looking up at my unit. I’ve caught him at it a few times, and he was there again the other night, pretending to play with a cat. I saw him as I was out on the balcony chatting with my next-door-neighbour Dave, whose balcony overlooks mine. And he was watching unabashedly all the way as I went down the three flights of stairs to my colleague’s waiting car for a late night meal, which resulted in the apartment sweep when I got back.

I know I wrote lovingly about Rangga standing outside Cinta’s house in the movie Ada Apa Dengan Cinta in my entry That Melting Feeling, but this does NOT in the least strike a sentimental chord in me. Not even close to the romanticism of Romeo and Juliet’s balcony scene, either. And I know I was lamenting the lack of single men here in Brunei, but this is not my idea of an eligible male.

The thing is, he is a security guard attached to my office and the area in which my apartment is located, and some people might say he’s just “doing his rounds”. But I seriously think standing in the same place time and time again and gazing straight up at my apartment is not in his job description. It’s bordering on psychotic and an invasion of my privacy.

It started out pretty normal. I say hello to the guards once in a while as I enter or exit the office building. Then one night, going home late, it started to rain, so he offered to walk me home with an umbrella. At the stairs to my place, I tell him it’s ok, I can make it up by myself, but he insists on accompanying me “to check if everything’s all right”.
Outside my door I again had to politely but firmly thank him, saying that I was quite confident of being safe and went in. I heard him loiter for a bit outside my door, then he left.

However, he came back up and rang my doorbell! This was nearly 1am – he claimed to be bored and since my lights were still on, he thought it would be just peachy to come and hang out. I said no.

Pretty creepy, I thought, and only later, when I caught him staring from that favourite spot at the Shell station, that his earlier remark as he was sending me home made sense. He had asked me what I was doing up so late some night before that, as he saw that my lights were on. And that fit, as the only way he could ascertain if my lights were on was if he were loitering at that very spot at the petrol station.

Vain me would just shrug it off and revel in the thought that I have a stalker, but private me is very upset. I don’t like the idea of this man keeping tabs on whether I’m home, awake or asleep. And what is he standing around for anyway – waiting to get a glimpse of me if I went out on the balcony or as I walk about in my apartment if the curtains are not closed? Creepsville Central!

I’m really unsure what I should do. Some colleagues think I should take it up with his supervisor or my boss, as security guards are supposed to make me feel more secure, not less. But some think it could just make matters worse (as I said, some may just say it’s his job and dismiss my fears) and if I ignore him, he might just tire of the game and stop.

Right now, I’m keeping an eye out for him as I want to get a picture of him in his stalker dude mode. Further ideas are welcome, but what I really want to do is keep a video log of the frequency, timing and duration of his little “on duty” night watch sojourns.

Now if I can only get my hands on a good video camera...

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Me a cow?

Colleague Ash was trying to introduce me to his friend the other day via instant messaging, and in the process told him about this blog.
Know what? His first comment was "Holy Cow!"
So I had Ash ask him if he was calling me a cow.

Now, I've been likened to many animals before. Bitch, pussycat (definitely a misguided person who thought this), chameleon, ox (as in stubborn as an) and ass, while I consider myself a tiger - but no one's ever called me a cow. Well, not to my face, anyway.

However, I might not mind being a cow in Europe or Japan, as, according to Jessica Williams in her book 50 Facts That Should Change The World, them heifers have it good.

The fact of the matter is that: "Every cow in the European Union is subsidised by US$2.50 a day. That's more than what 75 per cent of Africans have to live on."

She goes on to say that European cows come under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and "the Catholic aid agency CAFOD calculated that for the money the EU spends protecting its farmers, each of the EU's 21 million cows could go on a round-the-world trip once a year. The cows could touch down in London, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Hanoi, Siem Reap, Brisbane, Rarotonga, Los Angeles and San Francisco - with $400 spending money to help them along. What makes this even more remarkable is that the EU's cows aren't the most heavily subsidised in the world. According to the World Bank, that prize goes to Japanese cows, which receive $7.50 every day. Presumably, when the Japanese cows join their European friends on their round-the-world trip, they fly business class."

Isn't that amazing? Now you can call me a cow all you want. I'm going on holiday - business class.