Sun sea sand

Sun sea sand

Sunday, November 11, 2007

And the award for most comments goes to...

OK, so Blueberry keeps complaining that I don't publish her comments. Yeah, I have to agree with her. I hardly get comments, so I don't make the effort to publish them. And then her first comments were from weird "anonymous" so I didn't bother.

And I thought, who reads those comments anyway? I don't. Blueberry, if you want to get in touch with me, you'd be better off sending an email. Those I reply to.. well, some day. Or just SMS me. I promise, when I have credit for my phone, or when I don't think texting is a pain on my stupid arthritic fingers, I'll send you a reply.

Anyway, here for the pleasure of Blueberry and all those people who read my blog (that's you, Ghoul), here are Blueberry's latest comments:

On the tag called Josephine:
Oi perempuan! Aku ni dah lama tak tinggalkan komen kat blog ngkau nie sebab aku benci bila komen aku tak keluar (not published) dan tak dijawab oleh engkau. So adakah sekarang ni ngkau dah tech-savvy sikit atau still blur kacang macam dulu jugak?...Syoknye Mek Jo duduk Kelantan! Makey budu tiap harilah camtu!!! Healthy dia nanti, awet muda you! Budu kan ada banyak anti-oksidan.

Answer: Heh heh, I'm still as tech unsavvy as ever. See, I have not even figured out how to link your blog to mine, and I've read the step-by-step instructions a zillion times. I don't even know how you managed to put some music on your blog! Anyone who has the slightest sympathy for this tech-forsaken being, please offer to upgrade my blog for me.

And I don't know how Jo is doing as I haven't heard news for a while. But I bet she likes budu (a fermented sauce made of anchovies).

On the marathon tag, Blueberry wrote:
Wah!!! Hebatnya!!! Eh bukan dulu masa kat KL ko pernah lari marathon gak ke? Ni marathon mana plak nie? Dahsyat ko ye, sungguh berstamina!

Answer: Nah, I never did a full marathon. That one I did in KL was the Terry Fox Run, which was only 4.5km but took me an hour of huffing and puffing to complete. I'm supposed to be training for a proper run, of which I'll write about, I swear, once I finish this pizza and get off the couch.

On I'm A Summer Girl:
Wey Fashionista! Amboi amboiiii semenjak kawan baik dengan orang-orang kaya kat BSB tu bukan main fashion-conscious lagi kau yea... When are you coming back? Are you not coming back? Aku rindu kat kau lah... Nak pegi makan-makan dan story-story dan bolehlah aku amik gambar potret kau di dalam frivolous outfit kau tu!

Answer: The "fashionista" unfortunately isn't sure about getting back to KL even though I am in SERIOUS need of retail therapy. Just been reading through Trinny and Susannah's "What you wear can change your life" and realised I'm a two-colour girl, and they are always boring colours. Cream and maroon, or cream and green, or red and black. There is a whole universe of colours out there and I don't know how to match them. Sigh.

And Blueberry, your pictures are amazing.

And since I still can't link Blueberry's blog to mine, anyone who wants to read about the "Cheerful person, harassed employee, stubborn daughter, eccentric sister, stingy aunt, devoted wife and broody mother" who has some really funny things to say, visit her at

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Was it a car or a cat I saw

Darling Jo (Josephine), who is now living with a new family in Kelantan. She's now called Mek Jo (read with a Kelantan slang, if you please) and has more room to roam and make friends.
This was taken during the actual eight-hour road trip from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Baru to send her off. Mostly she sat quietly in the back, but would start to miao if I made eye contact. She's not really a car cat.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Hook, Line and Sinker

I used a great line on a guy just yesterday. Well, I'd like to think it was a good line.

After an initial "feeling things out" phase, and on a third kinda-date (we're friends), I asked him: "What magic are you using? I couldn't stop thinking of you yesterday".

He was a bit speechless at first, and I thought there was an awkward moment (as I had said I only wanted to be friends). Then after the conversation had meandered through other topics, he suddenly asked "So what were you thinking about, when you were thinking about me?"

Hah! Caught him.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Schumi and the purple teddy

Haha. Dirty minded people! These are my cute teddy bears, a Russ one from Shashi and Little Schumi from Nik.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

I Am A Summer Girl

Reading through the August edition of InStyle magazine was an eye-opener. In Summer girls V Winter women, it says being a summer or a winter isn’t just about the colour of one’s hair or skin. It’s more about personality (laid-back vs prim) and being comfortable with the kind of clothes you wear (T-shirts vs silk blouses).

And instead of being boxed in by what some may call a stereotype, I think it’s liberating to understand the kind of person you are and the clothes that suit your attitude.

Aside from being a late bloomer in fashion anyway, having bought my first pair of Levi’s at age 32, I had always been unsure of how I wanted to style myself and the look that I wanted to portray.
Yes I am a journalist, but unlike Kate Adie and her flak jackets while on the frontline, I’ve never been close to a warzone – not even a hint – that I can safely say combat boots and cargo pants are a required uniform. The only time I was about to be sent to the nearly-jungles of Perak, when the rebels stole M16s and ammo from the Army outpost and hid in the jungle, the crisis was over and the baddies caught (and shot), before I had even started to pack.
The only justification I had for being uber-casual, as some journos are portrayed, was when I started out at The Sun newspaper and I was covering crime and spot news – police stations, mortuaries, floods (not once), fires (but we were outside, far away and unheroic), murder scenes (nothing as dramatic as CSI) and a landslide. Even then, being uber-unchic, I wore boys’-cut shirts, unflattering trousers and unsexy hiking boots, as I didn’t have a car and walked everywhere. Though it felt like an unnecessary evil – other reporters in the line still managed coiffed hair and heels! – I found myself, twice when I wore baju kurung and proper court shoes, clambering over a mountain of confiscated game machines and trying to skirt puddles and huge patches of sopping red earth of a construction site to view a body encased in cement.
So then I graduated to normal reporting, but I still didn’t have style. I wanted the polished, million-dollar businesswoman look so that people would take me seriously, but with a petite “nearly five-foot” frame and a youthful face – I’m in my 30s but appear 20, if you squint a bit – I think I look like I’m playing dress up with Mom’s clothes.

And being flighty, sometimes I wanted the girlie look, or the gypsy, or the bohemian, or the French chic, or the British classy… well, you get my drift.
Being almost five-foot tall is not that great, either, when it comes to buying clothes off the rack. My proportion is off – shorter body, longer legs, flat front and back – so shirts would ride up at the waist, sleeves go down to my knees, waistbands look like Erkel’s and hems trail in the dust. I fit into European sizes for children, but most outfits in Asia’s a la European boutiques (like Somerset Bay) didn’t fit into the career-girl mould.

And don’t let me go back that far into college days – long flowy skirts and blouses with huge ruffles should have a sign that says “not for you, shrimp!”.

So I meandered along, gaining a bit of fashion insight along the way, enough to buy low waisted Levi’s – which still don’t fit that perfectly in the bum, by the way – and narrower shirts, cutting a long dress to make a shift, a number of high heeled shoes, almost figure hugging kebaya dresses and watching The Devil Wears Prada several times to get more clues. But I still had a thing for blazers and suits, the evils of “power dressing” getting ahold of me.

Then the lightbulb moment from the pages of InStyle.

I am a Summer! Though not blond, I love the sun, preferring to burn (I tan after only 5 minutes) rather than be cooped up in perpetual winter (as I was when studying in the UK). I carry itty-bitty handbags which only fit my cellphone, pack of cigs and cash – I don’t have a wallet – I don’t have a pouch for makeup and I’m not too bothered if my hair curls at the ends and doesn’t look like it did after an expensive salon wash and dry. Of course, I’d never look as good in slouchy trousers and sloppy T-shirts as Jennifer Aniston, and I’d never wear short skirts, but I am kinda like what is written in the magazine about Summer girls, that they “own 70 dresses and a handful of flimsy jackets, none of which match their shoes, and they never wear tights”.

Ok, so it’s not spot-on, but I do understand why my crisply ironed shirts tend to turn out rumpled as soon as I take them off the ironing board, unlike Gwen Stefani’s look, why I can’t quite pull off a cream silk blouse and tight skirt which are oh-so Katie Holmes and that I’d never end up on the red carpet as glamorously as Gwyneth Paltrow.
It’s just not me!

So what do I do now? Embrace the Summer girl-ness of me, of course, especially with this part of Southeast Asia being a perpetual summer (apart from Brunei’s current unpredictable foul, stormy weather).
Maybe a good cut of jeans, as really, not everyone is a Levi’s girl, empire line top, some loose gypsy-esque (but not too frilly) blouses, baby doll dresses (worn a bit conservatively over jeans, of course, never mind that it’s supposedly out of fashion), and a sunny attitude (now, that last one is a bit of a stretch).
But I’m thinking I can’t give up the power-dressing altogether, so maybe a blazer over a frivolous outfit – staid over fun, but with panache.

What do you think? Can this newborn Summer girl find some fun in the sun to beat the chill winds of a fashion winter? I definitely think so.
Watch out, world – the Summer girl cometh!

Friday, July 20, 2007

A Girl and Someone Else's Camera

Just a short entry because people have been complaining that I haven't updated my blog in yonks.

Well, anyway, this is me when I was covering the Miri International Jazz Festival in May.

The pix was taken by Sarawak Tourism's Gustino, who is obviously a wonderful photographer as he made me out to look quite good. Ha! Can I get him to do all my pictures, I wonder?

Friday, April 20, 2007

Ode To The Guitar Player

‘Twas such a sight that greeted me
You with a guitar on your knee
A single pluck, a simple strum
My heart was beating like a drum
And then when you began to sing
The music went afloat on wings
It touched my heart and gripped me tight
I felt like I was lost in flight

Those days, those nights came rushing past
The friendship that had held us fast
Your presence filled my lonely soul
And kept at bay the crippling cold
The laughter sweet and joy aflame
Which never left me quite the same
All the mem’ries had close I kept
And in these thoughts I basked, except:

The song, the verse, the rhythm played
The melody that had me slayed
Was not for me, not part, not all
Though it had held me in a thrall
Without a word goodbye of leave
You did my heart asunder cleave
And as the song died with a trill
I realise … I miss you still

Sunday, January 28, 2007

When the phone rings in the night

It’s in all the TV shows, it’s in all the novels: when the phone rings in the middle of the night, we know it’s not good news. A death in the family, a car crash, a fire which burnt someone’s house down to the ground.

Maybe in today’s 24/7 lifestyle, the fear of the past-midnight call has been diluted. Much so that it’s not as taboo to be calling your friends late in the night to talk about a date that went bad or to invite him out for a drinking session at the kedai mamak. In fact at 2am you might not even be asleep yet, and a ringing phone does not instil in you the heart-thumping fear and does not make your mind conjure up 20 different scenarios of tragedy in that three minutes it takes you to pick up the receiver and say a breathless and worried “hello”.

But it is the post-midnight call of bad news that compels families, and friends, to immediately come together in a way that nothing else will. Drop everything else, sleep be set aside, forget an early morning meeting that you have to be up for – when the call comes, you are there.

My mother died in the afternoon all those years ago, so the round of phone calls was performed in the light of day – not as urgent, with people coming staggered throughout the rest of the day at their convenience.

But I remember staying at my aunt’s house when once the phone rang past the witching hour. I picked it up and another uncle, sombre in voice, asked to speak to my aunt. There was muted conversation, an exclamation of surprise, a slow click as the receiver was put back in place. My younger cousin had died.

And the family came together at once, bundling all the sleepy children, protesting or not, into cars for the drive to my uncle’s house. Some still in pyjamas, some hastily dressed in ill-matching clothes – it was no time to preen and look pretty, as people tend to do during day visits.

This was the very soul of ziarah, visiting the ill or paying respects to the dead. It is not for the dead that we come, but for the living. It is not for what we can bring them – the nicely packaged basket of fruits or box of chocolates locked away in closed stores – it is us, and we are there. The family grouped from all over, some a mere hour’s drive away, some taking more than four hours to get there. But they came, wasting no more than an hour from receiving the call to setting out.

Funny how death should be the reunion-maker. Have you ever tried getting your family to a get-together for a celebration? Hours of phone calls to pick a good day, adjust schedules, set a time convenient for all. And try it with friends, that’s even harder. Choosing a good place to meet, juggling dates and times, getting the usual last-minute cancellations because of other pressing matters.

But death just comes without warning. No appointments, no asking if everyone’s free on that date, no RSVPs and no reminder calls not to be late. And not even considerate enough to do it before midnight.