So I haven’t really written about the book launch at all, and that is due to two things; I had been crazy occupied and I also wanted to get some feedback from others who were there as to how they thought it went. For all I know I could be the only one who thought it went okay whereas everyone else had a snoozefest!
There were in general three groups of people present – family, friends, and other avid readers/writers. We cleared the center of the MPH bookstore in One Utama, and created a little cosy area for everyone to settle in. Most of the guests had never been to a book reading event before, so we wanted to make it as nice as possible so more people would go to more book readings!
For this purpose, I decided to interview M, a good friend of mine, who was there for the whole event. That way, you can get the feel of what it was like to be present!
What was the first thing you noticed when you arrived at the book launch?
The poster! The large poster where all guests can sign or give any well wishes.
*We also had a big world map, with pictures of the book being all over the world. They are from readers who travel with the book. Alright the one with the pile of books is obviously mine. #narcissistic
How did I appear? Nervous? Uneasy?
You looked so happy! I also thought you were a really good host. You greeted everyone and you made sure you talked to everyone.
*The truth is I was dead nervous. I didn’t even sleep well the night before. I was anxious about everything that might go wrong – what if the mic doesn’t work? What if no one shows up? What if I have diarrhea?
Is this your first book-reading event?
What did you think about my book reading?
Since I’ve never actually been to a book reading session before, I kind of expected it to be boring and dull. Instead I thought it was really funny! It was interactive, and everyone was in a good mood and responded well. And did you see Yu He and Ruzzana reading the book as you went on?
Did you like the game we played? What was your general observation of the crowd?
I did! The part where everyone has a chance to read an excerpt of the book was quite fun. It was good to see everyone’s different reactions while reading it. And you elaborated the back story of each excerpt, so that it becomes relatable. Did I think it went too long? Maybe a little bit. But overall it was okay.
*Everyone who volunteered got a gift voucher. We also had a game where you submit the best breakup story you’ve ever heard, and the top three winners get a mystery gift!
Were there a lot of people during the book signing? Did you have fun mingling?
There was a line to get the book signed. I definitely had fun, but that’s probably because I know you, so it meant something a little extra.
Did you like the book? Why?
I did, but I actually haven’t even finished reading it hahaha. But so far I like it because I thought it offered a different perspective on things, and I thought it was extremely intimate the way you wrote it.
Did you talk to my family? What did they say?
Your Mom said she read it twice and your Dad said he hasn’t finished reading it.
*My cousins showed up as well! It was awesome. And aside from my friends, my friends’ parents came too!
What was your main takeaway from the whole event?
A lot of people came, more than I expected. It was obvious that you have an amazing support system. I was also impressed to see other readers show up as well!
It is an unwritten cliché that a lot of singletons like to spend their time exercising. You know, just in case Jake Gyllenhaal show up at my front door one day. I mean, I’ve got to be prepared to look my best. It was a normal workday and I had decided to ditch my usual exercise routines and opt for something a little different. I heard that the nearby gym has fun classes you could join, and statistics always show that following a group workout makes the exercise more effective.
A class that sounded intriguing to me was a particular studio session called ‘Shbam’. I’m not even quite sure how to pronounce it really. The poster showed two ladies having the time of their lives strutting a move in awesome yoga pants, so I figured I would give it a shot. So off I went, high spirited to join an exercise routine that will surely give me lean legs like Jessica Alba.
The exercise started rather normally. The instructor was a flamboyant man in his twenties, and he had a microphone attached to an earpiece. The music was loud and funky. Lady Gaga’s ‘Bad Romance’ started playing. The instructor told us to move around like he was. I followed suit. “You can do it!” He started yelling at the microphone.
“Oh yes! Oh yes!” He went at it again. At this point I started giggling a little because I always find words of affirmation from personal trainers to be somewhat of a script by a programmed robot. They are designed to tell you that “You’re doing great!!” or “Those hips are shrinking already!!” The music got more upbeat and louder.
“Yes, ladies!” He shouted again. “You’re single! You’re single and ready to mingle!”
Yes, I’m… wait. What?
I looked around. The studio was definitely filled with just women, alright. Women of all shapes and sizes, twenties, thirties and forties. I certainly didn’t think that we were all single, especially not the aunties with wedding bands. The instructor went at it again. “Oh yes you’re single! And you’re ready to mingle!”
As I was trying hard to coordinate my arms and legs into a rotating motion, I couldn’t help myself from bursting into a fit of laughter. I was pretty sure the lady next to me was giggling too. It was deeply amusing, finding myself trying to get a good workout with an instructor who seemed determined to remind his audience that they’re single. When you think about it, he probably would never say stuff like “Oh yes you’re a Mama! You’re a Mama and you’re ready to lose that baby gut!” Frankly, I was also a little embarrassed with all that shouting with the microphone. The guys outside who were doing weights and glancing at us were probably secretly glad that they didn’t join this insanely uplifting don’t-you-forget-that-you’re-single exercise routine.
Needless to say, that was the first and last time I ever joined the bloody ‘Shbam’ class. If I needed to sweat while having someone yell that I'm single in my ear, I would just attend a Malay wedding.
If you commute to work everyday using the train (and this includes the LRT, Metro, Tube, KTM etc) you will always belong to any of these ten categories of the people using them. Hold on to your rails, people.
1. The ones with earphones/headphones on with the music up so loud because you think you’re the only species in the train that has good taste in music.
2. The one with the low metabolism drive, causing you to sleep the minute your ass lands on the seat.
3. The douche bag who ogles women, handicapped people and what others are texting on their phones.
4. The ‘socialite’ who can’t stop looking at the phone even when – let’s be honest here – nobody is sending you any text messages.
5. That person who stands smugly and thinks “I’m too good to be in the train with y’all punks”
6. The ones who talk so loudly to one another because your Dad owns the friggin’ train, huh?
7. The man/woman who always seems depressed.
8. The person with a hundred gadgets – headphones, phone, tab, iPad, and that blue-tooth thingy. Also, they’ll make people wonder why a person with those shiny shoes would still take the train.
9. The ones with all the PDA and making out that everyone else wants to throw shoes at (preferably guy number 8’s shoes)
10. The one who stands there going, “what the heck is wrong with all these people?”
Note** For my own reference, I am #1 on Mondays, #6 on Tuesdays, and #7 for the rest of the remaining days.
Girl with the Monday blues (and dreading the train ride tomorrow)
You know it's a significant moment when you grow up with a bunch of girls, and one day, one of the girls wanted to get married. That marks a significant milestone; 'Welcome to the Adult World, Finally'. One day we're all in our Saturday night best having drinks at a nice place, and the next thing you know we'll be sitting in circles on a floor of someone's house, taking turns breastfeeding. And a few kids will be running around pulling ornaments off the table. That's the way life goes, folks.
So we threw a bachelorette/hen party for the bride-to-be. It was done at Fatt's weekend house by the riverfront, and we had it themed 'red and black' with a cake in a shape of a woman's bosoms, although don't ask me where they got the measurements - It made Pamela Andrson's boobs look like teacups. We had a dinner party, which was then followed by dancing and games (truth or dare, but mostly dare. Well what else should you play in a hen's night, right?). I wouldn't go so far on the details of the dare, but let's just say it went pretty crazy, but not too crazy. And the dancing? Oih dear Lord. Note to self and the others: The 70s dance moves went extinct for a reson.
It was all fun, but there were some good moments too. By the end of the dinner we made a round of toasts to the bride-to-be, some funny, some tear-jerking, but the bride-to-be's speech was especially endearing to me. She talked about how she hoped things will be the same even after she's married with a family, and how we should still be as close even when all of us would be wives and mothers soon. Everybody around the table shook their heads in agreement, but I felt like we were also in a way, denying the truth - it's never going to be the same as we grow older. It's a sad fact, and I think everyone there knew it too.
Anyway, on a happier note, what is a bachelorette party without music, some undecent games, awful embarassing truths, drinks, and excessive sugar and cheese? The party ended at almost 4 a.m, and needless to say when I woke up that morning my head was spinning. But hey, you know what they say. It isn't a party unless you wake to find the house looking like the French just bombed it.
Us at the dinner party table. Menu - pasta, more pasta, cheesy vegetables.
Messing around with the camera the whole night.
The grill in the background.
Nothing says college like a party.
My friend Zaza held a post-Eid Day/College Reunion party at her house. She invited old college friends and old school friends (in which explains me being there). It was a simple BBQ party, with of course, two grills, chicken wings and lamb, roasted peppers, salads, fried rice and noodles, and of course, unlimited punch.
Some of the faces were pretty familiar, because in 2008 I visited Hana and Zaza in Canberra, Australia and they introduced me to most of their collage gangs. Mimi was there as well, so I wasn’t the only hey-you’re-not-from-ANU-why-are-you-here girl. After the party ended of course there was the after-after party. It was Zaza’s birthday so we bought a big fat cake, sat around the living room eating cakes with forks, and did what college students always do – talk about nothing.
Well, not exactly nothing. I can definitely remember a topic about ‘why do boys relate EVERYTHING to porn?’ and an extensive discussion on how English is so terrible in China they had humungous signboards that say stuff like ‘NOKIA – Connocting Poopie’. Awesome dish, that is.
It’s good sometimes to step out from the role of a 23 year-old working girl with a 9 to 5 job, back into the shoes of a college girl who spends her weekend restaurant-crawling and attending gatherings and discussing mindless things. So when you get back to work on Monday, you feel happier that you at least relived those awesome-est moments of your life.
one of the aged women at the home.
A conversation with one of the old folks during a visit at the Bunga Tanjung Old Folks’ home went something like this.
“Where are you from?” Asked one old lady.
“KL (As in Kuala Lumpur),” my friend, who also joined the community service answered.
“I’m from KL too. As in, Kuala Lipis,” the old lady answered cheekily.
Giggle giggle giggle. My friend thought this was funny too.
Three minutes later.
“Where are you from?” the same old lady asked again. By this time my friend was perplexed.
“Err…KL?” My friend answered, this time hesitatingly.
“I’m from KL too. As in, Kuala Lipis,” the old lady giggled again. My friend forced a laugh.
Four minutes later. “Where are you from?” At this point my friend was exasperated, but sad as well. That was exactly how we all felt. When I volunteered to join the group to do some community service by visiting the Old Folks’ Home, I supposed what I had imagined was happy older people all gathering together at the living room, while one of us would be playing guitar and we would all sing along to Sudirman’s ‘Balik Kampung’ or something.
Instead it was quiet, and it was lonely. The all sat in silence outdoors, or indoors, but the too olds would be napping away and the physically fit ones were just sitting around staring into an empty space. The ones on wheelchairs looked like they could use a person taking them for strolls in the parks, or at least someone to talk to. All I saw when I stepped into the house were my parents; I wish they will never, ever have to spend their last years sitting silently just watching the days pass by.
The place was decent, clean and airy. But as I sat there watching them, moving slowly and not being able to speak, or recall their thoughts, I just felt devastated. Another old lady asked me for my name and shook my hands for five times in fifteen minutes. I pasted a smile because I felt that it was the least I could do to understand what they were going through. As we drove back I think all of us couldn’t stop thinking, it’s inescapable. Death awaits everyone. And as how God created you from nothing into something, into nothing you will become again.
Hariini and I.
I decided to do the unthinkable (for me. My friends know I'm crap with kids) and joined the "Adopt an Orphan a Day" program. You know you should be worried when the first thing that happens when your ‘adopted child for the day’ looks at you is burst into tears. I mean, I know I may not be dripping with maternal instincts but I couldn’t be that bad, could I? This child, Hariini, seemed to have decided at the first once-over that I would make a horrible ‘Mummy for a day’ candidate. She was a petit girl, four years old, huge eyes and could only speak Chinese. And yes, I could only speak English and Malay so I spent that whole day acting out body languages for “Toilet breaks?” and “Thirsty?” But you know what they say, communication is 80% body language so I went through the day with that motto in my head.
The beautiful thing about children is that they see the world through the most trusting and innocent eyes. I had to bribe her with ice cream and Barbie dolls (I even had to ask a friend to come along and help) but after a while she seemed to trust me enough to tag along. She liked to climb, taste and knock everything she saw. Afterwards it was shopping time, where I had five hundred Ringgit and a few key items to get on the list. Somewhere between wrestling Hariini to try on new sports shoes, chasing her down every toy lane, running to the bathroom for her emergencies and picking up after things she left behind, we managed to buy her a bundle of clothes, toys (Barbie, of course), new sports shoes and books.
In all honestly no girl in her right mind wouldn’t like spending money that isn’t hers to buy pretty things for other little girls, and this includes yours truly. But the best part was understanding the fact that Harini has never gone out shopping before, and the look in her face when that Mermaid Barbie fell into her arms –priceless. She was so excited that she even insisted on carrying her own shopping bags, but I didn’t want to be arrested by those child welfare people who might say I’m bullying by asking her to carry her own bags, so there I was, one hand with shopping bags and the other with a child.
By the time the day ended my feet were hurting so bad I had to take my shoes off and walked barefoot around (lesson here: do NOT wear 4-inch heels when involved with this. Somebody should’ve put that notice on the Itinerary pack) while holding on to bags and chasing Hariini who seemed to have disappeared among her friends. All the kids looked happy, bright-eyed and excited with their own Mummys and Daddys. I have never felt so proud to be a part of it. When I left Hariini was too busy getting fake tattoos, but who could blame her? It might have been one of the best days of her four-year life. And by the end of it, that’s all that matters, really.
The problem with being single is that besides the fact that you’re free, you can sometimes be a little too free. Usually in the weekends I’ll split it this way; Saturdays are for going out and having fun with friends, and coming back in the wee hours of the morning, while Sundays are for staying in, working out in the mornings and being a couch potato in the evenings. Unfortunately nobody felt like going out last weekend, so I asked my two best girlfriends Hana and Zaza to come over for a pigging out-weekend party.
On Friday night we had dinner at a Thai restaurant, Seri Ayuthaya. It’s in Wangsa Maju, KL and has a pretty impressive presentation. Besides the fact that all the waiters said ‘Sawadikap’ to you, which is ‘hello’ in Thai (even the Pakistani waiters said that. The irony, eh?) it also has impressive décor that makes you feel like you’re about to eat some pretty darn good Tom Yam. We ordered hot basil beef, crispy honey thai chicken, young mango salad, Tom Yam (of course. Not ordering Tom Yam at a Thai restaurant is like not wearing underwear with a skirt. It totally beats the whole purpose.) Four girls at a quiet restaurant with good food? Let’s just say we were one of the last to leave the place.
We slept late (more gossiping) and were woken up by the sound of some dude on the floor above drilling his wall to hang pictures. After an hour enduring ear pains, Zaza got up (‘Omg I wish he would shut the f**k up!’), went to the window and screamed ‘shut uppppp!!’ (minus the F word. She isn’t that rude) To be honest he either didn’t hear us scream or have decided to be a pain and carried on drilling walls in the morning anyway. We got up late, watched Amargeddon and cried (all of us were crying). That part where Bruce Willis sacrificed himself over Ben Affleck to ignite the bomb, oh man. It’s a mixture of two hot guys having a conflict with sadness and heroism and daddyhood all wrapped up in one. There’s no way you won’t cry, I tell you.
That Saturday night we had yet another pig out session at TGI Fridays. We ordered a huge plate of potato skins, nachos, tacos and steak. There is something awfully comforting about potato skins. As much as you know the fact that those carbs are going straight to your butt and the crispy bacon are going to clog your arteries, it gives you the pleasure of saying that life is not all that bad, doesn’t it? And for dessert we had a peanut butter pie with Reese’s peanut butter cups. Heavenly.
The next morning the girls left early. Before leaving Hana left me some flu virus, which I was left to nurse by myself plus the fever for the whole day, and two days more afterwards.
Ahh, girlfriends. They always leave an impact, don’t they?