Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Kuantan:Innocent love story!

Photo: Focal's bad boys
From L-R: Joe, Jais, Fat Guy, Bernard & Lawrence
12th September 2006

The time now is 10.35 pm and I am in my room listening to David Gray’s “A new day at midnight”, with the Egyptian musk Tulasi flavor incense burning-producing the exotic smell roaming the air I breath…and I am writing yet again another chapter of my life. Nothing interesting happens really, just the same old same old story. I am still here. Unless I go live in Africa or road tripping through the South America continent or listening to Buena Vista Social Club in downtown Havana, I consider nothing really happening.

Last weekend I was away to the East Coast of Malaysia. Kuantan, the capital of one of the east coast state, Pahang, suppose to be the biggest state in terms of land in Malaysia (mostly rainforest jungle) is where the event is happening.

I must admit it’s my first time landing my feet on the soil of Pahang or Kuantan. I must admit I enjoyed the road trip or the journey from KL to Kuantan so much more than I enjoyed Kuantan. The scenery and serendipity view of the rainforest greens and hazy view on the mountain side along the highway makes my journey even more bluesy. Joe & I were in one car and Jais, Bernard & Lawrence was in another. We were the only guys that representing our company to this event; Exxon Mobil Road safety competition. It’s a annual event where oil tanker drivers (of various sizes) compete their ability to control the monstrous vehicle and they were being tested on parallel parking, turning point, reversing, road challenges etc. The winner would get to represent Exxon Mobil Malaysia to compete with drivers of Exxon Mobil from all around the world, which to be held early next year in Japan. My company, together with other tank design and fabricators and components suppliers were invited to showcase our pride and joy. Big shots of Exxon Mobil, haulers, fabricators from China, Singapore, USA, Thailand, Australia, Hong Kong and Philippine etc were there to check and inspect these toys (the monstrous trucks).

It was a hot and shiny affair. The weather was hot; it burns like hell freezes over. And to make it even worse, the site of the competition was located very near to the East coast beach. Yeah, you can guess how the wind spread the humidity all around us.

Anyway, Kuantan! While the name of the town may sound dull and pretty dead (Yes, you got it all right), it did refresh some early memories of mine. I did associate myself with Kuantan at least for a while and it once really mean a lot to me.

And of course it is about a girl. Now, this was my first crush! The first ever and ironic is I didn’t even know what “crush” means at that time. I was only ten years old. Yeah man, believe it or not I actually had a crush on this teacher when I was in standard 4.

The year was somewhere in 1990s and came along the batch of young bunch of teachers (to be) from Maktab Penguruan (Institute of teaching) something something…

I think if I remember correctly, her name is Ms. Fong and of course she’s from Kuantan. I was 10 and she was either 19 or early 20s. She got short and straight dark color hair (shoulder length) and she would wear normal teacher type of dress or sometime during activities in the weekend she would wear semi carrot light blue jeans and school shirt where the end of shirt would be knotted with the Maktab cap on it. As much as I can remember, she got a sweet face and pretty fair. Of course I was not the only boy who had a crush on her.

Looking back, my God, I was only ten and surprise that I actually did lot of effort to get her attention and of course I did. We did spent lot of time under the tree, near the football field having conversation about family and of course, obviously- about homework. (hell like I was interested) Ha ha..

To me I had that feel good factor, talking to my favorite teacher and of course to her, must had been merely talking to a kid whom puberty is still a long way to come. Foolish I know but it did happen. I actually enjoyed her class and her being around. She would write wishing cards and brought present for me (with hope to encourage me being a better pupil I suppose). And six month period passes like a wind.

My crush was much more different and than I thought. I actually felt sad when I learned that her training period about to end and was about time to go back to…Kuantan!

She signed on my year book and the last I remember I was so down sad that she is leaving. She did give me her lovely photo for remembrance (but was stolen by a Malay guy name Fahmy). I was even sadder then, because not only she is going back, but the only tool of remembrance I can cherish was being stolen as well.

The story didn’t end here. I told my dad I need some money to buy a farewell gift for Ms. Fong and I really wanted to give it to her before she took on that bloody bus back to Kuantan. With my knowledge limitation on geography, Kuantan then seems like a light year away from Penang. So my dad actually took me on the lousy Suzuki 120CC bike (the one that will definitely awaken the neighborhood if he coming back at night) to nearby Lai Lai supermarket to buy some gift. With few bucks donations I got from my dad, I brought a talcum powder (if I remember correctly) as a farewell gift.

The day was Saturday and she was schedule to leave on that very day. And I was very determined to see her for one last time as well as to give her the talcum powder. But when I reached there, it felt like a world is coming down on me when I found out that the bus left. I think I cry or did shed a tear. My first crush crash! I blamed on my dad’s lousy motorbike- for not fast enough. I was so sad when I reached home.

And it was really tough to be that young boy being disappointed that way. And at that time I really hate adults. My mum shows some sympathy but at the same time she was also laughing at the facts that I had a crush on this teacher. And of course the merciless adults were making fun of me. But in the end I think my Mum did say something encouraging or at least hopeful, you know the wishful thinking kind of story to make me convince that I will see her again.

About a month after she left, she sent me a letter- the type of letter that praising me that I was a good boy kind of crap and that I should be concentrating on my homework (and not other silly thing). She said in the letter she liked me like a brother she never had and stuff. I wish I could write the whole letter out but nah, where the hell is the letter I don’t know. The point is she realizes that I had a crush on her and mine was somewhat further compare to the other boys.

It’s amazing that boy at the age of ten can had a crush, on the teacher. Maybe the boy was confused between filial love for Mum, dad & siblings and agape love for friends. Obviously Eros love is definitely not scripted in the boy’s dictionary yet.

Looking back at this growing up story makes me feel somewhat happy. After all, growing up to me is the best time of my life and phases of life I will never stop cherish. The time spent in the wood, river, smoking with friend on top of his roof or with my brother (stolen from dad’s pack- it was Lucky Strike mind you) and the entire silly yet crazy things boys do when growing up. I will do this in another time another day.

With that I say peace!


Thursday, September 07, 2006

Gym Hype (Part 1& 2)

6th September 2006

Ever since I lost my six packs or abs or lean body shape (in other word, my slim body la…) nine years ago, I stop having strict discipline for myself in working out or going to gym. Every once in a while I will have occasional determination to really work out and get back in shape, from form 6 to year 1 in university to year 2 to year 3 to India until presently but the determination never really stay more than 3 month. So the accumulated muscles during that particular time would vanish into even more fat I guess.

Occasional determination would prompt me to do things like gym-style work out, jogging, weight lifting, football, badminton (traveling and trekking notwithstanding) but all this just “hangat-hangat taik ayam”. Literally translated to English, it means hot-hot chicken shit. It actually means doing things in the heat of moment (I hope my interpretation is correct).

When I got back from India, every one told me (the things that kind of expected but hurts) that I was getting fatter! So again, the determination started again. I did go for gym style work out for about 2 months then the rest was history. That was exactly 7 months ago. Now I am piggy again. Omar my buddy used to inspire me with saying like “take care of your health when you are young so the health can take care of you when you are old”. Of course everybody knows that inspiration didn’t work as it was suppose to be. Oh how I wish I can turn back time to those football training where the coach will demand of at least 20 round football field before you can touch the ball.

My friends had been trying to drag me to gym for quite some time now, ever since I stop going to Pantai gym for working out and as my fat getting more and more obvious. I know I won’t succumb to their invitation for sure because I know too well my occasional urge of determination. I know it for nine donkey years already. While I reckon the whole gym thingy is good for body mind and soul craps thing, I also thought that this whole gym thingy had become something of a popular culture, commercialize by the industrialist into the whole industry of cool thingy, like rock n’ roll in the 70s. It is the place of young and trendy people hanging out like Starbuck once was and still is. I am not whining or saying it is something wrong. It is what it is. And it was cool.

So anyway, I succumb to the invitation. I told myself to give it a try. What the hell do I have to lose? I mean after months of persuading myself to go back to Pantai gym and of course persuasion was in vain, what do I really have to lose? My friend brought me this trial membership (for one month) to Fitness first and I went. And hell yeah, I am proven right; gym is still being the industry of cool for the young and hip. I know I sound like a old God with rusty philosophical thought that no one want to hear but what the hell, what do I got to lose?

I was quite surprise at the junk of things and classes and trainers they have in there. I mean yeah, I kind of expecting normal set up but it was more than that. Plus, the chicks were something to cheer about as well. The steam room and sauna, the equipments, the trainers, the free drink, the music and basically the whole atmosphere just enthralled me. With all that jazz, I was lost. I didn’t know where to start (I usually know the chain of working out from top of my head to tip of my toe). So like a moronic monkey just fresh out of jungle, I jumble up the junk, no proper procedure, I did from treadmill on one minute to weight lifting in another minute and then sit up, then chest, then drink, drink and drink and then chest, then sit up, then stretching, drink, leg, drink and yeah la, all that crap la.

And fuck; now my whole body is a junk, a big mess and I am aching. Anyway, I am thinking of working out again and this time, I cross my finger that the determination stays for real, this time!

Part 2

Why people can be so cruel? Is desperation a drive for people acting out of their mind, doing things that will hurt another being? Man…where is the love? The world is going down like a toilet flush. We are living is a mad mad world.

No! I am not talking about the United States and the war monger president or Middle East madness; I am talking about smaller spot of human sickness that is haunting our society. Now people will do anything at any cost without second thought of terrible consequences just to live another day to feed their desire or hunger for whatever drugs they were on. Do these people actually think that the world is only evolving around them? That their life is screwed and no one else is?

Anyway, after my gym class the other day, I walked to my car, which parked opposite the building. I was just having this crazy thought that someone riding on the motorbike would speed towards me and whack me to semi conscious death just to squeeze few bucks out of my pocket hole. I mean when in dark scene like that and no one else around, the mind wanders and you cannot really blame the mind since sick things like that is so fucking rampant these day. Women would get robbed and if unlucky enough, got hurt, raped and killed. Guys will get consolation prize of knife stabbing, or helmet whacking before being robbed.

So anyway, I drove off and it didn’t happen to me. Less than 2 minutes I received a call from my friend (the one that invited me to the gym), asking me to go back to the parking lot- someone just got robbed and got injured in the process. I was like what the fuck???

Sympathy for this Malay girl. She was complete shock and she was hurt and bleeding on her palm. She was crying and trembling. The motorbike guys apparently snatched her handbag and she was very strong not to let go her valuable. In her defense and struggle, she felled three time hence the bleeding. Nothing much my friend and I could do but to calm down the tense. It was only her and both of us. We did calm her down, assuring her that we will be with her until police come. We did stay for sometime, my friend did most of the talking while me, did most of the calling. In the end, the police arrived so was her family member. She was still trembling and crying but much better. We manage to trace her car keys nearby.

Shit like that happen everywhere, we all know but lately, Malaysia, especially KL and PJ is just a haven for it. It is like the “in thing” for the desperate and the low life scumbags, punk junkie to do whenever they need the easy way out. I am not biasing. Desperate people include hard life and low income groups and even worse, family man. But whatever it is, they don’t have the right to hurt people that way. Yeah I know I am barking up the wall. While something need to be done, we all need to take special precautious. Guys, base ball bat in the boot don’t always work, so might wanna’ consider pepper spray. And girls, pepper spray don’t always work either, might wanna’ consider base ball bat and some martial arts lesson like Karate or Alkido.

Anyway please take care of yourself whenever you are. Shit happens everywhere and to anyone. It could be you or me or our loved one. Just take extra care. I love you all.

If you came across shit like that, here I include useful number:

PJ Area: 03 7956 2222

KL Area: 03 21460522

Last week and this week had been quite exhausting one. I was in Genting, watching Lobo in concert (part of the “get-together” our company organized for the haulers and Oil companies- so consider partly working partly enjoying la…). I met up with my Mum which I haven’t been seeing for almost 5 months now for a brief breakfast. It was really good to see her. She is still wonderful and such a lively and youthful and fantastic women despite her age of 57. Man, she rocks! Heaven and hell Haha…

This weekend, I will be away again to the East Coast for a regional truck show (in line with my job) and might be going back to the pearl of the orient to be with my family for a week or so. Until then, I am so rock n’ roll with my job and it’s really stealing my time away, at least for now.

Please keep in touch my friends. Again, I love you all…

Carpe Diem!!

Love & Regards,