Cats!

cats

Reading this. Too long-winded, I say. You know why we like cats (and dogs)? They are the most expressive when carefree, happy and playful. It reminds us—no, it forces us—to think that in life, basically that is just all what matters. No?

Come on, I dare you. There was a time when you did not have: screaming credit cards to pay, cranky spouse, mortgages, bosses-from-hell, kids-to-wake-up-early-to-send-to-school, bills to pay! leaky roofs, and tomorrow horrendous jams to negotiate to work…yeah, that cute kitten happily sleeping near the sofa doesn’t have to put with all that shit 🙂

Pink Chick Story (There is sex here but it’s not what you think)

coloredchicks
I once bought my son a coloured chick. You shouldn’t.

Many years ago when my 3 kids were young I brought them to the Farmers’ Day Celebration at Tanjung Lipat, Kota Kinabalu. My young son, Darrien, saw the coloured chicks for sale, and you know, those are irresistible to children. And so I bought one—a pink one.

It became his baby. It was kept in a box inside the house and which he diligently took care and fed. That was the start of the house woes of course. The endless cheeping drove everybody crazy. The chick would be quiet and happy when it could see one human being, but alone, it will soon start its infernal cheeping motor – cheep, cheeeep, CHEEEEEP! Of course the sales hook—the pretty pink fluff—disappeared in 2 weeks, leaving a regular chick. And an older chick that refused to be boxed in or go to sleep without hearing people around. And so it followed us around the house – cheep, cheeeep, CHEEEEEP!

In no time it grew to a size when crapping all over the floor all day long was even too much for the poor kid to go around the house cleaning after. And so it was exiled outside the house but still a well-taken-care-off pet. Still, it thought it was the youngest sibling in the house, always peering into the house trying to get in.

Well, the chick grew…and grew.

rooster

And it turned out to be a rooster. A strapping, beautiful white rooster. A strapping, beautiful white and HORNY rooster who thought human beings are its species, and who he have the hots for. This is no surprise as he grew up knowing only people I guess. And so every day he will chase us trying to hump our legs. Marion, my daugher, was always screaming, “Daddy! Darrien’s chicken is chasing me again!” My aunty who lived next door hollered every other day, “Manuk nu Rayn!” I would come out from the car after work, and there he was with obvious lust in his eyes, wings down and dancing sidesteps trying to telegraph sex to me.

My brother, who lives next door, had many chickens. I tried a few times to throw some hens in the rooster’s direction. He looked at them with disdain and disinterest, and then threw me a look with lascivious longing. I could almost see it put out it metaphorical tongue. Bleeeh!

My late mum (God bless her; she passed away last Dec, 16th) took the brunt of the rooster’s amorous, although misplaced, moves. At least we all, having to go to work and school, can escape its intentions for most of the day. Not my mum: she would be putting out laundry to dry on the outside clothesline and the rooster will come running from some bushes (Yeah, it had learned since to hide from my mum and ambushed her when she was not looking), pecked her legs and tried to hump. Then my mum would yell loudly, “Darrien! Manuk nu arat tomod! Mogu’rub!” (“Darrien! your chicken is so bad! It is pecking me!”). I had to explain to my mum that the chicken was not being nasty, and that it was just trying to mate with her.

This went on for weeks until mum, at the end of her long-suffering patience, put out a fatwa, “Kill the chicken. Look at my legs. They are black and blue!” All of us siblings looked at each other. Someone said, “Who dare to tell Darrien? Who dare to do the execution?” Of course no one had the guts!

Of course a fatwa is a fatwa. And so I took Darrien aside and asked him three times if it is ok to get rid of his chicken. Come on, this is serious stuff: you don’t kill a Primary 2 kid’s only pet chicken. He could be scarred for life and turn into a sociopath. Fortunately he said yes. Of course I chickened out (pardon the pun) from actually killing the rooster. And so I called my brother-in-law to get the chicken. Weeks later, he reported that it made for tasty curry chicken.

I did not dare to tell Darrien.

Curry Lamb

Last night in preparing the Coconut Battered Ikan Bakulan I saved the santan. Instead of throwing the perfectly good natural organic santan (yeah, much better than the supermarket package kind) I used it to cook lamb curry, yeah :-). Nothing special here – I mixed 2/3 kari daging with 1/3 curry ikan. Ignore the greens too; just to make me feel less guilty – ada makan sayur! Taste like ox tail curry ah 🙂

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At the Cash Deposit Machine

It has been a long day: the bosses were screaming, errands were many, kids were wild, the home fridge was too bare for dinner, and the horrible traffic jams made you shed more than a few tears. Now here you are at Maybank, about to line up at the ATM, eager to make a cash deposit as fast as possible (because a creditor is screaming too) . You look at the three ATMs and your heart sinks: each one has as many as 10 people lined up.

Decision time: which line to take? You know the choice can be aggravating. And wrong. Like Julia Roberts once said in Pretty Woman, “Big Mistake. Big. Huge!” Remember lining up at the checkout counter of Giant, or checkin counter of Air Asia? How the queues that you chose NOT to take just happened to be faster, way faster, than the one you were stucked with. How you watched as the guy who queued at the same time as you happily sailed through in no time while you felt your miserable life slowly ebbed away while some silly customer in front wasted time with the checkout clerk for whatever reasons. Aaaargh!

And so it is at the CDM (Cash Deposit Machine). A woman spends ages depositing to many accounts. Slow, slow, slow. You wish your eyes could laser in two smouldering big holes in the middle of the slow loris’ back in front of you. You know, like Cyclops in X-Men. You are parked in a bad and illegal way outside because of your rush. Perhaps a mean 6 ton truck has already eaten the ass part of your new MyVi. Aaaargh!!

Finally, it is you, second only in line! In front are two 20-something young men–the way that they are dressed and their haircuts mark them as what a Dusun will call “ongkor” (nakal)–fiddling with the CDM. Whrrrriiillll goes the machine. Note rejected. Young men mumur with each other while reinserting the same bank note. Whrrrriiillll goes the machine again. Nope, note rejected again. Mumurs and discussion reintensifies. Probably their only 100 RM note left. Whrrrrrriiilllllllll! Nope. You look at the floor. You can almost see your life melt away like goo and flow along the shiny tiles of the bank. Aaaargh!!!

You can’t take it anymore. You tell the boys, “Boleh saya tolong tukar tu 100? Mungkin saya punya boleh.” And one of the boys turns and flash a sweet smile, “Tidak bah. Ini duit terlampau baru.” True enough: it is a spanking new note. The boy crumples and rubs the note. Puts it in. Whril. Wala! Success.

My turn.

Thank you, 20-something young men. I learned something new today. Sorry about the mischaracterisation. Cheers, Rayner

Killing Us Softly

Once I ranted about the state of traffic jams in KK and Penampang, and a friend, in a throwaway comment, said “Biasa lah tu.” No, it is not. And there lies the crux of the problem: People (and authorities) just get used to problems that have slowly crept up to them, and they think, “Biasa lah tu.” You know what? People used to ride buffaloes to town along the now-jammed-up Kiansom road. I know—I have used the road for 57 years now.

This is what author Jared Diamond in his book, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, called “Creeping Normality”— how societies have slowly destroyed themselves without noticing it until it was too late. These societies did not know that what they were doing was harmful because the affects happened very gradually. An example that Diamond uses is how the people of Easter Island were willing to chop down the last trees of a once luxuriantly forested island. The problem is very gradual process, and people often do not realise until they are in a lot of pain. Like the bliss of no traffic jams and no traffic lights (The first one in the whole of Sabah was that one in front of Wisma Muis; I know—I was there, getting excited for being stopped by a traffic light. Imagine!) being slowly erased from the collective memory of living motorists and road users.

Cheers, Rayner.