Archives for December 2006

books are great (2)

If I really like a book, it will take me less than 3 days to finish reading it.

For example, Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code. Like everyone else, I later realised it was pretty much crap. But to give credit where credit is due, the book was gripping enough for me to finish it within 2 days.

I am a fast reader, even though I sometimes skip certain words and paragraphs and would go ‘huh what where’ when friends discuss a book. It’s a bad habit I’ve been unsuccessfully trying to change and finally I gave up. If I like the book enough I’ll read it again, more slowly the second (and third and fourth) time around.

Unless it’s Bill Clinton’s biography. I am sorry to report that it has been more than two months now, but I still have not reach the Monica Lewinsky story. Not even sure if it’s in it. It’s not that the book is uninteresting — I think Bill Clinton’s a charmer and I like his ideas on some things, but American politics can be draggy to read sometimes. Democrats, Republications, the entire US Senate and ruling procedures… it’s like being back in Form 6 and studying the Malaysian constitution and things you couldn’t care less about πŸ˜›

My bro-in-law recommended that I read ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’. I saw that Sharizal has a copy and so I borrowed it. I hope to finish reading the book sometime next year πŸ˜€

That’s why despite Sharon Bakar’s generous offer to lend me her copy of Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses, I am reluctant as for now because I know I will take a darn long time to read it.

For some reason, I’ve developed quite a fondness for Anderson Cooper. He’s so drop-dead gorgeous (to me), must be the grey/silver hair effect. I think I have a thing for older men, though Cooper isn’t that old. I read in some forums that even 16 year old girls and boys have crushes on him. No matter kids, you can love him all you like but at the end of the day, he’s coming home with me.

Hahaha, I wish πŸ˜›

Anyway he wrote his memoirs, ‘Dispatches from the Edge: A Memoir of War, Disasters, and Survival’. MPH priced it at RM99.00. Kinokuniya is selling it at RM100.30. I am not about to spend over RM50 for a book, not even for Anderson Cooper so I guess I’ll have to wait for the paperback. Or rent it from Rent-A-Book. Or who reading this blog has a copy that I can borrow? πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

I’m re-reading Dale Carnegie’s self-help classic, ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ for the 20th time. I wish more people would read this book and apply its principles. Would make socialising a whole lot easier.

For the 1000th time, I don’t want to know everything there is to know about you, again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again x10000.

Phewww… that felt good.

No, not talking about anyone in particular.

I’ve read two of Adeline Yen Mah’s books, and they were about unwanted daughters. Quite sad, though I cannot relate to the stories. My parents could not be gender-biased even if they wanted to πŸ˜›

Since my dad is the eldest son in his family, I always thought it was a pity that he did not have a son to continue the tradition, so to speak. Of course his younger brothers can and did have sons, but my dad is the eldest mah. You know how very traditional/conservative some Chinese families could be. In fact this preferential treatment is still very much in practise today. Ask your friends who have brothers, they may be able to tell you some stories.

But my dad begged to differ. He maintains that there is no difference between sons and daughters. His mother did not prefer sons over daughters, and he does not see any reasons why anyone should do that. Customs and traditions, yes but he thinks they are bollocks. Remember that my dad is a life-long atheist.

So while I cannot relate to Adeline Yen Mah’s sob story, I can very well empathise with her. It is utter bollocks to have fortune-tellers (unless you are in the profession itself, it is difficult to ascertain which fortune-teller is genuine or not) tell you that you must give away this and that son or daughter (but mostly daughters) because they bring you bad luck.

Nonsense. Bullshit. Horse crap. Ignorant dumb fucks who don’t deserve their children. Go jump into a river or three.

Hence books are great. You don’t need to go through some things to know that you have been very lucky, and there are many before you, and there will be many after you who will continue to suffer bad luck through no fault of their own. You didn’t ask to be born into this world, into a certain family, did you? So that wasn’t your fault, though I’m not saying that you should continue to wallow in self-pity, refusing to do something about it if you can. How? I don’t know, watch Oprah.

I didn’t need to be unwanted to know what it almost feels like, thanks to Adeline Mah’s powerful story-telling. In that sense, books are great. That was the point of me rambling on for so long.

I didn’t need to develop Neurofibromatosis Type II to have a glimpse of a patient’s life. Just buy Yvonne Foong’s “I’m not sick, just a bit unwell” for RM19.90 to read all about it.

I suspect the reason this post has such lack of direction is that I am so sleepy. Another working week starting tomorrow.

Jose Gonzalez’s Heartbeats music video below. Enjoy. Toodles.

books are great

My first memory of books was the Ladybird ‘Peter and Jane’ series. My mom had gotten the entire series for me and my sisters, and I still remember vividly the words, “Peter, Jane, I like Peter, I like Jane, Jane likes Peter, Peter likes Jane” and so on and so forth. Best books evar.

My mom taught high school English for years, and when I was in primary school I was already reading secondary school stuff, mostly workbooks that we have all over the house. My favourites were the fiction compositions, stories and situations of this and that written in a narrative manner. I disliked non-fiction compositions and it was only a few years ago that I began reading non-fiction for leisure. Prior to that, no thanks.

My sisters were twins and four years older than me, and by the time I hit high school they had already left town. My parents worked hard to raise and provide for us, and I was often left to my own devices. It was a pretty lonely period growing up, but let’s not get into that. I started writing bits and pieces, mostly sentences and paragraphs that I thought would be great in a complete story, which I had many ideas for but never the motivation to begin.

We had a book about an adventurer and his quest to discover King Tut’s tomb as well as stop grave-robbers from plundering the hidden treasure. It was a wonderful story book; I read it all the time and for a while I thought of writing my own adventure story book, with research and details on Egyptian tombs. Of course I never went past the 2nd paragraph.

I also wrote poems, mostly in Malay because we were taught all the beautiful pantun, sajak and syair in school. My Malay childhood friends loved the one that began with, “Cempaka biru…”. I can’t remember the rest of the poem now, but I thought I was so great in this whole writing business. Little did I know, har har.

For some reason my classmates thought my English was damn good, seeing that I was always one of the few who received top marks in English. They did not realise that I could form nice sentences, but my grammar is koyak as hell because I never bothered brushing up on my use of grammar. That is something that plagues me today, and I still do not want to improve it by reading instructional books on the use of good grammar, tee-hee.

I had an English teacher, and if I am not mistaken, her name was Ms. Rani. One day she told us to write a story on abuse. I did and when I was handed back my book, there were the red lines underneath, “DO NOT COPY FROM OTHER PEOPLE, SEE ME!” Huh, wtf? I went to see her, and she asked if I had plagiarised from any books that I have read. I said no, it was an original composition. She smiled, struck out the lines she had written, and wrote, “GREAT WORK!” I was happy and encouraged, yay.

In my school we had an annual publication and the committee encouraged students to hand in their original essays to be included in the year book. Ms. Rani asked me to submit the story I had written for her class, and I did. It was published, some other students liked it and told me so, but that’s besides the point.

Prior to my story getting published in the year book, I was never interested in the school’s publications. I thought it was elitist and crap. You know, popular, English-speaking students versus the non-popular nerds. Same thing everywhere. Anyway after my story was published, I went to the library and checked out previous publications. One of them had a story about a neglected boy who suffered from the abuse of his much elder sister, and had no idea why it was so seeing that he had tried to be a good sibling. Nothing worked. Whatever. One day he went up the attic to discover his sister’s old diary and he had a jolly good time reading it. Haha, sounded like me because I used to steal my sister’s diary to read it πŸ˜› She found out about it of course, heheh.

Anyway the boy soon discovered that his sister was raped and due to her fragile medical conditions, could not abort the unwanted baby. The unwanted baby was adopted by her parents, and the unwanted baby was him, the boy. Shitz, his sister was actually his mother! No wonder she was always so cold towards him, for he reminded her of the rape. Anyway the sister died due to leukemia, though not before the boy calling her ‘mom’ at the hospital bed for the first and last time.

That story made me cry buckets. Then I looked down to see the name of the author…


No, I am not her child. Bleh.

But it was quite shocking to me, because I was not so close to my sisters at that time, and I remember feeling so damn proud that she could write so damn well.

Of course I never told her that. It was somewhat a self-preservation thing, due to a myriad of feelings and circumstances that you, as an adult always hoped to have bridged when you were younger, but never did. She reads my blog anyway so she would see this lah. Herro.

Again, I had wanted to write about other topics but somehow just typed and typed on this. Want to watch CSI: NY now, will continue on part 2 later.