"Dedicated to people who has the tenacity to consider me a friend despite my inadequacies and eccentricity, I humbly seek forgiveness for my failings.
To workaholics who forge on, in the hope that you will attain your goals in life someday.
And finally to weirdos who persevere on with their unconventionality. It is you who add colour and charm to my dreary life."
It suits me fine being an anonymous. Putting on a nameless face means I can go through life here with minimal distractions. It is easier to be nasty and uncaring if you do not know the other person. I drift with no fixed purpose except to work and the ultimate goal of fulfilling my desire for material comfort as a compensation for a life devoid of romantic emotional attachment which is an abstract concept to me having experienced it vicariously through books, movies and opera.
Work. A four letter word that takes up more than half of my time for the last couple of years, sometimes more.
Work. A monosyllabic grunt, a vulgar and fractious word that begins with a gentle W, pronounced lips puckered like kissing and ends with a sneer and a smirk of a death mask as the final K is pronounced.
Work. My ovum. My farcical ovum, which instead of giving me life, destroys my essence and purpose.
|Sambal Petai Udang|
A biting cold loneliness that permeates through every cell of my body. My resilience crumbles and for a few fleeting seconds I would feel lonely, the vulnerability exposed seems to feed on the darkness of the night before a toss on the bed dispels it into the deepest recesses of my memory before being summoned out again by periods of emotional vulnerability.
My unrelenting working hours does offer me some refuge from these pangs of emptiness, but it is discomforting for me to admit the irony of finding find solace in the very thing that saps up my zest for life.
I have chosen to be alone and fault nobody for my predicament, if I am allowed to call it so. Sharing a bed with someone means baring my soul, my entire being, my paranoia and eccentricity which will scare the average red blooded human. Something I can never do, and never am proud of.
I have sought a compromise by attempts to forge friendships which offers some temporary respite in which I attempt to be normal. Friends are not with me every moment of the day and I can choose what to share with them.
Take for instance, M whom I met through blogging. After a particular two months of harrowing workload, we finally met for lunch almost at her insistence. I gave her a free hand to decide the venue and she instinctively chose this little quaint but plain restaurant to dine.
The tacky decor is nothing to shout about with some kitschy Dutch windows hanging on the wall. Food is served on cheap melamine and dining was under almost bare energy saving bulbs that cast a strange jaundiced glow to our complexion. But it was just what a tired soul needed. Not Foie, not truffles nor fancy desserts.
Their Nasi Ulam may not be the best that I have ever had but the effort was commendable, with slivers of the usual herbal condiments. Mint, Daun Kantan, Basil and Kerisik adorned the rice that was served strangely with some chips.
Their Inchi-Kabin was perfectly double fried and crispy with hints of cumin, shallots and corriander powder. It came with the traditional syrupy dip that was redolent of Worcester Sauce.
I loved their Joo Hoo Char which is julliened slivers of Sengkuang, Carrot and Dried Mushroom with Grilled Dried Cuttlefish hiding in between the strips to lend the dish an tantalizing aroma. Place them in a piece of Lettuce leaf and roll it like a spring roll with a dab of Sambal Belacan and you will be biting on pieces of heaven.
Their Sambal Petai Udang was an interesting break for intermission but the spotlight shined on the Nyonya Fried fish with was ravishing. Perfectly fried fish in a beguiling mix of tart Tamarind with nuances of spices, Daun Limau Purut and Preserved Leek.
Desserts were limited to 3 choices.
|Nyonya Fried Fish|
It's just like friendship, where once accept and maybe even treasure flaws and imperfections of others as long as it is genuine.
I have been accused of being an elitist, a pseudo intellectual and a snob so many times in life, I've lost count.
I don't just hang out with people who fine dine. The quantum of satisfaction I get from beautifully prepared nyonya fish and a perfect piece of Toro is probably the same.
Nor do I hang around elitists who quote Sartre and discuss post modernist art over salmon and cocktails all the time.
If there is one thing that either amuses me is the superficiality of some people I meet and their inane desire to impress or show off usually with hilarious consequences. Wealth and power does not impress me, for I know the people who posses them will never part with it without me doing something for them in return. I have to recall something very funny that happened a few weeks back.
I stumbled across an acquaintance from my College days whom I have not met for years and after the preliminary how do you do's he proceeded to ask me "What car are you driving now?".
I replied, "Why? Is your job so bad that you have to sell cars to supplement your income?". That ended our conversation pretty quickly and each of us probably think the other is a dickhead. At least I do.
I guess he does not know that the owner of Ikea drives a 20 year old Volvo and some of the slimiest Bankrupts in town whizz around in Porsche SUVs. I suppose a lot of people are trained to asses a person by the car he drives, the handbag she owns and where their family goes for holidays.
Even more irritating are meeting people who try to impress me with their intellectual prowess when they clearly have none. They claim to have read books that they haven't and try to critique movies when they have absolutely no inkling about. But things do break out into a comical farce when they dig deeper into their own grave when they are unable to stop talking.
The the species that deserves the vilest contempt will be those who put themselves on a pedestal for some unknown reason. Sharing a meal with them is just like suppressing a bad case of jock itch. I am just dying to bare it all on the table and give it a good scratch.
|Joo Hoo Char|
Some evenings and weekends, I hang out with some migrant factory workers at their quarters and their Restaurants at Jalan Silang. Their lives are simple and uncomplicated but lived with dignity and quiet perseverance. Never on any occasion have they taken advantage of me nor used me for for their personal gain. We spend out time together teaching each other to cook, with them teaching me reading and writing Burmese and me teaching them English and Facebook. Strangely enough, our lingua franca is Bahasa Melayu (go figure) which I seldom use with my Malaysian friends. One day, I may blog about them.
A lot of people who consider themselves hoity toity could learn a thing or two about leading their life from these migrant workers.
I can only agree if anybody comments that I am very selective with friends. This is how I am.
But then again, not everybody can be like M. She knows I will never be cheerful ebullient and accepts my mood swings and I am sure she would let me know immediately if I cross the line. And as a treat for all my sleepless nights and midnight travel, she brought me to a place that she instinctively knew would cheer me up. She knew I was yearning for a simple uncomplicated meal. A meal served in a place unadorned by the trappings of materialism, where genuine food is served with pride and a heart.
Just like a good friendship.
Tanjung Bunga (same row as Chow Yang)
117 Jalan SS 2/6
47300 Petaling Jaya, Taman Sea, Malaysia