Tuesday, October 18, 2016


There was a time in my life, for a period of about a year, I was addicted to Hindi movies. It all started when I saw the excitement in my late niece, Erlinna, when the movie Kuch Kuch Hota Hai was showing on TV. I was playing mahjong at the time, and was wondering why she was so excited. I took note of the title of that movie, and when I returned to Brunei after the holidays, I went to the shop to buy the VCD. I surprised myself for the endurance to be able to survive the entire 3 hours of the movie. It was indeed a good movie.

Then the curiosity got the better of me, and I started exploring other Hindi movies. This movie, that movie, and it soon became an evening routine for me to be glued to my TV almost every evening. I have forgotten most of the titles, except for some such as Maan and Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham. But after a while, somehow my interest in Hindi movies began to fade. You see, after watching so many Hindi movies, I reached a point where I could almost predict the endings, perhaps up to 90% accuracy; and that was just a deal breaker. I sometimes would like to be surprised by the ending, if you know what I mean. 

A typical Hindi movie usually has everything in it—it has the funny parts, it has the sad parts, it has fightings too, and of course a ton of songs and dancing. Heck, they can take up to acres and acres to dance a single song! As far as I know, nobody has come up with an acceptable explanation where the music is from when they start to sing and dance.

But this post is not really about Hindi movies; and I'm guessing that you already know that, right? I raised the story about Hindi movies to make a point, which is this: a story may be very good when you hear or see it for the first time, except for some isolated cases, like the movie Top Gun which I've seen perhaps at least 50 times. But if you keep hearing and seeing the same movie over and over again, there is a kind of exhaustion, thus resulting in finding even the most exciting movie rather boring! If you have seen enough Hindi movies, I think it's just a matter of time when you will become tired of it. The stories are not exactly the same, of course, yet they are very similar.

Well, you know what, this post has a similar ring to the Hindi movies. About 4 years ago to the day,  I posted an article entitled Surviving A Heart Attack. I provided a link to that article in my facebook page, and apparently it almost killed my niece, Ramona Jane, because of uncontrollable laughter!

Today, I'm gonna do the Bollywood thing too; but this time the main character is not me. Instead, it's my daughter, Jamie. She had the shock of her life this evening when she was seated on the toilet. A baby monitor lizard (biawak) appeared in her toilet bowl. How it got there is still a mystery, although I did have a possible explanation in my earlier post. I'm not sure if JJ will have nightmares about the monitor lizard after this. But at least there is variety in her life now—she has baby monitor lizard to worry about apart from spiders.

But anyway, both JJ and I have survived a heart attack from our respective experience. And if the next visit by a monitor lizard is in any way based on a 4-year interval, the next visit will be in 2020. I wonder if next in line will be Mia? I guess I just have to ensure that she keeps up with regular exercise to make sure that her heart is up to the challenge.

I know I said Bollywood movies no longer excite me like before, but somehow this story about a possible return visit by the baby monitor lizard is something that I'm looking forward to!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Rolling The Dice

An interesting story in The Star about a man that stabbed his brother-in-law-to-be to death, because the latter had discovered that the former, despite claiming that he's a bachelor, was actually already married since 6 years ago.

The article says "about to get wed", but it's unclear if that meant about to get wed as in a couple of days, or was it on the wedding day itself? If it's the wedding day, I'm dying of curiosity—why would a groom-to-be bring a knife to his wedding? I mean, that knife is not really important as far as this post is concerned, but I'm just a curious animal, you see.

Anyway, I posted an article in this blog entitled "The Art of Proposal & The Dying Fire" some years ago. A long time ago, when I was still a bachelor, I used to have a bit of a phobia about being married. A friend had told me that the divorce rate in Malaysia was roughly about 30%. I'm not sure where he got that figure from, but I was, like, "Wow! 70% of marriages will last forever!...how scary!"

Now there are many reasons why a marriage would fail, of course; and one of them is what my brother had experienced in the article that I quoted in the preceding paragraph above. But I think the other common reason is that people don't really know the people that they want to marry. They are, like, seated in the grandstand at a horse race. They get to see the horses from afar when they're paraded to the audience, and then they place their bets on the horse that looks the most promising to them. They get a glimpse of those horses, but they don't really know very much about them. The horse that they pick eventually just seems like it's a winner, but that may turn out to be a wrong judgment!

Many people choose their life partners the same way that they'd bet on horses too. They know some things about their future spouses, and then they're convinced that whatever that they don't know yet will be something that they can sort out after the wedding. Well, let me just say that if a woman is unaware that the man she's gonna marry is already married, then she knows nothing about him!

When I first got to know my wife many years ago, there was a time when I wondered if she was a transvestite! It had something to do with her manly voice; and I used to cringe in pain whenever she tried to sing, because it's just too awful—she's always way out of tune! It's fast approaching 30 years since the very first time I got to know her, and I sometimes still cringe in pain whenever she sings! At times, she'd try too hard to be funny, and she'd sing P. Ramlee's song, "Tidurlah wahai permaisuri; Tidurlah...pejam mata..."; and I would imagine that P.Ramlee is turning in his grave!

People can fall in love with a total stranger, i.e. without knowing anything about him. And love is, of course, an important ingredient for a successful marriage. In the good old days, many people had their parents choosing their spouses for them. Their parents were the ones seated in the grandstand, observing the horses, so to speak, and then placing their bets on the best horse. The bride and groom, if they're lucky, would then hope to fall in love after the wedding. And if they're not lucky, then they will just endure the crappy deal for the rest of their lives. Those were the affairs of things in the good old days. These days, it doesn't really work that way anymore. Women, especially, are aware of their rights; they won't just suffer in silence. They are prepared to give their husbands the "24-hour notice" if that becomes necessary!

In the end, I think it's almost impossible to know everything there is to know about one's future spouse. Getting married is still in most cases a gamble—it's a lot like rolling the dice and hoping for the best outcome. Sometimes, you get pleasantly surprised with something good from your spouse that you didn't expect. But at other times, you get surprised by something that annoys you a great deal. Whether or not you will end up making it work depends on which is more. If there is more good than bad, then it's much easier to keep it going, and hope that at least some of the bad ones could be changed into good eventually. But if you get substantially more bad than good, it's usually a matter of time before the marriage would fail, and the parties start rolling the dice again.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Dealing With Pain

I write about a wide variety of stuff in this blog, and it's therefore not surprising that my readers come from all walks of life and very diverse in interests. I occasionally write humorous pieces; sometimes serious stuff, and each having its own attraction to different groups of people.

I have written funny essays in the past—for example, here and here—and I keep getting hits on these pieces. Some people would send me private messages to comment about my past posts. But on the other hand, I also write about some serious stuff—for example, here and here—and again, although these posts are old, yet from time to time, people would send me private messages to discuss about these so-called serious essays.

One of the more serious essays that I've written, and apparently caught the attention of many of my readers, is entitled Time & Its Healing Properties. Many of my readers said that although the post is based on a true story, they couldn't help but felt that there's a kind of theatrical flow in the paragraphs. I'm not sure if that's because of my writing style; or because the mind is convinced that some things can only happen in the movies, but not really in real life? Well, I can only say that despite popular belief to the contrary, some things in life are very much like what we see in the movies!

This lately, I've been seeing some real stories unfolding around me—of what people are going through in their lives, and how they're reacting to their respective stories—and I'm once again drawn to my own experience in the story that I've quoted in the preceding paragraph above; and I'm moved to write a bit on my thoughts on this issue.

All of us, at one time or another in our life, are apt to be hurt and betrayed by the very people whom we trust unconditionally. And because the hurt is inflicted by someone we trust with everything we're worth, the resulting pain can be quite unbearable. Being human, the natural reaction is that of anger and frustration, and while many of us are usually calm in handling troubles, we may sometimes lose our bearing when in pain and then anger or frustration would give itself rein. Anger and frustration are also ingredients that can eventually lead to hate.

All too often there is that tendency to strike back—it seems only right to inflict the same degree of pain on the perpetrator; he has it coming! In fact, if possible at all, the lust to inflict twice the pain! And so we set out to find ways to retaliate; to strike back with all our might. After that we shall be satisfied...

Except that quite often when the dust has settled, we come to a shocking revelation—despite striking back and causing what seems like epic pain on the perpetrator, we find that the pain we are suffering from still does not go away! It still hurts like hell inside!

It took me more than half of my life to realise that the best way to deal with the pain is to just let it go. The more we disturb the wound, the longer it takes to heal. Just leave it be and get on with life. There are so many other good things in life, and it's a big shame to let one or two bad experiences overshadow all those other good stuff. Let the wound heal and learn from the experience. Scars are sometimes good to remind us of the mistakes we've made in life. God willing, hopefully we won't ever repeat those same mistakes again. Don't choose to be vengeful because it will very rarely result in any good; choose to be happy instead.