Friday, September 30, 2005

Confessions of a drama queen

I have a confession to make.

During the course I attended a couple of days ago, I did something I shouldn’t have.

You see, there were two main speakers, both ladies. One was the senior manager; the other a manager.

The manager was a Malay lady, but extremely pretty. A teeny wee bit on the heavy side, but nevertheless still attractive.

The thing is, I was enraptured with her. She is not only beautiful, but also a good presenter who knows her stuff well. She wore a black pullover with some flower motif. A heart pendant nicely complemented her whole outlook.

I am not one to notice girls, if at all. They seem to like not exist, shadows that move in and out of sight, blocking and unblocking my view of pretty boys.

There but not really there. You get what I mean?

Of course, I am referring to strangers walking on the street and shopping malls, not my mom, female friends, colleagues, neighbours, makcik at the food stall and colleagues.

I recall that once, a colleague sent a Power Point file where one was supposed to do a task involving eye-hand coordination and at the same time, tested one's concentration.

Obviously there was a catch. Less than five seconds after you started, the image of a naked woman with heaving breasts appeared; swinging them sideways and bouncing them up and down.

Needless to say, I didn’t have a problem completing the task.

Guys catch my attention, just like anyone in a skirt catches a straight guy’s eyes.

Though more recently, I seem to notice the other sex more often.

Which is mildly worrying and unsettling.

And the speaker in front of me was, at the time, the most attractive.

When I realized this, I took the opportunity to go further.

I am kind of ashamed to admit this, but I tried to picture her naked.

Just the upper body. Breasts and curvy figure. Soft, smooth skin. Nice to touch.

I didn't feel any stirring at all.


Maybe it was because I didn’t imagine it correctly (after all, the number of times I have seen a woman’s naked picture can be counted with one hand).

So I gave up.

But I was still transfixed on her.

I watched her every move, smile, tiniest of change in expression, how she moved her head a little at the end of every sentence, the way she held her pen as she talked, her gestures, etc.

For a moment there I felt happy. Pure ecstasy.

The idea of marrying her – or another girl - didn’t sound as absurd as it used to be.

I immediately snapped out of it.

On the surface, it did appear like I was losing my homosexuality. Slipping away slowly.

But unlikely lar. How can I wake up one day and become straight?

Though clearly, many irrational people seem to think so. *rolls eyes*

Must be the lack of cute male specimens to keep my perverted eyes occupied.

Or maybe coz I have not met anyone new since CK.

What the heck, it’s Friday. Shouldn’t be cracking my head up with all these questions.

Gotta run off to meet someone ....

Thursday, September 29, 2005


I attended a course on the new accounting standards which are going to be adopted beginning in 2006 (once again, let me reiterate that I am not an accountant).

The common characteristic of courses is the food. Or rather, the frequency of them being served.

You practically get to eat every three hours. Or less than that.

The usual program will go like this:
8.30 a.m. : Course starts
10.45 - 11.00 a.m.: Tea break
12.30 - 1.30 p.m. : Lunch
3.30 - 3.45 p.m. : Tea break
5.00 p.m. : Course ends

It is always good to be away from the office once in a while. But the downside is the calories!

If I were to have a three-day course, I can just imagine myself putting on at least a half a pound.

Of course, I could choose to not eat anything during the tea breaks. But then, my organisation provides very good food.

You see, my organisation has a training center for staff and there is this ah pek (affectionate term for a Chinese old man) who has been preparing the meals for participants for goodness knows how long.

Some say that he has been there since the training center was built.

The kuih (savouries) they serve were those uncommon ones – not curry puffs, kuih talam or kuih lapis (layered cake).

I don’t know what they are called; what I know is that they were not-to-be-missed and terrifically yummy. And needless to say, somewhat unhealthy.

One of the savoury was fried popiah (vegetables wrapped with flour).

More often than not, they are not crispy after being exposed to the air for long. But the training center kept the popiahs piping hot when they were served. And still crispy!

During lunch, I tried not to eat more than I usually do. But with assam fish, curry chicken, tofu kerabu-style and long beans, it’s difficult not to.

Fortunately, it was only a one and a half day course.

Unfortunately, I don’t think I understood half of what was taught.

It’s the food, I tell you!

After binging on them, how could one pay attention?

Unless the speaker was deliciously yummy. ;P

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

He wasn't man enough

I was reading the Sunday Straits Times during dinner. Specifically, it was an article on sex education in Malaysia.

DEBATE: Let’s talk about sex

Does sex education belong in public schools? Academicians and medical practitioners wrestle with different perspectives on a very touchy subject.

When the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development recently announced its intention to introduce sex education in schools, it raised a few eyebrows.

While some academicians and medical practitioners feel that sex education in schools is long overdue, others think that it is not necessary, saying that all religions have guidelines on matters relating to sex.

Nothing new about this issue. The writer was merely presenting the opinions of academicians and experts, from both sides of the divide.

A few paragraphs later, someone even raised a few very valid points:
Dr Kamaruzaman, who is also chairman of the Federation of Family Planning Associations Malaysia, explains that what most people don’t understand is that sex education does not concentrate on lovemaking.

Reproduction and contraception, STDs, homosexual and heterosexual relationships as well as adolescent issues of teenage pregnancy and puberty are matters that should be discussed in sex education.

I was getting quite a good impression of the learned personalities in this field.

But of course, never count your eggs before they hatched.

Towards the end of the article, this appeared:
Psychologists agree that children learn so much during the first 12 years of their life, deemed as the “crucial” stage.

What children learn during this period will determine their lives as adults.

Dr Ong (a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist) provides an example.

If a son is closer to his mother while he was growing up, chances are that he will grow up to be effeminate.

The father must step in and teach his son to be a man — play football, be a little tough in sports and such. Parents must inspire the boy to want to grow up to be like dad.

The son can play all the football or sports he wants and still be effeminate. Or gay, even.

He can also be academically-inclined and not touch a football with a ten feet pole, yet be masculine.

Clearly, I have a beef to pick with that last sentence there.

In this age of sexual equality and breaking down of gender roles, that is not a very appropriate example.

If I were inspired to grow up to be like my dad, I would be very different from what I am today.

I would never lift a hand to do household chores.

I would be in front of the telly after work. Every day.

I would watch English Premier League matches till midnight on weekends.

I would also wake up in the wee hours of the morning to catch World Cup or Euro matches.

I would be extremely cautious and risk-adverse. Every other activity besides eating, sleeping and working is dangerous. Which means no hiking, snorkelling, squash, etc.

I would not trust anyone. I would think that people are out to get me and they have ulterior motives when they show kindness.

I would have the man-of-the-house, the-one-wearing-the-pants-in-the-family kind of attitude. Uncompromising and unyielding.

I would be stubborn and unwilling to admit mistakes.

I would be jumping to conclusions when I have not even heard half the story.

I would have immense difficulty seeing something from another person’s point of view. In short, unempathetic.

I would never listen to other people’s opinion and always think that I am right.

I would have dreadful taste in fashion and décor. Or anything that needs aesthetic valuation.

Last but not least, I would be straight. Eckk.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Hold me now, touch me now

Last Friday, my colleagues and I went for a buffet dinner at the Legend Hotel. They insisted on having international cuisine while I preferred Japanese. How to argue with the girls lar, so I gave in and we proceeded to Di Atas Brasserie.

Food was excellent, as expected. Legend's fare have always been of high standard, except for the Chinese cuisine.

But that’s not what I want to write about.

For the past week or so, I have been feeling a little off. A bit beside myself.

Perhaps it was the house-moving episode last weekend. I don't mean the porn mag episode though.

Actual house-moving.

Plus the fact that my closest gay friend, NG, just left for the U.K. last Monday, the day after the Mid-Autumn festival.

The whole things-are-no-longer-the-same feeling. Just going with the flow.

Unthinking. Unknowingly.

Like a piece of stick floating in the river, which appears to be alive and moving. But is not.

Alive but not living.

New house, new room, new environment. A significant change after living at the old address for the past sixteen years.

Not forgetting life without the company of NG for at least a year.

In addition to the fact that I haven’t met up with CK for almost two weeks.

Do you get that feeling of loneliness sometimes? The kind that whispers, "No one truly understands me"? That no one knows how special I am and misses my presence?

Maybe it’s the narcissist in me talking. Though I am certain that this was unlike what I felt a month ago.

I have been meeting up with CK a couple of more times after the movie date. We were getting to know each other better over dinner and yam cha (coffee).

He is smart, funny, caring and boyfriend material.

I am also aware of my past mistakes.

Like settling for someone just because he happens to be in my life at the moment.

Like things moving too fast.

Initially, I had put off having a relationship till after my exams.

I know, I know. I realize that most of my plans revolve around my exam schedule and I have used this excuse often.

But this time, my November paper is one that I really need to pass. For my own sanity’s sake. I can’t stand the thought of having to take it again next year.

I was pretty sure a real romantic relationship is not something I want at this time.

Anyway, CK and I have been corresponding through email at work. Everyday.

After feeling like that for a couple of days, I realised what it was the cause.

I missed something that is common in a relationship.

Intimacy. Of the non-sexual kind. And also the sexual, primal kind.

Heh. This is somewhat embarrassing to admit. What I wanted was - someone to hold me. To give me a hug. To tell me that life is OK and everything is going to be alright.

Not that there is anything not fine at the moment.

Maybe I miss NG more than I thought I would. His company. His physical presence.

He knows everything about me; he is the person I have known the longest since I came out to friends three years ago.

After the dinner at the Legend, I went over to CK’s house. Into his room.

He was on the IRC. We chatted a bit about things. About us - assuming there is something there.

He made things clear. Said the same thing that YF said to me half a year ago – he wanted to try out more things, experience the gay lifestyle. He does not want a relationship now.

Well, at least he does not want both. And he’s honest with me.

As he was lying on his bed, I snuck up to him and lay on his stomach.

I took his arms and placed them around me. I asked, “You don’t mind me doing this, do you?”

“No, as long as you do not misunderstand.”

The boundaries have been made clear. The lines have been drawn.

“Of course I won’t misunderstand.”

It felt good. It has been a long time since another guy has touched or held me. What more in our culture of “no hugging” and all.

The warmth of his body, the beating of his heart, the feeling of his arms around me.

We laid there for about ten minutes.

“This is turning me on.”

“I know. Me too.”

I went home half an hour later.

What a girl wants, what a girl needs,
Whatever makes me happy and sets you free.
What a girl wants, what a girl needs,
Whatever keeps me in your arms.
And I'm thanking you for being there for me.

-What a girl wants, Christina Aguilera

Friday, September 23, 2005

Memory of 1992

When I was in primary school, I was the top student in my class. Being hampered by relatively gigantic glasses, I naturally turned to books instead of sports. Let’s just say studying became my thing.

I was never a naughty kid. Even my classmates were all goody-goody. The teachers liked me. A lot.

After all, what is not to like in a sweet nine-year old boy who listens to the teachers and does his homework? ;P

From the very beginning, I enjoyed the attention. It didn’t take long for me to be the teachers’ pet. *ahem*

I was also class monitor for many years. I enjoyed the privileges that came with it.

Like being noisy in the classroom when I was supposed to make sure my friends didn’t. I need not sweep the floor or clean the board. Called by teachers to answer questions, orally or written. Almost always chosen for competitions like story telling and public speaking.

I enjoyed it all. Come to think of it, I believed I have also been seeking external affirmation and recognition.

I remember distinctly an incident which happened when I was in Standard 5 (Grade 5).

My school had a system of awarding prizes to students who scored well in individual subjects. There were five subjects at the time – Malay, English, Mathematics, Alam dan Manusia (The World and Humankind, which combined geography, history and science) and Moral Studies.

As there were two terms in a year, it was the practice that the highest total marks for both terms for a particular subject be the criteria for awarding the prizes. I don’t remember which subject, but in the second term exams, I scored the highest for two subjects and another person, K, got the highest marks for two other subjects. Someone else got the fifth subject prize.

K was my best friend at the time. We hanged out all the time, spent recess time together and almost inseparable.

Anyway, the class teacher decided that since I won two awards, I should let K receive the other two awards for the subjects he scored highest in. But, if total marks for the entire year were added up, I got the highest for all four subjects.

So what to do? There was this good buddy versus prize and recognition issue. Also, K has not won many prizes previously and I had always won something every year.

Being the nice person that I am, I actually contemplated hard and decided that it was OK for me to share. Ultimately, he was my friend and I had plenty of those trophies from previous years.

That decision was not painless one as I did want the prizes badly too. After all, I deserved them and it was based on merit.

It was very tempting to go up on stage and received all four prizes at one go. Two awards less was, to me at the time, quite a blow to the ego.

However, my parents felt that it was not fair to award the prizes to K. It somehow smacked of sympathy – since he has not won before, let him have a taste of it. But rules are rules, the person with highest marks in a subject for the entire year should get the award. If someone was not good enough, so be it. That was an award based on merit, not charity to be given to those who have not won before.

In the end, the class teacher agreed with the rationale and all four prizes went to me. It was bittersweet, though of course, more sweet than bitter.

Needless to say, K and I grew apart. The following school year, we seldom talked to each other. It was as if we never knew each other, like commuters whom we meet almost every day but never speak to each other.

Furthermore, we were in the same class. I felt awkward and bad around him and if we ever did talk, it was unnatural and formal. Rigid and lacking in warmth.

What happened was something I don’t regret. We were in young and I believe that we would have drifted apart anyway.

Just like those promises to keep in touch when I went to a different secondary school from most of my classmates.

Promises made, which were meant to be kept, but alas, never did. No one is to be blamed.
People come in and go out from our lives.

Life goes on. C’est la vie.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Gays love God

Remember the author I mentioned about last month, the one whom I met during my hike?

Anyway, I was wrong about expecting his interview to be published in the weekend edition of the Sun. Oyoung Wen Fong’s interview was published yesterday. It’s a half page article, under Lifestyle – Books.

Below is the full text of the article.

The right to love
Peter Yap

BEING gay is not a sin - that's what author Oyoung Wen Fong wants readers to believe in his latest book, Gays Love God. This, his second book on gay issues, reveals the struggles of gay Christians, their real life experiences and how a gay person holds strongly to his religious beliefs despite the many pressures put on him by society.

The book centres on four characters - a lesbian pastor, two gay pastors and a former priest in the US - who have made huge contributions in the gay liberation movement from 1970s till now.

The 35-year-old New York-based author once admitted that he was a homophobe until he learnt the reality of life the hard way. A couple of years ago, 30 people, including one gay couple, died in his church (in the US) when someone burnt it down. It was then that Oyoung realised that even gays can love, and that "their love was no less true compared to heterosexual couples".

His first book on homosexuality, the controversial God Loves Gays was released in January this year. When it was first launched here, it spawned a major debate between the author and members of his Christian community, who were understandably upset with the book's content.

Oyoung took their views in stride and was unfazed by the criticism. He knows his subject "inside out", thanks to his experiences with the gay community in the US, as well as his academic background in sociology and theology. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D in sociology and lectures at St Peter's College in New Jersey.

Despite "threats" from certain quarters, Oyoung, who comes from a strong Christian background and is happily married, continues to write articles in support of homosexuals. Still the touchy topic only appeals to certain intellectuals, and the curious reader (or Christian) among us.

Both books are written in Chinese and there is a possibility that the publisher, 3nity, may translate the text into English.

theSun talked to Oyoung, who is also the author of 10 other books, including Articles That You Never Read in Newspapers, Are All Bosses the Same, Different Voice and Critical Idea, Critical Thinker, about why he chose to write about gays.

Why did you decide to write books on this topic?
Gay theology is well established in the United States. I used to be against gays and follow everything in the Bible without questioning until I went to the US to study back in 1997. I learnt to look at the Bible from a different perspective. To me, there is not just one interpretation to the Bible. I believe one can make one's own choice and decision.

When did you come out from the closet?
You assume I'm gay, right? Actually, I don't want to talk about my sexual orientation. When I started to write about gay issues three years ago, I didn't want readers to make my sexual orientation an issue; I wanted them to look at my arguments instead.

What was the initial response?
A lot of people refused to look at the arguments, nor did they try to reason with you. They look at who are you and condemn you and your sexual orientation. I don't think it matters.

Have things changed?
Malaysians are not that exposed to the subject of homosexuality. The Chinese are quite supportive of my book, but some Christians have returned my books after having bought it. Some of them don't even read the books but openly criticise them and me. They say I'm not a good Christian and that I am possessed by evil spirits. Some of my friends are supportive of my arguments and books but don't come forward as they don't want to be labelled "gay".

Are you working on another book?
Yes, I believe people should be liberated... to be able to love and to be loved. So I'll keep writing.

What about gay marriages?
It's something that we can think about. We can review our definition of marriage. If you define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, then gay marriage is not a marriage. But you can still have another name to recognise their partnership.

Oyoung's two books God Loves Gays and Gays Love God are available at Popular Bookstores & Mentor Bookstores.

I am not at all surprised that when someone is pro-gay, he is automatically assumed to be gay too. Especially in Malaysia, when many pastors and priests still maintain their rigid views on homosexuality.

Even if there were, no one would dare openly speak up for the gay community in Malaysia, unlike Clarence Singam of Oogachaga and Alex Au in Singapore.

I am excluding the Chinese-speaking community here, because they do have someone – Eric Goh. He was the one came out on national television in April this year.

Recently, he also wrote a letter to Guang Ming daily, condemning a series of articles which they published. The two reporters visited one of the gay bars (Bliss, I think) and one of them was getting hit on and “persuaded” to go the gents.

Now, if only a certain someone, whose opinion was posted on the Cicak, would read his books. Or rather, simply read.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

A very bloody affair

I did my good deed for the month week last Thursday.

I donated blood.

No, I am not going to go into the details, as some of you might have hematophobia – fear of blood or the sight of blood.

Still, I would like to post these two pictures up. ;P

Needle being inserted, from which the blood flows from the vein into a plastic bag

That said plastic bag, completely filled with blood

But every time I donate blood, I see something that pisses me off a lot.

You see, all potential donors have to fill out a registration form.

They would have to answer questions like have you had acupuncture or body piercing for the past 6 months, taken antibiotics for the past 7 days, a cold in the past week, dental surgery, etc.

All these questions are to gauge the suitability of the donor and blood.

On the final page, before I put down my signature at the bottom, there is this little disclaimer, which says Please do not donate if you fall into any of the following groups.

Noticed the second item?

That is an outright discrimination!

Anyway, I thought that this must have been a remnant from the British.

At the National Blood Service website in the U.K., I looked for the FAQs. One of them will definitely be who can or cannot donate blood.

The site even had an online list of yes or no questions to screen potential donors.

There are twenty-seven questions. Most of the questions are similar to the registration form I filled out.

Question twelve asks:
Are you a man who has had oral or anal sex with another man (even if you used a condom)?

Four questions later, this question pops up - Have you had sex during the last 12 months with a man who has had oral or anal sex with another man?

If you click yes for any of the two, another page turns up with the message:
Thank you for your time...
But it seems you are not able to give blood.

Yeah, bloody right I can't!

Have you had sex during the last 12 months with someone who has received payment for sex with money or drugs or someone who has injected drugs including body building drugs?

The American Red Cross lists same-sex intercourse under HIV/AIDS. Which, I feel, is a little more tactful. But of course, the message remains the same.

You should not give blood if you have AIDS or have ever had a positive HIV test, or if you have done something that puts you at risk for becoming infected with HIV.
You are at risk for getting infected if you:
• have ever used needles to take drugs, steroids, or anything not prescribed by your doctor
• are a male who has had sexual contact with another male, even once, since 1977
• have ever taken money, drugs or other payment for sex since 1977
• have had sexual contact in the past 12 months with anyone described above
• received clotting factor concentrates for a bleeding disorder such as hemophilia

In my opinion, it doesn’t make sense for them to blanket discriminate like that. And I do realise we are not talking about human lives here and that the blood banks are being extremely careful.

In fact, not many people are coming forward to donate blood, for whatever valid or invalid reasons.

Generally, men are more suitable donors *hint hint*, as women has that monthly discharge thingy which usually means they either have low iron in their blood or low blood pressure.

In addition, blood donation has its benefits too. Donating blood is believed to aid the rejuvenation of red blood cells and can help reduce the risk of heart disease, especially in men. It also helps to control blood iron levels, which is important for older men.

Not to mention the lives that will be saved from the blood transfusions, like leukemia patients and accident victims.

Anyway, what I am getting at is that this discrimination is illogical. If the banks are really serious about blood safety, the same stringent restrictions should be applied to the breeders too.

Having the restriction that sex with men under any circumstances is too broad-handed. What about oral sex then? Frottage?

It seems to imply that vaginal sex, oral and even anal sex between straights, are safer than sex of any kind between men, not taking into account other factors like whether a condom is used or not.

From the looks of it, the hospitals' and blood banks' only concerns are number of sex partners and prostitutes.

Though "multiple sex partners" is ambiguous – how many is multiple anyway? Two? Twenty?

On the other hand, I am not denying that anal sex, insertive or receptive, is riskier than vaginal sex.

But to deny someone from donating blood on the basis of having sex with men alone, without even stating which kind, is outright discriminatory.

As the radio ad says, the HIV/AIDS virus doesn’t discriminate (heck, all STDs don't discriminate). Why should you?

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Loading and unloading

I have been busy moving to the new condominium over the weekend. I was even on leave yesterday, still packing and unpacking items, going back and forth, loading and unloading things from the car.

Didn’t know I have accumulated so much in my old house. A few times it pained me to have to throw away stuff, from way back in primary school (like gifts and cards) and secondary (like handiwork and scrapbooks).

I have a little hoarder in me.

Anyway, Dad, Mom and I were in the living room. Dad was going through his things, Mom was dusting something before packing it in a box while I was putting some documents into a bag.

Dad came across a copy of Penthouse, which was in an envelope.

Dad: Hey, this is a porno mag, which *name of friend* gave me ages ago.
Dad: Shall I throw this away? (looks at me) Or you wanna have a look at it first?
Dad: (thinks a moment) Nah, better throw it away.
Mom: Keep it lar. Let him have look at it. (glances at me)
Dad: How can you encourage your son to look at ham sap (dirty) and naked pictures of women? (jokingly)
Dad: Fine, take it then (passes the magazine to Mom)
Mom: He’s a big boy now. It’s ok and perfectly normal. It's only women's body.
Me : (can't believe this is happening. Feeling fearful and apprehensive)
Mom: (passes the mag to me)
Me: (Slowly reach out and take it)

It’s an old copy, a nineteen ninety something issue. Saw the main text superimposed on a naked and faceless woman: One hot stud, two women, great sex.

Or was that one stud, two hot women, great sex?

I flipped through the magazine. Quickly. Pictures of naked women everywhere, especially the nether regions. Saw a picture of a man’s body. Got turned on.

I think I held it for about 15 seconds before I handed it over back to Dad

Dad: You don’t want it? You not interested at all? You like men's picture's instead? You sure you are normal? (He likes to ask many questions one after another, but doesn't wait for answers.)
Me : (pretend to be cool and ignore him)
Dad: Make sure you don’t do those abnormal stuff. You should be able to think for yourself about what is right and wrong. (goes on to tear up the magazine)

First of all, am I expected to browse through the magazine and get turned on in the middle of packing things into boxes? Even if I were straight, I would think that that would be awkward. Getting all excited and be seen like that, in front of your parents.

Secondly, what was my Mom thinking? Openly encouraging me to keep and look at the magazine? For me to continue with my pretenses of heterosexuality or hoping that looking at naked women pictures will turn me straight?

Will have to ask her about it soon.

Perhaps I should have said this:

Me: (takes the magazine enthusiastically) Wow, look at the boobs. So big and round. And look at that tight pussy. Got lesbian sex some more. Hmm ... can give me a couple of minutes? I will be back to finish the packing after er ... unloading something.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Movies mania

What is the latest exciting news in the movie homoverse?

Why, it is Brokeback (bareback?) Mountain (BBM) of course, the gay-theme movie directed by Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, The Hulk) which won the coveted Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.

KW actually picked up on this before I did. He has even read the short story, by Annie Proulx, from which the movie is based on. And that crybaby he totally loved it and can't wait to watch the movie.

What can beat two of the hottest male stars today, Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger getting it on in a steamy sex scene?

Naturally, that shouldn’t be the main purpose of catching the movie. It’s for the love story of course – boy meets boy, fall in love,in a short span of time, separate and go their own ways, get married, meet again after that, continue where they left off with dire consequences.

For a slightly more elaborate synopsis, click here.

Sigh, why is it that gay love stories do no have happy endings? Bishonen and Lan Yu comes to mind.

However, BBM can’t really be faulted as the story was set in the 1960’s and in a cowboy area – Wyoming.

Which coindentally is where Matthew Shepard was murdered back in 1998. There is actually a docu-movie based on this infamous incident called The Laramie Project (and yes, I cried towards the end during the court scene when Matthew’s father read the letter and decided to spare the perpetrators from the death sentence).

Those who managed to catch it either at the Venice Film Festival or Toronto International Film Festival have only positive comments on the film. Even the breeders.

Taken from IMDB:

I felt compelled to write this comment because I'm overwhelmed. It has changed my perception, I must confess, about certain aspect of same sex love because I didn't think of same sex when I was watching it, I saw two human beings (amazing performances by both actors)I have the feeling "Brokeback Mountain" will make history, deservedly so. - bethlambert117 from United States

Throughout the screening there was a lot of nervous laughter (understandably so) from the subject matter. There was the occasional gasp, specifically when Ennis and Jack reunite after years of being apart by unleashing their passion and desire, ravaging each other with a rough "slam-you-against-the-wall" kiss. I was kind of blown away too! Surprisingly, the underlying humour from the story played out well in many of scenes judging from the laughter that was consistently heard from the audience.

But I got the feeling that the laughter was due to nervousness on the audience's part. I got annoyed a few times when people kept laughing nervously over what they were seeing on screen for the first time. But I had remind myself that this type of film isn't something that's easy for a lot of people to digest.

For those of you who have read the story, you know that this film isn't your run-of-the-mill cliché romance where the two lovers walk off into sunset. The film is very powerful in that it stays true to the theme of love between two people -- irregardless that they're both men. I found myself not concerned that these were two men secretly trying to keep their relationship in the dark, but two human-beings in love, trying to survive and live in a time when hate and prejudice still existed against same-sex relationships.

It's true, Heath definitely has the juicer, more complex role and he performs it such bravery and honesty that it just breaks your heart. His repression, fear, anger, guilt and passion pour through in what is, in my opinion, one of the best performances by a male actor I have seen this year by far. He most certainly will receive further recognition and accolades as the awards season rolls in. Here's hoping Oscar shows some love. I wept during Ennis and Jack's final scene together -- when Ennis' damn finally breaks and he collapses into Jack's arms. (BIG SIGH) Simply outstanding !!

The same can be said about Jake's performance. He manages to capture such a longing and pain in Jack's eyes without saying a word. A lot of the most powerful parts of this film is when the actors don't speak. Ang Lee has directed his two male leads to some very brave and career-defining performances here.
Nanabush from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

I can't wait to watch the movie too. Based on reviews and comments so far, BBM seems to be a strong Oscar contender. Which I am not too keen of because these films usually have slow- moving plots and lots of silence scenes.

Though I can wager that it will not be screen in Malaysia, even with the sex scenes snipped off. Because gay => bad => sinful => Western culture => against our values and religion => straight people would suddenly engage in same-sex intercourse => families break down => fabric of society would unravel => fire and brimstone would fall from the sky => end of the world.

Only movies which show straight couples getting married and have children are acceptable. Like this, even though it may be fake or for convenience sake.

So to save us from ourselves, the movie must not be shown here, just like Sin City and Finding Neverland (starring the yummy Johnny Depp). And many others.

Of course, when there is a will, there is a way. Time to visit the ever-helpful DVD peddlers in Petaling Street.

Sigh, what would we do without them?

[The pictures in this post were taken from here. To watch the trailer, please click here.]

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Pretty pics

The beds with clean white sheets

The bathroom, spick-and-span

This was my room and the bathroom. I had an excellent view of the sea. The girls however, weren’t so lucky because theirs were on the other side of the building.

The reason, if I am not wrong, was that the rooms with a seaside view have two single beds and rooms which face the road have a single queen size bed.

Room with an excellent view

Clearly, it was implied that girls can share a same bed but guys can’t. I am not sure from whom this idea came from or why the sudden sensitivity to guys’ needs, but it does smack of sexism and unfairness.

And I blame it on the irrational notion of masculinity and all its related insecurities.

My room mate wanted to catch the sun rise and I was awaken by his alarm at six. Sigh, another early Sunday morning.

I knew I won’t be able to go back to sleep again – even though I slept at two – so I may as well make use of the time and watch the sun rise as well.

I went down to the beach and I took about fifty pictures. These are the better ones.

Taken at 7.11 am

Taken at 7.20 am

Taken at 7.23 am

Taken at 7.30 am

The last picture was me trying to be a bit arty. Heh.

I realised there was an opportunity to capture a picture with three suns – one in the sky, another reflected in the sea and one more in the swimming pool.

The swimming pool looks like this actually.

The swimming pool

Hope you like the pictures. And I also hope they will get weeshiong even more excited to go for his beach trip.

Malaysian idiot

This is a rant. I know I am making general statements here but it can't be helped. Siapa yang makan cili, dia yang rasa pedas (literally means whoever ate chili will feel hot; figuratively means that the wrongdoer will feel remorse or unease).

It never ceased to amaze me how self-centered and self-absorbed some people are. These people believe that the whole world revolves around them and that people should worship the ground they walk on.

These same people are usually shallow too. Seeking external acknowledgement and affirmation. They compare notes to see who is better in everything – career, relationship, etc. They need to know that they are better and ahead of the competition.

In addition, they strive to live up to society's expectation of what is good and acceptable. Trying to attain the common definition of successful which ultimately is empty and unfulfilling.

Pretending to be kind and virtuous but are actually petty and narrow-minded. Putting up a brave front yet cowering inside that they will lose it all one day. Attempt to stay optimistic that their hollow dream is reachable yet knowing deep down that it all for the wrong reasons.

And unfailingly failing to realize it is the substance and not the form that matters.

Having read spot’s recent post, which he borrowed a few ideas from Scalzi, I would like to add a few.

My definition of poor is not material though.

Being poor is believing life is an illusion and yet choose to create more falsehood and keep up appearances.

Being poor is not trusting anyone and being afraid of your own shadow.

Being poor is thinking you are attractive and smart when you are really obnoxious and arrogant.

Being poor is your friends never knowing who and what you are actually because you don’t even know it yourself.

Being poor is people laughing at you, not with you.

Being poor is all of the above without knowing and realising it.

Monday, September 12, 2005

New Orleans

Sorry for the lack of postings since Friday. I was away in Kuantan over the weekend.

Though I am not the only one who have been busy ;P

The reason was that I took part in my company’s annual treasure hunt. We were flagged of at half past seven and our destination was Kuantan. My team reached Kuantan at four.

After resting for a couple of hours, we had a scrumptious dinner. The theme for the night was "Characters from Movies". You know how Malaysians usually don’t dress up for themes and I wasn’t expecting much.

Boy, was I wrong!

There were characters from Star Wars – Jar Jar Binks (most annoying character ever!), Yoda, Darth Vader (we even had two of them!); there were eight Zorros; the Phantom (of the Opera fame) and Christine; a team dressed up as Pharoahs and Cleopatra, Batman (a fat one though), Puteri Gunung Ledang and Men In Black.

There was one who wore the mask from Scary Movie. The one with a longish and curvy mouth.

Not forgetting the most famous contractor from our southern neighbour. We had not one, but four Phua Chu Kangs. The whole team dressed up as exact copies of themselves in the trademark yellow hard hats and black rubber boots. (Phua Chu Kang is a popular Singaporean sitcom about a character of the same name)

It was tremendously fun!

Anyway, my team chose Harry Potter; we were wizards and witches. So I had a red cape on. It wasn’t a full wizard costume as the shop we went to had limited choices.

Later in the night, the results were announced. Suffice to say that I got fourth and lost out on third place by one measly point!

And that point cost my team five hundred bucks!

We spend the night in Hyatt Kuantan, which is at Teluk Chempedak. It is a very nice hotel and my room had a seaside view. The hotel itself is near the beach and it is a very popular tourist spot.

I managed to catch the sun rise. And I also captured it on film.

I think there is always the desire to do so every time I am on the East coast. It's not just me; my colleagues felt the same way too.

Though it finally turned out only my room mate and I did. The rest were sleeping like logs and only woke up after eight.

We left Kuantan at two and reached back in KL after six. That was when I received an extremely interesting text from Will.

On Friday, I was reading through some of the blogs and I found this. It is quite an eye-opener and it really helped me to understand the city of New Orleans better, as it was written by a resident.

I am posting here the parts where he referred to New Orleans and its people and excluded the rest. You can read the full article from the link above.

Notes From Inside New Orleans, by Jordan Flaherty
Friday, September 2, 2005

To understand this tragedy, it's important to look at New Orleans itself.

For those who have not lived in New Orleans, you have missed a incredible, glorious, vital, city. A place with a culture and energy unlike anywhere else in the world. A 70% African-American city where resistance to white supremecy has supported a generous, subversive and unique culture of vivid beauty. From jazz, blues and hiphop, to secondlines, Mardi Gras Indians, Parades, Beads, Jazz Funerals, and red beans and rice on Monday nights, New Orleans is a place of art and music and dance and sexuality and liberation unlike anywhere else in the world.

It is a city of kindness and hospitality, where walking down the block can take two hours because you stop and talk to someone on every porch, and where a community pulls together when someone is in need. It is a city of extended families and social networks filling the gaps left by city, state and federal goverments that have abdicated their responsibilty for the public welfare. It is a city where someone you walk past on the street not only asks how you are, they wait for an answer.

It is also a city of exploitation and segregation and fear. The city of New Orleans has a population of just over 500,000 and was expecting 300 murders this year, most of them centered on just a few, overwhelmingly black, neighborhoods. Police have been quoted as saying that they don’t need to search out the perpetrators, because usually a few days after a shooting, the attacker is shot in revenge.

There is an atmosphere of intense hostility and distrust between much of Black New Orleans and the N.O. Police Department. In recent months, officers have been accused of everything from drug running to corruption to theft. In seperate incidents, two New Orleans police officers were recently charged with rape (while in uniform), and there have been several high profile police killings of unarmed youth, including the murder of Jenard Thomas, which has inspired ongoing weekly protests for several months.

The city has a 40% illiteracy rate, and over 50% of black ninth graders will not graduate in four years. Louisiana spends on average $4,724 per child’s education and ranks 48th in the country for lowest teacher salaries. The equivalent of more than two classrooms of young people drop out of Louisiana schools every day and about 50,000 students are absent from school on any given day. Far too many young black men from New Orleans end up enslaved in Angola Prison, a former slave plantation where inmates still do manual farm labor, and over 90% of inmates eventually die in the prison. [Angola only takes prisoners serving sentences of 50 years or more, thus the high number. -- NK] It is a city where industry has left, and most remaining jobs are are low-paying, transient, insecure jobs in the service economy.

Race has always been the undercurrent of Louisiana politics. This disaster is one that was constructed out of racism, neglect and incompetence. Hurricane Katrina was the inevitable spark igniting the gasoline of cruelty and corruption. From the neighborhoods left most at risk, to the treatment of the refugees to the the media portayal of the victims, this disaster is shaped by race.

Louisiana politics is famously corrupt, but with the tragedies of this week our political leaders have defined a new level of incompetence. As hurricane Katrina approached, our Governor urged us to “Pray the hurricane down” to a level two. Trapped in a building two days after the hurricane, we tuned our battery-operated radio into local radio and tv stations, hoping for vital news, and were told that our governor had called for a day of prayer. As rumors and panic began to rule, they was no source of solid dependable information. Tuesday night, politicians and reporters said the water level would rise another 12 feet - instead it stabilized. Rumors spread like wildfire, and the politicians and media only made it worse.

While the rich escaped New Orleans, those with nowhere to go and no way to get there were left behind. Adding salt to the wound, the local and national media have spent the last week demonizing those left behind. As someone that loves New Orleans and the people in it, this is the part of this tragedy that hurts me the most, and it hurts me deeply.

No sane person should classify someone who takes food from indefinitely closed stores in a desperate, starving city as a “looter,” but thats just what the media did over and over again. Sherrifs and politicians talked of having troops protect stores instead of perform rescue operations.

Images of New Orleans’ hurricane-ravaged population were transformed into black, out-of-control, criminals. As if taking a stereo from a store that will clearly be insured against loss is a greater crime than the governmental neglect and incompetence that did billions of dollars of damage and destroyed a city. This media focus is a tactic, just as the eighties focus on “welfare queens” and super-predators” obscured the simultaneous and much larger crimes of the Savings and Loan scams and mass layoffs, the hyper-exploited people of New Orleans are being used as a scapegoat to cover up much larger crimes.

City, state and national politicians are the real criminals here. Since at least the mid-1800s, its been widely known the danger faced by flooding to New Orleans. The flood of 1927, which, like this week’s events, was more about politics and racism than any kind of natural disaster, illustrated exactly the danger faced. Yet government officials have consistently refused to spend the money to protect this poor, overwhelmingly black, city.

Most recent report put the death toll at more than four hundred.

I definitely agree that the world will never look at America the same way again. Even Americans themselves can't believe the chaos and anarchy, borned out of helplessness, that befell the city in the aftermath of the hurricane.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

The next disaster: Earthquake

My closest gay friend, NG, is going to the U.K. soon for his Masters. As such, we had a farewell dinner for him. When I say we, I meant YN, my ex and myself.

As NG loves ice cream, we decided on Swensen’s and on a Tuesday to take advantage of the half price promotion on their famous Earthquake – eight scoops of delightful ice cream with our choice of flavours.

You see, I meet up with NG all the time and I could have arrange something else with him another time, but my ex, YF wanted to come too. Which was why I suggested Swensen’s.

Furthermore, he is extremely busy almost everyday, with not just his work, but his other sources of income, which I am not supposed to disclose - even though it is perfectly legal – due to his paranoia.

My ex is not as close to NG as I am to him. That would probably explain why YF wanted me to be there and he even suggested that I invite a few other friends of NG.

As I was busy with work and all, I didn’t get around to inviting NG’s other friends to come along. So it was just the three of us.

We agreed to meet at SS2 Swensen’s at seven.

If you remember, I have stated in the past that the two things which annoy me the most about YF are his forgetfulness and unpunctuality.

Nope, he didn’t forget.

In fact, he actually called me at five while he was driving home. I was still at work.

He called not because he wanted to confirm the time and place, but he needed someone to talk to. And it’s not because he knows I am a good listener (even though I am) – he was feeling sleepy and almost drifting to zzz-land.

I was supposed to talk to him, to keep him awake. Like a shot of espresso. Like a nicotine fix.

Yup, I felt very much appreciated.

It might have been sweet if I were still dating him.

Apparently, he only got an hour’s sleep the night before. And three hours the night before that. I don’t know why because I wasn't really listening to him. Something about deadlines and last minute.

Anyway, I don’t claim to be very organized myself or have excellent time management, but I certainly fare better than him in this area.

Whatever it was, he reiterated that he would be there at seven. Though he jokingly said that he might not turn up if he couldn’t wake up.

That should have set the alarms ringing.

NG and I were there at a quarter to seven. We decided to wait for YF to arrive before we ordered.

I sat opposite NG and my back was facing the entrance, thus he was the one keeping an eye on he door.

I too was turning around whenever customers came in.

And someone managed to catch my eye though. An extremely cute guy (in my book) with his girlfriend.

Sometimes I wonder, aren’t all the cute ones supposed to be gay? ;P

As NG was in a suitable position and I had my camera, you know what I would have suggested.

But NG refused initially. As luck would have it, the table next to the cute guy was taken soon after and thus, our line of sight was obstructed.

So this is what we got instead. Let me assure you that I have bad taste in men this picture does not do him justice – he is very much cuter in person, with his boyish face and fair skin.

The cute guy

Back to the dinner. Finally, we decided to go ahead with our order. Time was now a quarter past seven.

YF never showed up, even after repeated phone calls from me. It didn’t take much to deduce that he overslept.

Oh well.

NG had the spicy cheese pizza and I had the baked rice with curry chicken.

The main attraction – Earthquake.

The Earthquake

When the bill came, the price of the Earthquake was not on included. I was surprised, yet secretly happy, that they were negligent.

Though working in an ice-cream parlour hasn’t really affected their sight as they could still see through the dry ice and realized their mistake.

We left at half past eight. That was because a while later, another bunch of friends of his were taking him out to Swensen’s as well. So there would be a Round Two of Earthquake for him.

Absolutely sinful!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Hurricane Katrina

On Sunday, I was reading the newspaper when I came across this.

US Fundamentalists: Hurricane was God's judgement on New Orleans

Repent America, an organisation that claims to "go out into the streets and communities of America declaring the word of God and proclaiming the Good News", has said that an upcoming event in the city caused God to act.

The annual event was ‘Southern Decadence’, which brings together thousands of homosexuals, enabling them to celebrate their sexuality.

I can’t believe how insensitive some people are. And opportunistic at the same time.

Clearly, anything goes to promote their religion.

By the way, an annual event is so much worse than an everyday and routine (and fabulous) life that many gays and lesbians lead, like in San Francisco and Netherlands and everywhere else in the world.

Every time there is a disaster, people would take the chance to attribute it to God and speculate at best of its intentions.

The tsunami which killed more than two hundred thousand people, what was that all about then? Wiping out almost entire populations of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands; they must be having rampant gay sex or something on their islands, away from prying eyes (and I don’t mean any disrespect to the dead).

How does one explain the indiscriminate senseless destruction? The tsunami that swept away Muslim, Christian, Buddhists, Hindus and people of other beliefs?

I found this little gem:
If the 2004 tsunami was intentionally triggered by God, then he is illustrating his unchangeability over time. - Religious Tolerance

Oh wait, but it gets better. I found this from World Wide Rant.

Two Christian leaders in New Orleans are testifying to God's mercy in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. One suggests that the death toll could have been much higher had it not been for God's mercy -- and the other that God may have used the hurricane to purge wickedness from the city.

First one said:
"It's a terrible tragedy," Kelley says of the devastation in and around New Orleans, "and we still don't know the scope of it -- but the evidences of God's mercy are there. We rejoice in the fact that He has got the whole world in His hands, including the city of New Orleans and [the seminary]."

Second one said:
“New Orleans now is abortion free. New Orleans now is Mardi Gras free. New Orleans now is free of Southern Decadence and the sodomites, the witchcraft workers, false religion -- it's free of all of those things now," Shanks says. "God simply, I believe, in His mercy purged all of that stuff out of there -- and now we're going to start over again."

So which is which?

One might argue that it could be both. God wanted to destroy some and yet save others. We will never know how he thinks. And leave it at that.

That is more comforting, ain't it? It's the Highest Power's will; let's move on with our lives and do what we can.

And when everyone pulled together and helped out to overcome the suffering, it's all thanks to the Entity in the Sky again - for his grace, medicine, clean water, care and love shown from their fellow humankind, etc.

I have always believe that once someone has decided on something or perceived it in some way, it is extremely easy to rationalize it.

Like when I don’t have the intention of buying anything but see an absolutely-must-have shirt because it flaunts and fits nicely to my body, I’ll rationalize buying it, either with "Oh, I deserve it after working so hard and staying late at work for the past month" or "It’s on sale, I’ll never get it at this price again."

Stronger discipline to resist the temptation will need this kind of rationalization – "I have overspent this month" or "How many times will I actually wear that?"

Different people look at the same thing and they can see it differently. It all lies in the perception, of how one has been brought up and the worldview one has.

There is no right or wrong, because no one can be sure what God thinks. At least, for those who don’t readily accept a coherent scientific view and try to read something out of it.

However, fundamentalists and extremist exist in all religions. I never thought that Christianity and al-Qaeda would have something to agree on, but I was wrong.

They both agreed that it was the act and wrath of God.

Iraq's al Qaeda says Katrina is "wrath of God"
DUBAI, Sept 4 (Reuters) - The al Qaeda group in Iraq on Sunday hailed the hurricane deaths in "oppressor" America as the "wrath of God", according to an Internet statement.

"God attacked America and the prayers of the oppressed were answered," said the statement, which was posted on an Islamic Web site often used by the insurgent group fighting the U.S.-backed Iraqi government.

I doubt that there will ever be any other agreement. At least, not till the next disaster.

Natural disasters always pose questions about the world we live in and ultimately, the one that has no definitive and conclusive answer as yet - "Is there a God?"

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Movie and dinner

Haven’t been updating for three days. Three days! That’s so unlike me. ;P

Let’s do a brief recap.

I went out for a movie date. It has been ages quite some time since I have gone for one.

We watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The movie was so chocolatey that one can get fat just watching it. There were chocolate in almost every scene!

But still it was good. It appealed to the child in me. Bright colours, marvelous inventions – chocolate television, “whipped” cream, cute squirrels, come-uppance to those spoilt brats, a heart-warming and happy ending.

Johnny Depp was brilliant as usual, though a bit freaky. Fair, almost-white skin, somewhat squeaky voice, funny hairdo, frequent flashbacks to a candy-free and sad childhood – absolutely different to how the character of Willy Wonka was portrayed in the book.

After the movie, we went to Citrus Park for tong sui (dessert). We even ordered the same thing – mung beans.

It was a good first date and I had an enjoyable time. He was funny, knowledgeable and ambitious.

Let’s just see how this goes.

Helped with the cleaning of the new house. My family would be moving soon to a new abode in the middle of the month, so I am now busy with packing.

In the evening, it was my company’s annual dinner at the KLCC Convention Center. The food was slightly better than last year’s. We had performances by Joanne Yeoh, the violinist, who played various songs, ranging from the overture to Phantom of the Opera and ABBA’s Dancing Queen to one famous Chinese oldie (which I don’t know the name to).

Oh, the other guest performer was Anuar Zain, touted as Malaysia’s top male entertainer.

Well, I couldn’t really tell, as he was mobbed by adoring male and female fans as he performed on and off stage. A little busy fending them off whilst singing.

Anuar Zain

Though he is quite "yummy" in a sense. He now sports a shorter hairdo.

Rumour has it that he is gay. Sigh, the malicious (or not) things people say about those who are famous.

I didn’t have the luck to win anything for the lucky draw though. Oh well.

Anyway, I managed to capture a picture of KLCC when I left at midnight. It is a tad blurry, as I didn't have a tripod with me.

The KLCC Twin Towers at midnight

Friday, September 02, 2005

August's Monthly Hiking Trip

I was up at half past six on Sunday. As usual, it was for none other than my monthly hiking trip.

This time, it was to climb Gunung Angsi, located in Hutan Lipur Ulu Bendul. We exited from the North-South highway at the Senawang toll. The journey from Kuala Lumpir took us a little more than an hour.

It rained in the morning, when I got up. It always seemed to be raining or cloudy on the day of our hiking trips. As the hike would be out of town, there was a high probability that it would not be raining over there at Angsi.

There were twenty of us who joined, with two from Seremban. As such, it made logical sense that both of them meet us there, instead of Bukit Jalil LRT station where the rest of gathered.

Initially, twenty six people signed up. I suppose the promo email (three and a half hours climb) might have scared some people away.

One of the more interesting people with us was Oyong Wen Feng, a Malaysian, now based in New York. He is the author of the book Gays Love God, which was launched recently. More about him later.

There were a few new faces too - Calvin, Danny, Philip and the two guys from Seremban, Felix and er ... his friend (oops, forgot the name).

When we reached our destination, luck was on our side, as the weather was good with the sun shining brightly and warm on our skins.

After a short group warm-up led by Eric, off we went. It was expected to be a three hour hike up.

The trail was right beside the river, so we had the sound of gurgling and rushing water to accompany us. But midway, we had to cross the river.

The interesting part of the hike started after crossing the river. We had to ascend a cliff with the help of a rope. What made it challenging was that there were boulders on both sides and the space in-between was just nice to fit one adult person of reasonable size.

Affectionately called "the Crack"

If someone like Arnold Schwarzenegger was there, I don't think he could have done it.

Being just the right size, I managed to go into the space. However, it would have been easier if I have a better grip, but alas, I have smooth hands. *ahem*

Oh, did I mention that we would have to come down the same way later?

After that, came the "Staircase to Hell", nicknamed as such by KC who was here two months ago.

For the remaining one third of the journey up to the peak, it was climbing at a slope of about 60 degrees.

To me, it was like Kinabalu all over again, except that it was only like five percent of it.

It didn't post much of a problem for me. Heh.

Nevertheless, a most unfortunate thing happened. The tiny screw of my glasses decided to come loose and my lens popped out and fell to the ground.

There was no way I could wear the spectacles with only one lens, so I had to ditch the glasses into my backpack.

Now, I am not completely without clear sight without glasses, but with 400-500 of astigmatism and more than 300 for short-sightedness, the world became a blur to me at the time.

Light is important to me, because even though shapes are blurred, I can still make out what an object is. I can still make out that a spider is a spider and not a furry stone.

Anyway, with my sight hampered, I still managed to reach the top. We had lunch and rested for about 45 minutes.

View from the top

It is always more difficult to go down as it is easier to slip. What more with my impaired vision. I had to have someone in front of me so that I know where to step on. It was as if I was tracking someone; I was like his 3-D shadow.

Even though I was being extra careful not to slip or trip over tree roots, I still got a sprained ankle. I twisted my left ankle as I stepped on an uneven object, which I couldn’t make out what it was.

Luckily, I could still walk without much trouble. All thanks to my new outdoor shoes which kept my feet rigid at the ankle, thus I was able to trod down the path without much discomfort.

Not forgetting the people who helped me - Mak, for carrying my backpack; Danny, Calvin and Kevin for being there to show support and concern. Thanks, guys.

Of course, I also appreciate the hilarious jokes and teasing that they made about each other, and about me too. They really made me laugh till I forgot about the pain in my ankle.

Mak, who was quiet when he first joined us last month, was undoubtedly the center of attention and provider of humour. With his infectiously loud laugh and voice, we could hear him a mile away.

We had to cross the river again on the way down.

It is a popular picnic spot for families. As such, we chose to stop and relax further upstream, away from the masses.

Coz we were afraid we might offend those ciks (young ladies) and makciks (old ladies) when we stripped down to swimtrunks.

This was when I took the opportunity to talk to Oyong. I have heard that he changed from being anti-gay to gay-friendly, but I did not know the details like how and why.

Apparently, this change took place when he went to U.S. to do his degree in sociology. He minored in religious studies and that was when he was exposed to all the viewpoints, not just the mainstream conservative Christian ones which was the case when he was in Malaysia.

This was back in 1998, if I am not wrong.

Oh, I forgot to mention that he is a Christian. He supposedly wants to be a priest in the future.

People change opinions and beliefs all the time. Yet, I think it is pretty uncommon when one change from being conservative to a more liberal view.

His first book was "God Loves Gays" and the second is "Gays Loves God". Both are in Chinese. I asked why he doesn’t write in English and he replied that it’s easier for him in Chinese. Besides, there are many other books in English on Christianity and homosexuality.

By the way, he also writes a fortnightly article for Sin Chew Jit Poh (a Chinese daily) on politics and current issues.

He also told me that he was interviewed by the Sun just the day before. As such, I believe we might be able to read the interview in one of the weekend edition of the Sun.

That will be something I look forward to.

After frolicking in the river for half an hour, we continued on our descend.

Going down, because of fatigue, the trail felt longer than it actually is. We were thinking to ourselves, "We are reaching the end soon. It can’t be too far."

But the thought stayed as a thought for a good half an hour, before it was realised.

We left at 5.30 p.m. and reach back at Bukit Jalil at seven, due to the heavy traffic on the North-South highway. After that, I went with five other people to Subang Jaya for dinner.

We had bak kut teh (pork in herbal soup). I know that Klang is the place for bak kut teh, but it is the distance that was the issue - we were tired and hungry and couldn't possibly make the drive there and not be grumpy.

OK, perhaps the last part there applies to me only. Besides, Calvin said there is a cute waiter who works at the bak kut teh restaurant.

Yup, the things we do for cute guys. ;P

Sad to say, he wasn't working on that day. Hmmph.

I reached home close to ten and went to dreamland right after a hot shower.

Another tiring day, but it was a good workout for the butt muscles. And of course, the heart and lungs too.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

More on Merdeka

Still on Merdeka.

There is this article written by Raja Petra, published in Malaysia Today, an online publication.

I have taken excerpts from it, which I find to be food for thought. Emphasis are my own.

48 years ago today, Umno, they would have us believe, succeeded in gaining independence for Malaya after a long, hard ‘struggle’ since 1946. 11 years of battling the British Colonial masters finally bore fruit when the First Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, stood proudly before cheering Malayans shouting, “Merdeka, Merdeka, Merdeka!”

As I said, that is what Umno would have us believe.

Actually, the fight for Merdeka was spearheaded by many unsung heroes whose names have been conveniently left out of the history books. At best, Umno was the British ‘running dog’ that collaborated with the British rather than fought against them in the pursuit of independence.

As the Americans would say, why should we want to remove a dictator 10,000 miles away and replace him with 10,000 dictators one mile away? And that is what we achieved on 31 August 1957, this historic day called Merdeka Day which is celebrated every year, today included.

The British plundered this country and used the wealth of this nation as their own. Has that changed in 48 years of independence?

The British did not tolerate freedom of expression and would detain anyone who spoke out against and criticised the government. Has that changed in 48 years of independence?

The British introduced laws that not only stifled and restricted freedom of expression but that also allowed those who violated this law to be detained. Has that changed in 48 years of independence?

The British introduced a law that allowed for detention without trial, where one need not be brought before a court to be formally charged or tried for any crime. Has that changed in 48 years of independence?

The British detained anyone perceived as threats to the nation even if they had not committed any crime but were only harbouring dissenting thoughts. Has that changed in 48 years of independence?

The British practiced a divide and rule strategy so that the various races would not unite and would distrust one another. Has that changed in 48 years of independence?

The British groomed the Malays for the civil service while the non-Malays were geared towards economic activities. Has that changed in 48 years of independence?

The British created a Malay elite and ruling class complete with titles and the full trimmings of elitism. Has that changed in 48 years of independence?

And the list can go on and on. 48 years of Merdeka and what do we have? Same shit different day. We sent the British home in favour of a better Malaya. But once the British left we just aped what they did when they were the masters of this land. Maybe Darwin was right after all.

Merdeka, Merdeka, Merdeka!

The question is: from what?