Thursday, March 30, 2006

A little incident

CF had a minor incident on Tuesday.

He was making a right turn when a motorcyclist was speeding and collided into the front of his car.

Apparently, it wasn’t a hard hit as the motorcyclist could get up and ride away. So CF drove on, as he shouldn’t stop the flow of traffic anyway.

When he stopped at the traffic light further down the road, a man in uniform rode up to the window on the passenger's side, took down his plate number and told CF to go to the nearest police station.

Then he rode off.

CF, my dear innocent boyfriend, didn’t know where the nearest police station is. Well, actually, he does, but he was panicking and couldn’t think properly.

His earlier offense of not stopping to check on the motorcyclist, didn’t help either. He was feeling a little afraid and guilty.

But then hor, CF said it was my fault as he was on his way to my office to pick me up. He didn’t go to the police station but came straight to my office instead.

As I got into the car, he looked furious. If looks could kill, the one on his face definitely qualifies.

When I was in the car, he decided to go to the police station nearest to the scene of the incident. But I found out from a colleague that we have to go to the nearest traffic police station, not just any police station.

We knew we were doing the right thing, but it didn’t seem like the smart thing to do. I mean, if the other guy was alright, why report it and get fined (and pay a little extra), lose on NCD (no claims discount) and have his driving license suspended?

In the meantime, I was also calling up a colleague who knows what to do in this kind of situation.

According to him, it was best not to report. The circumstances seemed to be in our favour and his reasons convinced us. I am not going to say what his arguments were.

Suffice to say, CF didn’t do a hit-and-run. He saw that the guy was OK, even without getting out from the car.

So yeah, I suppose he was lucky. We didn’t want to have to deal with the police again, after this little incident.

And he isn't mad at me anymore. But we still made up after that. ;P

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


What’s the hottest news in the papers currently? No, it’s not about the National Automative Policy, but about tudung (head scarf).

Recently, the Inspector-General of Police said that all policewomen must wear headscarves during official functions. The reason is according to him, “was for the sake of uniformity.”

This blogger put it succinctly, when he said:
Since when has the need for uniformity in police parades over-ridden the individual right to freedom of religion?

The tudung is a Muslim headdress; it is worn by Muslim women who believe that covering the head, with the exception of the face, is required by their religion.

Let me ask this question: If there are fewer tudung-wearing policewomen in a particular parade than those not wearing the tudung, which of the two groups are not "uniformly dressed"?

The answer is, girls and boys, the group wearing the tudung.

For the past few months, issues after issues have emerged, mostly about religion encroaching on civil liberties. And quite often, common sense too.

A professor of law in UTM has called it the “'silent re-writing' of the Constitution.”

Malaysia is gradually turning into an Islamic state in practice, even though “a Federal Court decision of 1988 which considered Article 3 of the Federal Constitution and emphatically declared that this (Malaysia) is a secular nation.”

Even in the United States, more and more people are becoming insular in religion, as the world becomes wider as borders fall and globalization marches on. But at least there is a healthy debate and that many believe that separation of state and religion is what a democracy should be.

The writer of the New York Times bestseller “The World is Flat”, Thomas Friedman has his own ideas about why the Islamic world is getting more reactionary and easily provoked over things religious.

Today's world has become so wired together, so flattened, that you can't avoid seeing just where you stand on the planet -- just where the caravan is and just how far ahead or behind you are. In this flat world you get your humiliation fiber-optically, at 56K or via broadband, whether you're in the Muslim suburbs of Paris or Kabul. Today, Muslim youth are enraged by cartoons in Denmark. Earlier, it was a Newsweek story about a desecrated Quran. Why? When you're already feeling left behind, even the tiniest insult from afar goes to the very core of your being -- because your skin is so thin.

India is the second-largest Muslim country in the world, but the cartoon protests here, unlike those in Pakistan, have been largely peaceful. One reason for the difference is surely that Indian Muslims are empowered and live in a flourishing democracy. India's richest man is a Muslim software entrepreneur.
But so many young Arabs and Muslims live in nations that have deprived them of any chance to realize their full potential.

The Middle East Media Research Institute, called MEMRI, just published an analysis of the latest employment figures issued by the U.N.'s International Labor Office. The ILO study, MEMRI reported, found that "the Middle East and North Africa stand out as the region with the highest rate of unemployment in the world": 13.2 percent. That is worse than in sub-Saharan Africa. [ See MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis Series - No. 265 - February 10, 2006 Unemployment in the Middle East – Causes and Consequences]

No wonder so many young people in this part of the world are unprepared, and therefore easily enraged, as they encounter modernity. And no wonder backward religious leaders and dictators in places like Syria and Iran -- who have miserably failed their youth -- are so quick to turn their young people's anger against an insulting cartoon and away from themselves and the rot they have wrought.

Is Islamisation of Malaysia a response to modernity, which to a lot people here, is always taken to mean the Western world and loose morals? That the current moral decay of society, what with higher incidences of murder and rape, the supposedly prevalence of homosexuality, prostitution, etc can be overcome with going back to rigid and dogmatic practices?

I am not saying that religion won't help. But they are looking at the wrong things. The way people dress is not correlated with how religious they are. Someone who dresses skimpily may be a deeply God-fearing person whereas someone else who prays five times a day may be accepting bribes.

It's the way religion is thought, the people, the environment. If kids are thought to only memorise lines, if the people around them do not practise what they preach, if they see injustice done and still they can get away with it; these are the things that matter.

And things that matter, the root of the problem, are always the hardest to dig up and to throw away. To start all over.

When people fear something, they turn to the only things they know. Or feel is the only certain thing in the world - God’s words.

Or rather, their interpretation of his words.

I think Alex Au captures it best.

Modernity and reason as threat
The world has been globalising for the last few hundred years, but one player has had a huge advantage -- the West. Modernity as we know it first developed there; European societies and their offshoots have had the most time to adjust to its demands and reap its benefits.

Other societies, e.g. in the Arab world, India and China, have tended to experience modernity as invasive, disruptive and alien. Not surprisingly, the response is a circling of the wagons, a heightened sense of identity being under siege.

There is a natural instinct to recall past glories to bolster the argument against the invasion of modernity, which is often cast as Westernisation. What past glories are recalled naturally depends on what past civilisational glories there are. In China we see a resort to nationalism, since its political achievements have been a near-continuous thread through its history. Across the Arab world, most of today's states are recent inventions, so nationalism doesn't have the same resonance. Instead the past glory that is most available for comfort is that of the early caliphates.
That explains why Islamic identity seems more easily roused than national identity.

In the last 2 decades or so, the rhetoric of Islamic identity has bubbled over from the Arab states into other Muslim-majority countries, such as Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Indonesia. In the latter two, we have seen how Malay and Javanese identity is now being pre-empted by Islamic identity.

Female dressing has become more conformist, occasionally more Arab-like. Vigilante mobs go around enforcing Islamic precepts against co-mingling of sexes and entertainment. In Indonesia, there is currently a push to pass an "anti-pornography" law, but which may contain criminal sanctions against un-Islamic dressing, the mixing of men and women and the mildest allusions to the erotic. In Malaysia, a bill to make apostasy a criminal offence has been proposed. In fact, no Muslim in Malaysia has any practical way of renouncing his religion. He is bound by Islamic Sharia law whether he likes it or not.

Beyond technology, reason too leads to a rethink of the way society is structured. Why do kings claim a "divine right" to rule? Why should some men be more equal than others? Why shouldn't women be the equal of men? Why is one religion considered "true" and others not? What constitutes reliable evidence in a trial? Why should certain opinions be punishable?

It then led to steady improvement in civic life.

A few weeks backs, a headmistress in Penang withdraw her netball team when she saw them playing without head scarves. The girls said that it was uncomfortable wearing them while playing in the afternoon sun.

It’s utterly perplexing that logic and reason still lose to some other “logic”, in this day and age.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Nine things about me

Some stuff about me. This is some sort of a filler post.

1) I was bullied when I was in primary school. Lower primary was the worst. Interestingly, the class bully is now a tuition teacher.

2) When I was younger, I used to think that sparrows are baby crows. I found it amazing that those cute, small birds could turn into big, black, ugly and noisy ones.

3) I used to take gift cards from stores. I stopped when I saw the price 0.90 written in pencil on it. The ones that I took before didn’t have any price tags.

4) When I was four or five, I was knocked down by a bicycle. It went over my butt.

5) I was in all-boys primary and secondary school.

6) I hang around the basketball court in school, on hot afternoons, to watch boys play shirtless. And sweaty. Yummm.

7) Seven. That's the number of hours of sleep I need a day. Anything less, I become grouchy and grumpy.

8) I love fish. Steamed fish, raw fish, Fillet-O-Fish, fish and chips, etc. I don’t like to keep them in bowls though. Oh, and I am a Piscean.

9) Nine in Cantonese sounds like dog. I am afraid of dogs and cockroaches. Well, not all of them. Those small and cute and don’t bark ones are OK.

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


It’s interesting that my readers here know that about my job down south, but my colleagues still don’t. At least most of them anyway.

I was in Singapore yesterday to sign the employment contract, medical check up and submit the employment pass application. Thought I could finish everything pretty quickly, but I spent about half an hour looking for the clinic.

I arrived back in KL close to midnight. I switched on the radio in the car and managed to catch a bit of the interview with Kit. He talked about his work as a phone counselor with PT Foundation; what does PT Foundation do and what he feels about volunteerism.

I could only understand bits and pieces, as it was in Mandarin.

And I couldn’t listen to it for long either, as my dad was with me and he has this misconception that HIV/AIDS equals being gay.

Currently, they are having a recruitment drive for new volunteers. If anyone is interested (I hope so!), please attend the Volunteer Orientation Briefing either on 25 March (Saturday) at 3:00pm or 28 March (Tuesday) at 8:00pm. The PT Foundation address can be found on the right sidebar.

And no, you don’t have to know how to speak Mandarin.

Anyway, it’s almost final. My new job in Singapore. In less than a month’s time, I will be at my new work place. Away from home for the first time, with a body of water little bit of sea separating me from the people and places I have known all my life.

So drama, right?

Yeah, I know it’s not that far and I know that I will be back. In a year or two.

Thanks for all the well wishes so far. I will be starting a new and exciting chapter in my life and I am looking forward to it.

Monday, March 20, 2006


Living is a challenge. So many things to juggle, so many people to please (including myself), so many tasks to be done, so many wants to be fulfilled (desire is the cause of suffering). It can be overwhelming at times.

For those who are single, they yearn for a partner. Those who are attached sometimes wish that they are single again. A perfect example of the adage that the grass is always greener on the other side.

But really, each situation has its own set of problems. Singlehood has its own share of problems and so does commitment to another person.

Similarly, getting married to solve the issues that come with homosexuality (pressure from parents and relatives, projecting the image of a successful director with wife and kids) is not unlike jumping from the pan into the fire. It’s not like marriage solves everything – there are marriage related issues too, like how to split the house chores, family planning, in-laws, etc.

What is the worse that can happen in a relationship? Breaking up?

Sometimes ending it is the best thing one can do. Rather than all the silence and awkwardness, the uncomfortable glances and resentful stares.

Sometimes, a romantic relationship is not meant to be. Being friends is the best one can hope for and it would be just as good, if not better, than boyfriends.

I know it is cliché, but I believe this to be true. If you love someone, you want him to be happy. Even if that happiness comes from another person, male or female. One cannot help but be happy as well, though obviously with a tinge of disappointment and hurt.

Realising that nothing lasts forever is probably the most important lesson to remember. Carpe diem. Live in the moment. Live for the moment.

I am sure you have heard the one about shopping for men. It goes like this:

Recently a "Husband Super Store" opened where women could go to choose a husband from among many men. It was laid out in five floors.

The only rule was, once you opened the door to any floor, you HAD to choose a man from that floor; if you went up a floor, you couldn't go back down except to leave the place, never to return. A couple of girlfriends went to the shopping center to find some husbands...

First floor
The door had a sign saying, "These men have jobs and love kids." The women read the sign and said, "Well, that's better than not having a job or not loving kids, but I wonder what's further up?" So up they went.

Second floor
The sign read, "These men have high paying jobs, love kids, and are extremely good looking." "Hmmm," said the ladies, "But, I wonder what's further up?"

Third floor
This sign read, "These men have high paying jobs, are extremely good looking, love kids and help with the housework." "Wow," said the women, "Very tempting." But there was another floor, so further up they went.

Fourth floor
This door had a sign saying "These men have high paying jobs, love kids, are extremely good looking, help with the housework and have a strong romantic streak." "Oh, mercy me," they cried, "Just think what must be awaiting us further on! So up to the fifth floor they went.

Fifth floor
The sign on that door said, "This floor is empty and exists only to prove that women are impossible to please. The exit is to your left."

Obviously, it's unfair to say that it's just the women who are not satisfied. I think it applies to most of us.

Anyway, there’s nothing wrong with the men, even those on the first floor. There will always be someone better, cuter, wealthier, hunkier, longer, etc. When will it end then? It won’t.

We humans can never be satisfied. As they say, happiness is not about having the things that you want, but wanting the things that you have.

P/S In case any of you are wondering, this post does not represent my relationship with CF. I just want to get all these out of my head.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


CF and I celebrated my birthday at San Francisco’s Steakhouse. As he has never eaten there before, I thought I would on the special occasion.

The food was good, but he felt they were way overpriced. RM55.90 for a sirloin steak as big as the palm of my hand. Thus, he decided that this would be his first and last time.

In the midst of dinner, I brought up something which upset him a lot.

I have always believed in speaking my mind. To open up and express whatever that bothers me. In this case, honesty wasn’t something that was desired.

Still, I felt that it was out in the open and we managed resolve it. I got a better understanding of CF and his character.

After dinner, we went to watch Casanova. He had wanted to watch it ages ago, so I let him have his way. It was an enjoyable and fun movie, with average acting; definitely not Best Actor Oscar award kind of level.

We had some good laughs and he was back to his normal self. Somewhat.

For the first time that I can remember, I didn’t spend the weekend with him. Which was probably a good thing. He has been moody recently and the cause of it was only identified yesterday – me going to Singapore.

I thought that he was quite OK with it as he seemed to have accepted it and know that it’s for the better. Things would work out eventually, but at the moment, I suppose it is difficult to see that now.

To me, people’s feelings are important and are not to be toyed with.

I realize it’s not going to be easy for the both us.

My thoughts are all over the place as I write this. The offer from Singapore came yesterday. Not that I haven’t been expecting it, but it did come a little too soon.

Things have been quite hectic and will continue to be. I have been pretty much doing, without much thinking.

Yesterday, a close friend Kit, asked both of us out for dinner as a treat for my birthday. Haven’t met him since Chinese New Year and we had a great time. Even CF was in a good mood.

Sigh, so many things to do with so little time.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Silver jubilee

This morning I got a handshake from dad and a Happy Birthday. Though I am not entirely surprised with this very typical masculine, stoic and fatherly gesture, I was still kinda disappointed.

The handshake was followed by, “It’s time to get a girlfriend. Twenty five already and still don’t have one. Have to go around and mix with more people.”

I have to stop myself from rolling my eyes. Mom was there too and she appeared nonchalant.

Anyway, I was not in a good mood yesterday. I don’t know the reason exactly, but it started right after CF spoke to me in the afternoon on the phone. I blame him; rightly or wrongly, I am not sure. It was something he said, and he sent a text to apologize, right before I went to bed.

As the relationship progresses, things change. CF also changes. And from what I have seen, he has. He has become more confident and self-assured. Which makes my nurturing protective and supportive side less needed. Less often demonstrated.

On one hand, I am glad. Glad that he has become a better person. On the other hand, it was sort of a wonderful feeling to be able to comfort him in that way. It was good while it lasted.

Anyway, on Wednesday, I was in Singapore again for the second and final interview. It was with the General Manager, Managing Director, a manager and an HR executive.

It was more like getting-to-know you session, asking me about my current job, my family, exams, etc. Nothing of the where-do-you-see-yourself-in-five-years-time or why-should-we-hire-you-and-not-others sort of questions.

As I am now a quarter century old, I can’t call myself young anymore. When I was 24, I can still say I was in my early 20’s. Now that I am twenty five, it seems much closer to 30 (if you round it up).

I know I am gonna get an earful from those who are much closer to age 30.

I would like to do some deep reflection on the past twenty five years, but not in that kind of mood now. What have I done, where I am going ...

Things are great; life is good. It can only get better.

Have a great weekend all.

Monday, March 06, 2006

The direct Derek

There is a friend of mine whom I have recently suspected to be playing on our team. I haven’t known him that long, perhaps a little more than half a year. I base my judgment on how he dresses and the way he talks. He goes to the gym weekdays and weekends.

Not sure how to approach the subject, yet I was interested to know another gay friend. He knows about my interview in Singapore next week.

Last Thursday, while we were having lunch.

Me: So yeah, the person that isn’t too happy about me going to Singapore is my boyfriend. He said that he would prefer me to go anywhere else but there, coz the people there are prettier.
Him: Is it? I don’t think so. I think Hong Kong they have better looking people; people who really know how to dress. Singapore not so much. I have also noticed the people in the gym, they dress really nice and have nice bodies.
Me: Anyway, are you seeing anyone?
Him: Yeah, I am seeing someone. But we’re having some trouble between us … blah, blah, blah

He didn’t mention the pronoun of his partner. Actually he did. But I couldn't catch it properly. Even when he said it like, five times. It sounded very much like he.

Or perhaps it was just me being hopeful.

This was how I proceeded.

Me: So where does he or she work?

Him: In a bank.

More conversation followed. I think he seemed hesitant whenever he mentioned the pronoun of his partner.

I couldn't wait any longer.
Me: Hold on, but I didn’t get the gender of your partner. Is it a he or she?
Him: It’s she.
Me: Riiiight.

Oh well. At least I know. And he knows about me. We still talk like usual. No awkwardness. It didn’t bother him much.

And fortunately, the whole thing didn't backfire.

The next day, we went out for lunch again.

Perhaps it was this connection that we have that got my gaydar all wrong. Though I still have a feeling that he is.