Adios Bangsar!

About nine years ago, I came back from the UK and chaotically looking for a place to stay; my CLP course was about to begin. My good friend Aryati suggested that I live with her in Pantai Hill Park, Pantai Dalam. I didn’t think twice at that time, I just needed a place to sleep. The rest, as people say, is history.

Throughout that tormenting time of my CLP’s examination, pupillage and practice I stay in Pantai Hill Park. My daily routine would involved sitting at Devi’s Corner with the usual suspects – Yanti, Ren, Ija & Apai. I grew to love Bangsar as it is a stone throw away from my rented place and the UM’s Law Library. Five years ago I was toying with the idea of opening up my own practice with couple of friends. We unanimously agreed on Bangsar even if the rent is exorbitant. 

My stint in Bangsar is indeed a colourful one. My friends and I would have breakfast everyday at Devi’s Corner. When we are feeling rich, we will be seen at La Bodega having english breakfast. Then, Bangsar Village made its presence. Therefore, I am always in MPH reading for free. Everything that I love is here.

Recently we came to a dead halt, we need to expand the practice. The space in Bangsar is pathetically small and the rent is shooting up to the roof. We had meetings after meetings between the partners. Lastly, majority and practicality prevail. The office is moving to Prima Saujana, Kajang. Closer to all of the major clients, bigger space, cheaper rent, more staff and one sad person – me.

This would be my last posting here in Bangsar. I could literally feel the lump in my throat. Tears are brimming and threatening to fall at any moment now. I have to make this posting brief.

I am undoubtedly sad. I haven’t informed the paper boy about me leaving. He is one prominent person in my life. For the past few years he would quietly sneak a copy of the Sun for me in between the other newspapers I read. He would give me a box of sweet every Diwali. I am going to miss him dearly. I havent had the courage to tell the boys at Devi’s Corner that I am leaving and they don’t have to make my food just the way I like it any longer. I haven’t uttered a word to the nice lady who runs CZip Lee about my moving. I haven’t said goodbye to the not-so-nice aunty at Berjaya Restaurant. I could not tell Michelle the pharmacist that we are not going to be neighbours anymore.  

The brand new office is up and ready as a result of the expensive renovation we have to cough up. In the old office, sea of boxes can be seen from afar. The networking has been dismantled to make way for the new wireless technology. The files have been neatly packed and labeled.  As I end this post, I look around my blue cubicle one more time, afraid to let go. Adios Bangsar.  

Mirror mirror on the wall…

I am in a search of yet another skin care product for my belligerent skin. In this futile war of trying to stop the aging process and and multi-colour spots on my face, I have used numerous products. You name it: I have used them all. From the most expensive of range to the cheapest set. As my friend Yanti wisely put it “if La Mer doesn’t work on you mate, you might as well apply hazeline snow.” I pouted in protest.

As I was browsing the sparkling rows of cosmetic counters at I-Setan KLCC last thursday, I couldn’t help but notice the proliferation of whitening products in front of me. I mean, women now are being measured by the sheer whiteness of their skins? That’s outrageous! I thought. I saw the advertisment by SK II and the white-as-ghost-face of Sami Cheng. No offence to her fan club, but I seriously think that she looks too white to be real.

Back to the time when I was growing up with my younger sister, I remember this audacios Cikgu Bedah (grandma’s neighbour) saying, “oh (she gaped momentarily to reflect her state of horror/shock) adek dia puteh… Kakak dia…hmm…takpelah…nak buat macamana.”

My point of contention being, since time in memorial, fairer persons are deemed prettier. The fact that I was born mocca-colour is to my disadvantage. Another friend of Ayah said this, “She’s the one with the brain but her sister is just gorgeous.”

Hey you insensitive lot, stop talking as though I am not here! I muttered to myself. There you go, I grew up thinking that I am an ugly duckling. The Star featured a segment titled “The fight over whiter skin” on saturday 24th March 2007. All of the leading make up counters have their own line of whitening products to appease women.

However, a representative of Estee Lauder was quoted to say, “the key functions of any brightening regime is to restore your skin’s natural complexion, clarity and radiance. Making your skin six shades lighter is virtually impossible.” That is one realist speaking. At least her words sound believeable.

Skin care apart, I am really concerned with the current trend of worshipping whiteness. Personally, I don’t think beauty depends on the whiteness of your skin. Smooth, flawless complexion, regardless of the colour, is still the best bet for me. After all, beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder or so the saying goes. In the meantime, I will continue the search of yet another skin care products and struggle to remain indifference to all of the whitening products.

3 Divas Concert

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*Picture courtesy of Axcess Tickets Sdn Bhd

As I sat with my two old friends, Rits and Leeya, waiting for the concert to begin, I couldn’t help but think about Orsino. Besotted with his love for Olivia, Orsino in the Twelth Night lamented -

“if music be the food of love, play on;

Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,

The appetite may sicken, and so die.”

So great music is, poets and writers often equate music with the language of love. Oh, I am a hopeless romantic. Sorry for the interruption. I can’t help it.

In this twisted corporate world coupled with sheer manipulation of friendship, the three of us sat at Stadium Putra, Bukit Jalil last night to watch the 3 Divas Concert. The tickets were originally from Astro, landed complementarily on Citroen Malaysia’s table and subsequently bestowed upon us by the good Aswi. Thanks Bro!

The concert kicked off half an hour later than schduled and you could hear the restless chatters of the fan. I must admit that the ambiance was a bit Jakarta like! Led by the renowned composer Edwin Gutama, the musicians and 3 divas made some resplendent music. The crowd went absolutely wild when Kris Dayanti addressed Tun Dr. Mahathir. He sat throughout the concert looking absolutely relaxed and unaffected by the loud cheer he received from the audience. I just adored the man through and through.

The 3 Divas serenaded the audience with medleys of their best hits. They also sang hordes of local songs originally owned by Sheila Majid and Siti Nurhaliza. I was in awe with the vocal prowess of these songbirds. However, I was a tad skeptical as Titi DJ were about to sing my all-time-favourite ‘Engkau Laksana Bulan’ song. But she did it beautifully with the help of fresh musical arrangements to the song.

I got goose bumps when TT and Ruth Sahanaya sang the ballad of ‘Cinta’. It went straight to your heart and left you dumbfounded. I positively spotted one Makcik dabbing away her tears after the song. What bugged me a little was the attitude of certain audience last night. Everyone in the stadium could hear few inappropriate remarks being made to the divas. And what about that shouting match every time the divas finished performing? Why can’t we all just sit there and enjoy the performance minus the attitude?

Having said all that, I had a ball of a time. We left the concert in a hurry to see our kids – the guilt was killing me! As we rode in Leeya’s car, we sang the ‘Cinta’ song on top of our lungs. Music, after all, is still the food of love for this special friendship. I leave all of you with this haunting song – Cinta.

PDRM, Please!

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*Pictures courtesy of Lulu

This week wasn’t exactly a bed of roses for me. I was scheduled to attend Jalan Raja Court from tuesday right up to friday. Albeit the plentiful of notices being emblazoned on the major roads’ electronic board, the traffic chaos in the city center was still unspeakable.

Please, PDRM. I rejoice with you in celebrating your 200th birthday or whatever it is you are celebrating this sunday. But do have mercy on us the lowly employed citizens. You have no idea what a nightmare it is to be late to court. The judgmental look I will be getting from the intepreter- issues on court intrepters would need a posting on  its own- would haunt me for the next few weeks. The baffled face of the judge would send a shiver down my spine. Worse, if he decides to reprimand me.

Now PDRM, I do understand that we have to co-exist in this great city of Kuala Lumpur. But must you rehearse on the main roads in the city center from tuesday to friday for your big day? Don’t let me start on your extravagant style in spending the public’s money – you’ll hear no end of it.

I know, I heard your suggestion of me taking the LRT. Allow me to have my take on that, I previously took the LRT to court for its speed and convenience. Not to mention it is more economical riding the train than paying the exorbitant parking fees at Dataran Merdeka. However, one day I made up the statistic of the KLites being stranded in the LRT for technical defaults. 

The catastrophe? My case was struck out. Subsequently, along came the screaming clients and an application to reinstate the unfortunate suit. That my friend, would cost me money and raise my blood pressure unnecessarily. Enough said, I never ride the train again.

I am of the view that if you must rehearse, could you please do it in a more appropriate place. May I suggest Putrajaya around 9.30 am? The public services departments are already in their buildings working hard (I pray fervently) and you won’t cause any heart ache on lawyers. So what do you think PDRM?

Yup, I can now vote!

Three elections came and went since I reached the age of 21. The first election doesn’t count as I was abroad studying. The last two elections? Well, I have no plausible reasons as to why I did not vote. Plain lazy.

Thanks to my recent obsession of blogging – I registered myself as a voter today after being drilled by Rocky Bru, Sheih, Pasquale, and A Voice. As we speak, I am now in the Malaysian electoral roll.

It took just seven minutes to be registered at Bangsar Baru Post Office. Thought I share this information to those who are still looking for places to register themselves. There you go Malaysians, exercise your right or forever be prepared to hold your peace.

Kekasih

It rained heavily this morning. The sky was solemn and sad. Everything outside looked grey and miserable. I was sitting alone in the library, not knowing what to do in this kind of weather. I browsed through few old boxes underneath the bookshelves. After shoving away the cobwebs and layers of dust, I discovered and old poetry book by the legendary Usman Awang.

I am no expert in love, often I am just a victim. But after all these years, my soul is still deeply affected by this poem -

Akan ku pintal buih-buih

Menjadi tali mengikat mu

Akan ku anyam gelombang-gelombang

Menjadi hamparan ranjang tidur mu

Akan ku tenun awan-gemawan

Menjadi selendang menudungi rambut mu

Akan ku jahit bayu gunung

Menjadi baju pakaian malam mu

Akan ku petik bintang timur

Menjadi kerongsang menyinari dada mu

Akan ku jolok bulan gerhana

Menjadi lampu menyuluhi rindu

Akan kurebahkan matari

Menjadi laut malam mu

Menghirup sakar madu mu

Kekasih, hitunglah mimpi yang membunuh realiti

dengan syurga ilusi

Matta Fair – Much Ado about Nothing

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*Picture courtersy of Pangkor Laut Resort*

“It’s the Matta Fair today!” I exclaimed excitedly as I opened my eyes last Friday morning. My husband was still deep in sleep. He groaned loudly and pulled the duvet over his head. Apparently, this one person will not share my excitement over the Matta Fair. 

“Today is a good day…” I said happily to myself in anticipation of going to the famous holiday exhibition with my two good friends; Tengku Iesta (his title is genuine and definitely not self-proclaimed) and Surayahani. I rudely sent them a text of “Wake Up People!” at god-forsaken-hour in the morning. They must be cursing me.  

Let me digress from the Mata Fair for a while to inform you about this important news. To all of the avid readers out there, please be informed that I found another bookshop at the Mall. With the exception of the Big Bookstore selling Rehman Rectum’s The Malaysian Journey (you have to forgive them you see, they are running a business after all), everything else is fairly priced and the collection is huge. I bought a copy of travel book by Alice Steinbach at RM22. That was a steal.  

The match made in heaven arrived and waited for me at the then Pan Pacific Hotel. After paying the entrance fee of RM3, we marched ahead to Hall 3 of the exhibition. Okay, I confessed, if the air tickets to South New Zealand cost less than RM2500, I will buy it without further ado. At Hall 3, Iesta, Sue and I were like Alice in Wonderland. At 11.30 am, the crowd was already wild at the Matta Fair. Iesta and Sue already have a fixed destination to buy – Brisbane & Gold Coast. As the woman at Discover Australia’s booth prattled away to both Iesta and Sue, I wandered alone aimlessly.  

Much to my disappointment, close to all of the booth attendants had little or zero knowledge on the holiday packages they were selling. One of the attendants at Reliance’s booth didn’t even know the difference between North and South of New Zealand. I mean, come on! You are in the traveling business; a little knowledge of other countries wouldn’t hurt you right?  

As I was patiently waiting for them to check the cost of my intended travel itinerary, my eyes wandered around. I was impressed. These Malaysian people are rich. They bought expensive holidays like there is no tomorrow! Finally, the moment I have been waiting for was here. The Chinese lady placed a piece of paper in front of me and said –  

“Ah, you tak boleh pegi situ Christchurch terus dari KL, mesti kena transit tau!” she said loudly in her halting Malay. I read to the travel details myself. In order for me to go to Christchurch, my return flights via Qantas Airlines are as follows:-  

Kul – Singapore – Sydney –Christchurch;  

Christchurch – Sydney –Singapore – Kul.  

Fabulous. I thought. At least I can enroute to Sydney and perhaps stay there for a couple of days. Then, my eyeballs almost popped out as I looked down at the price of the tickets. It was RM3725 minus tax! My heart sank. Forget about it Elviza, there is no way in hell or heaven, that you can afford this. I left the booth in a lurch. By the time I found both Iesta and Sue, they had already spent RM5,000 on return tickets to Brisbane. Iesta looked positively dumbfounded. The aftermath of spending too much money.  

We had lunch next door and lamented on the money we spent. I left the Matta Fair alone as Iesta went off to spend couple of more thousand ringgits on his digicam. To console my broken heart, I bought a honeymoon package at Tanjong Jara Resort. My husband and I have this thing with YTL resorts. Our first honeymoon was at Pangkor Laut Resort and words could not describe the beauty of this paradise.  Here we come Tanjong Jara. As for you South of New Zealand, you just have to wait for us.