Saturday, November 15, 2014

Shit only hits stupid fans

These days people find offense in most everything. I admit, my offense threshold is a little high, if not extremely, so not only is it almost impossible to offend me, it's also hard for me to even come close to understanding what goes through people's mind when they take offense on something.

So Jason Lo went under (mild) fire on Twitter for saying something supposedly sexist. It being a rainy Saturday afternoon, I had nothing better to do than to ransack the entire interwebs to find out what he said. Turns out, his controversial quip was something along the lines of "I also used to go out at night to look for pussies" when replying to someone who said "I used to go out looking for stray cats."

Um.. That's... it? That's it?? Someone got offended over a lame pussy joke? Oh come on. On one hand, I was delighted that feminist issues finally got the attention they highly deserve because Malaysia has been way behind in this regard. On the other hand, if feminists get all worked up over a stupid pussy joke, how are people going to take them seriously on other more pressing issues?

If there's anything I've learned during my 26 years of existence, it's that shit only get to you if you let it get to you. You can't control what people say or do, but you can definitely control how you react to it. I wish I could put it more succinctly so it could be a mantra printed out on a T-shirt that I will generously give out to all Malaysians, FOC.  Loosen the fuck up, people! (Now that's another mantra I cannot put on a shirt but for an entirely different reason.)

I am not a proponent of pussy jokes, mind you. However, I am also guilty of making them at inappropriate moments. In my defence, I also make dick jokes. I also make racial-stereotype jokes, humour noir, dad jokes, I'm-going-to-hell-for-this jokes, what have you.  I use humour as a defence mechanism and a tool to keep people at arm's length. Being funny allows people to feel at ease with you and enjoy your company, but at the end of the day they know nothing about you. 

 I used to just mindlessly crack jokes about anything with anyone, and it got me tonnes of friends and enemies alike. Whenever I offended people, I would be hard on myself for going too far or for crossing some lines. After a while I started tailoring my jokes to suit the different types of people I hung out with.  I studied their characters, I did research on the kinds of jokes they liked, I observed the things they had strong reactions to, and I ran with them. But just when I thought I had it all figured out, someone took offense at some  well-tailored joke I made, and I decided to give up and stop giving a fuck. Take offense, I no longer care.

These days I mostly keep my more controversial thoughts to myself unless provoked. I find people more bearable when they are not stupid, and stupid people are usually the most easily offended, so I try to keep the offense on the down low so I don't bring out the stupid in people. In return, people around me become tolerable human beings and it helps me forget their smaller brains.

So I guess my point was people need to loosen up so I can tolerate them.

The end.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

White and its goddamn spawns

I woke up Saturday with a burning desire to repaint the living room and stair walls. I had a thousand other more pressing issues to deal with, but apparently those could wait. The hand stains on the walls, now those needed to go, pronto.

So off I went to the hardware store. For a middle unit shop lot, it was amazing how it had everything you could ever imagine and more, and how helpful the employees were. All I had to say was, "I need all the equipment to repaint my living room and stairwell." Moments later, a paint roller, a small brush for the corners and angles, a roller extension, a paint tray, 2 rolls of masking tape, and a plastic floor cover magically appeared out of nowhere. 

"2 cans of 5L paint will do the job," said the Bangladeshi guy whose command of the Malay language would put most born and bred Malaysians to shame. In fact, the foreign workers I saw coming in and out of the store during the 20 minutes I was there all spoke decent to fluent Malay, it being the only unifying language between them. It is always heartwarming to see your mother tongue being spoken by foreigners while Malaysians themselves look down or straight out despise the language. The difference between the Bangladeshi dude who speaks excellent Malay after living here all of two years and a Malaysian Chinese apek who's lived here all his life but cannot even form one complete Malay sentence? Simple. The apek's livelihood doesn't depend on his Malay fluency. Something to ponder upon.

Back to my story. So the Bangladeshi dude was looking at me with his head cocked to the left, "Nak warna apa?" Such an innocent question. Or so I thought. "Putih," I replied. 

Yes, but what kind of white? He asked, handing me a colour catalogue. This is where things got confusing. I grew up with the basic Luna 12-colour pencil sets, so the only white I know is white, as in that colour pencil I never had to use because who the hell colours white drawing paper with white colour pencil?

"So as you can see here, in the warm white section we have all the off-whites: ivory, eggshell, magnolia etc. In the cool white we have sky white, iceberg, pearl etc." I scanned through the catalogue and saw Mediterranean sand white, Arctic white, waterfall white, smoke white, vanilla white and all other kinds of ridiculous appellations. As the most basic colour in the universe (some even argue it's not a colour, rather the absence of it), white sure did a good job coming up with cool fancy nicknames for itself.

It took me a while to differentiate between linen white and seashell white before I decided to stop giving a shit and just pick one.

"I'll go with this one," I pointed to the top left colour square in the catalogue, the one that actually looked white and not one of those whites that were actually yellow.

"Alright, wedding white it is," he said. 

Yes, the colour I chose was called freaking wedding white. There are so many different shades of white they ran out of objects to assign to them so now they resort to attributing them the name of events and ceremonies. What's next? Birthday blue? Bar mitzvah green? Fall of the Berlin Wall grey? 

Early this year I learned about the colour fuchsia and I thought I was hot shit for knowing such an exotic colour. Now after having been mindraped by a thousand shades of white, I walked out of the shop with painting supplies and disappointment. 

Plato had it right. When we think we know everything, we know nothing.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

The Cook and The House Hunter

Been back home in Malaysia since December. Surprisingly I don't miss France as much as I thought I would. One thing I do miss though, is cooking. I cooked a lot in France, and don't at all in Malaysia. I literally only helped in the kitchen once for the entire duration I have been back, and that was only because my mom bought home darnes of salmon and asked me specifically how to properly cook them on a skillet.

Back in France I would try out all kinds of recipes, from homemade chicken burger to the fattiest potato-free moussaka known to man. I also loved making fusion franco-thai cuisine. Granted, it was only "fusion" because half the ingredients in Thai food were hard to come by or too expensive, so I had to make lots of recipe-tweaking and concessions. After all, lemongrass and lemon juice do taste alike, ginger looks like galangal's estranged twin brother so they serve the same purpose, coconut milk is just milk from a fruit so it is totally possible to substitute it with full-cream milk, and kaffir lime leaves and bay leaves are basically the same thing...... right? 

Ok maybe not. But my fusion dishes didn't taste half bad. In fact they were pretty good. Except for that time when my tom yam goong tasted like sewage water (who adds milk into tom yam?), or that one time when my sambal tasted like dessert because I was going through a period of time where my mantra was "if it tastes funny, add sugar until the taste improves." Or even that one time when I used an old lemongrass in my bolognaise and it tasted bitter (otherwise lemongrass is a god-sent for bolognaise). Lesson learnt: if your lemongrass is 3 months old and has the texture of a twig, don't use it because it tastes like shit and I'm pretty sure it gives you cancer. You're probably thinking Why didn't you just go buy fresh lemongrass? Oh look at Bill Gates over here going around telling people to go buy fresh stuff like a true 1%-er. I bet you're also a vegan who snacks on macadamias and celery dipped in hummus, who throws away his yoghurt 4 days prior to the actual expiry date. I'll have you know that I once ate yoghurt three weeks after the so-called expiry date and it tasted fine, albeit with a funny tinge of tartness but I guess that's pretty normal for a mango yoghurt. And yes, I got severe diarrhea the next day but that was totally unrelated...


I'm currently looking for my own place and a big part of that is because I want to be able to cook my own meals. I love Malaysian food but I have come to a point where the sight of rice and noodles makes me want to strangle a newt.

So if you know a great condo with a balcony overlooking the city centre, preferably with an island kitchen and 3 bedrooms, and costs less than RM300k, then please call me.... so I can call you out on your blatant lie because these days even a shithole in Sungai Buloh costs you a liver.

And that's only the deposit.