Thursday, February 27, 2014

Are you a lover?

Yes, Valentine's Day was two weeks ago. But watch this anyway.

Love isn't just between a man and a woman, a woman and a woman or a man and a man. Love is not always about romance and happily (n)ever after. Love is more than lust-fueled gropes and short-lived euphoria.

Love is ... ah, it's too complicated.

Easier to talk about what is NOT LOVE. Abuse is not love. Terror is not love. Non-consensual acts are not love. Harming and hurting is not love. Indifference is not love.

So what is love for you?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Oldie is not goldie

It is not uncommon to see sunrise/sunset couples. Yes, the kind where the dude could be mistaken as the dudette's father or even grandfather.

Case in point:

Media troll and vitriolic partner.

Beauty and Daddy.

Why don't these sort of partnerships raise brows, unlike:

 They hot together, no?

Both are drool-worthy, regardless of the way you swing.

Is it because partnership has to be about a resource provider hooking up with the best of baby factories? After a certain age, women develop menopause and can happily throw away the birth control pills, intrauterine device, estrogen patches, etc that helps them make sure no unexpected babies pop up (or out)*. For some reason, this leads to a devaluation of women in the eye of society; conveniently forgetting the wisdom that comes with age and the inner sex goddess unleashed by freedom from getting knocked up (also, who discovered the joy of self acceptance, unlike self loathing nymphs in their twenties).

It is okay for older men to hook up with younger women, right?  Men remain potent shooters of baby makers till the day they drop dead. Well, guess what?

Just 'cause you can shoot, don't mean you should.

Older fathers are more likely to pass on joyful stuff like sporadic schizophrenia (where you sometimes hear voices and may/may not go manic), osteogenesis imperfecta (where the offspring is so fragile that a strong sneeze could break a bone, kinda like this guy) and autism (it's not all like Rain Man) to their hapless offsprings. This is because the older you are, the greater the likelihood for your testicles to produce error-riddled sperms. Not to mention that fathers transmit 4 times more mutations than mothers.

And no, just because you are over 35 years old, it doesn't mean that your mutant sperm is going to produce X-Men in the next generation. Nature is cool, but it ain't a comic book.

I do have a predilection for this man, er ... Gambit.

* Caveat: Do not throw away the condom. You don't know where he's been. Learn the lesson from senior citizens who developed nasty stuff like HIV, herpes and syphilis.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

This is not a book review

I've been devouring Lee Child's Jack Reacher series and am enjoying them immensely. So I tried watching the Jack Reacher movie, curious to see how they could translate it into the big screen.

No, my hopes aren't the level of Star Trek geeks anticipating Episode I.

*moar rant below cut*

Things that make you go grrrr ...

Q: Did you ever have this problem?

A: All the damn time.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Macho macho man?

What makes a male human being manly?

I am glad that I am a female. I enjoy everything about being female, from the softness of my skin, to the lushness of my body, even the insanity that plagues me when the red flag is raised. I am hugely appreciative that I can enjoy and express my emotions and no one will call me on it and scream, "BE A MAN!" I don't have to pretend to not have fear, to not have insecurities, and I don't need to hide what is percolating in my head (to a certain extend, otherwise they'll put you in a mental institution).

However, I get to do all that because I am a female. But men can't do this; especially those conditioned in a machismo culture. Unfortunately, machismo is not helping men become manlier. It cripples men from exploring God's gift of emotions and to be honest with the most basic parts of themselves. When I read about the Prophet Muhammad: about his kindness, his unabashed affection for his wife(ves) and children and grandchildren, his gentle ways, his openness of his tears; all things that are contrary to the rough and ready Arab culture of those days, I am amazed. This was a *real* man who stood for what he felt was right, enjoined righteousness and did not fear society's anger or reprisal.

My fear is that machismo is often a slippery slope that leads to arrogance, misplaced pride and violence. Quite often the violence is directed towards the weaker ones, be it women, children, and even other men.

Let's kill the machismo that is strangling men. Because they deserve better.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Lay back and relax

This is the soundtrack for you to lay back, sip a beverage of your choice and just chill.

*takes another hit of the joint*

Friday, February 14, 2014

Bah humbug

I like Matthew Inman's take on Valentine's Day. I like his Valentine cards even more.

*hums Love is All Around by Wet Wet Wet*

His hirsute highness, Monyet King, has also presented guidelines for your enjoyment of this Valentine.

Have fun!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Water, water everywhere ...

... nor any drop to drink.

(The Rime of the Ancient Mariner)

I got the opportunity to attend a Toastmasters competition on Tuesday at the Women's Institute of Management Toastmaster Chapter. It was a lovely evening, watching the competitors pitting their wits and skills to speak spontaneously on a variety of topics.

 Competitor 1, Mr T, who is generous with advice and smiles.

 Mr. S, the main man for the event.

 Mr G, who is a fount of amusing tales.

 My pal, Ms. M, who invited me and won the Table Topics competition.

The Table Topic of the competition was "A Day without Water". All the competitors came up with their own tales of dehydration that were hilarious and yet thought provoking. As I listened to them wax lyrical for seven minutes, it made me think a little deeper about our relationship with water; more specifically, running water.

We take water for granted. We turn on the tap and we expect the life giving liquid to gush forth. We expect the water to be clean, safe and harbour no nasty critters. Oh, it also gotta be clear and odourless and tasteless, unlike what the reporters for the Sochi Winter Olympics encountered. Woe betide SYABAS and its ilk should there be unscheduled (and even scheduled) water interruption.

We forget that in many parts of the world (including our own backyard!), clean water supply is an enviable luxury. There are still pockets within our own nation where there are no tap water available. My father's kampung and my paternal aunt's house in Jeram had no piped water before the 1990s. We had to draw water from the communal well for bathing, going to the toilet (if you are lucky there are outhouses which you flush by dumping a pail of water into the toilet, otherwise it's the bushes for you. Try to avoid prickly ones or plants that can cause rashes.), cooking, cleaning and doing the laundry. Having ice cold baths in broad daylight where anyone getting to the main road is sure to get an eyeful breeds a certain je ne sais quois that I have no problem bathing in public in nothing but a scanty sarong.

The communal well was surrounded by a concrete platform that was wet and covered in moss and was slippery as hell when you are wearing the de rigeur selipar Jepun. Unlike the pretty wells illustrated in fairy tale books, these have NO RETAINING WALL AROUND THE WELL. If you are unlucky, you could slip and fall into it with barely a splash. Many times when we return home, my Mum would have to make several visits to the masseuse; her back and shoulders were strained by carrying water. The communal well was replaced by the communal water pump in the late 80s and by the early 90s, there are piped water supply. However, if you ask me to pick between having electricity versus piped water supply, I think you know which one I will pick, regardless of my Internet addiction.

We forget that millions of women and girls trek for miles daily to get water for their household use and even for watering their crops from rivers, water holes and groundwater pumps. Some places like Cambodia and India have a severe arsenic groundwater contamination, rendering their water supply unsafe. Drought stricken places in the US and Australia (among others) have problem meeting the demand for water and have to impose water restriction. In Chile, they have to harvest water from mist and fog because water supply is so limited.

When water supply is at a premium, basic sanitation is also compromised. The developed countries have measures to address this but for many places still lagging behind in infrastructure development. Poor sanitation is a major contributor of deaths in developing countries, particularly for infants and children. The governments' inability to provide for such basic infrastructure has led to some drastic measures being taken. For instance, in India, the groom who cannot provide proper latrine facilities will not get a bride.

Be grateful that you can flush.

Water is deemed as a basic right for all mankind. This idea sounds grand on paper but it gets screwed up when national boundaries and politicians get involved. How many people are aware that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is more about water and land than about religion? Tension and skirmishes have occured in Africa, South America, and Asia over control of this precious resource. It is expected that the adverse effects of climate change on water supply could lead to greater conflicts among nations.

Managing water as a sustainable resource is imperative and should be the focus of all. Sadly, it is evident that care for water supply is often sacrificed in the face of greed. Our thirst for fossil fuel has damaged our water supply. Poorly constructed agriculture and fishing policies have choked one of the largest inland sea (okay, lake) in the world. Indiscriminate dumping of toxic wastes into the water supply, overconsumption of groundwater that drastically affects the water table, destruction of water catchment areas, and many more, continues on merrily despite so-called stringent regulations and laws. Enforcement appears to be lackadaisical and punishments for transgressions seem to be little more than a mild slap on the wrist and this appears to be the trend the world over.

Perhaps we should start saving water and drink beer instead.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

When the shoe is on the other foot

Empathy: the feeling that you understand and share another person's experiences and emotions : the ability to share someone else's feelings. (Merriam-Webster dictionary)

I enjoy my dreams where I was a male; not many women know how amazing it is to be a man. When you are stronger and taller, with a deeper, louder voice, you see the world very much differently. You treat and judge people, particularly of the opposite sex differently. Possession of the Y chromosome comes along with a different perspective not just shaped by culture and upbringing, but also from atavistic mannerisms cultivated over milennia that are expressed with the testosterone gene.

As a feminist, I get very angry when men pooh pooh away issues that women have to deal with on a daily basis. Being considered an object, for instance. Whether you wear a bikini or a burqa, society feels that it has a right to comment and dissect and praise and denigrate your clothing choices. Why don't men who wear tatty jeans and food-stained t-shirts get the same disdain? What about the men who wear Speedos in public when it is clear that they do NOT have the physique for it?

When a woman is physically assaulted, the questions that follows are:

1) What was she wearing?
2) Where did this happen?
3) What was she doing when it happened?
4) Was she drunk?

Because it boils down to blaming the victim mentality: that the victim did something, ANYTHING, that provoked the attack. The thing is, no victim asked to be assaulted. It doesn't matter the clothes, the place, whatever. Good men do not assault women. Good men do not assault anyone. But the figures that are reported every so often on domestic violence, criminal assaults and so on indicates that there are very many bad men out there.

I think men take a lot of issues that women are concerned about for granted because physically they get to be at the top of the food chain. Perhaps these videos could help make men understand what it's like when the shoe is on the other foot.

And this.

So please. Have some empathy for the travails that plague half of humankind. You may be one man but you have a role to play. Be an example. Teach your sons that there are better ways to get a girl's attention than swiping at her bum or catcalling. Teach your sons that no one has a right to touch another individual without consent. Call out when another man behaves badly towards the women in his life.

It has to start somewhere. Why not with you?

Monday, February 10, 2014


Proof that military types know how to let their crew cuts down and boogie. Here is the Russian Red Army military choir crooning some juicy tunes for your pleasure.

*jives along*

I'm sure Freddy would be tickled pink by this.

This is ... irony distilled in its purest form. From Russia with Love FTW!

The week ... it begins again ...

A lot of people have seen the Grumpy Cat. It's kinda emblematic of how Mondays make you feel. See?

The Grumpy Cat inspires memes like ...

 But how do you Disney-fy such a misanthropic critter? Eric Proctor did it.

Awesome, no?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Right to Bare Arms (is better than to Bear Arms).

Die Trying (Jack Reacher, #2)Die Trying by Lee Child
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Pages: 549
Time taken: Roughly a day.

It's been a while since I was so taken by a male protagonist in a thriller series. Nicholas Linnear of Eric van Lustbader's Ninja and Jason Bourne of Robert Ludlum's Bourne Identity series ate my brain once upon a time. Now it's a retired soldier bumming around the US of A who caught my imagination.

Jack Reacher was in the wrong place at the wrong time for doing the right thing. His chivalry got him kidnapped and we get a first hand view of what life in a survivalist militia commune is like. It's filled with a great deal of gruesome violence and super fast action. Mr Child has crafted a nice post Cold War thriller that gives an interesting perspective from an individual POV: what happens to a soldier when there are no more wars to fight?

This time around the female protagonist has a first name and it was used liberally through out so all is cool. I give Mr Child credit for creating decent female protagonists who are not the die-away type and are resourceful ladies who kick ass and take names. It's a skill that not many male authors (at least those that I read) possess.

I am enjoying Jack Reachers's journey on his perpetual road trip to discover the country that he barely knew and will look for more.
Favourite quote/excerpt:

"The defense cuts were happening. Made the army seem unnecessary, somehow. Like if they didn't need the biggest and the best, they didn't need me. Didn't want to be a part of something small and second-rate. So I left. Arrogant or what?"

Male protagonist: 5/5 stars
Female protagonist: 3/5 stars
Storyline: 4/5 stars
Pacing: 5/5 stars
Fun Factor: 4/5 stars
Repeat Reading Factor: 4/5 stars

View all my reviews

Kill 'em all and let God sort it out.

Killing Floor (Jack Reacher, #1)Killing Floor by Lee Child
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Pages: 523
Time taken: Roughly two days

The first I heard about Jack Reacher was from the movie with Tom Cruise in it. I'm not a fan of his, but no hater either so whatever, right? But I got curious enough to pick up the back story novel The Enemy and now I'm hooked.

Self Pimpage ...

Presenting my first attempt at writing something of a romantical nature in Malay. It's not easy for someone who thinks and dreams in English, okay?

It's going to be a serial. Click here if you are curious. Part 2 is here.


Just. Stop.

Stolen in entirety from here.