Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Slumber (Part 1 of 10)

45 days of having a grand total of ZERO likeable story ideas, and out of nowhere this gem came to me. It was another forgettable Thursday afternoon at work, and to fulfill my job description of staring at the computer screen busily, I was reading a Wikipedia article on deus ex machina. It was a link of a link of some sort, I think.

Interesting! This deus ex machina thingy is an improbable-slash-illogical plot device, used to conveniently wrap up sticky situations in stories. Example: waking up and finding out that everything was a dream, angels appearing out of nowhere to save good guys, baddie's guns running out of bullets etc. An instance of it appearing in my stories: Remember the Light From Afar in the first Blogspot? No? Never mind, then.

You prolly won't see what this has to do with my new story, but it'll be real clear in a bit. For now, lick your lips before I do it myself, and tuck in for some Slumber.

"And they rode into the castle, where they lived happily ever after. The end."

Little Jenny smiled, then pouted. "Read me another one, Daddy. Please."

"No, dear. It's already past your bedtime. We'll continue tomorrow."


"Promise." Their pinkies sealed the deal.

"Good night. Sweet dreams."

Sinking comfily into the sheets, Little Jenny snuggled close to Bo, her stuffed Yellow Dragon.

"Hush little baby, go to sleep
When you sleep all things are sweet
Fancy shoes and ribbons dear
Don't wake up till morning's here"

It was the song her parents used to sing her to sleep with. Of course now she was eight, they only wished her good night. But secretly - just between her and Bo - she still hummed it to herself every night.

"Good night, Bo." He nodded back, she was sure.

And so to sleep she went.

There simply was no way Little Jenny could've guessed the incredible adventure in store for her.


Purple. Pink. Orange. Pink. Yellow. Pink.

She mmmed dreamily and turned over. Such a beautiful dream.

Blue. Pink. Grey. Pink. Green. Pink. I want to be up there in those fluffy clouds!

And whatdoyouknow, swoosh! Smack she appeared on top a cushiony cloud. Forget everything you ever learnt in school, it felt just like plopping into an enormous tub of cotton. Candy.

"Whee! This is fun!" Bounce, bounce, bounce, she went. "Isn't it, Bo?"

"Bo? Where are you?" Strange, her hands were empty. He always appeared in her dreams.

"Come out now Bo!" Was he down there?


Suddenly a yellow streak soared up, zig-zagging through the cluster of clouds and everything painted on the sky. It spun wildly - often teasing to go out of control - like an over-honeyed bumblebee, disappeared for a moment's view, before knocking her off her feet.

"Bo!" All yellowed, patched up and missing one spike. And that smell only she found sweet.

But twelve feet tall?

"Little Jenny," the monstrous Bo roared. "You have entered the Land of Slumber, where tonight I rule. And you...shall never awake."

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Ada Apa Dengan Kantonis?

Wonderful and international language it is, English at times takes a back seat to the sheer versatility of Cantonese. Though I'm an English-ey person through and through, and I can't speak Cantonese too well...nothing beats the joy of fai-ing (talking crap) with a bunch of chi pang gau yau (buddies; literally translated as 'pig friend dog buddy').

Hahahaha. Geddit? I hope you do.

Take a simple word like 'sien' for instance. Observe how it's used in the following conversation:

A: Why suddenly ask me out for mamak?
B: Sien mah...
A: Oh...hehe. So how's your work?
B: Sien...
A: Aiyoh, I sien already lah talk to you. Always complain this complain that.

(Suddenly a black out occurs)

B: Aiyah, why so sien one!!

Beautiful, isn't it? You see, sien says so much more than its English equivalent of 'bored' or 'disinterested'. Sien brings about an aura of jaded-ness and general disillusionment, as typified in the reply to "How's your work?". Or in the third and fourth examples, it also means 'fed-up' and something like 'anti-climatic'. All in a simple word you wouldn't have any reservations using around a lan tit lou (scrap metal collector).

Moving on to another excellent example: 'ja dou', or literally 'squeezed'. How do I explain it? It's your standard reaction to those 'denggg' or 'dorngiau' or 'swt' moments...wait, I'm totally not making sense.

You know those Crayon Shin Chan comics, when the people fall upside-down? No? Oh well...

The problem with ja dou is that it's more a feeling than a phrase. And perhaps due to their efficiency and superior intellect, the Westerners never encountered enough 'ja dou' situations to make room in the vocab for it. Here're some situations you could feel ja dou-ed by:

a) You're having a serious discussion on politics and someone butts in with "Who want to wash Cicakman tonait?"
b) You're caught speeding. As you wind down the window apologising profusely to the policeman, he says: "You want to wash Cicakman tonait?"
c) You're watching Cicakman. Suddenly your handphone rings. It's your mom, "Les wash Cicakman tonait."
d) You're still watching Cicakman, and the movie is about to start. Suddenly your handphone rings. It's your dad, "Don wash Cicakman sux."

Now, not that I have anything against our beloved local industry, but that movie does personify ja dou. Big time. And yes, I did watch it. After paying 10 bucks.

In a kulit kacang, ja dou is when you feel like punching someone for purely aesthetical reasons.

Okay okay, I got one more. You know the Cantonese word for 'dog': 'kau'? Yups, that's another beauty. Perfect for use at Sungai Wang or any La-la Land in town. Just find a gorgeous girl holding hands with a guy, and chances are you can say that guy looks very 'dog'.

Yes boys and girls, while being a 'dog' (or 'dawg') is cool in English, you don't wanna have a 'dog face' in Cantonese. Nor do you want to do or say something that's very 'dog'. Or dress very 'dog'ly. Or horrors! Be labelled as a 'dog guy girl' (slutty couple).

Ah yes, 'dog' is the all-encompassing adjective for all that's wrong with the world. It's two parts balia, one part beh, and some parts leong. Not a very nice way to describe man's best friend, but I'm sure the Cantonese didn't mean it.

They wouldn't be that 'dog'...would they?

Monday, January 08, 2007

Do You Have The Pesyen?

Hello there! Between those niggling things you call New Year and Taiwan Earthquake, I'm sure y'all will forgive me for posting far and few between!

Story ideas are still high-dry. A half-chapter of 'The Rain Princess' is sitting on my office desktop, but still reeks of undercooked to me. No hurry, no hurry...

Neways, here's an allegedly-funny item I found in the papers couple of weeks back...

It begins in the Classified section of The Matahari...



"Today AirAsia is the most successful true low cost carrier in Asia - bucking trends and growing in the most turbulent of times. In just 5 years, we've defied the odds and conventions to make headlines around the world. We have 4,000 very passionate AirAsians trying to make the dream of affordable and meaningful air travel come true everyday. Now, here's your chance to be part of this young and dynamic team."


*duut...duut...duut...duut...* (forklift reversing)