Saturday, May 26, 2007

Random Act Of Kindness

Just got back from a Hari Kantin at Sri Petaling Community Hall. Wasn't too keen at first, but there sure is something about Hari Kantins that brings out the kid in us! Few rounds of throwing rings, and we were slapping high-fives, screaming like samseng sekolah already.

As we were leaving, I chanced upon this stall offering free milk samples. The sort you ignore in supermarkets.

Walked over. Must have been still high from redeeming gifts. Not to mention thirsty.

Chocolate milk. Mmm. Chocolatey.

Fresh milk. Slightly sweeter than what you'ld expect, but still good.

Okay, I'd had two cups. It would be rude to take any more, right?

Then the most incredulous thing happened. The chubby squinty-eyed stall girl looked at me and recited in the most rehearsed way possible - I kid you not - "Sir, veli nice to drink leh. Makes you want to buy also leh."

I almost burst out laughing. She looked so earnestly fake. Fake, but in the truest, sincerest way possible.

"Come lah sir, buy lah. Today special offer, next time sell outside won't be so cheap one."

I giggled. "How much?"


Cheap your head lah.

"Come lah sir...just buy one packet."

Her face wished so badly that I would say yes. Every single part of her knew that I would surely walk away, save for that little glimmer of hope against hope.


"Wah. Really?"


Gleefully she handed me the packet of Dutch Lady 4.5.6 Kiddy Formula. "Really lucky you buy. Whole day no one come buy." She showed me her near-blank clipboard.

"You buying for your younger sister?"

" I'm the youngest."

"Her? Then who you buying for?"

"For fun loh."

She shot me the strangest look.

In a world of random violence, random killings, random hatred, seks rambang, Dota Allrandom and what-not, it's nice to have a Random Act Of Kindness.

*One night later, the writer realises the utter stupidity of his Random Act Of Kindness. And wait till he tells you of the time he gave his number to a beggar. Well, at least it gave him one blog post.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Slumber (Part 6 of 10)

Last week at Ideasmith. Dunno if I should be feeling happy or sad now.
I'm just withdrawing from everything, watching people running around barking orders.
Lost in my little world.

SLUMBER (Part 6 of 10)

Jenny kept running, her breath coming out in short, noisy pants, her jelly legs ready to give way any moment.

Still no sight of those Twins. She looked up, and oh no! The trees pointed upwards. Had they gone out of their tree-minds?

Up, up, no other way
Quick, 'fore they get away

"But how?" she hollered at the trees, feeling rather foolish.

They trembled, not a whisper.

She unbecomingly chewed her fingernails. "Lenny! Lenny! LENNY!"

Nothing. Had that creature killed him?

"He's not here."

She looked up towards the booming voice. Bo!

What now?

"Don't be afraid," he smiled. "I'm not taking you to the Scatter Witch, or anywhere."

"I-I don't believe you."

He sat beside her and folded his wings. She backed off, afraid.

"Let me tell you a story. A story you'll find most interesting."

"There once was a little girl, Jenny. Every night she hugged her stuffed dragon Bo to sleep, and he followed her to her dreams."

"Be they faraway wonderlands, frightful fantasies or silly everyday happenings, Bo always, always was there. As years went by, Bo became so attached to her dreams - he realised he knew almost everything about them."

"Soon he found out about this powerful Scatter Witch, who dwelled within the dreams of every child. She knew all the little details; the colours, the smells, the sounds. Most of all, she knew how to create new dreams."

"Every night Bo observed her work, and learnt a little more. He learnt to paint Jenny's dreams even when she was awake, each time adding bits and pieces that would help him stage a takeover. Like a Great Bed, for instance, so that there was no other way she could awake."

"Then one night - this night - Bo designed himself the King of Slumber. When Jenny dreamed...tah! She was his to keep. A deal was made with the Scatter Witch, that she help him keep Jenny asleep forever."

Suddenly his queer smile vanished.

"But now I see - the Scatter Witch doesn't need me. There is nothing I can give to buy her loyalty. And I know - when the time is right, she'll strike and send me back as a stuffed dragon."

"So I have been thinking," Bo scratched his chin in mock thought. "The only way is for us both to re-enter the real world."

But that's exactly what I want, Jenny thought.

"But, aha," Bo snapped his fingers, cueing four flying teddies to descend from the clouds, setting down the presumably Great Bed.

"This time, you'll be going back as the dream, and I the dreamer."

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Perfect Sunday School Lesson

He steps into the empty classroom, eyeing about with a satisfied smile.

The seats, still unoccupied, stand quietly in a semi-circle. A remarkably clean whiteboard watches over them, the way all self-respecting whiteboards do.

His mind outlines, once again, the ice breaker that'll set off the lesson. Seems fine. The children will laugh and chatter excitedly, asking for another round, and another, then another. Unless someone breaks something.

The lesson? Leads perfectly well from the ice breaker. A thought-provoking question or two, and the children will be eating out of their teacher's hands.

He sees it now: The children will listen wide-eyed, open-eared. Their curious minds will try understand everything they can, even pop a question or two. When the bell rings, they'll shut their eyes, clasp their hands and pray dearly. Heck, maybe the Memory Verse will be more Verse than Memory.

"Ah, yes," He whispers. "It'll be the perfect Sunday School lesson."


Here now, the moment of truth: The children trudge into their seats, mostly wishing they were home being serenaded by the Cartoon Hour.

Icebreaker time. Brrrrrr. The ice is mighty thick today. Try as the teacher might, the children are simply in no mood for childish games. What utter irony.

Embarassingly, the teacher ends up playing more than the children do. Can't blame him, it was the only way to eat up ten minutes.

"Can anyone tell me the purpose of the game?" he next throws his million-dollar question.

Splat. It flops so spectacularly, the Russian Olympic gymnastics team would've blushed.

"Erm...okay, why did we play the game?"

Not a hoot.

"Was anyone even paying attention?"

The children sense exasperation, though they don't actually know what the word means.

Things go downhill for the next quarter-to-hour. More times than he remembers, the teacher wishes the ground would swallow him up. Awkward silences pepper the session like a first-time cook with Ajinomoto.

Whoops! The teacher gets stuck mid-sentence again. Already the children are yawning and whispering among themselves. Slowly but surely, he is losing them.

Ring! Goes the bell. The disinterested children pray along, and jot down the Memory Verse to memorise next week. The class empties out.

Sigh, goes the teacher. I wonder what went wrong. It all seemed so perfect.

Guess I should try harder, pray harder next time. It'll be better.


Beaming warmly in the way only He can, He gazes at the teacher switching off the lights.

Indeed, it was the perfect Sunday School lesson.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

The World's Shortest Stories Of Love And Death

As promised, some delightful pages from The World's Shortest Stories Of Love And Death (refer to previous post). And they're really all 55 words long. Go count!

#1 Perfect Opening Line

A dozen bodies of women with slashed throats.

Never a sign of forced entry.

Detectives were baffled.

Meanwhile, the slasher was on the prowl again.

"Piece of cake," he sneered.

Knock, knock.

"Go away!"

"Your husband's with my wife tonight! Please! We have to talk!"

Door opens abruptly.

Works like a charm, as he grabs her.

#2 The Climb

Three men started climbing 90 floors. The elevators were out until Monday, and Sam had to have the papers over the weekend. As they hiked the towering flights, the men busied themselves telling sad, painful stories. On the 90th floor, Sam's story was the most painful.

"I forgot the key," he gasped, then dropped dead.

#3 To Air Is Human

Wrapped in bloody bandages, tubes stretching from his body, the accident victim gestured frantically to the attending priest. Desperate, unable to speak, he scribbled a message. Then, with a gasp, his breathing stopped.

After administering the last rites, the priest turned to read the dying man's final words: "You're standing on my air tube."

#4 Modern Medicine

Blinding headlights, deafening crash, searing pain, absolute blackness, then the warm, welcoming, clear blue light, irresistibly beckoning. John felt gloriously happy, youthful, and free as he strolled into the enveloping radiance.

Slowly, the pain and darkness returned. John's swollen eyes agonizingly opened - bandages, tubes, casts, both legs missing, his tearful wife.

"They saved you, Honey!"

#5 In The Beginning

She was mad at him. They had almost everything in their idyllic life, but she coveted the one thing they lacked. Only his cowardice stood in the way.

She would dump him, but she couldn't yet, so she would resort to cunning and seduction. Naked and beautiful, she grabbed the fruit.

"Adam," she called softly.

And my hands-down favourite...

#6 Forever Star Crossed

"Come on, kiss me - nobody's watching."

The young couple embraced.

"We shouldn't meet like this."

"Says who?"

"Everybody. My family doesn't like you. My mom says you're not right for me."

"Yeah, mine too. But who cares?"

"I sure don't. Because I love you, James."

"And I love you too, Gary."