Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Pewter Lady

Two Saturdays ago I found myself in the Royal Selangor pewter factory with my colleagues. Company outing, don't ask me...

There we were in the musty production line, surrounded by the clings and clangs of deft pewter-shaping hands. Suddenly an unassuming bespectacled Indian lady caught my eye.

And so, in the quaintest of ways, this tale begins.

Have you ever seen those pewter cups with tiny dotted textures completely covering the surface? Amazingly, the dots aren't machine-made. They are actually hand-made.

Our jaws dropped in sheer incredulity at seeing this simple Indian lady hammer away at the cylindrical metal sheet, each nimble stroke leaving an impression, dots forming lines, lines forming rows.

Each dot fell perfectly in place, guided by impossibly accurate timing and force. She was far better than any mock-up artist we'd seen in college or office.

"Hey," I snickered to my colleague. "Imagine doing that eight hours a day, five days a week."

We shuddered in mock fear.

Tok tok tok tok tok. She finally finished one cup. It couldn't have taken her more than three minutes.

Quietly she took a new sheet, wrapped it around the tube mould, and repeated the process. Tok tok tok tok tok. No glancing at the clock. No sighing.

"Kak," we asked. "Sudah kerja berapa lama?"

"Dah sepuluh tahun dik."

Our eyebrows shot up.

We stared at her for a couple more minutes, simply mesmerised at how easily her hands moved. "Berapa lama kak belajar buat ini?"

"Setahun baru mahir."

One whole year! I would've given up after a few days.

Strangely, all the other factory workers were also aunties, some looking no younger than 60. All were equally skilled. Our tour guide explained how they'd worked here for ten, twenty, thirty years. Still, you saw smiles on their faces and joy in working. Whatever part of the process they played, they were eager to craft the best pewter masterpieces to sell. That was because, the tour guide explained, the company treated them well. Though they didn't earn a lot, they were given frequent incentives, trips and recognition.

I couldn't stop thinking: How on earth did these people find the desire to wake up everyday? What drove their lives?

Whatever amazing things we think we do in our lives, they eventually become no more than a fine pewter cup textured with dots. The Indian lady might have been praised the first or second time she completed a perfect cup. But from then on, the only thing she could hope for was to not create an imperfect cup.

We all want to be remembered for eternity. The one who was kind and compassionate. The one who was so talented he could get any job he wanted. The charismatic leader who was respected by thousands. The one who was pretty and everybody's darling.

But just like the pewter lady, our glories all end up as a dotted pewter cup. The people who praise us will one day forget and perish as well.

So how do we be remembered for eternity? By seeking praise from the only One who is eternal. Work hard, serve joyfully, and look forward to someday hearing 'Well done, good and faithful servant". It'll be best words of praise you ever hear. =)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Slumber (Finale)

It was almost 11. I had just finished the longest post in Twisted Tales history, was showering, when...suddenly! Inspiration struck.

And I simply couldn't stop writing. Wouldja believe it, the humble tale of Slumber now gets a nod as one of my finest ever. =)

Slumber (Part 10 of 10)

Little Jenny. Was she still trapped in the dream?

"In today's local news," the radio continued. "Police have arrested Lenny Williams for the suspected abduction of his daughter Jenny, who was reported missing yesterday. Williams, who is currently separated from his wife, calmly surrendered to police officers as they raided his residence following a tipoff. Jenny, who had been kept for thirty-six hours in Williams' residence, has been returned safely to her mother. Investigators are still uncertain of the motive of the abduction."

Huh? Two consecutive reports on the same item?

"In today's local news. Lenny Williams has been sentenced to seven years in jail for abduction of his daughter Jenny. The verdict, widely seen as-"

Mom turned it off. She continued driving, never once taking her eyes off the road.

Oh. I forgot. It was the cassette Mom played all the time. Recordings of the broadcasts when Dad and Jenny was in the news. I never could understand why she listened to them over and over so joylessly, as if hoping to hear something she'd missed the past hundred times.

Things never had been the same since that strange day. I came home from school to find police cars surrounding our house. Mom crying her eyes out. The twins unusually mopey. And Jenny wasn't there. As well as that yellow dragon she carried with her everywhere.

It hit Mom the hardest, I think. Especially so soon after the quarrels, the divorce, the custody battles. I hated how she went from being a cheerful soul to such a...witch. Honestly, I never once saw her smile since Dad left.


That afternoon, I ended up in the lawn playing with Jenny. It felt like it had been such a long time.

"But you're always King." Jenny pouted. "It's my turn."

"You gotta get the crown." I stuck out my tongue at her, holding the paper crown Dad folded just out of her reach.

She made a face like she was about to cry, but at eight years of age crying didn't come as naturally as it once did.

She's becoming a big girl, I smiled to smyself.

Sighing softly as the April breeze, I sat ourselves down on the velvety grass, curling and tickling our bare feet. The scent of freshly-cut grass wafted in the air, what Dad would call "the smell of grass growing".

Jenny's eyes danced as I placed the crown on her head.

"Tell me a story. Please."

"Hmm...there was this weird dream I had last night..."


Monday, August 13, 2007

My Life Movie Soundtrack

Here's an interesting lil' tag, fresh from Ee Lyn's blog. (You better pay me for free credit mention, gal!)

How it works:

1. Open your music library
2. Put it on shuffle
3. Press play
4. For every question, type the song that's playing
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button

Hahaha...simply irresistible!

* For convenience's sake, only English and Malay songs will be considered. Crazy Frog songs are another story altogether.

Roll the tape, monkeys!

Opener Theme:
20th Century Fox theme


Falling in love:
Sephia - Sheila On 7

Hey, Sephia
Malam ini ku takkan datang
Mencoba 'tuk berpaling sayang
Dari cintamu

Hey, Sephia
Malam ini ku takkan pulang
Tak usah kau mencari aku, demi cintamu
Hadapilah ini
Kisah kita takkan abadi

S'lamat tidur kekasih gelap ku (ooo.....Sephia)
S'moga cepat kau lupakan aku
Kekasih sejatimu takkan pernah sanggup untuk melupakanmu

I once knew a friend who had a maid called Sepia...

Sex Scene:


Murder On The Dancefloor - Sophie Ellis Bexter

It's murder on the dancefloor
But you better not kill the groove Dj,
gonna burn this g*ddamn house right down

Oh, I know I know I know I know I know I know
About your kind
And so and so and so and so and so and so
I'll have to play

If you think you're getting away
I will prove you wrong
I'll take you all the way
Boy, just come along
Hear me when I say

It's murder on the dancefloor
But you better not kill the groove
Hey, hey
It's murder on the dancefloor
But you better not steal the moves
Dj, gonna burn this g*ddamn house right down am I the one murdering, or getting murdered? And what's this DJ guy doing on my bed?

Breaking Up:
Butterfly - Crazytown

Come my lady
Come come my lady
you're my butterfly
Sugar, baby

Come my lady you're my
pretty baby I'll make your legs shake
you make me go crazy

Eh...I got sound so desperate meh...

Life's OK:
Don't Cry Out Loud - Diana DeGarmo (from American Idol 3, yes I do have weird songs in my list)

Baby cried the day the circus came to town
'cause she didn't want parades just passin' by her
So she painted on a smile and took up with some clown
While she danced without a net upon the wire

I know a lot about 'er 'cause, you see
Baby is an awful lot like me

Don't cry out loud
Just keep it inside, learn how to hide your feelings
Fly high and proud
And if you should fall, remember you almost had it all

Not the uppity-est of songs, but I love it! =)

Mental Breakdown:
God's Will - Martina McBride

I've been searchin', wonderin', thinkin'
Lost and lookin' all my life
I've been wounded, jaded, loved and hated
I've wrestled wrong and right

He was a boy without a father
And his mother's miracle
I've been readin', writin', prayin', fightin'
I guess I would be still
Yeah, that was untilI knew God's Will

And I was afraid Sean Kingston would drive me nuts...


*Just for laughs* At this point 'Sei Xing Bat Goi' by Twins plays. At one point in the song they go:

"Why must like that?"
"Why cannot like that?"
"Don't you feel it's agonising?"
"Agonising...but I like."
"Forget it lah."

Of course, it's in Cantonese. If you've heard the song, you'll prolly be laughing your head off.

*Just for laughs 2* The Star Wars opening theme plays. I kid you not.

The Blower's Daughter - Damien Rice

I can't take my eyes off of you
I can't take my eyes off you
I can't take my eyes off of you
I can't take my eyes off you
I can't take my eyes off you
I can't take my eyes...

Keep your eyes on the road when driving? One of my favourite songs, neway.

Final Battle:
Truly Madly Deepy - Savage Garden

I'll be your dream
I'll be your wish
I'll be your fantasy.

I'll be your hope
I'll be your love
Be everything that you need.

I love you more with every breath
Truly madly deeply do..

I will be strong I will be faithful
'Cos I'm counting on a new beginning.
A reason for living.
A deeper meaning.

I want to stand with you on a mountain.
I want to bathe with you in the sea.
I want to lay like this forever.
Until the sky falls down on me...

It's weird, but I picture a slow-mo battle in a lush green field which ends up with me getting stabbed through the heart. No kidding, try listening to the song.

Death Scene:


Presenting...Canon in D by the Vienna Boys Choir~!

Though it's technically not an English or Malay song, the appropriateness brings a tear to my eye. Pass!

Funeral Scene:
She Believes In Me - Jon Peter Lewis (some other American Idol 3 dude)

And she believes in me, Ill never know just what she sees in me
I told her someday if she was my girl,
I could change the world
With my little songs, I was wrong

But she has faith in me, and so I go on trying faithfully
And who knows maybe on some special night, if my song is right
I will find a way, find a way...

Die until so cham??!

End Credits:
You And I Both - Jason Mraz

Was it you who spoke the words that things would happen but not to me
Oh things are gonna happen naturally
Oh taking your advice I'm looking on the bright side
And balancing the whole thing
But often times those words get tangled up in lines
And the bright lights turn to night
Until the dawn it brings
Another day to sing about the magic that was you and me

Cause you and I both loved
What you and I spoke of
And others just read of
Others only read of the love, the love that I love.

Cause you and I both loved what you and I spoke of
and others just read of and if you could see now
well I'm almost finally out of.
I'm finally out of, finally, deedeeededede
well I'm almost finally, finally, finally out of words.


What a life, huh? =p

* Feel free to tag yourself...this tag comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from me, the tag-hater! Thanks Ee Lyn!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Writer's Block

Zhi Yong's grandma passed away last afternoon. I always knew her as the nice old lady who smiled when I came to his house.

In the past months, she had been suffering quite a lot from diabetes, anemia and a fracture. Selfish as we are in wanting to keep her here, God made the best choice. She's now in a place of eternal joy and peace, waiting to see her loved ones again.

Zhi Yong seemed rather gloomy when I talked to him on MSN yesterday. Guess God is giving me more reasons to pray every day. =)

Monday, August 06, 2007

Slumber (Part 9 of 10) all accounts, this story should've been dead by now. I just haven't been able to 'get' into it. As poetically lame as that sounds, it's the intangible bit which separates stories from ramblings. For a story which held such great promise, I strangely haven't been able to muster any inspiration to make it different from past writings. And if I can't even excite myself, nobody's gonna be fooled.

Now now, a final 2 chapters to make good. Here's at ya:

Slumber (Part 9 of 10)


Eyes opening.

Still black.

Lips parting, trying to make a sound.



Where was this?

"Bo!" Louder.

My eyes started registering a room. A ceiling. Walls. A window. Drawers.

I felt beside me. A bed. I was lying on a bed.

"Bo! For the last time, YOU'RE GOING TO BE LATE!"

A frizzy-haired woman slammed open the door, and literally dragged me out of bed in the most inconsiderate manner.

"Get dressed. Downstairs. Breakfast. FIVE MINUTES." Her arms waved comically at every pause.


Groggily I made my way downstairs. There was still this dreamy, dazed glaze on everything. As though a lot had just happened, but there was frustratingly no way to tell what.

"For heaven's sake, hurry up," Mom barked from the breakfast table. "The twins are in the car already.

Two slices of yellow bread packed neatly in a lunchbox. Breakfast, apparently.

"I'll be in the car." she threw some scraps to Blackie.




"When are we visiting Dad again?"

She continued driving intently. Out of the corner of his eye, I saw her mouthing Stupid Lenny.

Sigh. I hated it when she was in this mood.

Trying to break the icy silence, I turned the radio on. News. Before I could change stations, she stopped me.

"In today's local news," read a surly voice.

"Investigations are still being carried out on the mysterious disappearance of eight-year-old Jenny Williams. Williams was found missing from her residence this morning, with no signs of forced entry. Also missing is a yellow soft toy which belonged to her. Williams was last seen by her mother in her bedroom yesterday night."

Little Jenny! My mind whirled in shock.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Crab Tales

I've been posting some pretty amusing stuff on my company blog lately, making Twisted Tales the faithfully ignored first wife. Poor thing...

One of the most interesting things about CC+J - yours truly aside - is the two crabs we rear in a tank. Not those big kinds that taste good with chilli, mind you, just teeny fellas twice the size of a 50 sen coin.

Unassuming as they are, these two nameless crabs have provided us with many, many hours of entertainment. Well, it is the first time I've been so close to a crab. Not counting my mouth.

So well, I just couldn't resist a crabby tale or two...

Episode 1:
The Crab Speaks

Episode 2:
The Crab Speaks... Again

Episode 3:
The Incredible Mystery Of The Crab

What can I say? It sure beats writing about some dumb girl and her evil imaginary dragon =p