Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Special October Feature: RM1.JPG (Part 4)

Back from Singapore. It's nice and all, but you just kinda miss how much Malaysia sucks after a few days. Ah, home sweet home.

And are we still at October? Good grief.

RM1.JPG (Part 4)

"Let's see," Leong adjusted his glasses one more time. "And what did you say this was for again?"

"What do you want to know for?"

"Whoa, chill man. Just trying to make sure I give you what you want."

"Just remove the words."

"How detailed do you need it to be? That's why I need to know what you're using it for."

"As detailed as possible."

"Ho boy." he patted his brow. "Not gonna be easy. How on earth did the text get there anyway? You don't have any layered files?"

Ray had to bite his tongue to keep his temper from lashing out. After much effort in vain to remove the words himself via online Photoshop tutorials, he finally relented and sought the help of Leong, his ex-colleague who also happened to be a part-time graphic artist.

"I don't know. Just remove the words."


"What do you think now?" After over 2 hours and no less than six separate amendments, patience was running thin in the room. Ray was proving to be a very difficult customer indeed.


"Looks fine to me."

Ray widened his eyes and stared at the touched-up file for a full minute. The colour was fine. The texture was fine. The shape was fine. There should be absolutely no reason anyone would suspect it had been tampered with.

But it was just so obscenely obvious that there was something wrong. It looked horribly different from the original.

This was one of those things his logical mind hated. There was nothing - UTTERLY NOTHING - that he could put a mental finger on. Something was horribly different, disfigured even, about it and there was nothing he could do about it.

"Still not there yet."

"You must be kidding me!" Leong retorted indignantly. "We've been going back and forth a million times already. I think it looks fine."

"Trust me, it doesn't. Looks very, very strange."

"What is? Tell me."

"I don't know. Just do your job, okay?"

He heaved and fiddled a little more, clearly unhappy.

"How's this?"

"No. Even worse."

"Ugh! That's it man. I just don't get what you want." he threw his hands up in desperation. "What is this for anyway?"

"Just. Do. The. Job." Ray snapped, trying hard to maintain his composure.

"Is this even legal?"


"Hey, hey," Leong stood up. "You're acting weird here. Sure everything's okay?"

"Everything's OKAY. Remove the words. Just remove the words."

"I can't, man. We've been trying for hours now."


"Yes I know. But I just can't do it. Maybe you should pay more for someone better. I know this guy-"

"I should pay more? PAY MORE? HOW MUCH MORE DO YOU WANT?"

"It's not even about me! It's about how much you're willing to pay for someone else!"

Without even realising it, Ray gave Leong a hard slap across the face.

He staggered and tumbled over slowly, more out of shock than pain, before a heated glare escaped his eyes.

Like possessed, he leapt and tackled him to the ground, forcing slaps on a covering Ray. Ray tried to fight back, but Leong was surprisingly strong for his size. They scuffled for a while, trading blows in an increasingly intense manner, when everything halted to a deafening CRASH.

The laptop cable, caught in the chair wheel, had dragged the laptop off the table to the shiny marble floor, where it now lay motionless and picture-less.

To be concluded.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Special October Feature: RM1.JPG (Part 3)

My apologies if you've been kept waiting for far too long! Been very caught up in the annual whirlwind that is VBS (Vacation Bible School) these past 2 months, which explains why updates have been even fewer and further in between than usual. This year's VBS was an especially tricky affair, with the storied Graduation Concert replaced with a Carnival on the last day. So instead of handling a group of rascals, I now had to work with about 20 groups of rascals. Okay, so some of the rascals did turn out very helpful after all. Throw in the task of directing SIX separate sketches (English and Chinese versions over 3 days of VBS) for the Storytelling session, and there you have a load that I would surely have collapsed under if I was still working full time.

I guess the lesson this time around was on working with people. Many of life's little lessons over the past 2 years came ringing back in my mind, in the process revealing sides of me that I was surprised to see. Surprised in a good way, but still surprised nonetheless.

Well, it has been nothing short of wonderful. But now that the dust has settled, it's time for life to move on. Such as updating my blog and satisfying the millions of readers out there.

P.S. I know I know, it's really horrible having to wait 1 whole month for a single update. Not like it's a Lord Of The Rings trilogy or what. I PO-RO-MISE that the RM1.JPG story will be completed by this month, okay? Lots of love.

RM1.JPG (Part 3)

"Here," Ray smiled broadly, dumping a whole bag of RM1 notes on the counter. "Seven thousand three hundred and ninety-nine. Count them all."

The bewildered salesman sifted through the notes one by one. After an hour and half, they finally verified that his notes were real and there were 7399 of them in total. With that, Ray was able to take home his brand new Bravia Plasma TV amidst suspicious glares from every worker in the shop.

He couldn't care less. He just loved the feeling of superiority money brought him.

It wasn't even like he had to live with guilt or fear. For one, his money wasn't illegal and the police could never come knocking on his door one day. Also, his income was inexhaustible. If anyone robbed him or anything, he could just - you know? - print some more.

With each note he printed and cut, he felt himself growing into someone different. Someone with less worries. With more freedom to do what he wanted. Someone who need not care too much about what was right to others.

And of course, this is where the story has to take a turn.


It all started when Ray got home after buying the Plasma TV. Having installed and tested it, he felt bored and decided to print more money first, just in case. After all, it wasn't every weekend he got the chance to be alone. His wife was at her mother's.

As always, he double-clicked to open the file. Then he saw it.

There, in bold black type, sprawled across the Agong's face:


"WHO DID THIS?!" He slammed his fist against the table in uncontrollable anger. "WHO??!"

There was no way anyone could have known about it! He had been extremely careful every step of the way. No one could possibly have been able to access his files. Not his co-workers. Not his boss. Not his friends. Not even his wife!


Wait! Didn't he have a Plan B?

Of course! He backed up all the files! He was a genius!


Unable to read. The file might be corrupt or incomplete.

"Impossible." Ray mouthed and inserted another CD.

Unable to read. The file might be corrupt or incomplete.

He cursed under his breath. This couldn't be happening.

Unable to read. The file might be corrupt or incomplete.

Surely there had to be just one working file. Just one.

Unable to read. The file might be corrupt or incomplete.

"NO!" He flung the entire stack of CDs against the wall. "NOT A SINGLE ONE! NOT A SINGLE ONE!"

He had gone through every single file in his Recycle Bin, C and D drives and external hard disks. Even the original file in his pen drive was missing. All he had left was the disfigured file in his private folder.

He racked his mind over and over to study if anyone could've somehow touched his files. Nothing. Nothing. There was absolutely nothing. It was just a gigantic black whirl of nothingness.


After three hours, Ray managed to list down all his available options:

a) Discontinue printing.
b) Continue printing notes with additional text.
c) Ask his wife to find out what happened.
d) Try to find someone to Photoshop the words away.

B and C were almost immediately struck off. B was almost sure to land him in prison, while C was both not a solution and highly damaging to his marriage.

"No," A voice in his head said. "I cannot stop printing the notes. I'm already halfway to becoming rich. I can't stop now. Not now."

So it became clear. He had to either Photoshop the words away himself, or find someone to do it.

To be continued.