Wednesday, February 15, 2006


I gave someone...ok, L, a gift. For the past two weeks, I'm suffering from cold sores (roomate J said it's mouth herpes. CHOI!)--bumps and swelling on the gums and tongue, cracks on the lip. Very painful :'(. Makes eating, drinking, (especially) brushing teeth a teary and howling event. No doctor visit for me. Once I'm here, I've learned to 'shy away' from the doctors as they're SUPER expensive (now that I'm not covered in health insurance). To make it short(er), L came to Towson to pass me an oral medication for my sore and gift(s) she got me from Japan.

I had a few hours to run to the florist and two other stores to get flowers (yes, handpicked, stem by stem!) and papers. The flowers here are expensive! Gee, and I thought they're already 'Valentine's price'--they're not! I got them early.

So, I came back from work at 10++pm and knocked on (my Japanese roomate) K's door. Had her to take pictures of this process. LOL. And also by seeing me wrapping, she'd learn how to do it. Of course, she helped a lil bit :P--trashing stuff, wiping table, put the flowers in the vase, you know...simple stuff.

I took the bouquet with me on my 'journey' around campus--I didn't want to come home to fetch it when L arrives. I wanted to spend some time at Starbucks and enjoy. Heh. Bangganya be seen with a big bouquet. Americans don't wrap this way. Not so 'extravagantly'. This is Hong Kong style. ;) I mentioned that I'd get L some flowers the next time she's in town. It was a perfect moment, in conjunction with V-day and her birthday (which is more than a month to come, but I'm not gonna spend more...). Afterall, I rarely see her in real. *shrugs*

Perhaps I'd say I was being (very) nice, in return to her nice action/gesture. Perhaps I wanted her to receive the biggest bouquet she's every received--from me. Perhaps I wanted to tell her that she's still a very special person and a great friend to me/of mine.
Perhaps I was being too dramatic.

I brought her to my restaurant. (Previously) Had the sushi chef to make some specialty sushi (not on the menu). Paid for the (quick) dinner. Of course it's my treat, she's a friend 'visiting', right? And I've always knew she loves certain types of food...

She had mixed emotions about all these. Too romantic. Ahh...perhaps. What, can't I give a friend a bouquet of flower for V-day AND birthday? I'm being kinda 'economical' here, you know.

Back to the flowers--you know what red roses and yellow roses mean, right? True and passionate love, and friendship. 3 red, 9 yellow (9 means forever and ever, ok). Purple flowers are called/nicked as forget-me-not. Whites are baby's breath, you figure what it means. *winks*


This is not the first time I've purposely wrapped a nice bouquet for a friend. My first bouquet was a two dozen red roses (of course, with lots of forget-me-not) for a guy (whom I never gave it to). DAMN heavy. My second was to my (longest) best-est friend, M--a dozen of (maybe) pink roses. I delivered to her personally and I remember her reaction vividly--her face was lit up and so touched.

I did not see L's face lit up or touched when I presented her the bouquet (at starbucks). I guess I've failed to 'touch' her. I prefer to see LL's face when she saw me with a bunch of unwrapped flowers in my arms (at starbucks) the previous day.

I'm willing to give due to appreciation. But the response is rather...disappointing. Conformity is one of the reasons...

However, in brief, I'd say that I was very excited, anxious, happy and exuberant about her visit. No matter what happens in the future, I'd like her to be my special friend--a dear friend. You may ask, "are you trying to win her back?". My answer is "I want what's best for us, even if we do not end up together."

Ah...on bended knee, huh. But this screams "Happy Valentine's and Happy Birthday!" ;)

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Being Chinese

Culture and religion can be inseparable, a certain level. I don't consider myself as a pure Chinese--well, not the way that I was brought up, you know...with the education and stuff.

Hint: I'm not Chinese educated.

But that doesn't mean that I don't know any Chinese character at all. I was sent to learn Chinese when I was young. Heh. Not that I can remember much of what's being taught. :P The only thing I'm very proud of was/is my calligraphy. You'd never know, I actually WAS the winner in writing (Chinese characters) in my night-school (a little history: back in my hometown, Teluk Intan, a night school was set up for people of all ages to learn Chinese. Yes! And we have a headmaster and complete set of teachers for all grades - beginner, advanced...etc). What can I say, I'm just good with my fingers and hand! ;P Ehem...

I'm a Buddhist. But I don't pray to Buddhist god(s). However, seeing other Chinese praying to deities and Gods reminds and rejoices me of my strong cultural heritage. Once (for a short period of time) I grew up in an orthodox Buddhism home--my maternal grandparents home, in an old Chinese village in Bukit Merah, Ipoh.

Actually, I'm Ipoh-born--the place in Malaysia dubbed as 'where the pretty gals are born/produced'. *winks*

The last time I encountered being surrounded (very close) by orthodox Buddhism and tradition was during my grandfather's funeral. Yes, in that house. With burnings of the papers resembling money, gold, lady and/or guy (as maids to serve in the underworld), house, car...etc, (orthodox) chanting, incense and offerings (food, fruits and drinks - to the spirits and REAL people paying their respect).

It was about 18 years ago. Yes...I'm kinda old now (to have vivid recollection of that event). :P

In conjunction of the CNY, some Chinese practice the burning, offering and praying for success, prosperity and good health (not necssarily in this order). I have never experience this for a very long time already--between 15-19 years.

On CNY eve, I was surprised and moved upon seeing the 'gold paper folded up as offering' (to be burnt) in the restaurant that I worked! The inquisitive me asked the lady boss of the history behind the offering and burning :P Heh. Not that I didn't know, but I wanted to make sure, remind of and perhaps learn a bit more what I didn't know about it. :P Haha.

I felt like a 5 year old kid asking, "what's the rice for?", "what's the sweet for?", "what's the dried oyster for?", "what's with the exact number of joss stick?". Haha...


I stayed over for the 'ceremony' at the restaurant. Oh, I wasn't praying. I was there to witness and oohing-and-aahing the theatricality of the religious little ceremony. In the silence of the burning, I sensed the spirits, and I respected the wholesome of the ceremony. Another reason why I stayed for it was it felt Chinese to me. And I've never been 'this' Chinese before :P

Happy Chinese New Year, everyone. May the Year of Dog brings you good health, prosperity and good fortune in every aspect of your life. :)

January has gone

Stone Butch Blues was intense. It has (re)sparked my love and joy of reading. I haven't had this strong emotional--attachment to a book since a long time ago. At one point, I wanted to hurl the book across the room coz it was SO painful and dreadful to go on. And then, sometimes I was so engrossed in it that I've forgotten everything that was evolving around me.

I brought the book to read while I was working, and I got yelled at for not taking care of my customers :P


Minimester (winter semester) has begun, and gone. I took 'Writing About Art'. Yup, now I can confidently say that I can give a good critique on fine arts--painting and sculpture. ;)

I love it. You know, you can say anything about a piece of art and if it's justifiable and logical, you make strong and profound points. Basically, anything is right because you FEEL and MOVED by it. Unlike science--everything has to be proven. Heh. Let's not go into that. Of course, there's joy in both field/world--the act of discovering ;)

Artistically, creatively and aesthetically, I was 'stagnant'. Somehow I felt the cowardice and fear in performing and creating performance after a long 'absence' from practical classes and theatre rehearsals--unproductive. Hence, to 'fix' myself, I volunteered for QuestFest ;) By doing so, I put myself in the theatre scene--workshops and performances.

I felt good learning the Indian classical dance (drama)--kathak and kathakali. So much stomping. Well, actually it's more like 'slapping' the floor with the foot! Oh, I was introduced to the mudras (hand gestures) as well ;) Gee, I should have learned this (not the stomping, the mudras) while I was in KL, when I was attending Indian dance performances regularly. Oh boy, I MISS THE SUTRA HOUSE!

Aerial theatre was scary, but LIBERATING. I actually went there to check out the workshop, NOT to participate. However, it's rather ermmm...uncool and not-so-nice to turn down M's (and other participants) invitation. Well, ok. So I swung and hung myself at the trapeze. It takes so much trust and confidence (in me) to let go and 'fly'. Hmmm, fyi, the trapeze wasn't like very high but high enough to break some bones and even can be fatal if one breaks the neck! Yeah, no safety net. The only safety was M's great observation and support. I did it coz I TRUST her. :)

Going to Butoh workshop was like going 'home'. At least it's not alien to me, and I was comfortable with the moves (although it made my muscles ached for a few days!). Doing Butoh relaxes me--it provides a channel to release the darkness of emotions, and pushes me beyond rational thinking. It's kinda liberating too, you know :)

More fun times at QuestFest - going to see performances for free! and meeting new people and friends.

Having new friends made me realize and contemplate what friendship means, in this foreign land. Of course, those new friends were mostly Caucasians. And so, recently, confronting my (same color) friends has been quite unpleasant. It leaves a sour note on our friendship, on the issue of 'birds of a feather flock together'. Generally and based on value-creation, should the birds flock together? I'm not saying they should or shouldn't - it's very subjective and complex. I'm...I'm just...disappointed of what happened (and still is happening now).

Takes in a deep breath.

The drama will continue...