Friday, April 27, 2007

all white bean..

It was the day where Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, the Sultan of Terengganu was installed as the 13th Yang Dipertuan Agong.
And being the patriotic lot..we all decided to celebrate by watching a movie.
We all came to a consensus that this time, it shall be Mr Bean’s Holiday..cliche as it may sound. The comedy was mediocre at best. To top it off we had to sit right up front since all the other seats were taken given it was a holiday. But what is so enduring about Mr Bean is the fact that he can always find cheer in every mishap. No matter how ridiculous, how terrible, how trapped he may be, he will always find a light side to it. It's the classic case of “if life throw you lemons, make lemonades", and life throws loads of lemons..doesn’t it..

I just wish, there’s more colour to the cast, instead of all whites. Come to think of it, Mr Bean's cast has always been predominantly, if not all; white..ever wonder why?

Thursday, April 26, 2007


“PROVOKED” is a definite must watch, if anything else because Aishwarya Rai is the epitome of beauty with such powerful acting skills. Even if you watch this movie for that reason, you will be able to bring home with you some very important lessons and insights on domestic violence, at the end of the movie.

Provoked to me shows the multifaceted universal face of domestic violence. Wherever it rears its head, it would be the same ugly face, the elements which separates one case from the other would merely be the cast, circumstances and the scene.

The infliction, the remorse, the apology, the special treatments afterwards and the whole process rotates like a viscious circle, grinding the victim deeper and deeper into depression; to a point where she will be immobilised into a state of helplessness.

Domestic violence has this uncanny capacity of making the victim feel absolutely trapped in an invisible cage, completely incapable of escape. It would take mammoth strength to outsmart this mental cage.

If this grinding goes on long enough, the victim will eventually snap. This “snapping” would manifest itself in various ways. As in the film “provoked”, In Kiranjit’s case it manifested itself in the form of her dousing her husband’s feet with gasoline and setting it on fire, while he was asleep. For others it may be in the form of taking an overdose of some pill or the other. In the case of the latter, the victim may feel that her existence is worthless and the children, if any ,would be better off with the spouse, because that would have been grilled into her mind over and over again throughout the years of abuse. This act is actually a silent cry for help, which in the case of our Eastern setting, where protecting the family name and honour is placed high in our life priorities, often misunderstood and frowned upon, penalised, even.

What touched me most was the scene when Kiranjit was asked how she was treated in prison and how she felt, the words which poured out from her lips, as if in a trance, was, "I” It just goes to show the kind of torture she has been enduring and how trapped she was throughout her married life.

In prison, Kiranjit managed to learn to speak, read and write in good English. She abandoned her kurta and traditional attire for a more modern one. She also trimmed her tresses, an act she hesitated except after persuasion from her prison mates. This shows the need for the victim to express her liberation in some drastic manner. Perhaps in the form of a completely different wardrobe, a drastic hair cut or getting involved in a special cause for her to fight. This form of emotional catharsis is an absolute must for the individual to ensure that she remain sane before she can reach an equilibrium again.

Perhaps this story could help us understand better our friends who have gone through the same pain. Instead of berating her or castigating her into isolation, be there for her, because after hiding so much for so long, crying out for help would be a new skill she would need to acquire. And unless we want her to be a lone sheep which will fall prey to the hungry wolves out there, we should try our best to show that we care.

Here is a link to an interview with the real Kiranjit Ahluwahlia.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Can someone please explain to me how they collected and verify these figures? Why people bother just mind boggles me..Published in the NST 18-4-2007

Malaysians rank sixth fastest in love-making

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians spend an average of 19.9 minutes when they make love.
Hardly the stuff romance novels are made of, they ranked sixth quickest in the world in terms of time spent in a love-making session.

However, if it’s any consolation, the average time spent is above the global average of 18.3 minutes.

India’s lovers were the world’s quickest, spending only 13.2 minutes per session.

Nigeria once again topped the ranking on a leisurely 23 minutes.
Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand and Australia were all well below the world average time.

Malaysians were just a heartbeat ahead of China’s lovers who took 20 minutes.

This was the findings from the "Global Sexual Wellbeing Survey" by condom-maker Durex. It was revealed at the ongoing World Congress on Sexual Health in Sydney, Australia.

More than 26,000 people from 26 countries were screened online by global research firm Harris Interactive from August to September last year.

Durex’s local distributor SSL Healthcare Malaysia general manager Voong King Yee said sex played a fundamental role in the physical and emotional well-being of a person.

The survey found two in five (or 38 per cent) of the 1,026 Malaysians polled were fully satisfied with their sex lives.

Forty per cent of Malaysian women were completely satisfied compared with 37 per cent of their male counterparts.

Want to know how you can spice things up?

"Seven in 10 (74 per cent) of the Malaysians surveyed said the situation could be remedied by injecting some old-fashioned love, tenderness, adventure and romance.

"Two-thirds (64 per cent) like more intimacy and better communication with their partners," said Voong.

Even in the "country of romance", France, they do not get it right all the time. Only 25 per cent said they were satisfied with their sex lives.

Nigerians, on the other hand, know something others don’t. They have the most people (67 per cent) satisfied with their sex lives, followed by Mexicans (63 per cent) and Indians (61 per cent).

The survey found that Malaysians have sex 115 times a year compared with the global average of 103.

The Greeks made an Olympian effort of 164 times, with Brazilians the next most amorous at 145, followed by the Poles and Russians (both 143) and Indians with 130.

The survey also found that Asians were least satisfied with their sex lives.

Australia’s Bond University sex expert Gabrielle Morrissey said it reflected cultural issues relating to sex in Asia. "Work is more important than sex in many Asian countries."

Sunday, April 15, 2007


“My student. She got 5As..” mom what’s so great about that, I thought..I got 5As too, mom was emotional but not this emotional...

Mom used to be the Headmistress of the oldest National school in Penang, or is it Malaysia, SK Sungai Gelugor. I am not sure. At the time, the students comprised of kids from the nearby Gelugor Village and they were generally from the lower income group.

Mom was so devoted to her vocation as a teacher. Given the demographics, at the time, it was difficult to get even one student who could achieve 5A’s from that school. The school would rejoice if they had 2 students achieving 5 As. How could that be achievable when some of them couldn't even read when they reached standard six. But mom never used demographics as an excuse. Where ever she went, she needed to give her best.

I remember the first thing mom set out to do was to gather her teachers. Long before teachers were required to go to school on saturdays, she already lined up dedicated teachers to set up remedial classes,. They and she were in school every weekend, not just on Saturdays, but Sundays as well, without fail; doing up flash cards way before Glen Dorman and Montessori came to our shores. I used to be so jealous because she was hardly home. I felt she loved her students and teachers more than me. Think about it, I came all the way home from Sydney and she was still spending her weekends in school. Sometimes, I would hear her complain to my Dad her closest confidant about her woes, about how she wished she could do more, about how some teachers were not committed enough. But she had a few, who were all the way behind her. The great thing was they were multiracial, and the kids in the school were 99% malays. They did not require any racial unity reforms to get them to give all they've got to these low income malay kids. Simply, because their hearts were in teaching.

This girl, couldn’t read until she was in standard four. That’s what so special about this case. She could not read!! One year before her exams she was illiterate. Her mother was hardly at home, because she was a single mother earning a living working as a factory girl in one of the free trade zone factories in Bayan Lepas. She also had a second job apparently. When you think about it, a normal person would think that this girl doesn't stand a chance to change her life and that of her family. But she was lucky, her school was her refuge, her teachers and headmistress were her foster parents. They encouraged her and nurtured her, not giving up on her in spite of her handicap. What she was deprived of at home, she found in school, her second home. Even food was provided, I remember mom organising something for the poor kids; something relating to food.

A lot of tears was shed when the girl's mother came to see my mom that day. Apparently she cried thanking mom profusely.. because they cared enough, not to give up on her daughter. Mom cried too, and when my sister and I heard the story in the car, we cried too. To mom, that was gift enough for all her sweat and toil and for her efforts cajouling teachers to support her cause . This happened more than twenty years ago. I still shed tears of pride when i think about this episode. I am so blessed to have a mom like that. And my mom was so lucky to have dad who always supported her every effort.

Sek Keb Sungai Gelugor, became quite famous thereafter. Lecturers from the nearby Universiti Sains Malaysia began to send their children there too, when previously everyone tried hard to send their kids to La Salle and Convent Green Lane…I don’t know what has become of that school now though..

When I visited mom, who is 73 this year, she couldn’t remember any of this anymore. She said she didn’t do it to get recognition. To her that was just an investment for her hereafter.

So, where are teachers of that calibre now. Can you find any? I know there are a few but they are certainly very hard to come by, and I bet it would be quite tough for them to gain support.

These teachers did not ask the girl to stand in the hot sun because she couldn't pay her school fees. They helped her out, I remember mom working hard to help kids who couldn't pay school fees by collecting money among her teachers and other parents. Do you ever wonder what would have happened to this child, if she had gone to school in this era...because I certainly do..