Friday, March 24, 2006


i managed to catch my first movie here last tuesday...i have been delaying my trip to the cinema because i am still not accustomed to paying 30 bucks for a movie. when you convert that to the number of pirated dvd movies you can buy back in malaysia - you really do think twice.
but last tuesday was different. 'crash' was showing. and it was the last day that they were showing it. so i thought, if there is a movie that's worth the 30 bucks, it has to be the 'best movie' right? (that's my brand of justification) the truth is - i really wanted to catch the show. i really like movies where a few characters, not really related to one another in the beginning, cross paths with each other as the story moves along (i.e. magnolia, full frontal). that is one type of insight on life that only movies can offer.

it was a great movie. and being in a 'foreigner' at the moment, i can really relate to it. it's about racism, about racial discrimination, about stereotyping by race. it's something that is very close to heart now.

since i was younger, i try to make friends with people from other races. you know when you are younger there were those government-funded commercials on tv showing kids of different races holding hands and smiling gleefully? i guess those commercials had an impact on me. i managed to (on some level) see beyond the colour of the skin. as a result of this, i still have a few non-malay friends who i still keep in touch with and i am able to call them up without any feeling of awkwardness. and even in my working life, i have managed to maintain friendship with some of my non-malay colleagues. maybe not as close as my malay colleagues.. but still quite close (naturally, i'm referring to female ex-colleagues). i am actually quite proud of this fact.

however, i have never paid any attention to the indonesians, the bangladeshis and the pakistanis in malaysia. i did not see them as an individual – just people with a weird sense of dressing. these people are actually everywhere - they are already part of our country’s landscape. but i never wondered about them as person - how do they live, how much are they earning, do they have a family, what made them come here. all in all, i don’t really regard them as another human being, the way i see other malaysians. now that i’m dubai i starting to find out how it feels to be on the other party – the you-are-a-low-life-immigrant-who-comes-from-a-poor-country party. you see, when i walk in the shopping malls, people would think that i am a filipino (they can’t distinguish between filipinos and malaysians - actually sometimes even i can’t. there are about 200,000 filipinos and less than 2,000 malaysians here. and most of the filipinos here work as retail assistants and cashiers – not really high flying jobs). had they known that i am a malaysian, their response would be different (people here generally have a good opinion about malaysia). but since they (the locals) don’t, i am being treated just like another filipino – without much respect. just last night – i went to an optic centre to pick up my contact lenses. the other people in the store (mostly locals) were a bit shocked to see me:

1. spoke to the guy who works there with proper english
2. purchase contact lenses

all because they think i’m a filipino.

can i blame them for reacting that way? if i was back in malaysia. and i’m in focus point, and i see an indonesian guy with clashing-coloured clothes come in to pick up his lenses and speak in proper english – i would react the same way too i think. this is racial stereotyping. ok maybe not racial – national stereotyping. and i’m at the receiving end at the moment – and i don’t like it one bit.

to redeem myself from my past mistakes, i've been trying to get to know about the pakistanis and indians here (they don’t have indonesians and few bangladeshis here). it’s not that hard because they are quite friendly. when i get in a taxi, chances are they’ll try and make conversation with me first. and it would go like this:

"you are from philippeen?" would be the first question.
"no. i’m from malaysia"
"malaysia? you moslem?"
"yes" (but not a very good one apparently. i’m trying ..i’m trying..)
"alhamdulillah! alhamdulillah! malaysia very good. why you come here?"
(err i don’t come here to work in carrefour obviously)
"i’m an accountant here" (saying that i’m an auditor would complicate matters. need to keep it simple when talking to them)
"ooh… very good!"
"what about you? u from pakistan/india?" (interchangeable based on the physical features of the cab driver. i’m usually spot on when it comes to this)
"how long working in dubai?" (again, being grammatically correct may complicate stuff. stick with keywords)

the conversation will then usually revolve around the cab driver’s life – how long has he been there, how many children he has, how life is…that sort of stuff. there was one time when the driver even took out his wallet and showed me a photo of his wife and children (usually the family is left behind in the home country - too costly to be brought here) and i learned that many drivers earn about rm 1,000 and rm1,500 a month.cost of living here is quite high – i don’t know how much can these cab drivers bring home.
the point is – i guess being here has allowed me to reflect about how i used to disregard the people who i am not familiar with as lesser than me. only now that i am in their shoes, have i begun to realize how wrong it is. i have tasted my own medicine - and it's quite bitter.

p.s.: my roommate has been rather civilised this couple of days so i don't think i would want to continue with roomate bashing - part deux yet... heheh

Thursday, March 09, 2006


i’m writing my first entry from the office. finally, after a few hectic weeks of work, i am able to have a little breather. we had a meeting to close the audit yesterday, and personally i think it went ok. looking forward to a free, work-less weekend – and i don’t intend to get out of bed until (at least) 11 am.

i’m sooo tempted to continue with my roommate-bitching session (he’s actually sitting in front of me at the moment, providing me with some inspiration). to tell you the truth, apart from work, he is all that i think about. no, not the ‘you are always on my mind’ kind of thinking (eww!) my ‘thinking about him’ involves a lot of frustration. and rage.

i am not normally mean to people. to me, there is no absolute reason for you to be mean to someone unless that person is mean to you first. i believe in being courteous to other people and to try accommodate them as long as it is reasonable (i think i got this from my dad). but once i see that the other party is not making the same effort to accommodate me, and does not show the slightest appreciation of what i have done to them and is taking advantage of me – i'll get mean. i’ll become outrageously mean that sometimes would i regret it later.

and i think i’ve been quite mean to him these past few days.

the thing is, i think he’s quite stressed out with the work. apparently the thing that we are doing is somewhat new to him (but it is not new to me as this is what i used to do in the past 3 years). so, fine. i can help. of course i can help. and i did help at first. but i got tired of helping because:

1) it seems like he’s not making the effort to remember what is being told to him and it takes some time for him to fathom what is being told to him. as a result, he keeps on asking the same question again and again (i can understand that God created some men dumber than the other, but you shouldn’t be dumb AND self-absorbed a.k.a. bodoh sombong. that’s just going to kill you!)
2) if i am in his position, where i know that i require my colleagues’ help more than they need mine, i would always say thanks to them. i would even apologise for being somehow a bit incompetent and for the time that they need to spend to help me out. but until know, NOT ONCE did i get a thank you from him. and what’s worse, instead if requesting me to help him, he was ORDERING me to help him (instead of ‘can you help me with this?’ it was ‘you have to help me with this’. dumb ass!)
3) he’s not a team player. he only carries HIS files, and when he calls a restaurant for food delivery – he only makes order for himself without asking the rest of us whether we would like to order as well. how do you live with this type of people? (oh btw, one thing I like about working here is that you don’t have to go out for lunch. almost all fast food joints/cafes/restaurants provide free delivery. so since my lunch time is at 1 pm, i would order my food at 12.30 pm, and by 1 pm my food has already arrived and ready to be gobbled. cool eh? very the efficient).

maybe he’s not usually like this. maybe it’s because of the stress that he becomes a bit self-absorbed and totally oblivious to his surroundings and other people’s feelings.but i don’t think that it is the case for him. because he is like this ALL THE TIME. you can’t be so good at being self-absorbed unless you practice. and from the looks of it, i think he has had plenty of practice. he’s a pro.

and i’m just talking about work here. since we share an apartment together, my interaction with him does not end at work. and he is just as obnoxious at home as he is at work (if not more). maybe i’ll save the details for another entry.

when i say that i’m being mean, i can be quite mean. if i find that the person is not so smart, i’ll make it clear to him that THAT is my opinion of him. that’s he’s not smart. i know it’s bad, and God may decide to punish me later for this – but i can’t help it. i’ve been using the phrases like “takkan itu pun tak tau nak buat kot?”, “pikir la sikit” and “berapa kali nak cakap?” quite regularly to respond to his questions. and i’ve been exerting and showing off my knowledge and skills in front of him just to make him feel how incompetent he is. i think now he’s even more stressed. objective achieved (heheh..)

at home, i’ve been keeping my interaction with him to a minimum. you see currently i am the only one with the tv at home (it was HIS idea to buy separate tvs for the apartment). i just got myself a 25 inch flat screen that cost me less than rm500. but he wants to buy plasma tv. with home theatre system (typical malay mentality – spend all you’ve got. we'll think about tomorrow when tomorrow comes). so he needs to wait until he at least got his permit to apply for credit card or have enough money to buy them. initially, i told him that he can watch tv in my room if he wants to (that was before i found out how obnoxious he is). he used to knock on my door at night to ask whether he can watch tv or not. and i used to let him in and we would watch tv together. but the last few times that he knocked, i didn’t answer. and now i think he has stopped knocking. now that’s a little bit evil isn’t it?

so right now, this is my modus operandi. no more mr. Nice Guy. some people just don’t deserve my courtesy. it’s just unfortunate that it has to be like this. cos it’s not like i have a lot of people here to be friends (or even talk with for that matter)…

oh btw, although i’m writing this from my office, i’m merely WRITING this from the office. I still have to go to an internet café later to post this. why? because i still have no internet connection. i don’t even know whether i’ll EVER get internet connection in the office. that’s my boss for you – inhumane! i mean, it’s almost the birth right for everyone to be able to get internet access in the office – isn’t it? and it’s not like i can access from this country… (ahh… how I miss spending hours and hours hopping from one profile to another..)

Sunday, March 05, 2006


ok, i'm starting to get stressed out here. you know how before you make a decision you think about the 'what could go wrong's if you actaully go throught with the decision? well, in my case my 'what could go wrongs' have been slowly creeping out one by one.

WCGW NO. 1 - the job would suck
this is fast becoming a fact. i'm getting crazy deadlines, which in turn requires me to work extremely long hours. but i don't want to talk about work so much. i know that you have sucky jobs in malaysia too... (i've been in a few)

WCGW NO. 2 - my roomate would be an a**hole
oh gawd!!!!! i know the last time i wrote about him it sounded like he's an ok guy. but over the past 2 weeks that i've sharing a roof with him, he has managed to drive me crazy a a few times (oh yeah - i think i should forewarn that the next few entries would contain some serious roomate-bashing sentiment)

i'm not saying that i'm a great roomate myself. i mean, i sing at home. i sing at home LOUDLY. and i do this all the time. i know that some people may find this annoying (although i have yet to find someone who told me that they find my singing annoying.. eheh). but at least i'm considerate. i am sensitive towards my roomate's feelings. i would try to make things as fair as possible - equally share the chores, equally share the space. i guess being in a family that practices favouritsm, equality is really a virtue that you value.

but this guy is like the total opposite of that. he's an opportunist. if he can get away with not doing something, rest assured he will not do it. and because i'm the kind who doesn't really confront people until i know them well enough, he's getting away with it. i'm still being diplomatic at the moment but i think i will reach my limit soon.

i don't even know how to start describing the annoying thing that he does. first of all, he lacks social conscience a.k.a. takde adab. when you are eating something, it is only polite for you to offer yr food to the people around you. in the apartment, that person would be me. but he never does. but when it's your food, he would shamelessly ask for some. what the @#*&!!!

the first few days in the apartment, i took the garbage out out. come the fourth time, i purposely waited to see whether he would throw it out. and to my surprise, he actually commented 'eh sampah ni dah nak kena buang ni...' the nervvvveeee!!!! at that point, i actually told him 'why don't we take turns to take out the garbage? and you start first' lucky for him, he said ok.

we were in a meeting room in the office. there were 3 of us in the room. we were about to leave the office. he was sitting next to the remote controller. he left without switching of the aircond. my other colleague asked - 'eh why didn't u switch off the aircond?' he replied - 'do i look like the aircond guy?' . and i replied - 'does ANYONE here look like an aircond off guy?' (actually he could pass for one)

is it possible for someone to be self-centred but at the same time be so dependent on other people. apparently he is. i was wishing that my roomate would be someone who's a master at diy and stuff. but if i compare myself to him, I AM the diy master. this guy needs help measuring his window panes to buy his curtains!!!

everytime i think about having to stay with him for the next two years, i would cringe.

WCGW NO. 3 - i would balloon up again
i have managed to lose some weight in 2005. but looking at how things are going, i think i could very well be back to my original weight by the end of this year. the way i function is that when i'm stress at work, i eat. when i need to work long hours, i snack while working. and i don't snasck on apples and oranges (cos seriously it's not snacking if you are eating healthy food) i snack on chocolate bars, cookies and nuts (and it's just a coincidence that cashew nuts are so cheap here)

when i got the offer to come here, i couldn't help but think - there must be a catch. i mean,
i don't know what have i done to receive such rezeki. maybe it's not a blessing - it's punishment
things will go very bad there because it's god's way of punishing me of the things i've done last year. could this be true? i think so.

i'm just going to end this entry with one big SIGHHHHH...