Wednesday, 23 August 2006

Donate lor

An old woman sleeps on the cold steel. People pass by her with pity on their faces but continue walking on. A man who has lost both his legs pleads to the passers-by for a small token. Children with smudged cheeks and frizzed hair ask you if you want to buy tissue paper. A barefoot monk comes up to you, silently, he holds up colourful beads and is hoping that you buy a few. You say no in the coldest voice you never knew you had and he walks away, sighing, hoping that the next person he asks won’t be as cruel as you were.

Those are some of the scenes you can see whenever you go out to the city. It is terribly saddening to see such things, especially for a tourist, because even though we are on our way to being a developed country, penury still exists despite efforts to put an end to it. It makes you wonder what happened to these people. Where was the love?

People with their expensive mobile phones and chic jeans just don’t give a damn. Women with their fake tans and eyebrows pull at their boyfriend’s sleeve because she saw a pretty dress that costs as much as feeding an entire village in some remote mountainous area in Pahang. Businessmen with their tailor-made suits from Italy and heavy metal briefcases are not worried that some poor old man with crutches isn’t going to eat his dinner tonight. They’re more worried that the stock market might plunge into more uncertainty or worse, chaos, thus costing them a chance to buy another Porsche they’ve been eyeing.

If we say we are a caring society then where’s the proof? A politician who helps the people by planting trees at a new housing area does not count as “helping out”, mind. It’s just a publicity stunt so that he can use the fame to buy another condo at some upmarket establishment. Funny, no?

This may come across as a bit heartless but I become cold and stern whenever I encounter mendicants. It’s not that I want to be callous but ever since there have been reports debating the authenticity of such people my donating hand rarely comes out now. I give them a look of sympathy, smile faintly, say sorry and walk away.

Every single day in the newspapers you read about people being abandoned; fathers abusing their children and wives, grandmothers and grandfathers fending for themselves because of their ungrateful children who have left them in the lurch. But do WE do anything? Once in a while you’ll read about someone donating a large of money or helping some of these poor souls find a new home. What have we become? Why are we not doing more? And why is it that politicians are still making empty promises and the consequences of their lies are being made to suffer by the people they “wanted to help”?

They say that donating even the smallest amount could mean a world of a difference. I can safely say that I’ve done my fair share of donating though I try to avoid doing so. I’m not proud saying it but at least I’m honest about it. But rest assured as I gain a foothold in this world, I’ll be there lending my hands, legs and brain to make things better. I promise (If I do renege on my words, you people have licence to shoot me in the butt).

Chris is signing off. For now…

PS: To the girl who came up to me for donation and said “Don’t look at me like that la. You’re scaring me.” I sincerely apologize but I was eating an awfully made egg sandwich.

Wednesday, 16 August 2006

Aiyah, I know the ending already lor!


You queue for ages. You buy yourself some popcorn and a soft drink. You’re a bit early. You need to pee. You wash then dry yourself. People are jostling to get in to the somewhat lit hall. It’s rather packed. The chairs smell a little. The odour is familiar, in a bad way. You’re reminded of sweat that’s been left to dry in the blazing sun. When you sit, the chair creaks under your weight even though you know for a fact that you had shed some weight. The cup holder is broken. You sigh, hold your cup, and then check to see if you’ve silenced your mobile phone. It’s almost the maximum volume. You decide that for 2 hours, you don’t want to be disturbed and turn it off. After obligatory advertisements of tampons and various beer companies all extolling the virtues of drinking fermented wheat you now are staring at a giant chicken breast that’s piping hot from the oven. A sudden craving develops. Maybe you’ll get a quick bite later after the show. Then, the lights go down. Slowly, and gently, the hall darkens until the only thing you can see is the green sign with the word ‘KELUAR’. Finally, the show is about to begin. Darn, you knew that you should’ve ordered a large pack of popcorn. Oh well, on to the show.

Suddenly, as the reel starts to unravel the scene, you hear faintly but surely a sound. In the darkness, your ears pick up every single note then it stops. A voice suddenly utters, “HALLO! I in the cinema la! I watching movie ler. Aiya call you later la. Ah, BYE!”

Watching a movie in Malaysian theatres is like predicting the traffic on the Federal Highway. You never know what you’re going to get. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to watch the movie without hiccups or any disturbances. But we all know that’s some fairy tale just like how ‘efficient’ RapidKL is at off-peak hours. So let’s start by analyzing the kind of moviegoer one can expect to encounter (only) here in Malaysia:

  • The ‘idiot who conveniently forgets to turn on silent mode and instead treats us to an annoying ring tone when the show starts to get really good’. What happen to common sense? Heck, what happened to having any sense in that stupid head? These people should be shot.
  • The ‘idiot who keeps eating and eating and eating’. If you want to know why popcorn is named such, sit next to a dude who ordered a large pack of it.
  • The ‘idiot who talks real loud during real quiet moments to explain the storyline in one of the local dialects’. I remember watching The Chronicles of Narnia when suddenly from the back I could hear an old woman explaining what had happened to her family. It was in Cantonese. It was loud. It was so loud that she drowned some parts of the dialogue to explain to her obviously not bright child what was going on. I wanted to rip her throat. But since I didn’t want to go prison and be called Ah Moi, I opted for the equally brutal option of “Shut up la!” It didn’t work.
  • The ‘idiot who has some form of Alzheimer’s in his legs’. Stop the leg masturbation! I know that seeing a giant d├ęcolletage shot of Angelina Jolie is driving you insane but that doesn’t mean you can shake your legs to stifle the primal urges.
  • The ‘couple who seem to be more interested in exploring each other rather than watching a good movie’. I know the two of you are in love and bla bla but could you keep the lovey lovey to a minimum? It’s okay to lean on your partner or cuddle each other, but for the sake of decency, stop doing more than that when I’m beside you two!

Watching a movie to me is something that doesn’t mean you’re watching it by yourself. What’s the point of watching a movie if you’re going to be asking questions every so often or worse, not give a damn about the other patrons who clearly understand the scenes that are unfolding right in front of your eyes? Why do you even bother watching when all you want to do is chat?

Some people are just plain idiots.

Chris is signing off. For now…

PS: Stop munching popcorn with your mouth bloody wide open la!

Monday, 7 August 2006

Censorship: A necessary evil or the righteous path to uprightness?

Just the other day as I was walking in a crowded shopping mall, I saw a bunch of school children in a corner. They were no more than 13 years old and wearing ridiculously made-for-adults clothes. There was laughter and jokes and they looked as though they couldn’t even tell the difference between a goat and a lamb. They reminded me of my days when I was their age. I didn’t care about petrol prices, escalating prices of lattes at Starbucks nor did I know that The Da Vinci Code was actually fiction.

But then again, I don’t remember using the F-word, C-word, or P-word when describing my day at school. I was initially shocked but not really surprised to hear this pretty girl uttering so many foul words when talking to her friends. And she wasn’t even trying to hush it up a little, it was loud enough that its echoes actually travelled to another shopping mall.

It seems that it is fashionable or the ‘in thing’ to call one another “bitch” when you’re 11 and UPSR is only a year away. I was still using “Babi (Pig in Bahasa Melayu) and I thought I was as vulgar as can be.

So the big question is of course, how did they come to learn such words? The ‘who’ doesn’t really matter since you can still be taught to cuss and swear in a remote island of the coast of Johor (Singapore, naturally, denies this). I highly doubt that their English teacher has been teaching them inappropriate content during Grammar lessons, I can tell you that because I would have known.

I remember buying a Pantera CD which I was thoroughly enjoying it and I was just about to headbang when a bleep—which lasted less than a nanosecond—stopped me in my tracks. For crying out loud, there’s no way a Hilary Duff fan is going to listen to this and start learning words he or she doesn’t already know. Just listen to any rap album these days and you’d have to bleep the entire thing. Heck, rap CDs should be covered with a giant sticker that reads, “PARENTS, YOUR CHILD IS ABOUT TO LISTEN TO SOME REALLY INTERESTING STUFF HERE. (HEHE) HAVE A NICE DAY.”

Hypocrisy and double standards are lovely things.

It used to be the obvious that gets censored but even “Hell” and “Damnit” are considered to be insidious to the ears of our young and highly impressionable children. It’s so silly to think that by bleeping out the aforesaid words that our children will be spared by the “evil” of it. The minute they step out of the house and into the shopping mall chances are they’ll be rattling off cuss word after cuss word without so much as batting an eyelid.

And what about a peck on the cheek? That’s acceptable as long as there’s no tongue licking the side of the face. Hugging is all right only if they do it briefly. Any longer than 3 seconds is deemed inappropriate and is punishable by watching Sesame Street for the rest of your life. Showing affection to your loved ones is a bad, bad thing here apparently.

I really believe education is the key to the ultimate door of maturity. By keeping it under lock and key (pun intended), you’re merely halting the inevitable. For crying out loud, children as young as 8 know what MSN Messenger is all about and they chat about things I only knew when I was 14 (and I thought I was so cool back then). So maybe it’s time that WE grow up first before we tell our children to act like us.

Chris is signing off. For now…

PS: “Don’t forget, naughty children will go to Hell. Hahahaha!”

You guys should use that line, it’ll make ANY kid polite and all. And of course, mortally afraid of you.