Sunday, May 28, 2006

i need a big box of chocolates

we're two months away from the wedding.

the lack of sleep.
the nagging thought of having to pack the house.
the worry that the wedding in malaysia will fall apart.
the fear that the place chosen for my wedding in singapore is going to screw up further.

are all culminating in fat, juicy acne on previously perfect skin.

which means i'm going to look like a diseased ogre on my wedding day.

are we going to have enough money without using our credit cards? is everyone going to have fun? will the rusty bottoms of the chairs stick out from under the white covers?

they're right, i'm a worrywort. but when you're a perfectionist and a half, it's hard not to be anal.

the only thing i'm looking forward to is laying eyes on the wedding ring, right now. i've settled on this after weeks and weeks of deliberation. it's funny, sometimes, the first thing you like will remain the only thing you really liked. a colleague said, "some rings you love, others you'll grow to love." and this little gem here is growing on me.

i know everything will be alright. that's faith, no? but what i really need, despite this faith, is for someone to constantly remind me, Dali, everything will be alright.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

there is that, then there is this

there are all kinds of people in the world, all kinds of behaviours, strange, then stranger.

there are all kinds of friends in the world.

and the best kinds, are the ones you love dearly, express your love clearly and often for, and feel no obligation to whatsoever no matter what the favour or the gift presented.

and then there are friends, with whom you associate food. take for example, my friend from across the Causeway whose name begins with letters E-D-N. each time we're together, it's understood that we dig for culinary treasures - and enjoy them together. for example, the following foods:

few things in life are better than friends who try to outdo each other by bringing the other to the best restaurants ever. we need a change from the usual prata and teh tarik diet sometimes. and besides, experiencing the best foods with your best friends are always, well, best.

and then there are friends who just know what to get you for your birthday. they know you can be a bitch, they know you have a sense of humour, so they get you a bitchy t-shirt and autograph their famous signatures all over it, give or take a few embarrassing taglines like "Hot Dubai Chick". and to reward them for taking the trouble to know me this well when they didn't have to, i oblige by pretending to be bitchy, of course.

and then there are friends with whom you enjoy eating and (unfortunately?) always end up shopping with. she's my Credit Blowuper, and she's also one of the best. i credit half my wardrobe to her very existence, she has what we might call, the Shopper's Aura. each time i'm with her, i catch the Shopping Bug which is very infectious if you are not very careful. today, we had strange sounding foods - Italian, they call it - and they all had names akin to Foreign Flowers or Foreign Dildos. but they all looked good and tasted good. the only thing i can remember, is the Espresso Alla Panna which sounds more like an Indian coffee if you pronounce it really quickly. oh, and good ol' Tiramisu (droolworthy pic below), which sounds Japanese, if you ask me.

i am also, today, the proud owner of 2 Brazilian shorts, an overpriced Marks & Spencer bra, 2 Island Shop pieces. if i weren't such a bloody fat endo-mesomorph, i would have had the luck, if that's what you can call it, of bringing home 5 more exquisitely designed paperbags. hell, i almost entered LifeBaby and i don't even have a baby yet.

so, yes. the Shopping Bug can be extremely dangerous if you are not careful enough to avoid beautiful lacy items, pretty pink tops, sexy calf-baring skirts, calf-enhancing pumps and in my case, additionally, a baby cot complete with a pink ceiling mosquito net. you might actually contract all these items and find them permanent lodging in your wardrobe. and another room, if you get that baby cot/mosquito net item.

i'm off now to watch the Da Vinci Code. i hope the movie is as exciting as the book was for me. and you people out there, ease up, it's FICTION.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

bloody marvellous

What's worse than having a blog and not updating it?

Spending 30 minutes updating your blog and giving you an upload failure message of sorts and losing everything you've typed.

very nice.


you know it's been a bloody marvellous day when your stomach's full, your legs are tired and you want nothing more than to simply kick back and finish up Nick Hornby's A Long Way Down.

first up, i met up with a friend to look for Granny cookies in Orchard. some weeks back, she gave these cookies out as Thank-You-For-The-Birthday-Dinner gifts. three cookies in a red box with an oil-painted logo of an old lady at the front. very clever marketing tactic. it makes you feel like some Granny Anne in a little french cottage slaved for hours at her kitchen making those perfect droolicious chocolate fudge cookies, when the truth is, these cookies were probably mass produced at some rusty old factory tended by disgruntled facial mask-wearing french workers forgetting to pronounce the last letters of every curse word they belch. too much chocolate fudge air can't be good for the digestive system.

the chocasmic experience of having one of these cookies, like a good fuck, leaves you breathless for more. we walked more than 1.5km through Orchard Road and the blistering heat just to get to the shop, need i say more?

the chocolate fudge cookies are powdery to the touch, but they do not crumble. putting it on the tip of your tongue is only the beginning of an unforgettable cookie experience. the cookie bloody MELTS, i tell yer, it melts on your tongue. Granny cookies crumble on your tongue at first bite, liquefying into chocolate fudge and coating your tongue with thousands of unimaginable oral explosions. you try to prolong the ecstacy, to delay swallowing the entire cookie, but you can't. you'll finish all three cookies in 5 minutes, i guarantee that.

then it's like a love lost and you're kickin' yourself cos you don't have any left for lunch, tea, dinner, breakfast, for a long time.

we entered the shop, relieved to be swept over by air-con. with my first step into the shop, i immediately knew this was no regular supermarket. everything was going to cost 2x, 3x more than local supermarkets. behold this, for i have stepped into a boutique supermarket. i was prepared to burn a hole in my wallet. it does not even have regular carrots, it sells SPECIAL mini, slender carrots with the leaves still attached to the slender tuberous bodies. i didn't dare touch it, i was afraid of the pricetag, it said $34/kg. that's insane, i could buy a million raw steaks for $34. all kinds of cheeses, dips, wines, biscuits, teas - it was a supermarket adventure of the poseur kind.

to our disappointment, they were out of Granny cookies and have not shipped them in for quite some time. apparently due to bad customer reviews. WHAT KIND OF CUSTOMERS DO THEY HAVE? they probably have dead tastebuds or had their tongues cruelly snapped out of their mouths.

"they didn't like the chocolate chip cookies, mostly."
"no, the choc chip ones were not that good. but the choc fudge ones were fantastic."
"we're shipping them in again, perhaps in June, can you wait?"

do we really have a choice?

now that we were in that shop, surrounded by beautiful food for beautiful stomachs in beautiful people, we just had to buy something. i looked at an array of teas delightfully tinned and exorbitantly priced at $19 each. my friend tells me the little buds BLOSSOM when you pour hot water over them. do i really want to spend $19 for some special visual effects tea when i can stick to my reliable Ahmad or Lipton tea?

and then, i set eyes on this.

could God be any kinder to this foie gras loving poseur? methinks not. i'd sleep with anyone to inherit a duck/goose farm where i'll tenderly overfeed ducks/geese to fatten em up.

and then we spotted these. MILK CHOCOLATE SARDINES. i bought them.

while you're gagging, let me slowly explain that these marketing howorthy milk chocolate sardines are not chocolate coated/covered sardines. i am not that desperate to fit in with the richoes who hang out at this boutique supermarket. these are chocolates shaped like sardines, wrapped in foil to look like sardines and packaged like an opened tin of sardines. it was too cute to pass up. but at $8 for 5 pieces of chocolates, they better be bloody good or i'd have wished i did indeed buy chocolate coated/covered sardines.

and then i saw a mini keg of whisky COMPLETE WITH A MINI TAP. i shook my head and said, motherfucking luck. i'll never buy it but i so want it. it was beautiful. for beautiful throats and beautiful, fat wallets.

we escaped immediately before i made a rash and foolish purchase. the organic foods supermart next door was our next stop. people confuse health foods with organic foods all the time. organic foods are food from plants and animals that have been grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers or pesticides, and without antibiotics, growth hormones, and feed additives. this does NOT mean that cookies are ALLOWED, in this world, to be made without yeast, dairy items and NATURAL flavourings. i sampled some cookies and had to control myself from spitting them out. the fresh foods though, my God, that's what all of us should be eating. i've never seen such healthy-looking fresh foods in my life. they looked like they popped out of some still life exhibition. the red onions were HUGE, shiny and firm. the apples were robust and a deep red. the pears looked visually crunchy. organic food IS God's food. we should all convert if it were not so bloody expensive. i went away buying an expensive piece of chocolate, dark chocolate laced with orange. i couldn't bear to sink my teeth into beautiful apples and pears, and of course, not the onions.

we ran off to Little India, to Iniavan's, my favourite place. Ravi and i used to come here on a weekly basis, but i can't bear to go there without him these days. a bowl of mutton masala, a serving of fried chicken and several curries later, i am thankful i have not helped myself to their free flow tea, i would have never been able to fit all that food in.

we then adjourned to Upper Dickson Road to quickly drop my saree off at Umy's for some tailoring before Ravi's brother's wedding in two weeks, and a cool respite at the Kulfi Bar opposite. i cannot apologise for the poor quality of this image, i was too excited to dig in and my hands were shaking from the very anticipation of having smooth, milky kulfi laced with rose syrup and pistachios sliding down my warm throat on a hot day. this kulfi came with vermicelli and jelly too. i wanted to tilt the glass into my mouth, but alas, my mouth is not big enough, and my teeth are just too sensitive to the cold.

my friend has never been to the (in)famous Mustafa Centre, and so we jostled and hustled through the streets so she could have a taste. i told her it's a giant supermarket filled with almost everything you could think of (except foie gras which can never be halal or Granny's cookies which won't appeal to the targeted crowd at Mustafa's). imagine my delight when i find the hair conditioner suited for my hair there, when it's sold out everywhere else. it's the ONLY hair conditioner suited for my hair. i've stocked up enough to keep an entire African nation follicly moisturised.

note by amateur amateur photographer: not all the tubes are shown in this picture for maximum effect of rows and rows beyond the picture

Mustafa's is air-conditioned, but with the amount of human traffic there, you're left gasping for air like a goldfish and wishing you have a 1L bottle of Vittel with you. we head to the drinks section and look what we found!

look at the logo closely, remember the hot weekends your mother made ice-cold rose syrup? or the seasons she'd make bandung (rose syrup with milk) with this particular brand of rose syrup? old skool's gone modern. it now comes canned in a sleek, smooth tin. the tag phrases don't appeal to me at all, but hell, i know what it tastes like. no more bulky glass bottles of syrup, just grab a can of Rose Rush from the fridge on any given hot day!

so now, i go, fantasise the many ways to savour my foie gras while sipping on Rose Rush, and trying not to feel too sad that i'll be leaving all these behind in a matter of days.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

packin's a bitch

i've always hated packing.

today, i have started cleaning up and packing stuff into boxes. it feels semi good. good because it feels like two hours at the gym, but only semi good because you're not quite 'there yet'. have thrown out Ravi's old school notes, all magazines other than National Geographic, bridal mags and my favourite issue of Vogue with the lovely Cate Blanchett on the cover. you find old photographs you forget about, even photographs of Ravi's hot ex Korean girlfriend. he told me to throw it away, sweet as that suggestion was, it's not mine to throw away - i've set it aside for him.

i've thrown out so much crap that the large box, up to my thigh, is already ebullient with incinerator-bound rubbish. i will pack them into plastic bags to throw down the chute - leaving a big box like that out on the streets attracts scavengers of all kinds.

and while going through Ravi's past travel receipts/documents, i found this little gem -

do they have a Good Deeds General Manager to help defight Vice?

one day down, several more boxes to go.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

a year closer to death

ain't my colleagues sweet?

10th May is my favourite day. for a host of reasons.

1. it's the anniversary of the beginning of the end of my parents' lives as they knew it
2. also the anniversary of the start of my brother's torturous life, living with a maniac
3. i get presents
4. i get birthday wishes from people i have not heard from in 10 years
5. i feel absolutely popular, loved and revered (HAH!)
6. i get flowers which rot, but the ephemeral euphoria is out of this world

beautiful roses from Ravi in an extremely unique packaging - it's called My Angel (do i hear "awwwwww"s?)

and Vincent who knows just how to bowl me over with this. the card read "I am sure Ravi won't mind this cat" which cracked me up - Ravi is a non-psychotic animal disliker.

7. i have an excuse to poison blood with alcohol and gesticulate YMCA while lying on dance floor and not be charged with Indecent Spreading of Legs and Arms while Cleaning a Small Circumference of Bar Floor
8. it's all about me, me, me
9. i get to pick where we eat and party
10. i get to be with my favourite people

but 10th May is also the toughest day of my humble life because i have a tendency to buck and run the other way. despite my loud guise, i am actually painfully shy. i also hate the pressure of asking myself if i want a party - cos i'd only worry if other people are having fun. and then there are the ex-flings who send you birthday wishes and you feel awashed with guilt all over again. and the yearly self reviews - what have you achieved, Dali? have you saved the world? have you eased worldwide famine? have you made peace with estranged blood relations? have you said 'i love you' to your parents despite everything?.

and to top it all, people shaking my hands all day long, wishing me Happy Birthday. i have to be extremely discreet about how, after they grab my soft, moisturised hands, that my hand suddenly goes all awkward and paralysed - my body rejects my hand. i need to continue with the usual birthday "how old are you today? how will you celebrate? congratulations!" conversation for at least another minute before i can run to the toilet and wash my hands (and open the toilet door with a paper towel). it is NOT, as my friend whose name begins with E-D-N says, OC (read obsessive compulsive), it's simply Dali Hygiene.

but as Godly humour would have it, i've fallen sick and am unable to celebrate my birthday with as much mirth as i would have liked. i'd cancelled my birthday dinner, i couldn't even collect the Goldmine Cheesecake (read chocolate fudge topped cheesecake with oreo crust bottom). and today, my throat hurts, my nose is blocked with unmentionable hazardous green plasmalike thing, my eyes are droopy from the flu drowse and my body is just so exhausted from simply being internally attacked.

but i shall persevere. i cannot cancel tonight's dinner which everyone's been looking forward to. we are headed to Melt. and, come on, i can no longer wait a day more to dip fruits into that much talked about chocolate fountain fondue. oh, and lay eyes on beefy chefs, so my friend whispers. and of course, laugh at everybody's ethnic getups - yes, there is a dress code for Dali's party. i tried for a Wizard of Oz theme but everyone threatened not to come. i don't know what these people have against shiny, red shoes and a lion's tail.

i must get better, for tomorrow, a certain friend whose name begins with E-D-N, her talented bf and another lady arrives from KL. i can't wait to hide in cupboards and scare the living shit out of them when they open the wardrobes.

and now, to Dr Lu, i must. if i want to save my tastebuds from certain tastelessness before i go to Melt.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

bra dropper

it's dismal.



pretty darn fucked up.

i thought i was done, we all thought i was done, we all thought the last of the assignment was finally, finally signed off on. for weeks, i felt like i was dangled 45 degrees towards the sharp stones below the cliff, standing at the edge of unsteady ground, held by a rope around the chest fixed to a tree behind me. and just when i think the rope's going to give way and i'm tilting lower towards certain death, i finished the assignment, feels like someone came to the rescue, untying the knot of the rope around the tree to pull me upright and back to safe ground.

and then the boss drops the bomb even he didn't expect. oh, we're not quite finished.

the knot came loose too quickly and i fall.

the next few weeks will determine if i grab hold of a branch and climb my way back to happy, happy days. my weeks at the office are coming to an end, and i am trying to snap myself to reality, that Dali, yes, you have to pack the house. i have enough bubble wrap to keep a certain bubble wrap addict friend of mine occupied for decades, and enough cartons to pack 10 Most Disliked Colleagues to an uninhabited Pacific island.

Pearly was right - no matter what Dali, make sure he arrives first with all the boxes, that he settles in first or you're stuck with all the shit. too late, huns, i am already stuck with all the shit. and, she has two maids, a driver and a cook. i am the two maids, driver and cook. and when we have kids, i will also be the milk pumpin' ass-kickin' cow.

it's tough being a woman, multi-tasking is such a specific talent.

on top of that, a certain friend whose name starts with letters E-D-N is also eagerly waiting my first batch of homebaked cookies packed in homemade clay jars to be FedEx-ed to K.L. from Dubai.

i sit on the sofa, stare at the bubble wrap and cartons, and raise my eyebrows. where the fuck do i start? i think in the following chronological order
1. where do i start?
2. *mentally ticks off giant items that will not be part of the packing list* and thinks
3. oh, actually, we do not have that much stuff
4. *imagines self bent over last box, wiping sweat off bushy brow* and thinks
5. how the fuck did we amass these many things?

i do this at least three times a week. it's cathartic, raising eyebrows and widening eyes to perimeters of hairline. it stretches your facial muscles, not to mention the fine creases around your eyes.

so i've decided that i'll pack in the following order
1. Ravi's books, files, notes
2. my books
3. our videos
4. clothes + shoes (damn you, honey, which man has this many shoes?)
5. sophisticated kitchen machinery

and then pack myself off! yahooooooo!

and now, before i leave to vote for my country's (and my own) future, i will leave you to watch a video that all of us from girls' schools never told anyone else about, that we went around doing this same thing to our friends. this guy cracked it, how to unhook a bra really, really quickly. hell, he's even faster than me!