Boleh, or not?

"Wei, still at work?"


"Aw... pitiful. I just finished work. Wanna have dinner? Are you done?"

"Er... not sure... I'm discussing something with my partner. And have to look after my designer on the job I briefed her earlier today... well, lemme check..."

Excused myself from my writer. And walked away from the pantry towards my place.

"My designer isn't at her place..."

"I'm about to leave the office. How?"

"Okay, I tell you what. I call you back in a while to confirm?"

It was Zoky.

I have tons of work to be done. Couple more of ideas to churn out for The Other Milk activation project with my writer before he's calling it a day. But I still... well... you (should) know. Have a couple of trying-hard-not-to-look-forcefully quick ones with him. Done! Just then, Zoky texted me.

"The highway is in a terrible jam. I think it's better for you to leave the office later. I can have dinner myself."

Oh! That is so uncool! Think, think, think. Come on, come on. Walked towards the windows at the pantry. Wow. It was pouring heavier than before. The traffic was really bad. Almost stationary. Texted her back.

"Yeah, it's really bad. I can see it from here. Or why not you drop by the mall and have dinner here? My treat."

"I'm in the middle of the trail. Not sure when I'll reach. We go for the cheaper one then. If you can wait for me. I'm hungry!"

So am I. Raining day indeed makes you hungrier.

"The cheap one, that is."

Went down and joined the rest while I waited for her.

I drank half the yin yiong, when she rang. That was quick. Downed it all. Leave the colleagues. And met her up.

She was cold. And craving for something hot, and soupy. After throwing a few suggestions, she remembered the Vietnamese's I had with her last time. And off we go. We ordered the set for two. Come with fried rice, beef noodle, and other side dishes. Ice lemon tea included. I took the rice, and she, of course, the noodle.

We took our time to enjoy the food. I can't finish mine. It was... quite tasteless. I must say. Her beef ball taste much better. But I give an overall high markings for it. It's not so much of the food and ambient. It's who you are enjoying a meal with.

Had some chat after makan.

About the coming trip early next year. About our work. She's surprised that I have to go back to the office to finish up what I left. So I thought, instead of leaving after dinner, why not I bring her up my place and show her around? The place I work at. The works I do. The bunch I hang out with.

She's the first one I've ever brought up. Hope my family and bros don't know about this.

The lift opened. My designer was at the lobby. Walking around. On the phone. Chatting with someone that seemingly know me. I knew her friends by names, and brief acquaintances. Either
it was her close friends, her boy, or the housemate.

"Zoky, this is my designer, Diam-Diam."

"Eh! Hi, Zoky!"

"Why is she so excited?"

Zoky whispered.

"She's always excited."

After showing Zoky around, and spending some time lepak-ing and chatting with my team, I walked her to her car. And drove me back to the entrance. We parted with a goodnight.

I went back up.

"Ei! Zoky boleh woh! She looks prettier in person than in the photos."

"You think so?"

What Zoky don't know is, I told Diam-Diam unimaginable amount of times about her. As my designer, and a friend, she's concerned. She asked a few times about my progress with her. What progress can I have? Don't I wish to make another move? But it's harder for a second time now. Unless there's a very clear, green light from her. Of any kind. A signal. Body language. Whatever.

Not the first time I've explained these to her.

Zoky, is not the ladylike kinda girl. She dresses like one. But she acts a little tomboyish. She's on the rough side. Shakes her legs like a man. Well, it's one of her bad habit. I flicked her once when she did that. Said it's not nice to look at (but just another excuse of mine to have skin contact). She spits when she smokes! Her excuse, the taste of nicks.

It's these little imperfections that make her, her. Staying true to herself. Not faking a blink. Straight forward, and honest. It wouldn't be her if she don't do these anymore. I guess, that is why I'm attracted to her.

Boleh, or not, is not up to me to say. For now.


Irony #489

Went on a road I seldom use yesterday.

And the prize for that rarity?
Punctured my tyre.

Tsk, tsk, tsk. What a luck.

Had an outing with Bro and the gang. We went for a movie. And left after some drinks and Siam Poker at the mamak. It was almost 3am. Drizzling. Bro suggested to use a different road. I seldom got on that road. As I don't need to. Just a handful of times a year. It seems further to me.

I... didn't want to at first.

15 minutes into the journey, we passed a crashed car in flame. Damn! It was huge. Slowed down. And maneuvered my way through the broken pieces. I think I went on some of the larger ones. We saw what it seems to be the driver. He is still around the car! What the fuck is he thinking!? Get the fuck away!

Moments later, we heard loud, constant knocks on my car. It was on my side. We stopped to checked not far from the scene. There was something stuck to the tyre. Must be the broken pieces. Cars were zooming passed. So, we decided to stopped further. Just as we left, the flaming car burst. Even with the knocks in tune, we heard that.

We slowly made our way to a bus stop.

Just then, I remembered I don't have the lug wrench in my car. Shit. We rang Since Primary Two up. What else can we do but to sit there? Had some smoke while we wait.

Soon after, a fire truck passed us.

The fire truck passed us again. Without the siren this time. Hope everyone's save.

Since Primary Two then came.

"Of all things, you don't have the "T" (
we called the lug wrench that)?"

"I gave it to my ex la..."

Loosen the nuts. Jacked the car. Took the tyre out. There's a piece of semi-curved metal clamped on the inner surface of the tyre and the ring of the rim. Lucky my rim wasn't dented. Only scratches. And what the hell is that!? Which part of the car does this came from?

Changed the spare. And convoyed home.

Good excuse now to change tyres. And strut bars. Maybe sports steering. Oh, got my car tinted.

Why didn't we stop to help? We were not the first at the scene. There were already people helping out. Not sure if there's anyone else in the car besides the driver, but hope they are all fine.

And we're still wondering what's that metal piece.


Unofficial Dear Mr. Client

It's good for you to have your off day. Which is a luxury to us.

It's sweet of you to accompany your missus for shopping. Which for days we don't even catch a glimpse of our love ones.

It's nice of you to dropped by the office, and brought us donuts. Which sometimes we don't even have a second spare to munch.

But it's very, very rude of you to barged in without prior informing any of us. You are not from the health department. You are not from the anti-piracy. This is not a school. Neither is a university. We don't need spot check. Evolution tells us we have the capability to communicate. Alex invented the telephone for that reason.

This is a privately owned office premise. Our office. Our agency. Which is fully owned by the largest global advertising holdings. You are not a shareholder. You are not a staff. This is not a public area. Neither is a restroom. Trespasser will not be shot. But will be taken legal actions. Heavily.

The mall is downstairs. There is also another one nearby. If you lost your wife, information counter would be glad to lend their intercoms. If walking is not your thing, there are benches. There are toilets. So are restaurants. So are cafes. Even cinemas. And there are plenty of things you could do. Or imagine doing.

Two campaigns, and two promos with multitude items are fairly impossible to be changed with just a single click. Not with keystrokes. Not with shortcuts. Not even with both divisions combined. We are an international agency. We have other accounts as big. If not bigger.

We will not start work from scribbles on the printed presentation deck. Not with verbal briefing. Not without an official stamped and
signed job req. This is what we called the "black and white". We have a system. Which can be broken under very, very special and rare conditions. Yours, is not.

We are pleased that you are aware of the production deadline. But we are not pleased for the number of times you requested for "non-conventional" ideas. Which ended up as a bunch of things that everyone would flip away. Along with 250 ads in a dailies. Average. From different advertisers.

Never abuse words like "idea" and "concept". Leave it to us. The marketers. The creatives. Don't waste our time. Don't waste your time. By you constantly abused such terms, we have lost half of it.

When we agreed to omit the rest, and work on the key items, don't come telling us you have something new in mind. Not when we are almost done with them. Especially not with assumptions. We understand the term of pleasing your boss. If you aren't sure, a discussion with him is best. First.
We knew you are in-charged of these projects. But he have the final say. Not you.

Customer is always right. You are not a customer. You don't buy products from us. You don't buy services from us. We are a business partner. We offer them. For your marketing and advertising need.

We are not prostitutes. We are not here to please you.

Thank you. But no thanks.

Speaking on behalf of my team. Other team. The agency. And other agencies.

Yours truly.


The unfolded leaf

Father was a bank officer before he retired. He works late almost every other day. Only to come home way after dinner. I'd always accompanied him while he's having the leftovers, whenever there is a chance. And of course, if I'm still awake. Since I seldom see him.

One night, while he's having his late meal at home, I grabbed a stool, dragged it near the dining table, and climbed onto it. I then comfortably rest my chin on the edge of the table. It was silent. All I do was, looked at him. I was studying his expression. Tracing the contour and texture of his face. Of him munching away. Of him
reading the paper at the same time. As my eyes wander away from him, I found my hands. Curiosity kicks in. I popped a question.

"Why are there lines on our palms?"

While sucking the meat from the bones of his favourite steamed pomfret, spontaneously, he fold and unfold the edge of a leaf from the newspaper.

"That's why."

The thing about me being a child is, I never satisfy of the answers I get. I'd always asked another "Why?". And it's the "Why?" that they always end at. This time, I didn't ask again.
For a moment, I thought my eyes was glittering as a sign of agreement.

His answer was tad simple. But this has taught me one thing:

No matter how difficult the question is, there's always an answer. There's always a solution to it. A reason for it. The answer might be right in front of you, without you notice. If you know where to find it.

Whenever I feel lost, I always looked back at this.

Dedicated to a very, very special friend. Though it may be irrelevant, but I hope this can be an inspiration of some sort to whatever difficulties you are facing now.

Pang yau
this is the least I could do.


Bad high

Did I mention in my previous post that Zoky was sick?

She's on medication. Which made her a little slow and blur. I relate to her my own experience the last time I got sick.

I was having flu during the end of a course.

Had my scheduled meds, before I left the office for the graduation night. Everyone was there. Creative directors. Course organizers. Medias. And other invited guests. Among others, beers and cocktails were served. I was announced the top student. I received my award. But I'm not... happy? Being too blur to be happy. Few coursemates noticed. Told them it's the fever I had.

Should have limit myself to just soft drinks.

That night
, I had panic attack. I was in a delusional state. The sudden fear was unbearable. I soaked myself from tears, and sweat to sleep. Thought it's the meds I had. I stopped taking them the next coming days.

Day one, I stopped taking the cough syrup. I'm high.

Day two, put the fever pills aside. Still high.

Day three, threw the antibiotics away. No difference at all.

I am still as high as ever.

Despite that, I went to work.
But I couldn't focus. Stared blankly at my iMac for hours. Unable to think, even for the simplest design. One late night as I was driving back from work, I had... short term memory loss? There's a stretch of ten, fifteen minutes of driving that I'm not aware I had passed. Huh? Eh? Since when I'm already here!?

I'm getting worried.

Since Primary Two called for an outing to freshen up. The coming weekend, we went for a movie. Fun Size, and her sister, Total Opposite, came along. I seriously not sure what is going on.
I only remembered some of the scenes. And the screen was too big for me to handle. My head was spinning throughout the whole length. It continued to spin at the mamak after.

I told Buddy. At that time, it was during the first wave of the H1N1. Hospitals, and clinics began to stocked up with stronger dosage of flu medicines. Or so he heard.

It carried on
for a good week, or two.

It was that bad.

That was a different kinda high. Seriously scary.


Wet dream

Zoky asked if I would like to tag along to a trip with her friends. It will be in early January. Since started work, I rarely commit to any of the plans my bros made, until the last minute. I'd almost forgot about it. Screw the works lah, I should take a rest after all these brutal nights rushing for pitches and campaigns.

So, I texted her.

I recall she will be going around looking for a new place to rent. Somewhere nearer to her new office. She didn't answer. But texted me this morning. Wasn't sure if she will be going herself. Got another text right after that one. It's a date! Well, not that kinda date. Just watching movie and makan kinda date. Apa lagi? Of course on la!

Chat about it with her in MSN. She's still sick since the long weekend. I scolded her. In a nice way la, of course. So instead of facing the monitor, I told her to get more rest. Lie on the bed. Couch. Anything. Rather than absorbing the radiation.

Promised to call each other up later in the evening to confirm.

My Internet activities for that noon covers movie searches. Oh, there are few nice ones showing on screen. Keep that in mind for later. After I'm done, I went to the living. And dozed off on the sofa. It's the weather la. Makes you sleepy. Couple of hours nap later, I got up. I start composing my text... Oops,
Zoky rang. It's a confirmed date.

And off I go to pick her up.

Drizzling. Steamboat. Good combination. But we are still a little sweaty from sipping the hot soup. We left with some strands of mee hoon. Went to the... what's it called? Kedai Apa Pun Ada? Anyway, bought a retractable measuring tape for her to measure her bed and lift doors. See if we can keep the bed without dismantling it when she shift soon.

She got to know recently there's a "new" cinema there. Not the Big 2. But a smaller one. Just perfect. Since we are running late. And I'm sure there are tix left waiting desperately to be bought. There are! Great! Had a ciggy. Bought some drinks and went in.

The hall was rather small. As wide as the screen.

I didn't know she fear of tight, confined spaces. At times. It's worst when she's sick. And the only available "okay" seats are at the side wall, fourth row from the top. But she decided to stay on. I insisted if at anytime during the movie she wanna leave, tell me.

Movies are nothing. We still can watch DVDs, or in bigger halls at the middle some other time. What is 20 bucks? I care more for her than peanuts.

We managed to finish the length. Throughout the movie, I kept asking, or just turned to her to see if she's fine. I enjoyed looking at her than the movie. And I can't deny I wanted to hold her hand to comfort her.

I dropped her off after the movie. Had a small chat in the car. She asked if I can teman her to the new place tomorrow. For an extra opinion. I'm keen. I'll wait for her call.

Having a bright smile driving home...


That's the longest drag I had with Slow White Poke.

Bottleneck. Everyone's swerving out. I almost rear-ended two cars.

Though I've never been in any defensive or advanced driving course before, I'm glad that I know people who's in the industry. I learn a lot about cars. Practiced theoretically, and through many trials & errors. I know my car well. And know how much she can take it.

Was I panic? Yes. But not the leg shaking kind. If it were years back, I would see my own blood. But a little headache right after. Blood rush I guess. My head is still pounding as I'm writing these. Maybe kena a little rain too.

I stayed calm throughout. Applying "manual" ABS (my car don't come with one). Steadily gripping the wheel. Maneuvering the slide. Dropping gears. Luckily, I'm using stiffer shocks and lower profile tyres. And I've just serviced her.

Never daydream while you're driving. In my case, recapping a few days story. Not when it's raining.

Drive safe, people.


Exotic eggs

Was devouring some century eggs with sliced ginger that Mother prepared earlier. It reminded me of an... how should I put it? Incident... no, encounter I had when I'm still the only child. About eggs.

How exotic an egg have you tried?

Think about it.

How about gecko's?

Yes, the household gecko's.
Lizard, cicak, or whatever you call it.

I was
too small to know the difference. They were hidden at a corner of an unexplored section of the house. Nicely gridded on the glass surface of a rattan coffee table. Four, maybe five of them. By the time Mother came to the rescue, the table was emptied.

How it tasted? A little salty, maybe. I seriously couldn't remember.

How it felt? Well,
it was crunchy on the outside. Something similar to M&M's, softer, with empty fillings. When the shell broke on the tongue, it was... quite a scene in there. The egg white squirting. And the yolk flowing down the throat was...

Argh! Fuck! Forget it!
I'm having butterflies now.