Sunday, December 06, 2009


So it's been a year since I last updated this blog. I blame facebook.

Key high - and low - lights of the year:
  • January 2009: fantastic birthday bash, trip to bali which was fucking fantastic coz it included bungee jumping (scariest thing I've ever done and has resulted in 'falling off a cliff/building' dreams to go through the roof), water sports (parasailing (pretty scary, but not really)), drinking with the bestest group of friends one could have, clubbing, eating great food and shopping!! only sore point was when I accidentally deleted 400 pictures from my camera one day we were supposed to leave Bali
  • Oscar movie season: Slumdog Millionaire, Milk, The Reader, The Wrestler, Doubt, Rachel Getting Married, Changeling, Gran Torino, Revolutionary Road - all wonderful movies - spoilt the market for the rest of the shit that came out from March to August 2009
  • Kate Winslet - winning the Oscar (and the golden globe (two), screen actor's guild award, BAFTA and every other blooming acting award)
  • Other great movies of the year: Hangover, District 9, The Informant!, 500 Days of Summer, Inglourious Basterds, Departures, Brick Lane
  • Best first date ever: Holi celebrations! We meet again next Holi!
  • Befriended the Frenchies!!
  • Entered into a national short story competition with high hopes. Hopes were dashed..
  • Travelled to Hong Kong and Thailand all by my lonesome on work. Woot!
  • Long time flatmate and FGF (fucking good friend) Anirudh left for the US to pursue his PhD
  • Acquired a new flatmate and great friend (recruited from office!!)
  • Got promoted without a raise
  • Housewarming Bash - tip top party of the year but got too drunk
  • Starbucks delivery. Belgian waffles (but nothing beats the Banana muffin). Millions of Lattes.
  • Acquired a significant other. But turns out I wasn't as significant
  • And of course, spent loads and loads of time with the More Than Significant Others - the besties.

The year is not done yet. I am hopeful for better things to come: people, movies (Avatar!!!), better working conditions. And great love. Fingers crossed.

Friday, December 26, 2008

chalk it up to experience

My disgustingly devious friends under the pretense of taking me to a bar at the beach within the city, kidnapped me to a place which is about 120km out of Colombo. I freaked out at first considering I had told my mum that I would be back early but then the trashy techno and copious amounts of tobacco did their magic on me and half-way there I felt myself relax.

So, this place, Hikkaduwa has come to be known as the party capital of Sri Lanka. Its supposed to be full of dodgy beach bars filled with your usual assortment of beach boys, Caucasians, gays (both beach boy and Caucasian) and murderers, thieves and scoundrels. Ok, the last part I only imagined. But the link that draws them all together are pot and burning libidinous desires. I imagine both pot and these desires are very closely related. Anyway, just past Christmas Eve, no activity of significant proportions was seen when we arrived, so, with the result of us driving even further out, we drove to Unawatune which is fast becoming the sister-capital of Hikka.

The place was called, Riddim – a name, I presume heavily influenced by the major Rastafarians known to the populace today – Bob Marley & Sean Paul. In true South-Asian fashion, one of said devious friends paid cover and went inside to source out the owner who is apparently very well acquainted with them. Eventually, the right strings were pulled and the ‘vintage’ purple ink was stamped onto our arms and so began the second phase of my unexpected adventure – the first being the emotional rollercoaster of a drive to the damn place (stages of emotion: panic, fear, panic, anger, an emotion centering on internal monologues such as: don’t be a loser, go with the flow, chalk it up to experience, and finally, acceptance and relaxation).

The people inside were crazy and obviously doped up with the various substances making the rounds inside the club. Part of the club was sheltered – the dance floor, the DJ podium with the sides of club facing out to the sea. And the bar was located outside on the beach with the prices of alcohol being so temptingly cheap but I did restrain myself considering I had a mother to return to (also attempting to save the motherly forgiveness quota for inevitable NYE drunken splash-out). A lot of illicit activity was going on – drug taking, and quite a lot of homo-activity. Considering the alpha male culture of Sri Lanka – this was quite a revelation to me. My theory to explain the overcompensated nonchalance towards this activity is built on three pillars:

--> A lot of people are potted up

--> People are well-versed in the Rastafarian concept of living in the moment and going with the flow and therefore know that man on man activity is a symptom of this and are therefore too scared to reveal themselves as non-Rastafarian by voicing out their splendidly bigoted views.

--> People share a common understanding that this location is an oasis out of Colombo where gossip comes to a halt (obviously they have never met me) and secret desires and needs are indulged in without fear of judgment. Perhaps this is a bond that can overcome any personal prejudices one might have.

Anyway, the substances made their way to us and although I continued to restrain myself, I let up a few notches so I could properly start enjoying myself. True enough, after a couple of drags over 2 hours, 3-4 arracks, a beer and some vodka, I felt really, truly great (and more than a little dehydrated).

We danced everywhere but the most enjoyable part was when we danced at a point on the beach where the waves were only strong enough to lap at your feet. There was this really doped up fire-dancer beach boy who took to playing with his fire toys very close to us and I think if someone took a picture of that scene, we would have looked like some Satan worshipping toy boys. I really hope I get to visit this place again before I leave the motherland.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

where the heart is

After exactly 12 months, I am on a proper vacation. By proper vacation I mean that I can do as I please, whenever I please. That may not be true in the strictest sense considering that I am part of a Sindhi family – the amount of errands to run, the people to fetch – but so far, I have been able to sleep about 12 hours every day that I have been on holiday. It is brilliant I tell you.

The above may suggest that I haven’t really been productive at all in the last 3 days I’ve been in good ol’ depressing, economically run-down Colombo, but I’ve gone for a Christmas dinner, hung out with cousins, caught up with friends over the phone, made plans, almost finished Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh and watched half of Crash. Oh yes, I have also worked on a questionnaire and a fieldwork brief – the clients never really leave you alone do they?

In the true spirit of Christmas and for the love of lists, I am going to jot down all the pros and cons of being in Sri Lanka on holiday:

Pros are being able to:
Be with family and the fabulous niece
Catch up and gossip with old friends
Smoke up
Not work (somewhat)
Catch up on sleep
Catch up on some much-needed reading and watching movies
Not spend your own money
Eat all the wonderful food; also cheap-ass alcohol
Reap the benefits of a third-world country existence i.e. high interest rates on fixed deposits, chauffeur (or as we fondly say, Driver!!), domestic helpers (maids!), and briberrrrryyyy. Wooo hooo!


Not being able to smoke whenever I please (long term health benefit)
Low water pressure – specific to my house I think
Being away from Singapore when all the good movies are coming out
Slow Internet speeds

Since nobody apart from my not-so Internet savvy mum stays in the house when I am away, the Internet connection has lapsed (not that it was awesomely helpful before considering it was a dial-up). So now, I have to do without it. However, as it happened, while I was on the laptop and whiling it away organizing my files (technologically therapeutic), my wireless internet connection suddenly came to life! Woot. Basically some building in the area had switched on their wireless and the magic Internet waves filtered into my humble abode.

However, today, it does not seem to work. The magic appears to have disappeared. Sigh

Saturday, October 04, 2008

a vague ambitious notion

Recently, more than ever, I have been thinking of myself during my pre-university days and perhaps during that time of tertiary education. I believe I might actually have been quite ambitious! I was ready to go out into the workforce as a bright spark who would change organizations and be and I quote 'an exemplary colleague, peer, friend, subordinate and manager'. God Almighty! Was I naive or what?
Since then, its been a complete blur of utter despair and panic over deadlines, delirious anticipation for the weekend and fitful slumber which usually does not ever surpass 5 hours every night. And what about living up to that magnificently constructed sentence that promises ever so much? I think, its probably been more about attempting to be an exemplary subordinate only to be shot down by a stupid client or a stupid boss who takes your exemplary performance not as a sign to praise or reward you but rather to punish you with more work. And I think I've become a better actor too! Imagine the amount of effort it takes to speak nicely or even civilly to a boss or a client who has just handed you an extra 5 hours a day of work for the next month!! An exemplary actor that is what I am.
I remember starting out at my first client-servicing agency and being completely accepting of all the deadlines handed down to me even though I fully knew that I could not keep to them. Reason: Fear. Now, that fear still exists to an extent but I speak out if requests are unreasonable or worse, impossible. But what, conceivably, can you say to a bitch of a client who controls about 2 million USD in research budget a year? You say, and I interpret: Yes, Yes, Yes. Please take that hot poker and rape me and my entire team in the arse while you sit back and enjoy.
Strangely enough, most of the time I enjoy the contentious nature of the relationship between the client and agency because it really does help to have a client who is totally into being part of the research design but then when it borders on the interfering.... that is what disillusions me. And sometimes its the opposite: an apathetic client, ignorant of all things research related but only focused on answering questions which the research can't really answer.
Anyway, before I digress too much, I would just like to say that this disillusion I feel with myself and my industry does not fully encompass me. I say this because through this disillusionment has come a worldview which is slightly wider (panaromic even); more focused on healthying myself up (although a lot more improvement is needed and possible) and also to try other things which I can do (more reading, more writing) and also to think of a way to make more money!!!
I am feeling this vague notion that I need to write, and taking pleasure in withdrawing myself from the world and thinking about stories I could write, plots I could develop and characters whom I could flesh out (god forbid, two dimensionally). I haven't felt this way in years and I'm liking it and really, really, really hoping that this vague notion will actually morph into reality.
Here's wishing me luck!
P.S. I haven't really explored the possibility that my writing may actually be bad. But again, I am really, really, really hoping it IS bad...ass.

Monday, July 21, 2008

of questionably new horizons and different vantage points.

Finally made the move over to the new company. Starting my 3rd week there in a couple of hours and already been handed down a couple of deadlines which has been quite stressful but find myself perfectly able to handle them.

Only thing I dislike at the moment is that I am not too familiar with the SOP's that make up the everyday life of the company, for e.g. the process methodologies of starting a new project, the delegation procedure, the paperwork. There really is a lot of paperwork to be filled out at this company but the good thing is that the people to whom the work is delegated to actually do a good job at it because they have been hired to do exactly that! So, so far, so good.

The colleagues are also perfectly nice too! Making friends with some of them already and it feels good that I am settling in well and am able to be my usual filthy-mouthed self! yay! I really must cut down on the usage of swear words! One day, its going to get me into trouble (or more trouble that it already has in the past couple of years). An ex-colleague also works there and it really is such a pleasure to be able to work together again because our stint together at the previous company was cut abominably short.

Anyway, I am writing this at the tail-end of what has been a very relaxing, very non-alcoholic weekend. Watched The Dark Knight on Friday (my grade: B+, but thinking of upgrading to A-) and then chilled out at a friend's place till the wee hours of the morning. Since the said friend and company went to Malaysia the next day, I just sat on my ass and did up a set of charts the whole day. Finally, after sending off the report at 11pm on Saturday, met up with another friend for coffee at 12! super stuff!

On Sunday, met up for lunch with a couple of friends (I really have no idea why I am not using any names in here) and again chilled out at Starbucks for the longest time rating our friends on looks and personality (terrible, I know and can get sinister sometimes). After that, got a hair cut and signed a gym membership!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hope this can be sustained and I really hope I can lose the 18 kilos I am ideally supposed to lose. ugh. Does not sound too good. Should have seen the trainer's eyes when I pulled out the pack of Marlboro's from my pocket. After that came back home, collected the food my dearest flatmate had bought for me and went to the now-returned from Malaysia friend's house and chilled there till 10.30pm! And now it's 1.20am and I realize I am writing mind numbing stuff.

Perfectly good weekend and still ending it with a sinking feeling in my heart that I cannot for the life of me understand. Why does my mind stress over the most natural of feelings? Why does my heart stress over the little petty things of life like a freaking website? Rhetoric is my friend because I will answer the question myself - because those feelings are not directed at me.

It fucking sucks. But hey, the job's good right?

Monday, June 23, 2008

tainted texts

Two hilarious texts received when under the influence from similarly influenced friends at MOS:

Friend #1: Where are you?
Me: At MOS! Come!
Friend #1: Message me the address man!!!!


Friend #2: Where you?
Me: Which room are you in?
Friend #2: Touch my body!

okkkk! cracking up.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

a little strange

A post I wrote when drunk ages ago (about 2 years). Only just discovered the draft. I have no idea what brought this on. I really am quite the drama queen.
Alliances forms, cliques materialize and then you feel completely left out. Then you engage in the same behaviour. Your lifestyle with them becomes a vicious cycle of furtive behaviours, non-existent eye contact, fake smiles and forced laughter.
The fuck up that is rationalization. The fuck up that is hypocrisy. The fuck up that are opinions not felt but manufactured. The fuck up that is condescension. The fuck up of half-measures. The fuck up of always asking someone to be honest. The fuck up that are excuses conveniently made to justify a friendship breakdown.
Unrequited love is agony they say, but only natural. Unrequited friendship, is inexcusable.
So why does anybody bother? Because sometimes it's worth saving and sometimes it's not. I think I have realized what's not.

We Need to Talk About Kevin

I mentioned in an earlier post that I was reading Lionel Shriver's 'We Need to Talk About Kevin'. At that stage I had just started the book and was totally gripped by it.

Now that I have finally finished it, I can definitely say it's one of the most interesting books I have ever read. Please put it in your Must Read list.

Clever, clever book. Wonder why it was not awarded any other prizes apart from the Orange Prize. Too popcornish?
A short synopsis taken from Amazon:

In a series of brutally introspective missives to her husband, Franklin, from whom she is separated, Eva tries to come to grips with the fact that their 17-year-old son, Kevin, has killed seven students and two adults with his crossbow. Guiltily she recalls how, as a successful writer, she was terrified of having a child. Was it for revenge, then, that from the moment of his birth Kevin was the archetypal difficult child, screaming for hours, refusing to nurse, driving away countless nannies, and intuitively learning to "divide and conquer" his parents? When their daughter, loving and patient Celia, is born, Eva feels vindicated; but as the gap between her view of Kevin as a "Machiavellian miscreant" and Franklin's efforts to explain away their son's aberrant behavior grows wider, they find themselves facing divorce. In crisply crafted sentences that cut to the bone of her feelings about motherhood, career, family, and what it is about American culture that produces child killers, Shriver yanks the reader back and forth between blame and empathy, retribution and forgiveness. Never letting up on the tension, Shriver ensures that, like Eva, the reader grapples with unhealed wounds.

7 Random Things

Confab's gone and tagged me on this so I guess I have to do my duty... In fact this kind of thing is right my alley. I have never denied that I am a geek-loser who is fascinated by top 10 lists, movie/book ratings and award shows. So i am actually kinda excited about this. ha ha.

Ok the rules:
~ Link your tagger and list these rules on your blog
~ Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
~ Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
~ Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Point to note: I am a very open guy. Too open. Therefore most of the stuff that I list here is probably not random at all.

1. I spit a lot when I smoke. I can't help it. There's this unnatural urge in me to spit whenever I exhale after a puff. I think it's some irrational hormone telling me that if I spit, the nicotine which I have just ingested will not really lace my lungs. A lot of people really find it disgusting and I have learnt to control it most of the time but I will still steal a quick spit when no one is looking.

2. It is to my understanding that everyone knows that I keep a list of movies I have watched and my corresponding grade for it. What most don't know is that I will revisit this list every once in a while to see whether I still have the same opinions. So I hide the column of grades and go through a process I call re-grading. Then I have some fun comparing the two set of grades I have given. I think my re-grading % is close to 90%. It is a relief that I am not as fickle as I thought. For all managers out there who have listened to my excuses of not meeting deadlines... this is the real reason.

3. I keep 5-6 bottles of water at my desk all the time. I try to drink lots to keep my body cool and comfortable. ha ha. I do it to prevent acne from spreading to my face. Sadly, my back has been ravaged by this awful disease and water, if not harming me in any way, is actually not doing much to help either.

4. I have a fascination with the occult. I will browse through hundreds of pages containing information on witchcraft, dark magic, the wiccan religion etc. and more often than not harbor some fantasy about being a warlock. However, for some random reason, whenever I have this fantasy, a suave ruthless image is sadly not conjured. What is conjured is always an image of me looking like Mr. Weatherbee from Riverdale High.

5. Speaking about fantasies.... My real ambition in life is to be a writer. But whenever I think of myself in a position that I might be remembered for, a researcher or a writer will never crop up. I always, always imagine being remembered as a teacher. Think Dead Poet's Society.

6. I talk to myself. And it's usually tied to random fact no.5. Always catch myself telling myself something but with the tone of a teacher. Like 'now, now, you must always try to come to work on time'. Ugh. Too personal. Also creepy.

7. I have a fear that I have Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD). Reasons: Random fact no.6, tendency to imagine a third non-existent person sitting next to us at McDonalds at 6am after a night of festivities, tendency to be a completely different person when drunk etc.

Alright. That's done.

I'm gonna tag my friend YC!