Getting there…

Here in Sarawak, we have what is called the rural air services between the towns, particularly the small ones where the airfields are not big enough for the bigger aircrafts. To get to these places, we will have to use the 19-seater Twin Otter…

Twin Otter aircraft
*Jimmy’s photo from his Facebook album*

I’ve flown in these small planes many times before, the first few times to Mukah, a coastal town around 3 hours by road from Sibu. On one of the earliest occasions, I remember checking in at the counter and the airline personnel, without looking up at me, asked, “What’s your weight?”

“100,” I replied.

Instantly, he lifted his head, asking, “Kilos?” Tsk! Tsk! What did you think it was, you nincompoop, I murmured silently to myself. Pounds? But knowing what was best for me, I just nodded quietly…and counted my blessings that he did not insist on weighing me and my luggage altogether. I heard that they would do that on such flights and if one was too heavy, he or she would have to buy another ticket.

On another occasion, I booked a taxi to the airport/airfield…and a man in a van came to pick me up. He drove around all the hotels in the town to pick all the others who would be taking the same flight to Sibu. At the airport, we went to check in at the counter…and lo and behold! That same man, the van driver, appeared to check us all in. Then I saw him again – this time, pulling the cart with all the luggage to put inside the aircraft. I thought to myself, “If he is going to be the one flying the plane, I will walk all the way home to Sibu.” Luckily, he did not.

But that was not all! There were only three passengers on that flight. Inside the plane, there are single seaters on the left and double seaters on the right…

Inside a Twin Otter
*Jimmy’s photo from his Facebook album*

I chose to sit on the double seaters as the single seats would not be big enough to accommodate half of my butt! Other than that, the seat belt was so short – just long enough for me to use as an arm sling!

Just as everyone was settling in comfortably to wait for the pilot to get on board and fly the plane, the man appeared again. “Uncle! Uncle!” he hollered at me. (He was no spring chicken himself, calling me uncle!!!) Then, he blatantly ordered me out loud, “Uncle, you’re so fat…you sit on this side!” @#$%^&*!!!!!

I also took the plane once from Miri to Marudi. It was an uneventful flight and when the plane had landed, we all disembarked. The door of the aircraft would double as the staircase for boarding and disembarking…and there was a plastic-wrapped wire attached which could be used as a makeshift handrail. I had two bags so there was no way I could hold on to it as I got off the plane. Thus. I bounced down the steps one by one…and got off safely without tumbling over.

As I was walking to the terminal building, I noticed that the people were all looking somewhat amused. Then, I spotted my friends who were there to wait for me and they too were smiling. Curious, I asked them what was so funny. Imagine my indignation when they replied, “As you were walking down the steps of the plane, the wings flapped as if it was going to fly off,” and the two burst out laughing, unable to control themselves any longer.

And to add insult to injury, I was out browsing around the shops the other day when I spotted these…

Insult to injury

Omigawd!!! How could they? Call me fat, overweight, obese, XOS (extra-oversized), horizontally-challenged…or whatever you want but to call me a “lard’s bucket” is really pushing it too far! I think I’ll just go and kill myself. Bye-bye, cruel world…bye-bye! Sobssss!!!!!!

Lay lady lay…

I saw this 1981 cartoon strip in a local newspaper the other day and was quite tickled by it…

Cartoon 1

Cartoon 2

Cartoon 3

…and talking about lying in bed brings to mind this favourite song of many, originally by the Australian group, Air Supply…

I’m not particularly fond of the song myself and I would often chuckle at the opening lines that go like this:
I’m lying alone with my head on the phone,
thinking of you till it hurts
and I would think to myself, “Of course it would hurt, you silly man! Who asked you to go and lie on the hard telephone?” LOL!!!

But actually, that isn’t my main concern in this post. What I am always puzzled about is how the students over the years seem to be confused between the verbs, “lie” and “lay“. I guess everybody knows that the present participle of “to lie” (in bed, for instance)  is “lying” and the past tense form is “lay“.

On the other hand, there may be a few definitions of the verb “to lay” and one of them would be to “lay” as in “laying” eggs and the past tense form is “laid“.

Now, what I simply cannot understand is why year in, year out, I would see students writing sentences like: “I laid in my bed…” or “I was laying in my bed…” and I would ask them, “What are you laying in your bed? Eggs?” If they were isolated cases with only a few students once in a blue moon, I would not be so perturbed by it but there have been simply too many that I can’t help but wonder whether there are teachers out there teaching them the wrong thing…and the error has fossilised to such an extent that they keep writing that no matter what I tell them and no matter how much remedial work I give.

But looking on the bright side, I guess I can heave a huge sigh of relief considering that no student has ever written: “I got laid in bed.”

Have a great weekend, everybody…

Slow and steady…

Everyone in the jungle was busy, preoccupied with their daily chores. All of them minded their own business, except the hare…

The hare...

“Where are you going to, my friend?” the naughty bunny asked the tortoise, laughing at the poor thing and mocking him. “You are walking so slowly. I don’t think you’ll get to where you’re going before the sun goes down.”

“Say what you want,” the tortoise answered. “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words never will.

...and the tortoise

So why don’t you just go away and leave me alone?”

“Temper! Temper I’m only trying to be friendly, my dear friend. Isn’t it true that you are moving so very slowly. I am very sure that you cannot get very far like that, going at a snail’s pace.”

“Hey! Just keep me out of it!” the snail shouted at the hare angrily…

The snail

…You are always boasting about how fast you are on your feet and laughing at the rest of us who are slow. What a show off!”

“Now, who’s talking to you, you busybody?” retorted the hare. “I’m talking to my friend, the mobile condominium here.”

“Well, I’m not interested in talking to you, so why don’t you just go away and leave me alone?” the tortoise said. “After all, as they say, slow and steady wins the race.”

“Race? Did somebody mention ‘race’?” the hare asked. “I don’t believe what I’m hearing. Are you, by any chance, challenging me to a race?” He roared with laughter as he knew the tortoise would never be able to beat him.

“Why not? Now, do you see that tall tree over there? Let us meet here tomorrow morning and I’ll race you to that tree,” the tortoise said. He was so angry that he did not really know what he was saying. The poor thing would have no chance at all of ever winning.

“I’ll be here,” promised the hare, feeling very confident as there was no way that the slow tortoise was ever going to beat him.

The news of the race spread round the jungle like wild fire and the next morning, all the animals turned up by the droves to watch. “At least something is happening around here,” yawned the owl, “even though I do not think it is going to be very exciting. Everybody knows who is going to win.”

The cunning fox went round the crowd, trying to persuade some unsuspecting victim to bet on the race but everyone knew what he had up his sleeves. “Go away!” everybody told him. “We are not so foolish. We all know what you’re up to. Don’t think it is so easy for you to cheat us of our money.”

The giraffe had a bird’s eye view of the whole route so everybody asked him to give a running commentary of the event. Soon it was time for the race to begin. The beautiful peacock walked proudly forward to flag off the pair of competitors with her colourful tail. “On your mark…get set…GO!”

The tortoise was very determined. Step by step, he walked slowly on his way. The hare noticed that and it got him rolling on the ground laughing, unable to start running. Finally, as soon as he was able to stop, he shot off as fast as lightning. But before he did that, the mean streak in him got the better of him and with all his strength, he kicked the poor tortoise out of the way. “Step aside, David!” he shouted at the top of his voice.


“Here comes Rabbit Beckham!” The poor tortoise had no idea what was going on and the next instant, he found himself flying in the air.

As Forrest Gump would say, “Life is like a box of chocolates; you’ll never know what you’ll get.” The tortoise came crashing down on the hare who, unfortunately, was at the wrong place at the wrong time. In fact, it all happened so fast that he did not know what hit him. In the meantime, the tortoise fell onto the ground and rolled straight in the direction of the tree. The animals did not make a sound. They were all stunned speechless by what had happened. The tortoise stuck its head and legs out of the shell, dazed from the turbulent flight, and crawled slowly but surely to the finishing line.

“Hooray!” everyone cheered, jumping up and down with excitement

“That should teach him a good lesson!” mocked the snail, pointing at the hare, still lying on the ground in a coma. “He finally got what he deserves after all. As the proverb goes, pride always comes before a fall.”

Underneath your clothes…

When I was little (and yes, I was little once…a long long time ago), I used to run around in boxers – homemade ones. I don’t think people in those days could just go to a shop and buy the ready-made ones that are available in abundance at the departmental stores today. Thus, I had to wear the ones that my mother made – using the cotton cloth that people used to give away at funerals – blue or red in colour…and we could have a choice of either the drawstring type or the ones with the elastic bands.

I hated the ones with the elastic bands especially when my naughty uncles would sneak up from behind me and pull off my pants…and everybody would squeal with laughter. Tsk! Tsk!

It certainly did not help one bit either that when I went to secondary school, our school uniform was white, all white…and people could see through your trousers to see the colour of your underwear. I would take pains not to wear the red ones to school or those horrendous people would surely scream, “Ang tay khor (red underwear)!” and my face would instantly turn a similar shade of crimson! I wonder why it was such a taboo then – these days, red briefs are very common and they are even a special attraction around Chinese New Year time…with the Chinese character, Hock (luck/good fortune) strategically positioned at you-know-where.

Anyway, eventually, we could buy our underwear at the shops so my mother did not have to make any for me anymore. However, for a while now, it has been quite a problem for me to buy because it is very hard to get any my size. Once I found any that I could squeeze into, I would buy at least a dozen and keep in my closet to be used over a long, long time. Sadly, these days even the XL or XXL ones would not be big enough for me.

Thankfully, I’ve been able to get hold of these made-in-China ones at the Supersave stores in town…

MadeInChina undies 1

RM4.99 for a pack of three! Isn’t that a steal? They’re so very cheap and most importantly, they have them in my size. These are XXXXL only…

MadeInChina undies 2

…and they have even bigger ones.

Of course, they are not of the best quality. If you see a loose string, for heaven’s sake, do not pull or it will all come apart like you’re one of the Chippendales. LOL!!! Sometimes, when you’re wearing one, you may find it a bit cool and airy and free where it matters most – the stitches have come apart… Thank goodness for the trousers outside or my most precious family jewels would be revealed for all to see on more than one occasion. But never mind, they are so cheap so when that happens, I can just throw them away – they’re even cheaper than those disposables sold at pharmacies.

And since we ‘re on the topic of boxers and briefs, perhaps you would enjoy looking at this…

I wouldn’t think much of his singing but I certainly would give him a lot of marks for his SHOW-MAN-ship… Hey! Ang tay khor!!! Muahahahaha!!!!!

I’m not the only one…

Being an English teacher, I find it embarrassing and hate to admit that when I listen to the current songs on the radio, I may not hear all the words and when I can, I may not really understand the meaning – especially those “rap” songs today. Imagine my relief when I saw this cartoon strip in the newspapers the other day…

Cartoon strip 1a

It certainly looks like I’m not the only  one and even the young ones themselves may not know what the heck those people are going on and on about…

Cartoon strip 1b

Sometimes I may be able to make out the words in the lines that seem to rhyme quite well but I may somehow fail to make out the reason. Perhaps they are using their own brand of colloquial language or lingo that old people like  me just cannot make head or tail of.

For one thing, I must say that in fact, they are talking or at best, chanting…and not singing. In the good ol’ days, we also had “talking” songs like this one by the late Jim Reeves…

The stark difference is that you can hear each and every word pronounced and articulated so very clearly as he narrates the beautiful story of a very faithful dog,  “Old Tige” and who can deny that one can just drown in the richness and purity of his soothing mellow voice.

Another “talking” song that I loved a lot when I was small was this one…

What appealled to me most was how the soldier skilfully explained the meanings in the “Deck of Cards”. You should give it a listen if you’ve never heard it before.

Other than these, there were others as well by people like Glen Campbell. Many of you would know his “talking” rendition of the country favourite, “Honey come back” but this one simply entitled, “Friends”…

…certainly did not get very much airplay at the time. I had a post on it a long time ago…but somehow or other, the video clip seems to have gone missing or maybe I did not know how to upload videos at the time. Give it a listen too if you can spare the time – I bet you’ll love this one as well.

And have you heard this one – it was quite popular over Radio Singapore in 1973? An American deejay named Les Crane made a recording of himself reciting the very beautiful “Desiderata”…

…and it became a hit in many countries in the world. That was the hippie era – the flower power and this poem was some kind of “anthem” among young people then and psychedelic posters of it were prominently displayed on the walls of many at the time.

Gosh! There are so many nice “talking” songs that I just can’t possibly include them all like the Chi-Lites’ “Have you seen her” and “Letter to myself” and others but I think I will just squeeze in one more. Some of you are old enough to know Telly Savalas of the one-time very popular television show, “Kojak”, but I’m sure many have not heard him doing a “talking” song. This one is my favourite – his rendition of the very beautiful song by Bread, “If”…

Now, to get back to the cartoon strips, I was quite amused by this one too…

Cartoon strip 2a

I remember how I would call my daughter on my mobile phone from upstairs and ask her to bring up something for me…

Cartoon strip 2b

It certainly looks like I’m not the only one…but what about you? Are you like that too – guilty as charged? LOL!!!

Dance, little lady, dance…

It was Claire who first proposed the idea of getting together on 2nd April in Penang with fellow-bloggers and friends to eat, sing and dance…

…and she passed the ball to Eugene to look for a suitable venue for all that. Then she blogged about it here and here and Eugene too put up a post on it.

Unfortunately, response has been very poor. My good friend, Mandy, said she would be around and would join us and blogger, SexyJesse, said she would come too.

IsaacTan is not very sure right now…and that’s about it. Actually it does not matter really as we do not need a big crowd – I am sure just the few of us can be as much fun as a barrel of monkeys, so to speak.

So, come April 2nd, we will be partying the night away…

Anybody else interested in joining us? Just let anyone of us know – we’d love to have you for company…

I’ve gotta get a message to you…

Just a random post today as nothing much has been happening since my daughter left…

I love nice fridge magnets especially ones like this…

Fridge magnet 1

Don’t you think that is absolutely cute?

And this one especially?

Fridge magnet 2

And this one too?

Fridge magnet 3

Messages? What messages? Oh ya…I get the message! That fat people are all so cute! Hehehehehehe!!!!

Never mind what we stick on the refrigerator door, I don’t think it’s going to help much…or not in my case, at least. What about you?

Why can’t a woman be more like a man…

Women are from Venus and men are from Mars. I guess everybody is familiar with this and if I am not mistaken, it is the title of a book even. Now, are women and men really so different? A friend of mine emailed me something that I found quite amusing and would like to share it with everybody here.

One of the things mentioned is how a woman marries a man expecting that he will change, but he doesn’t. On the other hand, a man marries a woman expecting that she won’t change, but she does. And in this same connection, a woman worries about the future until she gets a husband while a man never worries about the future until he gets a wife…and while a successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend, a successful woman is one who can find such a man. LOL!!!

When it comes to spending, a man will pay RM2 for a RM1 item that he needs; a woman will pay RM1 for a RM2 item that she does not need…but it’s on sale. Quite true, don’t you think? Hahahahaha!!!! And when eating out, when the bill arrives, the men will each throw in RM50 – none of them will have anything smaller and none will actually admit that they want their change back. Women are different. When they get the bill, out comes their pocket calculators!

In the bathroom, a man has five items – a toothbrush, toothpaste, a razor, a bar of soap and a bath towel. The average number of items in a typical woman’s bathroom is 337 and a man would not be able to identify more than 20 of them. But never argue with a woman! She will always have the last word…and anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument!

Now, how many of you will agree with this? Men wake up as good-looking as when they went to bed but somehow, women deteriorate during the night. Whatever it is, I definitely do not agree with this: that a woman knows all about her children – their friends, their teachers, what they like to wear, their favourite food, their fears, hopes and dreams…while a man is vaguely aware of some short people living in the house. Hahahaha!!! Actually, once I congratulated a father whose daughter scored straight As in the PMR Examination and he replied, “Huh? She’s in Form 3 already kah?” It certainly looks like there’s some truth in that after all.

And what do you think about this:
A woman did not come home one night. She told her husband that she had slept over at a friend’s house. The man called his wife’s 10 best friends. None of them knew anything about it…but when a man did not come home one night and told the wife that he had slept over at a friend’s house, and the woman called 10 of her husband’s best friends, eight would confirm that he had slept over…and two would say that he was still there!

Here’s what Rex Harrison as Professor Higgins in “My Fair Lady” thinks about women…

A married man should forget his mistakes. There is no use in two people remembering the same thing.

Have a great weekend, everybody…and a Happy Easter!!!

In the mood…

It was exactly two weeks to Chinese New Year’s Eve last Saturday when I took AH^KAM_KOKO’ who was in town for the weekend shopping, as he needed to stock up on some groceries and provisions before going back into the middle of the jungle. LOL!!!

The festive mood was already in the air…and the supermarkets in town were all very crowded…

CNY mood 1

…and you could get to see and buy all those pickled stuff and nuts, waxed duck, Chinese sausages, smelly dried sotong and stuff…

CNY mood 2

…as well as the bak kua (barbecued meat slices)…

CNY mood 3

…with the loud and boisterous Chinese New Year songs which never fail to drive me up the wall, bashing your poor delicate ears!

It certainly did not look like we’re in the midst of an economic downturn right now…or is this indicative of the age-old belief that everyone must have everything in abundance during Chinese New Year so that the year ahead will be blessed with prosperity?

Anyway, while I was standing there, I saw a young mother of two in this pair of gladiator shoes…

Gladiator shoes

To be honest, I thought they looked like those pads that self defence pugilists tie around their ankles – the ones with heavy steel bars inside to build up the strength in their legs…or somebody who has broken his or her legs and has to wear stilts for support. Ok…ok!!! Stop bashing me! I know! I know! It’s the fashion…and I’m such a dinosaur! LOL!!!

And guess what I spotted at another supermarket in the section where they sell women’s beauty products and toiletries…

Like a virgin

Good grief! Can’t they think of a better name? Or is the herbal soap meant for restoring lost virginity? Hahahahahaha!!!! Bet it would sell like hot cakes then!

And that reminds me of this…

So, have you done all your Chinese New Year shopping yet?

Big spender…

This song always reminds me of my daughter when she was younger. We were on our way home from school – I was driving and she was in the back seat…and the song came over the air waves on the radio. She listened to it and remarked, “This song is about you, daddy?”

“Oh?…A man of distinction?” I asked.

“No,” she replied, “Big suspenders!!!”

LOL!!! Sometimes she can be naughty too, the chip of the ol’ block!

Anyway, I’m no big spender…and call me a miser or whatever, I do not care. But the truth is I do not mind spending my money even if it may be more than usual…provided it is TRULY worth it.

Just look at what I bought from my regular stall at Bandong. For RM12.00, I got this HUGE bowl of really deliciously spicy udang galah (freshwater prawns)…

Bnadong's spicy udang galah

…and this very nice ikan tenggiri (mackerel) curry was only RM10.00 for 5 huge pieces of the fish that is getting more and more expensive at the market, it seems…

Bandong's tenggiri curry

…and this telur masak merah was RM1.00 each. I asked for 5 and the man gave me one extra – with his compliments.

Bandong's telur masak merah

The cempedak muda masak lemak (young cempedak cooked in coconut milk) was only RM3.00 for this much…

Bandong's cempedak muda masak lemak

…and this sambal timun (cucumber) cost me RM3.00 as well…

Bandong's sambal timun

That came up to a total of RM33.00 and was MORE than enough for an absolutely super scrumptious dinner for four persons! Even though it was not inclusive of rice and drinks, that would be a lot more satisfying and definitely a much wiser choice than what I had at that place in my previous post for RM40.50 for two!

Times are hard, the economy doesn’t look like it’s getting any better…so do spend wisely!