The Last Mohican

November 29, 2009

I think I’m the only one that had it this way. I’m not kidding you.

When words got out that yours truly is getting married, long-lost friends from 28kg ago suddenly started to call and asked to chat over macchiatos and macarons.

See, they didn’t call to congratulate me, these are true friends and so they won’t do such mindless thing. They called to express their grave concerns over my decision to give up the forest for a skinny tree.

They were speaking from experiences and regrets, of course, except for the one from the closet who has actually memorized Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, in French, no less.

“But bros,” I said, “I have explored (some would say exploited) my forest reserve, that, and some around the world, and finally I found this matured white oak in Kajang.  And if you have any interest in carpentry you’d know the many virtues of matured white oak: it is not flashy, it is low maintenance, it ages gracefully, it is receptive to its surrounding environment, and most importantly it is a quiet kind of wood.”

“But women are not wood, Stevie,” they all screamed, “they’re not like us, they CHANGE!”

“They do?” I feigned surprise.

“Haiyooo, that’s why I say you don’t know what you’re getting into. Do you know where the word husbandry came from, Stevie?” Said Stephen the feihai, “they treat husbands like farm animals!”

And so one by one, in tears and in snot, they recounted their inventories of sorrows and misgivings in their marriages…and some stuff from Madame Bovary, translated into English.

Raymond was so overwhelmed by emotions he fainted and required a mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. It was all quite heart breaking and dramatic, I tell you.

With sadness hanging in the air like a laundry job gone awry, the afternoon came to an end and Stephen, exhausted by the pain of speaking his memories, said: “Sleep over it, Stevie, you are our Last Mohican, okay, bro?”

“Okay, bro.” said I, and went to sleep.

You see, the way I look at it, Bonnie & Clyde were perfect couple, Mickey and Mallory were perfect couple, but they weren’t married. In fact, ALL perfect couples in our history since Moses came down from the stupid mountain weren’t married.

All except one, that is. The only perfect married couple I personally know of is Richard and Shari, my sister’s in-laws. But Richard is not a dapper bandit like Clyde, nor is he a smooth criminal like Mickey, Richard is a very decent man, “decent” in the truest sense of the word, and that level of decency is a prerequisite in a perfect marriage.

I’m not decent, not in the wildest sense of the word. I have a personal history most vile, and I also have debts that would put Haiti’s annual GDP to shame.

But I can be a good friend (with fringe benefits too).

When people are married for some time they forget to be friends.

And when that happens it’s the end of that marriage.

That much I know is true.

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Simplify Me, Please.

November 27, 2009

“Simple” seems to be the most popular adjective in describing what we want, but more often than not, that word describes only our cluelessness.

To boutique assistants: I want something simple (what, shopping bag?).

To restaurant waiter: I want something simple (what, chicken rice?).

To designer: I want something simple (what, a curved line?).

Great, whatever, as long as you know that simple and cheap are 68,017 entries apart in the Miriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary.

My wife-to-be and I were having coffee and cakes at Espressamente yesterday and she asked me a very conceptual question about the institution of marriage. Six hours and fourteen minutes later I was still chewing my words and the same piece of very simple macaron with pistachio and clarified cold pressed guava seed oil that we’ve ordered earlier, and so as if to help me phrase my answer she told me, very softly, holding my hand: I’m a simple person, dear.

That particular kind of “simple”, ladies and gentlemen, you have to be careful about, because it’s only as simple as a cup of espresso.

Meaning it’s complex: whether it’s Arabica or Robusta beans, the grade of the beans, the roasting style of the beans, the ratio of the mix of different beans, the grind, acidity/alkalinity of the water, temperature of the water, pressure of the steam, compactness of coffee ground, the crema, etc., etc…

Nothing is really simple, you know what I mean?

But it’s okay, I’m not a simple man. In fact, in ancient Rome my name would’ve been Complexus Maximus.

And so dinner time was approaching and we had to drive all the way to Sungai Long to eat what her mom describes as suibianzhu (随便煮) meaning “simply cooked” dinner (but if you tell her mom she has cooked simply chinchai like that she’s not going to be amused).

And so while her eighteen-year-old daughter, exhausted from shopping, sleeps in the backseat, I was trying to explain to my wife-to-be about the word “love” (becoz she complains that I don’t say the 3 little words) and that it didn’t come from Latin and that in Latin there are two different words for two different kinds of “love” called eros and agape and they have nothing whatsoever to do with the “love” we now know how it doesn’t mean what we think it means, and the “love” we now know is actually a highly compromised fusion of the two Latin loves and it doesn’t really mean anything at all, really. So when people tell you “I love you” it actually doesn’t mean jack shit. Let’s put it this way: when a girl says I love you it means you gimme agape in exchange for eros; when a boys says I love you it means you gimme eros and I’ll pretend to give you agape but 100% of the time they just want eros. Get it?

It’s all became very complex and boring but I like talking about boring complex shit like that.

And so I was talking and talking and I saw through the corner of my beady little eye that she was kinda not listening and kinda dozing off and so I stopped talking right before the Smart Tag beep goes off at Cheras Batu 11 toll.

And so then I totally shut the fuck up and played Cassandra Wilson on the stereo and held her right hand in my left hand and steered the grandmotherly car with my right hand and that is simple love to me.

Let There Be Light

November 9, 2009

thegreatgatsbyYeah, but it ain’t exactly Monty Python and the Meaning of Life, you know?

“And what can life be worth if the first rehearsal for life is life itself?” – Milan Kundera, the Unbearable Lightness of Being

The true 21st century vagabond is feeling scared for the first time in his life. Scared, not because of the ridiculous lack of evidence in ITs wisdom, but of expectations.

IT, is Marriage.

Yep, yours truly is getting married, and there isn’t a book called The Oxford’s Guide to Husband’s Dos and Don’ts out there for one who subscribes to the hybrid of cheaply understood Old Testament and a prejudically scanned Koran(just in case there really is an entrance exam at heaven’s gate).

No amount of Khalil Gibran will prepare you for this kind of things, really. And certainly not that whining bitch called Paolo Coelho either.

So what’s one to do in this state of mind?

One prepares for the parties.

You heard me right: parties.

So I guess it’s about time I dust off this great book about throwing great parties, a book I love oh-so-dearly:

The Great Gatsby.

And we’ll need wine. Plenty of.

sticky shit

April 9, 2009

I love cooking, and I have a large AllClad pan. It looks pretty low tech, this pan, until you use it.

I can deal with almost all kind of cheapo pans, as long as they are not Teflon coated, I hate those non-stick shit, coz they take away that certain “seared” looks of the eggs I fry.

But funnily enough, I do like my shit non-stick.

See, sometimes you go to a friend’s place and you need to take a shit, and your shit turns out to be the sticky type and they can’t be flushed out no matter know many times you try.

So you’re kinda stuck in your friend’s toilet not knowing what to do, coz it’ll be damn embarrassing when the next guy (or worse, girl) walks in and there it is…your shit, sticking on the toilet bowl.

I dunno about those imported stuff coz I use only Goh Ban Huat toilets, I dunno why nobody ever thought of Teflon-coating the toilet bowl, really, I mean it’s such a simple idea, and I bet my yellow ass I’m not the only one who has to wrap my hand in toilet paper to clean up the stickies.

I truly admire those people who are born Teflon coated, people like Rosmah and Jib.

No shit ever stick to them, even when the shit hits the fan.

the bargain

January 13, 2009

picture-41Over dinner last night Midge said she has deleted my name from her list of potential boyfriends because I do not dance.

The truth is I actually do dance, but only in horizontal positions. Of course I didn’t tell Midge that, she is a very well brought-up girl, and doesn’t engage herself in risqué talks.

Of all the reasons I got deleted from the lists of the girls I like, Midge’s seems the most reasonable. It’s reasonable because dancing is part of her of joie de vivre. And unlike shopping for Pradas and Guccis, dancing is a very musical undertaking and that is something very profound.

Compare that to say, the girl who deleted me for my lack of intellect… I mean, truthfully, you tell me, with all puns intended, how on earth does constant nagging about Existentialism actually improve your daily existence?

I make good coffees, and I make great crepes (both the sweet AND the savoury type, for Christ’s sake). I’m a good handyman that gives better massage, often with plenty of extras thrown in too.

I secretly filter all them movies before watching them with you like I am watching them for the first time, because I know the pain of having to watch some imbecilic Tom Cruise shit.

I compile the iTune playlists to suit every possible mood you could be in (including our breakups).

I make sure your left shoe stays on the left and the right shoe right; and the damned yellow price stickers taken off the soles.

I make sure I wipe the Sensodine nozzle clean every morning, and I am always ahead of the blue indicator on your Oral Bs.

And you don’t remember when was the last time you need to charge the cellphone battery, do you?

You know why?

Because I always have 3 fully charged batteries for it.

That’s why.

So if Midge deleted me for being not much of a dancer, I can take it like a gentleman that I actually am.

I just have problems with others.

Plus, Midge is 84 this year and she doesn’t have time to waste on a guy like me.

But if you asked her, Midge would tell you that all things considered, I am actually not at all a lousy bargain.