Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy Niu Year

It’s my year again at last! After twelve long years… the ox is coming!The last time it came to visit, I was still in primary six. Seems so long ago. Hopefully it will be a brilliant year this year.


Anyway, wishing everyone 新年快乐,万事如意。Happy new year and may all your wishes and aspirations come true.

Oreo cheese cake anyone? ^^


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Rant because I’m bored

I had been back for around 10 days now in Kuching. A bit bored, hence tried to busy myself by finding something to whinge and whine about.

So lets focus on the oft said problem of the ill-mannerisms of sales staffs. Been to a lot of supermarkets recently. Forgot this is not Melbourne where 8 in 10 cashier will greet you with a smile and a ‘How do you do’ and say a ‘thank you’ at the end of the transaction. It is bad enough that their skin colour is a shade darker already, without being made worse by that non-smiling face at best or frown at worse. At least there’s a mitigating factor in that they will smile back if you the customer takes the initiative to say “thank you” to them.

But in fairness, I guess it is hard for them to decide which language to use when wanting to deal with customers. Malaysia is truly a melting pot of different cultures, but without an obvious national identity. The physical distinction is a bit blurred now, with Chinese looking Iban and Iban looking Chinese. Coupled with the fact that there are non-Malay or English speaking Chinese and banana Chinese, its hard for a cashier to decide whether to speak in Malay or Iban or Chinese or English or one of the dialects when approached by one of these customers with un-straightforward identity.

Speaking English may be deemed a “show-off”; speaking Malay to a Chinese may result with a “Do I look that dark???” scowl; speaking Chinese to a banana may be received with a distained “I am the new age” look. Really a language conundrum we have here. Not like in Melbourne, where English is the default lingua franca. Maybe we should really enforce the usage of Bahasa Malaysia in daily life no matter what race we are, like in Indonesia. Makes things so easier, and perhaps as an indirect result, we will have more friendly cashiers.

Seems far-fetched. An easier solution will be paying them much much more money. With more money, they can fulfill more of their needs and desires, and consequencely, will be happier. But who cares. It’s not my business anyway.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The football player


“Michael, pass the ball!” roared Coach Reiley at the sidelines. Momentarily, I looked up from the ball which is sticking to my feet as if it was glued. Surrounding me, the thousands of voracious supporters shouted and cheered, cajoling me to go on; at the sidelines, Coach Reiley was waving fanatically, the index finger of his left hand pointing to the three players in front of me. I glanced at the three forwards of my team, they are there waiting for my pass.

Suddenly, in front of me I noticed two bull of a player charging me down ready for the kill. The sliding tackle came from the first bull a slight fraction of a second after I jimmied the ball to my left, expertly making a fool of him, leaving him sprawled in the middle of the field like a big crying baby. The crowd roared with joy. The second bull, aware of the embarrassment suffered from his mate, was determined not to by the same trick. He continued to hound me, dogging my way as I tried to escape from his clutches. I smiled. With a sudden burst of speed and all the strength my stocky frame could muster, I muscle my way through him and sprinted towards the goal.

Subconsciously I could still hear the frantic roar of “pass the ball!” by Coach Reiley and saw the red coloured socks of my teammates jostling and running for positions in front of me anticipating the pass. And then it happened. The vision of next week’ school newspaper reverberating with screaming head line ‘Captain seals famous win with wonder goal’ flashed into my headspace. It will be my moment of glory and redemption for the horror miss last month. With my remaining energy, I surged forward, with the opposing goal nearer by seconds. I out-jumped another tackle, out-maneuvered a block and was now at the far corner of the penalty box, with only the goalkeeper in my path. Ignoring my teammates in better positions to score, I took aim at the far corner of the goal, held my breath and give the ball an almighty kick.

Goal!” the crowd shouted – a second too soon. The ball flew pass the despairing hands of the goalkeeper, hit the goalpost and trickled to the wrong side of the net.

Silence vibrated throughout the stadium. I felt the ground give way below me, and a sinking feeling starting to grow inside me. I failed to score and the team was out of the competition. The despair was too much to bear. I felt to my knees and tears started to pour. “It is not supposed to be like this,” I kept muttering to myself. “It ain’t supposed to end like this… fairytales always have a happy ending…”

Note: Was rummaging through the folders in my computer when chanced upon this snippet written 3-4 years ago. Seems i never liked happy endings. =p

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Profile change

It used to say:

A Pharmacy undergraduate studying in Melbourne, who is determined to change his life. Originally from Kuching, he loves to read, write and cook. Unpredictable and bossy at times, but usually quiet and unassuming. He is of the opinion that he is the nicest guy on Earth.

But since I am no longer a Pharmacy undergraduate and no longer studying in Melbourne, it is high time I change my profile description. So here it goes, the brand new one.

A fresh pharmacy graduate from the Victorian College of Pharmacy, Melbourne, who had so far went back to Kuching to start the next phase of his life, whatever it is. He still find joy in reading, writing and cooking, but now wonders whether being a nice guy is a boon or a bane. Full of contradictions but nevertheless believe he will do the right thing in the end.

Since I am now entering a new chapter of my life, I will be making a few small changes in the blog. Happy reading!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Such is life

He had grown sick of everything. The corrugated gutter that was so rusted until it swept torrents of water into his room when it was raining. The harsh fluorescent lights which gave his skin a shallow yellow hue. The cold cement floor that had sunk in the middle covered with a threadbare carpet that had discoloured into an unidentifiable shade of gray.

Day in day out, he passed by the same street, heard the same din, whiffed the same smell and watched the same scene on his way to work. The only thing that was different, he noticed, was the ever changing fashion of the mannequins. Red, orange, yellow, green, purple, blue. Ah it reminds him of his nanochromatic series Ipod. His best friend nowadays. He can only find solace in the soulful songs emitted by his bright red Ipod Nano.

In his job, so mired in routine he was that he felt mechanical, almost robotic, as if he was part of the fittings in the office. Typical eight to five, with an official one hour break in between and unofficial 2-3 hours coffee time when he felt like it. Nothing exciting. Nothing fun. Just enough money for him to live by.

That’s why he had decided to leave everything for good, and started afresh somewhere else before he went crazy in this little hole.

He had his bags packed, his considerable amount of junks shipped to the new town, his house now threadbare save for the bed with broken springs and some essential toiletries. Flight tickets in hand, he went to his old hunt for one last drink, paying the aging bartender his last 5 dollar tip.

He was tending to his drink, contemplating about his quantum leap, when she appeared again.

Hi,” she greeted, before climbing up on the stool adjacent to him.

Hi,” he replied.

For the past two years, she had been a permanent fixture of his pub visits. Whenever he made an appearance, she will spring up from somewhere and slink to the seat next to him.

“How’s everything? Haven’t seen you for the past week.”

“Been packing. I’m leaving.”

“To where?” she was astonished at the revelation. “The company sent you on a road trip?”

“No. I’m leaving this town for good.”

She was stunned. “Why?”

“Because I’m tired of this town.”

“No. Don’t leave.”


“Well, I don’t know. You got a stable job, you got a house, you…”

“Give me a good reason not to leave.”

“I like you. Can you not leave now?”

He was stunned. But He left anyway.

At the airport on that day, she clung to his arm, tears of sadness drained down her cheeks. “You will return and see me one day, right?” she queried, again and again.

Silence was the only word he can offer.

He had an impulse to say ‘To hell with everything”, stayed back and give life with her a try. But he didn’t. He just offered her a wave, a lingering look and a barrage of ‘what ifs’ swimming in her head.

He never went back.


“I was this close to get your mother,” he demonstrated which his thumb and forefingers, with the space between the two digits thinner than a piece of A4 paper.

“What was the main reason you didn’t stay?” her son enquired.

“Well,” he paused, musing over memories three decades past. “I think the hassle and impracticality of it was the main reason. I had packed and shipped everything, resigned from my job and sold my house. Besides it took me 2 months to make up my mind to take that step to go away.”

“Didn’t you notice my mum always liked you? She told me that she went to the pub every day just so she can meet up with you.”

“I didn’t really notice that,” he admitted “Until she told me. I think I was too mired in the unhappy world of mine.”

“But,” he added, ‘I did think hard about staying. But the thought of the $2000 flight ticket gone to waste, the hassle of needing to find a new job and house and take a step into the unknown… that’s too much for me to take.”

Besides,” he shrugged, “Life’s no fairy tale. Life’s not like the movies where everyone has a happy ending. No, in real life I wager there isn’t a single guy whom after stepping into the departure hall, will change his mind and run back out. Besides, the security will stop him.”

“We humans are different from animals because we can think reasonably,” he declared with an air of righteousness.

Her son heaved a sigh of regret. “I guess that's life. Too full of rational thoughts and unstated rules that chained and locked you to the ground, ruthlessly extinguishing any instinct and impulse to do things you want.”

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Last night in Melbourne

The very last night I spent in Melbourne saw a group of us descend upon the SteakHouse in Docklands.

It was a sumptuous 3 course dinner, to fittingly send us off to the journey back home on a full stomach.

The service was astonishingly slow, but luckily it was well suited to the occasion as it meant we had the time in the world to catch up and say goodbyes.

We reached there 7-ish, and when food didn't turn up around 8.30ish, we got some hot bread with olive oil to fill our grumbling stomach.

For the appetizer I ordered oysters, a delicacy that is hard to come by in Kuching. Sis ordered some mussels, with turned out to be very big.

Perhaps there's a reason for the snail paced service - to ensure that by the time the mains were served we have enough stomach space to fill in the humongous feed.

That was me with my 500g T-bone medium done steak served on potato gratin and mashed potato.

And then there were dessert. I had the warm pudding whereas sis had the banana creme brulee. The serving was again, huge. By this time, most of us don't have enough free space to store them.

The night ended around 11pm where like typical Asians, we had a photo session.

The whole meal cost only $50 per person, which was very cheap considering the quality and amount of food they serve us. Too bad I wouldn't have time to go there a second time.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


I'm now back in the hot and humid place called Malaysia. Even the fan at max speed felt like an ancient cow powered carriage. Drank at least six cups of H2O alredy this morning. Whole body felt like leathered with a coat of sweat.

Touched down at 0015 a.m from a plane with seat coverings so colourful it reminds me on a kindergarten playground. Or the gelati place Trampoline in good old Melbourne.

Had my first Kolo Mee after 2 years at 1.00am while reading the latest magazine of my secondary school. All the students were foreign but a lot of teachers still the same. Maybe will visit it someday.

The sink looked so small. The kitchen top felt so low. There's a feeling of Gulliver travelling to the little world of Lilliput.

Thefact that I am home for good haven't sink in, nor the time difference. Slept at 2ish. Woke up at 7a.m. Out to the wet market with Dad, buying some soya bean drink and freid "you tiau". Out again for breakfast at 9.30a.m. The ice lemon tea felt so cheap. RM1.60 versus AUD$3 in Melbourne. But the portion of "Kueh Chap" felt so small. guess need some readjustment. Forgot how huge the food portion really is in Mlebounre.

I guess now begins the period of reorientation.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

On a wing and a prayer

At 1540 hrs today, I will board a MAS flight into the unknown.

After spending four years in Melbourne, it is time to go home and serve the citizens of Malaysia.

23 February 2005, I reached Melbourne full of enthusiasm and youthful exuberance, cherishing my good fortune landing a chance to study overseas. I still remember walking around the perimeter of Melbourne cemetery the next day where Yong Chin exclaimed "Can you believe it? We are actually here!"

Can you believe it? At this moment, I am leaving Melbourne for good. Gosh, four years seems so long but was actually quite short. A lot of friends asked me "you will come back here right?" To tell the truth I don't know. I would like to, but the thought of moving my butt and shifting my belongings are enough to make me think twice. Or Thrice.

One friend said "I always thought you have a long term goal on what to achieve in life." But the fact is, I don't. I am still searching and wondering what to do with my post-Uni life. Failure to plan equals planning to fail? Hopefully that doesn't apply to me.

Most of my peers had already commenced their trainee-ship year, putting their knowledge to good use and learning more stuffs. It's so ironic that they have a job before officially graduating whereas I am still as free as a bird after going through the whole ceremony.  I will only be starting the process of applying for a pharmacy job in Malaysia when I got back. God knows when will I officially get a job and where I would be sent. Will it be weeks or months? Hopefully inefficiency had been stamped out in Malaysia. 

But in the short term, There are also so many things to do, so many things to readjust and relearn. Like learning to speak and write in Malay and Chinese after four years of neglect. I don't want the only thing I can say to Malay patients are: "Satu hari makan dua biji. Tak makan, mati, makan banyak, juga mati." And also refreshing my memories of all the Pharmacy info I should know to do justice to the Certificate I so painstakingly earned.

But whatever the future holds, the fact remains that a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree supposedly open doors to a bright and secure future. And that I fervently pray, is the truth.

In the meantime, to everyone in Melbourne whom I had met, thank you for the memories.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Say Goodbye...


我期待 有一天我会回来

回到我最初的爱 回到童贞的神采

Picture08 038


明白人世的至爱 明白原始的情怀


我情愿 分合的无奈 能换来春夜的天籁

我情愿 现在与未来 能充满秋凉的爽快



前前后后 迂迂回回地试探



昂首阔步 不留一丝遗憾


我情愿 分合的无奈 能换来春夜的天籁

我情愿 现在与未来 能充满秋凉的爽快

Picture08 089


前前后后 迂迂回回地试探



昂首阔步 不留一丝遗憾



前前后后 迂迂回回地试探



昂首阔步 不留一丝遗憾


我期待 - 张雨生