Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Music from yesterday



Music Of Your Time. Click on your Year.















Saturday, May 23, 2009

I do believe in 'I do'

I believe
my life wouldn't be my own
to do as I please anymore
the moment I said 'I do'
in whatever language, culture or religion
in whatever manner 

Every decision I made thereafter
I'd have to consider her opinion too
for she'd be the one
who'd be directly affected
if anything happened to me
in the course of my endeavors 

So when I wept openly in frustration
over a job which overwhelmed me
need anyone ask why
I had to cry over something so trivial? 

No, it wasn't just for myself that I wept
but due to a choice I recklessly took
I took her along with me
into the misery of agonizingly confused days
and long troubled sleepless nights.

And the nightmare
still haunts me today

Thursday, May 21, 2009

That #$%&! Battery that I Swear By

The window pane in my daughter's apartment was a tad too tight for my liking, so I thought a few drops of engine oil on strategic spots should solve the problem.  I went down to the car to fish out some from the engine with the dip-stick.

But upon opening the bonnet I was horrified by the sight of the mess my battery had done to the engine compartment.  It looked like the acid had been blowing out of the battery due to overpressure after my 400 kilometer drive from SP to KL.  This had never happened before, at least to my car, in all my years of driving. 

I don't remember ever adding any water to top up the electrolyte of this battery because the last time I checked it was still at maximum level. 

The maddening thing about the #$%&! Yokohama battery is that the walls of the plastic casing are so opague you can't view the electrolyte level at all without opening the caps and shining a torchlight into the holes.  I used to shine a torchlight behind the battery and viewed it from the front and I could see the liquid levels clearly.  It worked for my former Iswara but this Myvi has the battery completely covered by a black jacket on 3 sides.  So, no shadow-play trick this time.  But I still swear by this brand because every one of them last at least 4 years when others would have gone kaput in half that time.

This over-filling looked like the work of the service centre mechanic.  I made a mental note to talk to the supervisor the next time I send it in for servicing.  And I did.  But it seemed like there was a language barrier that prevented my message from getting into his head.  When I looked at the bill I noticed a line stating, 'check & service battery - RM2.60'.  This time I guess the barrier was in my head. I didn't say anything.

That evening when the engine was reasonably cool I decided to do a random check just in case.  Lo!  The electrolyte levels were way above the max line!  I couldn't go back to the workshop as it was already closed for the weekend.  Besides, there's nothing much they could do to rectify the problem except to drain out the excess.  This would definitely lower the specific gravity of the acid.  But, oh, it's already lowered after they added the water.  So what more damage could I do? 

I decided to drain out the excess electrolyte myself.  But first, I needed a device to measure the levels.  Let's call it a gauge.  I found a strip of white plastic.  I placed the lower end against the minimum line and marked the spot in line with the top edge of the battery.  I did the same with the maximum line.  Then I cut 2 notches in the plastic strip where the markings were.  Upper notch = Min and lower notch = Max, and we're in the acid-level checking business.

To check acid level - open the caps, lower the gauge inside slowly until the tip touches the top of the acid.  Look at where the max or min notch is.  Whichever is in line with the with the top of the hole is the level of the acid.

I made a note in my service booklet that I'd check the battery myself. 

If I could only find another service center nearby I'd have said bye-bye to these guys.

Or maybe I have to teach them how to check my battery?

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Where's the freedom to choose our own colors?

Like Marina Mahathir I hadn’t intended to wear black.  But 7th May seemed like a day which will go down in Malaysian history as one significant day when something important in this country really died.  And it did so dramatically.

A day before that a university professor was arrested for calling for a mass solidarity for the people of Perak with everyone wearing black.  It was meant to be a symbolic gesture to mourn the death of democracy.  So I thought I’d like to wear black for a change, at least for just the day in question.  We'd be at work anyway and won't be anywhere in or around Ipoh to be in any 'danger' of being arrested just for our choice of color.  Black has to be washed separately, and I never enjoyed giving the wife some extra chores.  When I asked around in the office I got the idea that the whole lot of guys in the office would be in black.  So I thought I’d make this day an exception.  

The boys at the road blocks didn't even look nor get up from their chairs.  But I was to find only a handful of us showed up in black.  So much for solidarity, but it seems I couldn’t blame anyone.  Except for some ladies, nobody owns a black formal shirt.  They have only T-shirts.  So do I.  Besides we’re not supposed to wear T-shirts except on Fridays.  (What kind of rule is that anyway?)  But trying to be a non-conformist for once I just went ahead and put on my black AIA T-shirt.  Boy, did I feel like a lone Lemming.  The message must have been overlooked for the sake of conformity.  

Then I saw another blog showing the now famous professor in orange prison garb.  Someone said let's wear orange!!!  So Friday, being a T-shirt day, I went to work wearing my black and orange company quality campaign T-shirt.  At least there are more people wearing the same colors.  But then it doesn’t mean anything anymore.  

But for all we now know as Malaysians, one more color in the spectrum has suddenly become a taboo color.  However I think we can’t afford to conform for long.  Except for the color-blind, the rest of us must not compromise the colors of our own choice where clothes are concerned.  That, and to make our silent stand for democratic principles.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Have a bone to pick?


Sunday, 03-05-09 -  Are we all having a fish-bone-stuck-in-the-throat galore?

I had one to pick this morning. Rather, wife had the bone. It was somewhere to the left side of the entrance to her throat where the tonsils are. She figured it was somewhere further down but it wasn't. The nerves gave the impression that it was. I flashed a torch light in her mouth and told her to say "Aaah". She tried, but the sound came out gurgled. The tongue kept getting in the way, but I caught a glimpse of the 1.5 mm part of the needle-like bone buried in the flesh. Couldn't tell how deep it went but I said maybe I could use a pair of tweezers to remove it. But I still doubted that's the culprit. Maybe it's not. Maybe it's really further down.

She wanted to try the traditional stuff first, like swallowing lumps of rice. Nothing happened. She swallowed half a dozen bananas. It didn't budge. She poured some water into a cup, took it outside under the sky, stirred it round, wrote the Chinese word for 'well' in it and drank the water in one gulp. It's supposed to sink into the well. Nichts.

That was yesterday, I mean, last night. Heard there's a guy at a local sundry shop who charges RM15 for that mumbo-jumbo stuff. They say it works. I never tried it. Can't write in Chinese unless I practice it but I never bothered.

A few hours after breakfast today, she was still struggling with it. Finally, she said, 'Can't take it anymore. Let's try the tweezers'. She was scared she could throw up if I tickled her throat. We can't do it standing up then. So she tried lying down on the bed. I got a spoon with a long handle. I washed the tweezers thoroughly and wiped them clean and dry. Can't afford to let them slip out of my hands while performing the 'operation'.

I asked her to hold the torchlight. I pressed her tongue down with the spoon and with the tweezers in my right hand, picked out the pesky thing in one go. Phew! That thing was about 6 mm long.  Years of picking beard stubs from my chin gave me all that practice for this one moment of glory.

Her neighborhood friend asked her about the fishbone later. She told her, hubby got it out. 'Waaah!, she exclaimed. 'That would cost RM25 at Dr. Khoo's'. Heck, I didn't know. People rush off to the doctor's for a little thing like that? I imagined putting a sign outside my window: "Have a bone to pick? RM10 only".  That should give them doctors a run for their money.  But then, that would make me a quack.  Oh well, just blame it on the economy...


waiting for the curtains

                                  to slowly descend

there's no applause, this show has no end

my mind's in a muddle, the hours are long

my present's a puzzle though nothing's wrong

shuffle my time like a pack of playcards

pick on what I do on a whim and a song

meandering, wandering, wondering I move along

I don't know where I should be but I'll soon be gone

hand on the clock edges northwards getting near

my mind is out somehwere else but I'm still here

it's jumbled but it's still thinking

and nothing seems to be moving...